Issue 15 - May-Jun 2011
Summer is here - but before heading outside to enjoy the sun, check out Spitfire's quick tips for being smart, efficient and highly skilled in using communications to reach your social change goals. Read on to find out which free online tools can help tap the power of the Internet and learn how 60 seconds can put your organization another step closer to success. We also share highlights of winning words nonprofits can use from this year's Executive Training Program and suggest some fun beach reads so that while you are working on your tan you can also be brushing up on critical communications skills.
|Reach Out and Influence Someone - The Must Have Communications Skill: The Elevator Speech|
|Web 2.What? - Online Tools that Make Your Campaign Shine|
|Spitfire Recommends - Tap Into Winning Words|
|Smart Strategies - SMART Beach Reads|
Reach Out and Influence Someone
Tips to Spread Your Message
The Must Have Communications Skill: The Elevator Speech
by Kim Johnson - Senior Account Manager
Imagine you find yourself in an elevator with the funder of your dreams. You have less than a minute to make a connection. What do you say to grab her attention and secure a longer conversation?
While this scenario may seem unlikely, it happens every day in all types of situations. If you don't know how to talk about your organization in a quick and simple way, you risk wasting opportunities to engage new supporters. That's why every organization must have an elevator speech - a consistent, concise and comfortable way to provide information about yourself or your organization. Crafting a successful elevator speech is not as hard as it may seem (really!). Here are the four components of an elevator speech, as well as some tips to ensure a smooth, confident delivery.
Remember, brevity is the soul of wit. Keep the length between 30 and 60 seconds. The goal is to leave your audience wanting to know more about you, not to try to pack in everything there is to know about your organization. Use clear, simple language. No confusing jargon or incomprehensible acronyms. Be passionate. If you are not passionate about what you do, how can you expect anyone else to be? And last but not least, practice, practice, practice. Rehearsing will make you sound better and feel more confident. Follow these steps and the next time you run into the person who can help you achieve your goal, you'll be ready take advantage of a golden opportunity before you reach the ground floor.
Feeling stuck? Check out our upcoming webinar for more help writing a top-notch elevator speech.
Cracking the Code on the Latest Trends and Tools
Online Tools that Make Your Campaign Shine
by Jaymie Gustafson - Director
Spitfire recently spent some time at Netroots Nation and the experience reinforced what a powerful organizing tool the Internet can be. Running online campaigns can be a cost-effective, savvy way to mobilize supporters whether the objective is fundraising, behavior change or legislative action. A host of free online tools can save your organization the time and expense of building campaign tools on your organization's website. Among the many options, here are two that caught our eye.
Causes.com - Harness your organization's Facebook community to raise funds, share advocacy opportunities, gain new members and increase awareness about your issue by adding a cause tab. Creating a cause tab for your Facebook profile gives your organization access to tools to collect funds, share educational materials and inspire advocacy for your issue. Causes shares Spitfire's passion for maximizing every opportunity and they share best practices on how to make the most of this tool.
SignOn.org - This handy resource allows any individual or organization to create and promote an online petition - then keep in touch with the petition's online signers. Created by MoveOn Civic Action, the tool makes MoveOn's petition tools available to you at no cost. Remember to keep your petition signers engaged after the petition has been delivered - using SignOn, you can update supporters on the status of the petition and report how it was received and what changes resulted from your actions. Regardless of the outcome, always remember to thank folks for signing the petition and advocating for your issue.
These easy-to-use tools make it simpler than ever to harness the power of the Internet to advance your cause and make an impact.
Tap into Winning Wordsby Adam Rankin - Senior Account Executive
Addressing participants of the 2011 Spitfire Strategies Executive Training Program, bestselling author and leading pollster Dr. Frank Luntz shared thoughts from his latest book, Win: The Key Principles to Take Your Business from Ordinary to Extraordinary. Luntz stressed the importance of using strategic words and phrases as an indispensable way to connect with and motivate target audiences and decision makers to take action.
During the session, Luntz emphasized his observation, "It's not what you say, it's what they hear." Luntz's point is that the specific words, images and tone we use to communicate matter more than we think. The way people respond to specific words and language styles change along with the times.
Using his findings from nonstop focus groups and research, Luntz discussed the words and phrases that nonprofit leaders can use to move their work forward. Key lessons included:
Smart Strategies - Summer Edition
SMART Beach Reads
by Mark Shields - Director
It's time to step away from the Blackberry and grab a beach towel and a good read. This summer, it is possible to leave work behind and still pick up on some SMART lessons while idling away under the protective sheen of your SPF.
Spitfire Strategies is pleased to present its first-ever summer reading recommendations.
To Kill a Mocking Bird - Harper Lee. A single father, standing up for civil rights and social justice while also targeting his audience with messages that matter to them. Atticus wasn't speaking to the "general public" when he was in that courtroom, he was speaking to his jury. Good communications planning does the same thing. Be as specific as you possibly can when identifying audience targets, and you too may one day be a classic.
The Millennium Trilogy (The Girl who Tattooed, Burned and Kicked things) - Stieg Larsson. Ok, fine. This one is a little bit last summer. We're a smidge behind in our beach reading. Meeting client deadlines sometimes means putting reading off a bit. But you know what's brilliant about "The Girl Who..." series? Lisbeth Salander, the tattooed, fire playing, hornet kicker always has very measurable objectives in mind when she sets out on a mission. For example, there is no question by the end of the first novel that she will be able to hack into an impossibly complicated computer system to uncover a decades-old murder mystery in fewer than 500 pages. Your objectives should be similarly well defined (dragon tattoo optional).
Bossypants - Tina Fey. Kristen Grimm, Spitfire's founder and president, is only mildly annoyed that Tina Fey beat her to the punch with this memoir title. Putting that aside, The New York Times reports that Ms. Fey's new publishing success was two years in the making as she had to balance writing with her remarkably busy schedule. The lesson here? Your goals have to be attainable in order for you to be successful. That means being honest about the amount of time it will take you to get the job done.
The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger. The movie was only so-so, but if this novel doesn't make you ugly-cry at the end, it's a sure sign that you're dead inside. Or a robot. Or a dead robot on the inside. This fascinating love story takes a very realistic look at the challenges of marrying a time traveler. To be successful, your plans have to realistically account for your organization's available resources and capacity. Henry and Clare had to figure out how to live on a budget when one of them was always time traveling (which makes holding down a job somewhat tricky). Your plans should also be realistic when it comes to the resources and budget you're working with.
Harry Potter (any of them) - J. K. Rowling. Harry will light up the silver screen one last time this summer. Do you know what made Rowling such a magically SMART muggle? Her series of Hogwarts books - all of which are great for the beach - had a specific timeline. Seven years at Hogwarts to become a wizard - everybody knows that. Make sure your communications strategy is timebound to ensure magical results will follow.
|Spitfire Strategies is dedicated to helping nonprofits and foundations create and implement high impact communications programs to achieve their social change goals. To learn more, visit www.SpitfireStrategies.com.|
By A Web Design