Email newsletter banner

Helping Organizations Thrive 

April 2010 Edition

Welcome to the fourth 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.  My March edition can be read in my archive.

For a complete lists of the consulting services I offer, check out my website.
What Works

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

Last month, I included a book review of  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.  

These shortcuts include: contrast, reciprocity, commitment, social proof, liking, authority, and scarcity.

Last month's review focused on the principles of "contrast" and "reciprocity," and how they could apply to nonprofit organizations. If you didn't read it the first time, you can read it now.

This review focuses on the principles of "commitment" and "social proof."

Commitment, in concert with its close cousin "consistency," represent a mental shortcut in which individuals want to behave (and want to appear to behave) consistent with their past behavior.  Thus, once an initial commitment is made, the odds of additional similar action go up significantly.

A study of phone solicitations for charity finds that asking somebody at the start of a phone solicitation "how are you doing today?" and waiting for the answer can significantly increase response rates.  Cialdini says the answer is "commitment."  Since the vast majority of people will say "fine" or "good" as a matter of politeness, mentally that causes them to focus on what's right in their day/life rather than what's wrong.  After making that "commitment," they are more likely to want to give and less likely to feel stingy. 

Read the rest of the book review.
Recent Success Stories and New Clients

Since my last newsletter, I've traveled twice to Ohio to work with the Ohio League of Conservation Voters on a long-term strategic plan.

At the request of the League of Conservation Voters, I attended the annual conference of State LCVs, where I led a workshop on Fiscal Management Systems for State LCVs. 

At the request of the Nevada Conservation League, I recently spent a day in Las Vegas helping a coalition of smart growth advocates identify their priority for action by the Nevada Legislature. 

I'm about to begin working with Friends of Family Farmers (FOFF), which is working to promote sustainable agriculture in Oregon.  I'll be helping FOFF and the Oregon Coalition for Food, Farms, and Ranches set priorities for future Legislative action.
Will I see you at the National River Rally?

I hope to see some of you at the National River Rally, hosted each year by The River Network.

This year's rally, which is expected to bring together several hundred river advocates from across the country, is being held in Snowbird, Utah in mid-May.  Look for me Saturday afternoon the 22nd, when I'll be presenting on Elections and Your Tax Exempt Status

If you're also attending and want to set aside time to talk, drop me an email or call me so I'll know to look for you.
Contact Information
Jonathan Poisner Strategic Consulting
phone: 503-490-1234
Join Our Mailing List