Tweet Bombs and Waterfalls

Salto Grande (Patagonia Waterfall)

Consider Sun Tzu’s historic words, “The onrush of a conquering force is like the bursting of pent-up waters into a chasm a thousand fathoms deep.

The one tactic that seems to have struck most folks from last week’s #hungertohope campaign social strategy was the Tweet Bomb.

Roughly 120 bloggers and online influencers kicked off the World Food Day campaign off with a tweet or three. A story may be too much, but a tweet is certainly doable. Collectively, it created a nice surprise, starting most people’s days with a strong call to help feed children.

The effort was immensely successful from our standpoint, especially given some of the weaknesses of the overall campaign, generating 500 tweets in whole. The Tweet Bomb was absolutely necessary for a fundraising event that had very little momentum beforehand.
Continue reading “Tweet Bombs and Waterfalls”

1,886,434 Ways the Long Tail Beat Klout

Last Wednesday’s Give to the Max Day: Greater Washington netted $2,034,434, including 17,838 donations totaling $1,886,434. The online giving contest benefited 1200 nonprofits. As the general manager of the event, this kind of impact makes me profoundly grateful, and many thanks have already been sent to the donors, nonprofits and partners involved. Give to the Max Day also provided yet another example of how big social media names don’t necessarily translate into great social performance.

On the contrary, the majority of winners in Give to the Max Day Grand Awards were not the big nonprofit brands with sizable influencers locally. It was the little guys, the Little Lights Urban Ministries (Klout Score: 10) and For Love of Children, Inc. (Klout Score: 37) that won most donors and most donations, respectively.

If people were betting on popular nonprofit brands and influencers with big Klout scores to win the day, they would have lost a lot of money. While some participated and performed well, they didn’t take the grand prizes. In the end it was the long tail of small voices that drove the event’s leaderboards, and overall donation flow.

That’s not to say that big brands and influencers can’t succeed. As revealed in the PayPal Research paper, Effectiveness of Celebrity Spokespeople in Social Fundraisers, the secret formula for success in social media is not the most “influence” or size of account, rather it is engaged community, authenticity and a willingness to work. Any online brand can demonstrate that kind of investment and energy.

Frank Warren Book Signing

Two award winners were big influencers, and showed that kind of passion. The first was PostSecret‘s Frank Warren (Klout Score: 69), who won the Care2 Individual Fundraiser Award with his IMAlive fundraiser, which in turn triggered a third place finish for Most Donors for the Kristin Brooks Hope Center. Frank was very engaged in the weeks leading up to the event, asking questions about how to do well. Further, he is authentically passionate about this cause with a long history of fundraising and personal reasons to be engaged.

The second influential example is the fine performance of the Trustees of the Corcoran Gallery of Art. Though you couldn’t necessarily tell by a Klout Score of 49, the Corcoran is one of Washington’s premier institutions in the Arts Community. The Corcoran went all out with its ArtReach campaign, using a matching grant, emails and social media to invigorate its core. The result? A total of 438 donors and $55,189 in donations, good enough for third place in most dollars raised, and fourth place for most donors.

In the end, it’s not Klout or some other social media ranking that creates a success. It’s the passion and drive of the voices behind the effort.

Congratulations to all of the nonprofits who experimented, and learned more about online fundraising this past Wednesday (and the months leading up to it). Give to the Max Day: Greater Washington was a fun contest, and it’s an enjoyable exercise to break down what made a winning campaign. But the real winners in this day were you, the almost 18,000 citizens who supported you, and the region as a whole.

The Super Hero Myth

Marlboro man

We like to believe that one person can save the world, win a project, and deliver the lights out performance that will change everything. No culture believes in super heroes quite like America does, and that includes our marketing.

Just consider the strong man image of the Marlboro Man. Heck, even the Old Spice guy is a play off this dream of one super hero.

The post-mortem deification of Steve Jobs over the past 10 days can be considered in this light. We know more than one person created all of these Apple products, software, marketing, store and web materials.

When it comes to creative we see the same phenomena. David Ogilvy is considered a God amongst advertisers. Many people in his agency (while he was alive) adhered to his methodologies. They also exercised their own creative license in writing and designing legendary ads.

Online, we see the same thing with bloggers. We idealize them as great voices and sages. Yet, many don’t have public accomplishments. Or when they do, we fail to see the critical role players that help make them a success.

Really this super hero/pedestal concept applies to all aspects of our culture.

Consider last Friday’s Give to the Max Day training event, which by almost every single account was a smashing success. Some people have offered props to me as the general manager for Give to the Max Day: Greater Washington, and organizer and point person on the training conference. The reality is much different, considering all of the critical players who executed almost perfectly:

  • AARP’s Tammy Gordon and Beth Carpenter lent us their facility, including its fantastic live streaming and wifi capabilities. They also supported directly not he AARP Facebook page and the Create the Good Twitter handle.
  • Razoo’s community manager Ifdy Perez did a fantastic job on Twitter, and also cultivating blogger attendance.
  • Razoo’s Shai Chu handled all of the logistics for the event, and it came off seamlessly.
  • The nonprofit attendees and their excitement to learn and participate was critical to making the day productive
  • The speakers — including Beth Kanter, GiveMn.org‘s Dana Nelson, Razoo’s Justin Wredberg, NWF’s Danielle Brigida, Care2’s Clinton O’Brien, Atlas Corps’s Abby Flottemesch, and ACTion Alexandria’s Tracy Viselli — all did a bang up job.
  • Two speakers — Katya Andresen and Jocelyn Harmon — came from Network for Good, which is the underlying backbone behind Causes and Crowdrise, two Razoo competitors. They came in a spirit of industry cooperation and in support of our mutual hometown’s nonprofit community. Special hat tip to Network for Good.
  • Gary Vaynerchuk took time to provide a video to attending nonprofits
  • The Razoo Foundation underwrote the whole thing. Give to the Max Day parters United Way of the National Capital Area and the Community Foundation of the National Capital Region promoted the event.
  • Last May then interim Razoo CEO, now CTO Brian Fujito had the idea for Give to the Max Day: Greater Washington, without which none of this would be occurring.
  • Many Razoo executives and staffers touched this event, including Lesley Mansford, Alison Risso, Bo Lotinsky, Claire Moore, Matt Camp, Heather Pringle, Jacques Villareal, Bryce Melvin, and on and on.
  • Beth Kanter deserves a second credit, simply for teaching me how important capacity development is to nonprofits, who can have all the tools in the world, and could not execute, simply for not having the resources, training and talent to succeed. This training event, in fact the whole design of Give to the Max Day: Greater Washington, is infused with this knowledge.

You can see that many, many people came together to form the recipe of success for Friday’s training event (please excuse any forgotten mentions). That’s the truth behind most successes. One person rarely is the sole generator of great efforts.

What About Those Super Powers?

My favorite super hero is Batman. He is always able to succeed with determination and skills in the face of his own tragic flaws. He does so with the help of friends, and no true super powers. Sheer moxy (or craziness), help from others, technology and training power Batman to success.

We all wish we had super powers. We wish we could change the world by flying through the air and laser eye vision or the like. That’s why we admire the super acts of individuals, placing them on pedestals.

All of us excel in certain areas. While all humans are equal in rights and random chance, we are not all equal in skills. Some of us are very talented in areas. However, invariably these skills are certainly offset by character flaws.

This is not to say that the strengths aren’t noteworthy. They are. Albert Einstein was brilliantly thoughtful and analytical. It doesn’t mean you’d want to hang out with him at a baseball game. Such are weaknesses. Understanding one’s strengths AND weaknesses, and how others round out a total effort is the art of management.

All stars have weaknesses. And even if they claim not to, one person eventually hits a limit to scaling. That’s why we need others: To counter weaknesses and collectively achieve what one person alone cannot.

The Myth Lives On

Barack obama yes we can

“In life, there are teams called Smith, and teams called ‘Grabowski’….We’re Grabowskis!” Mike Ditka

Great quote for a team with no ultimate star, the 1985 Chicago Bears. Yet, we don’t love Grabowskis. We love super men (and women), icons who can supposedly change the world.

The hope that we, too, could be super one day touches an inner desire to be special. That’s why pedestals are built, and marketing images contrived. Because deep down inside we want to believe that we can conquer all.

So we celebrate those that appear to do so, in all aspects of our culture.

Yet, in reality, we know that it was many, it was the whole group that did it together. Even the stars need their Grabowskis to succeed. Just don’t shout it out too loud.

What do you think of the American super hero myth?

Explaining the Fundraiser Punishments

Thank you to the 22 donors who have already raised almost $1600 to “punish” me and help InvisiblePeople.tv. All donors are listed below. Thank you so much! Mark Horvath has already told us how much this means to him, lifting the sails of his journey across the continent to help the homeless.

The Punish Geoff Fundraiser is not over yet! The above video explains the punishments. To recap:

1) $18 – I will receive a shaving cream pie in the face (56 donations at this amount needed, 12 received)

2) $47 – Dress in drag for a Google Hang Out or U-Stream on the Fifth Estate (43 needed, 11 received)

3) $79 – You or a designee can throw me into pool while I am wearing a suit (27 needed)

4) $161 – I have to walk in front of Congress wearing a sandwich board that says “I wrote two social media books, PLEASE hire me!” (20 needed, 8 received)

Given the current state of the individual punishments, I will enact the punishment that matches dollars raised. Right now we are at a couple of shaving cream pies in the face. With roughly $450 more, I’ll have to dress in drag for a live video chat. And another $1600 will bring the sandwich board shame in front of Congress!

Not only do you get to have fun, but you are also helping the fight against homelessness! Mark explains the InvisiblePeople.tv project below. Even better, your donations are working twice as hard as Mark is raising money for a $10,000 matching grant from the Pierce Family Foundation.

Please donate today!

Online fundraising for The Punish Geoff Fundraiser for InvisiblePeople.tv

Donors

Again, a very special thank you to the donors. You are making a big difference! The Punish Geoff Fundraiser investors are:

  • Stephanie Rudat
  • James Drinkwater
  • Lucretia M Pruitt
  • Tammy Gordon
  • Christopher Noble
  • Jennifer Leggio
  • Kami Huyse
  • Adam H Cohen
  • Katherine Bull
  • David Krumlauf
  • Connie Burke
  • Diane Martin Court
  • Joseph H Waters Jr
  • Debbie Weil
  • Peter A Weissenstein
  • Richard Becker
  • Alison Risso
  • Elizabeth Scherer
  • Stephen G Sherlock
  • Shonali Burke
  • Michael Schechter
  • Brian Fujito
  • Beyond Facebook and Twitter


    Photos by Chris Suspect

    NonProfit 2.0 crystalized as a great event last Friday with incredible conversations, even amongst competitors. But perhaps what made it most special was the utter lack of Facebook and Twitter sessions. No one, from keynotes to 23 attendee generated “unsessions,” wanted to talk about how-to Facebook or Tweet. That was the first social media conference in memory that did not include at least one conversation centered around Facebook or Twitter.

    For some, there will always be a need for the basics, particularly about Facebook, which seems to change its interface and features every month. But it seems that the need for this type of information was not needed, at least in the DC Nonprofit 2.0 community. Not last week.

    This was refreshing. It marked a line in the sands of time. Maybe it was an anomaly. Or maybe it is finally time to start talking about the pragmatic use of these tools rather than the basics. As a blogger who has covered social media use for more than five years this feels really good, providing a sense of the sector’s arrival.

    Beyond this simple epiphany, Epic Change’s Stacey Monk delivered a stirring keynote on re-instilling love and compassion into cause work. Crowdrise’s Robert Wolfe opened the kimono discussing Edward Norton Jr’s involvement, and how MooseJaw led him to create a fun social fundraising site. Social fundraisers Razoo (client), Crowdrise, CauseVox and Causes demonstrated a congenial affinity for each other that you rarely see amongst competitors. It was really cool.

    But in the end, the big takeaway from Nonprofit 2.0 was the quiet yet obvious absence of Facebook and Twitter as topics. What do you think? Are communicators moving beyond the need for simple information about these social networks?