After months of researching and working behind the scenes, I’m thrilled to be able to share an exciting new venture – PerformanceReviews.net.

This new website will focus on helping companies improve productivity through employee training, development and evaluation. Not only will we be offering great information on how to effectively manage your team’s work habits. But we will also show how to use the performance appraisal form as a way to spearhead growth-for both the company and the workers.

Obviously there are many other sites that feature performance management tools. So what will make PerformanceReviews.net different? And why is this important to me?

Well, as my regular readers know, I truly believe that positive organizational culture is an essential part of a business’ overall health. No matter if it’s a nonprofit or a corporation, the training and retention of workers play a big role in that institution’s success. And while it’s true that human resources departments have long focused on creating a great work environment to foster these kinds of relationships-studies have shown that they routinely fall short in measuring the success of their efforts.

Enter the performance review. True, it can be a source of dread for staff and supervisors alike. But it can also be a powerful way to provide HR an invaluable view of a workforce in terms of work quality and production. It can help detect trends in where training needs to be provided as well as maybe pinpoint ineffective management techniques.

More importantly, it can be a way to take the pulse of employee satisfaction. Which is a key factor in determining how well a company can retain them.

According to a 2013 Gallop poll, seven out of ten employees have expressed not being engaged in their jobs. This is potentially damaging to a business’ economic health. Especially when you consider that companies with a higher percentage of disengaged employees are ones who usually report lower productivity and earnings.

The simple truth is that how your workers feel about their job matters. And how do you engage them? By giving them relevant training. Making sure that they are in the right job for their skill set. Providing them with regular evaluations on their work performance and offering an action plan to make sure they meet your organization’s standards. A performance review that is written and used correctly can offer human resource departments all of those things. But sadly, a lot of managers aren’t trained in how to write one.

That’s what drove me to create this new site. I definitely see it as an extension of the work I have done thus far in the areas of nonprofit and marketing management. More importantly, I hope that PerformanceReviews.net will become a valuable resource for those businesses who are really looking to tap the power of performance management to transform their workforce.

I realize that the concept of using a positive corporate culture to drive production isn’t a new one. But I’m not looking to recreate the wheel with the launch of PerformanceReviews.net. However, we’re confident that we can have a positive effect on how business is done. One employee at a time.

A key challenge to generating increase online giving is connecting with a donor in an emotional way. Giving is often driven by emotions and connecting with a donor in a meaningful way can be difficult in a digital setting. However, there are three rules (as defined by Network for Good) that can help you increase online giving:

  1. Keep Donors In the Moment of Giving
  2. Make It Easy
  3. Focus on the Relationship with Your Donor

Keep Donors in the Moment of Giving

Replicating the emotional-inducing giving process of an offline appeal is a primary goal of your digital fundraising efforts. You need to create a seamless giving process that helps people feel the brand and the particular donation opportunity. The design process of your site and giving pages matters. The design and flow should help the donor feel good about the brand, provide trust and a feeling of security for the giving process.

There should be consistency between the donation landing pages and the giving pages. I worked with an organization, a subsidiary of a larger nonprofit, that hosted landing pages on their primary domain and giving pages on their parent site. The two sites were a completely different design. You want consistency across pages to reduce concern and fear for the donor.

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If you’re like us, you’re listening in social media. The challenge that many organizations don’t do is to then take action on what you’re listening to and talk back. There are a number of platforms outside of Facebook and Twitter where people are talking about your organization. Listening to people on these sites and then responding will demonstrate that you’re paying attention to people and their concerns. Just communicating with people where they are and when they want to will help build strong relationships that nonprofits need.

Social media provides a tremendous amount of data about the behavior and actions of your donors and constituents. Marketing isn’t the only team that can benefit from this data: customer service, operations, donor relations, IT, and even HR find it useful. As you dig through the analytics data, identify key points of information that other teams can use and provide the data. Your donors care about their experience with you, so break down the silos within your organization and share key information and data.

Mobile apps create engaging experiences for brands who use them. For most nonprofit organizations, creating a mobile app just isn’t necessary. You can create beautiful, informative, and fully functional mobile experiences on the web and reach donors, advocates, and constituents through their device. This solution is cross-platform, so you don’t have to spend money develop an app for iOS, Windows Mobile, and Android, and doesn’t require a user to download an app.

A mobile friendly website also allows you to test and tweak without requiring the user to update an app. You can use A/B testing to find the best conversion opportunities without needing app updates.

What are your biggest marketing campaigns this year? What is the social layer for the campaign?

The social what?

The social layer. What is the tactical plan for implementing your marketing campaign in social media? Do you have a specific hashtag campaign? YouTube videos? Microsite? Influencer outreach campaign?

Blood Water Mission does this very effectively integrating offline campaigns with social elements. For example, you can run a LEMON:AID campaign to raise funds for clean water through a lemon aid stand.

As you design your next marketing campaign, plan how you’re going to integrate social media into it and what goals you have for the social media aspects of the campaign.

In the past, organizations have tried to control how employees post in social media. Fearing what employees could say, these organizations would hamper their best advocates when they could use the medium to promote the mission and goals. There is always risk for a nonprofit organization to unleash their employees to become advocates, but the rewards are worth it.

Make it easy for employees to share news. Create a central hub on your intranet with news that’s “approved” to share. This takes away any question about what is and isn’t public info and creates a measure of convenience for people to share about what’s happening with your organization.

Reward your employees for participating. Whether it’s just a retweet or its a full blog post, rewarding employees who participate will make them feel valued and appreciated for their contributions.

Develop training and monitoring solutions. There’s some information that just shouldn’t be shared outside of an organization. Create well defined boundaries and train people on what to share and how to properly share it. Well meaning employees can share something never meant for public consumption, so create a mechanism for them to understand what can and can’t be shared.

Your donors consume multiple channels of information: direct mail, commercials, website, blog, email, events, and social media. Be consistent with your messaging and voice across these channels. Be creative and have fun in social media, but make sure you don’t throw off your donors by presenting a completely different image of your organization in social media.

How do you create a consistent voice? Examine who you have posting in your social media account. If you’re using multiple people to manage social media, you often will find your voice from post to post sounds different. We recommend creating a consistent social media team that develops a single voice that all community managers adhere to. Regularly test by comparing different social media posts to ensure a consistent voice.

Pivot to Mobile

January 9, 2014 — Leave a comment

Supporting mobile devices is no longer optional. We could have written this tip last year, but today consumers and potential donors are using the mobile device first to interact with your brand, not as a tertiary option. Check your technical stats in Google Analytics, what you find may scare you: mobile users are making up a significant portion of your traffic. If you’re not supporting how they consume your site (by supporting mobile and tablet devices), you’re likely to find a big bounce rate among these users.

Make 2014 the year your brand shifts to support mobile in an exciting way. Create a responsive website that works equally well from big monitors to laptops to tablets to mobile devices. Develop unique ways to consume your content on a mobile device.

Delivering an email to an inbox is just the first step of your email campaign. Increasing response starts with increasing the open rate for the recipients of your email campaign. How do you increase the open rate for your emails?

  • Test different email subject lines.
  • Make it clear in the from name and email address who the email is from.
  • Write a great open line that shows up in the preview of emails. Don’t let “Can’t read this email? Click here to open it on the web.” be your opening pitch.
  • Get opt-ins from the right people. Creating an engaging newsletter is easy when you have people that are engaged with your brand.
  • Test your send frequency to see how much you can send to resonate with your audience.
  • Try different send days and times. Different days of the week work better for different audiences.

The key to any digital campaign is test, measure, and change. If you’re finding something doesn’t work, don’t be afraid to change it, measure, and change based on what you discover.