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October 29, 2009

Saying Thank You in a Social World

A donor, one big or small, makes a gift to your organization. Your backend office generates and (e)mails a thank you letter and/or reciept. If the gift size says "major donor", you might even call to say thank you.

But is that enough? Are you missing out on opportunities to show your appreciation in a more public way, especially one that would encourage *other people* to make a gift?

It's easy to tweet a "thanks to all of our donors" message or rely on Facebook Causes to display a list of donors. But have you named specific donors in a Wall status update that would be displayed outside of the Cause or tracked down a donor's Twitter account and acknowledged them in a tweet?

There's a reason why Facebook and Twitter display the number of friends, fans, and followers you have. And a reason why #followfriday is popular. And why Digg, Twitter and now Facebook can display the number of times a page has been shared. People are, well, a little bit vain. That's not to say all of social media is a popularity contest, but don't ignore the opportunities to call out a donor by posting a more personalized thank that would show up on their Facebook news feed or list of tweets mentioning their @username. Your public appreciation could bring you closer to a repeat gift or a viral appeal and hopefully your next donation.

October 08, 2009

Three-O Bing-Oh: A 30-Day Bing Challenge

Bing_logo_200 In recent technology news, Microsoft has been rolling out some pretty awesome things that are putting them in direct competition with long-standing brands. Consider:

  • Microsoft released its own anti-virus and spyware program, Security EssentialsBased on early reviews, McAfee and Symantec should worry.
  • Sony and Nintendo have long been the most well-known names in gaming consoles; dominating the industry.  Microsoft however has been creeping up. They recently announced that the XBOX 360 passed the 30 million unit mark, making 2008 their biggest year – and that’s still not enough. They have a partnership with NetFlix, allowing movie rental on the console (oppose to purchasing/renting expensive blu-ray discs that play on the Sony PS3), and with Project Natal on its way in 2010, the Nintendo Wii will soon look as primitive as an Atari.
  • Windows7, the OS follow up to Vista. Reviews have been very strong and almost as exciting as XP was when it was released and people were literally waiting in lines for it.  A stronger OS from Microsoft means less converts to Apple. Kylie 's too cute to be wrong.
  • And there's the upcoming Microsoft Office 2010 which is said to have a strong online component to it. This move, I can’t help but imagine has to be a wink/nod/gotcha’ to Google’s Docs – a free online suite of Office-like tools.

Then there’s Bing, Microsoft’s new search, no - sorry, “decision” engine. I’m frequently coming across Bing-talk online.  Reviews thus far:

Bing Keeps Growing: Has Microsoft Finally Cracked Search?
The only thing that will make people switch from Google (or even Yahoo!) to Bing is noticeably better search results. We recently wrote about a site called BlindSearch that lets users blindly sample search results from Google, Yahoo!, and Bing and then choose the best results. The results of that test have been taken down to thwart users attempting to game the system, but at the time of our writing last week, Bing wasn’t doing so badly with people preferring its results about one third of the time. None of the top three search engines were preferred by users more than 45% of that time, which really indicates how close they are to one another in result quality.

Microsoft's Bing search engine in challenge to Google
Although it's important to note that the chances of Bing beating Google are slim, it's also important to note that through the help of several innovative features, Bing has been able to capture some market share away from the search giant. In fact, it now has about 10 percent market share. A few years ago, the thought of Microsoft achieving that kind of success online was unheard of.

Bing Growing Eight Times Faster Than Google
No doubt about it: More consumers are Googling with Bing. According to the latest stats from research firm Nielsen, Microsoft’s (MSFT) new search engine is growing faster than its archrival’s.

It’s talk like this that cannot, and given our industry, should not be ignored. However, I’m a slave to my habits, and my habits have revolved around Google for years. So I had to think up a way to make this interesting and keep me motivated through any bumps while trying Bing out - than it hit me, I decided to put myself through a 30-Day Bing Challenge, I’m calling it, “Three-O, Bing-Oh” (I’ll consider other titles in the comments section).

Starting today, I’ve made Bing my IE7 homepage, and I’ve made it the default search engine on the engine toolbar.

In 30 days, I’ll put together my ideas, general impressions, unique offerings and “decision” helpfulness of the search results on this blog. Should be fun!

See you in three-oh-days.

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