Wednesday, August 22, 2012

BE the billboard

NAMIWalks Program Team

So often throughout the NAMIWalks process, we are asked about the scarcity of mass media marketing. Why aren’t there NAMIWalks commercials? Where are the TV interviews? Where are the radio spots? Where are the billboards?

While over the past few years we’ve had increasing exposure through aired and broadcasted PSA’s and promotional videos, local news and media coverage, and even celebrity endorsement; our message has remained consistent. It is our grassroots awareness campaign that makes NAMIWalks an effective means of educating the community, creating needed conversations and awareness, and taking steps to eradicate stigma.
It is our belief that WE are the commercials, broadcasts, and billboards! Every time we (in a one on one way) reach into our networks of family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, and others to ask them to walk with us at the upcoming NAMIWalks event, and/or to become a donor, we create the opportunity to tell our personal stories, and to educate each individual (one at a time) about NAMI services, and community mental health as a whole.
Kyle Potvin of Splash Communications, LLC states, Grassroots marketing is about permeating a community and building relationships locally on many levels so the buzz grows. A voluntary sales force carrying a message forward has more velocity than a single marketing department.”
We ARE the billboards. When we leverage the power of our shared experiences with mental illness and talk openly about the resources available, opportunities for recovery, and the need for increased advocacy and support for individuals living with persistent mental illness we make an incomparable impact.
Know that your endorsement is as powerful as that of Glenn Close, Joe Pantoliano, Ty Pennington, Senator Michael Dukakis, Congressman Patrick Kennedy, and the many other noteworthy individuals who have lent their celebrity to our cause. Never underestimate the importance of your own voice.

Passionate NAMIWalkers in Virginia

The power of grassroots marketing is striking. To have our NAMIWalks participants care so much about what we are doing they become vocal supporters and cheerleaders for our cause will always be what propels our movement.
Where are the commercials, radio spots, broadcasts, interviews, and billboards? They are on the upswing. As stigma is addressed, more and more opportunities for awareness building through media become available to us. While we wait, NAMIWalks depends on your willingness to continue to be the billboard.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Lights, Camera....ACTIVISM!

Video fundraising is the wave of the future. Adding videos that explain our cause, demonstrate your passion, illustrate a need, or simply make the “ask” can be a phenomenal way to connect with donors.  A video gives you the opportunity to speak directly to your potential supporters, puts a face (yours) to your initiative and expresses why the NAMIWalks fundraiser is important to you.

Hesistant? Let’s take a look at the prevelance of videos online. In July 2012, more than 85 percent of US internet users viewed online videos and most reported that they spent (on average) more than 14 hours doing so throughout the month. Cisco reports that more than 90 percent of the world’s data will be in video form within the next four years. We have to activate a video strategy now in conjunction with our tried and true fundraising methods just to keep up!
Before you create your video, take some time to create an outline of what you would like to say. It is not suggested that you read from a script. If you are known for your witty banter or great sense of humor, a funny or satirical video can be very effective for you. A compelling and inspirational video will work just as well. With cameras being built into smartphones and on laptops, it is very simple to take a few minutes to record a short message to add to your personal NAMIWalks fundraising page and your communications that ask people in your network to donate. The best place to start with your message is by explaining why you think visitors to your fundraising page should give. Remember, you don’t have to be Steven Spielberg or Martin Scorsese to get this done. Simply position yourself in front of the camera and speak from the heart; and do what you can to keep it to the point and between 1 and 3 minutes in length.

Check out this NAMIWalks fundraising “video ask” that was used to help this walker raise more than $1400 within a few days on the social networking site, Facebook.

Here are some quick and easy steps for you to do the same (courtesy of FirstGiving):
Experiment with your computer’s webcam
Most computers these days come with their own built-in webcams. This is a powerful tool that you may already have experience with. Shoot a quick video of yourself explaining the story behind your fundraising campaign. Why are you fundraising? How do you plan to do it? Adding an interesting, human story behind your efforts can create a strong personal connection with your network of supporters. The tools are there, why not use them?

Upload your video online
Once you are happy with your video message, it’s time to post it online. Use any of the video hosting sites (YouTube, Vimeo, Vume etc.) available to upload the video. Then you can upload your YouTube videos to your fundraising page. Either way, make sure your video message can be shared easily.

Speak from the heart
Webcam video is nothing too fancy. For your fundraising purposes, this may not be important. Ultimately this is just another digital tool to drive traffic to your online fundraising page. Make it personal and be sure to speak from the heart. Individuals are more likely to share something that is relatable than a generic, uninspired body of text.

Strategically share the video
There’s a smart way to share your video online. Share your video on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, in emails, and of course on your fundraising page!

Fundraisers with photos and videos are 41 percent more likely to reach their fundraising goals than pages without media.

Still need convincing? Check out this video from the Director of Marketing from the popular fundraising site, GiveForward, on two reasons why you should use video in your fundraising.

Once you've made your fundraising video, upload it to our NAMIWalks Facebook page so we can shine the light on your efforts to take the next steps toward fundraising success!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Does SIZE really matter?

Does a donation have to be large and impressive to be important?

In our quest to raise 10 million dollars in this, our 10 year Anniversary of NAMIWalks, we are encouraging our walkers to be more vigilant than ever in their fundraising efforts. Fundraising can be a scary and uncomfortable undertaking.  When many people consider it, they can feel inadequate, uncomfortable asking, or less than connected to people with money.
After all, don’t we all wish we had generous wealthy benefactors in our networks to turn to for support with our causes?
The truth is that wealth has never been a prerequisite for giving. Even during the roughest of economic times, everyday people have a desire to be philanthropic and to give to make a difference. In fact, the wealthiest 10 percent of Americans only account for 25 percent of all charitable giving. While large donations are coveted and most appreciated; you may ask, what about smaller donations? Can a $5 donation repeated, affect as much change as a $1000 donation from one person? Does donation size really matter?
NAMIWalks has grown consistently over the past nine years due to our grassroots approach and nature. Just like we don’t look to have a few people raise the bulk of the money, we also have never expected to have an arsenal of walkers who are directly connected with major donors or wealthy philanthropists. Instead, we rely on our grassroots process and our walkers’ willingness to leverage the power of their personal stories, concern for community mental health, and appreciation for NAMI. By reaching into your everyday networks and engaging people to support YOU by walking and/or donating to your NAMIWalks efforts, we can (even $1 at a time) spread awareness and raise the necessary funds to continue making a difference.
The reason the WALK process works is because it is extremely effective for one person to give a gift and then to ask a peer to make a similar commitment. The personal contact between fundraiser and donor is very effective. Be sure to set the stage by giving your own first donation and establishing a reasonable “gift range”.  From there, encourage your potential supporters that every dollar makes a difference. If people don’t feel that they are capable of making an impact, they may not give at all. A small donation repeated, in a campaign where awareness-building is a significant component, will go a long long way.   
Remember that small donations add up. Regardless of the size of the donation, most giving requires some level of sacrifice for the donor.  Even a small donation means that our community mental health effort has yet another member of the brigade.
So, in summary, does a donation have to be large and impressive to be important? I can hear the over 800,000 NAMIWalks participants (since 2003) combine their voices with a resounding, “No!
                              HOW TO RAISE $100

         $10 – your personal donation              $10
         $15 from spouse/parent                      $15
         $10 from a work colleague                  $10
         $10 from 2 friends at church               $20
         $5 from 4 neighbors                           $20
         $10 from 2 family members                $20
         $5 from teacher/school friends            $ 5

Check out our online NAMIWalks Fundraising Manual for more tips and tools to help with your individual and team fundraising efforts.