Issue 20 - Mar-Apr 2012
|At Spitfire, we think the more you invest in planning ahead, the greater the impact you can create. This issue of Spitfire Sparks features our first-ever campaign planning institute and details for how you can sign up. We also have tips and resources on understanding your social media influence, rethinking your audiences' values, and bringing your brand to life in every aspect of your work. In addition, our latest installment of Spitfire's election series outlines creative ideas for getting your issues in front of the candidates in the coming months.
Happy spring planning!
Good to Great
Smart Strategies for Success
You Have to Plan to Win
by Kendra Beach - Director
Spitfire is joining forces with veteran campaigner and former head of Greenpeace USA John Passacantando to offer a new campaign training program. Planning to Win is a three-day session to help organizations develop a campaign strategy, manage opposition and use the latest and greatest tactics to get results. Planning to Win is essential for any organization needing time and strategic counsel to think through how to make progress in 2013.
Cracking the Code on the Latest Trends and Tools
Know Your Social Media Influence
by Jaymie Gustafson - Director
Do you worry that your social media efforts are akin to yelling out the window into a noisy crowd? Like many groups that wade into the social media world, it can be difficult to understand how influential you are and what content is most effective.
Measurement tools can provide great information to help you assess the effectiveness of your social media outreach. However, these tools can't replace a solid social media plan. Taking the time upfront to articulate your strategy is the most effective way to ensure your social media outreach advances your goals with the right audiences.
With that in mind, here are a few of our favorite free tools to help your organization track and analyze your social media influence.
Klout will also identify an organization's topics of influence and assign a "Klout type" that describes your social media style. This feature provides an outside perspective on the type of content you push out. For example, are you an "Activist" who shares your cause with the world, or a "Thought Leader" who provides regular analysis of topics in the news? To measure your social media efforts on Klout, look for score increases over time and track whether you're a trusted source on the topics important to your work.
Remember to look at all of these measurements through a strategic lens. It is always better to engage a smaller circle of influence with your target audiences than put resources toward building a larger circle of followers who can't help you reach your goals.
Blazing the Trail to Election Day
Fifth in a series focused on preparing for Election Day.
Engaging Your Networks to Create Buzz
With Election Day just over six months away, Spitfire continues our series on ways for nonprofits to leverage opportunities during campaign season. Our previous article focused on cultivating relationships with candidates and key partners. As you continue to develop those relationships, consider the following low-cost ideas to engage your networks to put your issues front and center.
Ideas to Make You Think
Living the Brand
Let's be honest. Branding is often only skin deep. Many organizations "figure out their brand," which leads them to a new logo, website or perhaps a slide for a board meeting. Then they just call it a day. Branding is done.
The truth is this kind of branding has the exact amount of impact you might expect for the amount of effort extended - it's superficial. To harness the power of your brand, you have to really live it. It's the difference between cosmetics and character building.
I look at the brand as your promise to the world, the essence of who you are as an organization. To that end, it is something you embody as an organization in all you say and do. When everyone - from volunteer to executive director - holds a clear sense of what you do and why you do it, you start to see the real impact a strong and focused brand can have on your work.
There are three key principles that allow you to harness the power of your organization's brand to take you beyond the superficial...Read More
Don't Drink the Kool-Aid
Avoid Communications Pitfalls
Are You Really Connecting with Your Audiences?
by Danielle Lewis - Vice President and Sarah Lepley - Intern
Earth Day - coming on the heels of the anniversary of the Gulf oil spill in Louisiana - provided a host of organizations with a variety of important communications opportunities. However, recent research suggests that environmental issues may not be top of mind for many audiences right now, requiring advocates to think creatively about how to connect with their audiences.
For years, environmental groups counted on young people as die-hard supporters and activists. But a recent study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology shows a declining interest in environmental issues among young adults today. Millennials care less about conservation, and civic engagement in general, than their counterparts in the Generation X and baby boomer generations did at the same age. A recent Washington Post story highlighting the research points to skepticism around climate change and issue fatigue as possible causes of the declining support among today's youth.
Last year, on behalf of the Surdna Foundation, Spitfire examined the national conversation around green jobs. We found that in regions with green jobs successes, the jobs created and other direct community benefits were far more motivating to policymakers, business leaders and other local audiences than the fact that the jobs were "green." (To learn more about this project, read our case study.)
Environmental groups can still get traction around important conservation issues - sometimes by tapping into other values that their audiences hold. For instance, Politico recently reported that many green groups are framing their messages around health issues to appeal to their target audiences' values. A recent campaign by NRDC and the Sierra Club aims at reducing the carbon pollution of industrial power plants, but focuses on the health impacts of air pollution on kids.
Staying on top of your audiences' stance on your issues can be as simple as listening to how your messages are received in one-on-one conversations, conducting regular surveys or phone interviews, and watching relevant conversations online. The more you keep engaged with what your audiences are thinking - and connect your issues to their top-of-mind concerns - the more effective and resonant your communications can be.
|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