In the graphic above, we can see that donor interest follows media attention. But the moment both begin to decline is actually the moment when aid agencies need funds the most.
It’s been just 17 days since the Nepal earthquake, and we’re already in the cycle’s decline: attention is beginning to stagnate and online conversations have dropped by some 85%.
Extending the attention cycle doesn’t only mean being the first charity to ask for donations. It’s about making the best use of the little time you have. It means relentlessly pursuing opportunities to engage and sustain interest. At ntegrity, we call this an ‘always on’ approach.
As a digital agency who works within the Not-For-Profit (NFP) sector, we know there is a way extend the donor attention cycle. The secret? Become a growth marketer.
‘Growth marketing’ is a buzzword in the tech sector, but here’s how the traits of a growth marketer applies to staff working in emergencies.
In emergencies, information from the disaster zone is sparse. Emergency staff who are working in the affected areas have a number one priority to respond to what’s happening on the ground. This means staff who aren’t in the emergency zone have to use what information they can get their hands on.
A story-finder is someone who finds and creates stories. They use what’s available, think like a journalist, and see opportunities rather than wait for more information to arrive.
In 2010 during the Haiti Earthquake, Kyle and I were able to create this video just 9 days after the disaster struck.
We didn’t just look at what was in front of us. We found stories to tell. Kyle used press coverage, phone interviews, photos and video footage to create this video. Not all sources were from World Vision. Our friend Naomi wrote a song – we used it. I distributed the video like crazy online, where it was shared by influencers like MC Hammer and Donald Miller.
Journalists see stories everywhere by always considering the potential of even the most mundane events, snippets of information and sources. They dig deeper to make these pieces come to life.
- the next phone call you take,
- the report you just received,
- things you’re hearing in your office that you don’t see on the news,
- the staff you’re worried about.
All of these lead to stories. Be the story-finder who tells them.
A good growth marketer doesn’t work in isolation. As Airbnb’s Director of Online Marketing, Paul Jeszenszky tells us, the best growth marketers do things together.
You can choose to be a honey badger: a lone wolf who takes the weight of the world on their shoulders. Or you can be a team-player – a meerkat.
In an emergency, a meerkat would do things like:
- Develop infographics with graphic designers;
- Liase with the finance department for the latest stats on donations;
- Work with the media team to proactively and reactively respond to topical content;
- Create videos of experts who can share interesting information about the emergency zone;
- Gather their team into a ‘huddle’ to brainstorm how to breathe life into statistics.
Work with everyone you can. Inspire people to believe in the things you can create together.
But also take it upon yourself to do everything you can and help others when they ask. It’s not just about what you can do independently. Make sure that you leave no ‘kat’ behind.
There’s not much time to respond in an emergency, so you need to make it count.
Those in the emergency zone are not getting much sleep, and you should be working just as hard. 9 to 5 does not apply – you can make up for lost sleep afterwards.
Your energy will be a precious commodity, so use it to identify opportunities. Data will help you, so become obsessed with everything it can tell you. Keep an eye on what others are doing and try to learn from their success and failure.
Only spend your time doing meaningful work. If you’re not creating and producing, put the laptop away.
Don’t get stuck in the ‘thinking’ stage. You don’t need to be doing everything perfectly, but you do need to be doing. You can have grand ideas to find stories, work as a meerkat, and work to the bone, but it doesn’t count unless you actually do it.
Try new things, and don’t worry if they don’t work at first. Work on your toes, and always be changing.
Don’t let workplace culture get in your way
The most dangerous (and frustrating) time for growth marketers is when you’re told to wait. In fact, the biggest barrier to effective growth marketing is workplace culture.
Leaders need to give their team flexibility, freedom, and creativity. Our next blog post will discuss growth culture, and how organisations can create an environment that constantly inspires people to do more, and do better.
This Wednesday, I’ll be speaking about ethical donations to Nepal in Melbourne. Be part of the discussion: grab your free ticket here.
Nepal needs your help – now. Donate to World Vision.