President’s Message

I am all for new methods of helping organizations better focus their marketing and fundraising efforts and the rise of the ‘user persona’ is getting a lot of attention.

The user persona is a creative director’s dream come true. The process to come up with a series of fictionalized ‘characters’ takes imagination and therein lies the possible weakness of using user personas.

Here are my 3 key ways to avoid the most common pitfalls when crafting and using personas:

1. ROOT a persona in both qualitative and quantitative data. The behaviours and characteristics of any personae groups MUST use data sets, analysis and survey answers to craft their behaviours. If you aren’t doing this, you are using personas that are relying more on the narrative imagination of Stephen King versus the empiricism of a Sir Francis Bacon.

2. TEST the personas through data and results. You can’t use personas and not track whether they actually improve results. There is a strong academic/research body of work that strongly criticizes the user persona model because it is not often rooted in empirical testing. It may be that personas perform poorly in comparison to classic RFM test groups. You need to test to find out.

3. PRACTICAL implementation plans to test user personas can be difficult. You need to think very carefully through how a persona can be properly tested. It’s not easy working with ‘fictional characters’ in the real world but you have to figure it out.

My gut tells me that user personas are helpful in testing for marketing campaigns BUT if they are being driven by clever, creative people and not driven by data, analytical staff then you are going to be let down by this technique. Drop me a line at mjohnston@hjcnewmedia.com if you want to talk more about this.

posted on Jul 30 No comments yet


Tips on How to Rebuild Your List After CASL

Just imagine…it’s October. Over the past few months, you’ve invested in a brilliant holiday campaign. You’re ready to launch. You pull your email lists. And they’re small. Way smaller than last year’s. You’re never going to raise the money you need to.

Thanks CASL.

Even the most robust email file could be negatively affected by CASL. End of year and holiday campaigns (which are the most lucrative for most organizations) are at risk.

But not all hope is not lost.

Follow these 6 effective tips to rebuild your list and warm up your supporters.

1) Blog, and Blog Often – Did you know that consistent blogging can increase your traffic? A blog is one of the single best ways to attract new visitors to your nonprofit’s website.

2) Create Relevant Content – In order to get your blog found by prospective donors, you must create educational content that speaks to them and answers their questions about your cause. You should be creating shareable, relevant, value-driven content. Instead of pitching your work and services, you are delivering information that makes your ideal donor more intelligent, more engaged.

The essence of this content strategy is the belief that if we, as charities, deliver consistent and ongoing valuable information to donors, they ultimately reward us with their donation and loyalty.

3) Make Content Social – You can’t just repurpose old material created for one platform, throw it up on another one, and hope that it engages your audience. As Gary Vaynerchuk eloquently puts it, “if Facebook’s main currency is friendship, Twitter’s is news and information.” Know what platforms your donors are using, and manipulate the content to your organizations advantage (i.e. be artful on Instagram, witty on Twitter, and promote great content on Facebook).

4) Optimize Search Keywords – Create content around targeted keywords. You need to carefully pick keywords, optimize your pages, create content, and build links around the terms your ideal donor is searching for. This will ensure that your content and nonprofit are appearing prominently.

4) Incentivize Opting-In – As you know, CASL is a permission-based legislation, which requires anyone who is interested in receiving email communication to physically opt-in. You can promote an online contest, a giveaway, or have a premium that requires people to sign-up by submitting their email address. By incentivizing your subscriptions and opt-ins, you not only give your audience an engaging take away from your nonprofit, but also increase engagement.

6) Don’t Forget Offline – You should always be integrating both offline and online channels to grow your fundraising programs. Think about where you collect email addresses, and ensure you have protocols and data collection processes and systems in place to collect all the offline leads you’re already generating!

Whether it’s for the holidays or any time of the year, these tips can help you acquire and warm prospects in the shadow of CASL.

Need help with list building before the holidays or have questions about CASL? Send Jill Oba an email at jill.oba@hjcnewmedia.com.

You might also be interested in these posts:

Three Must Haves for Your Best Holiday Campaign Ever
Build Your Email List Now
Plan Now for Your End of Year Campaign

posted on Jul 30 No comments yet


President’s Message

The Age of the Smart Phone

Mobile phones are quickly becoming the main interaction point between donors and nonprofit organizations. Who knew so many people would use smartphones? Certainly not the founders of Blackberry. They discounted the rise of the smartphone in the general population 5 years ago. It’s now estimated that their global market share will soon approach a new low of .03%.

That’s enough to focus every nonprofit in Canada and elsewhere on smart phones and engagement. In our groundbreaking study of Next Gen donors in Canada last year, it was found that already, 24% of Gen Y donors make smart phones the main way they interact with charities and 19% of Gen X donors make smart phones the main way they interact with charities.

Take a look at the case study of the Ontario Lung Association  and see how responsive design helped get the word out – and make engagement more successful.

It’s time for all charities to invest in, and properly leverage, smartphones. This isn’t a bandwagon. If you’re not convinced, just look at Blackberry.

posted on Jun 02 No comments yet


An Interactive AND Fully Responsive Microsite: BreathingAsOne.ca

LISTEN TO THAT WHEEZING SOUND. That huffing, puffing, hacking, and crackling is the sound of a country literally gasping for air. Over 2.4 million of us have lung disease, a sobering number that threatens to soar by 50% over the next 30 years.  

In an effort to tackle this issue, the Ontario Lung Association (OLA) has launched a major campaign to raise awareness around lung disease. They first developed offline material that was distributed to local organizations, researchers, hospitals and internal stakeholders in an effort to start the conversation about collaborating to research issues related to lungs.

Following best practices, the campaign is multichannel. OLA worked with hjc to develop a completely responsive campaign microsite with the same look and feel as the offline material. Enter, Breathing As One.

With this site, they’ll be able to reach a greater number of people within their defined audience than they would if they only used one channel. Not only have they taken a key offline element online, the microsite is entirely responsive. It’s pretty impressive, especially when you consider that it’s interactive.

Having a responsive site is more important than ever and will continue to be as more and people use smartphones or tablets. 

BreathingAsOne.ca launched in April at a conference, and was well received at OLA’s exhibitor booth. OLA provided iPads and tablets so that people could experience the microsite and explore it on-site.

As it is, the microsite functions as an information hub and acquisition tool where people can sign up for updates.

Alisha Ecker, Strategic Partnership Manager at OLA, said, “[BreathingAsOne.ca] was a key conversation starter with many potential partners and major donors and will continue to be a driver as we roll out our campaign strategy.

In Phase 2, OLA will work with hjc to build on the initial campaign to reach current and prospective donors. This phase will include additional content pages and opportunities for people to donate to fund this ever-important research.

posted on Jun 02 No comments yet


Your New Benchmarking Tool: Blackbaud Index-Canada

How does your non-profit compare to other organizations in the Canadian charitable sector? If you’re not sure how you measure up, you’re in luck!

Blackbaud recently released a new index in Canada that lets non-profits benchmark their fundraising efforts within their own vertical and across the larger sector.

Compare your fundraising performance with the Blackbaud Index-Canada.

Read More →

posted on Apr 30 2 comments

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