My Favourite Six Things I Learned at Digital Leap 2012

I was absolutely delighted to join Jackie Fox as a Digital Dignitary at this year’s Digital Leap. We live-tweeted the full-day conference (held in the beautiful Art Gallery of Ontario) and even though our thumbs were sore by the end of the day, we were truly thankful for the opportunity. So thank you Stephen Thomas!

Since there was so much content packed in to one day, I present to you some of my favourite tidbits in list form:

My Favourite Six Things I Learned at Digital Leap 2012

Meet your Aunt Mables
You’ve crafted a perfect email ask, and it’s sitting in someone’s mailbox. They log in, see it, but right beneath it is an email from their Aunt Mable asking for a donation to a cause she’s supporting. Whose email are they going to open? Whose cause are they going to support? Aunt Mable’s. Whose perfectly crafted email ask is likely going to go unopened and untouched? Yours. Peer-to-peer fundraising is such a powerful tool because of the greater level of trust individuals have within their own network rather than with your organization. So find your Aunt Mables, find your Team Captains, find your network influencers who will pitch your cause to their community on your behalf. Because since Aunt Mable’s emails are the ones getting opened and the ones pulling donations, the cause in question had better be yours.
Hat tips to Ted Hart

Write three paragraphs a week
For those with limited staff and time (comme moi) this was a terrific tactic. Set aside a regular hour a week to write three paragraphs about your cause or programming. But don’t send it to anyone yet. Do this for a few weeks. Afterwards look at what you’ve written. Still feel like sending it out? Perfect. Use that content bit by bit in blog posts or eblasts. Keep up with your regular weekly writing though, so when the week comes that you’re swamped, you’ll still have content stockpiled from past weeks and your level communication won’t suffer.
Hat tips to Randall Craig

Stop hating on Pinterest (What did I tell you?)
“But it’s just for chicks” I hear folks bemoan. And yet who holds the buying power? And who does lots of donating? If you have a product to sell or a campaign to run, your audience is waiting for you on Pinterest. Pinterest also gets clicks – it’s the #3 referral site, just behind Facebook and Twitter, and accounts for more referral clicks that Google+, LinkedIn, and YouTube combined. Folks hang around on Pinterest longer too: the average Pinterest visit is 14 minutes, compared with product website pages where the visits are calculated in seconds. Also, Movember is on Pinterest, so let’s just drop the whole “Pinterest is just for chicks” thing.
Hat tips to Margarita Ibbott

Transparency now
Gearing up for an event or program? Share the process. Start the shoutouts to your speakers, your sponsors, your volunteers, and your venue in the days or weeks leading up to the event. Lifting the veil and letting your community in on the pre-game details humanizes the organization, and goes to show how truly thankful you are by sharing the spotlight with all those who are contributing. We’re all great at blowing our own horns at the event or during the fundraiser, but keep folks up to date afterwards with pictures showing them what you’ve done with their money.
Hat tips to Margarita Ibbott

Deny, Deny, Deny 
Folks are talking about you. And it might not all be good. But it’s most definitely public. Turn negative feedback in to a customer service opportunity. Even repost the original negative review, and then publicize how you dealt with it. To err is human, and you want to humanize your organization. The way you react to an issue can garner even more attention, positive or negative, than the issue itself. Two good examples are the sleeping fare collector (huge negative reaction, follow-up extremely vague and private, added to customer service frustrations) VS say, the oft-references Red Cross tweet slip-up (appropriate apologies, handled with humour, ended up with more donations)
Hat tips to Derrick Feldman

Get your community involved in new ways
I loved the idea of calling on your Facebook users to submit pictures to use as the Timeline masthead image. A picture’s worth a thousand words, and Facebook has given you one heck of a lot of real estate to make a visual impact. So make use of it!
Hat tips to Derrick Feldman

There was a lot more than what I have gleaned here. I think what really set Digital Leap apart from some other conferences I have attended before was the fact that even though the case studies may have featured larger established charities, the tools are totally applicable to smaller staffs, smaller budgets, smaller shops. Which ultimately means the information is more useful, hurray!

I am not sure I have ever tweeted so much in a day. But turns out I do an alright job:

(So hey, if you’re looking for someone to live tweet your awesome event, drop me a line!)

Were you at Digital Leap? What were your favourite things? Got any tips for maximizing social media for your cause?

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