Last week the United Way of Greater Los Angeles (UWGLA) launched their 2012 campaign. This was a great project for our team to work on. Starting this past May, we began meeting with UWGLA staff on all of the possibilities that were before them.
A few days in the R&D labs and we had a few options panned out. Next, we worked with Jeff Millican at Double Vision Inc. to take the ideas and direction we were forging into some rough templates on look and tone. I think he really hit the mark and gave us some great options. Lastly, UWGLA staff made a choice and we were off to the races creating this video, a campaign website and full integration across social media platforms.
We’ve got a more complete version of the story in the works that will show you all the pieces as they came together (but you’ll have to be patient for now)
Here’s the video and I’d like to thank everyone who worked on it to make it spectacular. (see for yourself)
Portnoy Media Group uses the influence of social networks to expand your organization's voice and tell your story. We connect people with your mission and enable your brand to be shared, discovered, and connected. Work with us as we empower your organization to dramatically extend your online presence and increase donations.
It’s the classic story. Band comes together and makes ridiculously funny songs for several years, they create a TV program and it has a couple of great seasons on HBO. They take some time apart and have great success still. Then reform their group and help children by raising money.
The band in question is Flight of the Conchords and they’ve partnered with some kids to write a song for Red Nose Day.
I love it for the simplicity, the naiveté and for the fun it brings.
Fighting a tough battle is what every nonprofit is doing. Laughing and encouraging people while you do it, takes a huge amount of class and it’s the kind of non-profit that inspires and attracts.
Or you could just send out a mailer and tell people how terrible everything is.
Which organization do you want to be?
The first film from ArcLight Cinemas new series of short films debuts this Wednesday. The “Behind the Curtain” series will show the personality and the excellence that ArcLight staff consistently shows in the theater experience.
We can’t wait to share it with you.
The United Way of Greater Los Angeles released the first picture from our shoot last week. We can’t wait to share the whole project with you. This campaign keys on the incredible work that so many volunteers and donors accomplish on a daily basis. The final project should be live in just a few weeks.
Let us know what you think in the comments.
Tuesday I joined up with some great voices on social media at the Social Media for NonProfits Conference at UCLA.
Surprisingly, I talked about The Non-Profit Narrative. Here’s the slides.
Check out the response:
Thank you to all who attended and to the Ritu Sharma and Darian Rodriguez Heymanis for the invite.
Several months ago, I sat in a Andy’s Coffee Shop in Pasadena and talked shop with CJ Casciotta. Andy’s is my favorite diner and it still looks like it did in the 60′s. Plus they shot Mad Men there. It’s a real gem but you don’t have to take my word for it.
I’m not sure when the idea came, it might’ve been why we were talking but then again it could’ve been something we talked about after. All I remember is that after we connected in person and I experienced CJ’s excitement, it was a no brainer to say yes when he asked me to join a project he was working on.
The project was to assemble a group of young bucks, naysayers, up starts, creatives & dreamers to write about the direction of their lives, their creative process and their best advice for peers and those who are coming next.
Check out the contributors
Tyler Merrick :: Project 7
Jason Jaggard :: Spark Good
Promise Tangeman: Promise Tangeman Creative
Nic Lauten :: Krochet Kids
Ashley Smith :: People of the Second Chance
Jessie Simonson :: 31 Bits
Esmail Mawjee :: Active Ride Shop
Brad Montague :: Kid President
Ty Clark :: Kammok
Mariana Iglesias :: Roadtrip Nation
Charlie Matz : Veracity Colab
Scott Overpeck :: Laundry Love
Dan Rossiter :: Camp Design Group
Plus a Portnoy in a pear tree!
“A fantastic collection of valuable insights from a new generation of brand-builders and content creators. An important read for those who are serious about sustaining their idea, company, or organization throughout the 21st century.” - Mike Foster Founder, Plain Joe Studios, People of the Second Chance
I’m fortunate to know several contributors and I’m thrilled to join them in this project. (The above picture is a teaser about my chapter)
After a sold-out program in Silicon Valley, Social Media for Nonprofits is heading to Los Angeles on August 14, featuring an all-star lineup sharing practical tips and tools for leveraging social media for fundraising, marketing & advocacy.
Join me along with Giulia McPherson, CARE; Lee Fox, KooDooz; Lisa Rau, Confluence; Tom Kramer, Fundly; Michael Bellavia, HelpsGood; Stephanie Rudat, Movements.org; Richard Levy, give2gether; and Lauren Winkler, Save a Child’s Heart..
This stellar lineup will provide attendees with concrete insights and takeaways for nonprofits to use social media to advance their cause.
Discounted tickets are available for small nonprofits at $95. For-profit and larger nonprofits can use the discount code “Portnoy” to save $20 off $125 and $175 tickets. Registration includes access to the full conference as well as breakfast, and lunch.
For more information or to sign up, click here
I’ve seen this trailer a few times over the past several months and it’s finally hitting theaters. As soon as I saw it, I knew that would be a great outing for the Portnoy Media team. I’m a huge fan of Friday Morning Movies. Not a lot of people in the theater, it disrupts the day in a very positive way (your team will feel like they are playing hooky, which they are) and leads into the option to take your team to lunch and talk about what you’ve just seen. Don’t plan it too much, let the discussion be organic. Ask a few questions, “What did you find inspiring?” “Can we adapt any of that to our workplace/office?” “What would stop us?”
You’re company is better than recycled content with an overused metaphor.
We’re not a big firm so the idea of bringing in a consultant to help us hone skills of teamwork, trust and open communication would be way beyond our budget. Instead, I try to focus on experiences that help us see each other in different lights, connect us with ideas and behaviors of those who have come before us and been incredibly successful.
And you should do it too! Check out the trailer.
Here’s a few tips to help your team building:
Don’t Be Boring.
When was the last time you thought, “This Powerpoint is so inspiring!”? I’m guessing never. Your team wants to do more than just sit and hear another speech/presentation.
Get out of the office.
They dynamic of your office shifts when you leave the workplace. It humanizes your team. The pecking order adjusts a little and it’s a great way to see leaders rise from your ranks.
Use pictures for inspiration – but don’t pass on the supposed photos from an email. Think bigger, think better. You’re company is better than recycled content with an overused metaphor. Take your team to a movie, a concert, a museum, or the library. There’s a ton of options!
Story, story, story
Imagine what your best office scenario would be. Then think about the activities that you would have. Next, create one of them. Start small – see how your team adjusts. Think about the conversations that your team will have about the day. Will they be inspired or is it just another something in their work life? My guess is that it’ll be the former and that helps your teams identity. Identity = story = brand.
A few suggestions to check out
Beauty is Embarrassing (Obviously!)
Eames: The Architect & the Painter (You can watch the whole thing here for free, Thanks PBS!)
Grab a favorite audio book and make it required listening, then talk about it over lunch (that you buy!) A few of my favorites are Lead the Field or The Art of Exceptional Living – I have to thank Josh Kaufman for the introduction to such great works.
Remember, if it seems odd that’s ok. You don’t want a “normal” team. Normal equals boring and a boring team produces boring results.
So start today and get your team jazzed!
Tonights the big night and I’ll bet you know about it. You’ve been hearing all about it for weeks and weeks. Your friends have been mentioning it, you’ve seen ads, you’ve seen clips, you’ve seen behind the scenes footage and it all culminates tonight!
The Dark Knight Rises debuts at Midnight.
“Gotham, take control… take control of your city. Behold, the instrument of your liberation! Identify yourself to the world!”
This campaign has been everywhere and I’m sure that the movie is going to be enjoyable. The series has definitely been amazing and this is the final chapter. We want to see how things end up for the Caped Crusader, Commissioner Gordon, Alfred and if Gotham City survives.
This movie is going to be a blockbuster. Everything about it, the ads, the reviews, everything says success. It’s like the subtext of all the advertising is telling us, “You don’t want to miss out”.
So what can we learn from this movie and the Dark Knight Trilogy as you’re prepping your team for a huge fourth quarter campaign? Here’s a few things we can learn from Christopher Nolan and the ethos of heroes.
Let’s think of the first two movies as an event. Each event had a marketing campaign around it. If you can remember the campaigns at all they grew with each installment. Each film was bigger than the last – there has been an obvious tension and it grows with each piece of the trilogy. The villains have been getting bigger an badder. First it was Liam Neeson as R’as al Ghul then Heath Ledger as the chaotic Joker and finally Tom Hardy as the diabolical Bane.
Each obstacle that our hero has to overcome makes Batman better. Just like each campaign that your cause completes makes your organization better known. And a better known cause doesn’t struggle to raise funds. The only way we know that the hero is quality is by the battles their involved in. The same goes for your organization – each campaign provides subtext for who you are, the people that make up your organization and the war that you’re waging.
Become the Hero
Batman is a hero. I bet your organization is too. The thing about Batman since his Inception (See what I did there?) in Detective Comics #27 in 1939 is that he’s morphed over time. Think about any organization that’s been around since before World War II. I bet that organization doesn’t look the same, I’m sure at the core, they are still fulfilling their mandate but the logos and how that organization functions (their modes and strategies) is very different.
Over the years we’ve seen Batman start as a detective with a gun and seen him morph to a tech leaning genius, the rugged older man ready to end things in The Dark Knight Returns and a futuristic hero in Batman Beyond. For each of these stories in the ethos of Batman he’s surrounded himself with different sidekicks and helpers. These characters help us get to know Batman because they usually ask the questions we’re wondering. The writer knows we’re going to have questions but having our hero prattle on with massive exposition isn’t helpful and can be viewed as condescending to the audience, so the side characters give us the info.
Your organization can learn from this. Make sure that there are ways for your story to answer questions along the way. One mode might be informal monthly updates or you could interview a donor. Anticipate that there will be questions – just because you’re dealing with this same topic day in and day out doesn’t mean it’s as obvious to your audience.
Show the Villain
Bane is part of the new breed of villain. Not only is he incredibly smart (Eidetic memory, can speak 8 languages and is well versed in science) but he’s incredibly powerful (grew up in prison, overthrew cartels) and super strong.
I’m quite sure that Christopher Nolan will take his time showing us just how terrible Bane is. Showing us in action and words of many of the main characters to help fill in the details. In this last, epic fight for Gotham City, Batman will have to rise to the occasion.
What about your villain? How is your fourth quarter campaign going to define your fight. How will you report back to show how things are going? How will build on your summer/fall campaign to propel you into the holiday season? Spend some time showing your cause in the light of your foe. Will those families get clean water? Will malaria be wiped out? Help your audience understand what your up against.
Note: If you’re not doing great this year, that’s ok. Why? Because we love an underdog. Tell us about the trouble and ask for our help. If you’ve been bringing us along with you on this journey, it only makes sense that we help you when you need it.
Don’t Play By the Rules
The final movie in any trilogy is like a retelling of the first story but the ante is raised so high. Final films like Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade or Back to the Future III are bigger versions of the first films in their respective trilogies. The each have a piece we’re familiar with (Holy relics/ a story largely in one time continuum) but they also throw us for a loop. In Indiana Jones we learn of the father/son dynamic that really shaped Harrison Fords character into what he is. And in Back to the Future III, we see Emmett Brown as part of a love story and as much more as the hero of the story.
Dark Knight Rises will do the same thing. It will show us about the transformation of the hero. The same transformation that made Bruce Wayne into Batman will now transform him into something new/something more. The first movie was all about a coming of age. This will be about how he remains. Plus they throw in Catwoman and a possible Robin. Now there’s a Batwing (the batplane) and general chaos through this film.
And now for your organization – Call on all of the things that have made you a great organization. Don’t do the same old, same old. Give your audience something that they can know this is distinctly your cause but it’s just more. Call a blitz, kick on third down, and whatever you do, make sure you’re not obvious.
Let me encourage you to see this movie and picture your organization as Batman. Think about what he’s doing the whole time. What subtext is Nolan showing us as an audience? How does Nolan keep us tumbling down the rabbit hole?
Then ask yourself this:
What do you have planned for this fall? Are you allowing your audience opportunities to interact and insert themselves into your campaign?
A few years ago I got a chance to tour Georgia Aquarium. It wasn’t the normal tour, it was billed as the behind the scenes. It was twice the price of the standard tour and it was also personal. A tour guide gathered our small group of 6 and we immediately traveled through doors that said “Employees only beyond this point”. I knew then that we were in for some fun. We were off to see the wizard! We had the golden ticket and were hopeful for a glimpse of Willy Wonka.
The Georgia Aquarium is the largest in the world, (Over 6.3 Million gallons of water) so they know their stuff. We saw how they filter the water, how often they filter it, fish operating rooms, penguin and otter physical therapy rooms and then to the top of the tanks to see the trainers feed their whale sharks. It was amazing and inspiring and we got to hear their passion for helping a lot of people experience the wonders of the ocean. We also got to hear about the problems of pollution that plague our oceans.
The signage reinforced what the tour guide was telling me in person.
There was also signage everywhere. At first I thought it was warnings for employee safety but soon realized that was additional info for me and other people on the tour. The signage reinforced what the tour guide was telling me in person. By the time it was over I had met “the wizard” and loved the place even more.
Recently I had a phone conversation with Chris Girardi. He’s a stellar guy working with Young Life in Washington D.C. and he’s responsible to raise money, engage donors, plus run the programs. He’s got the whole enchilada! We talked about a range of options on how to best engage his donors. Since Chris isn’t a medium or large size non-profit, he’s got to use the advantages that he has. He’s nimble and can execute quickly.
But I’m getting ahead of myself… those are tactics. We need to talk strategy. Here’s a few thoughts on how you can engage.
Engagement = $$$ + Time
This is essentially the same for all organizations. Those small, medium, large and SUPER/MEGA/DUPER – you get the point.
How you’re asking your donors is important. But don’t lead with an ask. There is a lot of info out there about, “Don’t be afraid of the ASK” and I agree, don’t be afraid of asking audiences and your donors for money but don’t lead with it.
Take me on a journey, share with me why you’re doing this work. Tell me about the difference it’s made. Show me the progress and please, please let me know the difficulties. (That’s a story!!)
Then ask me for involvement – You’re odds are much greater of getting to YES!
Events are one offs
I’ve been at meetings with organizations that have spent 60K (yes, $60,000) on a 2 hour luncheon. When it ended, the room cleared faster than Usain Bolt in the 100 meters. Did this non-profit help themselves by spending their money this way? That’s a big fat NO. What’s worse is that this luncheon was a Thank You to their donors. With results like that, I doubt anyone felt thanked or appreciated by being bored out of their mind.
Smaller can be better
I hear this all the time, “But Dan, we’re not a big organization. We can’t just spend money like crazy!” and I know it’s true. Here’s a little secret, large non-profits are trying to figure out ways to be more personal. But as a small to mid-size non-profit or NGO you don’t have to work on it.
What Can You Do?
Give them an experience. Give your donors and volunteers an opportunity to tell their story by letting them put words to their experience. They’re telling your story and it’s stronger with their words.
Here’s a great example from Adidas. Even as we watch the commercial we see and somewhat experience all the emotions of meeting David Beckham.