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Topic: fundraising

Election Buzz

Today is election day.  Over the past six months I have had a similar conversation with several potential new clients – none of which I decided to work with.

It is interesting how people see that Barack Obama has raised money online and they think they can easily do the same with a website.

They see the numbers in a news story and decide they are going to raise money online too.  Usually, it is something like this:  I will raise $10,000,000 and only keep 40% for myself and give the rest to a charity.  I have $500 to spend on setting up a website, but only if I know that it is going to produce big results.

If Elections demonstrate one thing, it is that it is incredibly difficult to create massive, sustained buzz.  Especially in a competitive environment where the buzz is being created against an opponent.

What do you need to create buzz if you want it on a grand scale?  Just look at the elections – it is all there.

  1. Great Product – Your product has to be great.  It has to be better than others on the market and people have to want it more.
  2. Advocates – You cannot create big buzz by yourself.  You need to have an army of advocates willing to go door to door for free for you.
  3. Partners – People that quit their day jobs to join your cause and make less money.
  4. Endorsements – Big name, respected people that are willing to put their reputation behind you 100%.
  5. Commitment – Are you ready to commit to creating buzz every day despite being down in the polls?  Are you able to look people in the eye and ask for money when it looks like your product has no chance of winning?
  6. PR – Constantly seeking PR.
  7. Hard work – Does anyone work harder than a presidential candidate months before an election?  It seems absolutely insane how much they work.

See what I mean?  Barack Obama did not set up a $500 website and make a bunch of money.  This stuff is hard – and there are probably less painful ways to make some money on the Internet if that is your goal.

Word of Mouth does not have to be hard – Eddie Bauer

Do you have employees that are passionate and like working with your organization?

Many organizations find creating buzz with employees challenging.  I was at a business meeting where one person mentioned that his daughter works for Eddie Bauer and how much she likes it.  He also mentioned that they are having a 30% off Friends and Family sale and could get us passes.

We discussed Eddie Bauer for a full 3-4 minutes, and it had nothing to do with the meeting.

Sometimes in an effort to be cutting edge, we overlook the obvious.  Eddie Bauer gave its employees something of value that they could easily pass on, and even make extended family and friends advocates that could pass on value. 

Even a non-profit fundraising effort could use this technique.  A unique event for family and friends that donate at least $1.  Get every employee, board member and participant in the organization, including vendors (they are friends, right?) to donate something and attend the exclusive event.  The catch is, you have to be referred.

The big thing here is to capitalize on people’s honest appreciation for the organization and by giving them something of value to pass on.

Online Lead Generation