Synching your online & offline marketing

first_imgHere is today’s fundraising and marketing tip from Network for Good! You can sign up to receive them via email here.Online fundraising only makes up a portion of your overall marketing plan. It’s not a stand-alone initiative–it’s an integrated part of your communications strategy. Not only is your strategy multi-faceted, but your donors are too! Below, check out our tips for integrating your offline and online tactics to best reach your donors across all channels in your online plan: Offline Mailing Tips: •Ask your donors their preference. No, we’re not talking about pizza toppings or movie genres. Reach out to your donors and find out what communications and donation options they prefer. You may think the majority of your folks are strictly offline (or exclusively online). Don’t assume! Get to know them! •Send a cultivation mailer to your lapsed donors inviting them to visit your website. Direct them to a special page on your site that makes an appeal for why they should make another gift. Learn how to make this landing page compelling. •Use email to boost direct mail response. Remember: Your donors hang out in multiple channels, and you want to give them options. You can email your subscribers telling them to watch the mail, or wait for the call. You can also try following up a special appeal with an email, saying, “We hope you read our recent letter, just click here to make your donation online today. It’s convenient and saves us money.” The first renewal effort might be conducted by email, followed by the usual multi-letter series, and eventually a phone call. •Develop a program to gradually gather the e-mail addresses of direct-mail donors who want to add email to their communications with you. Test asks in the direct mail (P.S., buckslip, reply device, etc.) and track response to find the most effective and least expensive ways to gather e-mail addresses without depressing gift response. •Follow up with email. Email is the fastest and cheapest way to let your donors know what happened after they donated. If your donation appeal made the situation seem urgent, your donors will be left scratching their heads if they don’t hear anything else from you about it. •Create complementary content. Entice donors reading your printed communications to visit your website for “exclusive” content. Not sure what to offer? Maybe you have educational tips (“Download 10 tips for managing your diabetes!”) or other downloads of content people can’t get from a postcard or letter. Tips for Other Channels to Consider: •Events. Having a fundraising walk? Hosting an educational program? Create an email list sign-up sheet to capture in-person email opt-ins. •Marketing collateral. Craft your call to action on your brochures and handouts–and let that action have an online option! If you’re requesting donations, give potential donors the address/directions to donate online if they so choose. Remember: Include your website on everything you print/produce. •Business cards. In a previous article we advised building your email list in a variety of ways, including email opt-in information in your email signature. Next time you order business cards, why not include a small call to action? (Ex: Donate online at… Or, Visit our website to learn more…) •Phone calls. Did you just collect a donation over the phone? Does a donor want some follow up? Try this: After you finish a telemarketing call, tell the donor, “We’d like to send you a receipt to acknowledge your gift. The most efficient way is via e-mail – that way we don’t have to waste paper and postage.” (Thanks to the great Madeline Stanionis for this tip!)last_img read more

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Examples of the Good and the Bad in Online Fundraising Appeals

first_imgYou can almost see the line over to Katya ‘89, who is marketing for good. Open it up and it says, “Haverfordians make a difference in the world through their support.” And it asks me to support the education of people like them. It’s about me, people I can help, and the difference we all make. I love this appeal because it connects to the reader literally and emotionally. It’s like looking in the mirror and seeing a reflection of myself – and my aspirations.What’s good: focusing on the donor. What’s bad: focusing on yourself. It doesn’t feel good to look at something that should reflect you and not see yourself. My alma mater, Haverford College, earlier this year sent me a bad email appeal. I lamented this poorly led, “all about us” missive. Here’s what it said:January 1 is New Year’s Day, according to the Gregorian calendar. Sometime between January 21 and February 21 is the Chinese New Year, also known as the Lunar New Year. Many cultures celebrate the New Year on the day of the vernal equinox, which is also when the ancient Babylonians used to celebrate it. April is the month of the Nepali, Thai, and Cambodian New Year’s celebrations, among others. And at Haverford, when the calendar hits July 1, it is the new fiscal year!The last fiscal year was one of unprecedented success for the Haverford Fund, with 52% of our generous and loyal alumni contributing $4.2 million dollars!The 2007-2008 fiscal year promises to be an exciting year on campus, with the arrival and inauguration of Steve Emerson ‘74 as president. We hope to show him how committed the alumni body is to the current life of the College by sustaining and improving upon last year’s great success by increasing our participation to 53%!Why do I care about these dates, the fiscal year or the development department? What does this have to do with me? I looked at this appeal and I did not see myself. I did not recognize the do-gooder, warm institution I remember.Later in the year, Haverford sent me a fantastic mailed appeal this week that is gold-standard marketing. I looked at this and I saw myself; literally.last_img read more

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How to raise $2,657 in 90 minutes

first_imgDisclaimer: These results are not typical. This story is the fundraising equivalent of the bikini-clad woman in the Slimfast ad – a special success story.That said, uber-networked bloggerista and social networking guru Beth Kanter did it. And in the process, she showed us how we might do it, too. Read the story here.Okay, so you may not have hundreds of Twittering friends at the ready or even know what the heck is a Gnomedexer, but there are some lessons here.The messenger is everything. If you want to raise money, get people who like you to ask their friends and family for funds on your behalf. When Beth reached out to her community – in person and online – people responded.Well-networked messengers are gold. When those fans of yours have extensive online networks, they can touch an amazing number of people.The simpler and easier the ask, the bigger the conversion. Asking people to make a $10 with a few clicks is not a big request, and so it’s hard to say no to it.People are total conformists. Once people see their peers doing something, they’ll follow. Beth got a bunch of technically inclined people to reach out to their networks in public, and that’s peer pressure on steroids. Social norms, meet social networks. Tangibility is key. Beth didn’t raise money for “girl’s education in Cambodia.” She asked people to help a specific young woman with her college education. That makes a big difference.Transparency is essential. A ticker with real-time results measured against a tangible goal makes people feel trusting – and compelled toa ct.Thank-yous are appreciated. Beth is great at thanking people, recognizing them and celebrating what their donations accomplished. That kind of gratitude is the happy ending to a fabulous fundraising campaign.Thanks Beth for the inspiration. And for all you do for Cambodia, a place very close to my heart.last_img read more

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Forge Stronger Links Between Search Engine Optimization, Social Media and PR

first_imgArticle provided by PR Newswire’s Nonprofit Toolkit, an educational resource devoted to Non Profit public relations. Visit the Nonprofit Toolkit today and receive a waived annual membership ($195 value) and more than $2,000 in discounts and free services. Follow-up: SocializeUsing these tips can help ensure that your release will feature highly in search engine rankings (and links back to your media room or web site). That same release can now be shared beyond these borders using social media. The inclusion of social media elements in a news release is offered by some newswires, as is search engine optimization. But what makes your news worth sharing?Tags. There are more than 300 social bookmarking sites for Internet users out there, and inclusion comes down to presenting people with readily available tags, such as for digg, technorati or del.icio.us. The key, of course, is well-written news: an interesting perspective, an innovative product or a creative article.Include multimedia elements whenever possible. Engaging photos and videos enhance your message, making it more attractive and worthy of sharing with others. Including these elements also goes a long way toward gaining media coverage, as it increases journalists’ options in the ways that they can cover your news.Provide reliable, refreshed information. Whether you maintain a organizational media room or publish a blog, provide the media with one place to find content that is specific, reliable and useful. Develop a regular readership by providing consistent, interesting, reliably refreshed news and information.Use RSS feeds. Utilizing RSS distribution from your company web site and other online content distributors pushes your news automatically to interested parties. It also means that your site will be constantly spidered by search engines, which will in turn improve its ranking in search results. Visit the Nonprofit Toolkit today and receive a waived annual membership ($195 value) and more than $2,000 in discounts and free services. As communicators, our words are our greatest tools. They determine our success in building relationships and positive brand visibility. Nowhere is this more apparent than on the Internet. Online communication is still growing and developing, giving us more opportunities than ever to connect with our stakeholders. But our audience is becoming increasingly fragmented. News sites, search engines, blogs and web sites all vie for attention, making it much more difficult to control our message.So how do we effectively communicate our message to each segment of these many audiences? What line do we take? In the online space, are we spokespeople, publicists, marketers, or a little bit of each? Two audiences: Consumers and the mediaAs public relations professionals, our main responsibility is to provide positive branding for companies and organizations through media coverage and online visibility. The media remain the most important and wide-reaching platform for spreading our message. What has changed with the Internet is that we now have a chance not only to push the message out, but to pull customers and prospects in as well, creating a cycle of communication that links and feeds on itself.Companies on the cusp of the media revolution are taking Web 2.0 and changing internal processes to make the best use of its tools. In particular, marketing and PR departments are coming together to create better communication strategies to target these two audiences: consumers and the media. Tips and tools for optimizing a news releaseNews releases that are search-engine-optimized can establish an online avenue to draw qualified, interested people to information about your organization. Constructing a marketing- and media-friendly release does, however, require internal coordination and planning in order to best use your resources. Here are some tips:Style guides and key messaging. Maintaining messaging consistency across all levels of an organization is always important, but especially when it comes to ratcheting up your online branding. Search engines use specific words and phrases to categorize news and build a relationship between your organizations news releases and its web site. If your news releases reflect words people are using to find information related to your organization, your release will establish a channel leading interested readers to your web site. Develop style guides with your marketing and product teams to make sure your words are consistent.Choose your keywords carefully. Before you write your news release, determine its theme, a list of keywords to represent that theme, and finally two or three keywords or phrases to focus on. Use keyword research tools to determine how your audience searches for news about your industry. These may also indicate the sort of competition that exists in relation to your chosen words. Your marketing team has probably already conducted this research; synchronizing your efforts will save time and establish a uniform company voice. When crafting your release, though, remember to keep your wording natural, so that readers still connect with your message.Place your keywords up front. Specifically, work them into a short (80-character) headline, and repeat them in your lead paragraph. The inverted pyramid of news release writing lends itself well to search engine optimization. Search engines typically scan the title tag of a page, the headline, and the first paragraph of a release, so be sure to include all important information and relevant keywords at the beginning.Distribute your news online. Most newswires post your news releases directly to search engines and relevant industry web sites as a part of the media distribution your organization receives. Be sure to include links in your release that direct Internet users to your organizations site. Inbound links to your organizations website enhance its ranking on search engines, as search engines count each link to your website as a vote for its significance.Use anchor text. In addition to including your organizations URL in a release, use anchor text (terms that appear as hyperlinks leading to pages on your organizations site). Link important keywords to relevant web pages to create a pathway for your readers (and search engines) to easily find information. This drives trafficto your products, creates links back to your web site, and teaches search engines to associate the hyperlinked words with your organizations web site and news releases. All of these add to your site’s search rankings.Link coverage to your media page. This is when your news release stops being a collection of words and facts and becomes part of a larger, cohesive corporate message. For instance, if your organization has an upcoming product launch, start by researching key industry publications’ editorial calendars and develop a pitching timeline. Communicate in advance with your marketing/website team and make sure that when you receive media coverage, your site reflects that coverage. Make full use of your PR success-don’t keep it locked up in a clip book! Integrated communicationConsumersGiven the scope of online communication options available, it is possible to make it easy for the media to report on a company’s or organizations news while increasing visibility to consumers. But it takes internal cooperation. For communication, following up with information is as important as gaining initial interest.In terms of crossover from PR to marketing, consider how your organization handles online leads. Is your marketing department aware of the traffic that your news releases generate when you distribute them online? Do visitors to the organizations web site land on a page that engages them and invites them to learn more about or interact with the organization?The people who seek out your organizations website after reading the news release are highly qualified prospects. Ensuring that the information they find on the site is appealing is critical to converting these prospects, whether they are potential volunteers, donors, or journalists or bloggers looking for a story.The mediaOrganizations that develop visible, organized, easy-to-navigate and highly informative media rooms on their web sites ensure that members of the media are as well taken care of as the consumers who reach the sites.Yet it would be naïve to think that any member of the media relies solely on an organizations web site or media room for information. A recent study of journalists by Fusion PR found that the majority often consult blogs for information. It is increasingly apparent that we need to meet them in the online space of blogs, search engines and news aggregators as well as in the media room, and through traditional news release distribution.Dee Rambeau, product specialist for PR Newswire’s MediaRoom services and managing partner of The Fuel Team, a provider of web-based solutions for the marketing and PR professionals, says that based on their own analysis, clients who have used MediaRoom have “increased their media audience, improved the loyalty of that audience due to the ‘unsubscribe’ feature, increased the specificity of their media audience by offering ‘categories’ of news, and increased the usability of their MediaRoom content by offering multimedia galleries, podcasts, images and videos.”last_img read more

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How to Write a Nonprofit News Release

first_imgDuring 20 years as a journalist, Jerry Brown worked for The Associated Press (he was assignment editor for AP’s Washington bureau during Watergate); daily newspapers in Little Rock, Fort Worth and Denver; the U.S. Information Agency; and two trade publications. Jerry’s been practicing public relations for the past two decades and is an accredited member (APR) of the Public Relations Society of America and a former board member of PRSA’s Colorado chapter. You can contact Jerry at jerry@pr-impact.com or visit his Web site at pr-impact.com.Visit the Nonprofit Toolkit today and receive a waived annual membership ($195 value) and more than $2,000 in discounts and free services. Article provided by PR Newswire’s Nonprofit Toolkit, an educational resource devoted to Non Profit public relations. Visit the Nonprofit Toolkit today and receive a waived annual membership ($195 value) and more than $2,000 in discounts and free services.Develop your agenda.Start with your objective. Why do you want to tell your story? Getting a “positive story” isn’t specific enough.Identify your audience.The first three steps are easy most of the time. Now it gets harder.Prepare your message. You need a primary message, the one thing you want to be sure reporters and your audience hear, understand and remember. You can include up to two other messages, but one message is usually better than two and two are usually better than three. If you have more than three messages for a single release, you aren’t focused enough. You should be able to state your message(s) in 10 to 15 seconds. If you can’t, it isn’t clear enough for reporters to understand it and get it right when they put it into their stories. And your audience won’t remember it. Sometimes stating your message in 15 seconds or less will be easy, but often it won’t be. Take the time to get this step right. It’s important. Develop messages that address your audience’s wants / needs. And target reporters who write for your audience.Gather the information for your story before you start writing.Write your release. Be brief, clear and above all interesting. You’re competing for the attention of people with a lot to do other than read your release. Focus on your message. People often leave their message out of their news releases. Avoid jargon, buzzwords and phrases only you understand.What to include in your press release:Headline. Goes at the top of the release, tells readers what it’s about and why they’ll care. Serves the same purpose as the headline of a newspaper or magazine article – attract interest. It may be all that editors or other readers see when reviewing a newsfeed. Give them a reason in your headline to open yours. Often the last thing I write.Lead paragraph. Like your headline, it should grab the attention of the reader. If you haven’t interested a reporter or editor by the time s/he reads your lead, your release is probably headed for the trash. The purpose of this paragraph is to interest reporters, editors and others enough to keep reading.Nut paragraph. Use a nut paragraph to frame your story. This is where you tell us the essence of your story. It’s often the second paragraph of your release, but not always. It can be your lead. It can be even be more than one paragraph. If you were writing a movie, this is where the plot thickens and the audience learns the basics of your story.Quote(s). Reporters love good quotes. I like to include one or two quotes in news releases. Make them quotable, if you want them to be used. Some organizations only quote executives. I like to quote whoever I want reporters to talk to if they call. That may be a subject-matter expert instead of an executive. With a few exceptions, reporters want to talk to someone who can help them with their story – not someone with a suit and a title. Make your quotes sound like quotes; i.e., like someone spoke them. Use contractions, slang and other conversational language.Background information. Once you’ve grabbed our attention, framed your story and added a quote or two, fill in the detail of your story. I like to limit news releases to two pages whenever possible. It’s not a rule, just a preference. If you need more space than that, consider putting some information into a fact sheet or separate sidebar releases that cover specific aspects of your story.Boilerplate. A closing paragraph describing the organization issuing the release. Tell us who you are and what you do. Skip the sales pitch. Reporters and others who see your release won’t like the sales pitch.last_img read more

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Should You Send Emails to Supporters via Outlook?

first_imgYou might be breaking the law. According to the CAN-SPAM law, if someone requests to be removed from your list, you must do so within 10 business days. Most people who send their emails from their desktop computers don’t have scripts to help them automatically process unsubscribe requests. They simply ask people to “reply with unsubscribe in the subject line.” That’s prone to mistakes, and potentially a CAN-SPAM lawsuit from the FTC. You’ll easily organize and manage your subscribers while you grow your audience the right way. The ease-of-use: Our intuitive interface makes even the most sophisticated email-marketing features easy for anyone to use, saving you time and effort and allowing you to let non-technical staff members help you manage your lists, content and account. And if you are using Network for Good’s DonateNow, you can see the fundraising results from your email campaigns right in your donation reports. You’ll easily create stylish campaigns and let EmailNow’s engine and relationships help you get great results. Your emails will get into your supporters’ in boxes because a team of deliverability experts keeps you off spam lists. You just hit send.Starting at just $29.95/month, EmailNow is an affordable and reliable email messaging service for nonprofits today. And most importantly, EmailNow is not like the other various programs designed to help you manage your customer and member email communications. What sets us apart? Here are four reasons: Send emails to thousands of recipients, and you’ll get all the bouncebacks and autoreplies from them. So much for free time! Will you be able to manually process them? Hard bounces (i.e. bad/incorrect addresses) should be removed from your list immediately, or your email address will be blacklisted by ISPs. Soft bounces (i.e. server timeout, full mailbox, etc.) should be retried a couple more times before removing them. Your emails may look terrible. Outlook sends HTML email in such a way that it only renders properly for other people using Outlook. What about all of your other subscribers who use another email client, like Yahoo!, Hotmail, Gmail, etc.? According to a recent survey, 54% percent of recipients opened their email in webmail, while only 27% used Outlook. The effectiveness: We focus a lot of time and attention to make sure we’re getting the highest rate of delivery possible. And that puts our nonprofit clients in the best position possible to stay connected with their supporters and turn those supporters into volunteers and donors. The relationship: We understand your email marketing needs because we are a nonprofit, and whether you’re just getting started or you have a question about a campaign or its results along the way, we stay involved to make sure you’re getting the most out of EmailNow. You’ll see how your audience members responded and use that knowledge to create more effective campaigns. You won’t know if anyone is reading your emails. Outlook and other desktop email applications don’t come with tracking tools to show you how many people opened and clicked your campaigns. How can you tell if your messaging is effective? How do you know if people are reading your information or just “filing” it in an email folder or the trash?Send Email the Right WaySo what’s the right way to send HTML email newsletters? Consider EmailNow, an email marketing service designed just for nonprofits.EmailNow (powered by Emma) was built by email marketing experts to do the tough stuff for you. It allows you to send beautiful email appeals without having to become a designer, a software engineer or someone who knows HTML or CAN SPAM laws. The secret? We built in all the expertise you need right into EmailNow and then priced it right. We’re a nonprofit that understands that’s what other nonprofits need. Here’s how EmailNow makes managing your email campaigns a snap: Say hello to your recipients spam, junk or bulk mail folder. If you send attachments with your email, you are increasing the likelihood of your email being marked as spam. In addition, if you put your email list in the TO: or CC: field, that’s a recipe for chaos.  Not only do people not like their email address shared with others, all it takes is for one subscriber to click “reply-to-all” then you’ve got communication pandemonium. Think the BCC field is the answer? Sorry to disappoint, but chances are your email will end up in the recipient’s spam, junk or bulk mail folder. How do you send emails to supporters and others who want to hear from you? An email marketing tool built with nonprofits in mind?Gmail (Google Mail)Microsoft Outlook?Carrier pigeons?If you answered anything but the first in that list, we’re here to sound the “bad idea” alarm. (We won’t get into why carrier pigeons are a poor decision… Let’s just say their delivery time isn’t up to snuff and clean-up is a nightmare.)Let’s talk about Outlook, Gmail, etc.Many nonprofit organizations get started with email marketing by sending out e-newsletters via Outlook, Gmail or one of their many cousins. But beware; there are rules, caveats, landmines and poison darts-ok, so we have a bit of a flair for the dramatic-awaiting the nonprofit using these email clients for email outreach.While these are fine solutions for 1-to-1 email, they weren’t designed for sending email newsletters or fundraising appeals to groups of people. Here are six reasons why using Outlook (or something similar) for a nonprofit’s email marketing is a recipe for disaster: You may get blacklisted. If you send too many emails from your own computer, your internet service provider (ISP) may think you’re a spammer and will most likely block you. The price: EmailNow is designed with small to mid-sized nonprofits in mind, so we’ve priced it that way, too. With affordable setup and monthly pricing, EmailNow is just as affordable as it is easy, particularly when you factor in the extensive features and unlimited customer support.We’d Love to Tell You MoreEmail us at sales@networkforgood.org or give us a call at 888.284.7978. One of our online fundraising specialists is waiting to introduce you to the easy and affordable world of email marketing with Network for Good’s EmailNow powered by Emma. Learn more about EmailNow.last_img read more

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The 5 funniest charts ever

first_imgAll I can say is OMG. You, dear bloggers and readers, have outdone yourselves. I asked you for chart fun for this Blog Carnival and you gave me chart brilliance. The best come from Jan Fonger and Kivi Leroux Miller who not only have a great sense of humor, they have razor-sharp insight. The three below are from the wonderful Janice. This could not be a better explanation of marketing in the nonprofit sector:Janice also offers her take on fundraising and candy corn. Kivi, who is right here in NC with me, hits the humor-insight sweet spot with this great piece on nonprofit reactions to web designers’ work and email. You must check them out.But wait, there’s MORE!!Jeremy Scheller presents Jeremy Scheller: Hyper-Blogging: Loud Message + Deaf Ears = No Communication posted at Jeremy Scheller. John Haydon presents How eNewsletters Can Kill Your Non-Profit | CorporateDollar.Org – Exceed your on-line fundraising goals with social media know-how! posted at CorporateDollar.Org – Exceed your on-line fundraising goals with social media know-how!. It’s not really a chart, but it’s a cool way to present numbers: Marc presents Cape Argus Aids stats – Osocio, Social Advertising and Non-profit Campaigns posted at Osocio Weblog. Thanks everyone for your creativity. And your smarts. And for making us laugh on (yet another) day when our 401Ks tanked.last_img read more

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The Joys of Google Grants, Part 1

first_imgWhen the National Women’s Law Center first applied for a Google grant – $10,000 worth of free advertising each month through Google’s AdWords program – my co-workers and I knew it was at least worth trying. It was free, after all.While we didn’t know what to expect from the program, once we got going we were amused by the idea of the $10,000 limit. Google AdWords charges are calculated on a cost-per-click basis. Check out the official guidelines. So to spend the full $10,000 monthly budget we’d been granted, we would have to generate $330 worth of clicks every day. Each click can cost up to $1, and we couldn’t imagine that our ads would ever generate 330 clicks in a single day.But a few months later, we were seeing our AdWords click-through rates of 600 per day. We were meeting that $330 a day budget, and sometimes even exceeding it by a few dollars. Now, we’re seven months into our Google grant, and with it we’ve been able to bring in more than 2000 new members to our e-mail database – with a cost-per-acquisition of zero. Not counting staff time, of course. Making Google Grants Work for YouIf your organization has been awarded a Google Grant but has not had much success yet, in terms of getting clicks or using your budget, then here are some suggestions:If you only have one campaign set up now, create multiple targeted campaigns and spread out your budget between them. Then, pay attention to which campaigns are getting the highest click-through rates and allocate more of your budget to them.Make sure your landing pages have a way to get visitors engaged – a sign-up box, a donation form – and that you’ve set up conversion tracking so you can find out which keywords and ads are leading visitors to complete those forms.Be timely. When your issue is in the news, start running ads on it, or tweak your existing keywords and ads to match the searches people are likely to be running. And plan ahead for holidays and other events. If your organization is offering Valentine’s Day eCards, start running ads now on Valentine’s Day-related keywords.Above all: Experiment. You’ve been given $330 a day to play with. Aim to use as much of it as you can. Run ads on everything you can think of. Throw the spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks. And once you’ve found some ads that work for your organization, keep on experimenting. Getting StartedWhen our grant application was approved, we got to work right away. Our first step, after reading through the Google-provided “Google Grants Beginner’s Guide,” was to edit the ads that were currently running to make sure they fit our messaging.Choosing the KeywordsNext, we held a series of brainstorming sessions to come up with our topics and keywords. NWLC works on a wide range of issues, so we invited program staff, as well as our communications and outreach team to suggest search terms. We used Google’s helpful Keyword Tool to help fill in the gaps.We had to be careful to include keywords that matched both our internal policy-speak and the common terms for which people might be searching. For example, although NWLC always uses the term “child care” rather than “day care,” we used them both as keywords.Writing the AdsNext, we had to draft our ad text. Because Google Grants can’t be used for direct advocacy, our standard “Contact your lawmakers about this issue today!!!”-style messaging needed some finessing to make it Google-friendly. And fitting our standard talking points into Google’s very strict character limits required some very creative punctuation, to say the least. For example, a typical NWLC field message about child care and Head Start programs might read something like, “Congress is considering whether to include much-needed funding increases for child care, Head Start, and other key domestic programs that support women and their families. Please urge your Members of Congress to support these vital programs.” That’s 241 characters long. Once we took out the direct advocacy request and edited it down to an appropriate AdWords length, our 79-character ad read: “Child Care and Head Start: Learn more about why they deserve America’s support.”Campaigns & Landing PagesNext we created a separate AdWords campaign for each of our issue areas – Poverty, Reproductive Choices, Employment, etc. We divided our budget evenly between the campaigns, and created customized landing pages for each of them. We planned to use the ads for list-building and promoting our resources, as well as for advertising job openings and increasing brand awareness, so all of our landing pages included links to resources and a sign-up box to join our e-mail list.Did It Work?Our initial results were not what we had anticipated. For example, even though pay equity has been in the news a lot lately, thanks to Congress’ votes on the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, we didn’t see much in the way of impressions or clicks on the ads we ran on the issue. However, ads on some of our less timely issues, like child support enforcement, generated very high click rates.We also struggled with unexpected effects of Google’s algorithm, too. NWLC is well-known for its work on Title IX and gender equity in education, but when we tried to run ads on Title IX-related keywords, we quickly found ourselves priced out of the $1.00 CPC limit – even though, as far as we can tell, there’s only one other advertiser, a clothing store, running ads on those keywords.In our first month, we only “spent” $231 out of our $10,000 grant, and our click-through rate was only 1.08%. We still had to find our footing with the program, and to figure out which issues had the potential to generate clicks. And we had to get creative. Keywords like “health care” may have gotten us tons of impressions, but they were way out of our price range, while more targeted terms, like “insurance gender rating,” were affordable, but rarely searched. It took time for us to find that happy medium: terms people were frequently searching for that directly related to our work, but that weren’t already mobbed by other advertisers.center_img Source: frogloop, care2’s nonprofit communications and marketing blog – http://www.frogloop.com/care2blog/last_img read more

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The totally annoying, often wonderful lack of control you have in the social web

first_imgI’m reading Dave Evans new book, Social Media Marketing in an Hour a Day. It’s excellent. Even though I consider myself somewhat knowledgeable in social media, and even do trainings on the topic, there is so much I’m learning. I highly recommend it, for everyone from beginners to intermediate social media folks. I also recommend Allison Fine’s book (“Momentum”) if you want more of the background on the social web.Here’s a key point Dave makes far more eloquently than I ever have: “You’ve got to give up control in order to gain a presence in the conversations that matter.”What he means is, you can’t control the conversation online. And that conversation REALLY matters. To be a part of it, you have to cede control and listen, then participate. And you have to do so honestly. Because disclosing who you are is key to building trust.I say this all the time, less succinctly, but I’ll admit this is easier said than done. When you experience this lack of control, it is not fun or easy. It’s often irritating. But you have to do as he says, and over time, you’ll appreciate the experience and its value.I’ll give you a personal example. A few days ago, you may have read my post, The Perils of the Pre-Ask. My point was as a marketer, you should always ask directly for something. You should not just talk about yourself or have “awareness” as your goal — you should always be focused on getting someone to act in some way. It got picked up in a few places. Peter Panepento of the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s Prospecting Blog interpreted my post this way: that you should always ask people for money. Then a bunch of people understandably assumed this is what I was saying and that I don’t believe in cultivating relationships or asking for something other than money. This killed me, since I’m constantly telling folks NOT to treat donors like ATM machines. It was painful. It was annoying. I wanted to yell at Peter for starting the whole thing (sorry Peter, I’m your fan, but I’m just being honest and holding myself up as a case study.) But I didn’t. Because that would be wrong. He was taking my premise, riffing on it and generating a conversation, and that’s what blogging is about. Kivi picked up Peter’s pickup, adding her own comments, which made me happier.This is CONVERSATION.So I went onto Peter’s blog, identifying myself clearly, thanking the commenters, agreeing with some of their key points, and explaining the interpretation of my post was not what I was trying to say. (Sadly, I did this a day late because I’m behind on my day job, so that’s not best practice, but better late than never.)I also sent Peter an email personally (because I know him) and said thank you for the post — and clarified my point.Now I’m continuing the conversation here.That’s social media. I’m a participant, just like anyone else. So “all” I can do is to participate.The good news, while that being “just” a participant can feel powerless, it’s quite powerful. Honestly and directly and openly being a participant can have a really good outcome. Beth Kanter recently shared another example of this that I experienced. It’s a good read. Actually, everything Beth writes is good. So read her blog regularly if you don’t already.The moral of the story? Participate, in the good and the bad, openly. It’s powerful stuff. If you listen, you learn. Those folks have much to teach you, and much to share. And while it feels dangerous at times, it’s more dangerous not to participate. As Dave says:“On the social web, your absence is conspicuous. Failing to participate retards the advancement of trust. In fact, it can increase the likelihood of mistrust.”last_img read more

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The Joys of Google Grants, Part 2

first_imgIn part one of this series, I discussed the first steps the National Women’s Law Center took when we initially received our Google Grant, and some of the challenges we faced getting started. Now, I’ll go into more detail on how we’ve maximized the use of our grant, and some of the benefits we’ve seen from it.Refining the ProcessFiguring Out What WorksOver the first few months of our grant, we continued to experiment with our ads and keywords, and to monitor how each of our campaigns was performing. Of the ten issue-based campaigns we started out with, we noticed that two of them – the ones focused on child care assistance and child support enforcement – were outperforming the others. They were maxing out their allocated daily budgets of around $30. So we directed more of our budget to those campaigns.We also held more brainstorming sessions on those issues and added new keywords that came out of those sessions. For example, when we brainstormed for additional keywords for our women and poverty campaign, we added terms like “poverty level” and “poverty line” to our existing collection of keywords (“low income women,” “poverty in america,” etc.) – and now those are getting among the highest impression counts of all our poverty-related keywords. And for our general women’s rights campaign, we added new phrases using the words “equal” and “fair” in broad match combinations we might not have thought of originally, like “women fair” and “equality women.” We’re seeing high impressions on those, too.Lo and behold, the campaigns started maxing out on their new, increased budgets. Over the next few weeks, we moved more and more of our budget into those two campaigns, as well as a few others that were also showing above-average performance. Soon, we were coming very close to using our overall daily budget of $330 every weekday. Weekends and holidays were always lower, and, much to our chagrin, Google won’t allow us to move any of our daily budget from weekends to weekdays. It’s $330 a day, every day, period. (Grr.) So we tried moving more of our budget into certain campaigns on the weekends, then moving it back on weekdays – and that helped, too.Making the Most of the News CycleIn September 2008, NWLC launched a voter education microsite that included a register-to-vote widget, and we started running Google ads on keywords like “register to vote.” Visitors who clicked on the ads were encouraged to complete the voter registration form on our site, sign our Pledge to Vote form, and check out our educational resources on women and voting.Surprise, surprise, a lot of people were searching on keywords like “register to vote” in September and October, and we got our highest numbers yet. So we moved a lot of our budget into those adsDuring the pre-election season, this was the ad that performed best for us:Now that the election is over, we’ve moved most of our budget back to our standard programmatic ad campaigns. But we’re continuing to add new campaigns when our issues are in the news. For example, when NWLC’s Vice President for Health and Reproductive Rights, Judy Waxman, was interviewed on MSNBC in a story about the failings of the individual health insurance market when it comes to women, we ran special ads on keywords we thought people might search for after watching the piece.Back to BasicsWe’re still keeping a close eye on the performance of our campaigns, and experimenting with new topics, ads, and keywords.These are our best-performing “evergreen” ads – the ones that aren’t tied to a specific timely topic:(A note on that last one – yes, we do run ads using our organization’s name, and its common misspellings, as keywords. Although sadly our unabbreviated name is too long to fit the 25-character limit on ad headlines.)The PayoffIn October, at the height of the election season, we managed to go over our Google Grants budget, spending $10,212 and earning a click-through rate of 6.43% and a conversion rate of 2.10%. By November, when things had gotten back down to semi-normal, we spent $9,108.57 and had a CTR was 2.17% and a conversion rate of 4.40%.Other BenefitsWe’ve been pleasantly surprised by the additional, less quantifiable uses we’re finding for our Google Grant. For example, NWLC’s website is undergoing a redesign, but right now, our site isn’t very well optimized for search engines. However, our Google ads offer us a way around that. People who are searching for issues that we work on might not find our website in their first page of organic search results, but they may well see one of our Google ads. Then, they might click through, sign up to join our e-mail list, and spend time exploring our site, using our resources, and getting to know the organization. They might even make a donation or two.We’ve also found that the ads are a great way to test new messaging. We’ll create three or more ad variations for each campaign, and Google will tell us which version got the most clicks. These results can help us determine what messaging to use in our other communications. For example, we discovered early on that “Find out if your birth control is covered by your insurance” generated more clicks than “Does your health insurance plan include contraception?”Looking AheadWhen we were first starting out, our goal was to use as much of our budget as we could. Now, our goal is to increase our conversions – the number of people who click on an ad and then sign up to join our e-mail list, or download a free resource, or take another action. We’re paying close attention to how we set up our landing pages, conscious of the fact that people searching for information on low-income families in the United States might have different expectations from our website than people searching for information on the history of NWLC.We’ll keep refining our ads and keywords, and we’ll keep following the latest news and tips from the Google Grants blog. And we’ll keep trying new things and seeing what works. Without a doubt, that’s the best advice I can give to anyone working with Google Grants – experiment, experiment, experiment. Source: frogloop, care2’s nonprofit communications and marketing blog – http://www.frogloop.com/care2blog/last_img read more

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Playing to the Magnetic Middle

first_imgPeople are conformists. They do what they think other people are doing. This is the basis of social norms theory and plenty of effective marketing.What does this mean to you if you’re marketing greener behavior?Don’t tell people to save the planet. Show them what their neighbors are doing if you want them to think about their behavior.There’s a great analysis of a study that did just this at NeuroMarketing blog.The study found if people think their neighbors are using less electricity, they lower their usage. If they think they are using more, they may increase their usage.One of the smartest minds on marketing in the world and an expert on social norms theory, Robert Cialdini, calls this phenomenon the magic middle in his new book Yes. If you’re marketing greener behavior, keep this in mind. If you’re marketing anything, keep this in mind. The magnetic middle works for raising money, too.last_img read more

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5 Tips for Dealing with Social Media Meanies and Managing Your Online Rep’

first_imgSocial media makes it easy to connect and be heard online in real time. But with all this freedom of speech and expression on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and others, there’s one question that’s probably crossed your mind (or the minds of your Board members):“Why risk going on social networks when people might say bad things about us?”What if people embarrass your organization?What if they point out your flaws?How can you maintain your e-reputation without yanking the social-networking rug out from under these vocal online talkers (i.e. removing your organization from the online space entirely)?Learn how to be both pro-active and reactive to the conversations taking place all around you and your nonprofit. Here are five ways to keep your brand breathing even if a social media debacle strikes your organization:Be Listening for It: Be sure you have Google Alerts set up to monitor what people are saying about your organization online. Keep tabs on Twitter (via Tweetbeep, for example) and YouTube. When You Find Something Dreaded, Assess Who Is Saying It and Who Is Listening. Is this one crazy person with no audience? You may want to wait and watch. Or is it someone who talks to people in your audience? Even one noisy person can be a problem if they have or can rapidly build a following with people who matter to you. Or if the traditional media picks up on their diatribe. I generally err on the side of judging someone worth responding to rather than ignoring them. Act Fast on the Spot Where It Started: If you need to respond, do it now, IN THE VENUE where the situation started. Slow reactions are bad reactions. Things move at light speed on web 2.0 and you don’t want something to spiral out of control before you get in a response. It’s okay if you don’t have all the answers or every piece of needed information – just be TRANSPARENT about it. “I’m really concerned with this and looking into it” is better than radio silence. “I’m concerned our staff said that to you and am finding out what happened so I can give you the response you deserve” is better than nothing. By responding to a Tweet on Twitter, you ensure rapid communication as well as achieve the potential to keep the controversy within the community in question.Be Honest, Transparent, Friendly and Non-defensive: This is key. If there is misinformation out there, correct it in a helpful, non-combative way. Network for Good’s own crisis communications plan (hope you have one, too) sets out the following principles if we’ve made a mistake:– Be sincerely and profusely apologetic if we’ve done wrong.– Take responsibility.– Err on the side of open, frequent communication.– Be absolutely honest.– Ensure what we way is accurate – if we’re not sure, say we’re not sure.– Do all we can to fix problems and mitigate harm.– Say what we’re doing to ensure it doesn’t happen again.Remember It Is a Conversation: This isn’t a monologue by the critic or by you nor (hopefully) is it a war-it’s a conversation. When you respond, be open to reactions and answer questions. You can’t post one response and call it a day, you need to keep tabs on the situation and participate in the ongoing conversation.last_img read more

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Six Top Philanthropy Buzzwords of the Year

first_imgPhoto art by ArtByChrysti on Flickr.Lucy Bernholz, president of Blueprint, Research & Design and author of the blog Philanthropy 2173, just relayed her buzzwords for 2009 on Marketplace. Here are her three – along with my own!1. Impact investing: Lucy feels people are looking to put their financial resources to work for a quantifiable financial, social and environmental impact. For example, foundations using their philanthropic resources to support affordable housing developments, or medical disease research, community loan funds. (I agree this is very true among foundations, less so with your average individual donor, who simply wants to know where they money went and what difference they made.)2. B Corps.: A benefit corporation — it allows any kind of enterprise to organize and incorporate deliberate public benefit right into their chartering documents. Examples Lucy cited are: Method cleaning supplies, NUMI Tea, and her own company, Blueprint, Research & Design. (Yes! And Network for Good where I work, while a nonprofit and not a B Corps, is a proud social enterprise. And full disclosure: we are a proud client of Blueprint.)3. Mergers: Lucy believes a lot of nonprofit organizations will merge or go out of business. That means they’re going to have to start getting strategic in looking for alliances with other organizations. (I think we may be in a more collaborative mood in 2010, if not overtaken with an urge to merge.)Those are Lucy’s. Here come mine:4. Ratings: Zagats for nonprofits? It is coming. In a sign collaboration (see #3) as well as ratings are in style, GreatNonprofits and two other organizations, Philanthropedia and GiveWell, just issued a joint press release about how to pick good charities. They all do their own ratings – and Charity Navigator is in the process of an exciting revamping of its own – and allowing anyone to chime in with their opinion. GreatNonprofits has a Zagat/Yelp-type Top Charity ratings.5. Freelance fundraisers: Social networking, online fundraising and charity widgets have meant anyone can not only rate a charity, they can fundraise for a charity. With 10x growth in giving on Facebook this year and the success of event-based and friends-to-friends campaigns, it’s clear that unofficial fundraisers are here to stay – and we need to empower them to take action on our behalf.6. Trust and transparency: This is more than a buzzword(s), it’s a permanent shift. 2009 was a year of big lies. People don’t trust institutions or organizations as much as they trust who they know. Third-party endorsement has never been so important for your organization – as well as showing transparency and accountability in all you do.last_img read more

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How Health Workers Influence Attitudes and Decisions about Family Planning

first_imgBut I know because I have seen it, health workers’ attitudes and perceptions can and do affect decisions about family planning.In 1997, I started training male health providers in family planning services in West Africa. I heard a lot of resistance from those men, who thought that since the nurses and midwives are more familiar with the female clients, the women wouldn’t want to talk to the male health providers. But I told them, “It depends on how they see you. When you return to your facility you need to change your behavior and tell people what you can do for them, advertise your new skills in family planning services, encourage women to come with their husbands so they trust you as a couple, and build trust within community.” But I could tell that for some male providers, this would be a challenge.Although many countries have national guidelines on the provision of family planning services, it is still the case that too many health providers make it more difficult than it needs to be for people to get the family planning services they need and want. There is not enough research into how health worker behavior and attitudes do or could affect clients’ attitudes and decisions. Based on some existing research and anecdotally accounts, some of the negative behaviors I have heard about are:Unfounded restrictions. For example, too often health providers tell married women they cannot have access to family planning methods or that they must have spousal approval first. Some providers will make judgments about young clients seeking family planning and mislead young women, particularly those who are unmarried, by telling them there are age restrictions on obtaining contraceptives.Judgments on parity. Some providers promote the false idea that there are a minimum number of children a woman must have before she can have access to injectable contraceptives. Some of these health providers also wrongly believe that injectables delay fertility, cause infertility, and are unsafe for women living with HIV/AIDS.Unnecessary examinations, requiring lab work without cause or symptoms, and/or requiring too many follow-up visits. For example, instead of giving women several packs of oral contraceptives at once, providers may ask patients to come back once a month to receive subsequent doses or require women with IUDs to come for follow-up visits every three months instead of the necessary once-a-year visit.Viewing family planning as only a primary health service and failing to make it available in the delivery room and in obstetric emergency treatment rooms in hospitals. Even when family planning services are made available in hospitals, too often the services and commodities are not closely linked or in the same room or clinic as other care, which leads to unnecessary referrals and unwanted pregnancies.Provider convenience. Some providers recommend family planning methods that are easier and faster for them to provide, rather than finding out what method the client is considering or what method the client is likely to continue using.Since it is often difficult for some women to get to a health center or clinic, these provider and manager practices may cause women to delay visits or forgo them altogether. The next visit to a health facility they make may be to the labor ward. It is an all too common problem.Coming from an organization dedicated to supporting health workers, it is important that we recognize that health workers are often a part of the communities and cultures in which they work. They, too, carry with them cultural understandings about the importance and role of family planning in people’s lives. We need to have a better and more systematic understanding of provider practices around family planning so we can design better training for providers, better supportive supervision, and better management that maximizes and encourage fair client access to family planning services.Health workers may be a part of the problem, but they are also potential change agents in communities and are crucial to starting and continuing conversations with women, men, and couples about family planning.Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on February 18, 2011June 20, 2017By: Boniface Sebikali, Senior Clinical Training Advisor, IntraHealthClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Originally posted on IntraHeath’s blog. Reposted here with permissionLast month, the World Health Organization published “Family planning in sub-Saharan Africa: progress or stagnation?” which compared current data to data from the early 1990s on the readiness, willingness, and ability of women to use modern contraceptives in sub-Saharan Africa. The data describe very different trends in East and West Africa, notably growing popularity and support for family planning in East Africa and a stagnation in the acceptance and use of family planning in West Africa.Recognizing that there is variation between countries in eastern Africa, the overall trends showThe demand for contraception has risen sharply.Women have more positive attitudes towards contraceptives and report having better access to them.Every year since the 1970s, a greater percentage of the population uses contraceptives.In West Africa, it is a different story altogether:Demand for contraceptives is low and remains virtually unchanged in the last ten years: fewer than half of married or cohabiting women express that they need or want family planning services.The approval of family planning also remains low.Many women are still unfamiliar with family planning methods, cannot name two contraceptive methods, and do not know where to get contraceptives.From this data, the authors draw several conclusions:Contraceptive services need to be more widely available to encourage continuing growth in their use.Countries need to invest more in family planning, including in public campaigns that educate people about family planning and make its use more accepted and popular.Family planning should be a political priority, and strong local leadership can effectively promote small family size and family planning as acceptable.Offering girls more opportunities in school is crucial to changing societal attitudes and enabling girls and women to make informed decisions about childbearing.I agree with many of the WHO Bulletin conclusions, and I also think we need to recognize that health workers, who are crucial in the provision of contraceptives and dissemination of contraceptive information, are also part of and reflect communities’ and cultural attitudes towards family planning. While the Bulletin mainly points us to the need to change individuals’ readiness, willingness, and ability to use modern contraceptives, it doesn’t help us understand the many factors at play in an individual client’s attitudes and decisions.last_img read more

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World of Contrasts

first_img ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on February 28, 2011June 20, 2017Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)This blog post was contributed by María Laura Casalegno, one of the fifteen Young Champions of Maternal Health chosen by Ashoka and the Maternal Health Task Force at EngenderHealth. She will be blogging about her experience every month, and you can learn more about her, the other Young Champions, and the program here.We live in a fascinating world, with so many cultures, so many landscapes, so many realities… sometimes these different realities can be very unfair…that’s why I think that we live in a world of contrasts…I had the opportunity to travel to Guatemala in January. Guatemala is a developing country with a population of 16 million people, 60 percent of whom are poor or indigent. The situation in Guatemala is very sad and can be daunting but there is always a glimmer of hope…In Guatemala I met Connie Vanderhyden, Jeri Pearson and her husband Marty Pearson, and Kim Dowat. Connie and Jeri are part of the organization Kickapoo Guatemalan Accompaniment Project (KGAP) and they have been working in Chacula community for over 17 years ago. The aim of the KGA Project is to work with ex-refugees from the Guatemalan civil war in developing strategies and tools to improve education and health in the community. Kim is a professional midwife and an ALSO Instructor from Wisconsin and she has been going to Chacula for six years. Last year she did workshops with traditional midwives and this year she repeated it. I was invited by her to participate in the workshops. We were training midwives in emergency management such as postpartum hemorrhage, shoulder dystocia and neonatal reanimation. The workshops were very interactive and we could see very positive outcomes from the past year. Some midwives told us their experiences and how they put in practice all they had learned in the workshops.Working with Kim was amazing. Besides being very professional, she is also a very nice and funny person. We were talking about my idea for Ashoka’s Young Champions of Maternal Health Program and how to bring it into the field. She was very excited about it and now we are, also with Dr. Hall, developing the idea to make a pilot project in a rural community here in Mexico or Guatemala.I’m very happy with my experience in Guatemala and I really admire what Kim, Connie and Jeri have been doing all these years. They are amazing and inspiring people. It’s nice to meet people like that—the kind of people that I want to have as an example.After my visit to Guatemala, I traveled to Kansas City, Missouri. I was attending with Dr. Hall an International ALSO Board Meeting. They were three days of intensive work and it was great to see how the ALSO Program is being developed in other countries. We also participated in a one-day training of Care Team OB Program, a program that teaches some techniques to improve teamwork in hospitals and OB units.The Meeting was very interesting and I learned a lot. I shared my experiences with other people and I have met some key people that could help in the research to measure the impact of ALSO Program that we are holding with Dr. Hall.I went from the warm and sunny Guatemalan weather to the cold and cloudy winter in the U.S. I went from the land of mountains and volcanoes to the land of plain fields. I saw people growing coffee and beans and people raising cows. I saw people living in the worst conditions and people who have all their basic needs satisfied and more…It is really difficult to understand how, still now, we have these unfair differences…how can be the world so indifferent to all this…Share this:last_img read more

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Weekend Reading

first_img ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on March 4, 2011November 13, 2014Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)This week on the MHTF blogWe heard updates from the Young Champions of Maternal HealthICDDRB updated us on their knowledge translation projectRaji Mohanam wrote about MHTF plans for International Women’s DaySome reading for the weekend:Accountability and MNCHEngenderHealth experts Karen Beattie, Joseph Ruminjo, and Moustapha Diallo discuss obstetric fistula on RH Reality CheckA task force for adolescent girls and an editorial in The LancetCoverage of malaria protection in sub-Saharan Africa for pregnant womenShare this:last_img read more

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Income Shocks, Maternal Nutrition and Infant Health

first_imgPosted on May 18, 2011August 17, 2016Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)A recent study (PDF) by Alfredo Burlando of the University of Oregon on income shocks, maternal nutrition and infant health was highlighted on the World Bank’s Development Impact blog, an excellent resource for people interested in impact evaluation in economic development and global health. The paper uses the 2008 blackout in Zanzibar to determine how instable earnings may effect birth outcomes. The author uses differences in reliance on electricity for income to create a natural experiment between mothers whose incomes would decrease and those for whom it would remain constant and finds “the reduction in weights is correlated with measures of maternal exposure to the blackout.”Burlando continues:I also use records from a government hospital to show that those children who were conceived during or shortly after, those exposed during the Örst six weeks of gestation, and those exposed in the fifth month of gestation had lower birth weights on average than expected. Moreover, among those exposed early, there was a marked increase in probability of Low Birth Weight…While several explanations exist that might explain the drop in average weights, the data is most consistent with a reduction in caloric intake by the a§ected expectant mothers. Such a drop might be explained by a blackout-related income shock. I show that birth weights were lowest among those who were born from parents residing in wards with a significant concentration of workers in electrified sectors. Moreover, there is some evidence that among the cohort of children exposed in the fifth month of pregnancy, the driving factor to lower weights was not the income shock, but maternal stress.Jed Friedman of the World Bank notes a few key takeaways from the study, but the first is most critical for how we approach maternal and infant health interventions:The findings suggest that women who were known to be pregnant at the time of the black out, i.e. those who were visibly pregnant, received insurance from the shock where as women who did not realize they were yet pregnant (or who had conceived during the blackout) did not receive the same protection…These findings highlight the importance of behavioral responses and that people in the face of a crisis can be resilient when they are armed with relevant knowledge – households with women who knew they were pregnant apparently prioritized maternal nutrition. It also underscores the obvious point that any protective program that targets pregnant women faces the challenge of improving the informational barriers that prevent early pregnancy awareness.The findings indicate that push towards increasing maternal knowledge of the impacts of nutrition during pregnancy on the health of their child can lead to better outcomes. Women (and families and communities) who are equipped with that knowledge seemingly put it to work during the Zanzibar blackout to ensure that knowingly pregnant women received the food they needed.Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:last_img read more

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TBA or Not TBA?

first_imgPosted on June 16, 2011November 13, 2014Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Joseph Ana, a former health commissioner in Nigeria, argues that TBAs can have a positive impact on maternal and perinatal health:Where traditional birth attendants have been trained and integrated into existing health systems, they have not posed any threat to skilled midwives; rather, they have been seen as stakeholders in the effort to improve maternal health. They are very helpful as “counsellors,” comforting frightened rural women with complicated labour, often in the middle of night, in difficult to reach remote villages without electricity, water, or transport and no skilled health worker. In fact, it should be considered unethical to stop a lay person from assisting in such circumstances, especially one with many years’ experience. However, Kelsey A. Harrison, a retired gynecologist and obstetrician who worked in Nigeria, believes that TBAs are detrimental to maternal outcomes:Their use is a distraction in that it seeks to manage extreme poverty instead of working to eliminate it…From an equally practical standpoint, we should be worried by the fact that once something substandard gets entrenched it becomes difficult to replace it with something better in future…Initiatives that exclude traditional birth attendants have been shown to improve maternal health.Share this: The British Medical Journal published two articles this week in their Head to Head feature focusing on the use of traditional birth attendants (TBAs). The use of TBAs has led to contentious debates in recent years.center_img Do you think traditional birth attendants are good for improving maternal healthYesNoVoteView ResultsCrowdsignal.comTake Our Poll ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:last_img read more

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