Friday, October 16, 2009

Politics-To-Go for the NGO

After spending five and a half years as a marketing director for a global humanitarian aid organization, I am shocked by how much I missed out on in the area of mobile marketing. Or perhaps it has just evolved that much in the six months since I left! Of course, I was a part of a global poverty reduction organization, and Bono was our man. We all knew what he was doing at U2 concerts to generate support through SMS for the ONE Campaign. But we were clearly a different organization with different strengths, weaknesses, and tactics.

Bono aside, if I were queen for a day back on my old stomping grounds, here are the top five ideas I would steal from the Politics-To-Go Handbook and incorporate into a communications strategy somewhere in the organization:
1) Info-to-go! Make available: digital cameras, small video cameras, access to a non-profit blog, access to social networks (that the organization is building currently or starts building immediately), to staff who travel internationally. Provide training on how to capture and share stories. has some great how-to information.
2) Develop citizen/supporter journalists (p.93). Empower volunteers to share their story. Empower those who receive help to share their story of transformation. Give them space and a place to share. And don’t just empower them – train them! Tell them how to write and publicize a powerful story. Develop a loyal group of non-profit bloggers. Leak stories to them first. Offer exclusives when appropriate. The Politics-To-Go handbook states that mobile blogging can be an effective way to build relationships with an audience.
3) Use mobile marketing to remind supporters of events and advocacy campaigns. Mobile marketing is such a personal and contextualized medium; messages reach people wherever they are: home, school, work, etc. Messages must be tailored accordingly and ONLY sent when the recipient has opted in.
4) Because constituent relations are so important to most non-profit and politically oriented organizations, ensure trust with your supporters by developing a privacy policy and following it. This is something my old organization took very seriously. Though I wouldn’t change a thing they’ve done in this area, the privacy policy is something I would make sure continually update, clearly communicate, and maintain a high level of accountability for.
5) Make every mobile message a clear call to action. Then ensure that other channels are integrated and have consistent messaging: billboards, websites, social media, and any other forms of traditional marketing.

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