Google AdWords for Nonprofits: 10 Tips About Keywords

first_imgWith a content network that reaches over 75% of unique internet users in more than 20 languages and over 100 countries, Google AdWords can be a powerful marketing tool. Though the efficiency of the program continues to be debated, Google Grants could offer your nonprofit free ads and assistance setting up an account! It should be noted, however, that while Google Adwords is one potential source of advertising for nonprofits, the volume of response from its campaigns to date have been lackluster.Google provides the reach, but it is up to you to write an ad that pulls net surfers in. Just how exactly do you go about writing an ad with a low cost and high ROI? An article from SiteProNews, by Leighton James explains 10 costly mistakes to avoid when launching your AdWords campaign.We’ve taken this advice from SiteProNews and added a nonprofit twist. If you need more detail on what not to do, make sure to check out the article. Otherwise, read on for our modified list of the do’s and don’ts of writing an ad for Google AdWords.1. Create a short list of targeted keywords: Generic terms lead to high fees and low ROI. Instead of writing a long list, take time to identify your target group beforehand and think of terms that will appeal directly to them. Online strategist Riche Zamor highlights the importance of conducting keyword research prior to launching an ad. Though you can pay someone to do this for you, MSN and Google offer free tools to do your own research. Cross checking keywords with multiple search engines to see the number of results and types of ads that it generates is also a good idea. Another aspect to consider that may not come to mind is seasonality. Google Trends allows you to see how keywords fare over time and to pinpoint when during the year searches for the keyword are most popular.2. Identify what is unique about your nonprofit: Identify your marketing strategy and highlight what sets you apart in your ad. Conduct a competitive analysis of the organizations you will compete with using the selected keywords, and look into possible variations of your selected keywords until you find a combination that places you in the first several ads that appear. If you need ideas for related keywords, Google’s Keyword Tool allows you to search for synonyms and get new keyword ideas.3. Use keywords in your ad text: Good ads spell out exactly what they are promoting. Well-placed keywords in both the title and body of the ad ensure that when people click they know what they are getting.4. Direct users to the specific area of the site, not the home page: People want to find what they are looking for without hassle. Directing potential donors to your donation landing page makes it that much easier for them to give. Links to your home page can be helpful if you are working on brand name recognition, but otherwise direct people immediately to the relevant page that matches your ad.5. Separate ad groups: Split up your keyword buys into different categories. For example, you could have one ad group devoted to recruiting activists, and another for reaching out to recruit potential donors. This distinction allows you to better track the progress of each campaign.6. Take advantage of single ad groups: Keep everything organized by creating containers to hold related ad groups. Keyword buys that relate to each other can be grouped into logical categories that will help you organize, but more importantly that allow you to track the success of each keyword.7. Use various phrase keyword-match types: Selecting various keyword types allows you to either expand or refine when your ad appears.The negative keyword option lets you select keywords for which you don’t want your ad to appear.The phrase match option allows your ad to appear only when terms are searched in the order you have specified.Broad match is less specific and targeted, and can incorporate related or relevant keywords.8. Use the AdWords ad serving service: This provides a platform that displays ads with highest click-through rates more frequently than ads with lower rates in the same ad group.9. Track your results: Which keywords were successful and which didn’t get results? Take advantage of Google Analytics to get in-depth reports on various aspects of your campaign. Use it to assess and evaluate your performance. Was it successful? Did it meet or fall short of your goals? There are many ways to track success, some more sophisticated than others. Google’s Website Optimizer is a tool used to track your progress.10. Modify bids before entering the contact network: AdWords allows advertisers to set different bids on the content network then appear on the search network. By modifying bids you can potentially pay less per click while still getting the same amount of traffic.Source: Frogloop, Care2’s nonprofit communications and marketing blog: http://www.frogloop.com/last_img read more

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Harness the Web for Social Good (and win $10,000)

first_imgBy Jono SmithDo you believe in the power of the web to help nonprofits create social change? Do you know a talented Web strategist or developer interested in coming up with new ways to use the Web for social good? The Case Foundation is sponsoring two $10,000 prizes for Web enthusiasts who do just that.Network for Good, NetSquared, and the Case Foundation have come together to challenge developers to mash-up the Network for Good online donation processing API with another Web service to either (a) enhance the online donor experience or (b) revolutionize a nonprofit’s ability to fundraise online. As if changing the world was not enough, the two winners will each receive a $10,000 prize. Full details here: www.netsquared.org/mashup/donatenowchallengeMashup? Mash what? Learn more here.last_img read more

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6 Steps to Better Email Outreach

first_imgHere are six great, easy steps to improving your email outreach that Anne Holland presented at Marketing Sherpa’s Email Summit:Opt-ins – Make it easy for people to sign up to hear from your nonprofit right on your home page. Don’t make them have to hunt long and hard to find how to sign up, or go to through many steps and pages to do it.Welcome messages – Only half of folks Marketing Sherpa surveyed welcomed new sign-ups within 72 hours. You can stand out just by saying hi and starting a conversation once people do opt-in to hear from you.Transactional emails – People open them at much higher rates than anything else. Of course – they want their receipt or to track their stuff if they’ve bought something. So when you receipt (and I hope, thank) donors, you might consider putting in a bit of nice additional content. I wouldn’t ask for more money right then because donors are tired of that, though.Reputation – from AOL to Earthlink to Yahoo!, providers are sorting spam by the reputation of the organization sending the mail. Even though you’re a nice nonprofit, you might get blocked if you’ve had too many bounces or unsubscribes from your emails. So think about slashing your list so it’s just made up of people who really want to hear from you, and consider being more careful about sharing it with people who might spam your supporters.Design and rendering – Did you know half of all folks 25-54 have images blocked on email by default? Wow. And a high number of folks read all their email in preview panes. MAKE SURE your emails appear right. It turns out when people get an email with a funky layout or blocked images, many think it’s spam. Second, make sure that if your images are blocked, there is something interesting to read so you don’t lose people. Third, put what’s interesting at the top and at the left so people can see it in preview.Landing pages – Sherpa says they give you the best bang for your buck. So don’t just write great emails. If people click through, make sure the place they go is very compelling.last_img read more

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Five Deadly Sins of Website Design

first_imgNonprofit organizations make many mistakes when it comes to the design, presentation and content of their websites. Here are the five deadly sins we commit:Too egotistical: The home page is too often simply an About Us page. It should not be an electronic brochure with your mission statement. It should speak to the user’s values, interests and desires. It’s not “about us,” it’s “about them.”Too meek: There is often no clear call to action on nonprofit pages. Grab a friend or relative, sit them down in front of your website home page, and count how many seconds it takes them to find and click on your Donate button or find another way to do something. If it takes them more than two seconds, you need to place your button in a far more prominent position. Make it central to the page. Make sure it is above the fold. Make it big. Make it colorful. Make it impossible to miss.Too laid-back: Too often, there’s no reason to act now – as opposed to later, or never. You want to inspire someone to act right now, but that can be hard to do if there’s not an urgent crisis to address. Create a sense of urgency for donating by creating a campaign with a goal and deadline, matching grant, or appeal for specific items or programs that are highly tangible.Too dodgy: People want to know where their resources will go if you support them. You must inspire trust. Where will the money go? What impact will result? What lives will be saved, what credible goal will be achieved?Too short-sighted:  Recognize that getting clicks requires cultivation. While you want someone to take action right away, it’s important to remember that it takes time to cultivate people.  Be sure your website includes a way to capture the email addresses of visitors so that you can build a relationship with visitors and turn them into donors in the future.  A newsletter is not very exciting; give people a more compelling reason to surrender their email addresses.last_img read more

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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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Old vs. New Marketing Haiku

first_imgAnd the winner of the haiku challenge is…Lorraine. Not only is she good, she’s prolific. I loved them all, but she takes the cake (book, actually). Here’s my favorite from her body of work:Old Marketing HaikuSuch a big, loud adCosts your client a fortuneWith no ROI.New Marketing HaikuWant to sell your stuff?Stop shouting at your buyers.Try conversation.Lorraine, email me your address for your free copy of Robin Hood Marketing!last_img

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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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What makes for motivation

first_imgJeremy Gregg at the Raiser’s Razor blog asked me to answer the following question: What drives your philanthropassion? In other words, why have I, like you, chosen to be overworked and underpaid in the third sector?Part of the answer for me is, I spent a number of years working as a journalist in very poor countries. And the poverty and pain I saw on a daily basis was hard to simply witness, over and over. So I stopped reporting and started working to remedy what I was seeing. (This is not to say journalism does not do much to contribute to the social good or to right wrongs – it does. I just wanted to be more involved in the story.)So part of my motivation is based on need.But the bigger part of it is based on change. I saw enough good when I was reporting that I also grew to believe there was hope in most situations. And that, ultimately, is the most motivating thing of all.I started my book this way: We all have moments in life when we happen upon our calling, and mine was when I encountered a giant, smiling condom in Cambodia. I go on to tell the story of being inspired by the ground-breaking work of the nonprofit PSI to make AIDS prevention fun and hopeful (including via a giant condom balloon), to great success. I saw the good in the story and possibility in the future.I think ultimately, what makes for the most powerful motivation (at least for me) is not how bad something is now but rather how much better it could be.last_img read more

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15 Secrets to Great Subject Lines

first_imgKatya’s note: The name of a white paper recently caught my eye – it promised 15 rules to good email subject lines. My marketing colleague Rebecca Ruby here at Network for Good was interested too — and lucky for us, she read it and summarizes it here for us. Thanks Rebecca!By Rebecca Ruby, marketing maven at Network for GoodLyris HQ has a great a white paper “Email Subject Lines: 15 Rules to Write Them Right,” which highlights the make-or-break importance of subject lines. It’s well worth taking a few moments to go through their registration and obtain your own copy, but here my favorite highlights:•Test! Test subject lines. Write them early (not at the last minute). Test again, measure results, and use those analytics to drive future content.•Structure and content are both important. You need to be cognizant of where the key info goes, as well as how strong your call-to-action is.•Subject lines play into trust-building. The subject line can include a branding element or another device to tie to the “from” address. A quick way to kill that positive messaging? Stretching the truth about what’s inside the message.Here’s a breakdown of their entire list:1. Read the newspaper. Newspaper headlines highlight a story’s most important fact in a limited space—which is coincidentally exactly what marketing email subject lines should do.2. There is no sure-fire formula. Subject lines are non-recyclable and not necessarily the same when sending different types of campaigns.3. Test, test, test. According to rule 2, there’s not a surefire winner, so be sure to allow time for testing.4. Support the “from” line. The “from” tells recipients who sent the message, and the subject line sells that recipient on whether to open it. You don’t need to repeat your company name in the subject, but do consider some subject-line branding (ex: the name of the newsletter).5. List key info first. Put the key information in the first 50 characters. Not sure where the subject line will be cut off? Send it to yourself to test and check!6. Open rates don’t always measure subject-line success. Your end goal is not necessarily high open rate, but to have subscribers take a specific action. Focus on those results instead of open-rate numbers.7. Personalize. Personalize subject lines based on your recipients’ content preferences and/or interests, and then be sure to make it easy for readers to find and update this information upon receiving your message.8. Urgency drives action. Set deadlines for action, and consider using a series: “Only five days left until–!” followed up later in the week with, “Just 24 hours left until–”9. Watch those spam filters. Run your copy through a content checker to identify spam-like words, phrases and construction. A couple of big no-no’s: all capital letters and excessive use of exclamation points.10. “Free” is not evil. As a follow-up to number 9, avoid putting the word “free” first, but you needn’t leave it out entirely.11. Lead, but don’t mislead. Subject lines are not the place to overpromise. Be truthful about whatever the text claims to avoid distrust.12. Write and test early and often. Flip your thinking: Craft and test your subject line prior to composing the rest of your message. (Remember rule 3?)13. Review subject-line performance over your last several campaigns or newsletters. Not only will this type of data-mining shed light on your subject-line successes (highest conversation rates, click-through rate, etc.), it will drive future content strategies.14. Continue the conversation. Sending campaigns more frequently than once per month or quarter helps create a back-and-forth with readers, and also allows for content follow-up if something from a previous campaign has news.15. Can you pass the must-open/must-read test? Must-read means this: If a subscriber doesn’t open the email, they will feel like they are out of the loop and may have missed an offer they will regret not taking advantage of. Also, be sure to check out whether your message is going to the bulk-folder (see rule 9).last_img read more

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The benefit exchange: Make it value-able!

first_imgWe can’t easily change what our audiences believe, but by plugging into their existing mind-set we unleash great power behind our benefit exchangen — and our message.The values of our audience may have nothing to do with our cause, but we can still use them. Consider the messages we see every day and the values they represent. Ads for women’s running shoes are all about strength and empowerment. They practically scream, “I am woman!” Pharmaceutical ads during the nightly news show how certain drugs help seniors attain what they want: a happy and independent life. During a televised basketball game, an ad for men’s deodorant shows a woman ripping a man’s clothes off in an elevator. No need for interpretation there. Each of these ads reflects a value the target users of the products care about, think about, and deeply desire. And each is fairly far removed from the product in question. Is self-actualization related to running shoes? Does arthritis medication buy happiness? Are deodorants the first thing that comes to mind when you think about sexual desire? Probably not, but the associations work because the values in question are close to each audience’s heart.A famous, frequently cited example of the value-based principle at work in social advertising is the successful Don’t Mess with Texas campaign. The phrase has become so famous that many people outside Texas don’t even realize that this is not a state slogan but rather a long-running marketing effort to get people to stop littering. The young Texan men who were the target of the campaign didn’t care about littering, but they did care about their macho image, and no one doubted the fierce pride they had for their home state. By tapping into these powerful feelings with the Don’t Mess with Texas concept, which didn’t have a thing to do with trash, the ad agency that created the campaign (GSD&M) drastically reduced roadside litter.Remember: Make your message about what your audience’s values, not your own, if you want people to listen.last_img read more

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4 Tips on Using Photos Online

first_imgAs promised in yesterday’s post, Bryan at Collective Lens has been kind enough to provide these tips, as well as these stunning photos, generously shared by the talented Shehzad Noorani and Kathy Adams.copyright Shehzad NooraniSathi’s (8 years old) face is blacked with carbon dust from recycled batteries. Often she looks so black, that children in her neighborhood call her ghost. She works in battery recycling factory at Korar Ghat on the outskirts of Dhaka. She earns less than Taka 200 ($3.50 approx) per month.Kathy Adams, Empowerment InternationalLook Mom, I CAN count! Empowerment International works with not just students in Nicaragua but also their parents. Getting the parents involved and supportive of their child’s education is one key to success in completing at least primary school (in a nation where only 50% of the enrolled 1st graders complete 5th grade).– Use photos to tell a story. “A picture is worth 1000 words,” as they say. Imagery can go much further than written text to bring out the events and emotions of a particular cause or issue. One photo can describe a pressing situation, warm the heart of the viewer, or cause your audience to react and respond. Furthermore, with multiple photos organized into a photo essay, an entire story can be told from the big picture to the smallest details in an efficient and effective manner.– Use photos to grab the attention of the viewer. In today’s media-driven society, words alone can not compete for the attention of your desired audience. With television, movies, YouTube, texting, and millions of competing websites, your message must make an instantaneous impact. This is especially true if you are vying for the attention of today’s youth. If your message is text only, you should not expect most people to read more than five sentences. Lead with a powerful photo.– Use photos to create an emotional impact. Human faces attract the viewer’s eye faster than any other subject matter. Use this to your advantage, and display photos that showcase the human impact of an important issue and the work that your organization is doing around it.– Copyright issues are extremely important. If you see a photo on the web, you are most likely not allowed to use it. The photographer has full copyrights to the photo unless otherwise noted. However, it doesn’t hurt to ask for permission! Many photographers would be delighted to hear from you, especially if you’re using the photo for a good cause. Keep in mind that the production of good photography costs money and is a career for many people. Also, many websites such as Collective Lens and Flickr allow photographers to mark their photos with Creative Commons licenses, and then allow the public to search for photos marked with these licenses. These licenses allow others to freely use the photos, but only under certain conditions, and always with attribution. For example, a photo marked with a Creative Commons Non Commercial license (CC-BY-NC) can not be used for commercial or advertising purposes. However, it is permissible to use it in an editorial story. It is also important to note that the people in the photos have rights as well. If a photo is to be used for commercial purposes, then every identifiable person in the photo must sign a release. If a photographer does not have releases, then he or she should have marked the photo with a Creative Commons Non Commercial license. Sometimes copyright rules can get complicated, but don’t let that deter you from asking questions if you have doubts about a photo. If all else fails, email the photographer and ask for permission.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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What You Get Is Why You Give

first_imgThis is my new column for Fundraising Success.Soon after I was divorced, I heard a story on NPR that really got to me. I was driving home from work, half-listening to a profile of East St. Louis. It was about the area’s extreme poverty and the efforts of some extraordinary people to rise above their circumstances and make better lives for themselves and their families.The details are long lost, but I remember one person from the story perfectly. She seized my complete attention. She was a single mother working long hours to support her two daughters. She’d cobbled together the funds to send them to a good school, and she was doing all she could for their future. She kept going, against all odds, for those girls.As the single working mother of two daughters myself, I was amazed and humbled by this woman. Though my life is far easier than hers, I did have an inkling of just how much strength it took to do what she did. When I got to work, I tracked down the NPR reporter, emailed him, thanked him for the story and asked him to put me in touch with the woman. After he got her permission, he gave me her contact information. I told the woman how much I admired her and thanked her for inspiring me, and then I sent a small check to support her daughters’ education. While technically I was the donor in this relationship, there is no question that she did more for me than I could ever do for her. She gave me faith that the job of raising two daughters alone could be done, even in the hardest of circumstances.I tell this story because it illustrates something so important: that giving and receiving go hand in hand. Fundraising is not simply about what you ask of people, it’s about what they get in return. You don’t have an empty, outstretched hand. You have a lot to offer donors, and you should frame your ask accordingly.In crass marketing terms, we call this the benefit exchange. It is the answer to the question, what do I get for my money? If I’m manufacturing pricey anti-wrinkle cream, the benefit exchange might involve $100 as the price for hope I can regain my youth. If I’m fundraising, there are many possible benefit exchanges I can offer to my donors – faith in themselves, inspiration, a feeling of accomplishment, or – on a more mundane level — a plastic wristband or logo-laden coffee mug.Think about this formula the next time you ask for money. Remind donors of the returns of giving, which are precious indeed.Here are a few qualities of a great benefit exchange:IMMEDIATE: What will people get right away in exchange for doing what you ask, whether you want them to give money, volunteer or quit smoking? Some good causes deal with the immediacy challenge with a gift like a t-shirt, hat or wristband. These offerings provide the person that donated money or took some action with an instant benefit, for example, recognition. Other options? Show how someone can save a life RIGHT NOW. Demonstrate they can feel good by making a difference THIS SECOND. And above all, make it incredibly EASY to act, so people will believe they will get the benefit exchange pronto.PERSONAL: Our audience members need to believe from our message that the reward we’re offering for taking action will make something better for them personally. The private sector understands the importance of making rewards personal. They don’t sell you a car by explaining the way the engine is built; they tell you the car is reliable, safe, or fast, depending on who you are and your personal priorities. They take the attributes of their product and translate them into personally desirable benefits. That translation is easy to make for most products. It’s harder for good causes because we get swept up in the huge scope of what we want to accomplish. But remember, at the end of the day, it is always the personal connection, not the grand concept, that grabs our attention. RELEVANT: We can’t easily change what our audiences believe, but by plugging into their existing mind-set we unleash great power behind our benefit exchange and our message. The values of our audience may have nothing to do with our cause, but we can still use them. A famous, frequently cited example of the value-based principle at work in social advertising is the successful Don’t Mess with Texas campaign. The phrase has become so famous that many people outside Texas don’t even realize that this is not a state slogan but rather a long-running marketing effort to get people to stop littering. The young Texan men who were the target of the campaign didn’t care about littering, but they did care about their macho image, and no one doubted the fierce pride they had for their home state. By tapping into these powerful feelings with the Don’t Mess with Texas concept, which didn’t have a thing to do with trash, the ad agency that created the campaign (GSD&M) drastically reduced roadside litter.The bottom line? Doing good is not a one-way transaction. It’s an exchange – I give your cause support or dollars, and you give me some thing or some feeling that I want and value, right away. In my case, I gave to a woman in East St. Louis because she gave me faith in myself. And that is a benefit that not only compels a donation, it is also most certainly priceless.last_img read more

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The Coming Transformation of Social Enterprise

first_imgProfessor Kash Rangan is one of the pioneers of Harvard Business School’s Social Enterprise Initiative, now 15 years old. Back in 1993, most people took a “spray and pray” approach to philanthropy—writing checks to charities and hoping something would happen. But Rangan and HBS professor Jim Austin, picked by Dean John McArthur to lead the new initiative, saw the potential for research, curriculum, and career development around the challenges of social enterprises, including both nonprofit and for-profit organizations. Over the ensuing years, the initiative flourished as did the nation’s social enterprise organizations.Today, the United States has more than 1.4 million non-profit organizations, and they account for 5 percent of GDP. Annual contributions have grown faster than the economy for years, and experts predict an avalanche of cash ahead. By 2052, an estimated $6 trillion will flow directly to social enterprise organizations. Concurrently, a new generation of business leaders and philanthropists is experimenting with hybrid forms of social enterprises while demanding more transparency and accountability from the organizations they are funding. In Rangan’s view, the sector is poised on the brink of transformation, a topic he enthusiastically expounded upon during a recent interview in his Morgan Hall office.Roger Thompson: The terms “social enterprise” and “nonprofit” seem to be used interchangeably. Are they synonymous?Kash Rangan: No. There’s an important distinction. Very early in the program we decided that we wouldn’t focus purely on nonprofits. We thought it should be about social enterprise, regardless of whether it’s for-profit or nonprofit. We defined social enterprise as an entity that’s primarily in the business of creating social value. As long as an organization creates significant social value, we don’t care how it sustains itself—with internally generated surplus or with donor funds.Americans give roughly $300 billion a year to nonprofits, yet we really don’t know much about what charitable organizations actually accomplish. Why aren’t nonprofits more accountable and transparent with all this money?That’s a very big issue in this sector because there is no common measure or framework to assess whether these organizations are accomplishing their mission. Even simple measures are not widely reported, like we got X donations, and we took care of 1,000 children at a cost of $80 a child, which is less than $120 a child spent by comparable organizations. Even that amount of reporting would be very useful, but it is not the norm.By and large the reporting focuses on the costs of raising money. The lower the better, with the logic being that more money can then go to actual programs. So an organization might report, “We spend 6 percent on fundraising, whereas the industry average is 12 to 14 percent.” That’s typical, but beyond that, we don’t know how the other 94 percent is used. How many people came into the program, and what benefits did they get? And then the even bigger question beyond cost efficiency and effectiveness is, what impact did the organization have? Granted it is very complex to get all the way to that level, but even signposts along the way could be very useful.Q: Which is harder: raising money, building a successful organization, or achieving real impact?A: They are all interrelated, but raising money is not the hardest of the three. Getting money is hard, but it is not more difficult than the other two. That’s why there are over 1.4 million nonprofits, each with some amount of funding.Putting the money to good use, building a successful organization, showing that you have a demonstrable impact in achieving your mission, and then scaling the organization are the hardest to accomplish. When you show impact, more money will flow in.Q: Given how few nonprofits can document impact, would you say these organizations suffer from a leadership deficit?No, I wouldn’t put it that way. Many nonprofit leaders are fantastic, more than is acknowledged. They work hard, and they are very passionate about what they do. So I wouldn’t call it a leadership deficit. I think there’s an imagination deficit.“I wouldn’t call it a leadership deficit. I think there’s an imagination deficit.”Leaders typically ask, “Am I accomplishing my program?” But that is too narrow a view. Nonprofit leaders need to be more visionary. They need to stretch themselves more and worry about mission impact. I believe nonprofit leaders get too bogged down in operational issues, be it fundraising, or managing the board, or program execution. They need to be more strategic.Q: What role can HBS and other business schools play in helping develop the next generation of social enterprise leaders?A: I don’t think the business schools by themselves are going to solve this problem. Whether it’s HBS or any other business school, ultimately I think students come to learn how to be leaders in the business arena. Right now 5 percent of our graduates go to work in the nonprofit sector. To expect 20 to 30 percent is asking too much. Maybe we could pump the percentage up to 7 to 10 percent. But at the end of the day, even counting graduates from other business schools, if you produce 2,000 to 3,000 MBAs a year to work in a sector with more than 1.4 million nonprofits, it’s just a drop in the bucket. There are huge salary discrepancies as well.Ultimately our impact lies beyond directly producing leaders for nonprofits. At least half of our graduates between ten and fifteen years out are quite involved with nonprofits. They might not be directly engaged as leaders, but they sit on boards, provide donations, and serve as volunteers. And they can influence and bring about change. That’s where the education we impart at HBS is so important. Our approach to social enterprise has broad appeal to students who may not even go to work directly in the sector. Without it, they would always approach nonprofits as philanthropy. I believe our curriculum conditions our graduates to ask the difficult questions on performance, and even go beyond and recall cases, frameworks, and solution approaches. It is quite a different approach to participating in the sector. In a way they become the catalysts for internal change.Q: Many alumni get involved with corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives. Critics of CSR often cite Milton Friedman, who famously said that “the social responsibility of business is to increase profits.” Do you agree?A: I absolutely think it’s too narrow a view. In the decade of the ’90s, maximizing shareholder value became a corporate mantra. But the notion that the corporation exists only to maximize shareholder value lasted only a decade. It was a historical anomaly. In almost every other decade business leaders have acknowledged that corporations exist within the larger fabric of society. The School’s second dean, Wallace Donham, said that the focus of a business is to make a decent profit decently.Q: Venture philanthropy, which applies principles of venture investing to social enterprises, has become a hot topic lately. Is venture philanthropy a good idea?A: The first generation of venture philanthropy had its roots in the success of venture capital. Investors were carried away by the notion of gaining economic returns on their investments, not huge returns but some returns, as a way of forcing an efficient use of their capital. The shining example was microfinance, which provided attractive returns, so why not otherforms of social enterprise?I don’t think that’s a realistic view of the work of nonprofits in general. If you look at social service organizations working at the cutting edge of where markets have failed, the idea of venture philanthropy clicking is a little hard for me to buy into. Venture philanthropy has to come of age and reorient itself by defining what measures of social return it is looking for. In some instances social and economic returns could be correlated, but in many cases they won’t. If you are looking for a social and not an economic return, then loyalty to the program rather than an exit strategy may be a better use of funds. The venture philanthropy community has some translation work to do. Right now venture philanthropy is only a small part of the landscape.Q: Another hot topic in the nonprofit world is the idea of creating a for-profit business to help underwrite the cost of operations. Is this the way to go to secure a reliable stream of funds?A: I don’t think so. There’s a lot of charitable money available. Family foundations now number more than 34,000, an increase of 22 percent between 2001 and 2005. Big foundations have more money in their endowments than they can give away. And there is an intergenerational transfer estimated at $6 trillion over the next fifty years specifically earmarked for social enterprises. None of these sources of money is actually looking for an economic return. They’re definitely looking for a social return. That being the case, I don’t think that nonprofits should quickly jump at creating for-profit enterprises. In certain segments like health care, and even arts and culture, it might make sense when the for-profit and nonprofit parts are tightly linked by a common purpose or platform. For example, in health care several very successful social entrepreneurs have created a hybrid model where paying clients subsidize the “free” clients. The whole organization, however, is doing only one thing, eye surgery or heart surgery or orthopedic surgery and so on.But to think that an environmental organization could sustain itself by selling mugs and T-shirts is a bit of a stretch. It is not that hard to put together a for-profit arm, but to have it be a significant contributor to the core mission requires considerable strategic work. It may not be possible for a vast majority of organizations in this space. It could be an unnecessary distraction.Q: Where do you see social enterprise heading over the next decade?A: I am an optimist, and I believe we will see refreshing changes in that time frame. The new cadre of donors, the new family foundations, the folks who are involved in venture philanthropy, the new generation of entrepreneurs, and business leaders engaged in corporate social responsibility initiatives all will start attacking social issues in a much more disciplined way. Nonprofits too are very adaptive organizations. I expect to see some common understanding in the sector of what performance means, and how social value creation is measured and reported. From there on it is only a matter of aligning the money with the causes they care about. Perhaps investment intermediaries will emerge to ease the introductions and connections. There may be some consolidation of nonprofits at the top, but the sector will be a lot more vibrant with many new players and actors helping to facilitate the transformation.About the authorRoger Thompson is editor of the HBS Alumni Bulletin.Copyright © 2008 President and Fellows of Harvard Collegelast_img read more

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Creating Publicity without a Big Media Buy

first_imgWhen looking for new donors, it might be tempting to spend your budget on a mailing or other form of paid advertising. But if you’re operating on a shoestring, you may not have the dollars to do any direct mail and ads to get noticed. In these situations, it’s better to be highly targeted and go deep than to have limited marketing resources that you spread very thinly over a wide area in kind of a scattershot approach.If you’re a small- to medium-sized organization with a limited advertising budget, there are other, thriftier options to get the most bang for your promotion buck:Do a member-recruit-a-member campaign to capitalize on the marketing power of those people who are most engaged with your organization.Find partners by thinking about who wins when you have a greater impact or have more people supporting you. For example, a mental health and substance abuse services organization might consider child advocates, the legal system and support groups for substance abuse to spread the word.Do some desk-side briefings with reporters. Get to really know some reporters in your community, so that when there are stories about your organization’s topic area, you’re the go-to resource.Consider blogs–the outlet that has changed the face of public relations. While you’re developing relationships with key reporters, you might want to take a look at some local community blogs that are pertinent to your organization. Host a conference call for bloggers. Become active on that blog itself by posting comments that relate to your issue.Bonus Blog Tips:If you’re not familiar with how to find blogs or bloggers, visit Technorati.com-a search engine for blogs. Try searching for your community’s name and your organization’s main issue. You may even search for your organization’s name to find people blogging about you.Also, in the Google search bar, search for “blog: the name of your organization,” and any people writing about your organization in blogs will be shown in your search results. Source: Adapted from the Nonprofit 911 Presentation “The Experts Are In! Your Online Fundraising and Nonprofit Marketing Questions Answered.” Resource made available in part due to the support of the Surdna Foundationlast_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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Photo Tips for Nonprofits

first_imgCaptionsJust a few words about captions. Every photo and graphic needs a good caption. Captions should be concise and tell a story about the photo. Editors need to understand what’s in the photo and why it is important. Give them some background information on your company and write the caption in newspaper style — describe the who, what, why, when, where and how. In addition to helping editors, all this information will optimize photos for search engine pickup. You should also identify people in the photograph Left to Right. Include the hometowns of the people pictured, to increase interest in your photograph among papers that cover those hometowns. You will want to include as much information in the caption as possible, but try to keep it concise — 80 words is the wire service standard. 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. Headshots: For personnel announcements, you should include a headshot of the executive. Headshots should be well lit and can be done on a solid background or as an ‘environmental headshot’ where the person is shot in their office or outside.   For environmental headshots, be sure to emphasize the person and not the surroundings.Event Photos: Photos taken at events should highlight the theme of the event including any persons speaking, a rally, group projects, etc. Avoid large staged group shots. General Photo Tips Other IdeasOnce you have a selection of photos you must decide how to distribute them to the media. That is where PR Newswire comes in because that is PR Newswire’s business — distribution of information to the proper media points. Your PR Newswire account executive can help you with distribution suggestions and walk with you through the simple, but effective, technological steps that will get your pictures to the right editors.  To ensure that your photograph can be used by print media, you need to supply a high-resolution photo that looks great when printed in a newspaper or magazine. The standard requirements among the wire services and newspapers are a length of 9 inches on the longest side and 300 dots per inch resolution. If this all sounds like a foreign language to you don’t worry PR Newswire’s Photo Desk is here to help. Additional Tips to RememberKeep a supply of portraits of company officials handy, but do not limit these to only headshots. Action portraits make more of a statement.Do not make 500 prints of your picture and send it out through the mail. Most photo editors at media outlets prefer to receive photos digitally from a distributor like PR Newswire.Forget black and white photos! Color pictures are used almost exclusively on the front pages of newspapers, always on TV and throughout magazines. Using Photos to Convey Your MessagePhotos should be an important part of any organization’s publicity program. Photos help to brand a news release and make it stand out from the crowd.The checklist for any company planning a publicity effort must include an item for photos. The final decision in a given case may be to use a photo element in the publicity program, or it may be to NOT use photos but the issue should be discussed for every publicity effort. Below are some tips to make your photo usage successful. Visit the Nonprofit Toolkit today and receive a waived annual membership ($195 value) and more than $2,000 in discounts and free services. Quality is Key – Hire a PhotographerThe next step is to hire a good photographer. A good photographer may be costly but it is the best money you can spend. If the pictures are not shot correctly, the whole photo effort will be wasted.  To determine the quality of the photographer, ask to see his or her online portfolio. This is a collection of their photographs. You might also ask to see pictures from their last several shoots.   If you believe that the pictures are the kind of pictures that will tell your story, you have your photographer. If you are not pleased, consult another.   Once you have the photographer lined up, spend time explaining just what you expect from the pictures, what story you are trying to tell and what message you want to deliver to readers and others who will see the photos. Too often, photographers are poorly assigned, uninformed and therefore make poor pictures.Need a photographer? PR Newswire has a global network of photographers who can get you that perfect shot.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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