Acceptance of Circumstances, community involvement, Enjoying What You Do, fundraising/development, Importance of taking break, keeping a balance, warriors, fighters, doing good, giving back, paying it forward

Why I’ve Always Walked Part III: Brattleboro VT (150 miles) or Bust

While on the neighborhood walk I just completed I gave great thought to how, and when, I developed my great love of walking, it wasn’t the first time I noodled this. In fact, I captured this in the first of my blog posts about “Why I’ve Always Walked.” I think it all goes back to the candy store trek I mentioned in that previous post and the fact that homes were pretty spread out living in what-was-then-quite-rural Burlington, CT. As a child if you wanted to play with neighbors without having to ask your parents to give you a ride, you were going to walk a bit to get to their homes. And, if you wanted your “smarties,” you were going to have to walk an estimated 1.75 miles to get them — what felt like a very long distance when you’re age 9 or under.

As some of my readers know, since the beginning of the pandemic I’ve been supporting a family member who’s been struggling. In recent months, I’ve become more and more of a caregiver. This means I need to stick close-to-home, manage the stress of seeing a loved one deal with illness, and play a big role in making sure both of our daily needs are met and that we both enjoy the best possible quality of life. Walking has been a lifesaver as far as helping me keep my stress level down goes, but it also provides for an activity and goal in life that’s just about me — something a caregiver really needs.

Walking the Brooklyn Bridge In 2016

Why Brattleboro and 150 Miles?

As I also shared in the aforementioned first walking blog post, I’m a sucker for a good “cause walk” — something I consider a win-win. This spring, I signed up to walk The Kerry Fund’s “Walk Around The World.” I had set a goal to walk 50 miles during the month of May, but I came in about 8 miles under, I believe, because of the personal challenges mentioned above. But, I extended the timeframe and deadline for my goal and made it into a longer and larger one. To walk 150 miles between May 1 and Labor Day. I’m not someone who tracks day-to-day steps. Just true walks I go on whether they be around the neighborhood, to grab something at Dunkin Donuts (a beloved destination walk), or a walk at a park or on a trail.

Work and personal demands got in the way of me finalizing this post, so that the day I wrote the initial paragraph and the day I’m writing this paragraph, are several weeks apart. But, I’m pleased to say I’ve walked 120 of my 150 miles, many of them on Boston’s South Shore. That 150 miles equates to walking the distance from my home to Brattleboro, VT — a spot I love to visit. So, even if I can only visit there in my mind when I achieve my 150 miles, I’ll have to have a smoked turkey sandwich and pretend I’m at The Top of the Hill Grill.

I’m finishing up this post and publishing it on Saturday, August 7. To support my Jimmy Fund Walk team, I’m holding a drawing for anyone who makes a donation to my team and correctly guesses how many miles I will have walked by Labor Day. Will it be 150? Will it be way more? E-mail, text, or direct message me and let me know your guess after you make your donation. Whoever’s guess is the closest to the # of miles I walk before September 6 will win a $50 gift card to Legal Seafood. If there’s a tie, each winner will receive a $25 gift card. http://danafarber.jimmyfund.org/site/TR?px=1010193&pg=personal&fr_id=1660

Thanks to those who support the Mission Possible Team and those who support me or join me related to my joy of walking. Walk on, and always reach out if you want to do a walk ‘n talk in my neck of the woods!

P.S. If you enjoy walking and missed Part II of my walking blog post series, take a stroll thru it!

COVID-19 marketing, fundraising/development, Google Ads, Google Nonprofit Ad Grant, landing page, online advertising, paid search, pandemic marketing, Post-COVID-19 Marketing, pull marketing, sales, SEM, Uncategorized

Should You Be Running Google Ads Search Advertising During Our Pandemic?

The answer to the headline above is “it all depends.”

Based on the current Google Ads campaigns I’m running for clients, it appears that average cost-per-clicks, in general, have decreased a fair amount during our pandemic. That means the price an advertiser will pay each time someone clicks on their ad and arrives at their website landing page is less than what it would have been pre-pandemic. So, who should be investing in Google Ads (also known as paid search, pay-per-click (PPC), or search engine marketing (SEM)) right now?

Organizations should be investing in Google Ads right now if:

  1. non-extravagant consumer goods products that can be shipped/delivered
  2. moderately priced services that can be accessed virtually/online, such as the ability to take a class or be coached virtually
  3. services and products that are a necessity, despite their cost. Examples of this would be services to repair a plumbing issue or a leaky roof or a new washing machine to replace one that broke
  • you offer a product or service that has a lengthy sales lead time, i.e., target audiences — whether they be business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C) — tend to conduct a lot of research and take a number of weeks or months to make a decision to make a purchase of said product or service. Many individuals have more free time on their hands right now because of freed-up work commuting time and a significantly reduced number of social engagements. So, if they have a large future purchase in mind, it’s highly likely they are gathering information related to their probable purchase now. Examples of purchases with long lead time could be project management software or systems to be used by an employer or elective surgery to replace a hip.
  • you’re a nonprofit seeking donations to support your efforts to adapt or continue to offer services during COVID-19. Whether you have a Google Nonprofit Ad Grant under which you can execute such advertising, or you’ll need to pay for your own advertising, with the lower average cost-per-click we’re witnessing, Google Ads may be a very cost-effective fundraising tactic.

Be forewarned that the price of Google Ads and other forms of pay-per-click advertising, such as social media advertising, is expected to rise again — and perhaps rapidly — post-pandemic because of pent-up demand by organizations to promote their products or services. That’s why if you meet one of the requirements above and you’ve always wanted to test the “paid search” waters but believed the media (advertising buy) cost would be prohibitive, you might want to consider implementing a Google Ads campaign as soon as possible vs. waiting until things seem back to normal (or as close to normal as is achievable in 2020).

We are trying to “give back” as much as possible during these challenging times. We are glad to help any non-profit organization apply for a Google Nonprofit Ad Grant for free. We’re also offering the following special. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to discuss your pandemic or post-pandemic marketing challenges and opportunities. It’s never to early to start planning!

fundraising/development, lead generation, Nonprofit Marketing & Communications, Objectives Setting, target audiences

Nonprofit 411: Driving Diverse, Desired Target-Audience Actions With Online Advertising

Check out this blog post we authored for the MA Nonprofit Network about how nonprofit organizations can use online advertising, such as Google Search or Google Display, to drive a diverse set of desired actions (known as conversions) by target-audience members who visit their website.

https://massnonprofitnet.org/blog/nonprofit-411-driving-diverse-desired-target-audience-actions-online-advertising/

 

fundraising/development, keeping up with trends, marketing consultant, online advertising, staying current, Understanding Your Environment

Online Advertising Isn’t Just For For-Profits

While I’ve spent much of my career working in the non-profit world, most of friends, family, and colleagues don’t make the connection that I have. This is probably due to the fact that, while many healthcare organizations and health insurance plans are non-profit/not-for-profit organizations, their size and extensive advertising campaigns which I’ve overseen cause others to think of them as for-profit organizations.

In light of the above, despite volunteer work with non-profit organizations like “Home for Little Wanderers” and “Relay for Life”, many few me as a new kid on the block as far as developing and executing marketing and fundraising campaigns goes.  Luckily, I’ve had the good fortune of working with organizations that the general public readily views as non-profits on both a paid and pro bono basis — organizations that provide social services and funding to vulnerable populations.  And, what I’ve learned from this is that many of the marketing and communications tricks that work well for for-profit organizations also work well for non-profits — whether they are looking to create awareness of their organization or raise funds for their organizations.

A prime example is online advertising, specifically paid search and display advertising. I worked with a well-known Boston non-profit to create an ad campaign to support a holiday fundraising event, and am now managing it. Because individuals are equally interested, if not more interested, in researching both fun things to and charitable things to do, as they are researching business matters, the search and display ads are receiving a pleasing number of “click-thrus”, which my client and I hope and anticipate will lead to increased ticket sales from last year to this year.

I’m really hoping that more non-profits, particularly those that are indeed viewed as charitable/cause organizations, will be interested in speaking with me about the cost-effective and budget-maximizing activity that is online advertising.  My last blog post spoke to “Missed Opportunity”.  I believe for a non-profit to dismiss the possibility of employing online advertising to promote their organizations and/or raise funds is another “Missed Opportunity”.

community involvement, fundraising/development, good will creation, keeping up with trends, making time for things you value, marketing consultant, social media, staying current, Target Marketing

Harnessing the Power of Social Media to Do Good

Every marketing blogger probably already has or plans to blog about the success of the ALS ice bucket challenge, but I’d be remiss as a marketeer who understands both the perils and benefits of social media, if I didn’t post about the great example of using social media for good that the ice bucket challenge represents.

Social media is no longer a new or innovative form of promotion. It has been around for quite some time now and, almost undoubtedly, is here to stay — for better or for worse. Since both organizations and individuals have very little control over what is said about them on various social media sites, particularly Twitter and Facebook — and even YouTube because of the ability to comment on videos — it’s a wonderful day for an organization when social media users use these channels to support good activities and altruistic behavior.

I imagine there will be lots of copy cats now — particularly, non-profit organizations who could really use a large influx of funds to support necessary research for their cause, or just to carry out their social service activities. I certainly won’t blame or criticize any organization with health-related or other social service missions for trying to launch an equally effective campaign. However, I do believe the organization in-question will need to still come up with a theme and activity that differs a fair amount from ALS’.

First of all, it wouldn’t seem fair or right to steal ALS’ thunder or divert funds away from them using tactics they employed so effectively and on a large scale. Secondly, if the majority of large non-profits decide to implement similar campaigns, I believe there is going to be a limit to the return on investment. Perhaps, I’m wrong, and I welcome your thoughts, but each and every individual and organization only has so many $$ they are willing and able to contribute annually, so regardless of the effectiveness of such campaigns, both the dollars and newness/fun factor that encourages people to participate are going to run out. So, those implementing such campaigns are going to need to come up with something very different and engaging to both grab the attention and donations of their target audiences.

I have to close with thanks, prayers, blessings, and good thoughts for both Pete Frates and his dear friend, Corey Griffin, who was so instrumental in launching the campaign. As most of you may know, Corey recently lost his own life to a scuba diving accident. My heart and thanks goes out to both of their families too — for all the pain and suffering they’ve endured or will endure and all the good they’ve done through their support of and work related to the ALS campaign.

I am adding Pete and Corey to my Keep Up the Fight page right now as I can’t think of anyone more deserving.