Thursday, May 19, 2011

Student Feedback - Marketing and Technology Trends in Fundraising

My students were asked to write a reflections blog about the course and the topics we covered. Here are some notable excerpts. —Merritt Engel

“It is crucial to not be left behind. So it is important now more than ever to start learning the benefits, capabilities and endless possibilities technology has to offer for nonprofits.”

• “Being in an IT career for decades, I was old school in technology. I was excited to hear the latest and greatest technology trends in marketing for a nonprofit. But I've gained so much more. I'm sure the younger generation already knows all about tweeting and mobile apps, etc. But this class isn't just about how cool the technology is or how to use it personally. This class has focused on when and how to use the technology to benefit the nonprofit cause.”

• “I currently sit on a board for an organization that is looking to diversify its revenue by utilizing direct marketing strategies. This class gave me ample opportunities to learn different methods to use direct marketing. More importantly the class really taught us how to use social media.”

• “I was impressed by the speakers who came and were willing to share their knowledge that clearly was gained through experience.”

• “Social media has the ability to create an extraordinary concentric circle of friends, but it has to be treated as true “friendships”(a two way street). Get to know your donors and don’t be afraid to let them get to know you. Offer them more engaging opportunities to interact with your organization. Share your story. Get them involved.”

• “It is a rare day when I feel the need to stand up and say that I need more class time. But I am now.”

• “I thought I knew email and social media… ha! I was surprised how much I didn’t know. Tweetpic? Foursquare? AB Email Testing? This class definitely reinforced my belief that Facebook and Twitter are literally taking over the world. It’s kind of scary actually, but as a 21-year-old, I guess I should be on top of the technology trend

Monday, February 14, 2011

Technology and Marketing Course Welcomes Top Professionals

(AFPTeaches Instructor, Merritt Engel shares her thoughts as the semester wraps up)

Confession. Teaching a course with the word “Trends” in the title is intimidating. It’s an ever-changing fundraising landscape … what works one month can be passé the next … a great new technology emerges only to fade into oblivion. So I opted to go a bit untraditional: less emphasis on textbooks and theoretical lectures and greater focus on the best practices that are working right now (without overlooking strategies that will always endure).

To that end, this semester, we’ve welcomed some of the most cutting-edge marketers and fundraising this city has to offer:

Libby Knox, President, Knox Creative—A nonprofit web guru and content expert, Libby shared terrific examples of her work with Special Olympics and other usability tips.

Jessica Best, Marketing Director, emfluence—Kansas City’s go-to gal of email marketing, Jessica told our group how to send emails ethically, legally and effectively (United Way is among her key clients).

Monica Tiffany, Principal/Creative Director, Merrigan & Co.—A nonprofit copywriting expert who has written for organizations like Komen and Shriners Hospitals for Children, Monica explained her career path and how technology and message are perfect partners.

Chris Lakin, Social Media Advisor, Mailprint—Chris gave us the 411 on the increasingly sophisticated techniques in variable data printing—and how those new technologies are being used to help nonprofits better communicate with their constituents.

Annie Noll, Social Media Specialist, Ottawa University—How do you build a great nonprofit community and how do you grow it? Annie told us how to go viral, what missteps to avoid and offered great video examples.

Angie Olson, Web Content Manager, Unity— Angie manages the flow of information for an international faith-based organization. She gave us the behind-the-scenes view of balancing competing demands and a diverse constituent base.

Angela Ridpath, Experience Planning Director, Bernstein-Rein Advertising—A founding member of the national DMA’s Mobile Marketing Council, Angela gave us insights into the emerging world of mobile marketing.

Looking ahead, we’ll hear from:
Bob Merrigan, President, Merrigan & Co., and Angie Heer, Director of Development, Harvesters—They’ll present a great case study on integration.

Dawn Brelsford, Chief Strategy Officer, Brickmill Marketing (Baltimore, Maryland)—She’ll describe why data drives the best decisions for nonprofits.

A big thank you to all our speakers. I’ve learned a lot, as have the students!
Follow our class on Twitter, hashtag: #afpteaches.