Why DIY (Marketing) = Sometimes Good, Sometimes Bad

22 Apr

Nary a day goes by that someone I know doesn’t have a client who says, “I can do it myself, it’s free” about some piece of marketing.

Even with tutorials, not every DIY works 😉

Now, that is overtly true for lots of platforms – social media being the main culprit. It is, in point of fact, true that many things about social media do not have a specific payment required.

However, there are a few ways to think about this.

If you are truly fascinated by some piece of social media, or any other facet of strategic marketing, by all means, make it your new hobby. Devote your nights and weekends to learning it and networking in the space, in lieu of spending time on other things like friends, family, and your other normal fun activities. (It can be really fun if you are a true fan!  But requires much dedication.)

A new hobby might be fun!

For most people, however, if they are being truthful, they want the outcome that using something well can produce, not the ability to do/understand it.

It is certainly true that you can learn anything, given enough time. No one is born a surgeon.

But while I might not understand all the details of how electricity works, I certainly appreciate being able to flip a switch and have light.

Light is perfect when you want light.

So as mesmerizing and perplexing as marketing strategy might seem, with plenty of flashing lights and buzzers to intrigue even the most Zen person, some things are indeed best left to experts.

There are no quantities of YouTube videos, blog posts, or fun articles than can recreate years of experience and having seen things happen for real.

In any business, there is always a scale. On one side is time, and on the other side is money.

On one side of the scale is time, the other is money.  Pick your favorite.  You must spend one.

Learning curves are hugely expensive in terms of soft costs, and lost opportunity costs. If your operations manager, who makes x an hour to do her “real” job, spends x hours trying to learn, say, Facebook, how does that affect the business? Who does her operations job?

Additionally, the difference between great execution and poor execution is immense. If you try to DIY a marketing strategy, how will you know it’s working? How will you know if it could be better? What are you benchmarking against?  What happens if SHTF (stuff hits the fan) and someone made a big accidental misstep because they have no experience?

Using anything personally (social media especially) is wildly different from using it on behalf of an organization. It’s like assuming staying at hotel must be like running a hotel. Not so much.

Marketing activity alone is not valuable, and if done wrong, can be detrimental.  A strategy that leads to results is valuable.

The end goal is results, not activity.

DIY is one of my very favorite things. In fact, Pinterest is practically built on it! (Love Pinterest.)

But in the same sense that you would not hire your 20-year-old cousin to defend you in court if you were wrongfully accused (you would hire the lawyer with the best record of keeping clients free – regardless of cost per hour) – I would pay careful attention to where, when and why you DIY.

Because sometimes DIY is good, and sometimes…not so much.

Please share your thoughts in the comments!  And I would love to connect on social media.  @CharityIdeas  most everywhere, or Amy Neumann.

YWCA #ItsTimeToTalkCLE – Diversity and Racism Solutions!

4 Feb

Today I went to a YWCA event, #ItsTimeToTalkCLE, about diversity and racism. It was fascinating in our small groups to hear about personal experiences with prejudice, and it was truly enlightening.

YWCA Cleveland's #ItsTimeToTalkCLE at TriC 2017

The Reverend Joan Campbell and Jane Campbell with host Danielle Wiggins of WKYC, 2017 YWCA

One of my favorite things was the World Café, where we tackled racism in Cleveland and how to solve it, in one hour. What amazed me, was that this group of hundreds of people came together with hundreds of ideas, distilled into a few key areas and solutions for ways to solve the problems, in one hour through working together.

It reminded me of a few overarching things I have seen working with countless nonprofits over a couple decades:

  • Status Quo means… we should probably change that.  To me, the definition of Status Quo is, n. Latin: “We should probably change that.” The fact that something “has always been done this way” should really be a red flag.
  • We’re not fighting for a piece of the pie – we’re making the pie bigger. We’re all working together, because the world is digital and everywhere, all the time, to make the whole pie bigger. The pie is expanding with every smartphone. Collaborate. No need to be divisive. We’re all on the same team. And resources are not scarce. Money follows good ideas.
  • Self-awareness and openness is key to understanding, and tackling, racism, and other issues. We all have biases. We usually have no idea we do until we talk with people we don’t normally talk to, and that is normal. We don’t know what we don’t know. How and where we were raised influences us more than we might know. Only exploring and interrupting our little bubbles creates true opportunities to really learn about people different from ourselves. (Side note – traveling is one of my favorite things, for this very reason.)

The YWCA event was full of fascinating people with incredible ideas. It made me happy to be a Clevelander again after 16 years in Los Angeles, and made me excited to be part of everything happening in Cleveland right now.

YWCA #ItsTimeToTalkCLE 2017

We can create more together by including everyone.

What do you think we can do to make Cleveland more inclusive?

Please make sure to connect with me on Twitter @CharityIdeas, and also wherever you are on social media – I’m CharityIdeas (or Amy Neumann) everywhere.  I would love to hear your thoughts!

17 Reasons to Be Grateful in 2017

1 Jan

2017 is a year to celebrate!

Fall istock

Here are 17 simple reasons why you can appreciate and be thankful and grateful for 2017, because You matter:

  • People love you. Your friends, family, co-workers – they appreciate you!
  • You have all your senses – you can see the sunrise, taste cold water, smell the winter (or the spring), hear nature and the the people you love, feel and touch anything you decide to touch.
  • You can travel anywhere you want. Even if you don’t have two dimes to rub together you can travel in your mind to any place you want by reading a book.
  • You have the ability to change a life by smiling at a stranger every day. It could be the smile that makes a difference.
  • You can see the beauty of everything. “It’s not what you look at that matters. It’s what you see.” – HD Thoreau
  • You decide every day to make the world a better place by being kind. Do one kind deed today.
  • You can read. Most of the 7 billion people in the world can’t.
  • You can make a difference. Pick a cause and volunteer, donate, or tell a friend about it.
  • You bring a special light to the world. No one else is exactly like you. That is awesome!
  • You can move. You can run, walk, skip, jump, shimmy, anything you want.
  • You can speak. Your voice can change a life. You have the ability to tell someone your ideas and thoughts.
  • You can decide. You can tell someone yes, no, maybe. You can be the deciding voice about something important.
  • You can build. You can find your passion and turn it into something that can help other people get to where they want to go.
  • You can lend a hand to someone. Big or little, you can grab a hand and say “I’ve got you.” You can help someone even by listening.
  • You can gift someone. Maybe it’s as simple as a bigger tip than usual, or a word of encouragement to someone who seems stressed.
  • You can tell someone Thank You. That’s always a kind, fresh breeze on a hard day.
  • You can appreciate all the people who appreciate and love you. Take two minutes to write down all the names of the people you love and appreciate. Those are also all the people who love an appreciate you, who you can be thankful and grateful for every day in 2017.

What do you appreciate in 2017?   Please share your comments below!  Thanks, and happy 2017!


Try Simply Asking!

11 Nov

If you work in the nonprofit realm – or are part of small business – you know there are always countless questions you wish you had answers for:

  • Who is our best client?
  • What would they most like to see from us?
  • How can we do a better job?
  • How would they like to be contacted?
  • What’s most important to them?
  • What do they consider success (why would they give us a good rating/donation?)
  • What can what we do make their lives easier?
  • What could we do that would make them feel happier about working with us?
  • What outcomes need to happen for them to think, “Wow! I am so happy I worked with you!”?

All of these are questions. And the wonderful thing about questions is, you can get answers by asking them.

African American businesswoman raising hand, asking question in business conference

Sometimes we get so busy with our own questions (What should our next campaign be? How should our ads look? Who is our audience?) that we forget that we have a great source of people who are happy to answer many of those same questions.

Our best clients are happy to answer our questions…

If we ask!

So why do we forget to ask?

Although we do know a lot about our industry, our business or nonprofit, our audience, our trends, our campaigns, our fill-in-the-blank…

You know who often knows more than we do?

Our community knows. Our clients, our donors, our advocates, our constituents, our supporters – for both our businesses and our nonprofits.

So why on earth would we not ask them what they think?  We all know, based on experience, that people are happy to tell us most anything we want to know – both positive and negative – if we only ask.  It does take time and thought, and we’re all busy, however it can be tremendously helpful.

Too Many Questions

A great way to find answers is to ask good questions.

If you feel a bit nervous about asking for thoughts and ideas, thinking it may bring forth some negatives with the positives, consider this…

People are already telling everyone their every thought about your product, service, business, or nonprofit right now. And they always have. “Word of mouth” now, however, is instantaneous and massive. Social media and ratings are already answering many of our questions, but outside of being a good listener there, you can’t proactively learn much about your key questions.

So if people are already talking, and answering questions on social media and elsewhere, why not take advantage of this golden opportunity to ask them specific questions?

[A side note about social media. Often people tell me they are wary of having a robust social media presence because “people might say negative things.” To which I would give the following analogy.

If I go to a huge, festive annual gala, where everyone is talking and having fun in a large, loud room, and I hold my hands over my ears – does everyone stop talking? Or do I just not hear them?]

That’s how it works now – that’s what social media is. If I choose to ignore input– or not be actively present and listening on social media – then I am simply clamping my hands over my ears. No one has stopped talking, or saying whatever they want, good or bad (and it’s usually mostly good!). I have simply just chosen put my fingers in my ears, and say *lalala, I can’t hear you,  lalala* (not too unlike in elementary school).

cute little child not listening, sticking out his tongue

It sounds funny, but it’s not far from how we might sometimes treat asking questions, or listening to answers, in today’s world of social media.

So here are a few new digital ways to ask questions, and to listen to the great advice people are giving already, and are willing to give if asked.

  • Listen – Pay attention on social media. Pay attention to mentions of your business or nonprofit that use your name or cause (or #hashtags associated with your name or cause). Paying attention and listening in other places is assumed.
  • Ask – Ask your clients/supporters all about what they want. People are usually happy to tell you their likes and dislikes, what you are doing well or could do better, or anything else you wonder about.
    1. If you have a lot of questions, consider offering something in return for their time, like a unique opportunity or a discount. Time is valuable, so offer people something in return for their kindness of answering important questions, for example in surveys or quick polls.
  • Learn – All this asking is toward an end – getting better. Make it your mission to get better, whether it’s in the services you provide or the missions you accomplish. Also consider this “Listening.” The learning is when the listening meets making proactive changes.
  • Appreciate – The flipside of asking is appreciation. If you ask, thank. People don’t mind helping, and often enjoy giving feedback, however no one wants to feel like they helped without feeling gratitude back. Thank the people who help with your listening and learning quest. Another great way to show appreciate is by taking positive actions to change in the direction people have indicated they want.

To be competitive now, whether as a business or a nonprofit, listening to your clients is critical. And a key to listening is asking good questions.

(These tips work equally well for employees.)

If you want to know the answer to the questions on your mind, consider the idea of:

Simply Asking.

Results Green Road Sign Over Clouds

What do you think? Do you have interesting ways to ask clients/supporters for information?

Please share your thoughts in the comments below, and connect with me on LinkedIn,  @CharityIdeas, on the Good Plus Tech Facebook page, or on Pinterest.

(And please check out my new nonprofit launching in February 2017 – Free Tech for Nonprofits.)

On #GivingTuesday 2015, YOU Can Help Make Sure There’s #NoKidHungry!

26 Nov

It’s that time of year again!

The time we stop and think about how thankful we are for everything we have. Family, friends, kindness, happy times, health, warm shelter, good food…

Even in the United States, though, many kids don’t have enough to eat every day. In fact, it’s 1 out of every 5 kids. The good news is, it’s simple to help!


Donate Button NKH

Join us for #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back. Your donation can significantly impact our efforts to make No Kid Hungry a reality. Just $1 can connect a hungry child with up to 10 healthy meals!


#GivingTuesday 2015 - Every $1 donation = 20 meals for @NoKidHungry! Feeding U.S. school children. #NoKidHungry #TeamNKH Thank you for any donation! :) ~ @CharityIdeas

“It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.” ― Mother Teresa

Donate Button Amy Neumann No Kid Hungry #GivingTuesday 2015

This Giving Tuesday can mean even more. If you donate today, Hickory Farms and Kettle Brand will match your donation, up to $100,000! That means every dollar you donate connect kids to not 10, but 20 healthy meals.

Today alone, we have the opportunity to join together and connect kids to up to 2 million meals! With your help, we can make sure that every kid get the healthy food they need to succeed, this year and beyond.

Pledge your support by December 1st, and help spread the word about #givingtuesday and #nokidhungry!

Donate Button NKH

Add you name to the ThunderClap for free HERE  or by clicking the image below, and easily tell your social media friends you support No Kid Hungry on Giving Tuesday!

Support No Kid Hungry #GvingTuesday 2015 ThunderClap

A big THANK YOU to Hickory Farms and Kettle Brand for their $100,000 donation match!



Here’s to getting $200,000 worth of meals – 2 million meals! – for kids across our country this Giving Tuesday 2015!

Donate Button NKH

Thanks for helping! I’m thankful for YOU. Here are 77 other things to be thankful for. Enjoy your holidays and thank you!


Social Media Classes, Fall 2015: Taught by Yours Truly :) #SMM

29 Sep

Fall is the perfect time to learn something new!

Social Media Classes 2015 at Cuyahoga Community College, taught by Amy Neumann @CharityIdeas #SMM

If social media is an area you’ve been wanting to explore, perhaps an in-person class is a good way to go. It’s inexpensive and hands-on, with me as your instructor! I am honored to be teaching again this semester at Cuyahoga Community College for their Continuing and Community Education program.

Seven courses are offered, from the basics, to specifics on individual platforms and topics. Would love to see you there!

Mention you found these classses on the ChairtyIdeas Blog, and I’ll bring you a free copy of my book, “Uplifting Quotes on Gratitude and Goodness to Show Appreciation” to class!

All courses below are at the Tri-C Eastern Campus, 4250 Richmond Road, Highland Hills, OH 44122, Thursdays, 7-9 pm, on the dates listed.

Simply click a class below to register.

Tri-C offers an abundance of additional classes in Professional Development as well as Personal Enrichment you may also want to explore.

Hope to see you in a class soon! If you have any thoughts, ideas, or suggestions, please share them in the comments.

And, please connect on any or all of your favorite social media platforms!

Social Media Classes 2015 at Cuyahoga Community College, taught by Amy Neumann @CharityIdeas #SMM

Twitter: @CharityIdeas

Pinterest: CharityIdeas

LinkedIn: Amy Neumann

G+: Amy Neumann

Facebook: Amy Neumann

Instagram: Amy Neumann

TwEAT OUT for #NoKidHungry

8 Sep

BTC ThunderclapIt’s that time of year again!  Time to help school kids get the nutritious meals they need to do well in school.  You and No Kid Hungry can help make it possible.

It’s easy as pie. 🙂

Help by joining the  twEAT OUT for No Kid Hungry on Tuesday, September 8. Find a participating restaurant then or during September.  Big social media fan?  Find a participating restaurant and give them a little social media love to thank them for helping feed kids!   Be sure to use the hashtag #NoKidHungry so everyone can follow the conversation.

Here are a few more simple ways you can make an impact:

1. Add your name to the #NoKidHungry Thunderclap and encourage your friends to do the same. At Noon ET on Sept. 8, the Thunderclap will send a pre-written message on your behalf to any or all of your Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr accounts—simultaneously. For a few minutes, Twitter will be taken over by #NoKidHungry.

2. Follow @NoKidHungry on Twitter, “like” the  No Kid Hungry Facebook page, and follow No Kid Hungry on Instagram.

3. On Sept. 8 during the twEAT OUT, retweet & share messages that come from @NoKidHungry and use #NoKidHungry in all of your messages. Here are some samples:

  • Dine out for #NoKidHungry! Visit nokidhungry.org to find a participating #restaurant near you!
  • Going out to eat? Don’t forget to visit a #NoKidHungry restaurant. Find #restaurants here: nokidhungry.org
  • Help us spread the word about #NoKidHungry today! Please RT. Together we can end childhood hunger!
  • Love food? Love giving back? Visit nokidhungry.org to find restaurants where you can dine out for #NoKidHungry!

4. Dine out for #NoKidHungry. With all the awareness you’ll help raise on Sept. 8, you’re going to work up an appetite. Find participating restaurants near you at http://dineout.nokidhungry.org/maps.

Making a difference in the life of a child is always rewarding, but creating that impact doesn’t get any easier than during the month of September.

Donate a tweet, dine out for #NoKidHungry, and help us end childhood hunger.

Questions to Ponder, for Teens (and Anyone Else!) Who Want New Devices

10 Aug

It’s hard.  Everyone has the latest phone, or TV, or tablet, or…?  Will having the latest and greatest device make you happy?  Perhaps. Or…

If you want another new iPhone, Galaxy x, MacBook, tablet, or whatever new device “everyone else has,” taking 1 minute to ask yourself these questions might just make you a better person.  And happier whether you upgrade, or not.

(If you answer more than 15 of these questions “Yes,” you probably do not need a new _____ (fill in the blank).)

  1. Do you have water available for your family without walking more than a mile?
  2. kids getting water
  3. Do you have electricity?
  4. Have you ever been to a doctor?
  5. Have you ever been to a dentist?
  6. Are you safe from dying from almost-eradicated diseases that kill children in countries without proper vaccines and treatments?
  7. Do you have a toothbrush?
  8. Do you have a toilet?
  9. Do you know how to read?
  10. girl reading
  11. Do you go to school?
  12. Do you have a safe place to sleep, with a roof?
  13. Do you have heat and/or fans or air conditioning or covering in extreme weather?
  14. Do you know where your next meal will come from?
  15. vegetables
  16. Do you have a parent/guardian/ loved one who takes care of you?
  17. Can you do basic math?
  18. Are you relatively sure you be alive a year from now?
  19. Do you feel confident that terrorists will not storm your house, your village, or your town in the next year?
  20. Do you feel safe going outside of your home?
  21. Do you feel safe speaking your mind, or telling people what you think?
  22. kids sharing
  23. Do you feel you can share your ideas online?
  24. Do you have friends/ people you care about, and who care about you?
  25. Can you imagine doing almost anything you want in the future/doing any job you want in the future?
  26. Are you free to tell people your opinions on religion or politics?
  27. Can you be friends with anyone you want?
  28. Can you love anyone you want?
  29. Do you feel safe expressing any opinions about the government, including ideas that aren’t supporting the government?
  30. Do you feel free?
  31. freedom

Most importantly, do you feel grateful? Please do.

So many other places in the world do not have nearly (or any) the advantages available here, now. Please realize the blessing, the honor, the privilege we all have today, being born in the United States.

We have the honor of being safe, healthy, wealthy, wise, and kind (to various extents). Let’s please appreciate it.

And while we’re being grateful, let’s also make it a mission to share by volunteering, and pay it forward by helping people around the world who have less.

“We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.” ~ Ronald Reagan

Any mentions of organizations within are due to my knowledge of them and appreciation of them only.  No organizations were involved or had knowledge of my mentions, although I do support the organizations mentioned, amongst many others.

A Dozen #Inspiring Quotes for an Insightful 2015

16 Jan

Will this year be the best one yet? Of course it will! As Sophocles once observed, “Look and you will find it – what is unsought will go undetected.”

These are a few quotes to provide some delicious food for thought in 2015. Enjoy them in tasty bites anytime! (Feel free to pin, post, tweet and otherwise share them and use them on your blog; all the photos are mine and so are free to use under creative commons.)

And as you go about each glorious day, remember: “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” – Henry David Thoreau

(If you love quotes, please also download my free “Uplifting Quotes on Gratitude and Goodness to Show Appreciation” for 150+ positive and inspiring quotes at your fingertips!)

Uplifting Quotes on Gratitude and Goodness to Show Appreciation - social good quotes book  by Amy Neumann

Free downloadable collection of quotes!

"Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does." ~ William James #quote http://charityideasblog.com A Dozen #Inspiring Quotes for an Insightful 2015

"The highest forms of understanding we can achieve are laughter and human compassion." ~ Richard P. Feynman #quote http://charityideasblog.com A Dozen #Inspiring Quotes for an Insightful 2015

"It matters if you just don't give up." ~ Stephen Hawking #quote http://charityideasblog.com A Dozen #Inspiring Quotes for an Insightful 2015

"There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle, or the mirror that reflects it."  ~ Edith Wharton #quote http://charityideasblog.com A Dozen #Inspiring Quotes for an Insightful 2015

"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world." ~ Anne Frank #quote http://charityideasblog.com A Dozen #Inspiring Quotes for an Insightful 2015

"I'm always doing things I can't do. That's how I get to do them." ~ Pablo Picasso #quote http://charityideasblog.com A Dozen #Inspiring Quotes for an Insightful 2015

"Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well." ~ Voltaire #quote http://charityideasblog.com A Dozen #Inspiring Quotes for an Insightful 2015

"Don't raise your voice; improve your argument." ~ Desmond Tutu #quote http://charityideasblog.com A Dozen #Inspiring Quotes for an Insightful 2015

"Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle. Happiness never decreases by being shared." ~ Buddha #quote http://charityideasblog.com A Dozen #Inspiring Quotes for an Insightful 2015

"Action expresses priorities." ~ Gandhi #quote http://charityideasblog.com A Dozen #Inspiring Quotes for an Insightful 2015

"Smile at a stranger, and make two people happy." ~ Amy Neumann #quote on http://charityideasblog.com "Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves." ~ James M. Barrie #quote from http://charityideasblog.com A Dozen #Inspiring Quotes for an Insightful 2015

"Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves." ~ James M. Barrie #quote from http://charityideasblog.com A Dozen #Inspiring Quotes for an Insightful 2015

Every day of the year can be a best day. “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” ~ Theodore Roosevelt

(That brings us to 15 quotes for 2015. Make it spectacular!)

Amy Neumann is a passionate fan of social good, and is dedicated to leveraging technology to change the world. Follow her on Twitter @CharityIdeas and Pinterest as CharityIdeas.

This #GivingTuesday, #GiveTheBasics – GivingTuesdayCLE.org

1 Dec

Here’s a great idea from a favorite organization, United Way.  While the Holiday season is filled with all sorts of wonderful things, including shopping, it’s also an ideal time to think about how helping others makes our lives better.


This #GivingTuesday, #GiveTheBasics. United Way of Greater Cleveland is asking you to donate $10, $25, $50 or more to provide diapers, shaving cream, bath tissue and lots more to our neighbors in need. Make your donation online at GivingTuesdayCLE.org now through #GivingTuesday, December 2, 2014.

“#GivingTuesday, the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday is dedicated to philanthropy and improving communities across the globe,” said United Way Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer Jason Daniels. “This #GivingTuesday, we have a unique opportunity to #GiveTheBasics.”

A $10 donation has the purchasing power to buy 12 bottles of shampoo. A donation of $25 can buy four moms each a 48-count pack of diapers or $50 can be multiplied to buy 192 rolls of bath tissue. Go to http://www.GivingTuesdayCLE.org to donate. The basics needs items will be distributed to our community in partnership with the Greater Cleveland Food Bank and the Hunger Network of Greater Cleveland.


“In our community, local pantries can only purchase food and fresh produce with their funding,” said Daniels. “Not only is there an urgency for food, but families are in dire need of essential items, most take for granted, like bath tissue and hand soap. Shift the focus from retail and donate to #GiveTheBasics on #GivingTuesday.”

To learn more or make a donation to #GiveTheBasics to our neighbors in need, visit www.GivingTuesdayCLE.org.

#GivingTuesday – the first Tuesday following Thanksgiving – was established in 2012 as a global day of giving and a celebration of generosity. Coinciding with Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which are both synonymous with shopping, #GivingTuesday uses the power of social media to inspire and invite people to take action to improve their communities by giving time, money or voice to charities and causes they support. The third annual #GivingTuesday is December 2, 2014.

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