Hairdos and Humor as a connector

So I couldn’t not share this.

It is a hard and lonely road that leads in and out of startupville. I regularly reach out to other companies that are related to what winwinapps does. Mostly these companies are only tangentially related, but yesterday I exchanged a few emails with one of the founders of Crowdrise.

I know Ed Norton is the face of the company, but clearly he is not the one writing the code.

Although I have some gripes about pricing, one part of Crowdrise that I celebrate (and its core funtionality imo) is its humor and fun.

Their mission is to make volunteering and giving FUN. In this they succeed. With points, jokes, and an incredible ability to interact in social space they remind us that giving back should be a blast. Their style is flippant as well as frivolous their tagline in fact is: if you don’t give back, no one will like you.

So what of the animal hair? Robert and I have chatted very briefly about our businesses, where winwinapps goes beyond donations to act as an overall toolkit for nonprofits, but mostly we have talked about hair. It makes him seem more real to me, makes me feel more connected to him, and fits well with the brand identity of his company. Not sure winwin needs those dos, but we do try to mix in a fair amount of fun with business. As for Crowdrise founder Robert, I like him.

Lessons from the line

Event organizers dread them…but why not take advantage of your captive audience.

Look over there at The Clothes Exchange. Last year we had 400 shoppers, this year we almost doubled that. What does it mean? A bit of panic for sure, last minute streamlining the check in process (save those marketing questions for check out or your follow up survey) but it also provides an incredible opportunity to establish our brand, educate our shoppers, and raise extra money.

Getting in the Door

  • Set the stage. Your decor, customer service, all should appear in the waiting area. We have 8 or more “greeters” who hand out fresh lemonade, explain the process, and answer any questions shoppers may have. Next year we have the greeters administer our marketing surveys in iPads online.
  • Share your message. Once they are in the door our shoppers are interested in one thing only: THE CLOTHES, this is the time to share the mission of the our beneificary The King Street Center, and the logos and tag lines of our sponsors.
  • Whet their appetite. We hang sample items (shoppers can pull off of clothes lines and buy right there), as well as set up outward facing windows with one of a kind temptations. When possible we pipe music into the line area, and offer bits of entertainment.

Getting out the Door

  • Upselling and personal appeals.  This is our last chance for raffle tickets, branded merchandise and a great opportunity for thank yous- we staff the check out line with board members and staff of our beneficiary organization. An appeal from them has more meaning, and a thank you together with a quick story (viewed now as connection rather than distraction) can turn a shopper into a supporter.
  • Rethink and revise. For 2011 we are relocating our silent auction to the check out holding area. We will set it up on skinny tables, or have clipboards hanging from clothes line. We will use the auction as a way to define the line, and give folks waiting to check out a chance to bid.
  • Bottom line basics. No matter how busy the line, we always take time to ask for a specific round up donation, and double check the email address.  Emails are necessary for their winwin receipt, thank you, and future communications. Our beneficiaries often add hundreds of local supporters to their lists each year.