Friday, December 17, 2010

A Week In Review

End of the week thoughts and queries on several themes as informed by my week:
  • If you have a job in this horrific economy, what are you doing to keep it? What about the job--or having the job--makes you grateful? What about your employment status makes you complacent?
  • If you are looking for work, what are you doing that truly sets you apart from ordinary, or in many cases, sets you apart from the many candidates who are overqualified for the same position you seek?
  • Getting stuck in a cycle of negativity happens to all of us. What does it take to get you out of the cycle? What's on the other side for you?
  • When you are done...finished...over it...what does it take for you to proudly, from the place of self awareness and clarity, act on it? You've made your decision so act on it.
  • Volunteers are amazing! In our time-strapped society, to give freely of time is extraordinary. What lights you up about the volunteer work you do? If you do not volunteer (typically: "I don't have the time"), what will it take for you to find the time to enrich your own life by being of service to your world (for free)?
  • Planning is not easy. In fact, planning can be exhausting. And at some point we need to stop the planning and begin the doing. What do you notice when the cycle of planning continues...and continues? How do you break the cycle? What is it about the doing that is being avoided?
  • We are measured and held accountable in countless ways in life. And, we measure and hold accountable too. A lot! What's all the resistance to measurement and accountability about? We do it and yet we don't want it. What's being held so deeply here?
  • There is the actual doing the job and then there is the way in which we do the job. What do you do and what is the way in which you do it? How aligned are the two? If they are not aligned, what can be done?
  • There is a vast difference between capacity and willingness. You may or may not have the capacity to do something and you may or may not have the willingness to do something. It's the combination or alignment of the two that tells the story. And your story is...?
  • What did you learn this week? What totally new, mind altering thing did you learn...something that took you to a place you had never considered before? What's next?
  • The older I get I realize that to be truly independent I am surrounded by people and support. In other words, independence is not a solitary existence, it is a way I carry myself, a belief system, a freedom that comes from connection. What do you know about independence?
  • Turning deep, personal pain into triumph and blessing is remarkable. pain is real and needs to be experienced. It's life. And yet, to be able to turn that pain into a blessing, a tribute, a law, an awareness is inspiring. How have you turned your pain into an inspiration today?
  • Maintaining physical health and well being can be challenging in our lives. And yet, having a healthy, well balanced body is essential to having a good life. We forgo the essential for the inessential. We know we have to make these biological entities last a lifetime (not at all long when we think about it!) and yet we make choices daily that potentially shorten the shelf-life of the body. How aligned is your value for your body, your hopes and aspirations for your life, and how you treat your body?
And how was your week?

Enjoy the weekend!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

We Can Do Better

This fundraising campaign called BuyLife, for the organization calling itself "Keep a Child Alive," leaves me cold! Everything about it strategically and tactically is just wrong. Wrong! It's not clever, edgy, ironic. It's just bad.

A simple breakdown of the campaign: A wide range of celebrity-type people will cease all fan contact (being promoted as a "sacrifice") through their social networks from December 1, 2010 until $1 million is raised (collectively) for the charity. From the campaign website:
How many real lives can be saved by sacrificing a few digital ones? Millions...

Starting December 1 - World AIDS Day - the world's most followed celebrity Tweeters are sacrificing their digital lives to help save millions of real lives affected by HIV/AIDS in Africa and India.

That means no more Twitter or Facebook updates from any of them. No more knowing where they are, what they had for dinner, or what interesting things are happening in their lives. From here on out, they're dead. Kaput. Finished.

But they don't have to die in vain. And they don't have to stay dead for long. Just watch their Last Tweet and Testaments, and buy their lives back.

Every single dollar helps Keep a Child Alive fight this terrible disease. And when $1,000,000 is reached, everyone will be back online and tweeting in no time.

You can even join the fight yourself by sacrificing your own digital life. If Khloe and Kim can live without Twitter for a few days, maybe you can too.

Together, with a little digital sacrifice on our parts, we can give millions of real people the care, love and hope they deserve.

We can give them life - the one thing none of us can live without.
Simply stunning!

Fundraising campaigns centered around celebrity are very tricky. These celebrity-driven campaigns will succeed (or not) based upon the public's affection for the celebrity and the authentic connection between the celebrity and the charity.

As evidenced in this campaign, the public has an incentive NOT to give: These celebrities will be silent until the $1 million dollar goal is reached. To the general public weary of the over saturated celebrity-driven culture, this is the best money people do not have to give.

Screen cap of the campaign at 10:30 AM, approximately 35 hours after the campaign began, showing $160,310 raised so far

The focus of the campaign is on what the donor will not get (your favorite celebrity Tweet, for example) and says nothing specific about what the donated dollars will do for the charity and the people the charity serves. Donors do not give when threatened with deprivation (No Tweets for You!), rather donors give when convinced their gifts make a difference by credible organizations and they feel valued for making the gift. Donors don't want to give to dead celebrities; they want to give to living people with real needs.

The ad campaign depicting living "dead" celebrities in glammed up casket shots is just creepy. The photos are not attractive nor do they tell a story about the cause or the charity benefiting from this campaign. They really aren't all that provocative, shocking. They aren't even disturbing. They are just creepy.

Since when is "sacrificing" digital use the "ultimate sacrifice"?

The campaign makes light of death, dying, sacrificing, giving, buying. I believe in an appropriate context even darkness can be light, but not here. The campaign asks: "If Khloe and Kim can live without Twitter for a few days, maybe you can too." In the context of this ad campaign, is this levity really compelling? Appropriate? Funny?

The on-line medium for giving has been grossly underutilized! And most celebrities under utilize the value of their celebrity for good. What would be possible for children with AIDS if these celebrities used the breadth of their virtual social networks and the power of their celebrity to reach their followers with a message stating why they sincerely believe in the cause, why they actively support this particular organization, why they are making a meaningful financial contribution to the charity, and then urgently inviting their fans to participate. How many children will die from AIDS while these "dead" celebrities participate in this empty gimmick?

Message for leaders of non-profit organizations:
  • Your fundraising campaigns are a reflection of you, your image, your reputation, your creativity, your authenticity, your need, your effectiveness, your programs. What do your current campaigns say to you about you?
  • Celebrity endorsements mean different things to different people. Ultimately, a celebrity lending his/her celebrity as a fundraising tactic is viewed quite differently than a celebrity who actually volunteers and gives money to the charity they endorse. What do your celebrity endorsements say about your organization? For scale, a "celebrity" can be a local visible person of note. Same impact.
  • Sometimes our ideas miss the mark. Badly! If you run a campaign (or develop a program, or approve a policy...) that misses the mark, how do you know it? It's that "yeah, but..." moment that is often ignored: "Yeah, the campaign is good, but..." What do you notice when the "but" is present? What do you do? "But" is usually a warning to check your gut!
I have seen some bad fundraising moments in the non-profit sector; this is a new low!

We can do better than this!

P.S. World AIDS Day, December 1st of any given year, was designed to be a solemn, reflective day about the millions of deaths so far, the tens of millions of people infected with HIV today, and filled with a global education and prevention messaging. When did the World AIDS Day "brand" become so watered down to now include the salutation "Happy World AIDS Day"? Really?