It’s All About Relationships Part 1 – Meeting Mr./Miss Right

2 May

Wednesday, May 2, 2012 

The foundation for any successful business is relationships, whether we’re talking about a for-profit company or a not-for-profit organization. Lets think of it this way: You wouldn’t say yes to a marriage proposal on a blind date, would you? (Ok, I understand that there are some…er…adventurous?…people who might. But the general population would at least consider a second date first.) Maybe that example is a bit of a stretch, but it gives you a good idea of how to approach business relationships. For the purposes of this series, I’m going to use the premise of a non-profit organization. I’ll take you through the courtship of potential donors. Today we’ll start with ‘The Search’.

Meeting Mr./Miss Right = Cultivation

Before you can court someone, you have to find the right person, make connections, which is called cultivation. During the cultivation stage you are simply putting forth information out into the world and letting your “wing man” (to borrow a phrase) talk you up. How is this done? I’m glad you asked…

Fangelism
I believe that the foundation of cultivation should be this amazing principle called fangelismthe idea that existing volunteers and constituents, who already have a passion for the cause, engage people, initiate conversation and, ultimately, ignite excitement and promote action. All the other pieces should then fall into place. Consider this: If given a choice between a self-serving advertisement or an amazing recommendation from a third-party, which are you likely to trust more? Create fangelists to be the voices of the organization and help build relationships. Those people will then come and form relationships within your organization in an organic and personal way. They participate because they don’t feel pressured or conned. 

Social Media 

 People listen to each other more than us, so we need to stop viewing social media as another form of getting our message out…Its primary value is that it allows other people to get the message out, for us. – Katya Andersen   

This is particularly pertinent for those in the non-profit realm. After all, your ultimate goal is to promote your cause. The best way to do that is to support relationship building. Relationships are formed every day on social media. Donors don’t need another organization telling them why they should donate. Instead, give them a platform to share with you and other donors about their experiences — their stories, their souls — which will foster the support you need. Now, social media is just one platform non-profits have for cultivation, but it’s hugely relevant in our digital world and probably a good place to start. Use it to inform potential the community, promote events, stimulate thought, ignite movements, etc.

Ideas for Success
The key is to make people feel welcome to share on your social media pages and keep that momentum going. 

  • Make your Facebook timeline look and feel like a safe haven for story sharing. Timeline gives you ample opportunities for creativity. For ideas, check out other non-profit pages.
  • Have a current fangelist initiate discussion threads, themed posts or polls.
  • Invite a guest blogger to write about their experiences, which encourages others to share. 
  • Use Twitter hashtags (#) to initiate a collection of short stories.
  • Sign up for Pinterest and post relevant pictures that will cause people to dig a little deeper.
I would love to hear your ideas. Please share them in the comments section below so that others can benefit from your amazing creativity. Check back next week for the next installment in the series. 
Thanks for stopping by.
~Laura~ 
 
Other related blog posts:
Fangelism

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2 Responses to “It’s All About Relationships Part 1 – Meeting Mr./Miss Right”

  1. michaelpinto May 2, 2012 at 2:53 pm #

    Laura,

    I loved your concept of the fangelist. I’m a big proponent for evangelists and brand stewards. I believe that organically connecting with the people who use your product or service or believe in your cause is the most effective way to promote growth. Furthermore, after connecting, you can encourage you “fangelists” to spread WOM and create free buzz. What a fantastic concept. Social media is definitely the catalyst for using these concepts and I’m quite sure that in the future we’ll see more and more people promoting their favorite organizations and less promotion from the organizations themselves.

    I look forward to reading more.

    Best,

    Michael

    • delaneymarketing May 2, 2012 at 7:58 pm #

      Thank you, Michael. I absolutely agree – it’s the core of public relations.

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