March 24, 2013

Daily Write: Lunch Break

“I wish they’d make these packages a little smaller,” a thin voice said. “This one is a lot of money and I don’t think I can eat everything before it spoils.” Not sure if he was talking to me or himself, I looked over. Smiling, the frail old man gave a shrug toward the grocery shelves. Uncomfortable that someone had broken into my personal space, I replied flatly, “Uh, yeah. Yeah, it IS a lot." Grabbing a can of soup, I walked away.

During the drive home that evening I remembered him and, come to think of it, the other folks shopping. Even the cashier was retirement age. Such was the area: a down-on-its-luck suburb on the city’s edge, full of modest post-war houses. I could see in his cart - a handful of carefully chosen, single-serve items. He probably wanted contact and I shut him down, but good. And, why not? Naturally shy and eternally preoccupied by work, I only walked across the parking lot from my office after forgetting a lunch bag on the counter.

Use Humor When Email Subscribers Opt-Out

The post, Fight for every unsubscribe, from Damn, I Wish I'd Thought of That!, draws attention to an oft neglected task. In this case, create a productive response to email subscribers who opt-out or unsubscribe from your advocacy or business newsletter/promotions. Using humor and paying that extra bit of attention may not retain a subscriber, but it can provide useful feedback and good will.

March 18, 2013

Does Your Company Listen To Social Media?

There's more data being collected than most organizations and small companies can digest. While everyone concentrates on measurements and rankings, it is important to engage viewers and followers, and to listen.

From Fast Company:
"If you have to make choices with lean budgets, I'd urge you to put more funds behind actual human listening. For those customers interested in your brand:
What are they actually saying about it?
What else are they interested in?
What are the larger discussions happening online, among communities who care about the larger issues your products and services are looking to address?
Read entire article here.

March 14, 2013

How to Use Google Like a Pro

from Tech Talker, Quick and Dirty Tips:

If you don't know these tips already, a useful article regarding Google searches. And, don't forget to read the comments, too!

"Here are my 3 Quick and Dirty Tips for faster and easier Google searches:
1. Use the tilde, minus, and quotation mark keys to narrow down your results.
2. Use Google for instant math solutions and even value conversions in one click.
3. Search within individual websites to find a direct path to the content you’re looking for."
Read entire article.

Pew Research: Teens and Technology 2013

From Pew Research Center: Teens and Technology 2013

Main takeaways for non-profit fundraising and client outreach (emphasis mine):
"In overall internet use, youth ages 12-17 who are living in lower-income and lower-education households are still somewhat less likely to use the internet in any capacity — mobile or wired. However, those who fall into lower socioeconomic groups are just as likely and in some cases more likely than those living in higher income and more highly educated households to use their cell phone as a primary point of access."

- Think mobile and smaller screen size when designing campaigns and outreach programs.
- Ability to donate quickly is paramount. As is the ability to access client services.
- Always have a prominent link to switch from mobile to traditional website or page view.

March 9, 2013

Daily Write: See You Back at the House

Even before the slap came, Gloria knew he was gonna hit her. No talking to Len at this point, he was very drunk. Best to stay focused on getting through the fight and away from him. Not like other times where he had her pinned in a corner, this was up in a Ferris wheel at the county fair. Dumb move getting on the ride, but she hoped to calm him. Continuing his attack without caring who saw it, the small carriage swung back and forth. She held on tight and looked straight ahead while they rose up, stopped to let on new riders, rose and paused again.

March 4, 2013

What Non-Profits Can Learn From Cat Videos

Timeless tips regarding the importance of storytelling.

from Jessica Mason of YouTube for Good at the Social Good Summit:
"We all know the Internet loves cat videos on YouTube, but did you ever stop to think about why?
Jessica Mason of YouTube for Good did, and she says it comes down to their universal appeal.
"Cats, animals, babies, they do well on YouTube because they transcend boundaries," Mason said on stage Monday at the Social Good Summit. "They make boundaries, language, cultural barriers, irrelevant."

Non-profits can learn a lot from cat videos, but Mason distilled her take away points into three core principals: tell universal stories; engage regularly; and be surprising, original and action-packed. Mason pointed to one of this year's most popular non-profit videos — the image and emotion-rich video "It's time," from Australia's Get Up — that didn't use a single word to get its message across. Like cat videos, "It's time" appeals to an international audience, because it doesn't rely on language or localisms.

Mason's second point, regular engagement, applies to organizations hoping to reach either a hyper-local or multi-national constituency. You should give your supporters video content on at least a weekly basis, sharing different aspects of your non-profit, from success stories to behind-the-scenes peeks into your office. However, not all non-profits are trying to reach a global audience — and that's okay." Read Mashable article here.

March 2, 2013

Daily Write: Decoupage

Alone for an hour while her daughter ran errands, she stirred a batch of homemade paste in the glass mixing bowl. The one used for countless peanut butter cross cookies, birthday cake and pancake batters. Cheerfully, she brushed glue over all those twenty dollar bills from the strong box. Funny how that old box, once so valued and protected, now registered the same as her metal napkin holder.

Smoothing the bills on top of the living room’s end table, she sealed her artwork with a final glaze. Shellacking over water stains, kids' toy scratches, and that cigarette burn Emily Stover never did own up to. Well, who can remember Emily, anyway?

12 min 38 sec, 115 words

March 1, 2013

Behind the Kitchen Door

Would you like a real eye-opener with your coffee?
Author Saru Jayaraman discusses her book, "Behind the Kitchen Door" -

"Women earn less than men across the board, and one of the key issues for women is actually that the minimum wage of tipped workers of $2.13 is concentrated mostly among women. Seventy percent of all tipped workers in the U.S. are women. And the thing about this most people have a hard time understanding is that there are livable wage jobs in the industry for people who live in New York or D.C., or L.A. but think of a server as a tall, white, fine-dining server, but in fact the majority of servers in America are servers working in Middle America in IHOP or Applebee’s or Olive Garden—and those are a vast majority of women.

Many of them are single mothers who struggle with low wages and lack of benefits to take care of their children. And that is what’s hard to understand. When we talk about segregation and discrimination, we’re talking about giving the best jobs—serving and bartending positions in fine-dining restaurants, but that’s by no means the majority of wait staff. America’s servers—the vast majority of whom are women—are working graveyard shifts for very low wages of $2.13, often in Middle America.

So there’s a race question, in terms of getting to those fine dining establishment serving jobs, and a gender question, in that the restaurant industry is the only industry in which it’s pretty much legal to pay women less. And I say that because the industry as a whole for the regular minimum wage is half and half, men and women, but when you look at the far lower-tipped minimum wage, the vast majority is women."
Read article at:

11 Small Words that Crowd Your Copy

In most cases, you can reduce your word count by a third, even a half and still pack a punch.

Take a look at VerticalResponse Marketing's: 11 Small Words that Crowd Your Copy. Don't forget to read the comments, too.