February 16, 2012 (11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.)
The meeting was called to order by Shepard Nevel at 11:40 a.m.
Shepard began by saying that Erna Butler was an inspiration to CBB and beyond and her legacy will live on in the community for years to come. He welcomed Jean McSpadden to her first meeting saying she’s expanded the realm of possibility for the organization with her new ideas and relationships.
A motion was made by Nancy Accetta to approve the December 15, 2011 meeting minutes; it was seconded by Bernie Buescher and carried unanimously.
Beverly Eagle gave the Finance Committee update beginning with the January dashboard. Revenue is slightly above budget due to a $2,500 luncheon donation and expenses are slightly under. The biggest difference for expenses is related to the fact that part of the January payroll included pay for December which was booked back to ‘11. The 2011 year-end deficit was close to expectations. Beverly reported that an error had been made in the way the net was reported on the P&L. The net ordinary income had been reported in the past not including the direct benefit to donor expense at the bottom of the P&L. This number includes expenses to run the tournament/luncheon which directly benefit attendees. Beverly said a correction has been made which has increased the 2011 year-end deficit.
Jean handed out a sheet showing fundraising activity and pending requests as of February 16. CBB is expecting $25K from Broadridge in February. She said she and Marcia Sandoval are putting together prospect lists and working on reports that will be easier to read for the future. Beverly asked how much of the pending and prospect totals were anticipated and how much is new. Jean said $48K was budgeted for corporate revenue and they’re looking at requests way beyond that number. She said they’re also looking for new foundations (i.e. Piton, the Women’s Foundation and the Aloha Foundation). Jean said she’s currently looking for sponsors for program materials. A proposal was submitted to Wells Fargo to put their logo on the delivery bags and a request has been submitted to Temple Hoyne Buell for more than in the past to support the affiliate conference. Jean said in addition to the golf committee meeting she’ll be setting up a fund development committee meeting to discuss overall fundraising.
Jean said the audit is scheduled for March. She also said the server is in need of an upgrade if revenue improves this year. Jean said she’s enjoyed meeting board members individually and her goal is to stay engaged with the board. She will also be working with Nancy on a new board orientation. Marion Batayte gave a brief update saying statewide visit numbers for 2011 as of 2/15 are at 17,216. She said this is a significant increase from 2010 and is the direct result of a lot of hard work on the part of affiliates. Bernie Buescher asked why some of the rural numbers have decreased so much in the past year. Marion said mainly due to staff and/or budget cuts. She said the affiliates in rural areas don’t have the same opportunities for grants and are really struggling. She said several affiliates mentioned this on the morning affiliate call. In particular, Ruth Seedorf in Yuma is very concerned due to the loss of TGYS money.
Amy Slaughter gave a Metro Denver update. Over 6,000 visits were completed in 2011 (the goal was 5,700!) They’re in the very beginning stages of a partnership with Kaiser Permanente. Kaiser is giving CBB brochures to families at the Skyline office and will eventually roll this out in all Metro Denver offices and possibly offices statewide. The Children’s Museum “Health for All Seasons” event was very successful in part because of Facebook and also help getting the word out from partner agencies. Amy said the Museum wants to enhance the partnership with MDBB and Jean added that a grant has been submitted to First Bank for $10K to sponsor the Museum events. Steve Berman asked if MDBB has been doing anything with social media marketing. Christina Alexiades said there’s a very specific plan in place to be rolled out in stages. She said there needs to be a plan of how to support it in order for it to be effective.
Christina continued with the communications update saying the CBB Facebook page was launched in August and has 550+ likes and 80 testimonials. She said CBB needs to continue to build on this before using it to leverage donors and cross promotional opportunities. Her main task for April 1st is a rebranding project to redesign the CBB website. Christina’s been working with a designer to ensure the site is relevant and credible and that it’s built effectively around social media. She secured over $2,500 worth of services pro bono for the website and branding materials. Steve said globally people are looking at ways of delivering programs/information through cell phone technology. He suggested stripping the programs down to the basic lessons (talking, reading encouragement, discipline) and sending text messages to families each week or month with key messaging. He said it’s an opportunity to take advantage of innovative technology and move from reaching 18K to 50K or 100K families. He said CBB has good materials/ information and could attract donors by being leaders in technology. Amy said MDBB has just started texting families to remind them of group visits. Steve said the texts could be after a visit as a reminder of the materials. CBB could amplify impact by using texting and creating social networks of families. Christina agreed but said right now she’s working on phase 1 (the website) to drive the emotional message. But said she’s continually thinking ahead and is building the site to accommodate for these innovations. The first step is to build a community of families and donors, drive them to the website and then make the website engaging with videos and testimonials so they have a reason to come back. She said she’s definitely being strategic in her planning. Shepard said this is a great future agenda item of how to leverage the social media platform and how it relates to the CBB model as well as earned revenue and fundraising. Bernie said he likes what Christina’s doing. He said if it’s done right CBB should move from focusing on inputs (# of visits) to outputs (if families have responded, learned a skill). He said CBB can do a better job of this with social media and become a stronger/more effective organization. Steve suggested thinking strategically about who we can partner with for technical expertise. For example Kaiser or The Children’s Hospital may be interested in helping to build this framework. He said CBB doesn’t have the funds or expertise but has content, credibility, scale and a distribution system. Christina said she’s been part of a collaborative group called Earlier Is Easier which has been forming over the past year including CBB, the Denver Public Library and Reach Out and Read. They hired her in June to bring public awareness to 0-3 and help develop their mission and vision. She said they’re presenting Piton with a $25K grant but said the public awareness campaign could be well above 6 figures.
Shannon MacKenzie then introduced herself saying she specializes in marketing, advertising, brand development and consumer insights. She conducted a focus group about CBB at Laura Stanley’s home in January with seven women. Laura added it was a good mixture of people who knew nothing about CBB and some who knew more. Shannon had prepared a discussion guide with a list of questions asking about what types of charities they’re currently involved with and what engages them to donate. For the most part the group said there needs to be a personal connection/experience to get involved. They also donate to organizations affiliated with their/their husband’s company and take part in athletic events or give change to jars in grocery stores. When they started talking about CBB there was confusion about the mission even by those who had visited the website. Shannon said for the most part they were completely unengaged. They had the impression CBB is for lower income/educated families and were surprised to hear one of the mom’s in the group actually had a visit. When they got a general description of the program they liked the phrase of being the first teacher in a child’s life and empowering parents and thought the brain development facts were valuable. But when Shannon asked if they would donate money to CBB they still said no.
Shannon said what changed the group dynamic was when Christina told a compelling story of a low income mom who talked about the impact a CBB visit had on her family. Shannon said it created a visceral reaction. She said if CBB is going to reach out to donors there needs to be a sad story to tug at the heartstrings or a call to action to get people engaged. The focus group wanted more stories of success and more long term impacts. Christina said once the personal stories were told two women signed up to volunteer and one is donating email services through her company. Shepard agreed that talking about real life people is enormously persuasive. He said in addition to collecting stories on Facebook CBB should ask volunteers to find families who are comfortable with having their story told. Laura said CBB has done a good job in the past with parent testimonials at the luncheon and said the 2011 luncheon didn’t have the same impact without a testimonial. Shannon agreed that donors want a story to draw them in but they also want it to keep going and see results down the road. Steve said his nephew is getting a PhD in marketing and said there have been many studies asking people who they would contribute money to out of three scenarios – one child dying of hunger, another scenario with 10 children dying of hunger, and a third with 10,000 children dying of hunger. Overwhelming the response was the one child. Steve said we don’t need 10 stories – we just need to pick one compelling one. He also suggested picking a family with a 2 year old, a family with a child in 1st grade, and a family with a child in 3rd grade to show the impact CBB has on children when they go to school. Shannon agreed it would be good to show a lasting impact.
Shannon said messages also need to be tailored depending on who’s receiving them. Shepard agreed saying the recent evaluation plus Dr. Berman’s random clinical trial are important for funders and personal stories are more persuasive for individual donors. Bernie said a story to illustrate impact is an output. CBB needs to show how families were impacted or that kids with an A, B and C visit have statistically higher preparedness for reading at 3rd grade. He said ideally CBB would tell the story first and then have outcome data and evidence behind it.
Shannon asked if anyone had impact stories to tell about CBB. Bernie said his daughter is a children’s librarian at the #1 rated library in the country in Illinois. He said he sent her the CBB materials and she actively uses them with families. She’s validated that they’re “world quality” resources. Nancy said every visit is a story. Her favorite was a Hispanic family she visited where the mom was fluent in English but the dad spoke only Spanish. Nancy asked if they were speaking both languages to their child and the mom said no he’d get English when he went to school. Nancy spoke to the mom about what a great bonus it would be if he had both languages when he started school but left feeling discouraged that her message hadn’t gotten through. Nancy had to go back to see the family a few weeks later and the mom had her son show Nancy how he could read English words from the Picture Book. Shannon said it would be interesting to have the mom talk about how this impacted her son when he went to kindergarten.
Christina said she’s working on identifying stories that might be incorporated into future marketing collateral. Alex and Christina have also had conversations with Mike Anderson who does a national marketing blog. He chooses one charity in the country to highlight in his blog and to film stories. They are discussing the possibility of him traveling to CBB at the end of March for 2 days which is a wonderful opportunity for CBB. Christina added that CBB is on the right path. She’s working on moving away from being “fluffy” to being more edgy. Beverly suggested putting an appeal out to volunteers for compelling stories. Amy said they try with volunteers and agencies on a regular basis and don’t get anything back. Shepard said CBB should aim for 5 really good stories but acknowledged it takes time and effort to cultivate stories. Bernie agreed it’s not easy to get written responses and said it might be easier to get them verbally. Shepard said he’ll be bringing the Lt Governor to the next board meeting.
The meeting was adjourned by Shepard Nevel at 1:35 p.m.