10 Ways to Show Animal Shelters Love

I try not to show favorites with causes because all are equally important but I have a soft spot for any organizations that helps animals- specifically dogs. I found this list “10 Ways to Show Animal Shelters the Love” from an email newsletter I receive from a site called care2.com.

Care 2 is essentially a social networking and news site for people who are interested in causes, green living and health. I am still exploring and haven’t come to a definite conclusion about the site.  However, I do suggest joining and talking about your organization- it can’t hurt.

Lists, like the one below, are a great way to organize information about your organization. Lists are straight forward and easy to read.  Breaking down your organizations needs into a list of simple tasks illustrates how easy it is to get involved.  The top 10 list below gave me realistic options for helping my local shelter, that I was excited about.

My suggestion is to create a list of the top ten ways to help your organization and post them on your blog, website, Myspace, Facebook or GoodTube page. The list should appeal to all supporters your organization can think of.  Instead of just asking for money ask for supplies. The list below suggests purchasing dog beds so that the animals have a place to sleep- which really struck a cord with me.  Think of helpful lifestyle changes that people could make that would further your cause. Think out side of the box.

What about creating a top ten ways to help your organizations video?

Check out the list below to get you started:

“10 Ways to Show Animal Shelters Love”

In 1996, The Humane Society of the United States launched National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week–this year it begins Nov. 2. This campaign was designed to acknowledge and promote the invaluable role shelters play in their communities and to increase public awareness of animal welfare issues and shelter services. Here are the top 10 ways that the HSUS suggests you can show your appreciation:

1. Donate a Subscription to Animal Sheltering Magazine.
Shelter workers appreciate Animal Sheltering–an award-winning bi-monthly magazine chock full of articles to educate, inform and inspire anyone who works or volunteers with homeless pets. Donate a year’s subscription to your local shelter for just $20.

2. Learn How to Help Injured or Abandoned Animals.
Your local shelter and animal control officers depend on the community’s help to reach animals in need. Learn everything you need to know to take action, from how to put together a first aid kit to which community phone numbers you need to know.

3. Be an E-mail Ambassador.
Spread a shelter-friendly message every time you hit send–attach a tagline like this one to your signature for all outgoing e-mail messages: Love animals? Support your local shelter!

4. Adopt or Foster an Animal.
Consider adopting or fostering a homeless animal. Whether you decide to bring home a new pet or foster an animal until she finds a forever family, you’ll be giving a critter a safe and caring home while making room for another homeless pet in your community’s animal shelter, where space is limited.

5. Say Thank You.
Drop a note in the mail or shoot an e-mail to your local shelter and let them know how much you appreciate all they do for animals. If you can, sweeten your thank you by adding an item from the shelter’s wish list, a check or a gift card from a pet supply store.

6. Volunteer Your Time and Skills.
Whether you end up walking pooches, helping at special events or lending your expertise as a newsletter editor, your shelter can match your schedule and talents to their needs. Not only will you be helping animals in your community, but you also will be building knowledge and skills. Call your local shelter and find out how to start volunteering.

7. Support Spay-Neuter.
Spaying or neutering your pet or offering to help fund a spay/neuter surgery for a friend, family member or neighbor’s pet will save animals’ lives by helping to lower the number of unwanted animals in your community and reduce the strain on your local shelter’s resources.

8. Donate a Dog Bed.
No shelter dog should have to sleep on a cold, concrete floor while waiting for a forever home, but providing bedding for the millions of homeless animals in our nation’s animal shelters can add up to thousands of dollars each year–not to mention loads of laundry. Help a dog in need by donating a durable, shelter-tested bed to a shelter of your choice through the Kuranda shelter donation program. The beds can increase the overall physical and mental well-being of a shelter’s doggie residents.

9. ID Your Pet.
Your pet should never go naked–that is, without a collar and ID tags. It’s the number one way that lost pets are returned to their owners. Without it a Good Samaritan or animal shelter will likely have no idea how to contact you. Even if your pet is microchipped or your cat never goes outdoors, always err on the safe side and make a collar and tag permanent–your pet’s life could depend on it.

10. Add a Banner to Your Web Page.
Post a banner to your MySpace profile, blog, or website to show your appreciation for your local shelter. Just copy and paste the code here into your page.

Great Cause Video

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about how to create a great video for video sharing sites like YouTube and GoodTube. I found a great example to share with everyone.

The video was created by Haagen Daas to raise awareness of their cause- saving bees. Haagen Daas uses honey in almost all of their products so it’s clear why they decided to support this cause.

This video is great!

The best thing about this video is that the message is simple and not  revealed until the end. Users watch this silly video in order to determine what it is all about.

Cause Marketing= more sales

I read an article the other day from, The Center for Media Research from Mediapost, about a consumer study of brands that align with causes vs. those that don’t.

Interestingly enough consumers were more likely to purchase brands that associated themselves with a charitable cause.  I included the entire article below- May be useful for your organization to include in a presentation to a corporate sponsor.

Stay tuned to GoodBlog I found a great video that illustrates a large brand, Haagen Daas, getting behind a cause. The video is also a great example of a cause video that went viral.

Cause Related Marketing Influences Sales

The 2008 Cone/Duke University Behavioral Cause Study, released recently by Cone and Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, confirms that cause-related marketing can exponentially increase sales, in one case as much as 74%, resulting in millions of dollars in potential revenue for brands.

182 participants evaluated a new regional magazine and were exposed to either a cause-related or generic corporate advertisement for one of four focus brands. Afterward, they entered a mock convenience store with nearly 150 SKUs and were given real money to purchase a product in each of the four categories.

Results revealed:

74% increase in actual purchase for a shampoo brand when associated with a cause (47% of participants who saw the cause-related message chose the brand while only 27% of those who saw the generic corporate advertisement chose the brand)
28% increase in actual purchase for a toothpaste brand when associated with a cause (64% of participants who saw the cause message chose the target brand vs. 50% who viewed the generic corporate advertisement)
Modest increases in the other two product categories tested (chips and light bulbs) – Qualitative consumer responses showed that the issue, the nonprofit and the inherent nature of products were key factors in making cause-related purchasing decisions, and helped explain why movement in these categories was not significant.

In the second phase of the research, Cone and Duke validated the sales increases for shampoo and toothpaste by replicating the study online among a nationally projectable sample of more than 1,000 adults. The participants spent nearly twice as long reviewing cause-related ads versus the general corporate advertisements.

This resulted in a 19% sales increase (similar to the lab study for the target toothpaste brand.) Although the shampoo brand increased only by a modest 5 percent, sales among its target audience of women increased by nearly 14 percent.

Gavan Fitzsimons, Duke marketing professor and lead researcher on the study, observes tha “… consumers are paying more attention to cause messages, and… are more likely to purchase… “

Additionally, Cone conducted the 2008 Cause Evolution Study, to better identify what drove substantial product sales for only two of the four brands. The following factors appeared to be important when deciding to support a company’s cause efforts:

84% want to select their own cause
83% say personal relevance is key
80% believe the specific nonprofit associated with the campaign matters
77% say practical incentives for involvement, such as saving money or time, are important
65% find emotional incentives for involvement, such as it making them feel good or alleviating shopping guilt, important

Alison DaSilva, Cone executive vice president, Knowledge Leadership and Insights, said “The findings… show (that)… consumers want to feel a connection to the issue and the nonprofit while fulfilling their personal needs… “

According to the study, the leading issues that Americans want companies to address in their cause programs are consistent with growing domestic and global needs. The issues include:

Education – 80%
Economic development (i.e.: job creation, income generation, wealth accumulation) – 80%
Health and disease – 79%
Access to clean water – 79%
Environment – 77%
Disaster relief – 77%
Hunger – 77%

If you are interested in more media and marketing research check out the research blog at Media Post http://www.mediapost.com/blogs/research_brief/.

Creating a Video for YouTube or GoodTube

aster internet speeds mean websites with rich media capabilities.   YouTube, GoodTube and GodTube are all video sharing sites that millions of people visit each day.  The ability to reach a worldwide audience is as simple as uploading. You know the technology is there, you know the audience exists now what to say.

There isn’t a  formula for a successful online video it depends on a number of factors- your message, your audience and your platform.  It is important to lay out a simple plan for the videos you put online considering all of these things.

The first step of any successful campaign is to watch your competition. When considering online video, don’t just watch non profit videos or cause related videos watch all videos. You are competing for the attention of the online audience, everything is game.  Take some time to watch the most popular YouTube videos in all categories. Then take sometime to watch popular videos that relate to your cause on more specific sites like GodTube, GoodTube or DoGooder.tv. Take note of the videos that capture your attention and those that don’t.

Then select five videos from the ones you view and put them in one of the following categories:

Humor- videos that get attention and keep it with something absurd
Dramatic- videos that grab your attention by focusing on the drama of a situation
Edgy- captures your attention by challenging your views
Emotional – video that captures your attention by playing to one of your emotions
Sexual(non pornographic)- captures your attention by appealing to ones sexual nature

After you have categorized the five videos ask yourself, which category could I use to tell the online world about my cause? Then focus on that category, watch the videos you put in that category, watch the first thirty seconds and try to identify what caught your attention. Watch the rest and identify what held your attention.  Now ask how can I incorporate this into my video?

It is also good to take sometime and watch a couple awful videos. Videos that don’t hold your attention, bore you in the first 10 seconds and ones you would never watch again. If you start mentally taking note of the good and the bad in online videos you will teach yourself how to create a great video.

Stay tuned to GoodBlog for more video tips. If you want some sound advice on production check out these simple production tips from the producer of “Profiles In Caring”. An emmy nominated tv series about non profit organizations and volunteering.

Websites Can be Fun

In the world of websites often designers and developers are faced with the reality that functionality and usability are the two most important factors in a website. While there is room for creativity, when building a website it is important to put functionality first.

While building GoodTube, a team of developers said it was “too pretty”. There are rotating backgrounds for each region represented and a lot of color.  Often time pretty elements like photos and elaborate backgrounds increase the load time and are discouraged by developers. GoodTube however, has a simple layout on the informational pages that are focused on text. The design of GoodTube works for a video site that is ment to be visual.   An organizational site however, will have be centered around text and providing information. I was reading a white paper from Marketbirght the other day which essential said that lengthy flash intros are out and simple fast loading html is in.

Does this mean that your organization can’t ever let loose and create a beautiful masterpiece online? No! In fact I was delighted to find the perfect example of beauty and functionality from one of my favorite organizations – The Nature Conservancy.

Take a look at their website below. It’s a great site with straight forward navigation. All of the search and browse items are located in the top left with relevant links close by.  Their promotional items are placed further down the page and use more graphics to get people attention. It’s functional,clean and has a great heirarchy of information but it isn’t pretty.

On the other hand The Nature Conservancy built a microsite to promote their Plant a Billion campaign- www.plantabillion.org.  This page is visually striking, with an image as a background and flash elements. The great thing about this promotional site is that the information is easy to find and the purpose of the site is simple and straight forward. A users can clearly see what the creators wanted them to do- learn about why more trees need to be planted and how to help.  The donation link is easy to find  and one can learn more without leaving the page.

For the next promotional campaign try creating a site like this that is fun and functional.  The plant a billion site is exciting and made me excited about giving my money to the organization. Here some tips to creating a visually stunning, promotional microsite:

- Use imagery that sums up the campaign. Think outside the box.  Instead of using a photo of acres of tress The Nature Conservancy choose a close up image showing the soil and roots.

- Select two or three main tasks you want users to do while on the site. Place links on the first page, above the fold near the left side of the site.  The Nature Conservancy selected has three goals: educate about the problem,introduce the solution and donate.

- Once you have determined the tasks , order them that is logical to how users will make a decision. With the first task closest to the left. (people read left to right) For instance, on the plantabillion.org the first peice of information is called the facts, this introduces users to the problem. Second is a tab called the solution, the user knows that there is a problem and now they see the solution.  Finally, the act now tab encourages users to help solve the problem by helping with the solution.

- Select a url that sums up the campaign and is easy for a person to remember after visiting your site.  The Nature Conservancy set out to plant a billion trees thus the url is www.plantabillion.org.

- Place a share option prominently on the page, after the final task. If you place a share link after users have read about your cause they are more likely to share the page because they are now invested in the cause. People are more likely to share sites that are fun and visually interesting make it easy for people to share.

- Include a tally of the success of the campaign.

- Place promos on the right of the page. Promos are ment to peak the interest of users that are already interested in the cause. Placing the promos to the right gives users the next step after they have leared about what your organization is trying to accomplish. Remember people read from left to right, top to bottom. Organization your information this way, with the most important near the top left corner.

- Don’t clutter the page, focus on a primary design and don’t overdo it with to many elements.

- Finally, make the site fun. Plantabillion.org has a fun feature in the lower right hand corner. When you roll over the markers they pop up and you can learn more about the trees you are helping plant. Remember this is a fun element not the primary purpose so put elements like this on the right toward the bottom.

Have you stumbled across a get website promoting a cause that demonstrates the topics I covered? Tell me about it.

Have you stumbled across a horrible website attempting to promote a cause? Tell me about it.

Web 2.0 Badges

It seems that almost everyone today has a blog, MySpace account or website. These pages are easily customizable and offer internet users a place to express themselves. Why not give your supporters something to decorate their space with?

If I had one piece of advice for all non profit organizations that want to increase their online presence, it would be to design and create a Web 2.0 badge. Now some of you may be reading this and have a blank stare…what is a web 2.0 badge?

A web 2.0 badge is simply a graphic people put on their website, blog or social networking site to express themselves. Web badges are generally small and come in all shapes and sizes.  Organizations post the badges on their website, usually as a .PNG, .GIF or .JPG, which visitors can download or copy from the site.  Then post the badges on their blog, social site or web page.  A couple of badges I came across ask visitors to link the badge back to their website or include their web address in the badge (see below).

Recently, I found a website called GreenJobsNow that incorporated web 2.0 badges into their marketing plan.  The website promotes this idea of building a sustainable economy from green jobs. For instance, erecting wind turbines, installing solar panels and planting gardens.   To show support for the idea they created the following badges that anyone can download and post on their various pages to show support.

Putting these badges on my blog was simple, all I did was:

- Download the image

- Upload the image to WordPress by selecting insert image

ASPCA is another organizations that uses Web 2.0 badges to promote their cause. From the ASPCA’s MySpace page anyone can copy the code of the banner below then paste it on their MySpace page or into their blog.

Providing the html code on your page is great because all people have to do is copy the code and paste it where they want it- no download no uploading. The downside to only providing a code is some people may not know where to paste the code so that is show up as an image.

While your organization is going into planning mode for the fourth quarter why not incorporate these simple Web 2.0 badges into your marketing plan. Here are a few ideas:

- email the badges to past and present donors and encourage them to add them to their blog or social networking pages
– Post the badges on your website, blog and social networking site with instructions for adding them to a blog, website and social networking page
– create more than one badge, give supporters a variety

- Host a design contest and have supports select the ones they like best

- Give the badges as gifts to donors

- Post a video on GoodTube or YouTube then create a badge that links to the video or your organizations video page

The possibilities are endless.

Tell me about your organizations success or failures using web 2.0 badges and post your favorite badges here and we will all vote on our favorites.

Eyes on Darfur

Darfur has been in a state of emergency for the last 6 years. The U.N estimates the death toll in Darfur to be around 300,000, according to an article in the Associated Press from April of 2008.  Former U.N secretary puts the death toll at no less than 400,000.

The situation in Darfur is unimaginable to most westerners.  The word genocide doesn’t render a mental image for me, 400,000 deaths doesn’t either. I know it’s awful but how can I, a 25 year old from the suburbs of Utah, really understand the horror that is really taking place?  The key to a non profit organizations success is illustrating their cause so that someone like me can connect emotionally to the cause or situation.

I found a website the other day called Eyes on Darfur. This site profoundly illustrated to me the horror that has and continues to go one in Darfur.  The site uses satellites 280 miles above the earth to show the how the government actions are affecting humans in Africa.

In 2005 the government of Zimbabawe forced 700,000 people from their homes. The first image shows the village before. The second shows the village after the government bulldozed  the entire village leaving hundreds of thousands of people homeless.

I thought to myself after looking at these images – how would I feel if it was my house amongst the ruble. What if the before picture was my neighborhood-Sugarhouse and the government destroyed my home, my neighbors home, the grocery store up the street…everything. What would I do, where would I go and how would I get there?

These images shocked me, the images on the Eyes of Darfur illustrated genocide, these images illustrated an entire village being destroyed.  I now feel like I need to help, I need to do something, anything for the people of Darfur.  I encourage non profit marketers to look at this site, then look at their own and ask themselves “Does my organizations website compel me to connect emotionally with my cause?

These images are not only used to gain support of the cause. Amnesty International is using the satellite images to watch over the 12 intact and vulnerable villages in Darfur.  The project is lead by the Crisis Prevention and Response Center, Amnesty Internationals response center for preventing human rights crises around the world. The project is funded by Save Darfur.