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Roger Craver: The Agitator’s Donor Retention
Roger Craver is The Agitator and his book is “Retention Fundraising.” He has strategies to help you keep the donors you’ve got. (Originally aired April 10, 2015)
Brett Meyer & Katie Carrus: Your Content Strategy
What should you create for the communications channels where you’re active? How do you stay consistent with your mission? Who’s responsible? Brett Meyer is director of strategy for Think Shout and Katie Carrus is director of online communications at Humane Society Legislative Fund. (Originally aired April 17, 2015)
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Hello and welcome tony martignetti non-profit radio big non-profit ideas for the other ninety five percent i’m your aptly named host i’m going in from emerald isle, north carolina today because the show must go on. We have a listener of the week abila anis, she tweeted. Tony is a snarky host who tells it like it is now what non-profits need to be successful, i would’ve preferred charming or ah charlie rose knockoff would’ve been nice, snarky, probably accurate, but who cares about accuracy? Facts are overrated. She named it best non-profit podcast on her block fact check that is accurate. She’s at abre auctioneer and auctions generosity dot com abila thank you very much for the kind words, but in your block post you could’ve mentioned my youtube channel isn’t mentioned that one it’s really tony martignetti r e a l abila anise congratulations on being our listener of the week oh, i’m glad you’re with me. I’d be thrown into noma phobia if you called me with the idea that you missed today’s show the agitators donorsearch retention. Roger craver is the agitator and this book is retention fund-raising yeah, strategies to help you keep the donors. You’ve got that originally aired on april tenth, twenty fifteen and you’re content strategy what should you create for the communications channels where you are active? How do you stay consistent with ambition? Who’s responsible brett mayer is with think shout and katie caress from the humane society just later fundez that originally aired april seventeen twenty, fifteen, twenty two non-profit radio on stanford social innovation review responsive by pursuing full service fund-raising data driven and technology enabled, you’ll raise more money pursuant dot com, and by we be spelling super cool spelling bee fundraisers may be a spelling dot com here is roger craver with the agitators donor-centric i’m really glad that roger craver, the agitator is with me. He’s, the agitator at the agitator dot net he’s been shaking things up for a long time in big ways. He helped launch organizations like common cause greenpeace, the national organization for women and amnesty international. Damn that’s impressive. His book is retention fund-raising the new art and science of keeping your donors for life published by emerson and church he’s at roger craver on twitter and right now he’s on non-profit radio welcome, roger craver. Thanks, tony it’s. Great. To be with you, it’s. A pleasure, it’s. A real pleasure to interview the agitator. I love that the agitator that’s cool like, thank you. Did you think about the anarchist? Did you consider that or no it’s? No, i don’t need that much chaos. I think they’re stirring things up in agitating ways. Good. Okay, that’s sufficient? I understand. Um, why was there a need for a book called retention? Fund-raising? Well, for the last ten years, possibly fifteen years american non-profits and european non-profits have been basically losing mohr donors than they’re gaining. And that is that is a real problem, not only for the present, but for the future. The history of fund-raising before then was the donors were fairly easy to come by, and the cost of acquiring them was relatively inexpensive. And so there was a sort of burn and turn mentality. That so what if we lose, the donors will will get new donors and simply replaceable that’s not possible anymore. And so people who are caring about their organizations future need to be caring about holding on to the donors they have. Early in the book, you cite a twenty thirteen a f. P association of fund-raising professional study that says that ah, a few things, but it starts with flat fund-raising every every hundred dollars raised from new donors was offset by one hundred dollars in losses that’s, right? And it got worse. It got worse in two thousand fourteen, it was off by one hundred six dollars really way are going the wrong way. Um, and then also that there was negative growth in the number of donors for every hundred dollars for every hundred donors acquired, one hundred seven were lost. That’s, right, that’s, right. Pretty a pretty frightening statistic when you couple that with the fact that the number of non-profit has grown enormously in the last thirty years. It’s grown from about six hundred thousand to a million. Five hundred thousand non-profits so many more non-profits chasing far fewer donors. That, in essence, is the problem. And why retention is so important, many more charities chasing many fewer donors. Right? Alright, so that is clearly unsustainable. Um, all right. So what we gonna do about this? Well, that’s, what i asked myself after after watching these statistics for a long time, i decided there there really has to. Be it empirical way too find out why donors leave on what we can do to keep them in the bowl. Yes, the study and so we set out to do and did a two year study of two hundred fifty non-profits in the united states and in the united kingdom and survey tens of thousands of donors to determine why they leave, and then what steps on organization could take to hold on to them? And that it is the findings from that study that i’ve been encapsulated in this, uh, in this book, along with some quite practical suggestions on what organizations khun due to stem this hemorrhaging, we’re going to get to those because that you call them retention winds. Um ah, finger pointing is not particularly valuable, but i’d like to do some anyway. My show, we’re going to do whatever the hell i want. Where do you think that? How do you think this problem arose? This lays a fair, lackadaisical attitude about how we treat our donors and doesn’t matter. We lose, some will gain more back where does the fault line you think? Well, it arose from the days when it was so easy and inexpensive, too acquire donors and at a time when direct response became very popular way of acquiring donors, and so they the mindset became sort of it’s it’s easier to sign the purchase order for direct mail lists and printing than it is to really worry about how to take care. I don’t owe rather casual, okay, so we consign this purchase order for an acquisition, mailing campaign or whatever, whatever channel we use acquisition, campaign and that’s easier than being interested, active and evaluating and then improving the way we treat our donors exactly, because the the reality is that treating a donor well takes thought takes work, takes planning and, uh, takes the willingness to build a relationship between the organization and the donor and that that involves a lot more than simply mailing a letter or making a phone call. And i love that we’re talking to someone who has studied this problem. I noticed a non-profit radio last couple of weeks, i’ve been saying introspection a lot this, but it just seems to be coming up with a number of guests that non-profits need to be introspective about whatever whatever subject we’re talking about. This there’s not enough it’s critical self evaluation? No, there isn’t. And one of the one of the reasons for that there’s a there’s a so called where there’s a horrible jargon term called brett best practice. Okay, what in the earth best practices are? I don’t know and i’ve been doing this for fifty years, but people latch onto that term and they most often compare their organization with other organisations and say, well, if we’re we’re doing about as well as the other other guy, so we must be using best practices but that, you know, there’s, no interest, thie other the other organization might be doing it badly. You can’t you can’t just say that we were consistent with others they maybe, maybe underachievers. And by the way, we have non-profit radio we have george in jail, but best practices has been used so often that i’m not even sure that’s jargon anymore. It’s dahna it’s more like cliche, but we should send send you do instead of jargon jail within you teo ilsen ugo cliche camp union are you near an airport? There’s a jets taking a knife in your back about thirty miles away but one just came over, so okay, well, maybe we’re being a zombie that kept going. It didn’t stop, right? Okay, we would’ve heard it if it stopped. All right. So we’ll put you in cliche camp, which doesn’t sound that bad joke. It’s like for minor offenders. That’s a juvenile would be in there that trade. I don’t use it. No, i don’t think there is such a thing is best practice. And i’ve been hearing state of the art a lot too. Maybe that’s replacing best practices, but there’s, just a substitution. All right, spare us and thought thought leadership we could we could talk all day about jargon jail don’t leadership. Yes, i know there’s a lot of it in non-profits and that’s. Why? Non-profit right there has drug in jail. Sometimes i let offenders off easy and other times probation is it’s harder to come by. All right, we’re gonna go out for a break. And when roger and i come back, we’ve got a good amount of time. We’re going to talk about ah, some of these retention wins that are easy to do and and had a help you build trust with your current existing donors so they don’t depart, stay with us, you’re tuned to non-profit radio. Tony martignetti also hosts a podcast for the chronicle of philanthropy. Fund-raising fundamentals is a quick ten minute burst of fund-raising insights, published once a month. Tony’s guests are expert in crowdfunding, mobile giving event fund-raising direct mail and donor cultivation. Really, all the fund-raising issues that make you wonder, am i doing this right? Is there a better way there is? Find the fund-raising fundamentals archive it. Tony martignetti dot com that’s marketmesuite n e t t i remember there’s, a g before the end, thousands of listeners have subscribed on itunes. You can also learn maura, the chronicle website, philanthropy dot com fund-raising fundamentals, the better way. Welcome back to big non-profit ideas for the other ninety five percent we’re pre recorded this week. I’m sorry, i can’t send ah town and city live listener love but you know that i love are live listeners so that’s out to each of you listening live podcast pleasantries those on the time shift, wherever you are, whatever device whatever time. Whenever however many days or weeks later, you listen to non-profit medio pleasantries to you and never forget our affiliates. Very important affiliate affection out to each of our affiliates throughout the country non-profit radio was hurt. Okay, roger craver. Now, how can we be sure that these retention winds are not cloaked? Best practices? Well, so he could be sure based on empirical data as measured from the responses of ah, thousands and thousands of donors. There’s. No conjecture here on my part. You know, there’s there’s, lots of so called best practices dahna where the people say, well, you know, you ought to print your thank you notes on a very high quality paper. Or you ought to get him out within twenty four hours. Or you need tio send x number of cultivation pieces with no. Asks and all that, of course, is is pure tribal wisdom, so our best practice, whatever you want to call it. So here we wait. In this study, we measured what people care most about and what they don’t care about and put it in priority order according to their responses, and came up with a way of the of isolating the seven drivers duitz that make for retention or flipside of retention of courses is attrition. And, you know, tony, all all of this is really based on apart from our empirical data there’s a lot of common sense here, but common sense, it turns out, is a fairly rare commodity. Ah, the business of building relationships, which is what donorsearch tension is all about is based on two, two things consistency and reliability. None of this, uh, listening to this program have serious personal relationships that don’t have an element of substantial element of consistency and reliability. If i if i say to my spouse, i’m i’m going to meet you at seven thirty, and i’m persistently, uh, late or early or inconsistent with that. That relationship is not goingto laugh the same the same when it comes. To your have you been talking to my wife? You’re describing my marriage? Let’s, let’s keep personalities and personal lives out of this, shall we? Alright? Well, people just translated into into the non-profit world if i if i receive a on appeal a prospect appeal let’s, say from from an animal organization and it talks about rescuing puppies and cat and i send them a contribution. And the next thing i know, i get an acknowledgement letter about the oceans and let’s save some whales that is not consistent, and i will not likely be back to that organization with another gift or if they send that acknowledgement letter and it says roger carver instead of roger craver call their their help line, and i get a rather surly or non carrying clerk, and he says, well, i may try to get to it as soon as i can and isn’t very helpful. I’m not going to go back with another gift because that’s an unreliable organization, so we have to understand that relationships are built on trust and the two pillars of trust or consistency and reliability, and therein lies the key to retention because it leads to the next element of of retention, which is understanding the donors, the importance of the donors attitude, you know, it’s it’s, not it’s, not the donors behaviour that we should be concerned about behavior in the sense of transactions giving money or not giving yeah, donors attitude that we need to care about because the organization dahna determines what that attitude is going to be by the organization’s action. Yeah, when you use organization is doing things that affect the donor positively, then the donor’s attitude will lead to behaviour that makes transaction increases the size of a gift renews the membership, whatever, whatever the desired outcome. But it’s, not the donor per se that is to blame are not to blame. It is the organization’s action that determined how that donor feels about the organizations have something that folks really need to understand if they’re serious about donor-centric we’re also talking about perception, right? How do they perceive? Perceive your organization? Is it professional? Does it care about me as a donor? Aside from all the programmatic important work that it’s doing? But how does it treat our relationship that’s, right? And that that tony that is paramount in ah, donors, psyche, no, they people hyre non-profits to do a variety of of a number of jobs sometimes is to make them feel good sometimes it’s, to enable them to be able to tell their peer group that they’re doing this or that sometimes it’s, because they want to do a specific thing, but very seldom is what is that what the organization claims that is in their appeals? Many people really don’t care that you have ten regional offices or that your ceo has appeared six times in the new york times? None none of that is important. Yet organizations just love talking about themselves, and nothing is more deadly and building a donor relationship that let’s move into these retention winds, which i’ll remind people are just reiterate these air based on empirical study, not not conventional wisdom or would just tribal wisdom that has been repeated at conference after conference. Just because one organization does it a certain way and they’ve been successful doesn’t mean that that’s going to be successful universally it’s not really lesson that’s amore that’s an anecdote? Um okay, hyre you like saying thank you? That sounds pretty simple. Why does it? Why does this need to be? Why does need to be said? Well, it needs to be said because sixty four percent of american non-profits don’t bother thanking their donors. We could start, we can start right there two thirds to two thirds of gifts or not not acknowledged and thanked you’re saying are not are not acknowledged or thank some. Some of that two thirds is acknowledged the sense of a tax receipt, but a tax receipt doesn’t go very far to build it toward building a personal relationship. That’s cold? Yeah, yeah, patane has retained this receipt for your tax advisers evaluation? Yeah, exactly, exactly so they the importance of a thank you is that it is the it is an initial step in building a relationship on we’ve learned a couple things through this study that that air quite important one is it needs to be personal, and by that i don’t mean personalized i mean, personal sounding and warm, warm of heart and meaningful to the donor not necessarily long, but it really has to be real, not we’re. We’re so happy to have received your twenty five dollars, gift, it will be put to immediate ineffective use sincerely, x y z. That is not a that is not a thank you. Rather it is. Dear tony, your check arrived. I can’t tell you how happy it’s going to make sammy who tomorrow will have not only a meal, but he will have a toy for christmas on dh so forth so it needs it really needs to connect the donor to the organization and the donor’s gift to a beneficiary in a real sense of the of the word, something as something way before you get timely there’s no automatic rule that it has to go out within twenty four hours, but it should go out promptly after receipt of the gift. Because we in the studies we we’ve done the preferential time is forty eight hours, but donors of forgiving of taking longer than that what they’re not forgiving of are these form printed, impersonal, thank you’s that just ring ring hollow. So that’s that’s the importance of saying thank you? One of the things you mentioned that i want to emphasize is that the thank you doesn’t have to be long? It doesn’t. I’ve heard this and said it many times on the show i heard it from guests. To be genuine and sincere does not require something long. No, i mean, i love you. If it’s if it’s said in a heartfelt way three words that’s an awful lot to a relationship. That’s your right. That’s it that’s an outstanding analogy. All right. Oh, and the book points out that there’s, um, resource is available around. Thank you’s. You have. Ah, there’s a thank you letter clinic at sophie, which is the showcase of fund-raising inspiration and innovation and your vory thoughtful to point out that people can lift thank you letter ideas from there, but not copy and paste. No, not copy and face. But take, uh, lisa sergeant has put that together and done a terrific job, and she she has an attic full of ah, wonderful. Thank you. Uh, campaigns in there and get inspired by it. And by all means use that. You know, shaul had a saying the mediocre borrow genius steals and there’s. Lots of good stuff on sophie that’s that’s worth looking at that will give you ideas. And this thank you. Clinic is certainly one of them. All right. Mediocre borrow and the genius steals. I’m in the wrong business. We gotta transcend the law’s a little more often, but there we go. You want us to be boring? What do you mean what’s behind that? Be boring. Let’s go back to the to the term consistency, one of the one of the realities of painful realities among most non-profits is they get tired of their of their same message, and as a result, because they’re bored. Uh, they they hyre another copy writer or the same copywriter and say let’s, let’s do something fancy or something that glows in the dark. Something different, something exciting? Well, that is that is not only a horrible waste of time and money. It’s also destructive of relationships, consistency is important and that’s what i mean by be boring. You may be tired of the same message you, mr or mrs organization of same message, but the donor isn’t tired of the same message. They they joined for that reason and they want to stay involved for that reason, so be consistent. That doesn’t mean you have to copy this same thing every time, but stay on the same themes that have produced the donor in the first place and the same the same way a good politician will give the same stump speech over and over again. She may be absolutely sick and tired of it, and the press may be sick and tired of it, and her staff may be sick and tired of it. But it is a speech that works with don’t with the voters, and it has to be given over and over again. You have a background in political consulting, too, don’t you? Yes, ideo i, uh, did a lot of work for twenty years for a number of democratic senators, presidential candidates in the course, citizen advocacy, the work for groups like greenpeace, the seal, you and others that’s all tied to politics. You’ve been around, you’ve been doing this a long time. Did you say fifty years earlier? I believe just, yeah, i’m probably older than most of the trees you’re looking at. Well, i’m in new york, so thie average tree life in new york is, i think, seven years, the street trees. So you got you got those. You got those covered, but all right, you’ve been around it. I’m in i admire its wisdom, its wisdom coming let’s. Imperially no! It’s, empirical. Wisdom it’s not anecdotal. Here’s what’s worked for me in my client’s through the decades. Okay, you want to listen to donors, don’t you? Absolutely. And here here is on area that organizations can really score against the competition and can also help themselves because very few folks in the nonprofit world design effort to get the feedback from their donors. You know, the court corporate america spends billions of dollars getting feedback. If you go on an airline, get off that airline the next day you get a survey you goto to ah, hotel, the next day you get a survey after you’ve checked out my heavens, even ihop, it doesn’t survey on the back of the receipts from their breakfast, and the reason they do this is they know that it, uh, that asking for people’s opinion build satisfaction and builds loyalty, and it is so easy to do, and it is so inexpensive to do, but most non-profits don’t do it, and they just keep the mute button on rather than listen to their donors. But by having feedback mechanisms, you can find out that your website, uh, sucks when it comes to the donate page or you can find out that you’re donorsearch vis program isn’t good, and these these feedback mechanisms are there basically widgets that you’ve been put on your website or questions you can put in your direct mail? Andi, uh, get get the donor’s opinion and, you know, twenty one one of the thing on that you don’t have to necessarily get a written response or telephone response from a donor zamir act repeat, the mere act of asking for someone’s opinion and feedback will boost retention by thirty percent. That is a significant difference. Roger, we have teo to start to wrap up. We just have about thirty seconds left, and, uh, i want listeners, of course, to know there are many more retention winds in the book retention fund-raising published by emerson and church, roger, just spend a couple seconds. Small and midsize shops have a big advantage here, don’t they? They absolutely do. And i love your your slogan for the other ninety five percent because they have a huge advantage because they can do things personally and a well run non-profit shop that pays attention to its donors will exceed return on investment by by five to ten. Times higher than the big organization. Roger craver, he’s, the agitator, to find him at the agitator dot net, and at roger craver on twitter. Roger, thank you so much for sharing all that empirical wisdom. It’s. My pleasure, and i join chelsea and your fan club. Thank you, cool, write something nice, and i’ll make you a listener of the week. Thank you again. You’re content. Strategy is coming up first. Pursuant, they have a free content paper for you. Intelligent fundraisers guide to sustaining e-giving so its forces um, intelligent. You got that? You listen to non-profit radio done fundraiser, you’re you’re either doing it frontline or you’re probably involved in it in some respect. It’s, not you, khun fast forward guide who doesn’t need a guide ever needs guidance in life and sustaining e-giving the research proves that there is a cause and effect relationship between sustaining giving and donor retention wolber roger and i just talking about you need to raise more money. You need to keep your donors that terrible attrition rate. Get it down what you waiting for? Help yourself you can learn the right way to do sustaining giving notice i did not say best practices, you’ll find this content paper. The intelligent fundraisers guide to sustaining e-giving at pursuing dot com quick re sources and content papers couldn’t be simpler. You read the paper to you and don’t make me do it. You want to be with you for an hour, go to pursue it. We’ll be spelling spelling bees for millennial fund-raising it’s a game show. Fundraiser reminds me of the gun show actually, the host chuck barris just died like a week or ten days ago gong show had the unknown comic so does we’ve been telling the got comics gene gene, the dancing machine we’d be spelling has dancing dahna show had a live band there’s live music and we’d be spelling parallels amazing between the gun show it’s the gong show plus spelling equals we’ll be spelling so you so the gun show equals we be spelling minus spelling is when you move it over, you gotta change the sign you could solve for spelling. Spelling equals the gun show minus we’ll be spelling everything else can be derived. Andi, i’m not sure about the natural log with the natural log of we’d be spelling is the video nonetheless is at we be spelling dot com natural log of we be spelling now. Time for tony’s take two non-profit video we’re on stanford social innovation review we are a podcast. Yes, sir. At s i r dot org’s now you don’t personally need this because you’re listening live or podcast or affiliate, but for everybody else, the ones who haven’t yet been born. Into the non-profit radio family, those sheep without a flock fighters without a formation, the fords without a fleet, they are the ones who confined us on stanford social innovation review check out my video that makes two videos for you to watch overviewing paying attention taking notes in my video the random dude in alexandria, virginia, signals excitement about this announcement and i look fat. We’ll find that video at twenty martignetti dot com and that is tony, take two here are bret meyer and katie caress with your content strategy welcome to tony martignetti non-profit radio coverage of the non-profit technology conference two thousand fifteen it’s hosted by antenna non-profit technology network. We’re in austin, texas, at the convention center. My guest is katie caress she’s, director of online communications for humane society legislative fund. Katie welcome. Thank you so much for having me. That’s. A pleasure. Thanks for taking time on a busy conference. Your workshop topic is content strategy one or one. What are non-profits not doing so well? I could do better at around their content. Strategy. Well, about everybody here has the intention to do much better. I think that everyone here probably is. Looking for something like content, strategy and it’s, just a matter of kind of getting their leaders, the executives onboarding really what it does is it applies like intention and focus to all of your messaging. It’s. A basic plan r the idea that your messages need a plan. A plan focused plan strategy. Yeah, sounds like it starts with goals. Yeah, it starts with goals. It’s just a good idea to start with making sure that you understand oh, yeah, making sure that you understand what your business goals are and discovering how your channel usually is websites with content strategy, but it could be anything social email, whatever making sure that those platforms have goals that are tighter business schools. So you’re avoiding this kind of like sprawl and all over nests of what happens with web sites a lot of time, and the ad hoc put this up things to be just has to go, like, right now, right? I’m taking it that could come from a ceo or a boardmember yeah, and is there someone else senior and becomes hard to say? No, exactly, exactly, and i think that a lot of people who were working on websites or other channels just kind of feel like they’re in this quagmire, right there just likes just drowning and content, and they don’t have the tools to kind of push back or, you know, carve out a better way. So what this says it’s, like we acknowledge that you’re in this like situation where you’re getting input from stakeholders who had all kinds of varying degrees of a definition of what the website is for what this content is supposed to do so content strategy says everybody from their own perspective. Everyone have no perspective, their own priorities, different audiences, and you end up with this website that kind of like pleases nobody, right? It doesn’t drive your business goals, so content strategy says let’s. Ask the question of why, before we do anything and i think that’s kind of revolutionary who worked on the web even the past, like ten years. It’s it’s, just this race to the bottom, like what you said, like publish all the things now, and this has kind of slow down let’s have a plan and it ends up like driving engagement, and it improves your brand it, you know, drives up, conversions, everything if you can kind of get the buy-in take a beat and pursue this, ok, where should we start our conversation? That was great over that was excellent. Overviewing thank you. Should we get started? Well, you should get started by, you know, finding some similarly minded colleagues, right? So talk to your team members about this current problem. Probably everybody started talking about. It i’m sure they are, right. So talk to him about this this, you know, notion that people are pursuing get the, you know, good kind of the buy-in from your colleagues and then start reaching out to people who are, you know, a little above you who could be an ambassador for you to senior leadership and work on getting that buy-in from those folks and then you just start by what you’re basically telling them or trying to get them on board with we need to be more strategic about this. Yeah. Here, our problems. Yes. And here’s, what are potential outcomes are yeah, if we can be a lot more sophisticated about, like here’s, why we’re drowning, right? He’s? All right. Driving here’s where our pages aren’t really converting people here’s why they’re not performing the way we want them go and you don’t even, like start with your business goal and then you pursue it audit we got a big hump dahna okay, just went away. Okay? Great. What that was that was the with speakers. The thie non-profit radio sound system. A cz exemplary it’s beyond question. So that came from the austin convention center. I wish i could run, i could run this convention of the way we run non-profit really agree? I don’t know these losers here. Well, yeah, but so one of the great first step to take us to get an audit done, right? And so it’s an inventory of all of your content, but then it’s the audit phase, which you’re you know, you’re evaluating page by page, and for some people, this could be like tens of thousands of pages on their website, right? Or it’s a couple hundred, you’re evaluating page by page and determining whether that content a piece of content actually lines with what everybody says your business goals are it’s a pretty serious audit? Now you gotta look at every page, every page, and obviously, if you have hundreds of thousands of pages, or if you’re, you know, a merchant’s site you’re going, you’re going to do like a sample size of those pages, right? You’re the idea is to just see, really, hell, well, you’re you’re content is performing and a lot of times that drives a conversation that drives, you know, that gives you the ammunition to make the case that we need. To make a change so an audit is key. It’s the first place to start, and then you’re pursuing just getting that content landscape kind of sketched out determining what you’re ecosystem is right. So let’s say, you’ve got like, you know, thirty things the organization works on for non-profit you’re gonna have all kinds of things somebody’s working on. So you get the executives and the subject experts to agree? Like what? Our priorities right where the organization’s priorities get really clear on that? And then look at how those priorities and those areas are kind of developed on your site. Do you have one thing that’s like this really, really weird offshoot thing? Just like favorite thing, and you have, like, forty thousand pages on it. This should all be driven by the mission. Yeah, exactly. I already should be pretty clear. Yeah, and flow very yeah, smooth from your your mission statement. Yeah, but what you’ll find. But i think a lot of non-profit especially large ones like, oh, my gosh, there’s there’s competing goals were competing priorities and competing interpretations of what that mission is all across organization, which leaves just, you know, a lot of strife in a lot of tension for folks who are, like, right in the middle of that content production system like the web editors. So, yeah, the idea is to kind of, like, sketch out what your content ecosystem should be. So if our priority right here is, like farm animal welfare, we we should have, like, the depth of that contact your sights to reflect that, and it should also reflect what the current priorities are and the tone that you should using, etcetera. But if you have something that’s just, like, really, really low priority, it doesn’t make sense for that to have, you know, take up twenty percent of the site and you’ll find that that happens a lot of times, so okay, okay, so we were going to get some early stakeholders summerlee allies engaged with us? Yeah, who then starts to develop the content strategy. So, you know, you may have someone who is a content strategist on your team, like, if so lucky you a lot of places, all right, let’s assume not. Our audience is small and midsize. Non-profit yeah, exactly, i know and i’m from a huge non-profit and we don’t have anything like that, so usually this falls on the shoulders of, you know that editorial director of a website or, you know, a director of any filler online platforms and usually going to fall on them, and it doesn’t have to be like we’re going to do all of this right now. It can be baby steps. It can be like let’s just take on one like many project and apply content strategy to it, like run that through that screen, kind of demonstrate successive that way, teo to your stakeholders and say, look how well this worked. Look how we drove results this way by applying attention and focus to this, and then you could move on to a larger things, but it always usually kind of just germinates from the web team, maybe someone else, depending on how the organisation structure and maybe someone like development or design. Everybody has a part in this, but yeah. Then it just gets not only getting the work done and turning your website. Are you platform into what you wanted to be? Okay, uh, that all sounds very simple, but there’s gotta be more to it. And we got plenty of time to spend together. So where where do we go now? Well, i mean, yeah, gosh, so it starts with the audit, you know, and you’re looking into how your, how your pages map to your goals and everything, and then you might start with, like, a section of the website, maybe a section that you i feel like the stakeholders there are going to be easy to work with, and they’re going to, like, excited about the process, and so you might start with that that that section that makes a lot of sense. Yeah, but very good to make it explicit. You got some of those early allies tell me some of their content is the place to start, you know, and don’t start with someone who are a section of your organization who, you know, it’s been kind of contentious to work with them, and a lot of people talk about how content started she’s about like therapy, right? It’s like all these relationships, because content is so personal, there’s so many people who were owning content across the organization and to them that that page that they wrote on, like horse immuno contraception is think their baby right? Like, okay, well, this makes no sense to an audience. This makes no sense to a user, how are they going to do that? So a lot of this kind of, you know, revision, work or whatever is collaborative, and you’re getting people on those teams who contribute to content and you’re all coming to a consensus on, like, what it should be based on, like what? We’ve all agreed on the goals, and we’ve all agreed on the audience, like, how can we change? And sometimes you get them involved in writing new stuff? It all depends on kind of the scope of the organization and how involved everybody wants to be, but it should be a collaborative process, and it could be merely taking, like, five pages that you took out from the audit and saying, like, okay, well, these pages are they really working for us? And so you get them involved in that early early stages so they can kind of see it don’t feel like they’re being put upon, right? A lot of this is relationship management, and so, yeah, you may take five pages and two of them make the cut on. The new site, but you’ve all worked on that together. Three the me decide to retire or, you know, you can, you know, contingency of planet, right? Like have a couple of bourbons on any composed it, but the whole thing should be collaborates. You have everybody going on the same page from beginning tend so we should be thinking also about our audiences. That’s, right, who’s, who’s consuming this content, right and so that’s. One of the first things you develop as your, you know, working on your goal, you’re also thinking about your audience. And so anybody who’s working in a content strategy, capacity and organizations should be talking a lot, teo, all the stakeholders throughout the organization who are touching that content, right? So my job would be to go to that horse. Amina contraception page owner i mean, like, why is this important to you? Tell me how to use this in your work. Would you really, really want to see this? And what do you want them to do with it on? Don’t get a lot of really, really good information out of that. It sometimes turns out to be less contentious than you may. Have thought it wass right? You’ll discover that like, oh, actually, they’re you know, they’re worked requires something different, and now i can pitch something different to them that’s more useful than like this page on the website that i’ve seen has gotten like twenty, views and past year and so it’s, just a lot of lot of talking relationship management. Um, and then once you’ve got kind of i guess that section worked on or even the whole site, then you just move on to a governance situation and actually see bret coming right here. Maybe he wants to speak on governance. Governance is actually brett’s section right? Red, you better hurry up, man. Come on. Get in here. Brett, please get in here quickly. Cause we just transition to your section. Take your lanyard off, please. Red came in late, but we can accommodate him. And actually, we were just getting to the section on governance, governance. So please put on your headset because you’ll hear a lot better and filter out background noise. And wes is going to bring you into the picture. We got everybody, wes. Alright, outstanding. Welcome. Thank you. Okay, this is brett brett. Brett meyer, content strategist for think shout welcome, welcome to non-profit radio thank you. Coming closer to the microphone, please should be within an inch. All right, excellent kitty was doing an excellent job. Hopefully you were going to join us, but we would have gone ahead without you. So i don’t want you to think that you are indispensable. Great, but you did show up at the exact right time is very good timing if you’re going to be late was perfect great governance, governance around our our content strategy what what does? What does that even mean? The governance of it governance is the plan for the plan. There are a lot of non-profits these days who are under the impression that they need to create as much content as possible, which is kind of the opposite of having a strategy so governance helps you plan who is responsible for what so you’re going to have probably a team of writers. Is that team of writers going to be able to publish content directly to the website themselves, or is it going to go through a review process? The whole thing around governance is making sure that people understand what their roles are, and setting up the map for how content is going to move from creation through publication to the public. Okay, and as we are, these are these are written this’s, a written plan, this government’s plan. Ideally, it is going to be written down. Usually it is more of a word of mouth thing, and people just have a general idea of what their roles are. We always advised that there is that kind of written plan or map of how things work, because people leave and new people come in. And if you don’t have that documentation for how things were supposed to work, it takes them a long time to get back up to speed. Buy-in like what you’re hearing a non-profit radio tony’s got more on youtube, you’ll find clips from stand up comedy tv spots and exclusive interviews catch guests like seth gordon, craig newmark, the founder of craigslist marquis of eco enterprises, charles best from donors choose dot org’s aria finger do something that worked and they are levine from new york universities heimans center on philanthropy tony tweets to he finds the best content from the most knowledgeable, interesting people in and around non-profits to share on his stream. If you have valuable info, he wants to re tweet you during the show. You can join the conversation on twitter using hashtag non-profit radio twitter is an easy way to reach tony he’s at tony martignetti narasimhan t i g e n e t t i remember there’s a g before the end he hosts a podcast for the chronicle of philanthropy fund-raising fundamentals is a short monthly show devoted to getting over your fund-raising hartals just like non-profit radio, toni talks to leading thinkers, experts and cool people with great ideas. As one fan said, tony picks their brains and i don’t have to leave my office fund-raising fundamentals was recently dubbed the most helpful non-profit podcast you have ever heard, you can also join the conversation on facebook, where you can ask questions before or after the show. The guests were there, too. Get insider show alerts by email, tony tells you who’s on each week and always includes link so that you can contact guests directly. To sign up, visit the facebook page for tony martignetti dot com. Duitz lively conversation. Top trends. Sound advice, that’s, tony martignetti non-profit radio and i’m gale bauer from sponsorship strategist. Dot com. Let’s, go into a lot more detail way got some time left together. What what elements you like to see in in the government governance plan let’s take the idea where it is, it is written. Yes, we try to make sure that things aren’t just happening in the communications department because everybody’s going to have some sort of content that they want to get on the website snd we talked about getting the early buy-in great. So yeah, it’s it’s kind of along the lines of a cross functional team, you have to identify who the best writers are the people who are going to create content that’s going to have meaning for the users who were coming to the website and just generally making sure that they understand what their roles are, who is going to be creating the content who’s going to be editing the content? If you have that kind of evergreen content, they stuff that is going to be kind of a permanent fixture of the website. How often are you going to go back and take a look at that content again to make sure that it is meeting the needs of the organization? Isn’t performing as well as it should be, so part of the governance is also understanding what the metrics for success are and the metro for success are going to be a lot different for the about the organisation information than it would be for, say, the blawg or if they’re doing events. An event is a very time box thing it’s going to have a ramp up, they’re going to be pushing a lot of content or information around the event, but as soon as the event is past that usually doesn’t have a lot of utility as opposed to maybe some of the about us content you want to get across what the goals of the organization is, what the organization does. You want people to really understand what this non-profit is trying to accomplish very important content, so they need to keep coming back and making sure that it’s working, writing down the goals means that they have something to measure against and they’re not just creating content in the dark. Katie, i see you doing a lot of nodding, but there’s things you like to add, i mean, the only thing i would add to that. I’m sure brett nose like you would think really addresses the idea that content is like a living, breathing thing, right? The website this is living, breathing thing it’s very different than an email that you sent out to your list, you know it has to it’s up there all the time. And so what? Brett’s talking about it’s so critical, teo to know that it’s not enough just when you hit publish, you know it’s not like a print magazine. It’s not like an email, he just sent out not even like log, you know, so that’s just the beginning when you hit publish and so this governance is so, so critical to making sure content is still performing, you know, a year from now or that you that you remember that it’s up thinks a lot of times you have a huge website, people were like, oh, that that page? Yeah, it happens to people who are, like, really deeply invested as well. It’s just e-giving huge websites going to it’s going to take over if you don’t govern it let’s spend a good amount of time talking about the measurement and the success metrics go ahead, that’s. Your that’s, your area? Excellent, yes, hyre we’ve been doing a lot of data with our cloudgood data work with our clients recently, so we know for a fact that the home page is not the common way that people come into a website anymore. They’re using google, they’re coming in deep in into the site, through social media or through what’s called dark social, the people chatting each other links buy-in on stuff that can’t really be tracked. So you have to understand that any page of your website might be creating the that first impression for folks, but the goals of the various types of content that you might have on your website are going to be different. So when we do work with clients, we try to help them understand that an event page, a page that somebody might google for. Oh, amplify austin, for example, what? We don’t know exactly what page they’re going to come into at first, but as the data starts to come in, you can see where they’re entering the site and you can help. You can come up with the metrics that are going to let you know whether or not that paige is successful, so if you’re coming into an event page with the registration, you want them to get the information about the event very quickly and decide whether or not they want to attend, and the next step from that would be clicking on the register button, which would be very different from a post on a blogger where you want them to consume the content and then probably share it. So the metrics there going to be slightly different. The important part is to recognize all the types of content and set up the different metrics that will indicate success for that particular organization, because it’s always going to be different, okay? And katie, we were using the interesting example of the equine immuno contraception paige thank, which could be a coin acquaint, contra or something? Yeah, i mean that that was so it was so benefit from governance. I would just so benefit from having those questions asked. Like, what does it mean for this page to succeed? What do you want your users to do with it? And then really, really, like, trail down and see if that’s happening. And i think that that could take care of so much like problem content on so many people’s websites if you’re just sticking to you, like, really direct, objective measurement and then there’s kind of you take away all the, like the sensitivity with that, like, okay, here’s this thing that i didn’t say like, you know, google said it, whatever. Yeah, we still have several minutes left together. What have we not talked about? Whatever i ask you that that you want to share. I like to, and i know that katie agrees with this because we’ve talked about it a little bit. Make sure that non-profits understand that content strategy doesn’t have to be just about the website, and it shouldn’t just be in the commune educations depart multi-channel it is multi channel and the development, the people in the development department who are sending out fund-raising letters that is a piece of content that is going to create an impression and if any one of these things is a little bit off message, i mean, we don’t want to get too far into the whole whole branding part. But if anything’s too far off message or strikes a wrong note with the supporters, you’re probably going to lose thumb, at least in the short term. I’m so glad you brought that up exactly whenever i’ve talked about content started, you know, a lot of people think like, oh that’s, just for websites and even this idea that content is only on a website and just like no like a tweet is content any you know, period it’s, certain pages, that’s, all content that’s why i get so excited about this top because i really feel like it has, you know, with the ability to bring everything together and it can get kind of as big as you want it to be. But that’s what that’s? Why it’s so cool? And the best organizations i’ve seen are the ones who are integrating every single channel into their content strategy and all just completely flows the same ethics the same style, same telling the same priorities and goals and audiences, they’re just really, really woven and deeply, inappropriately and it’s just like it’s cake. I love it. Brett katie knight a zai mentioned, talked about getting some allies early on and then maybe developing a mini project around some of their contents. Do you have? Any other ideas you want to add about trying to get this this team buy-in whether it’s in the early stage or or in the later stages, maybe some, maybe some departments are not as willing as others. What advice do you have there? Katie is absolutely right getting that early win always going to be important because then you’d demonstrate the success or what you can possibly achieve by having a written content strategy other than that getting that leadership buy-in early is it’s not just from the team that you’re assembling, that that’s going to be creating the content. Leadership really has to support this and understand the value they already understand the value, because we’ve been talking about branding at the non-profit technology conference for a long time, there’s a lot of companies who’ve been helping non-profits developed this brand, but the content that is sporting the brand has to be taken into account too. So it’s not a big step for leadership to take, from supporting the brand to supporting the content that is supporting the brand. Yeah, like there’s, so much overlap with just brand and content strategy is the time o que onda geun this all all flows from our mission statement, so that seems like the place to start. Katie and i did talk about that anything you want to add about that non-profits have a built in advantage. They don’t have to worry about what the for-profit companies do because everything should be coming out of their mission and their values when your values driven organization it’s much easier to develop content that has meaning than, say, one, a big company that wants to sell you shoes and thinks that a good way to do that is by showing people succeeding let’s, leave it there, all right? Brett meyer is content strategist with think shout and katie caress, director of online communications for the humane society legislative fund. Brett carry katy, thank you very much. Thinking having real pleasure. Thankyou. Tony martignetti non-profit radio coverage of the non-profit technology conference twenty fifteen austin, texas, thanks so much for being with us next week. Gail perry returns. She was just on for god’s sake, but she’s so good i’m having her back, i’m going to drive to her home in raleigh, north carolina, on we’re going to do facebook live and periscope kapin what did britain, katie just say? Be multi-channel we’ll talk about subtle to the ass. If you missed any part of today’s show, i beseech you, find it on tony martignetti dot com. Responsive by pursuing online tools for small and midsize non-profits data driven and technology enabled, and by we be spelling supercool spelling bee fundraisers, we be spelling dot com creative producer is quite my off. That lever, which is a line producer. Jenny mccardle is r e m and f m l reach director. To show social media is by susan chavez. And our music is by scott stein. You’re with me next week for not probably radio. Big non-profit ideas for the either ninety five percent go out and be great. 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