Using Video for Non-Profit Marketing

November 1, 2010

If your literacy or other non-profit organization has a website, adding video is the 21st century way to promote your programs, demonstrate your successes and generate more awareness and interest in the work you do. Online videos:

  • demonstrate an awareness of 21st century marketing
  • have the potential to reach more people in more places
  • help you incorporate social media into your advocacy work

YouTube has a program for non-profits to help them promote their programs better.The service is available in the US, Canada, the UK and Australia. They say that they plan on adding more countries soon:

YouTube Non-profit program in the US

YouTube Non-profit program in Canada

YouTube Non-profit program in the UK

YouTube Non-profit program in Australia

The program includes a listing on the Nonprofit video channel, and the ability to post opportunities on the Volunteer Platform.

Even if you don’t live in one of those countries check out the website. They have links to globally available resources such as:

  • Nonprofit tip sheet
  • Adding a call to action in your videos
  • Tips on how to run video campaigns on YouTube
  • Ideas on how to use other Google tools (and YouTube is one of them) to promote your non-profit or charity

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Update – January 2018 – This blog has had over 1.8 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.

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How technology can enhance the non-profit organization

May 12, 2010

Here are some slides from a presentation I did last fall at the Literacy and Leadership Symposium in Red Deer, Alberta. The presentation goes over:

  • Programs to help non-profit organizations can acquire new or refurbished hardware for little to no cost.
  • Free software (including Open Office, Skype, and Primo .pdf).
View more presentations from Sarah Eaton.
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Update – January 2018 – This blog has had over 1.8 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.


Leadership Book Recommendation: Good to Great

April 29, 2010

One of my goals for 2010 is to read one leadership book per month. I’ve been able to meet that goal and of the books I’ve read so far, the work of one author stands out. Jim Collins’ Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t (2001) is an insightful read into why “good is the enemy of great” (p. 1). He shares insights such as:

  • “When you have disciplined people, you don’t need hierarchy. When you have disciplined thought, you don’t need bureaucracy.” (p. 13)
  • “There’s a huge difference between having the opportunity to have your say, and the opportunity to be heard.” (p. 74)
  • “The essence of profound insight is simplicity.” (p. 91)
  • “You can’t manufacture passion or motivate people to feel passionate. You can only discover what ignites your passion and the passions of those around you.” (p. 109)
  • “It is impossible to have a great life unless it is a meaningful life.”

After studying businesses, Collins did a short companion book called, Why Business Thinking is Not the Answer: Good to Great and the Social Sectors: A Monograph to Accompany Good to Great (2005). This is a thought-provoking little gem that helps us wrap our brains around the struggle that education and non-profit organizations face to be more like businesses. Collins makes a compelling argument that they shouldn’t try. He challenges us to think in new ways when he claims, that “most businesses are mediocre. Why would we want to import the practices of mediocrity into the social sectors?” (p. 1)

He talks about “organizational greatness”, as opposed to business as being something to aspire to. He urges us to consider that, “A great organization is one that delivers superior performance and makes a distinctive impact over a long period of time”. It’s easy to see how that could apply either to a business or a social sector organization.

Collins goes on to say that he suspects, “we will find more true leadership in the social sectors than the business sector” (p. 12). That’s quite a claim from a former faculty member of the Standford University Graduate School of Business.

Good to Great and the companion monograph, Good to Great and the Social Sectors are thought-provoking and insightful books on organizations and leadership. Well researched. Well written. Worth the read.


Partnerships in the social sectors

April 18, 2010

“Partnership” is the new buzz word in the social sectors. We know that more power can be harnessed and more potential can be realized when we work together. We can think about building partnerships (or undertaking business development in general) in three ways:

Organically Grown Partnerships – A somewhat passive approach that involves making the most of things that come our way. Another way of looking at these types of partnerships is “picking the low hanging fruit”. These types of partnerships aren’t ones you go after, but rather those that simply appear before you along the path. You see an opportunity and pick the fruit. This is, by far, the gentlest way of developing partnerships because you simply take advantage of an opportunity that presents itself.
Positive – Good things can come from unexpected sources. There is potential for a nourishing relationship that entails very little work.
Negative – Unfocussed and not strategic. It may not be what you need right now. The worst case scenario is that the situation is poisonous to your end goals.

Aggressively Acquired Partnerships – Pinpointing exactly who we want to go after and pursuing them, leaving all others aside. The process is active, deliberate, focussed and relentless. This approach is not typically used, or well received in the social sectors.
Positive – Goals are set and achieved.
Negative – Excellent opportunities may be lost due to a myopic approach.

Mindfully Cultivated Partnerships – This is a thoughtful combination of the above – Examine potential partnerships that come our way, carefully evaluating the possibilities while at the same time, strategically pursuing potential partners we have identified (or that have been identified for us by other sources).

I recommend the third, with a caveat and that is the focus on always being cognizant of what we are doing, constantly reflecting on if what we are pursuing will get us closer to our goals, meet our standards and are aligned with our values. This means of course:

Having clear goals for partnerships – We need to know what we want to achieve from our partnerships. Often partnerships that have a common shared goal, as opposed to simply going through all the pomp and circumstance of signing a formal Memorandum of Understanding, or MOU, have significantly more longevity and vitality. If you don’t have any goals, the vitality is likely to wither after the hype of the ceremony is over.

Defining our standards – Having rigorous standards and a focus on quality are important not only for our own organizations, but also to our partnerships. The bar sits where we set it. Focussing on excellence in all that we do, including how we cultivate and nurture our partnerships, is time well spent.

Articulating our values – I would argue that if we tackle this one first, the other two will be much easier. When it comes to developing partnerships, we are more likely to have success when we have clearly articulated what is important to the organization and those who work in it.

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Update – January 2018 – This blog has had over 1.8 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.


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