Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Music, talent, cornhole and fun at Sunset - get tickets

Why is there a 3in1 Fest

Last year, we had a wonderful event at Sunset Hill called Prayz Dayz. We worked to raise some funds for Spring Valley Shelter while also providing an enjoyable time for the community. We received wonderful feedback from those in attendance. Last September, we began to start planning this year’s event. We found some folks to sponsor and grow the event. Things were looking great!

Then in late March, we felt the swift, sharp blade of the economy when we lost our sponsors, investor and I lost a contract which I was working on full time. It was quite a blow. There was a real desire to continue the event to at least maintain the momentum we had with the music festival, but pulling the pieces together and finding some base backing was challenging.

Then in May, some things started to happen. A local businessman stepped up with some funding to hire bands and reserve the park. Also around that time, I sat in a meeting with several pastors from Valpo. I listened to them talking about the challenges facing some of the churches, the PADS program and New Creation Men’s Center. Even in the difficult situation I found myself, I knew I was in a much better position than those who didn’t have a home for themselves or even a place to sleep each night. I knew the support of my family and my faith was there for me; something many of these men served by PADS and New Creation didn’t have.

I committed myself to doing something to help these men. The newly renamed 3in1 Fest would be a benefit to help tell their story (the story of one of these men) and raise funds for their programs. It only seemed appropriate that the event would use tithing as it’s basis for support. I committed that 10% of the gross proceeds would be given to New Creation. It’s a “first fruits” thing. If I am not committed to living in faith, I am not sure how I can expect my faith to carry me.

3in1 Fest is a designed to be an event anyone can come to. Ticket prices are as low as possible while still trying to cover the event costs. Because of our late start, and the challenges of our economy, sponsorship has been nearly impossible to pull together this year. Even with that, rather than get you there and then gouge you on parking, food and drinks, you can bring in a cooler with refreshments. Parking is free with pre-sale tickets. We will have vendors there with an array of food and treats.

Other vendors, artists and non-profits will be there to share their items and information. Folks from Porter County Parks will help people learn more about Sunset Hill Farm and other county parks to enjoy all-year round.

I hope you will join us for at least some portion of the day. While the many of the artists are Christian praise and worship bands, the blend of music should provide something most people will find enjoyable. Grab a partner, throw some ‘bags and maybe win some money. At the end of the day, I hope people see this as an opportunity to spend some time as friends and families, to be together as a community, absorb some nature and help some people who really need our support.

3in1 Fest is this Saturday, July 31. We’ll be there from 10:30a to 10p with music kicking off around 11 with the (tbd) Showcase.

Pre-sale tickets are available at Tickets TADA!. More information, visit 3in1Fest.com or call RG – (219) 405-3333.

Remember, tickets purchased by Friday include free parking and are discounted.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Tweetup Announcement


Valparaiso, IN. July, 22, 2010 - NWITweetup.com, Northwest Indiana’s social media networking and resource community, will be hosting their first annual Poker Run on July 29th, 2010 from 6pm-9pm+ along north Calumet Ave. in Valparaiso, IN. The poker run will start at Evelyn Bay Coffee Company at 6pm and will end at Billy Jacks Cafe & Bar at 8pm, followed by announcements and the awarding of prizes. Prizes include t-shirts from Valpo Life as well as gift certificates from Evelyn Bay Coffee Company, Phillip’s Ace Hardware, Cartronix and Majestic Jewelers. The grand prize is a Sonos Wireless multi-room music system courtesy of Cartronix.

Multiple drink specials from Billy Jacks Cafe and Bar will begin the mixer, accompanied by a soothing, live acoustic guitar performance from none other than Valparaiso mayor Jon Costas.

For more information, please visit http://www.nwitweetup.com/ or email finn@nwitweetup.com or dave@nwitweetup.com

About NWITweetup.com

NWITweetup is The Region’s community of social media marketers and enthusiasts. By using “tweetups”, NWITweetup helps traditional businesses learn about how to use online marketing to help their businesses, while at the same time providing a stimulating meeting place for area marketers and designers.

To learn more about the ins and outs of social media and online marketing in Northern Indiana, please visit http://www.nwitweetup.com/

Friday, July 16, 2010

Mortgage Blogs abound

Have you noticed that there are a lot of blogs by real estate pros and mortgage lenders? Why is that, and why are they so gosh darn boring?

First, it's an easy way to try and game SEO and hope that customers who are using the internet will find you for some niche keyword. Although frankly far far too many realtors and mortgage lenders write a post about a listing or the market and then walk away for weeks or months.

Second, since those two professions are all about selling yourself and your abilities, they need ways to establish credibility, separate even from their companies.

The are so totally boring though. I read dozens a day, and far too many realtors write about a listing or two a week. That's it, virtually an MLS on wordpress. That's no fun to read. Mortgage lenders try to shoot out daily updates, even my own clients are doing this, and yet so seldom take the time to establish personality or let you into their real world outside of staring at the bond markets.

I want a mortgage lender who has a personality. I want a realtor who is involved in the community and giving back and cares about issues. I'm bored with listings and bond market updates. Anyone else?

I'm working with Rob Rud Mortgage Broker here in Northwest Indiana, and we fell right into that same trap. Posting boring and drab market information. What would make you say "I want to meet with that mortgage guy?" Seriously what would?

Please send a “ Hire @AmyStark ” tweet to @SafeSitter

Safe Sitter® is a 501(c)3 headquartered in Indianapolis that “prepares young adolescents for the profound responsibilities of nurturing and protecting children” They have “almost 900 teaching sites from coast to coast and in England. Each year almost 35,000 young adolescents take the course.” This worthy organization is in the process of hiring a development person. In its 30 year history Safe Sitter has not used traditional fundraising techniques for their operating budget, they have relied on sales from the training courses and grants.

I was recommended for this position by Marilyn Burger, a well-respected fundraising professional in central Indiana who is friends with the Executive Director, Sally Herrholz। After meeting with Sally I learned this is a new position that has yet to be fully defined and that I was among the five possible candidates। I asked her, “Compared to the other four, what is my greatest weakness?” She said, “You have no traditional fundraising in your background”

What I DO have is 20 years in Marketing/PR/Sales in the for-profit world and a Masters in Philanthropic Studies, but no fundraising experience। She then said my greatest strength (comparatively) is my social media experience। This gave me an idea: what if I ran a mini-social media campaign using twitter and asked some of my highly influential social media friends to send a tweet recommendation?

The Safe Sitter website is great and they are already using several social media techniques but they aren't using the tools available, so I set up a @SafeSitter Twitter account for them as a donation. Soon after I was tweeting with Diane Brooks - @TalkToDiane – and I asked her opinion about this twitter campaign. She suggested I first get a buy in from Safe Sitter before tweeting anything.

I met with Sally a couple of days later and gave her this proposal:


Mini-social media campaign:

I will tweet the following message a few times throughout the day:

@NancyMyrland [for example] I'm among the final 5 people being considered for a position at @SafeSitter Would U please send them a "Hire @AmyStark" tweet?

This AWARENESS-RAISING campaign will:

  • Introduce the @SafeSitter brand to my 9,300 + followers (repeatedly as I will be sending out 5-9 individualized tweets per day for the next 3-5 days).

  • Introduce the @SafeSitter brand directly to the influential people who will receive the personalized tweet.

  • Introduce the @SafeSitter brand to all their followers if the recipient sends a tweet as requested.

  • Introduce the @SafeSitter brand repeatedly in the public timeline.

  • Build a small following of well-respected tweeters throughout central Indiana.

  • Introduce the @SafeSitter brand to influential tweeters in major metropolitan areas throughout the U.S. and the world.

  • Give you an idea of my capabilities at building a community online and leveraging the power of just one social media tool.

Cost to Safe Sitter …........... $ 0.00

Return on Investment …......... off the chart

Sally agreed saying, “I see no downside to this, however I cannot promise anything. The Board is in charge of winnowing down the five candidates to two possibilities based on the resumes of the I forwarded to them” My heart sank a bit। If the board is traditional they may not consider my social media skills and connections as valuable.

Somewhat disheartened , I moved forward with the campaign beginning Tuesday, July 13th. If I'm hired this will become a tremendous case study on how to leverage social media connections to gain support during a hiring process. If I am not selected, I will be publicly humiliated and use the case study to demonstrate how NOT to use social media in the hiring process. =) I hope it is the former and not the latter because I believe in their mission. I sent my daughter through the training three years ago and she gained valuable information that will help her not only when she babysits, but also when she becomes a mom.

So what do you think? Would Safe Sitter benefit more from hiring a traditional fundraiser, or a well-connected social media strategist?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

NW Indiana Forum on local opportunities

If you wanted to open a new fast-food restaurant, bakery or gift shop, would you do it in Chicago or Valparaiso, Ind.? What if you wanted to build a new office building?

You’d have to consider a lot of factors, but there’s one area in which Valparaiso would probably win out: property taxes.

Indiana state law forbids property taxes of higher than 3 percent of a commercial property’s market value. Chicago, of course, doesn’t.

Don Koliboski, regional director of economic development for the Northwest Indiana Forum, wasn’t shy about promoting this property tax cap when he and I were discussing the benefits for businesses moving to Northwest Indiana, that swath of the state that stretches from the Chicago/Indiana border and runs through LaPorte County and to the border of Michigan.

It’s an area that some businesses may have overlooked, and it often gets lumped into the Chicago market. But Koliboski said that the region offers its own set of benefits to any businesses that want to open shop there. For one thing, there’s the property tax cap. But Northwest Indiana also boasts a skilled labor force, many trained from their work in the area’s steel mills; a low cost of living; and a great location served by road and rail.

It’s why the region’s Porter and LaPorte counties have seen commercial growth even during the down times of the recession, Koliboski said.

“We have a very business-friendly environment here,” Koliboski told me. “That’s what we sell.”

So far, that sales pitch seems to be working. As always, it’s nice to hear of a Midwest region that’s actually doing well in these challenging economic times.

Conversations that last

One really amazing thing about online communication is that the conversations can go on for days, weeks, even years. In the specific case I'm referring to, I wrote a post Who's Who in NW Indiana Blogging that was commented heavily here but the convo also went out to twitter's #nwindiana stream.

Eventually the initial comments died down, but there was a lasting impression left that a few of the bloggers didn't like my summaries of their sites.

Today I run into this post: When your 3rd grade YMCA coach thinks he’s Phil Jackson

Which although very funny, is also equally brutal toward one of those bloggers. How to bring about collaboration then? That's really the goal right? Help everyone see ways to work together towards greater economic activity and innovation. Anyone have any ideas, do we need a beer summit between Coach Lee and The Synergizer? (yeah the energizer bunny was the only photo idea I could come up with)