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.



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.




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..

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..