Archive for January, 2008

B2School Monday Minute: What is a ‘non-profit’

I recently overheard a conversation that got me thinking. Here’s a clip from the conversation:

Person 1: With the rise of a third sector, defined as the non-profit sector, how will this affect both the private and public sectors? And, what are the relationships between the three and what will that mean for the future?

Person 2: Well, what is non-profit? Non-profit means merely a tax break. You have two kinds of non profits. Those that are genuinely good and advocate for their cause efficiently and effectively, but then you have those that don’t. So, when you say non-profit, you’re merely talking about a tax break.

Needless to say, this conversation got me wondering, and I’m still pondering. What is a non-profit? And, say the word ‘non-profit’ is a brand….how do current consumers perceive this brand?

I feel these questions are important because whether you are a political organization, grassroots, religions, a charity, professional organization, foundation, community oriented, advocacy organization, special interest group, etc… how the broad term non-profit is ‘branded’ and perceived could have large implications for your success.

Graduate student from Case Western Reserve University, Kate Luckert, provides a great outline on the definition of non-profits and various examples, including why they may/are important.

About. com‘s definition tends to support Person 2’s definition of a nonprofit:

A nonprofit organization is one that has committed legally not to distribute any net earnings (profits) to individuals with control over it such as members, officers, directors, or trustees. It may pay them for services rendered and goods provided.

The European research Network states that there is no universally accepted definition to the term: non-profit sector. There is also no universally accepted social marketing definition. My view though is…. if the term non-profit lacks in credibility and reputation, the term social marketing should be used more often to describe certain effots.

Many organizations practice social marketing, but they don’t know it or realize it. Some people say that the term social marketing is too limiting, however, I see it more as an umbrella term backed with credible research.

Thoughts?

  • nonprofit.
  • social marketing.
  • private sector.
  • public sector.

How do they relate?

January 28, 2008 at 1:00 am 1 comment

A.c.r.a.n.y.m.s.i.a – A Crisis Rampant Among Numerous Yams Making Speeches In Associations

Acranyms run beyond the entertaining Cingular cellphone commercial, ‘my bff, Jill.’

They run rampant in every sector, no matter where you work. For example…

“I got an MPH after my B.A. from my NCAA accredited school. Now working towards my Ph.D., joined the AMA, volunteering with BBBS and the PHS. This weekend I’m attended the annual AMA dinner. I work UNICEF, but hope to switch to UNESCO.”

Does this not sound glaring close to… omg, like nbd, text-speak? I deem both these: acranymsia. This made up condition shows symptoms of broken up language, when short, choppy phrases carry long meanings. Side effects include weariness, fatigue, total work obsession or when you’re trapped in a glass case of emotion (thank you Ron Burgandy…).

I find this especially true when working in the non-profit and social marketing arena. Since social marketing and non-profit marketing often involve collaboration among NGOs, government clients and partners, education institutions and more. NGO itself is even an acranym!

So for fun. Try this brain teaser activity. At work on Monday when you find yourself embarking towards a case of acranymsia…

  1. Chuckle to yourself.
  2. Make the word acranym into an a.c.r.a.n.y.m. that may apply to your job.
  3. Share it with the rest of us to share the fun.

Here are some examples:
(Warning-This activity is harder than it seems and may cause prolonged amusement.)

a.c.r.a.n.y.m.s. – A crisis rampant among new your many sectors
a.c.r.a.n.y.m.s. – All chapters revolve around new young mindbending spells (Author)

January 20, 2008 at 9:00 pm Leave a comment

A Little Known Idea for Evaluation: User Interface Test

…does the concept User Interface ring a bell? What a User-Interface test?

As I hinted to in my last post, I think the evaluation step is maybe one of the most important steps a marketing plan can include, yet many lack. Doing evaluation, allows one to:

  • Reflect on the strengths of the campaigns
  • Document the process so there’s no reinventing the wheel for next time
  • Identify areas for improvement
  • Lets you gain and track client feedback
  • Find ‘lessons to learn from’
  • Calculate ROI and compare to previous years/cases

For best evaluation results, one should meet with a team, get outside feedback, talk to the client(s), key associates or other employees who had a hand in the project. Now, it the fun part. I want to introduce to you a great, but commonly unknown tool to add to your evaluation methods: the User Interface Test.

User Interface is a concept that describes how users interact with a website. If you’ve ever had any of the following questions, then conducting a User Interface test might be right up your alley:

  1. What should be on the homepage?
  2. Should the main graphic be video, a slideshow, a moving graphic, etc.?
  3. Where should the ‘search’ button go?
  4. Is our website easy to use?
  5. How functional is our website?
  6. What’s the message our users are getting?
  7. What would make our website easier to use?
  8. When someone first comes to our site, what’s the first thing they see?
  9. What would get users to spend more time on our pages?
  10. Does everything on our site communicate our message?
  11. Does our content engage the reader?
  12. What is someone expecting when they come to our site?
  13. Is the site easy to use?
  14. Is our site customize-able?
  15. Does our site have a professional tone? or an appropriate tone?
  16. Does our site speak relevance to those trafficking the site?
  17. Does the design capture attention?
  18. How do our users interact with our site?

If you find yourselves asking these questions and similar others, then a User Interface test could be right up your alley! To test your User Interface, you can use either quantitative or qualitative approaches. Four qualitative approaches are outlined below.

  1. Time to Task: Tests ability for tester to complete an action to user’s satisfaction in a decent time.
  2. Accuracy: Tests the accuracy of the website and the information found.
  3. Emotional Response: Tests how the testee responds to their overall experience on the site or in conducting their tasks.
  4. Recall/Repetition: Tests ability to recall the process it takes to find desired information. Also looks as how the testee’s ability to recall where he or she is on the website and how he or she arrived there.

To create quantitative results, one can have testee fill out forms measuring various categories on a scale of 1-5 (customization, professionalism or tone, design, organization, usefulness, relevance, and interactivity.)

Hope this little research tidbit, and way of evaluating your website comes in hand. =)

January 17, 2008 at 4:17 am Leave a comment

Greenwashing: What is it, how do we evaluate it, and what does it mean?

This post provides some answers to these questions and some points to ponder.

First, the term greenwashing is taken from the term whitewashing. Whitewashing means to hide, cover or conceal unpleasant facts or details, especially in a political context or to manipulate. According to the Greenwashing Index, Greenwashing is:

“It’s greenwashing when a company or organization spends more time and money claiming to be “green” through advertising and marketing than actually implementing business practices that minimize environmental impact. It’s whitewashing, but with a green brush.”

Knowing this information, enter in the Greenwashing Index, promoted by EnviroMedia Social Marketing and University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication. The purpose of the Greenwashing Index is “to educate consumers about how to “read” an ad and encourage them to decide for themselves if what they’re seeing is greenwashing.” The index hopes to curb the growth of greenwashing and encourage real environmental responsibility and change.

The index measures and scores advertising claims based on the following five criteria:

  1. The ad misleads with words.
  2. The ad misleads with visuals and/or graphics.
  3. The ad makes a green claim that is vague or seemingly unprovable.
  4. The ad overstates or exaggerates how green the product/company/service actually is.
  5. The ad leaves out or masks important information, making the green claim sound better than it is.

To detect greenwashing, Sourcewatch offers the following tips:

  1. Follow the money trail.
  2. Follow the membership trail.
  3. Follow the paper trail.
  4. Look for skeletons in the company’s closet.
  5. Test for access to information.
  6. Test for international consistency.
  7. Check how they handle their critics.
  8. Test for consistency over time.

As my previous post mentioned, the FTC began a workshop of hearings yesterday a year early about the growing buzz and concerns regarding green marketing. To listen to the FTC hearings about the, click here. The workshops could results in updating the FTC’s green guides, which outlines the FCC’s laws regarding environmental claims for advertiser, marketers and consumers. These guidelines were originally created in 1992. Though the green guides were updated in 1998, they haven’t been changed since.

Now the final piece: What does this mean to us….as social marketers?

Personally, I think evaluation tools are great, despite the lack of them and the lack of priority in evaluation processes. The evaluation step is one too many organization and marketing directors overlook or skip. I see the Greenwashing Index as another great evaluations tool for us, and I offer up the suggestion that perhaps we should have more such evaluation tools to help keep the private sector accountable and responsible. Doing such, I think, would increase our success in our social marketing endeavors.

More on evaluation procedures and steps in the next post. =)

January 11, 2008 at 9:14 pm 2 comments

Defining Green, Including the FTC

Nowadays, when someone says Green, what’s the first thing that pops in your mind?

…a color? a movement? a cause? a political party? earth? environmentalists? global warming? a marketing tactic? Al Gore? Recycling?

Being a full supporter of going green, I still want to stand back, observe and ask the question: In today’s world, how do we, you, define the word green?

…Even the FTC is struggling to answer this very question. Today, the FTC held its first green marketing workshop to discuss its green advertising regulations a YEAR early because of the growing buzz…and concern! Check out this article for more information about the meeting.

It’s interesting how the choice of diction creates images or perceptions in our minds. Green, or going green, is becoming a mantra for environmental movements and going green is the new trend of ’08…or was it the trend of ’07? Even the AMA (American Marketing Association) has adopted the movement and now acknowledges the concept ‘green marketing.’ GreenBiz, a green conscious information resources that tracks companies eco-friendliness, offers green marketing as one of their hot topics by offering features about the various shades of green that run in-style among us marketers.

However what does being green really mean? In 2006, this same question was asked in an article written by Brandweek titled: Companies Find It’s Not Easy Marketing Green. In the article, the authors state quote:

“Spiraling fuel prices and global warming fears have increasingly put environmental issues on the front page and in advertising efforts. But as more companies adopt these campaigns, consumers are growing increasingly confused over what it means to be “green,” making it harder to create effective environmental marketing efforts, according to a recently released study by Landor Associates, New York.

“Is it about the environment, organic food or ‘good-for-you’ living? … It could be about all of those things,” said Allen Adamson, managing director at Landor. “It is easy to say you are green, but consumers are skeptical. And because everyone wants to jump on the green bandwagon, all of a sudden it is noisy in this space, and it is hard to break through.”

The article continues offering statistics on how consumers are weary of the increasing levels of products, services and companies who claim to be green. Though it is an older article, the trend seems to escalate still today, just do a Google search for ‘green marketing’ and it becomes clear that the term continues to grow discussion, especially since the FTC even took notice.

  • So, how do we as social marketing break through the clutter?
  • What does this trend mean for us?
  • And, what does the word ‘green’ mean to you?

Feel free to share your thoughts. This discussion will be continued in my next post. =)

To get a sneak peak about the next post, read this article about greenwashing

January 10, 2008 at 3:25 pm Leave a comment

Going Green

Any Oprah fans in the atmosphere? On last Friday’s show, Oprah’s show featured: Going Green 101 where she shared many tips and insights on how individuals and families can join the fight to save our earth. Feeling inspired, I wanted to provide my own list of simple and easy ways to Go Green this upcoming year. Some of my favorites from Oprah’s show are also shared.

Bathroom

1. Turn your water off in between brushing your teeth.

2. Unplug straightener, shaver, blow dryer, etc. when not in use. When items are plugged in, they still use up to 40% power.

3. Buy a shower timer to conserve water.

4. Use tissue and toilet paper sparingly.

Kitchen

1. If you’re making a picnic, choose plastic over paper plates. They can be reused and recycled.

2. Buy energy saving appliances to help global warming. Look for the blue Energy Star label when purchasing or visit http://www.energystar.gov for more information.

3. Use reusable containers to put away leftover rather than plastics wrap or foil. Also, in the same line of thinking, use rags to clean up messes when possible to conserve paper towels.

Cleaning

1. Instead of adding yard waste or lawn clippings to landfills, use a mulching mower. Not only is it healthier for your yard, but its healthier for all of Earth.

2. Use healthier cleaning products. Good clean doesn’t have a smell and are safer for our bodies too. Good companies to look into include Shaklee and Method.

3. Remember to inflate your tires about every two weeks. This allows your tires to last longer, meaning more rubber is conserved.

House

1. Turn lights on and off when entering and exiting rooms.

2. Caulk your windows to get the most out of your heating and air conditioning. This will save energy and money. Double bonus!

3. Use energy strips. This helps save power and cuts down on your energy bill. When something is off, but still plugged in, it still uses power.

4. Use GE energy smart light bulbs. According to Oprah.com, GE Energy Smart bulbs use 70 to 75 percent less energy than incandescent light bulbs and last up to 10 times longer than most bulbs.

5. Donate books and magazines to public libraries.

6. Use rechargeable batteries instead of throwaway ones.

Food

1. If you haven’t heard about the questions surrounding bottled water, go no further. Bottled water is more expensive…to our pocketbooks, bodies and our world. Save all three. Invest in a Nalgene water bottle or an aluminum water bottle that can be reused, is safer, cost effective, healthier and saves the earth.

2. Buy less packaged food. Read the labels and packaging to see if food is healthy for your body, but also take notice if wasteful materials are being used to sell the item.

Shopping

1. Paper or plastic? Neither! Eco-friendly canvas bags are the new ‘it’ item to have at the supermarket. Check out these places for your very own: eco-chic shopping bags, Delight.com or Skeeda.

2. Donate old clothes and items you no longer use to The Salvation Army or the Goodwill.

3. Do not throw away leather shoes. Leather takes 50 years to decompose. Donate them.

4. Resell or donate your old, used cellphone even! Lots of companies buy back phones, spruce ’em up and then resell them at lower rates. Green mobile is one such company.

5. Just say no…to receipts. When an ATM or a gas pump asks if you want a receipt, say no. This will save many precious trees.

Activities

1. Visit a landfill. As Oprah’s show told us, throwing something away, doesn’t mean that it goes away. It goes somewhere else.

2. Plant trees. The more CO2 we can create, the better.

3. Adopt a cause and become an activist. Green is the new pink everyone. Just check out Matt Damon’s favorite organization Greendimes, Stop Global Warming!, or Gwenyth Paltrow and Cameron Diaz’ organization ‘act green’ that works to reduce dependence on oil and for energy conservation.

4. Use newspapers as wrapping paper.

5. TreeCycle 2008. Recycle your now old Christmas trees.

6. Take up Shard Art. Also known as Pique Assiette mosaic art. Use pieces of broken glass to create wonderful new pieces of art.

7. Visit and shop at your local farmer’s market.

Entertainment

1. Beg, borrow or buy Al Gore’s documentary: An Inconvenient Truth.

2. Read The Green Book by Elizabeth Rogers and Thomas M. Kostige.

3. Watch the television series Planet Earth.

4. Attend a Drive-In movie, according to Eath911.org.

5. Carpool. This web service helps you connect with others looking to carpool in your area.

6. Catch Leonardo DiCaprio’s film The Eleventh Hour, about the growing dangers of global warming, set to come out soon!

And lastly, one way to recycle I would not recommend….using old condoms as hairbands. True story.

And on that note, hope this was enough to get motivated. Feel free to leave your favorite recycling tips below too!

Eco-Friendly Websites for further information:

Green People
Greenpeace
Idealbite
Global Green USA
TreeHugger


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January 8, 2008 at 3:51 pm 5 comments

Philanthropy: Po-ta-toe, pa-ta-toe?

Browsing my facebook groups following my last post on FliP, I found and joined the FLiP facebook group. I noticed one of the discussions posted on the topic: ‘Traditional vs. Social Change Philanthropy.’ For the sake of anonymity, the Poster of the topic wrote as follows:

“On the FLiP homepage there is a great article about how, in many respects, traditional philanthropy is actually reinforcing the status quo. In my comment to that article I quoted Martin Luther King Jr, “Philanthropy is commendable, but it must not cause the philanthropists to overlook the circumstances of economic injustice that make philanthropy necessary.”

What are your thoughts on that? Are too many of us in the nonprofit sector offering programmes that are far too reactive, vs actually examining and addressing the socio-economic issues that require our ‘programmes’?”

This discussion topic is followed by another that asks about philanthropy education programs. And, to my surprise and after some research, there are many, and growing: IUPUI’s Center on Philanthropy, NY University School of Philanthropy, Columbia’s MA in fundraising, Hebrew University of Israel’s M.A. in Community Leadership and Philanthropy Studies, Bay Path College in Massachusett’s M.S. in Non-Profit Management and Philanthropy, St. Mary’s graduate program in Philanthropy and Development, and MORE!  The programs listed include degrees surrounding fundraising, non-profit management, leadership, governance, development, philanthropy and othe-related terms….yet social marketing termed programs still lack.

Upon this brief internet browsing, I reflected on what the definition of ‘philanthropy‘ means. Stay with me for a moment, are the terms philanthropy and social marketing interchangeable? What is this term social-change philanthropy? We’ve been talking a lot about the identity crisis in communications, and it appears that there is some overlap. Social marketing does take in the marketing process, but it is also – as the Facebook Poster said – can be applied to looking at socio-economic issues.

Feel free to share as this thought is still developing….how do the two relate to one another and what does this mean for the field of communications or in the non-profit sector?

January 7, 2008 at 6:31 am Leave a comment

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Meet Alexandra Rampy, aka SocialButterfly

I am a social marketing believer, blogger, practitioner, researcher and enthusiast. This site highlights the growing movement of social marketing. Learn more about social marketing and how to be your own socialbutterfly--> here.

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