Need Help with Video Production?

June 2, 2014

Help with video, video production tips from Ken Okel, Mastering video, how do I use video to help my business, camera tipsIf you’re looking to promote your nonprofit with video, then you’ll want to visit Ken Okel’s new website, Help with Video.

The video revolution is underway and you can be a part of it. Whether you need some on-camera coaching, editing/production assistance, or just some good advice, Ken Okel is committed to giving you the right solution.

It’s okay if you don’t know where to get started, what you need to buy, or how to appear less like a robot on camera. Ken is here to help. A new tip comes out every week. You can also browse the equipment page for ideas about the best gear for your needs and your budget.

Armed with the right information, you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish. Are you ready for people to wonder how you got so good and how things look so professional?


Don’t Overpay for Marketing – Social Media Question

April 16, 2014

Ken Okel, Stuck on Yellow, Florida Leadership speaker Miami OrlandoBefore you hire someone to help with your social media, ask this question: How have you kept up with the recent changes to (insert the name of the social media platform)?

Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and other social media sites are constantly changing. You want to hire someone who has an ongoing commitment to keeping current. Put their knowledge to the test. Have them explain the changes. The response should help define your selection criteria. It’s also a good chance to see how well the person can explain things to those who may not be experts.

Your potential marketing partner should also have different strategies for different social media platforms. What works on Twitter, may not work as effectively on Facebook.


Don’t Overpay for Marketing – Family, Friends, and Donors

March 3, 2014

Ken Okel, Stuck on Yellow, Florida Leadership speaker Miami Orlando
If you are going to hire someone’s family or friends, you need to make sure that the expectations and deliverables are clearly understood. These should not be shared on a cocktail napkin or a post-it note. You need to treat it like an official transaction.

If you hire a family member or a friend, are you willing to fire that person if things go poorly?

You also need to be very careful of donors or board members who recommend their family or friends. If that person isn’t up to the task and the results are poor, then it can be very uncomfortable explaining this to one of your stakeholders.


Don’t Overpay for Marketing – Define Everything

February 16, 2014

Ken Okel, Stuck on Yellow, Florida Leadership speaker Miami OrlandoI understand handshake agreements but it’s better to get everything in writing. Make sure your project has a clear timeline. What will happen if a deadline is missed? This street needs to go both ways because it’s not always the company that’s dragging its feet. Nonprofits can be notoriously bad at allowing endless discussions to delay decisions.

Make sure there is a clear understanding about how many revisions can be made to the project. Does one side consider a revision to be fixing a typo while the other believes it means starting from scratch?

Will your assignment, like a a website, be based on a template? There’s nothing wrong with using something that’s been successful in the past. The downside is that when you use a template, it looks like everyone else’s website. Keep in mind that original work costs more.

In all of these scenarios, don’t worry about being demanding. You represent your stakeholders and they trust that you’ll make a smart investment. Take that responsibility seriously.


Don’t Overpay for Nonprofit Marketing: You Pay for Discounts

February 6, 2014

Ken Okel, Stuck on Yellow, Florida Leadership speaker Miami OrlandoSome marketing firms will offers special rates for nonprofits. Saving a few dollars can be very enticing. In many cases, firms do this out of the goodness of their hearts. Bless them.

Then there are the companies that use nonprofit business as a way to fill in the gaps when they’re not otherwise making money from full fee clients. You’re seen as a cheap date and not as a relationship.

The danger is that you are not their top priority. If a full fee job comes along, work on your project will likely be put on hold. You won’t be told this. You’ll just wonder why the work hasn’t been done and why your emails aren’t being returned in a timely fashion.

If you complain, then you’re told, “Hey, you’re getting the work done for less.” This is not an acceptable response.

If you agree to a discount, you need to make sure that your project will be a priority. Otherwise the discount will be used as an excuse for not treating your work with the importance that it deserves.

Paying full fee may spare you from some headaches.


Don’t Overpay for Nonprofit Marketing: Who Does the Work

January 27, 2014

Ken Okel, Stuck on Yellow, Florida Leadership speaker Miami OrlandoWho Does the Work?

Let’s say that you meet with a firm to discuss the creation of a video or a website. You will likely be directed to an impressive online portfolio. While you may be dazzled by what you see, I want you to resist the urge to immediately sign on the dotted line.

Why? Because sometimes you can be the victim of a bait and switch. The portfolio may represent the output of a seasoned veteran, perhaps the owner of the firm. It’s dazzling.

But that person may not be doing the work on your project. It may be passed down to someone with zero experience or someone’s whose work would never be featured in a portfolio.

While experience doesn’t always equal excellence, you should have an opportunity to see the talent level of the person who will be working on your project. Otherwise, you may pay top dollar for beginner work.

In the coming posts, we’ll discuss more things you need to know. If you want to consume the whole article now, click here.


Don’t Overpay for Nonprofit Marketing: Introduction

January 22, 2014

Ken Okel, Stuck on Yellow, Florida Leadership speaker Miami OrlandoDoes your nonprofit need outside help with its marketing needs? It can be a smart decision to bring in a level of expertise that doesn’t exist inside of your organization. After all, you do great work. Why not take extra steps to make sure your community knows who you are, what you do, and why you need support.

It’s a good, tactical move as you understand that the competition for dollars is increasing and you need to spend more money on development and outreach.

As someone who has worked for nonprofits, served as a board member, and been paid as a marketing consultant, I understand the passion you feel for your cause. The problem is that while you’re really good at your mission, you may not know much about marketing. And that can leave you vulnerable to some sneaky marketing tactics.

These are problems that can cost you a lot of money, leave you frustrated, and make you swear off ever getting marketing assistance in the future. My goal is to empower you, so you’ll get the greatest return for your investment on advertising, promotion, web design, photography, and video services.

It’s like buying a car. To some vendors, you look like an excited teenager on a used car lot. The more knowledge you have, the more money you’ll save or avoid spending on things you don’t need. Having this information protects you from those who are greedy and confirms the quality of those who are offering you a good product at a fair price.

In the coming posts, we’ll discuss the various things you need to know. If you want to consume the whole article now, click here.


Happy Holidays…Now Get Started

December 23, 2012

Tux photos_00000There’s not a better time to bring your nonprofit into the world of social media. Make a commitment now to what you can realistically accomplish in 2013.

If you need help, reach out for it. We all know that plans are worth very little if they just collect dust.

My 2013 will see me putting out two books, one of which will lay out a social media blueprint for nonprofits. Stay tuned!


Fundraising the Smart Way – Part 2

August 20, 2012

I’m collaborating with Ellen Bristol of The Leaky Bucket Nonprofit Blog on a series of reports on nonprofits and social media. Ellen focuses on how nonprofits can manage and improve their fundraising performance, emphasizing strategic management, metrics, benchmarks and processes.

Why? Because as she says, too many nonprofits ignore the strategic stuff and focus on tactics. And when they do, fundraising suffers. Social media seems like a tactical issue, but when you look at it strategically, it can boost your fundraising performance in meaningful ways.

In today’s post, Ellen has added her thoughts to the end of each section, which I’ve put into italics.


Using Social Media Right, Part 2

4. Who Does the Work? Many nonprofits assign their social-media work to younger employees, assuming that since “young people” are more likely to use social media more than the rest of the staff, they’re “perfect” for the job. But experience may not equal expertise. Can the staffer oversee a multigenerational marketing and branding effort to increase awareness of your organization and raise money?Maybe your social media should be handled by a team including someone for content and someone else to post and link.

Ellen’s comment: Social-media tools may be easy to learn, but knowing how to use them doesn’t deliver the message. Make sure your social-media messages help to fulfill your fundraising strategy: are you attracting the right funders and getting the results you want.

5. Use Your Brochure and Other Existing Materials. Don’t reinvent the wheel when creating content. If you have good brochures or annual reports, why not share the information through other formats? Your supporters aren’t memorizing the copy, after all.

Take information from brochures or reports and break it down into bite-sized chunks. I’ve seen organizations get at least ten posts from one brochure.

Ellen’s comment: Several short posts that deliver related messages are more effective and drive a larger following, than the occasional huge post. Create a conversation with followers.

6. Be Quick. In the past you could wait weeks before you shared photos from an event in a newsletter. With social media, audiences expect it almost instantaneously. If you have an event, get some or all of your pictures posted within 24 hours. That may not be possible if you use a professional photographer; save those shots for the annual report and make sure someone on staff is taking candid shots as well. The shots may not be as nice but they can serve as a good appetizer for your post event coverage and appeals. Make sure that you tell people at the event where and when they’ll be able to find the photos.

You may also need to shift your view of perfection. Perfection is a worthy goal but it takes a long time. “Good” takes a lot less time.

Imagine that your nonprofit’s focus or main issue is being covered in the national news. You need to comment on it immediately and use it to introduce your organization to the community or reinforce your image. To execute, you need a streamlined approval process. This is not the time to forward an idea to a dozen people for approval. Think of the media coverage as your Super Bowl; you have to get your Super Bowl advertisement out as soon as possible.

Ellen’s comment: In fundraising, “getting it done” is often better than “getting it perfect.” People can even use “getting it perfect” as a way to delay doing the fundraising task at all. Set up and simplify your approval process ahead of time. Master the art of writing succinct copy quickly. These are strategic issues!

7. Share a Vision

Most people don’t know what you do or how you do it. They know you do good work but that’s about it. Take them into your world and let them feel your passion for your cause. People love “behind the scenes” features, where you get to find out how the magic is made. So profile some of your employees. How did they come to your organization? Tell us about the person who answers your phone. Have four or five questions that you ask each employee. Ditto for clients, donors and board members.

Make sure your employees, volunteers, and board members follow your posts. It’s not a bad idea to give them a fun quiz to make sure they are. They are your chief ambassadors, so they need to know what’s happening in your organization.

Engage your followers with questions and ask them to respond. Studies have found that only a very small percentage will likely respond but it’s important to make sure you’re having a dialogue and not a sermon.

Ellen’s comment: Not only does this tip help you build your following, it helps you and your insiders appreciate the true mission and impact of your nonprofit!


Fundraising the SMART Way: Using Social Media Right, Part 1

June 22, 2012

I’m collaborating with Ellen Bristol of The Leaky Bucket Nonprofit Blog on a series of reports on nonprofits and social media. Ellen focuses on how nonprofits can manage and improve their fundraising performance, emphasizing strategic management, metrics, benchmarks and processes.

Why? Because as she says, too many nonprofits ignore the strategic stuff and focus on tactics. And when they do, fundraising suffers. Social media seems like a tactical issue, but when you look at it strategically, it can boost your fundraising performance in meaningful ways.

In today’s post, Ellen has added her thoughts to the end of each section, which I’ve put into italics.


Using Social Media Right, Part 1

Social media can no longer be considered a fad or something only kids use. It’s been embraced by big business as a powerful way to connect with audiences. Your nonprofit needs to be part of this movement.

The danger is that you’ll jump in the pool without learning how to swim first, become frustrated, and swear off social media forever. Let’s make sure that tumbleweed won’t soon be rolling through your Facebook, YouTube and Twitter accounts. Follow these tips to maximize your investment in online marketing:

Ellen’s comment: If you’re not clear about your mission, your ideal funders, and the metrics you use for managing fundraising performance, your Social Media won’t build the following you want.

1. Don’t Expect Too Much, Too Soon. Social media is not a bright, shiny object that will instantly solve all of your problems. It is a cost effective way to build ongoing relationships with donors and prospects. Make a long term commitment to explore and use the various social media platforms. See what works and adjust your strategy accordingly. It’s hard to predict what may resonate with your audience, so don’t become frustrated if one appeal doesn’t work very well. Try something else.

While social media can lead to revenue (either directly or indirectly), it’s more like a slot machine than a weekly paycheck. Don’t let every post be an “ask.” Constantly begging people for money is a turnoff. Only one out of a dozen posts should have any mention of fundraising.

When you do have an appeal, focus it strictly on a specific program or issue. Don’t just say, “Give us money. We’ll do good stuff with it.” That’s something any nonprofit can say.

Ellen’s comment: It takes time to build a following and create a brand. Social Media will help you tell your story, your clients’ success stories, testimonials, musings, history, and so on. That stuff drives the motivation to give.

2. Be Consistent. Before you post anything, map out a schedule for social media interaction. Making a commitment doesn’t mean that it can’t be changed later but you need to have a plan. You don’t have to post something every day. It’s more important to make sure that your posts are informative to your followers. So when your posts appear, people know you’re worth reading.

You may also want to consider having a theme for your posts. Maybe, it’s something like, “Fact Friday” or “Snapshot Tuesday.” The idea is to train your readers to expect some predictable good content.

Ellen’s comment: Inconsistent marketing leads to inconsistent performance. It’s tough to build a following, but easy to lose one.

nonprofit fundraising, connect with your donors3. Think Visual. It can be tempting to use a lot of words in your updates. Resist the urge. People like to scan social media sites rather than do extensive reading. That’s why pictures can be so valuable to your online campaign. Find a good picture that represents your organization’s mission, or take good pictures of your clients, activities or events. Add a caption to it if you have photo editing software or just put the caption in the social media site’s update window.

This is your chance to be creative and conversational. You could say something like, “This is why we don’t mind working late,” or “Challenging times never go on vacation.” The goal is to stop people and make them think.

Pictures can be unusual as well. For instance, can a weekly donation of a small amount of money (like 96 cents = $50/year) make a difference to your nonprofit? Lay out the money and take a picture of it. You get extra credit if you can put the coins in a creative shape.

Ellen’s comment: Your case for support is always stronger when you tell your story, stronger still when you SHOW it. That’s how to build relationships with supporters, donors and clients.