January was the best month of sales for The Non-Profit Narrative and all I can say is Thank You!
I’ve so appreciated the articles and recommendations from organizations and individuals talking about the book and helping non-profits tell better stories.
There’s a lot to sample – so check it out.
Or grab the audio version
(You can download these tracks for FREE!)
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Launched today is a story about Oxfam America’s latest campaign and I’m quoted in the story. A few weeks ago, I talked with Lindsay Hebert about the campaign. In the article I say some pretty strong things about Oxfam.
“I don’t know that this is making people ask questions. They’re telling me a fact, they’re not telling me part of a fact that makes me want to know more. I want to give you enough information that you’re asking questions, that you’re going to get a lean in.”
While I think it’s important to create great creative campaigns I think it’s also important not to throw stones at a bunch of people trying to help solve a world problem – that doesn’t help anything or anyone.
Truth is, I’m quoted correctly but I’d like to clarify or add to the story.
Oxfam’s latest campaign is built on a great premise – Our previous international views need to be edited and here are some examples of progress.
Educating your audience is a complex job. Turning a ship for a new heading or adjusting your course is also a tough, especially when that ship has raised millions and million for international relief.
In my interview, I questioned the use of billboards and how effective they would be to connect with donors and interested parties for the crucial “What’s next?” How would a few statements engage? My hope is that there would be some multi media or a short film. This short could do more in 60 seconds than 100 billboards.
The article really drives home the point of story as the basis for connection. It’s crucial for Non-profits, especially international nonprofits and NGO’s to tap into the common humanity that we share on both sides of the donation. Nonprofits have the best stories to tell and billboards don’t cut it alone. My suggestion would be to use billboards, bus panels and large posters as the first of many steps in a campaign. All of these pieces encouraging people to connect with them online, watch a short film, follow on Twitter, etc.
If you’re in DC, check out the billboards or visit the Oxfam America website and let me know what you think.
This is a big week.
It’s the pause before the plunge. This Sunday is Superbowl 47 and it really sets up a whole year of advertising and media.
Starting tomorrow the commercials will be leaked. The goal being a good laugh and for people to stop the party this weekend with the encouragement, “I saw this already, it’s hilarious, you’ve gotta see it!”
I think Volkswagen got started even earlier and so did M&M’s
So what’s going to make a great commercial?
For the VW ad, it’s that cubicle life/regular work world is terrible.
For M&M’s, it’s that some people can’t control themselves around chocolate.
Both solutions will keep their brand top of mind and that is the essence of connective storytelling.
Also on the docket for Sunday’s game are movie trailers.
I know we’ll be seeing the first trailer in the Fast in the Furious series, “Fast 6″. Plus I fully expect to see the first trailer from:
- The Wolverine
- Thor: The Dark World
- Hangover 3
- Despicable Me 2
We should also see installments from:
- Iron Man 3
- GI Joe: Retaliation
- A Good Day to Die Hard
- Star Trek Into Darkness
- Man of Steel (It doesn’t get more America than the Superbowl)
On Sunday which is it, the game or the commercials?
What commercials are you looking forward to?
It occurred to me that we hadn’t posted any of the sweet audio goodness from Novembers release of The Non-Profit Narrative in audio format.
So here’s the Overview, and the Intro.
Enjoy! (You can download these tracks for FREE!)
It’s possible you missed it. It might’ve slipped right under your nose. In between the trouncing of Notre Dame at the hands of Alabama last night- an incredible ad launched.
The ad was for Monsters University – the upcoming prequel to Monsters Inc.
It’s a great melding of buzzworthy content and seamless hat tips and winks to the audience. It’s brilliant!
I had been tricked, hoodwinked even bamboozled! But I wasn’t mad, instead I loved it all the more.
Notice the dynamic, positive message wrapped in fun!
Remember, one of the crucial rules in storytelling is to: Give your audience what they want but not the way they want it.
What are some ways your next campaign can mimic current lines of communication and then reveal a fun surprise?
PS. Check out the photo realistic preview of The Blue Umbrella – The short that open’s in front of Monsters University
It’s December and I’d like to take a moment and recap all that happened this year
2012 started with a bang! We launched The Non-Profit Narrative. On location with Jones Coffee and complete with a photo booth. And thanks to so many of you, the book has been a real success. Thank you for buying it, talking about it and for your reviews!
This year we continued our work with The United Way of Greater Los Angeles. Last year we worked together to revamp their digital communications and launched a complete rebrand of their website in just 9 days. It wasn’t a lot of sleep but it was a whole lot of good.
First up, we launched a new site for their Home for Good initiative.
This group of business leaders, state officials, faith communities and non-profit partners are moving people off the street and into permanent supportive housing.
Over the summer it was all about community heroes.
Together, the team from United Way, Double Vision Inc and Portnoy Media Group all worked together to build a profile for a campaign that was dynamic, engaging and a whole lot of fun.
This was a great integration of print and digital, of traditional and new media to create this campaign.
It was incredible to see top executives from LA’s largest corporations getting involved with the campaign and making it their own.
This year we also got to work with Nnamdi Asomugha and created a PSA about the work that he cares about with the children of LA.
We also provided media and the stage production at this years Homewalk. Over 10,000 angelinos raising money for the homeless it was great! With attendees like Mark Valley from Body of Proof and Jon Huertes from Castle – Homewalk was a star studded community event!
We coordinated cameras, created the production visuals and covered the event. Homewalk is a great event that helps a lot of people but it doesn’t hurt when Kobe Bryant is the honorary chairman.
In the late summer and fall we partnered with ArcLight Cinemas, incidentally my favorite place to see a movie in the country and produced the Behind the Curtain Series.
First we met Frank an incredible man who loves film and loves to set the stage for the best possible movie going experience.
Next we met the actual man behind the curtain, the director of projection and sound Mr. John Sittig. His decades of knowledge and work with the Hollywood studios makes him a legend! My jaw dropped more than a few times at the stories he told.
This year ended with a big bang of stellar proportions. We worked with The SETI Institute and were able to spend some time talking with TED prize winner Dr. Jill Tarter. and Founder of the institute Dr. Frank Drake.
We worked together on The Communicate campaign
It was a really full and fun year and I can’t be more thankful for all the challenges and the great people that have helped make all of this amazing work happen.
For everyone here at Portnoy Media, I’m Dan Portnoy Be safe.
Communicating your message is a tricky thing. When campaigns are created, assumptions are made. We’d like to have an audience move this way so we’ll show them that.
A few months back I had the chance to hear Pete Docter give a talk on storytelling and the use of visuals. The Oscar winner had a lot of great info that informed us on the world of Pixar and the environment that was created. The way that John Lasseter, Brad Bird, Andrew Stanton and others would challenge each other for the best possible choice on each piece of the story.
One of the ways that they push each other is to take away the dialog and see if all the visuals reinforce the message that they’re trying to communicate.
It’s now old hat to talk about the first 40 minutes on stories like Wall-E or Tom Hanks’ depiction of being lost on an island alone in Castaway. But I like to use options like this to challenge me in my storyboarding process. Also, just about any animated short these days doesn’t have dialog. I’m sure it’s a financial choice just as much anything else but it’s wonderful to see what’s communicated just from action, body language and expression.
Below is the story of Carl and Ellie. I know what’s coming and yet it still chokes me up. – all without the use of words. We’re shown a montage of 60+ years of their lives and we feel Carl’s loss.
Sadly, the amount of words used in a campaign tend to make people feel better, especially in committee. This has to be resisted. The strongest work makes every word beg for it’s existence. The best stories show cause, are simple in nature and tap into a truth about life. Next time, a an exercise with your team, try your campaign without words and see what happens. I can bet you’ll be happy with the outcome.
How are you using words in your campaigns?
“Whether you download this book onto your e-reader or flip through the pages of the paperback version, this is a great read for anyone in the nonprofit sector. As many of us know, engaging content is the key to attracting people and dollars toward our missions. Yet so much of our sector is mired in mundane philanthropy-speak that we have forgotten the importance of creating a compelling, heroic narrative to describe our work. Applying the idea that all organizations have great stories to tell, Dan Portnoy encourages nonprofits to interpret fundraising and engagement through the perspective of storytelling.”
Also on the list:
This summer I went Kickstarter/Indie GoGo crazy and backed a lot of projects. I couldn’t help myself. So many connections were making great cases why they needed to be funded.
I really dig the crowd funding at Kickstarter/Indie GoGo because I can feel like a venture capitalist without providing thousands, a small donation of at least $25 usually allows me to get the inside track on upcoming creative work.
In the last 2 weeks I’ve received 2 albums that I backed this summer. Each project was wildly different (one was a singer/songwriter personal project and the other was a big bad rock album) but both were very interesting to me, so I backed them.
I’d like to talk about service after the sale.
Each one of us that invested in the project joined a tribe. We were causally giving to see the fulfillment of a project happen. This could also lead to other successes in the future, but at a minimum it was to see the completion of the project and receive our perks in return. Each project creator has an opportunity to tell the story of the project, the story of where they are creatively or even their own story. It’s not hard to share a story, but you just need to be mindful that that’s what happening.
I got to witness the magic of the moment and it was beautiful.
Due to my investment each artist had sent me an email or given me a call for some of my perks. One was stiff and obligatory, the other was excited and passion filled. The passion in our interaction had to due with a thankfulness to complete a dream or have the ability to pursue happiness in their art. I got to witness the magic of the moment and it was beautiful.
This week, each band sent me an email with the finished album. One was a great HTML email that was personally addressed (It said, “Dear Dan”) and the other was a generic, text only email. Both of these interactions fulfilled what they said they would do.
Here are some key lessons for companies and organizations in these interactions.
- Anticipate By thinking through the interactions that they’d have with each donor/investor – they were able to communicate in a way that is friendly and engaging. Conversely, by walking through the motions, the other group has done nothing to engender further interaction, positive feelings or access to my network of other potential donors and investors. It’s in your best interest to take a few moment and think about that interaction. Call it sales process, call it donor care but make sure you DO IT!
- Bring passion to the interaction. Do you want this to happen or not? If yes, then make sure I know. Be kind, be energetic and give credit to your donor/investor.
- Use inclusive language. Teach investment bought a seat in the boat of adventure on this project. As the captain, conductor and host of this adventure make sure you’re using a lot of “we” and together”. We want to belong to something and that belonging is a deep well of goodness.
- What’s next? Help them know what’s on the horizon. Is there a next project? A tour? Something I can share with my network about what I’ve been involved in? Gain access to your investors network and a warm introduction to hundreds of possible additional donors/investors. You’re making them look good and they’ll make you look good.
Go forth and engage – it’s worth it!