Piggyback Technology with Going Green and What do You Get?

Employees are up to 40% more productive working remotely.

Employees are up to 40% more productive when working remotely.

You get a virtual work environment. While not all careers lend themselves to working in a remote work space away from the traditional brick and mortar of company headquarters, more and more folks are opting for part-time and full-time telecommuting options. The advantages are incredible, but the discipline is demanding.

So, what are the top ten real advantages of going virtual?

1. Saves money for the employer and the employee (travel, office space, etc.)

2. Employee is generally more productive in his/her own environment (Some reports indicate increases of up to 40 percent through telework programs.)

3. Reduces health risks and lost days due to illness (less stress!)

4. Reduces job hopping and subsequent training requirements

5. Grants employee a mix of personal and business time during the day, rather than asking for time off to attend to personal matters

6. Allows for a better pool of employees because you get nationwide reach

7. Preserves the environment by decreasing transportation-based greenhouse gases

8. Promotes safety by reducing numbers on the highways and your operation can continue even in the face of a crisis (i.e., severe weather or a natural disaster because they can literally work from anywhere)

9. Conserves energy (office equipment, vehicle resources, etc.)

10. Your employee is generally happier as they achieve balance for their work and family mojo.

Many employers are hesitant when it even comes to the mention of going virtual. Don’t be. It’s a fabulous alternative for the right employee. Just ask me and Lee. We’ve been doing it for over 19 years.

Small Business Toolkit: Should Your Biz Go Virtual?

I haven’t driven into an office in over 5 years. My employees have lived all over the world and in almost every time zone; yet, as a team, we grew 5 small companies, served thousands of professionals and small businesses, and developed B2B services and technology that made a difference.

Has your company considered “going virtual”? Telecommuting, or working virtually, is the trend for many businesses looking to save money, gain access to top talent, ensure business continuity, and go green.

Is your business ready to go virtual and go green?

Is your business ready to go virtual and go green?

Research predicts that by the end of 2009, 14 million workers will not be driving to work. Is your small business a candidate for going virtual? Let’s take a quick quiz and find out:

1) What does virtual mean to you? Are you taking your business online (that’s another whole set of planning) or are you simply relocating your employees to home offices, shedding expensive office space, and going paperless?

2) What is your logistical plan? Explain to your family that the workspace is no different from any other office space – not a play space, not a place for Fido to come and visit. Consider every activity you engage in at a physical office and determine if you still need to do it and how to do it from your home office. No task is too small for you to plan for it.

3) Are your employees ready? If they are not on board, you haven’t adequately prepared them, and you haven’t researched and planned how you will maintain your company culture…you’re in for a rough ride. Going virtual is not about sending emails and surfing the Web. It’s about real, measurable increased productivity while eliminating needless overhead. Being virtual means leveraging the Web for sharing, learning and interacting as a team.

4) Are your employees the right ones – NOW? This is a critical point – – not every team member will adjust well to being a virtual employee. In fact, I have found that this is one of the toughest cultural and behaviorial fits for which to interview. Believe me…employees and potential employees will think working virtually is some sort of panacea. Those are NOT the employees for you. Really. Trust me.

5) Do you know what tools you will use to ensure communication, connectivity and productivity? If you’re not sure, then you’re not ready. There are many tools out there that purport to help your business go virtual, and they cost a pretty penny. In reality, though, there are many tools that are free or very low cost that can help you achieve piece of mind and grow your business.

Finally, if you are serious about going virtual and going green, as many small businesses are, consider our introductory online workshop to find out more.

Every day, the argument for getting in the car and driving into work gets less and less compelling. Most knowledge workers can easily work from home, saving you thousands of dollars, saving them stress and road rage and improving organizational productivity.

Social Media and Nonprofits: Share This!

We have been continuing our discussion about donor engagement and specifically how social media and other tools can amplify your reach.

Once you have decided that social media should be part of your strategic plan, what’s next? What will you say?

Consider these three key areas:

1) Organizational Impact: Donors want to know what good you are doing in the world. This is no surprise, I know, but consider how social media can help you extend that message. A simple Tweet may say: One new well just drilled in middle of town to provide fresh H2O!

2) Successes: Share them often and across distribution channels and stay on message. For example, building on the Tweet above, your blog post that day should be from the field, complete with audio and video. You should also Tweet out those pics.

3) Inside Organizational Scoop: This is the most overlooked area, and yet many donors crave info on the who, what and how of any organization to whom they give their money. Consider posting congratulations on your Facebook fan page to employees who excel, sharing goals met, etc.

If you’d like to learn more about how you can more effectively use social media to improve your donor engagement, consider joining us on 6/25/09 for our online workshop featuring a special guest..

4 Reasons Why Social Media is a Must-Have for Nonprofits

Social Media and Nonprofits

Social Media and Nonprofits

Professional Mojo tweeted an interesting story today from the The Columbus Dispatch that discussed how cultural arts organizations are using social media tools to generate buzz and reach new prospects. With donations down for most organizations, there has never been a better time to explore how social media can make up the ground. Here’s why:

1) Social media tools are free, fast, flexible, and they enable charities to engage with large numbers of existing and prospective supporters, both regionally and globally. The one to many aspect of social media makes it the most cost-effective marketing tool on the planet.

2) Social media gives prospects multiple ways of engaging with their charities of choice. You already know the rule – gotta touch them 5-7 times before it sticks – and reinforcing the message via blog, site, Twitter and more helps achieve the goal of establishing a relationship BEFORE you ask for support.

3) You can share more – more often – about the good you do. The National Wildlife Federation does a great job of Tweeting consistently and innovatively, using photos, video and more to create interest and buzz. This bears repeating – what is better than sharing a video of baby loggerhead turtles trying to make their way to the ocean for the first time! Sure beats just talking about it.

4) Once you’ve established a relationship, leveraging social media may very well increase your online giving. Sites such as http://tweetsgiving.org/ and Twitpay.me have proven that here are easy ways to collect cash online and spur giving.

There’s no time to be old-fashioned about this. Others are in the space and leveraging it for their objectives. The dollars these days are limited. Consider the best ways you can use your existing assets and resources, choose the best vehicles for you and get in the game! If you are unsure where to start, you may want to consider our upcoming workshop, too, featuring Lindsey Patten.

A Few Twitter Tip Basics

I am so over it.  That’s right.

Maybe because of the recent crazy glare of the mass media on all things social media, people are jumping in left and right.  I know, we’ve been harping on this for a while (see these posts:  3 Ways Nonprofits Can Use Social Media to Engage Donors, 7 Social Media Self Assessment Questions, and Repeat after me: Cap-ti-vate me.), but the nutiness continues. 

In this month’s newsletter we explore just a few of the very fundamental Twitter tips for nonprofits and small businesses, although I suspect they could apply anywhere.  Thought I’d share them here.

1) Tweet, but don’t overtweet and annoy Twitterverse.  How much is enough varies, and is dependent on what you are tweeting; however, over 85% of folks only Tweet once per day and a large percentage never Tweet after the inaugural Tweet.  Twitter is too valuable to squander away.  See #2 for more on that.

2) Always tweet with the “What’s In It for Me” content value in mind. Not everyone cares that you just stopped for a caramel frappacino. It is good to occasionally provide some personal info – it gives a “face” to the Tweets.  For example, we have a very strong strat-up and VC background.  We have grown 8 businesses, so I do Tweet about that once in a while.  Lets folks know who we are and why we do what we do.

3) Pay attention to what others in your interest area are doing. Follow them.  You’ll learn a lot. (Um, you think this would go without saying…but apparently it doesn’t.)

4) Reply to people. One of the big mistakes I find with new twitterers is that they just post. That makes it all about them.  It’s not.  Engage with the community.

5) Be kind – retweet.  Now that you are on Twitter, use your powers for good, and the power of the RT cannot be underestimated.

6) Um, did I already mention that it’s not always about you?  Lemme say it again…my current pet peeve is relentless tweeting every hour about what you are selling or services you are providing.  I will not follow you and will STOP following you if that kind of behavior continues.  Yeah, I said it.

There are dozens of ways that Twitter can help you achieve your objectives. Make a plan and stick to it.  Better yet, let me know how it goes.

Repeat after me: Cap-ti-vate me.

ProfessionalMojo-peacockIt would take the next decade to sift through all the stuff worthy of reading on my desk. Not gonna happen.

This should make you stop and think about your own material being distributed on the almighty Web. What would’ve made me stop and read each one the moment I saw the headline or was referred to the link? What would have made me stop at your tweet or your post on Facebook? The answer will be different for everyone, but I can name a few common denominators: Relevance in the moment. Entertainment value (or just value). And brevity.

Your business wants to make an impact. You want your target audience to read and enjoy what you put on the Web. You don’t want to be part of the uber distracting “Net noise” that disturbs your listeners rather than entices them. So, when you consider what to publish next time, ask yourself a few questions:

1. Am I posting just to post? If yes, don’t.

2. Is this a timely topic? Our global universe operates at mega speed, don’t appear late to the party.

3. Is my headline engaging? Here’s a tried and true reference.

4. Did I offer value?

Go on. Captivate me.

7 Social Media Self Assessment Questions

Organizations continue to dive into social media head first at an alarming rate. I have seen so many Tweets like this over the last month: “Woo Hoo.  Company XYZ is on Twitter. Follow us!” Then nothing else. Radio silence. That’s not a strategy, and it is discouraging to see a potentially powerful medium squandered.  

Make sure the social media pieces fit.

Make sure the social media pieces fit.

So, in response, we’re posting 7 Social Media Self Assessment Questions.

1) What do you hope to achieve by using social media? Build awareness or brand? Generate leads?  Increase donations? Entertain? Teach? Sell a product or service? Be clear, write it down and get buy-in. (Oh, be realistic, too.)

2) Do you know who you are trying to reach and where they congregate online? Don’t skimp here, even though you might be tempted to think you know the answer. DO the research and figure out who you need to reach to achieve #1 and then which social media tool is most likely to reach them.

3) Do you have the time to continually update with fresh and relevant content? I cannot stress this enough. That’s why you must have objectives, choose your tools wisely and then determine a plan on who will update, when they’ll do it and WHAT they’ll say. It is worse to create a profile, tell the world and then let it die a slow and painful cyber-death.

4) Do you have a written policy in place to manage the communication? In politics, we called this “staying on message”. If you have various people Tweeting and blogging, what should they be saying, what should they NOT be saying. I’ve seen many organizations do irreparable harm to their brand by tweeting out information that was never intended for public consumption. Social media is powerful. Use your power for good and be careful.

5) Are you prepared for a level of transparency that you have never before experienced? If you have an unhappy visitor/customer/donor, are you prepared for her to criticize you openly on your blog? Tweet about you mercilessly? Not much is private and there are growing security issues as social media apps gain attention of fraudsters and hackers.

6) Do you have the creativity and innovation to deliver the right content via the right application? Get beyond the mundane .  Dry podcasts and newsy posts are swell, I’m sure, but actually watching someone use your product or service?  Very cool.

7) Can you track it and show success? After you determine what you want to achieve, you need to know how to measure the return on investment (ROI). Tightly link your web site/blog/facebook fan pages/Twitter accounts and more so you are driving traffic and interest to the right places with a clear call to action. I suggest you track both leading indicators (traffic, clicks, etc.) and lagging indicators (demos, increased giving, reduced customer service costs, conversions, etc.).

There are many tools that can help you achieve your social media goals and you can always contact us, as well, and we’ll show you how to do this successfully on your own. In the meantime, please don’t dive in head first. Make a plan for your success.

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