On Community: the unsung power of Internet communication

my office assistant is cute but not helpful

Like many people who run a home-based business, I do most of my work alone in my office save for an office assistant whose main contribution is to sit on the Caps Lock key.  As a person who thrives on the company of others–and who needs the input and perspective only other people can provide to do my best work– one might assume this arrangement is a recipe for disaster.

Actually, it would be, save for one very important technological advancement:  the Internet.

Sure, I rely on it to connect with potential clients, and I teach those clients to use it to connect with their clients, customers, and donors, but that’s just the most obvious benefit.

The Internet also provides me the one thing I need to stay sane, productive and creative while working on my own:  access to other humans.

Thanks to Twitter, I am connected to a huge community of theatre artists and administrators through the #2amt hashtag and some of the most dedicated nonprofit professionals you’ll ever meet though #smNPchat.  Twitter is also the place I “hang out” with some of the smartest and most generous consultants I know including Erica, Pamela, Jenny, and Shoshana.  (I’ve linked to their twitter profiles, but be sure to visit their websites as well!)

Thanks to the Society of the Secret Play Date, I (usually) remember to incorporate a sense of wonder and play into my everyday work.  I also have the pleasure of cheering the accomplishments of other play-daters (and receiving encouragement myself) when we meet in our secret hideout.

Thanks to the Remarkable Marketing Blueprint, I now count some of the internet’s best “third tribe” style marketers among my friends.  I  also have a place to go to test new ideas, get advice, and blow off steam when I worry I’ll never have another good idea.  (Thanks to the blueprint, I’m also just one Kevin Bacon-style step removed from Seth Godin, but I’ll spare you the fan girl moment.)

Finally, thanks to Facebook, I have a way to stay connected to my “real life” communities made up of family, friends, teachers, students, neighbors and colleagues scattered across the United States–and increasingly, the world.

So while my physical space offers only 3 cats and one engineer for company, the Internet provides me a variety of spaces, some public, some private, where I can go to hone my skills, get advice and encouragement, ask silly questions, build relationships and, of course, procrastinate.  Thanks to those communities, and the amazing people who are a part of them, I’m able to pursue a dream that would not have been possible for me 10 years ago.

A New Place to Build Community

Because these online communities have been so crucial to my work, (and because the world will be better when more people start pursuing their dreams) I am building a new private space where smart, kind, generous, and driven people can take the ideas about which they usually only whisper, and give those ideas the nourishment, protection, support, and care they need to grow.

Click here to learn more about the LHF Greenhouse.

In many ways, the greenhouse itself is the “seedling” project I intend to grow along side the seedling projects of other greenhouse members, so those of you who choose to become charter members will play a major role in helping it grow.  If you like the idea of shaping the greenhouse for future members, or just like the idea of getting in for an insanely good price, you should go check it out now.

I hope to see you inside.

A Marketer’s Guide to Winning:  Lessons from NAMPC 2011

I spent the beginning of this week with my fellow arts marketing peeps at the National Arts Marketing Project Conference in Louisville.  For a person who does most of her work in a home office surrounded by cats and books, it was great to be in the same room with so many amazing people with great ideas.  It was also great to be able to tweet at the dinner table without subterfuge, but that’s another post. . .)

Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

I had every intention of coming home from this conference and sharing what I learned in great amounts of detail.

I’ll pause for a moment to give those of you who spend a lot of time at conferences time to stop laughing.

Let’s just say it was amazing, you can get some of the flavor of the event from the  #nampc twitter hashtag, you can download many of the presentations here, and watch the archived versions of the keynote speeches here.

But really, you had to be there.

So instead of the blow-by-blow, I’ll go back to my competitive forensics roots and examine the conference theme, Winning Audiences through three different lenses. Continue reading

4 (more) lessons from a successful Kickstarter Campaign

Kick starter

Get it?

As you might have gathered from the relative lack of activity here in the past couple of weeks,  my head has been somewhere else.   Specifically, it’s been over here in Kickstarter land.

I’m happy to report that the effort paid off, and as of last week, Mach 30 successfully met its fundraising goal.  More importantly (for you at least) we learned 4 more Kickstarter lessons since my last post.

Enjoy!

A good campaign generates more than money

A sprout in a lightbulb.

Image via Wikipedia

Like most people, we found our way to Kickstarter because we had a project and needed money.  We were pleased to discover our backers and potential backers had a lot more than just cash to offer. Continue reading

3 Lessons from my first Kickstarter Campaign

Late last month the rest of the Mach 30 board and I launched our first Kickstarter campaign.

Since the goal of the campaign is  to create a SourceForge for Open Source Hardware and I don’t expect there are a ton of open source hardware folks hanging out here* I’m going to skip the “give us money part.”

On the other hand, almost all of you are interested in how to fund the work that drives you, so I’ll focus on the three big lessons we learned from our first attempt at a Kickstarter campaign–as well as a bonus lesson that applies to successful projects of all kinds. Continue reading

An Affiliate Marketing Lesson for Nonprofts: Make New Friends and Keep the Old

No-spam

No matter how noble your cause, SPAM is not the answer

If you’ve hung out here for a while, you know how I feel about e-mailing people without getting permission. (It’s bad.) I bet you can also guess how I feel about buying, renting and even trading mailing lists from other organizations. (it’s really bad).

I do, however, get why nonprofits do it.  Buying, renting, or trading mailing lists is fast, easy, affordable and (sometimes) effective, but the short-term gains lead to unpleasant consequences in the long-term.

One of your organization’s most valuable assets  is the relationships you’ve built with your donors.  They know you, they trust you and they have enough faith in you to support you financially.  Every time you sell or trade their contact information you erode that trust. Continue reading