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Helping Organizations Thrive 

March 2010 Edition

Welcome to the third edition of my email newsletter. I launched Jonathan Poisner Strategic Consulting in November after more than a dozen years at the Oregon League of Conservation Voters.  My goal is to help progressive organizations thrive, particularly when it comes to strategic planning, coalition building, fundraising, and communications.

To keep people informed about the business, I set up this monthly e-newsletter.  If you want to unsubscribe, just look for the link at the bottom.  The most recent edition is available online. 

If you want to skip ahead and check out my website, be my guest.
What Works

Each edition of this newsletter contains a section I call "What Works." 

This month I want to talk about what we can learn from the world of marketing.  There is, of course, a wealth of data and research that exists within the nonprofit sector about what works. 

But too often we ignore the still larger amount of data that exists about how people behave in the for-profit sector, and how to take advantage of those behaviors.

I recently reread the book Influence: The Pyschology of Persuasion, by Robert Cialdini, which is textbook material in many marketing courses.

First released in 1984, Influence is an easy to read, chock-full-of-ideas guide to how people react to different marketing techniques in the real world. Cialdini refers throughout to mental shortcuts that humans take when faced with certain stimuli that cause us to react in a less than perfectly rational way.  

An  example of this is "reciprocity."  When people do us a favor, we feel obligated to do something for them in return, whether immediately or at some later date.

The book gives many examples of this, backed up by double blind studies.  Here's one:  Two people are brought in ostensibly to rate art.  That's actually a ruse for the "real" study.  One of the raters is a plant.

During a break, for half the subjects, the plant goes out of the room and comes back in with two cokes, offering one to the other saying: "I asked him [the experimenter] if I could get myself a coke, and he said it was okay, so I brought one for you too."  For the other half, the plant doesn't bring in anything.  After the rating of the art finishes, the plants says he's trying to sell raffle tickets to win a new car and he wins a prize if he sells the most. 

The subjects who had the favor done for them bought twice as many raffle tickets as the ones where the favor hadn't been done, even when the tickets were $5/ticket -- far in excess of the value of a coke.

Read the rest of the article on my website.
New Clients

I'm working with Craig Pridemore for Congress to help with fundraising.  Pridemore is a State Senator from Vancouver, Washington, who's running in Washington's 3rd Congressional District, left open when the incumbent (Brian Baird-D) decided not to seek reelection.  Pridemore has a lifetime rating of 100% from Washington Conservation Voters and 98% from the Washington State Labor Council. 

I'll be working with WaterWatch of Oregon on strategic planning.  WaterWatch believes in the novel notion that rivers need water.  Too many Oregon rivers and streams lack sufficient water because too much is being diverted to out-of-river uses.  The result is bad for fish & wildlife, bad for river recreation, and bad for water quality. 

Contact Information
Jonathan Poisner Strategic Consulting
phone: 503-490-1234
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