Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Converting the Haters

Today, Ypulse listed my SXSW panel (Getting the Kids Behind You) as one of their picks for the conference. So exciting! Vote now, or you may not get to see my lovely face in Austin next year!

In other news, the nonprofit I work for, PETA, will be featured on tomorrow night's episode of Lewis Black's Root of All Evil in a show titled "NRA Vs. PETA". From the looks of the preview, it looks like Mr. Black takes a few jabs at PETA.

Many people ask me whether I think this type of attention is good or bad. I say good, and this is why. Every time PETA is mentioned in the press, our site gets a boost in traffic, which results in our videos getting viewed more, which often results in people wanting to get more involved in helping animals.

Some coming to the site may be looking for something to make fun of, but leave actually learning something about the ways in which animals are treated on factory farms, labs, circuses, etc...

So long story short- you can't please the haters all of the time, but you can teach them something some of the time.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Life Goal #256- Speak at SXSW Interactive

Please vote for my panel "Getting the Kids Behind You" so I can speak at next year's SXSW Interactive Festival! Here's the panel description:

Getting the Kids Behind You

“Getting the Kids Behind You” will be a how-to-guide for nonprofits to successfully motivate and mobilize youth to get behind their cause. From text message campaigns to viral videos to creative online petitions, this panel will show real-life examples that actually work.

Help me make life goal #256 a reality! You can vote here.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Getting Attention Through the Olympics

On the eve of the start of the Olympics, I decided to take a look into what nonprofits are getting attention for their cause using an Olympic angle. Hey, if Project Runway can have an Olympic themed show, why can't nonprofits get in the game too?

Today, "Songs for Tibet" (a benefit compilation featuring Sting, Moby, Dave Matthews, John Mayer and more) topped iTunes. Put out by nonprofit The Art of Peace Foundation to raise awareness about China's role in Tibet, this campaign had absolutely perfect timing.

PETA just unleashed its very beautiful, very patriotic, and very naked anti-fur PSA starring Olympian Amanda Beard. The controversial PSA has received international attention and a ton of press.

Actress and activist Mia Farrow is Web-casting her own "Darfur Olympics" alternative opening ceremony from a refugee camp on the Sudan border with her nonprofit Dream for Darfur in order to bring attention to the role China plays in Sudan's economics and politics.

Which campaign had the best use of the Olympics to gain the world's attention to their cause? Comment below on your thoughts.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Warped Tour Wrap-Up!

Back! It's been an exhausting couple of weeks, but I missed you, so I'm back. As I said in my last post, I was on Warped Tour with the nonprofit I work for, peta2. I may not have liked the music, and I came back with a bit of a farmer's tan, but I did enjoy all the great feedback and incite I got from it. Here's a lil' breakdown of the three most popular nonprofits (besides peta2) that were/are on this year's Warped Tour:

Truth: Truth was there in all its orange glory. Truth consistently attracted large crowds by playing crazy games and giving away a ton of free tees and booty shorts. I was not really sure how the games exactly drilled into the audience that smoking was bad (Thriller dance off?), but they did do a good job of secretly branding all that partook in the festivities. *Their Warped site is pretty good too.

To Write Love On Her Arms: Their t-shirts were EVERYWHERE. From the people attending to the bands to the catering staff. Everyone was sporting TWLOHA. Their booth was always packed. Unfortunately, their booth offered nothing more than tees for sale, and left me thinking where does all the suicide prevention stuff come into play?

Keep A Breast: Another very popular t-shirt on the tour was Keep A Breast's "I Love Boobies" tee. But unlike, TWLOHA, Keep A Breast had plenty of information available about breast cancer prevention when I visited their booth. Keep an eye on this one...

Monday, July 28, 2008

Going on Tour

Tomorrow I am heading out on the Vans Warped Tour to see what "the kids" are into these days. Don't worry, I've packed some earplugs.

I went on Warped Tour last year, and learned a lot about what young adults think of the nonprofit I work for (peta2). It was an amazing experience with incredible, direct feedback- far surpassing any survey or study that comes past my desk about youth.

Nothing beats talking to your prime demographic in their prime element for 10 hours a day. I admit, it does help that I look a bit younger than I actually am- gotta get this field research will I still can!

The best part of going on the tour is that I get to evaluate first hand how peta2's outreach is doing. I also get to scout out what other nonprofits (and more importantly- other corporations) are doing to get the youth's eyes and ears.

So for the next few days I will be M.I.A. in the blogging world, but will make sure to tell you all the juicy details when I get back.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Why I Love Gydget

I love widgets so much, I even list them as one of my interests on Facebook. Widgets are amazing. They drive traffic, raise funds, play videos, provide info, and even feed your cats while you're on vacation (OK- maybe not the last one). The only things I don't like about widgets is that they can be both pricey and complicated to create, which is not good news for nonprofits with a small staff and small budget.

However, there is a widget god. If you are looking to create an easy and effective widget on a shoestring budget (i.e. no budget), look no further than Gydget.

I made the following widget in less than an hour, with little nohow, and it has already had over 100,000 unique views since launching in June.

Banner 2 Banner 1 go!

Gydget is free and easy, which is music to ones ears if they are a non-developer marketer like myself.

P.S. The peta2 Woof widget is ranked 3rd on top grabbed widgets this week right behind Lil Wayne. That just makes me smile.

P.P.S. Gydget did not pay me to write this. To prove it, I also recommend Sprout Builder for all your widget making needs.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Be Like Obama

I have to say, I am not a fan of politics. That being said, Obama's campaign (so far) has been absolutely brilliant. Change We Can Believe In is the perfect slogan. It has the perfect sentiment, and most importantly has perfect timing.

I can't tell you how many times I have stared at his site and watched the "Yes We Can" video in awe. When I look at his campaign, the thoughts that come to mind are: positive, young, optimistic, empowering, and strong.

Nonprofits take heed- this is what the people want. They want to feel like that can make change. They want to feel good about themselves. They want something to believe in.

There is no debate, Obama is the best marketer so far, and may the best marketer win...

Friday, July 18, 2008

To the Beach!

I am heading to the beach for a much needed vacation, so I will not be posting the next few days (don’t miss me too much). While you’re waiting for my glorious return, check out the winners from Getting Attention’s Tagline Awards. My favorite is:

Arts & Culture: Where Actors Find Their Space —NYC Theatre Spaces/This clearinghouse for NYC rehearsal and performance spaces uses a double entendre to go beyond a description of its services and highlight the value of its work.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Hot Buttered Babies

A buttered baby will get your attention. Take a look...

I love this PSA from Kids and Cars. Slightly disturbing, but gets the point across. Nothing says pay attention to me like a baby in a roasting pan.

This PSA is currently running in Texas, where there have been several recent baby deaths due to parents leaving their children locked in hot cars.

People also do this to dogs. A lot. Which brings up the very important question: who is cuter- buttered baby or Simon Cowell?

Not sure myself.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Hire a Hero Needs a Little Help

Great idea by Hire a Hero (a nonprofit which works to connect unemployed military service men and women with employers using social networking)- collect one million thank you’s to send to the men and women who serve or have served in the military in the form of email messages. The one million thank you’s challenge launched on Independence Day and will last until Veteran's Day.

It’s a little sad that they only have 936 messages so far. They should trying pitching to military press and blogs far and wide to booster these numbers. They could also try teaming up with other vet, military, and military family support groups, and ask if they would send an email blast to support the campaign. Starting a Facebook group might also not be a bad idea.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Truth Hurts

I really don’t understand the new(ish) “Sunny Side of Truth” campaign. The shock value and creativity that Truth had in their 2006 ad campaign has been replaced with singing unicorns and dancing leprechauns. I just don’t get it.

Sure is it slightly funny, but the point of the campaign is completely lost. I can’t really even make out what they are singing about. Is tobacco bad or good? Are musicals the new black?

I think they need to go back to the drawing board on this one. The ads they had in 06 were much more relevant- they should continue on that path again. They got the money- make it happen.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Nonprofit iTunes Apps? Not so fast...

Still can’t download the new software needed to update my iPhone (not the new one) so I can upload from iTunes' new App Store, but a girl still can still browse right? The apps range from readable bibles to Starbucks locators, but alas, the closest nonprofit related app I could find was "Survivors 1 and 2"- here is the description for it:

What if the animal’s in Noah’s Art could teach us something about Global Warming and Saving the Planet?

Slim pickings now, but I am looking forward to seeing what nonprofit is the first to break into this realm. I hope it’s mine! I think it would be wise to get in at the start. My dream would be to have an app that could tell you what vegetarian friendly restaurants were near your current location.

P.S. I am going to download Super Monkey Ball as soon as this thing starts working.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Razor Blades in Bikinis

This direct marketing campaign from the Spanish nonprofit Association of Women Against Genital Mutilation (AMAM) is absolutely amazing. So amazing that when I Googled AMAM several articles about the campaign came up before their own site. Some have said that this campaign crossed the line, but I say there really is no line to cross anymore. If it gets people talking- it gets people talking. It got me to their site.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

The Business of Nonprofits

I love this quote from marketing guru Seth Godin:

“Nonprofits have to recognize that they’re businesses, not just causes. In the face of this new reality, an increasing number of forward-looking nonprofits are beginning to understand the increased revenue, focus and effectiveness that can come from adopting “for profit” business approaches. Increasingly, they are reinventing themselves as social entrepreneurs, combining “the passion of a social mission with an image of businesslike discipline, innovation, and determination.”

Top 5 nonprofits that I think are doing this and doing this well:

1. PETA (yes, I am a little biased)
2. SOS
3. Human Rights Campaign
4. Greenpeace
5. The Humane Society of the United States

Monday, July 07, 2008

Thurgood Marshall Would Be Proud

Right after college, I spent a year teaching at Thurgood Marshall Academy Public Charter High School (quite the mouthful) in SE D.C. through the AmeriCorps VISTA program. Since then, I continue to keep tabs on how the school is doing by checking out their website, which I am happy to report is leagues ahead of what it was during my time there.

I absolutely love the new blog feature of the site (although it’s not updated as frequently as I would like)- I think it's essential for students, parents, teachers, and donors alike to get these sorts of informal updates about what the school is up to. I also enjoyed the fact that they had an online donation page. However, I do think that they should promote this feature on the front page, and not keep it hidden in the back pages.
My favorite part of the site is their news and events updates- simply for that fact that they never fail to make me smile.

My old high school’s site seems so sad in comparison!

P.S. Donate to them if you can. They do amazing work- see the WSJ article here.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Silly Mr. Lagerfield

This French government ad campaign, starring Chanel's Karl Lagerfield sporting a fluorescent yellow vest to make road safety more chic makes me giggle (OK- laugh out loud).

Translated, the ad says, "It's yellow, it's ugly, it doesn't go with anything, but it could save your life."

Karl Lagerfield always reminded me of some sort of fashion Terminator, so this ad is sorta hard for me to take seriously. But if it works, more power to the French!

*As of two days ago, the reflective vest is mandatory for motorists and cyclists in France.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

46664 Concert

Last night, I watched bits and pieces of the 46664 concert honoring Nelson Mandela's 90th birthday in London's Hyde Park. 46664 was Mandela's prison number while imprisoned in Robben Island off the coast of Cape Town, South Africa. The number is now the name of the nonprofit he established to combat the AIDS epidemic in Africa.

During the concert, messages wishing Mandela a Happy Birthday scrolled across the jumbo trons on either side of the stage. Viewers could either text their message, or fill out a form on the site to essentially create the world's largest birthday card. After sending a message, you then could download an exclusive free song from Queen + Paul Rodgers. Clever!

The concert was great. The cause itself is great. But the site for the cause needs a bit of work. The most surprising thing I saw after visiting the 46664 site, was that the 46664 tee that everyone from to Will Smith to Mandela himself was wearing was not more predominately displayed for sale. I am sure everyone and their mum was looking for that tee if they saw the concert. I know I kinda fancied it.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Hope House Gives Me Hope (for nonprofit ads)

I am so in love with this ad campaign by Hope House- a Norfolk, Virginia nonprofit supporting people with developmental disabilities.

Hope House has billboards all over Norfolk each depicting a different person that they support with a picture frame around their face and the tag line, "I Am a Masterpiece". The campaign is so innovative, and so very different than anything I have seen in this area of nonprofits. Instead of invoking pity, it accomplishes their mission statement, "We are people with developmental disabilities, who want nothing more than to control our own destinies and live in our own communities."

Below is the ad featuring my coffee shop's (Fairgrounds) local celebrity Hollywood.

A few weeks ago while I was coming home from work, I saw a bunch of people standing on the side of the road holding up picture frames and waving to passing cars. I quickly recognized that they must be from Hope House, and as I got closer, I saw that I was right. They were out promoting an upcoming arts festival, whose proceeds go to Hope House. It made me so happy. Very positive and clever campaign.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Send a Whale! Love This...

I can't get enough of Greenpeace's very creative Send a Whale petition get Japan to stop their whale hunting ways.

My boss Joel mentioned how it was interesting that they set it up so that you have to sign the petition before you can create your personalized origami whale, and I totally agree. A great incentive to get people to take the time to fill out a form. Seems to be a hit so far with 38,000+ having already signed the petition. I also dig the Facebook application to show off your very own whale.

Here is my whale- Sir Spout's A Lot:

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

You Built It- Now Will They Play?

Pretty good coverage on the Games for Change Festival, which was took place in early June in NYC.

The decent press coverage inspired me to play many a game on the Games for Change site.

The thing about it is, after playing several of the games, I started to get a bit depressed.

True, these games are tech savvy, progressive, and educational, but they are lacking one very important factor into getting them played by the masses: F-U-N.

Yes mindless, silly, stupid fun. If these games are geared towards young adults, the makers really need to take this into consideration a bit more.

Never underestimate the fun factor. There is only so much "education" that one can take before getting bored and resorting to playing Dance Off! on Viva Pinata.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Nonprofit Conferences- Are They Worth It?

It seems lately that I have been bombarded with notices of upcoming nonprofit conferences begging for my attendance (OK-not begging me specially). There’s the American Marketing Association’s Nonprofit Marketing Conference and the Orange Conference, and of course NTEN, which just took place. My question is: is the travel, time off of work, and expense worth it?

I attended NTEN last year, and was slightly disappointed at the amount of usable information I gathered from it. It was nice to network with other nonprofits, but I did not come back fully inspired. On the flip side, I attended SXSW Interactive last March and was completely blown away at all of the nerdy and useful info I was bombarded with as soon as I stepped in the Austin Conference Center.

Are the nonprofit specific conferences simply not worth it? Would I rather get my advice from Google and Facebook then other nonprofits? Sadly, right now the answer is yes.

I find that taking advice from those most successful at reaching the most people (usually of the corporate persuasion) and transitioning it to the nonprofit world is the way to go.

This does not mean you won’t find me at any upcoming nonprof conferences- you just might. However, it does mean that you will definitely find me at SXSW next year…twittering.

Friday, June 20, 2008

I Need a Drink Links!

MBA or MPA that is the question. I think I would learn towards an MBA, but that’s just me. Or not go to school…

Are you part of the nonprofit tech community? I am. Sorta.

Is the economy hurting donations?

Midwest Teen Sex is brilliant

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Wearing Nonprofit Love on Your Sleeve

What better way to show support of your favorite nonprofit then by sporting their tee? This seemingly simple form of marketing can mean big bucks and a ton of exposure for the nonprof if the “look” catches on.

Here are my top 5 best nonprofit tees at the moment:

1. A lil’ old, yes, and somewhat of a questionable success, Gap’s (Product) RED tee is still one of my faves. I like the look, and dig the cause.

2. This vintage style WWF tee has two things going for it: It features its incredibly cute and recognizable panda logo and is being sold at trendy stores such as Urban Outfitters and Delias.

3. I see this To Write Love on Her Arms tee everywhere. I didn’t even know it was associated with a nonprofit until I looked it up (not sure what that says about the tee). Regardless, I still like the look.

4. An oldie but goody- this Rock the Vote tee makes me reminiscent to the time when I trusted politicians.

5. I just had to throw in a tee from PETA- this one has been spotted on everyone from Paul McCartney to me. Simple, cute, and not aggressive.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

30 Days PETA Episode

Marketing riddle: How can you get the attention of millions of eyeballs on your nonprofit for one full hour for free? Answer: Get yourself on a hit reality TV show.

Granted, if you are not the sort of nonprofit that might bring some drama into the mix, then reality shows might not be banging down your door to get you on their show. But if you are say PETA, that’s another story…

Tonight on Morgan Spurlock’s award winning show 30 Days, a hunter named George spends a month living with a co-worker of mine named Melissa and her all vegan family. In my very biased opinion, it was amazing. Don’t believe me? Mr. Spurlock himself said that this was one of the most compelling hours of television he has ever watched.

So check it out! It airs tonight on FX at 10:00 PM EST. And if you are a nonprofit- start bringing the drama!

P.S. The man in the middle is George.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Links Friday! (because I need a drink)

Since since the air conditioner broke at work today, and I really want to get out and enjoy the lovely weather with drink in hand- today (and maybe every Friday) will hereby be known as "Links Friday" (aka "Lara Wants a Margarita So Here's a Fast Blog Friday").

So here are things I found interesting in nonprofit marketing today:

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Why Did the Pig Say Woof?

Because peta2 wanted to draw the comparison between pigs and dogs! Check out my latest project for peta2's summer campaign called Woof! Think About It. It is pretty amazing if I do say so myself!

My favorites elements of the site are the Video, the Quiz, the User Generated Photos, and the pig!

Think About It!

Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I Love Shoes- And I Will Click On Their Ads

Last night I was deterred from my online Father's Day present shopping when I saw an ad for TOMS Shoes. As I am intrigued by all things cute shoe related, I clicked on it.

What I found was a pretty interesting company that donates one pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair of shoes purchased. The site was also pretty pleasing to the eye, and contained a bunch of fun user generated content.

I especially loved their "Upload a picture with your TOMS" feature.

Love it! Love the site in general. Hate the fact that I couldn't buy their shoes because they weren't vegan.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Perez Hilton’s Daily Worthwhile Causes- No “Paint” on These!

I have a confession to make. I love Perez Hilton. Not only do I love his celeb bashing ways, I truly respect his self-marketing genius. Case in point: he has one of the most popular blogs in the world; does guest appearances on MTV; and even has a new clothing line for Hot Topic.

I also love the fact that he bashes fur-wearers every chance he gets, and is now featuring a daily Worthwhile Cause to promote the various nonprofits he supports.

Among the nonprofits Perez has featured are: The National Domestic Violence Hotline, LifeWorks, and First Book.

I wonder if nonprofits pitch themselves to Perez to be featured as the Worthwhile Cause of the day just like sketchy publicists pitch the raunchy things their clients partake in? If they were smart they would!

Friday, June 06, 2008

Trendhunter's Top 40 Publicity Stunts

It's great to see that along with Honda, The Discovery Channel, and Abercrombie and Fitch, a few non-profits made Trendhunter Magazine's Top 40 Publicity Stunts including:

PETA (but of course) and their naked meat tray demo

The Truth's body parts in garbage cans display

The Health Promotion Switzerland Foundation's “Every Fifth Child is Overweight” stickers


World Vision's life size stickers of children on automatic revolving doors in Amsterdam

Can you guess which one is my favorite?

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Monsters- The New Hottness

I've said it before, and I'll say it again- monsters are what's hot. That's why I have high hopes for Playnormous. Playnormous is a new (still in beta) online community geared towards teaching kids (and their parents) about health, and yep- it features a ton of monsters (the cute kind, not the scary kind).

When fully up-and-running, Playnormous will feature: games, animations, chat, blog for the parents, and avatars.

The site reminds me a lot of Moshi Monsters, but for for a good cause.

Someone has put a lot of time, talent, and money into this project- if anyone finds out "who"-drop me a line.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


Which non-profit has the best tagline? Vote here.

These are the taglines I picked as "Excellent":

Join for the swords, stay for the friends.--Historic Entertainment

Ideas into Action, Action into Service--American University

Starve Fear. Feed Hope.--National Eating Disorders Organization

It's a Moving Experience!--Museum of Transportation

Corny Yet Memorable --Lara

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Get Your Smokey On?

Smokey Bear got a makeover today. The Advertising Council in conjunction with USDA Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters (NASF), unveiled its latest PSA starring the widely recognized bear who really, really hates forest fires.

Check out the new PSA here.

I think it missed its mark just a bit. If their target audience was young adults, I think it would have been better for them to bring back the vintage Smokey to make it kitschy cool instead of reinventing him and ending up looking like they were trying to hard. Besides, the bear voiceover was just plain odd.

Long story short- bring back the old Smokey!

Monday, June 02, 2008

Warped Tour- Marketing To The Kids

This summer, I will be heading out for a short stint on the Van’s Warped Tour as part of my marketing job at peta2. When I tell this to people, I always get the same reply: Why?

It is quite simple really, peta2 goes on Warped Tour (and a variety of other music tours, festivals, and events), because our target audience is going to be there. Not really rocket science.

When peta2 started attending Warped six years ago, we were among the few non-profits. Now, Warped Tour has quite a large presence of non-profs setting up shop including: Truth, Invisible Children, and Skate4Cancer.

Each non-profit uses a variety of creative tactics to get their message out including: squirt guns, stickers, contests, music, mist tents, band signings, and more.

I will let you know how it goes this year! Hopefully I will not get as sunburned as I did last year.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Causes Has Raised $2.5 Million For Non-Profits So Far

In only one year of existence, Facebook’s Causes application has raised $2.5 million for 19,445 different 501(c)(3) charitable organizations. Below are the top five Causes (according to # of members) on Facebook:

1. Support the Campaign for Cancer Research- 3,193,809 members- $63,570 donated

2. Stop Global Warming- 1,856,525 members - $23,340 donated

3. Animal Rights- 1,359,242 members - $23,095 donated

4. Society against child abuse- 1,053,451 members - $11,710 donated

5. Save Darfur- 875,963 members - $19,096 donated

So amazing! I guess Facebook is good for something besides sending people hatching eggs and zombie bites.

Here are the Causes on Facebook I support currently:

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Facebook Fan Page Fun

After playing with peta2's Facebook fan page for the majority of my day today, I decided to browse all fan pages on Facebook to see the ranks of other non-profits.

Here are the top five:

1. (Red)- 62,964 fans

2. To Write Love On Her Arms- 47,465 fans

3. Rock the Vote- 34,927 fans

4. Greenpeace International- 30,953 fans

5. PETA- 30,067 fans

*My personal favorite, peta2, was ranked at #7 with 20,142 fans.

Pretty decent showing from the non-profs (even though Oreos outranked all of them with 64,539 fans)!