This is NOT an Anti-Ice Bucket Challenge Post But…..


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This is NOT one of those anti-ice bucket challenge blog posts that some have written in order to try and gain as much notoriety as the challenge videos themselves.  Most of those anti-icers are from individuals or groups that are jealous that they didn’t come up with something so simple to execute and successful… in my humble opinion.

But was the campaign successful?

The videos have whipped up a social media storm, and the Ice Bucket Challenge is making a major splash in Minneapolis. In just 2 weeks, more than $13 million has been raised — and so has awareness of ALS.

Since July 29, the ALS Association has welcomed more than 250,000 new donors.

Details here

It certainly seems that it was.  And it was all based on the fact that people love to perform and show themselves on social media having fun, doing funny things and doing something to help.  Even for the ones who didn’t donate, they still raised awareness.

So the Ice Bucket Challenge phenomenon has done what it was supposed to do….increase donations and increase awareness of ALS.  Now, under the theory of our OutreachU principles of building Authentic Appropriate Relationships and the Targeting Matrix, it is up to the ALS folks to take the data (emails, demographic info, etc), put it into some type of CRM or Donor Management System and leverage the data.

That does not mean start sending pesky email blasts to all of the new email list-ees.  This means learning more about those who donated, why they donated, what is important to THEM and then use that information to build a relationship with each donor…. just as a for-profit company, like Amazon or QVC might do to move a customer’s feelings toward the brand from a neutral “I-kind-of-now-about-ALS” to a loyal “I-did-the-ALS-Ice-Bucket-Challenge-and-now-I’d-like-to-be-and-advocate-for-ALS” position.

Retaining some of the new donors is the real challenge to the ALS organization.


BTW, in case you live under a rock, the Ice Bucket Challenges are being done to raise awareness of Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.



I Liked Your Facebook Page, Why Don’t You Like Mine?

A client of mine was dismayed that only 20 of his 600+ Facebook friends “liked” his business page. Like other small businesses, he wanted to use Facebook as a part of his overall Outreach initiatives to promote his products and connect with customers. He was also hoping to get the required minimum of 25 likes to land a vanity URL.

He was more irritated at friends whose pages he “liked” but didn’t “like” his back. He felt that reciprocity was in order. And I agreed. At first.

You Scratch My Back…

If I helped your business out and liked it, it’s time for you to repay that favor. Then I thought about my Twitter account. I know there were people I was following who didn’t follow me. I’ll give Alyssa Milano and Steelers WR Antonio Brown a pass. But those close to me? Heck, I even had friends and former co-workers who weren’t following me.

Once a month I use a free service called to purge my Twitter account of those people I was following but were not following me back. As I began to delete them from my social media life forever that got me to thinking that there’s probably a reason why some people don’t reciprocate.

Here’s Why I Don’t Follow or Like…

One is because your tweets or status updates may be annoying. In fact, I’m guilty of it at times. Instead of using Twitter as an information sharing tool, or to educate or inspire others, some use it to gripe. I know I get turned off when I see others do that so I click unfollow.

Another reason you may be unfollowed or not reciprocated is that you’re overtweeting. I tend to do this when my favorite teams, the Pittsburgh Penguins and Pittsburgh Steelers, are playing. Thankfully, many others do it during the games, so my tweets often go unnoticed. Still, this can be bothersome to non-sports fans.

But back to Facebook, my client finally got over the 25 like-threshold. In fact, he’s nearing 100+ likes now, so he’s happy.  It just took time, which was one piece of advice I gave him, He also began to post more relevant information and became more conversational with his friends and even on the pages he “liked.” He sent out his like request again for his business and received a more favorable response.

What Some Experts Think…

I threw out my question about reciprocating on LinkedIn Answers. Here’s what some people from around the country had to say:

Kate Davids, Online Marketer: There’s no reason, and indeed some reasons not to, follow back. The reasons not to include: bogging yourself down with tweets and page updates that just don’t hold any value for you. For instance, if you’re a personal trainer, you post about exercises, articles you like on dieting, etc. Your follower might be an accountant in another state who likes to work out, but you have no desire to read the accounting articles she posts about. Why would you follow her back? It only clogs up your Twitter stream.

Lorenzo Araneo, Screaming Lunatic: I follow back on Twitter those who are real. They interact with others and/or provide valuable resources to my industry. As far as a company, I will follow those who interest me. On Facebook, it’s a bit tougher because usually you want to reciprocate the follow back. Facebook can be more personal because your friends are on there. I have a few friends who just post non-stop so while I do “like” them, I end up using the “Hide” feature so nobody gets any bad feelings.

Sherese Duncan, Small Business Strategist, President and CEO, Efficio, Inc.: I’m not sure the important thing here is whether you should automatically reciprocate a “like” or a “follow” just because someone has “liked” or “followed” you. Quality over quantity comes to mind here. Building social media networks is based on trust.  People do not want to fill their networks with spam and meaningless blabber that they don’t care about. Neither should you. Only reciprocate a “like” or “follow” if you feel there’s an added personal or business related advancement or benefit.

Troy D. White, Educational Consultant, Cloud Owl Technologies: As an open networker, I do reciprocate requests (and follows). Naturally, we don’t have to reply to all the get-rich-quick messages and MLM schemes. But for people who are making a legitimate effort at connecting or advancing their business/careers, I’m more than happy to take a minute and Like a page or review a resume and offer a few quick tips.

Sheri Huesman, Owner, Cybertary Spartanburg: For me, social media is not a numbers game.  I only follow people back on Twitter if I’m remotely interested in what they have to say. I do not follow back if they’re blatantly trying to sell or advertise some “get rich quick” scheme. Same with Facebook, I only “like” who I truly want to follow. I don’t purposely help them get a vanity URL. I don’t take it personally if someone doesn’t “like” me back. There have only been a few instances where I have unfollowed someone because they send way too many tweets.

What do you think? Do you reciprocate on social media?.

Integrated Platforms for Marketing and Outreach?


The question of integrated platforms came up a few weeks ago.  Actually… multiple questions like “What is it?”  “How do we use them or it?”  “Is it an it or them?”

Thankfully I quickly realized that the question was not about the shoes I wore back in the 1970s with my wine-colored bell bottoms and double-knit flowered shirt.

The problem with the general question  of, “Can you explain integrated platforms?” is that it is like asking the question “Are you a computer person?” or “Are you a doctor?”  Like physicians and computer people, the term integrated platform is extremely general and, in order to be explained, has to have a specific focus, such as marketing and outreach in this case, just like a doctor might have a specialty or a “computer person” might deal with hardware, coding or off-the-shelf software implementation.

I’ll do my best to keep this brief but understandable.  The focus here will be integrated platforms for marketing/outreach and CRM and

Depending on the size of your organization, you may have a Donor list (large and small), a Marketing database, a PR list or database, an email list of Large Event attendees, etc, etc.  All of these potentially different silos being overseen and managed separately within your organization.

The key behind implementing integrated platform software is that it links everyone in the organization to the same database of information…hopefully creating  less work and better shared information for everyone.  Marketing knows who comes to the Large Events, PR knows who is on the Marketing list, Donors (large and small) are known to the Marketing and PR department and, even accounting.. who collects payments directly or from a website transaction, has access to the list so that, when someone calls to complain about an issue with their credit card, accounting knows to whom they are interacting with.

Ahaaaaa.. what?  All of us sharing information?  All of us working off of the same database of information?  Does this mean that I have to change MY habits to appease someone else’s needs? Yes.  Yes.  Yes aaaaand yes!!!

Above all, there are many choices of software that can do this for you.  But purchasing that software is the easy part of implementing an integrated platform.  The hardest part is making sure, operationally and emotionally, that your organization is ready to knock down the interdepartmental emotional walls and give up departmental fiefdoms to REALLY work together as a fully integrated organization.  No software in the world, no matter how expensive it is, will solve the interdepartmental obstacles that can get in the way of fully “integrating” your organization.

So, you want and integrated platform?  Look at the software options but, more importantly, look within your organization to see if everyone is ready to be integrated… emotionally!  Otherwise, your software purchase will be wasted.

I realize that I ran through this quickly.  I hope that it came across coherently.  If for some reason you are now dazed, confused or incoherent from the above explanation, feel free to email me or post a question below.




For the Sake of the Argument


Are you familiar with this scenario?

Two children want the same ball.  One grabs the ball, then the other child tries to grab the ball out of the first child’s hands.  An argument or a tug-of-war type battle begins and eventually somebody wins the battle for the ball.  Once the battle is won, the two children go off to play with anything BUT the ball.  The topic of the argument, the ball, is no longer important.

How about this?  You have an argument with your spouse or co-worker.  The argument gets to the point where there is a tug-of-war of ideas and nobody will give in to the other.  The two individuals each become more entrenched in their side of the argument with no resolution.  The two parties walk away with no resolution and even less open-minded.

Ponder this idea:  The longer an argument persists, the less the argument becomes about the original topic and the more the argument becomes about WINNING THE ARGUMENT simply for the sake of NOT LOSING!

While I’ve had no formal training in psychotherapy, psychology or psychiatry, I have been around my share of disagreements.  As a matter of fact, I guess I should even admit to being involved in a few myself!!  My observation: If you watch a typical disagreement escalate, the disagreement eventually becomes about each of the participants’ emotional need to “win” the argument as opposed to solving the issue.   The idea of the argument shifts to who is not going to give in or “who is the most powerful?

It is human nature to be competitive.  It is also human nature to not want to “lose” to another individual, especially in such a public area such as our work place in front of peers.  The argument quickly turns into “egos” and we lose our ability to be objective.

There is one important first step to being successful in almost any conflict, LISTENING.  At least fifty percent of our role in an argument, discussion, or customer interaction, is listening, or more frankly, the ability to “SHUT THE HELL UP” and try and understand the other perspective!!!

The next time you are involved in an argument, take this challenge:  After you have made your point, stop, listen and REMOVE YOUR EGO (this is the toughest part).  The more entrenched the argument becomes, the more you will have to be aware of your ego.

You will have to be keenly aware of whether or not you are really trying to understand the alternative perspective and resolve the original issue OR just trying to win the argument for the sake of winning.    If it is the latter, you may end up like the two children at the beginning of the story, where you simply move on to another issue without proper resolution and the initial ball (issue) gets dropped.

Thoughts??  C’mon… someone leave a comment.  I am feeling lonely this week!.

A Tall Glass of Outreach


Utah Jazz Power Forward Derrick Favors and 4 other people that, COMBINED, don’t make as much as he does per year! He was a gracious guy with all of the photo requests.

When my grandmother would see a tall person, like a basketball player, she would say, “Now that’s a tall glass of water!

So, I borrowed the phrase to talk about the outreach we witnessed on a recent trip to the west coast.

As Rich and I were deplaning, excited for our unplanned 6-hour layover in Salt Lake City (thanks to Mother Nature), we were greeted by a throng of people yelling, clapping, smiling and taking photos.

Back in the 90’s, we had some pretty big crowds in our Dysrhythmics days here in Salt Lake, but how did these people know it was us coming off the plane?? How did they remember us?

Snapping back to reality, after Rich and I started hugging all of the women, giving all of the guys fist pounds and receiving suspicious looks from both men and women, it became clear. They weren’t there for us!!

The Utah Jazz NBA team had recently signed a deal with Delta Airlines and, today, some of the players were at various gates doing the boarding announcements and welcoming arriving passengers as part of a PR/outreach activity.

After we realized that nobody wanted selfies with us, original cast members of the Dysrhythmics performances circa 19??, we started taking pics of the Jazz team members like everyone else.

I can sum up the point of this blog post like this. I am not much of a basketball fan. The only NBA game I’ve ever seen in my life, oddly enough, is a Utah Jazz home game back when Charles Barclay had a 35″ waist and wore a Phoenix Suns uniform.

As we unexpectedly passed through Salt Lake City airport last week, boom! There were the Utah Jazz and Delta outreach peeps building relationships with everyone passing by…whether you knew who they were (like me) or not.

What did I do with part of the next 6 hours of layover? Well, I certainly spent some time on the Utah Jazz website and social media channels trying to figure out who we should pretend that we knew now that we have pictures of ourselves with them.

Did the Utah Jazz build affinity with those of us with whom they interacted? Yes. Am I a decision maker regarding becoming a fan, even from a distance and being from a town that doesn’t have an NBA team? Yes. Did it cause me to learn more about the team?  Yes.

And building an affinity with a target(customer), enough that they take action, like spending time on your website, is step #1 of building as mass of authentic appropriate relationships and in astonishing the right customers consistently!

Thanks for reading! I will post more pics of Rich and I with the Utah Jazz players and cheerleaders once I find someone to develop the 3 rolls of 110 film! By the way, I’m also out of flash cubes if anyone knows where I can get some, tweet me @OutreachTools..

Outreach – The Third Leg of the Marketing Stool

Norman Childs, President Eyetique

Norman Childs, President Eyetique

Photo Credit: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

What is the importance of Outreach?  I can chat-it up with you all day regarding the importance of outreach.  For years we have been saying that Outreach is the “third leg of the stool” of a company’s image plan.  There is traditional marketing, there is public relations and, the third leg, which we all know is the leg that eventually balances the stool, is community outreach.

Today’s blog content substantiates the importance of the third leg of the stool, outreach.

This is a video from Norman Childs, President of a Pittsburgh-based fashion eyewear company.  Eyetique has seen tremendous growth over the years.  While the organization has made strategic moves from a PR standpoint over the years, i.e providing custom eyewear to national recording artist Wiz Khalifa and, most recently, to James Wolpert while he was a finalist on the NBC show “The Voice,” Eyetique has also been focused on community outreach since its inception. Norman attributes this focus on outreach to being an important part of the organization’s growth.

So as you can see,

1) From a corporate standpoint, Norman places a high-importance on a company embedding itself within the community in which it operates…outreaching to the community.

2) But he also points out, understanding that outreach is a two-way transaction.  For example, while he believes that, as part of their mission, giving back to the organizations of the community is important, but, it is also important for those organizations who have been supported, to return support to that local business. This is a key point, from a non-profit organization standpoint, to remember as you ask for donations/volunteers and other types of support from your local companies.

Your thoughts?  Comment below.  Thanks for reading!


To “Smart Phone” or NOT to “Smart Phone?”


I received this message from a church pastor, let’s call him Bill ( and why not, that’s his real name.)

Do you think it is mandatory for leaders to have fully enabled e-devices to participate in social media and outreach? I ask because of my current, limited experiences with my $0.99 phone w/no data plan. Are there options available without going full-blown tech/data heavy? Just curious…finding it hard to commit the extra $ in that direction.

Basically, the question is, do you really need a smart phone to participate in social media, if you are a “leader?”

Unfortunately this not a short answer but I will try. First, there is outreach and then there is digital outreach (using social media is part of digital outreach).

Secondly, not all leaders do their organization’s outreach at, least, their social media.

Then again, in a small organization such as possibly the church that Bill (real name Bill) oversees, one person fills many of the blocks on the organizational chart, including Social Media Coordinator.

Given that, I would say that whomever is in charge of the digital portion (social media portion) of the outreach activities, it would bode well if that person had a portable device so that they could initiate social media posts from/about events as they happen, monitor conversations and respond to inquiries/posts by others in a timely manner.

The social media world loves spontaneity and responsiveness. Similar to the Oreos story as it pertains to last year’s Super Bowl power outage.

All that being said, you, or someone like Bill (real name Bill) can carry on digital outreach (social media) from a PC or laptop by scheduling posts according to an editorial calendar. But again, that doesn’t necessarily provide the spontaneity from your events, etc, etc, etc, (I am pretty sure that the rule is to never use etc. unless you use 3 in a row) that the social media world thrives upon..

What In THEEEE World is a Google HelpOut?


If you are one of those people that has said, “Google has soooooo much money that they can afford to drive cars around and take pictures of every address in the entire world.  What will they do next?


Well, here it is.  Just to catch you up, at some point Google became a verb for searching the internet.  There was G-mail that was originally invitation only and then became adopted as people’s “extra” email address for trash e-mail and dirty jokes at work.  Google bought YouTube and then started Google+ which was intended to be a competitor of Facebook.

Not many adopted the Google+ product, except for some “Google Fanatics” and people…. like driving past a car accident… that just had to see how awful this thing was that everyone was talking about it.

In May, 2013, Google announced Google Hangouts which is basically a free Skype service that allows you to have multiple users on a video call, share documents AND video record the conversation.. eventually allowing you to post publicly or privately on YouTube.  It’s brilliant and easy to use.  Then, a month or two ago, Google announced HelpOuts… a free and/or Fee For Service one-on-one self help service.

From cooking tips, exercise coaching, make-up application help to handy-man assistance and diet support, Google HelpOuts have begun to tutor audiences one-one-one… as social as social can get.  Some tutorials are pre-recorded but, the strength behind them mainly is the live tutorial interaction.  Some are free, some are monetized (e.g. $1 per minute), some are on-demand/immediate and some are scheduled appointments.   (See Can Small Businesses Make Money from Hangouts?)

Can you use this new channel of communication to strengthen your outreach efforts?  Can a priest use it for confession with their followers?  Can car dealers use HelpOuts to build customer loyalty by helping a customer change their oil? Can you use HelpOuts to build loyalty and a Critical Mass of Authentic Appropriate Relationships (CMAARs) in your outreach activities?

I actually think the question is more of, “SHOULD I use my precious, limited outreach time to do Google HelpOuts?

My opinion is, have you perfected Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest or face-to-face outreach activities yet?  If not, don’t worry about Google HelpOuts yet but keep them on your “good to know about” list.

My reasoning, from what I have seen and read from the really smart people, Google Hangouts, Google HelpOuts and YouTube comments being tied to having a Google+ account, are Google’s way of slowly twisting everyone’s arm to use Google+.  Additionally, while tools like Hangouts and HelpOuts are cool, they are not yet widely adopted or understood.  And for some, they out-and-out refuse to play any part in HelpOuts merely because they see them as Google’s evil plan of forcing you to use Google+ and increase their user numbers.

You know as well as we do, most Outreach professionals have limited resources… including time.  For now, Google HelpOuts is probably not the best use of your scarce time resource.  But, feel free to use it to find some relaxing techniques once you get home on Friday after a week’s worth of Outreaching!

Have you tried Google HelpOuts?  Do you like Google+?

Comment below.



105,491 Outreach Targets In Miserable Conditions… All Happy!


January 1st has become a day of tradition in the National Hockey League (NHL) when they return hockey to its roots of playing on a frozen pond with the Winter Classic game.    The overall goal of the annual Winter Classic game is to put the sport of ice hockey on a global stage so as to raise awareness of the game and hopefully grow the sport’s audience…as I might call it… OUTREACH!

But here’s the best part….. it was all done outside in a temperature of 13 degrees and a wind chill of zero where, as you can tell from the pictures, probably less than 105 of the 1o5,491 people in Michigan Stadium, could actually see the hockey players, let alone catch a glimpse of the 3-inch diameter  hockey puck moving at 80-90mph … and it was a success.

So, why does the NHL do this?  Is it just about doing something cool?  Let’s look at it from the OutreachU Targeting Matrix perspective.  The game is meant to:

  • For the loyal fans (the group of fans that are die hard and advocates of the sport), this is the icon event of the regular hockey season and it shows the game as it started, outside in the elements.  It keeps the loyalist invigorated, engaged and, above all, loyal.
  • For the neutral fans (the group that kind of likes hockey but doesn’t understand it enough to be loyal, make time to watch it on TV or to make a distinct choice to purchase a ticket to a future game over another choice for use of that money they may have), it gives the NHL a chance to expose  the game in a big way with lots of excitement, explanation and extra activities showing how cool the game can be. It helps the NHL to push some of these neutral fans over to loyal.
  • And for the antagonistic fans (the group of people who definitely do not like hockey or unequivocally like  another sport more than hockey), the Winter Classic is the NHL’s chance to potentially push some of this group to neutral or maybe even loyal, without much of an additional effort OR use of additional resources.

So there’s strategy behind this?  Indeed there is.  And it’s not just about increasing the number of fans for the NHL.

“The NHL is relying on the exposure from the Winter Classic as part of its three-year plan developed this year to boost gross national league-wide revenue by $1 billion”

NHL COO John Collins

How crazy is that… outreach, with strategy, goals and metrics.  Whooda thunk it.  Isn’t outreach supposed to be just about making people feel good about what you do just because what you do is good work?

Sure, the NHL invested millions of outreach dollars ($3M on the stadium rental alone) on this event.  You may say, our organization is lucky to have $3,000 dollars to dedicate towards outreach efforts.  If that is so, then there’s even more of a reason to have a strategy.  As an outreach professional, wouldn’t you want to make sure that your $3,000 was targeted to the right audience?  And, as the supervisor of an outreach professional, wouldn’t you want to know what the metrics of success are for spending the only $3,000 you had budgeted on outreach?

OutreachU is about creating an effective strategy for your scarce resources.  And the Targeting Matrix is one tool to help with that.  Generally, I would suggest that you NOT spend your only $3,000 on dragging people outside for 3 hours into zero-degree wind chills and give them poor views of what you want them to see.  But, if your Targeting Matrix tells you that it makes sense, well……………………

Your thoughts??  Comment below.



Outreach Story Telling with Video


When given the opportunity to read a manual on how to change the spark plug in your lawn mower or to watch a free video on how to change that same spark plug, which one would you choose?

When given the opportunity to tell your organization’s story, is it better to list a bunch of bullet points and facts, or is it better to have a customer or advocate tell their story as to how your product or service changed their lives for the better?

No need to think any harder… video and personal story are the two answers.

And you should be thinking of these two questions as you create your own organization’s digital strategy.  Does it cost money to produce video? Sure but not  a lot of it these days.  Does it take some time to produce a video correctly?  Sure.. some time is invested.

On the other hand, how many of your organizations have endless resources and can afford to have 5, 10 or 20 staff members covering the world outreaching on your behalf.  My guess is, not many.   So video, combined with story telling can help.

Watch this 21-second video sample from Shell Corporation …”The Sounds of Energy.”

You can see the entire 2 1/2 minute video here.  (It’s worth it. I’ll be shocked if you’re not intrigued enough to watch it twice.)

In watching the video you see that it’s fun, it’s engaging, it’s clean and fresh in its appearance and it tells the story of energy that Shell wants to convey.  It is certainly far more engaging and intriguing to see the various kinds of energy vs. reading an article that might list examples of those same types of energy.

And guess how many outreach professionals have to go out on the road to show this video?  ZERO!  And guess how many people have seen this message and engaged with it?  The metrics are right on the YouTube page.. almost 2 million the last time that I checked.  When is the last time your outreach efforts affected 2,000 people let alone 2,ooo,ooo?

Surely, Shell spent a fair amount of money to produce this video capturing the timing of the edits, the venues, etc.  But your video story can be just as compelling with the right topic, the right story teller and the right timing and placement.

So, are you ready to start story telling with video on your website and social media channels, yet?  If you would like some story telling tips, follow this link to the Dragon Fly Effect website and  feel free to email me if you would like to chat it up about  how to use video!

If you are already using video, please comment below and tell us how.

By the way, be sure to follow us on Twitter @OutreachTools..