My childhood friend just got married. Her boyfriend proposed to her while eating ice cream in D.C. nearly a year and a half ago. Before he popped the question (which, incidentally, included the line, “I want to eat ice cream with you for the rest of my life”), they dated for three years. They met 10 years before that at summer camp.
“Awww. Cute story, Lisa. What’s your point?”
I’m so glad you asked.
Their engagement early last summer was another step in their relationship – one that had evolved over time. It wasn’t a generic proposal. It didn’t involve pomp and circumstance or him down on bended knee. It was a moment that was meaningful to them as a couple, speaking to something special and unique. In this case, ice cream. And, it yielded the desired response: Yes!
Now, put it in terms of the relationship your organization has with its constituents and prospects. There is often a long “courting” period wherein a user learns about your organization, then signs up to receive information, and finally (after what may feel to you like an interminable engagement period), they donate or take an advocacy action. It is a relationship in the truest sense of the word.
Recently, “engagement” has become a bit of a buzzword among nonprofits, but for good reason. Shifting the dialog in marketing and web design from “what can I get the user to do?” to “what experience can I provide that will inspire the user to act?” will be a game changer for the industry.
Individuals are bombarded with proposals all day – “click here!” “buy this!” “go there!” – so the savvy campaigner / marketer / ux designer will find ways to break through the noise and get that individual to engage with your organization. How can you stand out? There is an abundance of information about your audience you can put to use to draw them closer to the actions you want them to take. When you put that information (we both love ice cream) to use, in a way that benefits you both, that’s engagement.
At the Salsa Conference, Beaconfire will walk you through 7 Rules of Engagement during a panel on day 2 (we hope to see you there!) – specific ways to use the information you have about your users now plus information you can get easily to engage them with your cause and inspire them to take action. We’ll talk about goals a strong engagement strategy can help achieve, and ideas for putting them to work immediately.
Does your organization currently have an engagement strategy? How’s it going? Email us and let us know and we'll incorporate your thoughts into the presentation!!