Author Archive

Announcing our new website, “Animal Rescue Marketing”!

October 4th, 2012

I am so excited to announce the launch of my new website, catered to animal rescue advocates. It is called “Animal Rescue Marketing”. It is chock full of advice and strategies for Marketing to save animals. From blogging to social media to fundraising, I share my success stories from my experiences working with San Francisco-based organizations like Muttville Senior Dog Rescue and San Francisco Animal Care & Control. Like many folks, I simply filled out a volunteer application or went to an Orientation. I know there are many people out there who have been in my shoes, and I have met a few of them at the various animal rescue conferences I have been honored to attend to represent Muttville. Everyone could use a great Marketing volunteer or employee for their organization. It truly is the key, in conjunction with Public Relations, to build your organization’s reputation in order to get sponsors, funding, more adopters, and grow as an organization.

 

My goal with this new website is to reach animal rescue advocates on a global level. Please check out Animal Rescue Marketing, and feel free to sign up for my newsletter and leave comments on my blog. Thank you to all the animal advocates in the world who dedicate their lives to speak on behalf of the animals.

Three Tips For Raising More Money At Your Fundraising Events

September 25th, 2012

As a volunteer or leader for your non profit, you may be doing your research and education to uncover the best new, innovative ways to increase revenue and attendance for your fundraising events. But let’s not forget tried-and-true methods that should continue to be an integral part of your event preparation.

These three tips were offered by The Fundraising Authority in its August 14, 2012 e-Newsletter, and republished by Animal Shelter Fundraising in their newsletter published Sept. 25, 2012.

#1:  Use the Phone

Yes, you should send out event invitations.  Yes, you should send out sponsorship letters to prospective sponsors for the event.  Yes you should use PR, your e-mail newsletter, and every other method at your disposal to raise money for your fundraising event.  But, the most powerful weapon in your arsenal is… the phone.

Many non-profits that would never think of trying to run a $500,000 major giving fundraising campaign without making calls and doing face-to-face meetings will none the less try to raise the same amount for an event simply by sending out letters and invitations and doing a nice event sponsorship package that gets mailed out to donors.

Don’t make this mistake… treat your event like you would a capital campaign.  Start with your prospective sponsors, and after you send out a letter, do calls and one-on-one meetings.  Then move to your prospective event guests – target people who could buy whole tables and/or sell 5 or 10 tickets to the event and give them a call or go see them at their office.

Pick up the phone and use it to generate revenue for your next fundraising event.

 

#2:  Find Supporters Who Will “Own” the Event

Most non-profits know the importance of putting together a host committee for fundraising events, but very few put together event committees that really move the revenue dial.  Instead, many organizations end up with a committee that spends all of its time discussing the menu and the floral arrangements, and then at event time asks for a discount on the ticket price for host committee members.

Without fail, the organizations that hold the biggest fundraising events (in terms of net revenue, not attendees) put together host committees comprised of supporters  (a) who  understand that this is a fundraising event, and the job of the committee is to raise money, and (b) who “own” the event, taking personal responsibility for meeting the event fundraising goals by working hard to sell sponsorships and tickets.

If your organization isn’t putting together host committees like this, now is the time to start.  This year, for your next event, try to start adding committee members who will own the event, and make it clear to the entire committee that meeting the event’s fundraising goal is priority #1.

 

#3:  Do One Remarkable Thing at Each Function

The success of an annual non-profit fundraising event grows over time.  If attendees enjoy themselves at your event this year, you can be sure that they come to the event next year and will talk about it with their friends and colleagues, some of whom will likely attend as well.  As the years go by, your event gets bigger and bigger, and in turn, you are able to raise more revenue with each succeeding year.

A great way to accelerate this process is to make sure your organization does at least one really remarkable, water-cooler-gossip-worthy thing at each event.  This could be an simple as having a local celebrity attend as a surprise guest, or as complicated as renting out the next-door pub for an after-party at your annual young professionals event.

Whatever it is that you decide to do, doing something really remarkable will get people talking about your event – and in turn, will make more people want to come to your event next year.

 

 

What is Considered a Professional Email Address? And Why Is It Important?

September 18th, 2012

professional email addressI’ve been asked several times why I highly recommend setting up your email address to match your business’s domain, i.e. if your business domain name is www.mybiz.com, your email address should be” myname@md311.phpwebhosting.commybiz.com”.  If you can afford to purchase your domain name, then please take the time to sign up for a free Google Apps account and set up professional email addresses for you and your employees. Using  professional email addresses to communicate with colleagues, clients, and display on business identity collateral is a very simple yet effective way to appear as a legitimate business that has longevity, stability, and perceived as a “real” business.

 

Surprisingly, there really aren’t many articles on the web that talk about what is professional email address is. I found one great resource that clearly explains how to identify professional email addresses on www.daniweb.com. The original post can be found here: http://www.daniweb.com/community-center/threads/218079/what-is-a-professional-email-address#

 

A professional e-mail address is defined as one that, in its entirety, represents and reflects the professional interests of the user or owner of the e-mail address itself. A professional e-mail address forms a constituent part of how individuals or organisations actively market their products, services, skills, or professional objectives. A professional e-mail address also therefore communicates factual, useful, and meaningful information about the owner or user of the address.

To determine whether an e-mail address is professional, ambiguous, or unprofessional, both parts of the address, i.e. the local element before the ‘@md311.phpwebhosting.com’ sign and the domain name that follows have to be considered. Furthermore both elements have to be judged singularly and jointly to determine whose interests the e-mail address best represents.

To clarify further it is worth looking at examples and classifying them accordingly. For the purpose of examination the examples are based on the premise that the owner is using the e-mail address in a professional context.

Examples and classification

john.doe@md311.phpwebhosting.comcompanyABC.com
Context: John Doe has a professional relationship with the domain name owner.
In this example the local element before the ‘@md311.phpwebhosting.com’ sign adopts a conventional, informative and factual format, and the domain name represents and promotes the interests of an entity that John Doe has a professional relationship with (namely companyABC).
Class: Professional.

sales@md311.phpwebhosting.comcompanyABC.com
Context: ‘sales’ has a professional relationship with the domain name owner.
In this example the local element before the ‘@md311.phpwebhosting.com’ sign adopts a conventional, informative and factual format, and the domain name represents and promotes the interests of an entity that ‘sales’ has a professional relationship with (i.e. companyABC).
Class: Professional.

jane.doe@md311.phpwebhosting.commortgagebrokers-sonline.com
Context: The domain owner has a professional relationship with Jane Doe and others who operate in the mortgage broker industry.
From Jane Doe’s perspective the domain name represents three separate entities: Jane herself, others that use mortgagebrokers-online to market their services, and the entity that operates mortgagebrokers-online itself. In this case separate parties are operating in consensus to share a domain name for mutual advantage The domain name identifies and communicates the industry that Jane is operating in, and the local element before the ‘@md311.phpwebhosting.com’ sign, (i.e. her name), is conventional, informative, and factual.
Class: Professional.

john.doe@md311.phpwebhosting.comit-consultant.com
Context: john.doe is an IT consultant but has no professional relationship with the domain owner.
In this example the local element before the ‘@md311.phpwebhosting.com’ sign is conventional, informative, and factual, and the domain name acts to identify and therefore market John Doe’s skills or services.
Class: Professional.

teddy.bears@md311.phpwebhosting.commyunusual-domain.com
Context: the term ‘teddy.bears’ has a professional relationship with myunusual-domain.com and is relevant to a service, product, or other element associated with the owners’ professional interests.
This e-mail address can initially appear to be unprofessional however the owner may be providing a niche service. From the owner’s perspective the entire e-mail address may accurately reflect their business interests in a meaningful and professional sense.
Class: Professional.

companyABC@md311.phpwebhosting.comyahoo.com
Context: companyABC and yahoo.com have no professional relationship.
In this example the elements before and after the ‘@md311.phpwebhosting.com’ sign adopt a conventional, informative and factual format. Use of this e-mail address virally markets the name of companyABC, however it also endorses the services of the webmail service / domain owner. CompanyABC is using an address that in its’ entirety, does not represent or promote its professional interests. Given the relative ease of acquiring a professional domain name, and the fact that companyABC is claiming an Internet presence, use of this email address is not considered professional.
Class: Ambiguous / unprofessional.

jane.doe@md311.phpwebhosting.comgmail.com
Context: jane.doe and gmail.com have no professional relationship.
As with the previous example this address acts to serve the interests of the domain owner / service provider. Whilst jane.doe has elected to use a standard format for the local element before the ‘@md311.phpwebhosting.com’ sign, the overall e-mail address does not actively market or promote her professional interests.
Class: Unprofessional.

johndoe.superguy06@md311.phpwebhosting.comhotmail.com
Context: johndoe.superguy06 and hotmail.com have no professional relationship. Assuming Johndoe has no professional interest associated with the term ‘superguy06’ this e-mail address does not actively promote or market johndoe in a professional context. Furthermore, the format used before the ‘@md311.phpwebhosting.com’ sign is, for argument purposes, neither factual nor informative and will not be respected professionally. The address does however actively promote the e-mail service provider. Johndoe has endorsed their service and is performing viral marketing on their behalf. From the service providers perspective their professional interests have been represented in a positive manner by the fact that Johndoe is using their product.
Class: Unprofessional.

Conclusion
In order for an e-mail address to be classified as professional, ambiguous, or unprofessional, it needs to be considered in context, format, and in terms of factual and informative content. The local and domain name elements of the address need to be considered in their relationship to each other, and the intended audience of the e-mail address needs to be understood.

14,000+ Weekly Visits to Your Website. Realistic Goal? YES!

August 30th, 2012

These are real weekly stats received by Muttville Senior Dog Rescue. On average, Mutville’s website receives 10,000 to 20,000 visits per week. It fluctuates depending on the time of year,  news coverage, fundraisers, events, or campaigns under way.

Muttville’s website launched 5 years ago, and has steadily received this level of traffic for the last 3 years.

Interested in learning some of Muttville’s Marketing and PR efforts? Here is a list of some of the organization’s regular activities, both online and offline, to give you an idea:

 

 

Online Efforts

Blogging: Muttville posts 2-3 times a week. Every blog is shared on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Twitter: Muttville tweets every blog post, event, and dog profile as soon they are published. Profiles are retweeted until dogs are adopted.

Facebook: Muttville posts every blog post, event, and dog profile on Facebook as soon as they are published. They also have a custom Facebook tab with all links back to the website of each dog available for adoption. They also have custom tabs with links to various website pages: Give, Adopt, Foster, Volunteer.

YouTube: Muttville has accumulated a pretty decent library of videos. In November, we were pleased to have a new volunteer who studied film, and was interested in producing our very own Holiday themed video. Starring Muttvillle mutts, it was entitled “A Christmas Tail”. It launched December 22. By New Year’s Day, it had over 4000 views. Muttville plans on producing a documentary style video and a few more fun short films in 2012. A special video is produced every year and premiered at the annual fundraiser, Moolah For Mutts. This year’s video was called “Suma’s Story”.

Social Responsible Sites: Muttville is a beneficiary of various revenue-generating services, like KarmaWell, Rally.org and Causes.org. Participating on sites like these not only earns donations to non-profits like Muttville, it also offers a valuable Marketing opportunity for non-profits to share their missions and causes to new audiences.

Other Social Media: Muttville also uses Digg, Foursquare, Instagram, as well as countless shares to other sites, thanks to our supporters and volunteers.

Inbound Links: These are some of the highest sources of traffic. These sites posts Muttville’s dog profiles of adoptable dogs: The Shelter Pet Project, Petfinder, Dogtime, PetBond, Adopt-A-Pet. Weekly, these sites provide about 50% of the total site visitors. If you didn’t know the importance of effective inbound links, here are shining examples. Businesses can create similar traffic through affiliate marketing programs.

Email Marketing: Many Muttville supporters came to know this organization to adopt a dog or simply to offer a one time donation. Muttville continues to show gratitude to every supporter with on-going communication through email marketing efforts. Often times, the subjects of our newsletters are happy and positive, to share a success story from a fellow adopter, to share a personal heartfelt thanks from our founder,  and sometimes to celebrate special occasions with our pets. Once a year, the efforts are focused for the annual Matching Grant Fundraiser.

Contests: Muttville enters many contests every year. The benefits are plenty –  a chance to repurpose excellent collateral – videos, photos, and advertisements – produced by professionals (all volunteers). The marketing and promotion efforts for the call-to-action (i.e. votes or FB likes or watching a video) are shared with the company or business sponsoring the contest; it is a great excuse to team up with supporters; and the actions can be done by anyone who has access to a computer. Of course the biggest benefit are the prizes. This past year, Muttville won these prizes as a result of winning or placing in various contests:  a new Toyota Sienna, thanks to the Toyota 100 Cars For Good contest, SF Giants star pitcher Tim Lincecum promoted a Muttville dog and spent time taking photos and video, thanks to popchips, a $10,000 grant and the title “San Francisco’s Favorite Charity” by 7×7 Magazine, and a $5000 grant from Sliderocket.

Offline Efforts

Weekly Outreach Events: Every Sunday and many Saturdays, Muttville has outreach events at retail locations, outdoor city locations with heavy foot traffic, and even their own established “pup-up store”. For two months, Muttville occupied a former retail store in San Francisco and held adoption events on Saturdays an Sundays all December and January. It was perfect timing for the holidays. Later this year, Muttville will have a permanent location on 16th Street near Florida St in San Francisco.

Speaking Engagements: Sherri Franklin is known as an expert in senior canine care, and she has over a dozen speaking engagements under her belt, not to mention countless interviews for radio, TV and news. Speaking for various organizations and fundraisers has created widespread awareness of Muttville’s senior canine cause.

News and Radio: Publicist Patty Stanton takes every accomplishment Muttville achieves and announces it to every media contact she knows.  Plus, as Patty taught me, every accomplishment is a big deal if you make it a big deal.

Fundraisers: Who doesnt love a good party? There are many supporters that  splurge all their support into Muttville’s one big night every year. Smaller fundraisers are always great too, and always can attract new traffic from the venue, location or the donors who the space, provide auction items, catering, etc

Socially Responsible Businesses: Similar to socially responsible websites, Muttville is always honored to be the beneficiary of a fundraising event hosted and organized by a business that supports Muttville’s cause. Muttville shows its gratitude by cross-promoting these businesses and including the events on our website’s calendar, which always is posted to Muttville’s Facebook wall and tweeted to our twitter followers.

All these efforts are donated by volunteers. If you don’t have staff, try interns and students help get you started on a few of these tactics. Or give Switchblade a call!

How To Show Off Your Best Yelp Reviews

August 16th, 2012

Are you one of the hundreds of business owners with a Yelp business listing who is frustrated with Yelp’s so-called fair selection of featured reviews? Yelp states on their website: “The filter establishes an objective standard against which every review can be measured. Even though it inevitably affects legitimate reviews from time to time and misses some fake ones, too, it helps protect the integrity of the site both for consumers (who will be less likely to be led astray by bogus reviews) and business owners (who will spend less time worrying about whether their competitors are writing negative reviews about them).”

In a recent article in the Los Angeles Times, business owner James Lee voices a sentiment that resonates with many business owners on Yelp. The article stated that “Lee contends that Yelp doesn’t play fair with small businesses, frequently filtering out positive reviews but leaving negative ones.”

“Yelp picks and chooses how they want to apply things for their own best interests,” Lee said. “They say it’s an unbiased, fair system for reviews, but they manipulate it as well.”

Rather than spend – or waste – time dealing with Yelp, where it is clear that a business owner can not have full control over their own listing that is on Yelp’s website, we’ve got better ways for you to use your valuable time – and showcase  your best testimonials.

1. Where are all your best reviews? Probably you have a few on Yelp, a few on LinkedIn, and maybe other profiles like Google Places, Yahoo Local, and industry-based directory sites. Take all your best reviews and gather them into a single document, and include a link to each review’s original source.

2. If you don’t already have one, add a Testimonials page to your website. (See this example on Family Law Attorney Lucy McAllister’s website.) You can also add a widget or plugin to your website’s sidebar if you have one, and post a different review on each page. (See this example on Intuitive Counselor Jessica Lanyadoo’s website.) You can also get fancy and use a slideshow tool like Slidedeck that rotates to show a different review every few seconds. (See an example on Switchblade’s website.). Keep the testimonials text-based so that search engine robots can scan your reviews too.

4. Adding a Testimonials page to your website gives you the control of which reviews you want showcased, and it also gives you a place to consolidate all reviews from various sources. If a review quotes a business or client, you have an opportunity to link back to their online presence, which can be a subtle “thank you” for their testimonial.

5. Don’t forget to SEO this page! Make sure to include a sentence on this page that says something to the effect of: “Thank you to our clients for these great reviews we’ve collected from Yelp, LinkedIn, and Google Places (list all sources of the testimonials you’ve included on the page.) When you SEO the back end, be sure to include in your keywords for this page, “Yelp review, LinkedIn recommendations” and terms that include the source names as well as your business’s name, services or products. With good, strong SEO, you just might rank higher than your Yelp listing.

6. If you also have a Facebook business page, you can create a Testimonials page as a custom tab. Some apps like Woobox let you take an existing web page and drop it into a custom Facebook tab. You can simply designate the URL of your Testimonials page as the custom tab source. Otherwise, simply copy the text and paste it in. (See this example on small club’s FB page.)

7. How about a blog category called “Customer Review of the Month”? Thank clients and customers for taking the time to put in a good word for you. Showcase their business and review in a blog article, where you can also link back to their business’ website, and share background information on their product or service and also the service you provided to them, if this is applicable. (See this example on Ebisu Sushi’s website.)

Do you have other suggestions? Let us know! Please share with us in the comments section of this article. Or let us know what you think of these suggestions.

Social Media Examiner’s “5 Ways to Build a Pinterest Following With Facebook”

August 7th, 2012

Thank you Social Media Examiner for this great advice. Even WE need to get up to speed and get this strategy going!

By
Originally Published August 7, 2012 Read original article on Social Media Examiner website

Are you looking to build a strong Pinterest following?

Did you know that you can integrate your Facebook and Pinterest marketing?

Yes, there’s a way to get Facebook fans to create exposure for you on Pinterest.

Establishing a large audience of followers on Pinterest is one of the most important aspects of a successful Pinterest marketing campaign.

Here’s the skinny: Although during the setup process you can choose to link your Pinterest account to your Facebook personal page, there is currently no way to automatically hook up to your Facebook fan page.

So what’s a business to do?

The truth is most business owners have not figured out a solution. They are failing on Pinterest because they think that they have to build a new following from scratch. Well, that is patently untrue.

Here are five ways to use Facebook to build your Pinterest following.

#1: Get a Pinterest Tab for Your Facebook Fan Page

The easiest thing to do is just go to Woobox and create a Pinterest tab for your Facebook fan page.

wooboxEasily get a Pinterest tab for your Facebook fan page from Woobox.

It’s very simple to do and requires little to no technical skills. Within minutes, you can have your Pinterest account in front of thousands of your fans! This way, whenever people come to your Facebook page to either check out your latest posts or learn more about you, they can also see that you are on Pinterest.

The Pinterest tab allows fans to view all of your boards and even your pins while staying on the Facebook platform. They will not be transferred over to Pinterest until they try to repin or comment on one of your pins.

pinterest tab fb fan pageWithin just a few clicks you can easily create a Pinterest tab for your Facebook fan page.

inside the pinterest tabInside the Pinterest tab as seen on the Facebook fan page.

#2: Post Pinterest Links as Updates on Your Facebook Page

There are a few different ways to use your Facebook status updates to promote your activity on Pinterest.

One way to build your follower base is to share the direct link to your Pinterest page as a status update and tell your fans WHY they should follow you on Pinterest.

What helpful information or cool contests will they have access to? Are there exclusive promotions? Why should they follow you on Pinterest AND Facebook?

facebook status update exampleExample post of a Facebook status update promoting a Pinterest business account.

The more specific you can be about the type of value you are creating for your followers on Pinterest, the more likely your fans will join you there too.

#3: Promote Specific Boards on Your Facebook Page

On Pinterest, people can choose to either follow all, or just a few, of your boards.

Because of that feature, you may find success promoting specific Pinterest boards on your Facebook fan page.

I recommend you promote a few different boards throughout the week.

That way, you have the opportunity to showcase your Pinterest account to a wider audience on Facebook, and you can introduce them to the diverse areas of value shared on your Pinterest page.

There are two ways you can promote a specific Pinterest board on Facebook.

  • Update your status by uploading an image of a pin to Facebook. Add a description and include a link to the board on which that pin is featured.
facebook pinterest board exampleExample Facebook post promoting a particular Pinterest board.

This works well if you have a really compelling image, because it will be granted more space on the Facebook newsfeed than a link.

  • Post the link to your Pinterest board as part of a status update. An image of one of your pins on that board will be automatically generated.
full board viewGenerate a full board preview (photo and all) by posting the board’s direct URL .

Posting the link will also automatically include the text in your board description.

Make sure that you add proper descriptions of the content when setting up your boards. I’m always amazed by how few people take advantage of this opportunity.

Look how brilliantly realtor Raj Qsar utilizes this space for his branding purposes.

His board description reads:

“Raj Qsar & Premier Orange County Real Estate – is one of the most dominant Real Estate Teams in the Orange County Real Estate Market. For over 15 years Team Raj Qsar has held the philosophy to give the best service and most qualified advice to both buyers & sellers.

Implementing honesty and integrity at the highest level possible and to enjoy the entire process along the way. We are truly passionate about real estate.”

raj qsar teamTake advantage of the description area below your board titles for adding value to your brand and board.

To add a description to one of your boards, simply click Edit Board and fill in the Description field.

edit boardAdd a description to your board by clicking the “Edit Board” button at the top of your Pinterest board page.

#4: How to Promote a Particular Pin

Sometimes the best way to really serve your Facebook community is to highlight the value that you are providing in one particular pin.

This is a great way to get maximum exposure when pinning your own original content. Remember these posts can and will be shared across Facebook by your fans.

The same two strategies apply here, as they do to promote a specific board above. You can either upload the image of the pin as a status update (or include a link in the image description), or you can just include the direct link to the pin in your status area.

promote a particular pinPromote a particular pin by pasting the pin’s direct URL into your Facebook status update.

When you post a direct link to a pin as a status on Facebook, the following information will be automatically added and visible:

  • The image of your pin
  • The name of the board that includes the pin
  • The caption that has been added to your pin

So make sure you have fully optimized both your board title and caption for maximum impact. Focus on creating intriguing board titles and including a further explanation of value in the caption.

#5: Promote Your Pinterest Contests on Facebook

Contests and promotions are becoming all the rage on Pinterest. They are a very effective way to quickly add a lot of new followers and drive a ton of traffic to your site.

Unlike Facebook, there are no real restrictions regarding the way contests are promoted and hosted on Pinterest. A great way to leverage both platforms is to promote your Pinterest contest on your Facebook fan page.

pinterest contest facebook fan pageExample of how Bergdorf Goodman promoted their Pinterest contest on their Facebook fan page.

Bergdorf Goodman recently promoted their Pinterest contest on their Facebook fan page by posting an image of one of the prizes with a brief explanation. They included a link to their blog within the description of the image where fans could find more details about how to enter.

Hopefully you’ve found these five ways to use Facebook to build your audience on Pinterest helpful. I know from personal experience that introducing your fan base to your presence on Pinterest is an effective way to get more followers.

Despite all the hype surrounding Pinterest, Facebook is still the largest social media network. Why not leverage the audience you have already built there and let them fast-track your success on Pinterest?

So what do you think? Can you see the benefits of using Facebook to get more followers on Pinterest? Leave your questions and comments in the box below.

What Does Spiderman and Fundraising Have in Common?

July 25th, 2012

We appreciate these tips offered by Network For Good in their November 3, 2011 issue. Thank you to Animal Shelter Fundraising for publishing in your July 25 newsletter, “What Spider Man and Marvel Comic Super Heroes Teach Us About Fundraising Appeals” .

The Journey You Are On is a Superhero’s Story
By Katya Andresen

 

stan lee spidermanStan Lee, former President and CEO of Marvel Comics, recently reflected on how to weave a great story.  He boils it down to a few elements that create a page-turner:

1. A good guy trying to do something
2. Facing insurmountable odds
3. Who keeps getting in trouble in his quest
4. So the reader keeps wondering “How’s he going to get out of this one?”
5. Until after a lot of suffering along the way, there is a victory of sorts

Stan Lee focused his career on superheroes, but this advice surely fits your story.  If you are trying to advance a cause, you know it’s a heroic struggle.  You are on a journey to a far-off destination that may never be reached in your lifetime – an end to poverty, disease or prejudice, for example.  There are a lot of obstacles along the way, and the quest is fraught with challenges.  But you have your small victories, all the same.

Are you telling your organization’s story as a dramatic struggle against the odds and celebrating the victories along the way?  You should be.  Take it from Marvel Comics-you’ve got a rip-roaring page-turner all around you.  Tell the tale with the drama and high stakes it surely merits.  Because you want everyone pulling for you, each step of the way.

“So that’s how you make coffee beans?” Learning from a Coffee Maestro

July 19th, 2012

Mr Mariposa Coffee, Jerry Caputo (left) surrounded by his many aromatic creations. Russell says, "mmmmm.....coffee."

Jerry is truly a Coffee Maestro. He told us not to call him a Master. He prefers to reserve that title for folks like Mr. Illy and Mr. Peet. Although Maestro is generally reserved for musical masters, after watching Jerry Caputo, owner of Mariposa Coffee in Mariposa, CA near Yosemite Valley, roast coffee with his special (and secret!) process, it was really like a watching a musician. The finesse in his touch, I didn’t even realize there was room for such rhythmic gestures. It was a little like watching someone practice tai chi. What do I mean? Watch this short video of Jerry putting his final touch to a newly roasted batch of Mariposa Coffee.

How did we find Jerry? While on a trip to Yosemite, we drove past a little shack on the main highway to our inn. We drove passed it several times, actually, before we decided to check it out. A few steps inside the small cabin, Jerry says (like we were local neighborhood folk), “I’m just about done with a batch here (or something like that). Wanna wait a few minutes…or come check it out.” We were technically tourists, and we thought to ourselves, “WHAT A TREAT!” Maybe locals get to watch this all the time, but we city folks who do love a good coffee experience were squealing with anticipation to see some real coffee roasting!

Jerry’s been making coffee the same way for decades. According to Jerry, 10-15 years ago when he first started Mariposa Coffee, there were probably roughly under 300 coffee roasters in the entire nation. And now, the total in California alone is likely in the thousands. The amazing thing is, Jerry still makes coffee the same method as he did when he first started, perfecting his technique here and there, taking a few hints from folks like Mr. Peet.

And if you can believe it, 1 lb of Mariposa Coffee will cost you under $10. And another thing you won’t believe, Mariposa Coffee does not yet have a website. We hope this is the start of a aromatic relationship!

 

Memorable Day with Muttville and SF Giants Pitcher Tim Lincecum

July 3rd, 2012

a special baseball card we made for Muttville's star, Timmy

A special day for Muttville Senior Dog Rescue, July 1, 2012, will go down in Muttville history for a once homeless senior dog named Timmy. A week ago he was an abandoned stray. Last Sunday, he became a star! The chosen, long haired mutt now had a special advocate helping him find a new home… SF Giants star pitcher, Tim Lincecum!

I was truly honored to be one of the four Muttville representatives to meet two-time Cy Young award winner Tim Lincecum. He was a genuine, down-to-earth, animal loving gentleman that won our hearts. And we believe Muttville’s senior dog cause won Tim’s heart.

I created three items for this special day: a unique Timmy baseball card (shown on left), reminiscent of one of Tim Lincecum’s Topps cards ; a 40-sec video that was played on the Giants jumbo screen(!); and a Limited Edition Muttville baseball tee in Giants colors, worn by our proud Muttville volunteers. We gave one to Tim, too. I hope he wears it!!

 

Read Marie’s blog article for Muttville about Timmy’s big moment, and see the whole day captured in photos in this slideshow:

Marie Featured in Grouchy Puppy’s “Influencing Positively” Interview Series!

June 20th, 2012

We were so honored when Sharon Castellanos, founder and publisher of the blog Grouchy Puppy and Editor-At-Large for Life + Dog Magazine, chose Marie to be featured in her “Influencing Positively” Interview series! Sharon has been a strong supporter of animal rescue, and a great friend to Muttville and its senior dog cause. Her dog Cleo, a proud senior, helps “mom” promote Muttville’s motto, “senior dogs rule!”

Thank you Sharon!

Read the original article on Grouchy Puppy’s website.

June 19, 2012

Influence Positively Interview – Marie Rochelle Macaspac

SmallClubsDayOff

Marie is the owner of Switchblade Creative Studios, a design and marketing agency that specializes in working with nonprofit organizations and socially responsible businesses. She also co-manages Small Club, a walking/boarding/daycare service. With Muttville Senior Dog Rescue, Marie volunteers as a foster caregiver, outreach member, and the team leader for marketing & design, and social media. For San Francisco Animal Care and Control, Marie offers support as an Animal Caregiver and provides Marketing and Social Media services.

Marie Macaspac’s passion is an inspiration to many within Muttville Senior Dog Rescue and beyond. She gives her time & talent helping unwanted senior dogs find homes. By fostering more than 40 dogs in her own home as well as offering care and shelter for foster/hospice dogs whose end is near, Marie’s heart is huge. Marie is a designer and is responsible for the accolades Muttville receives when our marketing efforts are noticed – Muttville’s website, the design of Muttville’s shirts, postcards/posters announcing an event, the concept for an event, and the design of the fast-growing Facebook page – these are just a few examples. She team leads the Marketing volunteers, overseeing video production, photography production, working with other people who give their marketing talents so that older dogs can be re-homed.

What is your idea of perfect happiness? A quiet sunny warm day surrounded by nature, either the beach or the woods, with a handful of my furry friends enjoying the day with me – my girl ocean blue and all of our fosters/friends…..strolling without a care in the world, just being free and happy…

If you could come back as a dog or a cat, which one would it be and why? probably a dog. Either a cattle dog or a shih tzu – or a cattle-shih tzu mix! i’d like to know what its like to be cute and cuddly, and equally smart and clever

What is your pets most treasured possession? my dog, ocean, who is an aussie, values most…being in school! yes, she absolutely loves to be in class. she values above all things learning new tricks and being helpful. I guess on that note, if she had to love a possession, she loves to wear her backpack! she carries muttville cards, my keys, her leash….and she feels like she is doing good and being helpful, which ultimately is what makes her happy.

Your proudest achievement so far? The first thing I think of is how much I love being a foster mom. I’ve proudly fostered over 40 dogs to date. Even when I think about it, I can’t believe it! And along with that experience, I value so much what I have learned hospicing dogs with cancer. Even though it was heartbreaking when I lost Collette (read my story of collette), everything I learned about helping dogs with cancer is a gift, and I have since been able to offer guidance to other hospice parents, Muttville mutts, and doggy moms and dads with their cancer dogs.

Who are your heroes in real life? When I was 6 or 7, I loved James Herriot who wrote All Creatures Great and Small, and then when I was 10, I discovered Jane Goodall and I have been a fan ever since. I never dreamed that I would work side by side with anyone as amazing as them, and here I am today – working with Sherri Franklin, who has changed the future for thousands of senior dogs as a result of founding Muttville Senior Dog Rescue. I am in awe of all I have witnessed these last 5 years, and so honored to be a part of it.