Get Creative with QR Codes – and Use Them on Mobile Websites

QR (quick response) codes deliver data fast.  Like mine on this page, they can be scanned with a smart phone and take a potential buyer directly from a product on the shelf to a website with information about awards, prices, and more – and do this lickety-split – and be used by a nonprofit in a variety of ways.

These black-and-white, square-shaped codes were developed in1994 by Denso-Wave, a Japanese company.  They deliver a lot of information: URLs, videos, pictures, and more.

And they can track and measure ROI for direct mail and email campaigns.

How can nonprofits use them?

  • Include one on a flier and have the code link to a campaign and call to action.
  • If you host a conference attended by hundreds of people, use them to deliver information about speakers and sessions.
  • For mobile websites, Heather Mansfield of nonprofitorgs.com lists 22 ways nonprofits can incorporate QR codes.

Wonder what the QR code would look like for your organization?  Click here to find out.

Want more Customers? Give Something away for Free

Business owners make money by selling milk, their legal advice, fixing transmissions, filling cavities.  That’s how we can afford to pay the mortgage, fill our gas tank and pay our dog’s vet bill.

Giving something away for free may seem counterintuitive – or even risky.

Yet in today’s market, those who provide something for free do best.

Mike Essex, in a great blog for the Social Media Examiner, wrote about this very topic.  Basically, if you want to market your company with social media – and who can afford not to? – giving something away for free should be an integral component of your marketing plan.

TOMS Shoes is a great example.  For every pair of shoes a customer purchases, TOMS Shoes gives one pair to a child in need.

The company’s home page has a link to a story about Daniel Cosar, an eight-year-old from Peru who roamed the rough terrain shoeless until he received a gift from TOMS Shoes.  You can see his picture, follow his story, and know that when you buy a pair of TOMS Shoes, another child will be properly clad.

The company also updates its shoe distribution efforts daily on Facebook.  When I checked its page, there was a picture of a classroom of youth without shoes or socks and a note from a teacher explaining that she requires her students to spend one day without shoes to understand the circumstances under which too many children live.

TOMS Shoes, in turn, gains allegiance and builds its brand while promoting a social cause benefitting the poor.

What could be a better business model?

Jason Saul’s 7 Rules to Sell Impact

I attended an Association of Fundraising Professionals webinar the other day and heard Jason Saul of Mission Measurement and author of The End of Fundraising, Social Innovation, Inc., and Benchmarking for Nonprofits, speak authoritatively on the seven keys laws of selling impact.

Saul believes that the old method of fundraising – applying for government grants, begging, conducting acquisition mailings, etc.  – is dead.

Instead, community benefit organizations (CBOs) need to think more like businesses, think of their donors as investors, and measure and sell their impact.

I think he’s right.

Here are Saul’s seven rules (and my translations):

  1. Use the front door.  Translation:  CBOs too often look for a back door to a “wealthy” donor and then extend an open hand.  Stand tall.  Your programs are improving the community and investors need to know this.
  2. Use value pricing.  Translation:  Don’t sell yourself short.  Measure your impact and determine its worth.
  3. Know your customers.  Translation:  Don’t speak in nonprofit-speak or use acronyms that will be meaningless to your potential investors.  Convey your message in terms your donors will relate to and understand.
  4. Sell painkillers, not vitamins.  Translation:  Sell the real goods.  Your impacts aren’t the number of coats you distributed; they are the number of people no longer living on the streets.
  5. Sell outcomes, not programs.  Translation:  Talk about the benefits that flow from your programs.
  6. Don’t oversell.  Translation:  Know when to stop talking and just listen.
  7. Don’t waste time on idiosyncratic funders.  Translation:  Don’t jump through 20 hoops for $5,000.  You can use that time more constructively to raise more money elsewhere.

I’d love to hear your reaction so please comment!

How to Keep Your Chatter on Twitter Private

Since Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) sent pictures of himself via Twitter, some people have been wondering, “Have I sent messages – innocent notes such as ‘thanks for retweeting me!’— that weren’t meant for all my followers to see?”

There have been several blogs on this topic – and not all of them have been clear.

Even in the comments to the blogs, there are corrections directed to the blogger and others.  Who has time to sort this out, right?

I did.  And here’s what I know thanks to Twitter’s Help Center.

Sending messages

Send a message (think of it as an email) to one of your followers by taking these steps (Twitter’s official instructions):

  1. Log in to your Twitter account.
  2. Click the “Messages” button on the top menu bar of your page.
  3. You’ll land on a page showing your private messages history.  Click the “New Message” button, highlighted below.  Click to send a new message.
  4. In the pop-up box, type the name or username of the person you wish to send to.
  5. Enter the message you wish to privately send, and click “Send.”

Note: You may only send a direct message to your followers.

How to stay out of trouble

If you hit the reply button on a tweet from one of your followers, everyone will see it.

Have Fun with Social Media without Feeling Overwhelmed

When you’re new to social media, it can appear overwhelming. Take it from me, it doesn’t have to be.

In fact, it’s fun!

The key to enjoying social media is to join each network one-by-one. Don’t sign up for Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter in the same day – or even in the same week.

And don’t get confused by posts that begin with: “10 Blogging Blunders to Avoid” or “5 Worst Twists to Twitter.” These aren’t always helpful.

Pick one social media network, such as Facebook. Sign up for it, upload your photo, and include your favorite hobbies, sports, and movies. Show your friends another side of yourself.

On the upper-left-hand corner, click on account settings and check it over. Is everything right? If so, close that window and click on privacy settings. Now make your Facebook profile as secure or open as you want it to be.

Then look for friends!

Spend a few weeks on Facebook. Or a month or two. You may want to join a Facebook group and interact with people who share your passions or you might want to experiment with the various apps.

Get to know Facebook, comment on your friend’s posts, and relax.

Then when you’re feeling secure, venture into a new social network.

Isn’t that easy?

Let me know how it goes for you.