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Post navigation The latest data from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis indicates that the personal savings rate in the United States is a mere 4.2%.That’s a big problem when most financial advisors say we should be saving 10% to 20% of our income.Surveys show that many Americans have such a tough time saving because they’re so saddled with debt.A number of experts say that when you’re facing the double whammy of high cost debt and a lack of savings, it’s in your long-term benefit to put all your money towards paying down your high-interest debts as quickly as possible.Start saving by saving on interestTrying to save money while facing high-interest debt is like trying to swim with an anchor tied to your feet.It’s no surprise that people who have large monthly debt bills also have little money to save.According to a new Wells Fargo Retirement Survey, more than half of respondents said debt was their “biggest financial concern.”Of those who said they can’t save, 87% said they simply don’t have enough money and 81% said they wanted to pay down their debt first.David Shucavage, President of Carolina Estate Planners in Wilmington, N.C., says paying down high cost debt should always come before saving.Consider a person carrying $10,000 in credit card debt at a 15% interest rate.If their required monthly minimum payment is 1% of the principal plus interest, they would be paying about $225 per month.But of that amount, only $100 would be going to pay down the principal – the other $125 would be going straight down the drain in the form of interest payments to the bank.If the person continued making only the minimum payments, they’d take almost thirty years to pay off the debt and spend almost $12,000 in interest along the way.“Paying down debt should be a priority above anything else, including savings, because it will have a far bigger impact down the line, especially with credit card debt,” says Shucavage.David Peterson, CFP, Managing Director with United Capital in Highlands Ranch, Colo., says before you start using big bucks to pay down your debt, put a little bit aside in your savings.Most advisors recommend three to six months worth of living expenses but that’s not practical when you’re carrying thousands in credit card debt.He says $2,000 is a good starting point to have some emergency money to cover unexpected bills.“At least if you have a small emergency, you’re not adding to that debt. Save a little money but your main concern should be paying down that debt,” says Peterson.A guaranteed returnThe biggest benefit of paying down credit card debt is that it offers a guaranteed return on your money.Using the interest rate, balance and payment plan, you can quantify and precisely determine a guaranteed rate of return.At a time when you’re lucky to earn 2% in a certificate of deposit, earning a guaranteed 15% or more by paying down a credit card is a very good deal.Putting more money towards paying down the debt will not only get you out of debt sooner, it will save a fortune in interest.So while you may forgo saving now, you’ll be able to put away a lot more money once you do start saving.If in the case above the person increased their payments to $400 per month, they’d pay off the debt in three years and pay only $2,000 in interest.That’s a savings of $10,000 that could be put in the person’s savings account in subsequent years instead of going to the bank.“The sooner you pay down the debt, the more you will save in interest and the more you’ll be able to save later down the line,” says Larry Rosenthal of Rosenthal Wealth Management Group in Manassas, Va.When you’re free of debt, it should give you a lot more room in your monthly budget to save.In the example above, if the person increased their payments to $400 then continued to save that amount once the debt was paid off, they’d be debt free and have $9,600 in the bank in five years.“People don’t think in terms of cost or the actual dollar amount anymore, they think in terms of payments. It’s common sense. Use the calculator and find out [what you can save],” says Rosenthal.Snowball effectIf you’re struggling with credit card debt, Shucavage says one option is to pay it off with a home equity loan or line of credit.Doing so will likely drastically reduce your interest rate, which will reduce the amount of interest you pay and the amount of time it takes you to pay off the debt.The lower rate and higher payments create a snowball effect that can rapidly diminish your debt.But Shucavage recommends treading very carefully with home equity.The danger in doing this is that you may very well rack up more credit card debt then end up in a worse situation because you now have credit card debt and home equity debt.“You need to have extreme discipline and a personal commitment. If you won’t do any good if you rack up more credit card debt,” he says.Another tactic is to use balance transfers from one card to another in search of lower interest rates. Many cards still offer new cardholders up to a year or more with 0% interest.Be sure to factor in the balance transfer fee which is usually 2-3% and make a commitment to pay it off in time lest you be hit with more interest.Finally, don’t run out and start applying for too many credit cards it too short of a period of time because it can have a negative impact on your credit score.And applying for new credit cards may not be the smartest move if you’ve already had credit card problems in the past. Shucavage says to tread carefully and remained disciplined.Financially, it makes the most sense to pay down your credit cards with the highest interest rates because it will save you more money.But Peterson recommends starting with the cards with the lowest balances because paying down a card will give you a psychological boost to continue to get your debts under control.“Do what you have to do to get rid of that debt. Focus on the long term and not you immediate wants. It takes discipline but there’s more freedom and its easier to save when you’re out of it,” says Peterson.Craig Guillot is a business and personal finance writer from New Orleans. He covers insurance, investing, real estate, retirement and debt. His work has appeared in such publications and web sites as Entrepreneur, CNNMoney.com, CNBC.com, Bankrate.com and Investor’s Business Daily. He is the author of “Stuff About Money: No BS Financial Advice for Regular People.”Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) Related
While negotiators huddle at COP21 in Paris, the Global Carbon Project just released its latest assessment of carbon dioxide emissions trends through 2014, showing where emissions are now and where they are headed.Here are four of the report’s key findings:1. Carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels and cement reached the highest point in human historyJust at the precise time emissions reductions are needed most, carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels and producing cement have reached their highest level in human history. Emissions from fossil fuel and cement grew to 35.9 gigatons of carbon dioxide this year. This is 60 percent above 1990 emissions. Burning coal made up about 42 percent of these emissions, with oil at 33 percent, gas 19 percent and cement 6 percent.The global emissions profile has been changing. In 1990, 66 percent of global emissions came from developed countries; in 2013, that figure had dropped to 38 percent. China contributed 27 percent of 2014 emissions, the U.S. 15 percent, the European Union 10 percent and India 7 percent. Between 2013 and 2014, emissions grew by 1.2 percent in China, 2.9 percent in the U.S., 8.6 percent in India and declined by 5.9 percent in the EU.However, per capita emissions tell a very different story. On average, they were 1.3 tons of carbon per capita per year globally. In the United States, they were 4.7 tons of carbon per person per year; in China, 1.9 tons; EU 1.8 tons; India 0.5 ton.2. However, emissions leveled off in 2014While emissions have continued to increase over the years, carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels and cement increased only 0.6 percent in 2014, suggesting a slowing of emissions growth. At the same time, GDP grew 3.3 percent, demonstrating a decoupling of economic growth and emissions.Scientists associated with the study suggest that the flattening of emissions is due to China’s decreased coal use.3. Emissions are projected to decline in 2015Most notably, emissions are projected to decline by 0.6 percent in 2015. While the percentage is nowhere near where it needs to be, this flattening of emissions, if it occurs and is sustained, could be significant. For the least costly path toward a likely chance of limiting warming to 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F), global emissions need to peak by 2020.4. If low- or no-emissions growth continues and countries implement their climate action plans, some of the most carbon-intensive emissions scenarios could be avoided. But we need to aim higher.Global atmospheric concentrations are the highest in at least the last 800,000 years, and current trajectories of fossil fuel emissions are tracking some of most carbon-intensive IPCC scenarios. However, if the current slowdown in emissions growth continues, coupled with countries’ climate action plans — known as INDCs — for the post-2020 period, some of the worst effects of climate change could be avoided. Yet the GCP notes that emissions trajectories are still far from the 2 degrees C scenario and warming of 3 degrees C is possible or even likely without greater emissions reductions.The science tells us where we are. COP 21 offers the opportunity to go further. The Global Carbon Project’s report sends a clear signal for increased ambition before and after 2030. The agreement can do so by sending short-term policy signals through the creation of regular five-year cycles of commitments with increased ambition and a long-term goal that clearly guides such commitments to phase out emissions in the long term. The countries of the world must seize the opportunity in Paris to forge an agreement that closes the emissions gap.
It’s been a hard-working week of climate negotiations in Paris. Now COP21 is about to get really interesting.The table is set for an ambitious and equitable agreement. All the ingredients are there for success. Ministers must grab this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and fulfill the responsibility their leaders affirmed in their speeches at the beginning of the conference.COP21’s opening session, the largest gathering of world leaders ever, featured clear statements from more than 150 heads of state, accepting responsibility for delivering an ambitious and equitable climate agreement. Beyond the talk of building trust and moving negotiations forward, that first day was about action, including major new cooperative initiatives on clean energy R&D, deployment of solar energy, climate adaptation and resilience.For example, the multi-country, public and private Mission Innovation initiative gave a huge push for technology development and deployment. And the International Solar Alliance, launched by India and France, gives a huge push to bring clean energy to hundreds of millions of people, many of whom have no electricity.These actions build on the momentum generated by the 185 countries that have offered national climate plans to the UNFCCC. These countries collectively represent over 98 percent of global emissions, and their plans will cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions significantly.After a week of intense negotiations, it’s clear that the vast majority of countries are working in good faith. Now it is up to the ministers to craft an international agreement that represents the turning point the world needs to tackle a changing climate.The agreement, expected to be forged by the end of this week, should not only maintain the momentum for climate action outside the negotiations, but also generate even greater momentum for the transformation to a zero-carbon and climate-resilient world. It needs to set long-term goals for emissions reductions and adaptation, ensure that countries come back to the table regularly to keep these efforts on track and provide a set of measures to both shift investments and support developing countries to manage the impacts and shift to low carbon pathways.What to Watch in Week 2In the days ahead, ministers need to craft constructive, ambitious solutions to a number of key issues for a strong climate agreement, including:SHORT-TERM SIGNAL: Countries are moving toward an agreement to assess the state of climate action every five years, and to put forward updated commitments every five years. But major questions remain, including whether they commit to increase ambition every cycle and about whether countries would start that process in 2020 or 2025. Given the rapid changes in technology, science and policy, and the need to cut emissions further, the world needs to return to the table five years from now, in 2020, not wait 10 years to increase their efforts. Ministers also need to settle whether climate finance and adaptation plans would need similar five-year check-ins and updated plans.LONG-TERM GOAL: Countries will decide what kind of signal they will send to investors, companies and governments about the pace and scale of change for decades to come. The options in the text for this signal include a goal to decarbonize the global economy over the course of this century; to reduce global GHG emissions to zero by 2060-2080, or to achieve climate neutrality.MEASUREMENT, REPORTING AND VERIFICATION (MRV): The agreement needs to create a robust and global common minimum framework for countries to report on their climate actions and support and have them verified. There needs to be flexibility for developing countries based on their different capabilities and specific capacity building support for them to implement.ADAPTATION: Negotiators seem to be converging on a long-term global goal to build resilience and adaptive capacity. The adaptation text contains elements of a constructive cycle to promote acceleration and improvement of adaptation action globally, but not all are agreed upon or logically linked to a common, periodic measure that brings together adaptation, mitigation and finance. Meanwhile, the concept of loss and damage – which refers to making provisions for climate impacts that are difficult or impossible to adapt to, such as vanishing glaciers and rising seas that swamp low-lying islands – appears to be making good progress, with a substantially streamlined text and a clear set of issues for negotiation.FINANCE: Significant pledges by national leaders at the opening of COP21 show that climate finance is being scaled up to meet the $100 billion goal by 2020, and commitments to the Least Developed Countries Fund indicates growing attention to adaptation finance. Negotiators have made decent progress on clarifying options for government ministers, and there is good consensus on balancing public finance between mitigation and adaptation. There is, however, still much to be decided in regards to the pathway forward after 2020 and a commitment to shift investments away from high-carbon, maladaptive investments to low carbon climate resilient development.Building Momentum Alongside the TalksBeyond the formal negotiations, there are a host of activities and commitments at the national and subnational level that are helping to drive momentum and further reduce emissions, including:CITIES: Michael Bloomberg, UN Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change, put it succinctly: “Its clear cities are getting the job done.” The former New York mayor spoke as a hundreds of mayors gathered in support of local climate action. WRI released new data and tools to support the Compact of Mayors finding that cities in the Compact can avoid at least 740 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually in 2030. WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities advanced specific solutions around sustainable transport, the expansion of the Building Efficiency Accelerator to support rapid scale-up of energy-efficient buildings; and with a new 100 Resilient Cities partnership. As part of that partnership, 22 mayors signed a 10 percent Resilience Pledge to integrate resilience into the mainstream of city planningINVESTMENTS: Climate finance commitments and initiatives continue to manifest outside the negotiations process from public and private sector actors alike: the new $2 billion low-carbon index from NY Common Retirement Fund and Goldman Sachs; Dutch pension fund giant ABP’s introduction of a carbon budget for its asset managers; guidance on green bond impact reporting from development banks, and State Street’s launch of its first fossil-free exchange traded fund driven by climate worries are just a few examples. The number of institutions committing to divest from fossil fuels has grown to over 500 institutions representing $3.4 trillion in assets under management with more than a hundred institutions managing $800 million joining in the last 10 weeks alone.FORESTS: Forests were prominent on the COP21 agenda during the first week. Governments made significant forest commitments to protect forests on opening day, including $5 billion in funding from Germany, Norway and the United Kingdom. On Tuesday, Britain’s Prince Charles opened an informal ministerial session on forests with an urgent call to action, while former Mexican President Felipe Calderon closed with an admonition that commitments on forests need to be honest: “No more lies!” Finally, the launch of Global Forest Watch Climate has the potential to fundamentally change the debate on monitoring forest-based emissions: the political distinction between official and unofficial forest information is on the way out.RESTORATION: Two initiatives launched at the Global Landscapes Forum, outside the talks, aim to spur landscape restoration in Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean, while using satellite technology to pinpoint landscape degradation in real time. The African Forest and Landscapes Restoration Initiative (AFR100) seeks to restore 100 million hectares (nearly 250 million acres) of degraded and deforested land in Africa by 2030. More than a dozen African countries have already joined , with a commitment to restore 35 million hectares. Similar to AFR100, Initiative 20×20 is landscape restoration effort in Latin America and the Caribbean that has now reached nearly 28 million hectares and $730 million in investment.FOOD: The role of agriculture in climate mitigation and adaptation rose in prominence, after years of being an under-appreciated sector. An Agriculture Day, on December 2, highlighted a French-led initiative to advance farming practices that increase sequestration of carbon in agricultural lands, such as agroforestry and conservation agriculture. There was a big push to restore agricultural productivity to degraded crop and grazing lands. The importance of reducing food loss and waste was particularly evident: it’s linked now to about 8 percent of global human-made GHG emissions. Still insufficiently addressed was the issue of methane emissions from livestock.BUSINESS: Leaders of France, Chile, Ethiopia, Germany, Mexico and Canada joined officials of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund on COP21’s opening day to call on companies and countries to put a price on carbon pollution. At the same time, the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition launched its global platform to bring together governments and businesses around agreed-upon principles of carbon pricing. More than 1,000 companies have an internal carbon pricing policy now or will implement one by 2017. To help companies set up effective carbon pricing policies, WRI and the UN Global Compact, along with other Caring for Climate partners, released the Executive Guide to Carbon Pricing Leadership, based on the experiences of more than 100 companies around the world. In addition, 154 U.S. companies have signed onto the American Business Act on Climate Pledge to show support for climate action and a strong agreement in Paris.All of these national and subnational actions make clear the growing support for climate action. Combined with a strong climate agreement, we are on the cusp of a historic moment in Paris. And that’s only week one. So buckle up!Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this misstated the full term for MRV. It is Measurement, Reporting and Verification, as reflected in this version, along with some amended language in that section.
The groundbreaking Paris Agreement adopted at COP21 last month sets the stage for unprecedented international climate action. Much of the discussion about benefits from the Agreement has focused on countries’ new climate plans, or “nationally determined contributions” (NDCs), which are aimed at the post-2020 period. But the decisions made in Paris can also ramp up climate action in the short term, too—even before 2020. The decision adopted by the Conference of the Parties (COP) in tandem with the Paris Agreement itself includes a set of elements to “ensure the highest possible mitigation efforts in the pre-2020 period.” These actions are essential if we’re going to achieve the Paris Agreement’s long-term goal of keeping global warming to well below 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F) above pre-industrial levels and try to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees C (2.7 degrees F) to avoid the worst climate impacts.The COP decision includes a coherent package of elements to spur this essential action, including plans to: 1) Strengthen technical knowledge sharingParties agreed to strengthen existing efforts to significantly reduce emissions while also providing a space to learn from each other. The meetings held under this “Technical Examination Process” will continue through 2020, allowing Parties to share effective scalable policies, practices and actions in the hopes of replicating them in new locations. Parties also agreed to expand this work program and launch a parallel technical examination process on adaptation efforts, recognizing the urgency of the situation and that countries cannot wait to start building resilience to climate impacts. 2) Continue positive momentum created by non-state actorsWhile much of the attention around the negotiations focused on national actions, the Paris moment also included significant commitments from non-state actors—especially cities and businesses. The Lima-Paris Action Agenda, a platform to accelerate cooperative climate action, brought hundreds of non-state actors to the table. The final decision text recognized the ambitious actions of cities, businesses and other non-state actors, and encouraged them to scale-up their actions. These non-state actors will now become a regular part of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) process, with high-level events to be held alongside future COP sessions through 2020. The current and future COP Presidencies (France and Morocco) will appoint two high-level climate champions to act on behalf of the president of the COP and plan the future events on non-state actors’ actions. France recently appointed Laurence Tubiana, the French Ambassador responsible for climate change negotiations, as their Climate Champion to take this work forward. Her post will run until the end of COP 22 in 2016.3) Enhance financial supportThe Paris decision urges developed countries to increase their financial, technological and capacity-building support for developing nations before 2020. Specifically, the text encourages developed nations to set a concrete roadmap for providing $100 billion annually in climate finance by 2020. The importance of enhancing adaptation efforts in the near-term was again highlighted as the text calls for significantly increasing the finance earmarked for adaptation. 4) Improve coordinationAs important new streams of work evolve from the negotiations, it is essential to have good coordination between UNFCCC activities in order to maximize impact and support countries in raising their ambition. The Agreement asks key UNFCCC bodies dedicated to providing financial, technological and adaptation support to engage directly in the Technical Examination Process focused on raising pre-2020 ambition. They are to provide updates on their progress to better understand their role in supporting the policies, practices and actions identified during the technical meetings. Furthermore, the introduction of Climate Champions establishes a link between the Technical Examination Process and the growing number of voluntary climate initiatives happing outside the UNFCCC. The Champions will play a role in organizing the meetings held under the Technical Examination Process, as well as the preparation of a summary document for policymakers highlighting scalable, replicable and ambitious policies and actions to support advancing implementation. This improved coordination can lead to faster implementation and scale-up of climate initiatives.Although countries made unprecedented progress during and in the lead-up to Paris, we’ve still got a long way to go to limit warming to 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F) and prevent the worst climate impacts. The important provisions in the Paris Agreement on accelerating climate action combined with the efforts on raising ambition before 2020 will help ensure the Agreement’s long-term goals remain within reach.
This piece originally appeared on Forbes.comWhen the Science-Based Targets initiative to cut corporate greenhouse gas emissions was formed in 2014, it started with an ambitious goal: have 100 companies commit to using the best climate science to inform their carbon reduction targets and shrink their carbon footprints by the end of 2015. That goal was met and exceeded in September 2015, as 114 companies have made this commitment. Today more than 165 companies will use Science-Based Targets (SBTs,) putting the plan well on the way to a longer-term milestone: commitments to SBTs by 250 companies and 100 companies with approved targets by the end of 2018. With less than two years to go, that goal could also be met sooner than expected.One reason for SBTs’ surprising success is its difference from earlier target-setting plans for business. In recent decades, companies that aimed to curb their climate-warming emissions had few reliable ways to assess how much they needed to cut to do their part to avert the worst impacts of climate change. Some aimed for easy-to-hit bulls-eyes based on what could be confidently accomplished. SBTs are gaining momentum because they rely on science and take the guesswork out of setting ambitious greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets. The initiative has also benefited from good timing and the competitive nature of the business world.Riding the Climate Action WaveTiming is certainly part of it. Born just as momentum was building for the Paris Agreement on climate change, the SBT initiative rode the wave as countries began to craft their own climate action commitments aimed at keeping global warming below 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F) over pre-industrial levels to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.This added impetus to more than a decade of increased public awareness about and demand for corporations to lead on environmental sustainability. It also dovetailed with greener energy options that will make it easier for businesses to curb emissions in their own operations, in the power they buy and throughout their value chains.Hitting a science-based target requires substantial investment in clean, renewable energy, but under the original GHG Protocol Corporate Standard for emissions accounting, companies could only account for renewables that were on-site. The rules for utility-scale renewable procurement through utilities, Power Purchase Agreements or Renewable Energy Certificates were ambiguous, discouraging companies from making the long-term commitments that help new solar and wind farms get built. A 2015 update to the Standard gives companies more options to account for the benefits of buying renewable power.The best argument for SBTs comes from corporate leaders, who find SBTs are integral to their business plans:Laurel Peacock, senior sustainability manager at NRG, put it plainly: “For us it is the right thing to do, but also makes perfect business sense … We wouldn’t be doing this if it didn’t make business and economic sense.”“Having a science-based target helps us build relationships with government and changes the nature of the conversation we have with them,” said Amy Braun, senior sustainability manager at Kellogg Company.At Dell, John Pflueger observed: “The government doesn’t just set rules and culture, but is also a potential customer. It can indicate its support for low-carbon innovation by purchasing these products, so in that sense, having a science-based target should stand us in good stead.”SBTs enable sustainability officers to calculate an emissions reduction target in line with what the science says is necessary to keep global warming below the dangerous threshold of a 2 degree C rise in temperature, But committing to set an SBT is just the beginning. The next step is more challenging: actually proposing a target that measures up to quality criteria set by the initiative’s partners (CDP, UN Global Compact, World Resources Institute and WWF). There are already 17 targets that have made it through the approval process.For example, Proctor & Gamble has committed to cut emissions from operations by 30 percent from 2010 levels by 2020 and AMD has committed to reduce emissions 20 percent by 2020 from a 2014 base year. So far, not all proposed targets have met the best-practice criteria defined by the project partners, but this isn’t a deal-breaker. In fact, it offers an opportunity for education about the level of ambition needed for companies to do their part to meet the global emissions reduction goal set forth at Paris.Harnessing Corporate CompetitionThe intrinsically competitive nature of the corporate world means companies love to keep score. When it comes to corporate climate action, CDP does the scoring for them, including on whether their targets are ambitious enough. A high CDP score can show companies they are moving forward – and show where they stand compared with their corporate peers. Corporate sustainability officers often see their performance pegged to the company’s CDP score and other metrics related to cutting emissions. Harnessing that competitive spirit benefits companies economically and environmentally.Setting and meeting an approved SBT is a powerful way for companies to contribute to global climate action while showing customers, investors and other stakeholders that they take this issue seriously. Companies that have already set science-based targets are demonstrating that they help drive innovation, reduce costs and boost profits, while gaining long-term competitive advantage and safeguarding their future profitability. Science-based targets are harnessing the urge to make business more sustainable, profitable and responsive to one of the defining challenges of our times.
Hurricane Dorian’s devastating hit on the Bahamas left the government scrambling to mobilize resources for disaster response and recovery. Government resources alone won’t be enough for long-term recovery and rebuilding, especially to rebuild in a more climate-resilient way; international financial support will be required. However, the Bahamas government has a few financial tools to provide relatively small but vital resources for immediate disaster response.One of those tools is sovereign parametric insurance, which the Bahamas purchases from CCRIF SPC (formerly the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility or CCRIF) for tropical cyclone and extreme rainfall risks. Parametric insurance relies on catastrophe models and pays out automatically when certain pre-agreed conditions, such as rainfall, wind speed, or modeled economic losses, meet or exceed a given threshold. This avoids time-consuming, on-the-ground assessments of losses, enabling parametric insurance to pay out much more quickly than traditional insurance policies.Sovereign parametric insurance can play an important role in helping countries mount effective disaster response. But to do so, governments must use insurance payouts effectively. Early reporting from the Bahamas suggests that government institutions were so badly weakened by the disaster that they have had trouble implementing response efforts. Instead, in Dorian’s immediate aftermath, an ad hoc network of volunteers led efforts to distribute emergency supplies.This raises questions about the value of sovereign parametric insurance in practice: What happens when the local government institutions that are supposed to put the insurance payout to work are themselves hobbled by the disaster? How can governments guard against this possibility and ensure they are making the most of their insurance policy? One answer is to insure not only the government but also other institutions that can help reach affected people quickly. Modeling DisasterCaribbean governments launched CCRIF in 2007 with support from the World Bank and other development partners to allow countries in the region to pool their risks. Doing so helps them access more affordable insurance coverage than would otherwise be possible. CCRIF’s products use models to estimate how much damage a particular catastrophe is likely to cause based on where and how it strikes. Its models are built by running thousands of simulated catastrophic events and combining the results with data on exposed assets and their vulnerability to disaster. This data includes information on a region’s infrastructure, building stock, topography, distribution of population, and crops.When a disaster such as Dorian happens, CCRIF collects data on the storm, including wind speed and storm surge height, from the U.S. National Hurricane Center and plugs it into the model for the tropical cyclone product. If the losses computed by the model exceed a threshold level set out in the insurance policy, the government receives a payout. The size of the payout also depends on the terms of the policy. When signing a policy, the government chooses the amount of financial protection it wants to buy. The Bahamas received a $10.9 million payout for damage from Hurricane Dorian under its tropical cyclone policy.Hurricane damage at Treasure Cay, Bahamas, September 4, 2019. Photo by Seaman Erik Villa Rodriguez/U.S. Coast Guard/Flickr When Governments Need HelpBut what happens when government institutions need additional help to effectively mount a response? In a new study by WRI on regional risk pools, we describe an innovative insurance product that the African Risk Capacity (ARC), a regional pool that provides parametric insurance to African countries, has put to use to help address this challenge.ARC Replica, which ARC and several partner organizations began developing in 2015, allows humanitarian organizations to purchase insurance policies that mirror the insurance policies purchased by governments of countries where the humanitarian groups operate. When a government’s ARC policy pays out, so does the humanitarian organization’s. This sends emergency cash through two sets of pipelines — the government’s and the humanitarian system’s — doubling insurance coverage and increasing the likelihood that money will reach the ground quickly and effectively. Humanitarian organizations are generally among the first to arrive after a disaster, and they have extensive response networks that can facilitate effective disaster relief. Additionally, ARC Replica requires humanitarian organizations to develop contingency plans in coordination with governments, setting out in advance how they will use ARC payouts. This creates a coordinated mechanism between ARC member countries and their humanitarian partners that could improve overall payout execution.ARC Replica is still in its infancy. The first humanitarian organizations to participate only recently finalized their first policies. Yet the Start Network, a consortium of humanitarian organizations, will soon receive the first ARC Replica payout, which it will use to support drought-affected communities in Senegal. CCRIF should pay close attention to ARC Replica, which may offer a model for improved payout delivery in the Caribbean region as well.Humanitarian organizations cannot substitute for government institutions, but they can help complement governments’ early relief efforts. This is especially true in extreme cases such as the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian. Insuring governments and humanitarian organizations allows the two to join forces to make the most of insurance payouts in those vital days after disaster strikes.
Personality Grader builds on HubSpot’s extensive expertise in social graphs, natural language processing and artificial intelligence. Here’s how it works: Personality Grader clusters, analyzes and measures the width and breadth of your online footprint across thousands of different social sites. The tool uses this data to calculate 4 variables that serve as input for a Personality Grade: Personality Grader Frequency Data-Driven Marketing , the newest member of the Grader family of free marketing tools The intelligence metric uses a combination of several different methods. Using a modified application of the Stanford-Binet test, we estimate a traditional intelligence quotient score. Then we temper that number by analyzing the Flesch-Kincaid grade level of the content you’re producing online.So, what are you waiting for? Head on over to Reach – Intelligence – Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Today, HubSpot is announcing a solution to that problem. – Using computational linguistics we are able to analyze the tone of the content you produce for the Web. We trained our system on a corpus that represents the different structures of text available on the social web. We’ve also built some biometric functionality into this part of the algorithm to analyze the facial emotions present in the photos you’ve uploaded to sites like Facebook and Flickr. , gives data-hungry marketers a simple way to benchmark their online personality. We hope this will help people see where improvements can be made. Next-Generation Personality Technology This is a measurement of the size of your social network, in terms of both first and Nth-order strong and weak connections. The algorithm also takes into account the amount of influence you wield over the other users in your social graph, in terms of how often you cause them to take specific actions. Borrowing from the field of social psychology, we are able to determine how much prestige your node represents to your social group. Sentiment unaware of their personality’s effect on their work. personality.grader.com and see how you can improve your personality. – This is a measure of your rate of content production and social interaction. We analyze the types of social actions you engage in to determine if they are accidental, regulated, regular or repeated. painfully Originally published Apr 1, 2009 8:13:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 Of course, up until now, some marketers have been
Social Media Advertising Of course, in addition to leads at the top of our sales and marketing funnel, HubSpot gets other benefits from social media. Twitter and Facebook help us nurture prospects through a sale, they help us build relationships with and retain customers, they help us listen, they help us communicate internally, and much more. This is by no means our biggest lead channel, but it’s also nothing to sneeze at. Based on the leads alone, social media is worth the time we put into it. Learn how to generate more inbound leads using SEO, blogging, and social media. Twitter Inbound Lead Generation Kit Facebook The data is clear: Social media is a significant, growing lead generation channel. The graph above represents leads generated on HubSpot.com from visitors who were originally referred to HubSpot via a social media platform like Twitter or Facebook between April 2008 and March 2010. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Topics: and What, exactly, can social media do for your business? So you’ve been listening to your techie nephew talk about leads. One last thing: You’re probably wondering what caused some of the higher-than-average months in the graph above. They’re each months when we published a piece of content that was exceptionally popular on social media. For example, in July 2009 we published the If you look at our experience here at HubSpot, one answer is clear: Download the free kit for tips and tricks to drive more leads and business to your site. , our most popular ever. Facebook for Business ebook ), but here’s one secret: Social media only works as a lead generation tool when you share links to your own content on your own site. It’s very hard to generate leads for your business on facebook.com or twitter.com. You have to give community members a reason (great content) to click through to your site. Originally published Apr 23, 2010 7:30:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 or webinar! How do we generate those leads? That’s a separate blog post ( . You understand the appeal from the social and networking perspectives — but you’re still stuck on one question:
help control where your content appears faster First add your site and verifythat you are indeed the owner or at least have access to managing it. Once logged into Google Webmaster Tools you will have access to three primary areas for review – site configuration (managing your website), your site on the web (how Google sees you), and diagnostics (where Google is getting stuck). Date & Time: own website your site is the more likely crawlers are to go through more of your content. note Want to learn more about your website – Is it set up for success? Is it being crawled by search engines? Is it site too slow? How can I tell? your latest content ( In summary, these tools are helpful because they show you a lot about your site that you would otherwise not be able to track, and it helps troubleshoot – as a bonus this is a great way to be a hero with IT or just take some control back over your Originally published May 13, 2010 11:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 2. Managing Geographic Targeting: This is something that can easily be controlled via your site configuration > settings. Note that this is a little like playing with fire and you wouldn’t want to disqualify your content from being displayed to Europe unless you are truly only selling to the United States. However, if you have multiple websites or subdomains which are diagnose if something is wrong SEO Resources To diagnose potential issues, troubleshoot or determine if there is even an issue at all, refer to crawl errors and stats which show you that information. What do you do with this information? It will help you . Topics: : not all content that gets crawled gets indexed, because the harsh truth is that not all is index worthy). then this will be a must for you to . Having one and submitting it via webmaster tools allows you to politely nudge 1. Submit a Sitemap: www.domain.com/sitemap.xml and ultimately work to improve site performance. If there are no errors, then no worries. If yes, then you will want to take action and most often they will actually give you suggestions on what to do next. The crawl stats will also show you how much time is spent loading a page. This is extremely useful for large sites that are looking to do advanced optimization or any site heavily using images, dynamic URLs etc. The Photo Credit: Google to crawl This is not the public sitemap that you use as an index for your content, but rather a dynamically built sitemap which updates on a regular basis to include your most current pages of your website as you create them. This may sound complex – not at all. You can build one yourself through any free “.xml sitemap generator tool” out there or just ask your webmaster to add one. How do you know if you have one? Most are set up to be found at Kinologik Submit your site now 3. Crawl Errors and Site Speed: Free tools like Google Webmaster Toolsprovide you detailed reports about your pages’ visibility in Google, and registration is simple – and did I mention free. You should actually register your site with Yahoo Site Explorerand Bing Webmaster Centeras well. ( note: this post is specific to tips within your Google account and can be applied across the board.) for optimization by HubSpot Experts! (2 will be selected) . Live Website Optimization: Using Website Grader For Marketing Success targeting foreign countries Join HubSpot Experts for a live session for website review and optimization, providing tips for getting found online. Every Tuesday at 1:00pm ET Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
How can this research be translated to B2B? real-time engagement social media monitoring tool for your brand and important keywords. Consider scheduling blog posts to publish at an optimal time for the country where your market is located. Think about avoiding time-sensitive offers (like webinars), but focusing on resources that can be accessed at one’s own pace (such as ebooks). How do you manage real-time communication on an international scale? His ideas, Topics: for tips and tricks to drive inbound marketing using Twitter. Google alerts Do you have more questions about David’s research? Share them below to establish some best practices around real-time marketing and PR! find valuable. Such data prepares us for communication and quick responses to various requests. Our individual team members also use Google alerts, personal social media profiles and RSS feed to stay up-to-date with recent industry news and events. and rather than social networking technology. While it is hard to convince your boss to invest in social media efforts, “reaching out to someone in real-time” is a concept that she/he will understand. “The Internet has fundamentally changed the pace of business, compressing time and rewarding speed,” wrote author David Meerman Scott in his recent ebook ” Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Engaging in real-time communication globally, David noted, can be more challenging than marketing in North America only (due to different languages and time zones). Start by prioritizing a set of prospects Real-Time Marketing & PR presented in yesterday’s live webinar Download the free webinar David emphasized the fact that his ideas are applicable to both B2C and B2B companies. As his research on the Fortune 100 includes many B2B companies, David concluded that some concepts remain consistent across different organizations and business environments—for instance, it is critical to develop a product in real time and monitor social media. Being the first to share thoughts on a recent event will gain you an instant competitive advantage. to observe the conversations happening around our brand and industry. Within HubSpot, we also gain insights about what resources and topics our Many companies, David explained, are overwhelmed with all the talk about social media. They are constantly invited to focus on the tools—whether that is Facebook, Twitter or FourSquare. A better way to look at this evolution in communication, David suggested, is to simply view it as How would HubSpot react to news? HubSpot aspires to be a transparent company that respects its audience and responds to requests in real time. For example, we use our leads Should your legal team be involved in developing your company real-time mindset? Designing a company-wide mindset for real-time marketing and PR requires the involvement of your legal team. While you shouldn’t be ignorant of legal implications, you also shouldn’t become a slave to a system that thwarts innovation. As David suggested, your legal team needs to design a set of policies and guidelines for different communications. In this way, your organization will know exactly how to react in a specific situation without creating a fire drill and pulling in the legal team abruptly for a rushed decision. , gave rise to a number of thought-provoking questions around the concept of real-time engagement: Free Download: Twitter for Marketing and PR Public Relations Want to learn more about using Twitter for Marketing and PR? .” Social Media Originally published Nov 2, 2010 10:30:00 AM, updated July 03 2013 Inbound Marketing Why do you think companies resist real-time marketing and PR? How Marketing & PR at Speed Drives Measurable Success .” To help marketers take advantage of this fundamental change in business communication, David introduced some groundbreaking research from his new book, “
And there you have it! 53 questions you can ask in your next focus group. If you’re unsure how to conduct a successful focus group, take a look at How to Run a Focus Group for Your Business. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Originally published Aug 8, 2011 3:00:00 PM, updated October 30 2019 Whether your focus group is there to give feedback on a product or service or help you assess how your brand stands out in your competitive landscape, thought-provoking, open-ended questions are essential to a productive discussion.However, it’s easier said than done. What can you ask beyond “What do you think of our product?” that can provoke the most useful answers?Here, we’ve pulled together 53 questions you can ask in your next focus group to pull the most interesting and useful insights you can out of your participants.Simply copy-and-paste the questions you like below into the notetaking template for a ready-to-go, printable document you can bring to the session.Featured Resource: Market Research Focus Group TemplateDownload the TemplateFor a free template for notetaking during focus groups, a guide on conducting market research, and several other templates, download our Market Research Kit.Questions for Building Trust Among Focus Group MembersBefore diving into deeper questions, it’s best to warm up the group with a couple of open-ended questions that allow participants to get to know each other a little bit. Participants should be able to decide how much they want to share with the group — don’t force anyone to share something they may not feel comfortable sharing.By including a question that allows people to talk about something tangential to the topic of the focus group, your participants will begin to build empathy for each other. That empathy can grow into trust, which is key for eliciting honest insights out of your group.Here are a few questions you might ask to build trust:Share an aspect of your work or life experience that’s brought you here today.Why did you decide to join our focus group today?When and how did you first come across our brand/product/service?Click here to get started with our free market research kit.Questions to Encourage Follow-up and Continuation of IdeasThe most helpful insights that come out of focus groups are often the most specific points. Challenge your participants to reflect more on the points they’ve made if you hear something that you’re curious about. For instance:That’s a fascinating point that [name] just said — what do you all think of that?Do you agree or disagree with [name]’s statement, and why?[Name], you’ve been a bit quiet recently. Did you have any thoughts on this topic that you wanted to share?Questions for Understanding Customer Perception of Your Product or ServiceThese questions will help you understand how people truly feel about your brand, product, or service. The focus here is on your company — not the larger industry landscape or your competitors.Avoid stopping conversation here unless the group gets completely sidetracked. Open-ended questions can be daunting at first. Participants may not know where to start. However, hearing from the other participants will spark reflection on various aspects of your product or service. Be sure to allow each group member who has something to say to speak up before moving on to the next question.How would you describe our company to other people?How would you describe our product/service to other people?What words or feelings come to mind when you think about our company?How likely are you to recommend our product/service to a friend?How well do you feel we incorporate feedback from you, our customers, into our service/product?What ultimately pushed you to purchase this product/service?Where would you buy this product/service?What do you like about this product that you may not find in a similar one?When you think about our industry, which brands come to mind first?Which other brands in our industry did you consider when you were shopping around?Why didn’t you go with one of our competitors?What other products/services come to mind when you look at this one?Questions to Learn What Your Leads and Customers Want to See From YouListening to your customers’ feedback and suggestions for improvement is crucial to retaining customers and turning them into promoters of your brand. It may be difficult to hear the answers to these questions, but turning customer pain points around will elevate your product or service to the next level.Avoid defending your product or service or setting any limitations on these questions. Instead, frame them in a way that allows anyone to voice anything at all that they’re feeling. Recognize that it can be daunting for anyone (especially people with whom you’ve built relationships) to share negative feedback, so thank them for their candor.If you could wave a magic wand and change one thing about our product/service, what would it be?What would you most like to add to or improve about this product?What do you envision is the lifespan of this product/service before you upgrade or replace it?Is there anything we haven’t touched on today that you’d like us to know?Questions for Understanding Your Buyer PersonasThe following eight questions will help you understand what motivates your target buyer persona, their habits, their responsibilities and decision-making power, and their preferences.These questions are written to spark discussion about topics other than your company, product or service, and the competitive landscape.Don’t worry if the conversation seems to stray far from your brand, as the insights that people end up sharing will likely reveal what’s significant to them in their life and work. However, it’s important you keep the group focused on the specific question you’ve asked.Describe your job title and your day-to-day responsibilities.What’s one task on which you feel you spend way too much time?How do you define success in your role/your life?What is the biggest challenge you face in your role/when it comes to the problem to which this product is a solution?When you’re browsing online, on which websites do you spend most of your time?What are the first three apps you open on your phone in the morning?How do you prefer to receive communications from our company? (Specify what type of communication here — product updates, renewal notices, product/service coaching, meeting reminders, urgent alerts, etc.)Would you be the one using this product/service most in your household/job? If not, who would be?Questions for Getting a Better Sense of the Competitive LandscapeThese questions are intended to spark discussion about the brands in your industry that are top-of-mind for consumers. These are helpful in removing any biases that you and your team might have as people who work in the industry and know various players very well.To encourage honesty, avoid agreeing with any disparaging comments that your participants make about your competitors. Instead, use the opportunity to ask follow-up questions about exactly what the participants don’t like about a specific product or brand.If you’re looking to do a complementary research-based analysis of your competitors, download our Market Research Kit to gain access to a S.W.O.T. analysis template.Download the TemplateQuestions for Generating Content on Your IndustryYou might be looking to develop a content strategy for your brand, branch out into a new content medium, or simply generate new content ideas. Any successful content strategy prioritizes what’s most engaging and interesting for your target buyer persona, so a focus group can be an effective way to be sure that you’re producing material on the right topics and in the medium that your audience wants to consume.What is one recent trend you’ve noticed in our industry?What’s one strategy or tactic you think is underrated in our industry?Where do you go to get a pulse on the things going on in our industry?Who are the people in our industry who you look to as experts?What format of content do you consume to keep up with our industry? Social media posts? Blogs/long-form posts? Podcasts? News outlets?Which specific sources do you go to for information on our industry?What gaps do you see in the content about our industry online? What are the topics on which you’d like to see more education?Questions for Understanding Product Demand for Something You Haven’t Yet Put Out in the MarketThese eleven questions are intended to help you understand the demand for a new product or service. These questions will uncover buying habits for a product like the one you’re envisioning and whether there’s true product-market fit.What is/was your first reaction to the product?How often do you/would you use this type of product?Would you be the one deciding to purchase this product/service? If not, who would be?When and where do you use our product?When you think about the product, do you think of it as something you absolutely need, something you could do without, or something that’s somewhere in the middle?How much would you be willing to pay for a product like this?How would you ideally like to buy this product? Would you talk to a sales rep, or would you rather purchase it on your own?What do you think this product is missing?How would you describe someone who you think would use this product/service?If you ended up liking your experience with this product, could you see yourself repurchasing it? If so, how often?If you could either have this product/service or the equivalent dollar value for you/your business, which would you choose? Why? (Specify the dollar value of your product/service when asking this question.)Questions for Establishing (or Re-establishing) Your Name and BrandingThe following questions are helpful for running word association brainstorms and generating potential names or parts of names for a new product or company.What words come to mind when you think of our product category? (Example: “What words come to mind when you think of food delivery?”)What words come to mind when you think of [insert a word that symbolizes the main value prop of your product/service here – for example, ‘efficiency,’ ‘speed,’ ‘health’]?If you have candidate names already:What is your initial reaction to this name?What words come to mind when you hear this name?How would you pronounce this? (Spell out the name on a piece of paper or whiteboard.) Topics: Conducting Marketing Research
Topics: How to Google Search Within a Website using Site:SearchStep 1: Go to Google.com. Duh.Step 2: Enter site:www.website.com search term into the search box.**Pay attention to the subdomain (the letters that precede a domain name, like www., blog., or info.) you enter. Which subdomain you enter, or even choosing not to enter one at all, will change your results.For example, when I try to conduct a site:search for all the mentions of marketing automation on hubspot.com, I get way more results (about 9,500) when I enter site:hubspot.com marketing automation than I do if I enter site:www.hubspot.com marketing automation (about 2,300). Why? Because the former is bringing up results for all the subdomains on hubspot.com. That means it returns results for mentions of marketing automation on, say, blog.hubspot.com, too.Entering site:www.hubspot.com marketing automation, however, returns results for only mentions of marketing automation on the www. subdomain. So the lesson here is, be specific about what domain and subdomain you want to search.Step 3: Refine your search.For instance, in Step 2 when I searched our blog for a Facebook stat, some results from a long time ago — like 2010 — came up. I could filter for only the most recent stats by refining my search to site:blog.hubspot.com facebook stat 2012.How Site:Search Can Make Your Life Easier as a MarketerThere’s a bunch of use cases for this little search efficiency trick, but here are the ones I use all the time when I’m wearing my marketer hat.Search for data. I like to use data to strengthen my content, and it’s really easy to do a site:search on the HubSpot blog for a stat I remember using in the past — but can’t totally remember where. It also helps me find data on another blog or website that I know frequently publishes that type of content, like eMarketer, for instance.Search for topics. If you’re looking to create an original piece of content on your site or another site, it helps to pitch something original that hasn’t been covered a million times over already. So if I wanted to publish a guest post on, say, Connection Model, and I wanted to write about email marketing, I could do a site:search like site:www.connectionmodel.com email marketing to check out what they’ve already covered on the topic, so my post can be original yet still aligned with their content strategy.Surface content to link to. If you want to link to a piece of content about a specific subject matter within your own content, the site:search is a great way to resurface it … or even find some new pieces of content you didn’t know existed.Conduct competitive analysis. Part of a competitive content analysis — which is critical for defining your content strategy and positioning yourself appropriately in your space — is to determine what other people are writing about. Use the site:search function to get an idea of what subjects each of your competitors are writing about, and at what volume.Do you use site:search to help you find information faster? Want some more quick and dirty tips about search engines and SEO? Take our free SEO course. to share that might make your marketing friends a little more efficient?Image credit: shaymus22 Google’s pretty good at surfacing relevant content based on your search query. But sometimes you need something so insanely specific that a general keyword phrase doesn’t really do it for you, especially for marketers on the hunt for a specific piece of content. Enter the Google site:search. This allows you to search just one domain — not the entire internet — for a particular search term.So, for instance, if you wanted to see what kind of content HubSpot, and only HubSpot, had on marketing automation, doing a site:search would limit the results to only HubSpot’s marketing automation content.Learn how to run effective marketing campaigns using Google.I’ve used this for a ton of stuff in the past — actually, as a professional content creator, I can honestly say I use it every day. Here’s how to do it, as well as some use cases I’ve found to be super helpful that make me more efficient.How to Search Within a Site Using GoogleGo to Google.com.Enter site:www.website.com search term into the search box.Refine your search. Originally published Mar 23, 2013 9:00:00 AM, updated January 18 2018 SEO Resources Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
Topics: Originally published Apr 8, 2014 4:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Nonprofit Fundraising In the first part of this series, I explained what cause marketing is and how businesses and nonprofits are working together on win-win partnerships. In this second post of the series, I’ll guide you through one of the easiest and most successful cause marketing strategies out there.There’s nothing sadder than an unloved coin canister. We’ve all seen one of these abandoned canisters, also called donation boxes. Dirty, neglected, and empty, we conclude, “Why would any nonprofit want to use a coin canister for fundraising? What a waste!”I used to think the same thing until a business partner of mine raised tens of thousands for my nonprofit with coin canisters. Following that success, I did some research on other organizations that had successfully used coin canisters. Some nonprofits have raised millions in quarters, dimes, and nickels. Check out these examples of coin canister fundraisers:The problem isn’t with coin canisters, but with how, when, and where we use them. Here are my five guidelines for coin canister fundraising success.Rule #1: The busier the better.The busier the business the more money you’ll raise. Sure, you can put coin canisters in a car dealership. But how many customers does a dealership see each day? Well, a lot … but not as many as a supermarket, coffee shop, or bakery does.There’s a good reason why McDonald’s raises $50 million annually with its coin canister program. The burger giant has over 34,000 stores that serve 68 million customers a day! Rule #2: Cash is king. A while back, a jewelry store called me about using coin canisters. I told them to choose something else. How many people are buying gold and diamonds with cash, much less quarters, nickels, and dimes?Target businesses where customers pay with cash. My most successful coin canister program was with a chain of bagel shops. People would buy a bagel and coffee for a few bucks and drop their change in the canister. I raised $25,000 the first year!Rule #3: No tips allowed. You’ll find tip jars at many businesses. If you’ve ever worked for minimum wage, you know how important these tips are to earning a living. A Starbucks barista once told me that tips added $50 to her weekly paycheck. The takeaway is that if you put your charity coin canister next to a tip jar, it won’t be there for long.Not every business has a tip jar — and many are removing them because it makes employee pay too unpredictable. My tip to you: If your business partner has a tip jar, choose a different fundraiser.Rule #4: Stay front and center. I’ve found coin canisters in the strangest places, including one in a store’s restroom. The best place for a donation box is next to the cash register. I like to say, “Don’t give people an excuse to say no.” A coin canister anywhere else is just begging to be ignored. Rule #5: Security is key. Theft is a serious problem with coin canisters. It’s demoralizing to the business and the nonprofit when canisters get swiped. A business I know stopped theft by installing heavy-duty donation boxes that were locked in the back and bolted to the counter. Regardless of what type of canister or box you choose, empty them regularly. Don’t let a bulging canister become a target for thieves! Still not convinced that the lowly coin canister is the right fundraiser for you? Here’s a nickel’s worth of advice. While there is much talk — particularly from me! — about mobile donations, hashtag fundraisers, Facebook contests, and all sorts of new and interesting fundraisers, the vast majority of money raised from businesses occurs at the register with point-of-sale programs like coin canisters.Cause Marketing Forum researched the top checkout programs in 2012. Not only did these 63 fundraisers raise nearly $360 million, but a coin canister program was in the top three! Pocket change can really add up.In the last post of this three-part series, I’ll jump from low-tech to high-tech and talk about the future of cause marketing. You’ll get a glimpse into a wired world where global citizens, purpose-driven businesses, and impact-focused nonprofits will usher in a golden age of GOOD!
I have a love-hate relationship with hashtags on Twitter.On the one hand, they’re a useful way to tie different conversations into one stream. When it comes to following a news item, entering a contest, or figuring out out what’s going on in your favorite sports game, they can be super helpful — and sometimes even fun.On the other hand, their misuse drives me crazy. Like when #people #hashtag #every #word #of #their #tweet. And don’t get me started on #FollowFriday.When used properly, though, hashtags can be a powerful marketing tool in helping drive brand recognition, boost conversions, and positively impact customer loyalty. To learn how, check out the infographic below from The Huffington Post. It explains how powerful hashtags can be for social media marketing, the basics of how to use one, and a few best practices. 738Save Topics: Originally published Apr 8, 2015 12:00:00 PM, updated July 28 2017 Hashtags Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack 738Save
A maiden Test series triumph in Australia saw both the Indian team and their skipper Virat Kohli consolidate their respective pole positions in the latest ICC Test rankings.India, with 116 points, stayed as the No. 1 ranked Test team while skipper Kohli (922 points) was 25 points clear of second-ranked New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson (897).Cheteshwar Pujara after his dream series Down Under is ranked third among the batsmen while young turk Rishabh Pant has entered the top 20 with a career-best 17th rank.In the bowler’s list Kagiso Rabada still topped the chart while Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja are the best-ranked Indians at fifth and ninth place respectively.Fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah has climbed to 15th spot with 711 points.England will have to win their upcoming three-match series against the West Indies starting on Wednesday in order to retain third position in the rankings while Australia and Sri Lanka will vie for important points in their two-match series starting a day later.A 3-0 sweep will lift England to 109 points but they will remain behind India and South Africa, while the West Indies will remain in eighth position irrespective of how the matches pans out.In the other series starting on Thursday, Australia and Sri Lanka will remain in fifth and sixth positions, respectively, whatever the series result.Australia will gain three points and go up to 104 if they win 2-0 with Sri Lanka losing two and going down to 89 in such a scenario.Sri Lanka can go up to 95 points and to within two points of Australia with a 2-0 series win.advertisementAlso Read | Virat Kohli’s India no different to what the West Indies were in the 80s: Dean JonesAlso Read | MS Dhoni eyes Sachin Tendulkar’s record in New Zealand after hitting form in Australia
Originally published Feb 8, 2017 5:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! Agency Marketing Picture this: for one day a year, everyone at your agency puts a hold on all client-related projects, clears their calendars, and gathers for a full-day brainstorm session.For one day, the only thing that matters is creating something new from absolutely nothing.That’s the philosophy behind holding an annual agency hack day (or “hackathon”): A chance to push your team to their creative limits, consider previously overlooked points of view, and delve deeply into experimental projects you wouldn’t have otherwise been able to seriously pursue.Although a day without billable hours might sound like a dystopian nightmare to some agency folks, the benefits of holding a hack day far outweigh the potential negative consequences of losing a normal day of work. Setting aside a day to devote all your agency’s resources towards a single goal can produce real, innovative solutions you can translate into successful client campaigns.Take Brooklyn-based digital agency Big Spaceship, for example. For their 2016 hack day, they tasked their team to “make weird things that are shareable” — and ended up with some pretty creative results. Two of the hack day projects ended up going viral: a platform where you could vote for your favorite memes of the 2016 election cycle, and “a Twitter-powered, emoji-fueled fighting game in which top celebs battle to the death.”Even if the ideas that emerge from your hack day aren’t worth taking to the bank, the day you dedicate to intense collaboration is still a great opportunity for your entire team to reconnect, step outside your usual roles, and return to your regular projects with a refreshed sense of purpose. Hack days enable team members from all levels and disciplines join forces and get exposed to new points of view — and that’s never a bad thing.A (Very) Brief History of Hack DaysHack days — or hackathons as they’re frequently called in the tech world — have become a ubiquitous and indispensable part of many companies’ cultures. Although they’ve likely existed in some form since humans started collaborating, the term “hackathon” and “hack day” first started popping up in Silicon Valley in the late 1990s. At the time, hackathons were primarily a way for software developers to solve complex problems and devise new technologies in a short period of time.The formula has always been pretty simple: a group of developers gather — sometimes for a full week, and sometimes for just a few hours — with a single objective in mind. They break into teams, solve the presented problem within the given time constraints, and meet back up to share their work.In the mid 2000s, venture capitalists and tech incubators started seeing value in holding hackathons to uncover fresh ideas and startups worth funding. Hackathons went from being glorified all-nighters and low-key social events to international competitions with massive prizes.In 2017, hackathons aren’t just for tech companies. Groups from a wide variety of industries have found exciting new ideas using the hack day model. From biologists to fashion designers, people are discovering there’s clear value in taking time out of your regular grind to get involved with a experimental project.How to Run an Agency Hack Day1) Plan your hack day far in advance.One of the biggest management (and even employee) objectives to holding a hack day is likely to be: “We just don’t have the time!”It’s a valid concern. If you work at an agency, you probably already feel like you’re squeezing every usable hour out of your days as it is. The idea of setting aside your ongoing client projects for a full day can seem horrifying — especially if it’s sprung on you out of the blue.Notify your team — and your clients — that you’re holding a hack day far in advance. This gives your team the chance to schedule their long term projects with the hack day date in mind, and lets your clients know that you’ll be unavailable for a day. 2) Give your team a creative brief.When your hack day finally rolls around, jumpstart the proceedings with a theme or a creative brief to give your team a starting place. The brief doesn’t have to be something you’d typically work on for a client. In fact, try to think of something a little outside of your team’s usual scope to encourage some innovative, outside-the-box thinking. 3) Break your team into groups.Break your agency’s team into small, competing groups (or pairs, if you’re a smaller agency). You should strive to make the teams as diverse as possible, grouping team members from different departments and ranks within the company to ensure there’s a healthy mix of experience levels, viewpoints, and areas of expertise.Remember: hack days aren’t just for your creative team. Including employees from other areas of your agency can inject some fresh perspectives into the creative process and yeild some surprising results. 4) Set time constraints.Once you have your employees broken up into groups, it’s time for the competition to begin. One of the reasons hack days are so successful at producing creative solutions is because of the strict time constraints, which require participants to create start-to-finish projects. This helps people break out from the usual limits of perfectionism, forcing them to take an unusual idea and just fully commit to it.Jim Cuene, president of digital innovation agency GoKart Labs, says setting a tight hack day deadline, “creates experience diversity and gives you a chance to think outside your daily domain.” Participants end up running with ideas they would have usually dismissed, leading to some unexpected projects.5) Regroup and present.At the end of your hack day, it’s time to regroup and share your results with the entire team. Give each group the chance to present their work, discuss how they arrived at their final product, and field questions from other employees. Many agencies pick a hack day winner, either by letting everyone vote for their favorite project, or by letting an impartial panel of judges crown a winner. 6) Share the results of your hack day.Sharing the results of your agency’s hack day publically can be a powerful prospecting and recruiting tool. It’s a great opportunity to highlight your agency’s culture, creative process, and capacity for developing innovative work on a strict timeline. Consider penning a blog post about your agency’s hack day, explaining the initial prompt and the projects each team ended up creating. New York-based agency Kettle has a website dedicated to showing off their annual hack days (aptly dubbed Kettle Royale), and Big Spaceship shared the results of their most recent hack day on this blog post. 7) Consider running a hack day for a real client project.Once your team has gotten the hang of running a hack day with a fictional brief, you can try the process out with a real client project. Clients will love that your team is taking a unique, dedicated approach to their account, and it gives your agency the chance to add extra brain power to a big account without permanantly placing your whole team on a single project. You can even invite your client to come watch or participate in the hack day proceedings. Digital agency Kettle ran a hack day to brainstorm app concepts for Mad Libs, and invited the client to sit in on the action. Including clients is a great way to strengthen their relationship with your agency — and show off what your team is capable of acheiving in just a single day. Would you ever consider running a hack day at your agency? Let us know in the comments.
Opener Arjun Azad and No 3 batsman NT Tilak Verma scored hundreds as India comfortably crushed arch-rivals Pakistan by 60 runs in an U-19 Asia Cup encounter in Moratuwa, Sri Lanka on Saturday.Batting first, India scored a challenging 305 for 9 in 50 overs riding on 183-run second wicket stand between Arjun (121 off 111 balls) and Tilak (110 off 119 balls).In reply, Pakistan were never in contention as they were bowled out for 245 in 46.4 overs. Left-arm spinner Atharva Ankolekar took 3 for 36 in 10 overs.Arjun Azad is named the Man of the Match for a fantastic century at the top of the order, sharing a crucial 183-run stand with fellow centurion Tilak Varma!#INDvPAK #U19AsiaCup pic.twitter.com/5xFUUgdnx4AsianCricketCouncil (@ACCMedia1) September 7, 2019Medium pacers Vidyadhar Patil and Sushant Mishra chipped in with a couple of wickets each.The right-hander, Arjun hit eleven fours and four sixes while Tilak had 10 boundaries and a six to his credit.None of the other India batsmen could surpass individual score of 20 as Pakistan seamers Naseem Shah (3/52) and Abbas Afridi (3/72) were taken to task despite returning with three wickets apiece.While batting, Pakistan captain Rohail Khan (117 off 108 balls) fought a lone battle and got some support from Haris Khan (43) during their 120-run stand for the fourth wicket.Once Rohail was trapped leg-before by seamer Akash Singh at the start of 41st over, Pakistani challenge ended.Brief Scores: India 305/9 in 50 overs (Arjun Azad 121, NT Tilak Verma 110, Naseem Shah 3/52, Abbas Afridi 3/72). Pakistan 245 in 46.4 overs (Rohail Khan 117, Haris Khan 43, Atharva Ankolekar 3/36).Also Read | Only Test: Zadran, Afghan fifties help Afghanistan stretch lead vs BangladeshAlso See:advertisement
Steve Smith has had to wait 9 years after making Test debut to be part of an Australian team that retained the Ashes urn on English soil. Smith was part of the touring Australian sides in 2013 and 2015 that had returned home from the Old Blighty empty-handed.However, Steve Smith made sure he ticked off Ashes glory on English soil from his bucket list after the Manchester Test between Australia and England on Sunday. It was Smith who displayed his superhuman skills and batted England out of contention in the ongoing Ashes 2019 series.Ashes 2019, Manchester Test: Report | HighlightsTim Paine’s men became the first Australian side since Steve Waugh’s visiting team in 2001 to retain the Ashes Urn in England when they outclassed Joe Root’s men by 185 runs in the 4th Ashes Test in Manchester. With a 185-run win, Australia have taken a 2-1 unbeatable lead in the 5-match series.Our Aussies come out on top in another gripping #Ashes contest! The urn has been retained, but a series win remains up for grabs at The Oval! #CmonAussie pic.twitter.com/XL9uP4xybVCricket Australia (@CricketAus) September 8, 2019Steve Smith led Australia from the front with a double hundred in the 1st innings and a quickfire 82 that pushed their lead in the 2nd innings to 382. England were defiant on Day 5 as they battled till the final hour of play on Sunday but it wasn’t enough to prevent Australia from clinching glory.Speaking after the famous win to the official broadcasters of Ashes 2019, Steve Smith said: ” It feels amazing to know the urn is coming home. Incredibly special.advertisement”I have been here a few times, things haven’t gone our way and we haven’t performed to our best of ability in 2013 and 2015. To come back here, I always wanted to tick off my bucket list to get the urn over here. Obviously there is another game and we would like to win that. Extremely satisfying,” Smith added.Steve Smith returned to Test cricket after his 12-month ball-tampering ban in style as he hit twin hundreds in the opening Test in Edgbaston. However, he was ruled out of the 2nd innings of the drawn 2nd Test at Lord’s and the 3rd Test in Leeds due to concussion. He was hit on the neck by a vicious Jofra Archer bouncer in the first innings at Lord’s.England went on to level the series in Leeds after Ben Stokes came up with a heroic effort to help his side gun down a record-breaking target of 359 last month.While England were expected to make use of the momentum in Manchester, Steve Smith’s brilliance helped Australia outclass the hosts.Love batting, don’t like watching cricket: Steve SmithSmith, who overtook Virat Kohli to become the No. 1 Test batsman, has scored 671 runs in just 5 innings at a staggering average of 134. Having hit 3 hundreds, including a double ton, Smith’s lowest score in Ashes 2019 is 82.Revealing the secret behind his hunger for runs in Test cricket, Smith said he hates watching cricket from the stands.”I love batting, and I don’t really like watching cricket, so that’s my motivation to stay out in the middle for as long as possible,” Smith said after winning the Man of the Match award in Manchester.Having retained the Ashes Urn, Australia will be going for the series win when they meet England in the 5th and final Test at Oval from Sepetember 12.Also Read | Michael Clarke posts photo after getting skin cancer removed, has a message for fansAlso See:
Rishabh Pant’s form would be an important sub-plot when India look to seize the advantage against South Africa in the second T20I in Mohali on Wednesday after a washout in Dharamsala effectively made the series a two-match affair.The T20 World Cup is more than 12 months away but India captain Virat Kohli has already detailed his plans and expectations from the youngsters in the side.The skipper did not expect to get a bagful of opportunities when he arrived on the international scene and believes the current crop of youngsters also need to make it count in the limited time they are going to get.One of them is 21-year-old Rishabh Pant, who can’t be bracketed as a “youngster” anymore having made his debut back in February 2017.Not a single ball was bowled in the series-opener but there was enough happening on the sidelines and most of it was focussed on Pant.In a chat with the host broadcaster, the message for Pant from the team management was loud and clear: he can’t repeatedly throw his wicket away and if he does “there will be a rap on the knuckles”.”We’ll let him be but at times when you see a shot, like the first ball dismissal in Trinidad (during the tour of West Indies), if he repeats that, then he will be told. There will be a rap on the knuckles, talent or no talent,” said head coach Ravi Shastri ahead of the series-opener.With Kohli still very much open to having Mahendra Singh Dhoni back on board, pressure is mounting on Pant to do justice to his rich talent.advertisementConsidering the circumstances, it was not a surprise that Pant had a hit in the nets right after the team flew here from Dharamsala on Monday.Pressure will also be on leg-spinners Rahul Chahar and Washington Sundar, both of whom have been picked ahead of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal for the second straight series.With 20-odd games to go before the World Cup, the Indian team wants to boost its batting which will require number 8, 9 and 10 to score runs on a regular basis, something which has never been India’s strength.Will a deep batting line-up compromise India’s ability to wake wickets in the middle overs? Only time will tell.It is also an important series for Shreyas Iyer and Manish Pandey, who have been brought back into the side to solidify the middle order.The game will also be an opportunity for Shikhar Dhawan to play a substantial knock, having endured a lean tour of the West Indies by his standards.It a ground he is fond of, having scored a memorable 187 on his Test debut and more recently a 143 in the ODI against Australia in March this year, albeit in a losing cause.On the other hand, it will be an uphill task for South Africa to beat this Indian side, which has been on a roll for most part.Time in the middle for a team in transition would have been valuable but rain robbed the Proteas of that opportunity in Dharamsala.The Kagiso Rabada-led attack would have to bowl really well to contain the Indian batsmen especially skipper Kohli, who played one of his best knocks against Australia in March 2016, the last T20 played here, to take India to the World T20 semifinals.Kohli, in a recent tweet, summed up what that knock of 82 off 51 balls meant to him as he struck the winning runs with Dhoni at the other end.Though his followers failed to read his words, Kohli will be aiming for an encore on Wednesday.Squads:India: Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Krunal Pandya, Washington Sundar, Rahul Chahar, Khaleel Ahmed, Deepak Chahar, Navdeep Saini.South Africa: Quinton de Kock (c), Rassie van der Dussen (vc), Temba Bauvma, Junior Dala, Bjorn Fortuin, Beuran Hendricks, Reeza Hendricks, David Miller, Anrich Nortje, Andile Phehlukyao, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, George Linde.Match Starts 7 pm IST.Also Read | Talent or no talent, you can’t let the team down: Ravi Shastri on Rishabh PantAlso Read | Rishabh Pant phenomenal but tends to get a bit ahead of himself: Lance Klusener