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Newsletter #843: The "Stay Positive" Issue

[Welcome back to the Damn, I Wish I’d Thought of That! newsletter. This is text of the great issue all of our email subscribers just received. Sign yourself up using the handy form on the right.]

In the end, the positive messages, the uplifting stories, the happy vibes, and the good guys all win. How it can happen:

1. For donations
2. For love
3. For subscriptions
4. Check it out: Should I Change My Password?

1. For donations

Have you noticed most nonprofits seek to motivate donors with warnings of impending doom? It doesn’t take long for this tactic to depress both the donors and the nonprofits themselves. Realizing this, the Austin Humane Society decided to try a different message. Instead of focusing on the negative, their new campaign is all about how saving animals not only helps the pets, but can also make an amazing difference for the owners themselves. And their fans clearly support the tone: Overall donations are up 13 percent and adoptions are at an all-time high.
The lesson: For every negative message you can come up with, there’s almost always a more powerful, more effective, and more fun opportunity to use a positive one.

Learn more: The New York Times

2. For love

Wikipedia has a culture challenge: They rely on volunteers to write and edit all of their content — but they’re becoming known for their insider club of harsh critics and tough judges. After a recent study on the issue, they found 69% of editors said “being looked down on by more experienced editors” was the most likely reason people edited less frequently, while 78% agreed “having others compliment you on articles” was most likely to get them more active. So they’re making it easier to give kudos to good work by adding a “Love” button — similar to Facebook’s “Like” button. Time will tell the full effects of the change, but making it easier to show support for fellow editors could have a huge impact on the culture of the community.

The lesson: When you’re running a community, a key part of your job is to make it really easy for your members to support and promote each others’ hard work.

Learn more: PSFK

3. For subscriptions

One of the best ways to make a positive impact is to look for things that are almost always a negative experience and radically change them. That’s the foundation behind Not Another Bill — a service that sends their subscribers a surprise gift in the mail each month. It’s a whole business built around making opening the mail a more positive experience with the anticipation that a gift is always on the way. As they say on their website, “There’s nothing better than getting a little something in the post. Something that makes you feel loved when opening it. Something that’s not another bill.”

The lesson: Find an experience we expect to be awful — bill paying, hold music, the parking lot — and show us how great it should be.

Learn more: Not Another Bill

4. Should I Change My Password?

Recently, several large databases have been hacked and large lists of private usernames and passwords have been publicly leaked. Luckily, some smart folks are using this information for good and have created this handy tool to find out if you’re among those at risk.

Learn more: Should I Change My Password?


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