Posted by Paull Young | Posted in Business, charity: water, Events, Marketing | Posted on 07-03-2012
I’m heading to Austin, Texas, this weekend for my third consecutive SXSW. It’s a huge few days, and while tiring, an event I always look forward to for a chance to connect with many friends and build new relationships.
If you’ll be there please leave a comment or tweet me; if you’re reading this I’d love to see you.
Without further ado, here are the three main conversations I’ll be having in Texas:
1. What are you up to that’s cool?
You’ll never find as many smart digital people in one place as these few days in Austin. I’m looking forward to learning new things and getting inspired by other peoples work.
Big new ideas often pop at SXSW: Twitter got a huge boost there early on, Foursquare launched there, and this year I’m tipping Highlight will get people chatting – it’s the most interesting app I’ve found for some time.
2. charity: water is hiring – know anyone?
charity: water is hiring across the board this year and we need great people to help us change the world. We’re looking for a range of tech people, project managers, fundraisers and more.
In particular, I’m personally hiring two roles and it’s likely the right people for them will be at SXSW:
- Director of Corporate Partnerships: an authentic, strategic, digitally-savvy biz dev person who can raise $5 million from corporates this year while building a plan to do $30 million in 2015.
- Marketing Analyst: a data person who will be responsible for building a personal automated email program for us and will work on defining and measuring our marketing efforts.
3. Can you or your brand help charity: water this year?
We’re aiming to raise $25 million this year, 100% will directly fund clean water projects. We’ve got a bunch of exciting campaigns launching throughout the year and many ways individuals or brands can get involved. I’ll be looking to recruit more great partners to help them make our story their story and bring the water crisis to more people.
In particular, I’ll be trying to marshall support for a huge online campaign we’re launching for World Water Day on March 22. If you’re interested in learning more about it – ping me!
Will you be at SXSW? If so I’d love to see you!
Posted by Paull Young | Posted in charity: water, Internet, Marketing | Posted on 28-02-2012
There’s a strong trend towards visuals on the web, led in part by the rise of the iPhone and iPad so you can enjoy high res images on the move.
We’ve taken advantage of this at charity: water by extending our ‘Photos of the Day’ (that we’ve shared on Twitter and our blog for years) into Instagram and Facebook.
Instagram is a favorite of mine, I’ve blogged about it here and elsewhere. We’ve seen a huge rise in followers there as people flock to the platform, and today this photo was our first to recieve 1000 likes.
Similarly, recent changes to the Facebook newsfeed mean that photos get more exposure and compelling images are easier to share. The same photo recieved over 300 likes on Facebook and was shared over 50 times.
Great visuals are a huge marketing asset on the social web.
Posted by Paull Young | Posted in Business, charity: water, Internet, Marketing, Uncategorized | Posted on 15-02-2012
I’m approaching my two year anniversary at charity: water. In those 2 years we’ve raised over $27 million, 100% of which has directly funded clean water projects. And we’ve raised over 75% of those funds through digital channels.
Here are my top 5 things I’ve learned from my first two years at charity: water.
- Be Positive
Inspiration is the most important part of our digital strategy. We inspire people through stories that help them see how they can change the world.
We think about building long-term relationships with every supporter, and in order to build strong relationships we want to give them regular positive feelings by inspiring them, thanking them, educating them and recognizing them. We don’t make people feel sad or guilty.
To bring this to life I juxtaposed the ASPCA’s tear-jerking overwraught commercials, with Helen’s Story, a beautiful piece written by Becky Straw telling the story of Helen Apio in Uganda and how access to clean water, for the first time in her life, made her feel beautiful.
The ASPCA ads have reportedly raised over $30 million. I wouldn’t take $30 million this year if I had to make all of America feel terrible in order to get there.
- Don’t ask for money
This learning could also be phrased as ‘tell stories’. In my two years at charity: water we’ve never asked for money on Facebook or Twitter, nor in our email marketing.
People know we’re a charity. They know the biggest assistance they can give is financial support. We don’t need to ask them for money every time we connect with them, because we’re focused on relationships with people, not their wallets.
Our year end email (when every American non-profit makes a very direct fundraising appeal) simply shared an upbeat two minute video.
- Do It Wrong Quickly
This is a catchphrase I’ve adopted from my friend and mentor Mike Moran. Do it wrong quickly doesn’t mean go out there and break everything. It means experiment, measure deeply, trial real use cases as quickly as you can and do more of what works.
Don’t come up with a beautiful strategy in 400 Powerpoint slides and roll it out a year later after dozens of meetings, presentations and approvals. Find the smallest test case you can use, ship it, measure it, and if it works in the market expand it.
We’re taking this approach with the new product WaterForward. An experiment in giving, we’re trying a lot of things to see if we can make WaterForward explode virally, but even if it doesn’t the experience from trying will boost us.
- Be personal
Seth Godin said it well: familiarity (like using my first name in a mass email) isn’t personal – personal is one-to-one and MUST be authentic.
Authentic personal interaction always takes time. The payoff though, can be huge.
Think about the last brand that really took the time to personally interact with you. I’m willing to bet you have a very positive memory.
An example of how we do this is the 250 thank you videos we prepared and sent to individual donors on our 5th birthday in September last year. This took weeks of effort, time from all our staff and even more from a small army of vounteers. The goal was to make 250 people feel special — in the end we look at these videos as one of our biggest successes of 2011.
- Help them see their impact
Informed by Simon Sinek’s ‘golden circle’ we’ve realized that the most important thing we can do at charity: water is bring people closer to the impact they can make by supporting us.
People are essentially good, and if they see how they can make a change in the world, they’ll do amazing things. We are focusing a great deal of time, energy and effort on helping this happen for all our supporters, the key example being the most exciting project we’ve launched, Dollars to Projects.
If you’d like to hear me chat about this stuff, here is a recording of a webinar I did recently with Artez Online touching on general charity: water info and the five learnings.
(Note: My slides didn’t convert to Powerpoint properly so sorry for some in the video being ugly! The better slides are embedded as Slideshare above).
So on a very simplistic level, what is it about Australia that makes it the greatest place on earth to live? Those of you who have lived overseas for any length of time will recall that it is very easy to reflect on your homeland with rose-coloured glasses. When in the US, I would recall Australia’s magnificent beaches and national parks and sunny summer days with flawless blue skies. I would reminisce on the irreverent humour of Doug Mulray, the natural beauty of Australian girls, the fresh and bountiful seafood, my friends from childhood and university days with whom I could be at total ease and the relaxed quintessential Australian way of life. I conveniently forgot about the Sydney traffic, the tall-poppy-syndrome, the flies in summer, the geographical isolation and the hidden and sometimes overt racism.
My view of an Aussie was someone who was hard working, unaffected, genuine, affable, relaxed, egalitarian, irreverent and charitable.
Spending nine years in the USA was an enlightening experience. I felt Australia was such a great place to live, in no small part as a result of its isolation, not despite it. We appeared to be immune from world wars, border conflicts and dwindling natural resources. Why would you ruin this blissful isolation by allowing “queue jumpers”, potential criminals, into our Utopia?
My time in the USA made me reflect on how a country that was not that much older or bigger than ours had achieved such a standing on the world stage. In general, Americans were not more intelligent, diligent or talented than Australians. They have natural resources, so do we. Their pioneers did it tough, so did ours. They had a national pride, so do we. Speak to most Americans and they will be the first to concede the dependence of their economy on the hard-working and fiercely loyal Mexicans. Speak to almost any taxi driver anywhere in the 50 states and you will be inspired by a story of tragedy and conflict followed by hope and opportunity and concluded by a statement of national pride…in America NOT their country of birth. I don’t know for sure, and I don’t think anyone knows for sure, but, having lived in the USA for 10 years, I would be hopeful that our country would benefit from immigration of peoples from countries of conflict, or those subjected to political persecution, who are simply seeking refuge from violence and a better life for their children. I believe Australia has a moral and social obligation to demonstrate a higher level of kindness to and acceptance of refugees. I don’t know how this may be achieved but I certainly know that both sides of the political fence are floundering. I would humbly suggest that a bi-partisan approach would be one step closer to a solution and we need it now!
Posted by Paull Young | Posted in Australia, Current Affairs, Humour, Internet | Posted on 20-01-2012
This month I’ve seen two videos of political leaders go viral in my Facebook newsfeed. One from Australia, and one from the USA.
The content of each gives you a feel of the split between the cultures:
Barry Obama (POTUS 2008 – ) sings in Harlem:
Bob Hawke (Prime Minister of Australia 1983-1991) skulls a beer at the cricket:
Posted by Paull Young | Posted in Business, charity: water, Events, Internet, Marketing | Posted on 17-01-2012
Last year I was honored to be invited to record a session for the Smart CMO Virtual Forum, an innovative online event providing top-notch content to a remote audience.
The Smart CMO team just shared a video of my session to share with all of you, check it out to hear about all the work we’re doing in marketing at charity: water:
The next Smart CMO virtual forum is scheduled for March 1 2012 – sign up to see more content like the above, from even better speakers than yours truly, such as the CMOs for both the NFL and SAP.
Posted by Paull Young | Posted in Business, Current Affairs, Internet, Life | Posted on 09-01-2012
This morning just before I headed to work this tweet from Clay Shirky pointed me to an incredibly interesting podcast from This American Life:
Mike Daisey’s extraordinary look at the people who made your iPhone, now as a ‘This American Life’ episode: bit.ly/xmoLhB
— Clay Shirky (@cshirky) January 9, 2012
Like many of us, I spend most of my waking hours touching an Apple product. First thing in the morning I fire up my iPhone to check overnight notifactions. For my full workday I bang on my MacBook Pro. When I get home I’m liable to unwind with some Fifa 12 on my iPad. Apple products and electronics surround my life, but I rarely stop to think about where they come from.
After listening to this podcast, no longer.
Like Mr Daisey the narrator, I always assumed a high tech factory used robots to construct my products with some human oversight. I didn’t think about an army of workers assembling my products painstakingly by hand while they barely made a living.
Thought provoking. Especially the analysis afterwards – are sweatshops like this a fact of life in developing countries that lead to growth despite our western sensibilities? Or do we as consumers, and more importantly Apple, Dell and their ilk who make massive profits from the labor, have a responsibility here?
As many of us do I’m reflecting on 2011 as the last few hours of the year wind down. And the strongest feeling I have is one of gratitude to all of you who’ve helped me personally and professionally through the year.
The greatest thing about working for a non-profit is seeing how people come out to help. Many of you have donated money, time and your brains to helping charity: water along this year. I appreciate it greatly.
Here’s a quick video we made to say thanks that I think you’ll enjoy:
Finally, I wanted to share the opening lines of the latest book I’m reading, Street Sweeper by Aussie Elliot Perlman, they seem particularly apt for reflecting on the last day of the year:
Memory is a wilful dog. It won’t be summoned or dismissed but it cannot survive without you. It can sustain you or feed on you. It visits when it is hungry, not when you are. It has a schedule all its own that you never know. It can capture you, corner you or liberate you. It can leave you howling and it can make you smile.