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Changing the thinking towards nonprofits is not an easy or speedy thing to do. Those of us in the industry know that this is a job, an unending job. Maybe we perpetuate the thinking that we want to end. The word nonprofit means "you don't need any money to pay people." That is what those you are serving think, that's why they don't want to or think they should pay. For-profit agencies think you should serve for little to no money but their employees shouldn't. We comfort ourselves with the statements that we are doing it out of a heart of love and compassion. We are hurting ourselves and the Nonprofit Sector. It is time to change our attitude about ourselves and begin to promote the image that we really want. We are in the business of compassion and service. Let's treat it and ourselves like we are a business that does good work. I had this thought long ago, but I didn't know what to do or how to make the change if I did. I sunk into the prevailing thought and struggled. Join with me, small service nonprofits, and let's change our attitudes and images. If we run our nonprofits like businesses maybe we will get more respect. The big guys have figured it out. The following article makes the case for change. What do you think? http://qz.com/122069 For Charts that show the trends.
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When one learns better, he or she should do better. These consults and webinars are causing me to look at our website differently. The changing technology is requiring a change in how we do things. I have known to use the website as a marketing tool, but it has been limited to giving information about our programs and hoping interested parties would contact us. My calls to action were weak, if at all. The available interaction was weak to non-existent. Social media is being used more and more to market our agencies. So how do I link social media with my website to get the greatest impact. The goal is to increase views, which will increase potential programs participants, volunteers and donations.
Now, I know the professional marketers and techies are aware but what about people like me. I am not a web designer by profession. I became a "designer" by necessity. Our organization could not afford to pay for a designer but knew we needed an online presence. There are many small organizations out there that have to take this path. Again, I invite you on my journey to making my website a more effective marketing tool.
In the course of trying to correct my homepage effectiveness, I came upon this article. http://www.nngroup.com/articles/113-design-guidelines-homepage-usability/
I know 113 guidelines are a lot to read and do but it I can effectively institute some of them, the ones pertinent to our purpose. It has to be more effective than it is now. The current design is still available. It will be up and running as improvements are made. The first changes are invisible to the visitor but will improve our SEO. Next will be the homepage. I have to read and digest the 113 guidelines. :-D
Help me make your visit more enjoyable and more informative. Talk to me.
Why have we instituted a music literacy program? Why For The Love of Music? Much research shows music has a very positive and productive affect on our learning abilities. Knowing all of this you wonder why programs were eliminated from schools. Here is some research and a comment from one of my guardians.
Aside from the sheer joy of listening to music, there are more benefits. Studies have shown that music has an effect, both positively and negatively on our brains. The kind or style of music evokes many different feelings as most of us have experienced but will it help in memory retention and behavior change.
· music heals,
· reduces blood pressure,
· is good for your heart,
· boost immunity and
· enhances intelligence and learning.
According to Laurence O’Donnell’s article Brain and Music, it affects the amplitude and frequency of brain waves, breathing rate and electrical resistance of the skin. The article further states it can increase or decrease blood pressure and heart rate. But what does this have to do with learning? Good health is always a factor in learning but that part of the discussion is for another day.
For decades many talked of the Mozart Effect. Mozart’s music was shown to aid in memory retention. The 60 beats per minute pattern caused both the left and right brain to go into action at the same time. Learning and retention were improved because both sides of the brain worked together improving information processing. According to The Center for New Discoveries in Learning, learning potential can be increased a minimum of five times by using this 60 beats per minute music. Later, studies showed it doesn’t matter the type of music as long as it relaxes you. However, rock and acid rock was shown to have a negative effect on the brain and memory retention.
A study done by Ho, Cheung, and Chan shows a child trained to play or sing is affected more than one who only listens to music. Their research shows children who take music lessons develop a better memory than children who don’t.
One of the most interesting studies to me was done by researchers at UCLA. They tracked 15000 high school students. The group included eighth to twelfth grade students from the lowest income bracket who played musical instruments. “A higher percentage of these students achieved high-performing scores on math tests than did the general student population.”
“One cannot deny the power of music. High school students who study music have higher grade point averages than those who don't. These students also develop faster physically. Student listening skills are also improved through music education. The top three schools in America all place a great emphasis on music and the arts. Hungary, Japan, and the Netherlands, the top three academic countries in the world, all place a great emphasis on music education and participation in music. The top engineers from Silicon Valley are all musicians. Napoleon understood the enormous power of music. He summed it up by saying, ‘Give me control over he who shapes the music of a nation, and I care not who makes the laws’”
One of my parents, Mrs. Dubose said her nephew who is diagnosed as ADHD has better focus since participating in the For the Love of Music! program.
Our program participants are from low income families and many of the students are underachieving. We believe music will help. Just think about the life you will change with your donation.
To read more visit these links.
How Music Affects Us and Promotes Health http://www.emedexpert.com/tips/music.shtml Ho YC,
Read more: http://www.ehow.com/about_7231124_music-affect-reading-math-scores_.html#ixzz2cjfrQdd4
Laurence O’Donnell. http://www.cerebromente.org.br/n15/mente/musica.html
Almost everyday I get an invite from 4Good, Hubspot, Marketo and some I can't think of right now to take their webinar, download their ebook or attend their conference. I love the information but it is so much. The hottest topic now is how social media and the internet have changed how we market, especially nonprofits. That is the other thing. So much "good stuff' is geared to profit-making companies. It gets tedious having to translate.
It would be nice if someone would create a social media marketing digest for those of us who are not professional marketers (yet).
A new school year has begun and it will require more parent involvement than ever before. Laws have changed and expectations are rising.
I attended a leadership conference that was designed to educate the participants on methods of serving our communities in the most effective ways. One of our presenters was Dr. Kennon Mitchell, Assistant Superintendent of Student Services for the San Bernardino City Unified School District. He has co-authored a book entitled "The Plan: A Guide for Women Raising African American Boys from Conception to College."
Dr. Mitchell confirmed with research data that the most influential person in a child's educational life is his or her parents. So parents we have to stop expecting teachers to educate our children. We are their first teachers. Who taught your child how to hold a bottle, roll a ball, kiss, hold a spoon, cuss, hit, act out, lie, their alphabet, colors, numbers and walk? It was our example and encouragement. Dr. Mitchell's research has shown when parents are involved their students get higher grades, test scores, and graduation rates. Students have increased motivation, better self-esteem, decreased use of drugs and alcohol and fewer instances of violent behavior.
Does this mean every parent has to teach the course curriculum? No, obviously not. Not every parent is equipped to teach the curriculum but every parent should set standards of behavior, grade expectations, and examples of integrity. My grandparents, who raised me, did not have degrees but they set standards.
They did not go to the school yelling and cursing at the principal, staff or teachers. They approached them with the same respect that they expected to receive. They listened to the teacher and then asked the questions that would bring the whole thing out into the open. When the conversation was over the teacher felt good and knew that he or she had parental support and my grands knew they had communicated their expectations. Sometimes, I thought they sided with the teacher and against me. However, now that I am a parent, I know they were protecting me from future attacks from the teacher. I also realized that their example taught me how to handle conflict. My reputation and their good name stayed in tact. My grades were high because I was more afraid of disappointing my grandparents than I was of my teachers. Parents exercise your power!
Please share your opinions and experiences. Remember to be respectful or you won't be heard.
In January, the Power House students began a study of ancient African Kingdoms. This the the foundation of our study of Black life in America. Three kingdoms will be researched to discover how the Africans lived and what customs they brought with them during the American slavery era. The Kingdoms of Ghana, Mali, and Songhay are the research subjects.
The first activity was to locate the kingdoms on a map. We then compared it to a modern map. first discovery: Ancient Ghana is not located where present day Ghana is located. Ancient Ghana is now Senegal and Mauritania. Keke asked, "Why was it moved?" She was encouraged to continue reading to find out.
After examining the geography, each student was assigned a specific thing to research based on their interest. Keke, our future fashion designer, was assigned to find out about their clothing; Keola, a cooking lover, was assigned to find out what they ate, and Myah, our future businessman and game developer, was assigned to find out about the job skills and how they made money.
After a time of research, the three came together to share with each other what they had found. During they discussion they shared so much more than they were asked to research. My plan worked! The question of the day was made by Keola.
"Why do they teach us that the Africans didn't know how to do anything and that they didn't have a language?"
My response, "Now, you know [emphasis on know] that's not true. What was true, they didn't know the European's languages and customs and they could not read or write the European languages. English is what they had to learn. You see they knew how to do many things before they came" The students realized these people were free to live their lives and were not necessarily enslaved.
I am happy to say, they were excited about the research and wanted to do more. In the coming weeks, I will share their finds and their comments. Visit http://www.ewcocinc.org/the-power-house.html for more details and pictures.
The year is coming to a close in a few days. It seems like 2012 just began the other day. So much has happened in this United States of America and we seem less united. I pray 2013 brings with it a desire for healing and unity.
Over the course of this year, EWCOC has accomplished many things but has much work to do. I will post the details in the annual report. Suffice it to say at this point we are excited about 2013.
I hope you had a blessed CHRISTmas celebration. I wish each of you a safe, and enjoyable New Year celebration. Be blessed and be a blessing to someone else.
I will see you in January.
Too Much! I Need a Schedule!
Have you stood above your computer or felt like tossing your laptop across the room because there was too much to read, digest, analyze, develop, organize, write....?
I have spent the last two weeks reviewing communication channels. I had reasonable knowledge about the channels, traditional and new, but deciding which are the best to use or which should have the highest priority is an overwhelming exercise.
I took the best methodical approach known to man or woman; the list. I made a list of my options and then I tried to prioritize the list. It went something like this.
Website - exist but how often does it need updating?
Email provider- exist - underutilized- how often to use?
Blog- exist - must gather content, write blog or solicit guest writers; how often to post-daily, weekly?
Facebook - how often to update page;
Causes - what to do to stay engaged with supporters
LinkedIn Company page- must get it going
Twitter - so many good links from those I am following - schedule to read, very little time
What about my tweets? I need to say something too.
Google+ - must get a handle on the options that benefit me.
Pinterest- looks useful but I don't know enough yet
Newsletter - exist but should I mail it out as well as send it electronically? How often?
Direct Mail - no plans
I did this prioritization exercise in order to create my editorial calendar. I did all this thinking and then finished reading Chapter 7. It reminded me that I needed to do some trend research.
According to Nonprofitmarketguide.com Trends for 2011, email marketing and websites were the most important communication methods followed by direct mail, in-person events, Facebook, and media relations/PR. I had almost eliminated direct mail as an option. Quarterly direct mail is the most popular frequency for nonprofits at 39%, followed by twice a year at 31%. Only 12% expect to send direct mail to their typical supporters at least monthly.
Google Trends reports direct mail effectiveness or usage is trending downward in the Los Angeles area. In September 2010 the volume was at 43%, in September 2011 the volume was 28%, and in September 2012 the volume is 23%. Trending data for nonprofit direct mail was so negligible, it was not reportable. With this trend how much energy should be given to direct mail marketing. I also read regarding fundraising, direct mail contacts increase email marketing success. So what do I do?
Sixty-nine percent of donors of all ages now prefer electronic over print communications, according to Cygnus Applied Research’s 2011 Donor Survey. This is a major survey of over 17,600 American donors. Even older donors express more interest in online communications, mostly because donors believe online is more cost-effective than print.
I was about to post and discovered Nonprofitmarketguide.com's 2012 Trends had been posted. Here are what Kivi calls The Big Six.
Email marketing and websites will be the most important communications tools for nonprofits in 2012, followed by
Facebook; print (newsletters, direct mail); in-person events; and mediarelations/PR. These are the Big Six of
The importance of social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, and blogging held steady between 2011 and 2012, with only video gaining in importance.
I am clear regarding electronic marketing but how do I reconcile the seeming conflicts regarding direct mail? Any answers out there? Give me a comment. I need to get on this calendar or calendars so I can get relief from this stress.
Patricia Wiggins CEO
About That Conversation
Since the last post, I have been engaged in conversations initiated by other bloggers. Some have had a stream of conversationalists and others have very few or none. The topics were relevant in all. Some of them even talked about the same things. So what made the difference. I think name recognition had something to do with it. For those who had many post, people seemed to know who they were. They at least recognized the company for whom they were writing. Some had mastered the skill of making something factual, controversial.
One thing is for sure, this process takes a lot of time. Kivi suggest that you stay on top of what's out there. I have found a supermarket full of pages and blogs that offer information that I need to "stay on top of." I wondered, "When will I find the time to read all this information?" I shalt not sleep!.
To get a conversation going, I tried a survey. I had three responses, but one posted it on her Facebook timeline. Her re-post received 20 comments. It's funny because we share some friends. The response gave me some valuable information, however, I thought the question would have provoked more responses. I don't know what made the difference. In Chapter 5 the Nonprofit's personality and values are discussed. Could that be what made the difference?
I have to consider the questions,
Share your thoughts with me.
So What Am I Baking? Content that is.
I have the kitchen equipped with all sorts of tools and I have decided the basic method of cooking. So now I must decide what am I baking specifically and what ingredients will I need. Creating content seems like a daunting exercise, much like baking my first cake from scratch. Kivi says this is going to be easier than I think. Let's see.
In Chapter 3 of the cookbook, Kivi offers a very clear picture of how to begin in the first paragraph. I can't say its better so I will qoute it.
"What topics will you write about? what format will your articles take (e.g. Top Ten lists,how to's, opinion essays)?
"What kind of tone and style will you use?
When will you highlight from others?
All of these decisions will vary based on the kind of work your nonprofit does
and what your goals are for your content marketing strategy."
Okay, so I know I must consider these things but what about getting the actual content. Do I have to think of all the information myself? Thankfully, that is a resounding NO! I am so glad about that. It is suggested that we hear what is being talked about on Facebook, Twitter and now Google+.
Question: Suppose they are not talking but just "liking" and "retweeting?" How do I get them
Answer: I discovered "groups."
Facebook and LinkedIn have groups and Google+ has circles. Joining these channels
and following relevant topics provide a delivery truck full of content.
The general topics I plan to cover are youth, education, and small business management. These are very general so I must refine. How? Define my niche. My "niche is an essential part of my content strategy." Once I have defined my niche, I select keywords. Keywords help me stay focused. There is so much to read just on Twitter in my general topic categories. So for now, I will choose childhood, elementary education, small nonprofit management, and youth empowerment. Still seems broad but I can consider more refinement later.
Curating content is sharing good content that you've found, even if it is information provided by your competition. To me curating content is much like quoting a source when you are writing a paper to support your position. As such, always give credit.
Finally comes the conversation.
The conversation is where I have had the most difficulty. Kivi has some tips and I am going to try them. So here is a question to you.
How do you get people talking about your topic assuming an interest in other forums have been shown?
Share your thoughts. Can't wait to hear from you.
Patricia B.Wiggins, President/CEO
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