Storming the CASL: What About In-Person Spam?

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Today, Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL – playfully pronounced “castle”) took effect, primarily focused on Commercial Electronic Messages. It is regarded by many as the world’s toughest stance on spam by any government body. Interesting that it’s launching on Canada Day, perhaps sending some subliminal message of strength and patriotism.

In this post, I will make no judgements, commentary, or declare my opinion about CASL itself – there are plenty of people already doing that. In the end, I am against spam and unwanted communications, and the effect they have on those of us who are trying to communicate properly, meaningfully and respectfully. It desensitizes and jades people to communications and creates a population of annoyed cynics – and who can blame them for becoming that way.

My question is, what about in-person spam? Here are some examples of what I mean:

  • You just meet someone and they are trying to sell you and close you from the first sentence
  • At an event, you see someone who is rapid-firing out their business card at anyone who will take it, and doesn’t bother getting to actually know anyone
  • Someone is not listening to you at all in a conversation and just keeps talking over you, through you and around you
  • People who express views from a place of hatred and exclusion, such as racists and bigots
  • An acquaintance who is always asking for something and never offers anything in return

  • What we really need is a shared understanding of what is appropriate, and to respect each other enough abide by that understanding. Rather than trying to get louder and noisier to make your voice heard, maybe what you really need to do is listen.

    To stop yourself before from becoming an in-person spammer:

  • Listen well and really get to know people
  • Ask questions and practice curiosity to increase your understanding
  • Heighten your self-awareness and the impact you have on others
  • Make sure you understand how people want to be treated and then do that
  • Ensure all of your communications are meaningful and respectful, and not just about you all the time.

  • This brief conversation of tweets from two respected friends says it all – and applies no matter what channel you’re using. This is in response to the flurry of emails Canadians have been receiving to obtain “opt-in” explicit consent for ongoing communications, many of which have been less than stellar.

    Spam is spam, wherever it’s coming from.

    Constant Questions: Have you ever experienced in-person spam? What is the worst story you have? How do you think we can avoid it? Have you ever actually eaten Spam or its lesser known cousin Klik?

    The ultimate SPAM video!

    Thank you, but no thank you

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    Stop saying thank you to donors. Of course, I don’t mean that as it sounds. Showing appreciation for donations is one of the (if not the) most important things that happens after someone gives. All I’m saying is find another way to say it.

    You are a bunch of creative people out there and I’m sure you can find some awesome alternatives. A simple thank you always has its place, but to get people’s attention, show them that you’ve taken some more time to think about showing gratitude.

    So how about a contest?

    I am looking for the best opening line for a thank you that doesn’t say “thank you” in it. Get creative, get fun, get quirky, but show your appreciation.

    Starting as soon as this post is released, tweet your best opening line for a thank you email, letter, phonecall, fax, or stone tablet message to #BestTY and the best one wins, it’s that simple.

    Just don’t say thank you.

    The contest will close Saturday, August 17th at midnight, EST, and the winner will be announced shortly after. The best ones will be Storified, along with the announcement of the winner, and captured here in a future post.

    The judges for this contest will be me and these four amazing fundraising type people:

  • Mary Cahalane, Director of Development at Charter Oak Cultural Center and fundraising wizard, as her blog Hands-on Fundraising will show you.
  • John Lepp, Partner at Agents of Good, standing up against bad fundraising everywhere, and mega-zealot about treating donors right.
  • Ann Rosenfield, Executive Director of the WoodGreen Foundation, and her hands are insured for $1 million because she is a handwritten note legend.
  • Brock Warner, Donor Programs Officer at War Child Canada and recent entrant into the blog world with iamafundraiser, much to the delight of…well…everyone!
  • Supreme appreciation to these excellent friends for supporting this – I know they are all big advocates of showing ‘donor love’.

    So what’s up for grabs? Recently, I was lucky enough to win a Twitter contest run by Zipcar, and I won a $25 Amex gift card. I committed that if I won it, I would find a way to give it away, so that was the birth of this contest. I know it’s not a trip to Paris, but it’s the pride, not the prize, folks.

    However, after hearing about the contest, John and the good folks at Agents of Good have generously offered to do a free evaluation of an appeal or thank you letter for the winner. Now that’s something to write home about…hopefully to say thanks.

    UPDATE August 12, 2013 – I’m going to up the ante to spur on entries by adding three $10 Amazon.com gift cards to be given out randomly to those that enter. Use it towards a fundraising book or a waffle iron. Maybe get something nice for a friend. Whatever you like!

    Note, the Amex card is a US gift card, but it should be usable at any online vendor if you’re not from the US. If you win, I will mail it to you once the contest is done, wherever you are in the world.

    Here’s the catch. You must be on Twitter! This is as good an excuse as any to start.

    Good luck to all!

    Constant Questions: I would ask you here for the best opening line for a thank you, but you’re going to tweet it, right? Instead, what is the worst opening line for a thank you that you have seen? What are some creative ways you have said thank you or seen it done?

    Ditch the pitch.. sort of

    Where did the elevator pitch lose its way? There is nothing wrong with the term as it started – you need to be able to explain simply, briefly and meaningfully what you or your organization stands for, what you do and what value you bring. However, over time, in many circles the concept has mutated and absorbed a lot of bad connotations.

    To fuel the urgency to master the pitch, there is a commonly presented hypothetical situation. You will unexpectedly encounter a prominent businessperson/philanthropist/venture capitalist and you will have 30 seconds to close a million dollar deal/donation/investment – your ability to deliver your elevator pitch will be the deciding factor, so be ready. Sure, this is possible – just not likely. Adopting this shortsighted approach devolves the elevator pitch from a conversation starter designed to generate interest into a quick sale approach. I wager you will turn off most of your audience if walking away with a commitment in a minute was your intention.

    When you hear Erica Mills from Claxon Marketing talk about the elevator pitch, in this enlightening video clip by 501 Videos, she has it right. Start a discussion on something you care about and believe is of genuine value to someone else – that lens really changes the resulting approach and content, doesn’t it?

    Using the AIDA marketing/sales framework (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action), if you try to move your audience through all four steps in a couple of minutes, none will get done well. Instead, focus your efforts on doing the first two steps really well – get your audience excited about you or your organization and start the dialogue, then build from there. Starting a dialogue first will help you get a better understanding of how you can generate desire without assuming you know the other party’s motivations. If you do this right, action is sure to follow in due time.

    So join me in ditching the pitch as a quick deal-closer – and start conversations with it instead.

    Constant Questions: What are your thoughts on the elevator pitch concept? How have you crafted your message to make it effective in getting attention and generating interest? What’s the longest elevator ride you’ve been on? Do you get motion sickness on elevators? Is there an escalator pitch?

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