What Friendships Tell Us About Brand Power

What Friendships Tell Us About Brand Power

The number one factor for a donor deciding where to give a gift is their awareness of an organization. Our research continually shows that while stewardship, trust and effectiveness are important concepts in donor perceptions, they are all moot points if donors have insufficient knowledge of an organization. In market research, we measure brand awareness in two different ways: Brand recognition or Aided Awareness:  When shown a list of brands including yours, does the respondent recognize your brand? Brand recall or Top of Mind Awareness:  When asked about a general category, does the respondent name your brand without help? Both of these measures are useful, but which one is more important? I’ll make an argument for one with a personal story. This past Friday marked one year since my father passed away from cancer. In our era of hyper-sharing through social media, I had considered mentioning something about it on Facebook. No doubt, there would have been many “likes” and kind comments from a range of friends. And, they would all be sincere. But, for some reason I just felt like keeping it private this time. That evening, I did unexpectedly receive a call from my best friend. We don’t talk as much as we should, but every time we do I know it was time well spent. We have the type of bond that goes beyond Aided Awareness. He had remembered the date himself and was thinking about me. This meant a lot more than a hundred “likes.” Back to brands now… There’s certainly value in being recognized on a list, but your most loyal supporters and frequent...
Planning for Success

Planning for Success

Analytical Ones is the third small business I have owned. The first business was more out of necessity. I graduated from college during the early Reagan years. That was before the go-go 80s were going anywhere. The only job offer I got out of college was to be an assistant manager at a Pizza Hut in Cornville, Arizona. I went to college for this? Out of desperation – or what Marx termed “economic determinism” – I joined my brother’s small business: Apollo Lawn Service. That venture went from a two person business to a company employing over 10 people and grossing $30,000 a month. In the 80s that was real money. Here are the business lessons I learned at Apollo: Your first priority is always to get new clients. Every other decision is secondary. Until you land a client, your business is just a really expensive hobby that you can’t afford. Clients’ needs come first. The concept of “sweat equity.” Basically, that’s the concept of substituting time instead of cash for “buying” equity in a company. If you ever say “no” to a new project from a client, you force them to work to find an alternate solution; which means the next time they have a project they won’t bother to ask you again. It’s difficult to plan to have a day off. You will have days off – you just don’t know when those days will be in advance. Best to just to accept this from the get-go.  Many people don’t consider cynicism and sarcasm to be humorous. I will never have a harder job than pushing a...
Should your nonprofit embrace crowdfunding?

Should your nonprofit embrace crowdfunding?

I have spent the last several months diving in deep into the crowdfunding movement because I was intrigued by the launch of a new crowdfunding site, LoveAnimals.org.  I recently met the founder & CEO of LoveAnimals.org, Sarah Timms, at a fundraising conference here in Denver. I was so enthralled by her passion and commitment to helping nonprofits grow their fundraising programs through crowdfunding  that I proudly accepted a position on her board of directors in September. So with that, I thought it might be useful to share some of the knowledge I have gained about the crowdfunding movement in a series of blog posts.  Let’s start by addressing what is crowdfunding, how does it works and why should you embrace it. What is crowdfunding? Crowdfunding describes the collective effort of individuals who network and pool their money via the internet. Also referred to as microphilanthropy, crowdfunding represents the idea that many donors, giving small amounts, can collectively create large scale change. How does it work? Prior to crowdfunding, once a donor made a gift online to your organization, that donor’s portion of the interaction with you was complete.  But in crowdfunding, that is only the first step.  After a donor makes a gift, the crowdfunding site provides the tools that allow the donor to easily share the information via their social media outlets. It is this social media sharing that drives crowdfunding. Why does it works? Because people want to influence others. According to research recently conducted by Georgetown University and Waggener Edstrom Worldwide, social citizens crave influence. More than 3 in 4 respondents in their survey (76%) agree...
Managing Surveys and Baseball Teams

Managing Surveys and Baseball Teams

As I sit here in my red shirt and Tribe cap, just hours before the American League Wild Card game, I can’t help it that my mind is on baseball. Last week following several late inning implosions from vilified Indian’s closer Chris Perez, I was compelled to quantify the fans’ response to the situation. I decided to launch an impromptu survey about how the Indians should proceed in dealing with their lack of a dependable closer. I didn’t want to pay for a large commercial sample and I wasn’t concerned over the scientific validity of my results, so I opted for a simple convenience sample. That is, I polled anyone who was available and willing with no attempt to create a representative sample. I asked a few short questions, but most importantly “Who should close games for the Indians in the 2013 playoffs?” I posted my survey to a couple Indians message boards and it also got picked up by a heavily followed Facebook page, “Tom Hamilton has the Best Home Run Call in Baseball.” And, by the way, he does. My survey ended up with over 500 responses. From an outside perspective, I could tell myself that my results would be very unscientific and therefore unreliable. These are very important concerns when choosing your survey methodology. But, as it happened, the Cleveland Plain Dealer ran almost the exact same poll that day. Newspaper polls also suffer the same audience biases and shortcomings of convenience samples. Two ‘bad’ surveys couldn’t possibly be reliable between each other right? Wouldn’t they both come back with garbage? Wrong. The results of my...