A Giving Story: What’s Your Name?

By John StarksQuestion  

For the past year and a half I’ve been living in Midtown Kansas City. During that time I’ve had assorted interactions with people surviving on the streets in that area. Very few of those interactions have been negative. Sometimes when people having a hard time ask for money, I give. Sometimes I don’t, it depends on a hundred different factors and I’d never claim to be the perfect citizen. However, on one occasion I was moved to consider something besides to give or not to give.

As I was settling into my new neighborhood, I would see one particular guy out on the street a lot, especially in the summer. He’d be walking up and down a major thoroughfare, panhandling outside fast food places, or catching some z’s in the shade. Usually, he wore no shirt or shoes.

One morning before work I was waiting in line at a drive through fast food place right next to my apartment. Not far from the window, this guy was sort of crouched against the building panhandling. My immediate reaction was to feel defensive; I felt it was a boldfaced strategy. At the same time, his manner was fairly passive. When I pulled up to where he sat, I rolled down my window and gave 50 cents or a dollar, nothing much. There was a pause and I waited for my food to come out, I was thinking to myself, I don’t know anything about this guy.

“What’s your name,” I asked.

“Jacob,” the guy said. (I changed his name for this story)

“My name’s John,” I said, and shook his hand.

“You know, this truck’ll last you a long time,” Jacob said. “These smaller ones hold up better than those big ones.” And from there we talked about my dad’s truck which I was borrowing, killing the time in a friendly manner. I didn’t give him a whole lot to survive off of financially, but what we both gained out of the interaction was a bit more relationship, a connection with another person in the neighborhood.

It’s easy to feel disconnected from people in the city with all the random interactions we have with strangers we probably won’t see again. Especially this time of year, connection can mean a lot for someone struggling. “What’s your name” is a simple question that sparks connection.

 I talked with Jacob once or twice after that. The first time he didn’t recall me which is understandable. Now that the colder months are rolling in I hardly see him out there, but I haven’t forgotten the few simple interactions we had. I still don’t really know that much about him. I don’t know where he’s from, or what his family is like if he has one, or what the story of his life is all about. But I do at least recognize him as a person with a name. The last time I saw him, my girlfriend and I stopped at a somewhat seedy gas station nearby and he was outside.

I said to her, “you see that guy over there?”

“Yeah? Who is he?”

“His name is Jacob.”

Our New Neighbors

By:  Jennifer McGlothen

The BBB offices have been located in the building at 8080 Ward Parkway for over 10 years.  During that time, tenants have come and gone.  Also during that time our staff has developed relationships with some of the organizations that are housed there.

Last year we saw activity that told us we were getting a new neighbor, right on our same floor, right next to us. Construction workers were in and out. Day to day it was interesting to watch a door being cut from one place in the hallway, the hole closed, dry walled and re-wallpapered, and then see a new door a bit farther down.  It reminded me of that saying “when one door closes, another opens.”

Opening doors of education~K C Scholars - Open Doors

Our new neighbor is the kind of neighbor everyone should know about. They help open doors that may have been closed. KC Scholars is a new scholarship and college savings program that will help low and modest income students, as well as adult learners finance and complete a college education. Since I work with charitable organizations, I really looked forward to walking down the hall to meet with Executive Director Beth Tankersley-Bankhead to learn more.

Dr. Tankersley-Bankhead steered the program through incubation at Kauffman Foundation and became executive director as it achieved it’s own 501c3 status.  She was a delight to talk to!  Her genuine passion for education shines through with warmth and kindness.  Achieving post secondary education is becoming a reality for more people through her leadership, along with other community based leaders and committees, and continued support from Kauffman Foundation.

“By 2020, two out of three jobs will require more than a high school diploma.  In Kansas City, there aren’t nearly enough high school graduates entering college and completing their degree to meet those job demands.”

K C Scholars is helping to close this gap by offering three college scholarship opportunities:

  • Traditional Scholarship – Awarded in 11th grade
  • Adult Learners
  • College Savings Match – Awarded in 9th grade

KC Scholars partners with 17 colleges and universities.

K C Scholars Schools

(Not represented in this photo:  Avila University, , Lincoln University, Park University and University of Missouri-Kansas City)

In May of 2017, the Kansas City Star published an article about the first class of K C Scholars.K C Star KC Scholars Image

All students, regardless of income, age, or ethnicity, deserve an opportunity to earn a college degree and get a good job.  This is the work of K C Scholars and it is carried out by a super nice staff. We know because they are our new neighbors!! You can support this work by donating to fund scholarships and / or by serving as a scholarship reviewer.

 

KC Scholars

BBB in the News

by Aaron Reese

BBB is often interviewed by the TV and radio stations, magazines and even podcasts to share  tips, background information, advice, recommendations and much else. Though most of the radio interviews are not transcribed online, TV appearances are often included in digital content. In August, we shared tips with every news station about donating to hurricane relief.

Here is what the BBB has been up to in the news lately.

Oct 16, 2017 – Jonathan Horn from KSHB 41 shares BBB advice when writing about a new ransomware scam. It claims credit card numbers stored on your PC are being distributed to scammers. The only way to fix the issue is to call a number that pops up on your computer. Then the scammers will talk you into spending your money.

Sept 27, 2017 – Cat Reid from KSHB 41 interviewed BBB Representative Aaron Reese about puppy scams.

Sept 12, 2017 – Linda Wagar of Fox 4 Problem Solvers writes about F-rated Swingin V Fence. The BBB has now received two complaints on the business. Neither have received a response from Swingin V Fence.

Aug 31, 2017 – Journalists Ethan Weston and Gabrielle Ware recommend the BBB Wise Giving Alliance to check out charities before you donate to disaster relief.

Aug 30, 2017 – Alyssa Donovan interviews BBB representative Aaron Reese about Hurricane Harvey relief and how best to donate to good causes.

Aug 29, 2017 – Angie Ricono from KCTV5 interviews BBB about hurricane relief scams.

August 28, 2017 – Journalist John Matarese recommends that potential donors check out BBB Tips when giving money to hurricane relief.

July 27, 2017 –  Kansas City Star journalists Donna McGuire and Judy L. Thomas interview BBB about Party Buses, their potential dangers and the worst offender in Kansas City.

July 14, 2017 – Belinda Post from KSHB 41 interviews BBB about how best to recover money from a bridal store that has gone under.

June 12, 2017 – Melissa Stern of WDAF Fox 4 writes about the owner of F-rated BOSS Construction, David Rosales, operates under additional names, Dream Home Construction and Dash Services

Jun 5, 2017 – Emily Rittman and Nick Sloan from KCTV5 reference BBB Complaints when talking about Vantage Point Exteriors, an F-rated business being investigated for financial exploitation of the elderly.

 

Creating Social Media Content That Builds Trust and Sales

by Kimberly Beer, Guest Blogger

Kim Beer Seminars & Midnight Productions (A BBB Accredited Business)

Building trust is one of the top goals in a good relationship marketing program. When you focus on creating trust and maintaining trust — you focus on making the relationship you share with your consumer as positive as possible so they feel comfortable buying from you the first time and every time. You also keep customers encouraged to share your business with their friends and associates as a reliable, trusted solution. Trust creates an environment that promotes three key sales success factors: conversion, longevity, and endorsement. To capitalize on these factors, you need to create a social media content marketing strategy that supports trust.

Social media is one of the primary elements you can rely on to build this type of trust in your consumers through marketing — especially that initial trust which happens before the first decision to buy occurs. It gives consumers a “preview” of the type of business experience they can expect to have with your organization.

Although, that seems kind of odd, right? That social media would build trust? Especially if you’re looking at any social media newsfeed right now. Social media is plagued with false stories, spam posts and the constant regeneration of posts that use scare tactics to conjure sharing … and then there’s the “trick” stories designed as “click-bait” which lead to nothing but popup ads sprouting out of your phone like poisonous mushrooms.

Nose

Trust seems to be the last thing social media should create.

Yet, for your brand, trust and social media go hand-in-hand. People inherently trust what they read online despite all the warnings, and blatant evidence, to the contrary. This is partly due to the relationships people have built online with friends and associates in places such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, email and more. Keyboards and smart phones are the new picket fence over which we share our lives. Trust Puzzle Pieces

Friends

Social media is rooted in building relationships. The relationships between one friend and another friend; the relationship between consumer and business; and, here’s the missing ingredient from most social marketing recipes— the relationship between the human experience and inspiration.

Consumers actively do research on things they want to buy, companies they want to hire, and concepts they want to employ. The large part of the focus in that research is to answer questions like: Is this a good company? Is this right for me? What are people saying about the company, product, service, cause? What are the benefits to me? How can this make my life better or satisfy a need? Can I trust this company?

Where do people go to get this information? Online, of course, where information is so readily available — Google, websites, ezines, and the like, are all there with the answers to their queries, reviews, and recommendations. Social media is a critical part of that online environment. In fact, social media makes a huge impact on consumer buying decisions. Which is why it’s such a hot topic and keeps me booked as a speaker!

In the past, I have had clients respond to my advice to create and maintain an active social media presence by saying they don’t want to participate in social media. I’ve also heard this same notion from attendees

at some of my workshops. Their reasons for wanting to avoid social media are varied, and some are even well-founded. It is annoying at times. It does consume a lot of your time. And, you do have to play by rules you may not like. There’s only one problem with ignoring social media marketing: their — and your — brand is participating in social media marketing with or without them (or you)! Thankfully, most business owners now understand this and so they want to build utilize social media to build a positive influence for their brand.

Since we all know we should be using it, this begs the question: why are so many people not using social marketing more effectively? My workshop attendees report regularly struggling with building a trustworthy, sales oriented online presence via social media and email marketing.

I think the disconnect comes in not knowing how social marketing truly works. Business owners are offered up a lot of strategy and tactics and recipes in classes, books, and workshops, but very rarely do those cover the true HOW to do it — or, for that matter, the WHY. A lot of the how comes in understanding the why of social media — why it works, why it is used and the way consumers rely on it to make purchases.

Let’s start with a simple face: social marketing is rooted in building relationships. This is the reason people come to social media outlets such as Facebook

— and it is what makes it effective as a marketing medium. Think of the typical relationships in social media: the relationship between one friend and another friend; the relationship between consumer and business; and, here’s the missing ingredient from most social marketing recipes— the relationship between the human experience and inspiration.

Social media draws on all three of these relationships concurrently making it of huge impact in that perfect storm that becomes the trust factor. Ask yourself this: if a friend or colleague or trusted business recommends a product or service you want, how much more likely are you to buy that product or service? Much more likely, right?

In other words, stop focusing so much on selling through social media or email and start focusing on people and building a trusting relationship. A solid relationship will hold and endure, where as a single sales experience may be fleeting and hard to duplicate.

Think, for example, of the three relationships I mentioned above …

A friend to friend relationship creates trust — and

desire — through social proof. If we know our friends are using or interacting or being inspired by a specific product, service, or cause, we will find that product, service, or cause more worthy of our attention. Before social media, this interaction took place almost exclusively in person — sometimes quite literally over the backyard picket fence, sometimes over a cup of coffee, sometimes at a party. Being online waters down the effect slightly, but it’s still very influential.

A consumer to business online relationship creates trust though visibility and consistency. If we see the businesses we have utilized or want to utilize on a regular basis, we, as consumers, are more likely to use that business. Think of this: if you drive past a grocery store everyday on your way to work, you’re really more likely to stop at that store. Convenience may account for part of that, but top of mind is also critical. That’s why we always hear about “location, location, location.” In the digital world, the same concept applies every time a consumer sees a business name cross their newsfeed.

The relationship between humans and inspiration is the medium by which the two previous relationships grow and interact. We, as part of the human experience, inherently want to be inspired. We want to have opportunities. We want to express ourselves. We want to be informed. We want both to pay attention and to be paid attention to. Businesses who understand this — who inspire, pay attention to, and encourage their customers are more likely to be successful.

Obviously, inspiration — along with expression and information — is important in this equation. But, how does that translate to your business and marketing?

In a word: content.

Content

I know you’ve heard that word before. By now you probably realize that content is incredibly important. BUT, what the heck is it and how the heck do you use it?

Here is what I know: Most business owners have only a vague notion of how to utilize content and even fewer have any idea of how to create it or utilize it. If you’re one of these folks, you are definitely NOT alone. It seems “content” often falls into the realm of fairy dust — hard to even imagine let alone capture and use.

Let’s start with a broad definition: Content is the stuff you share to inspire your followers. Although it’s not fairy dust, it can be magic to your marketing.

To make it more concrete, we can replace the word “stuff” in our definition of content with any of a number of things: articles, blog posts, videos, white papers, tip sheets, how-tos. The list here is virtually endless. If we replace the “share” with the word “publish,” then that sentence may make more sense. Share is a word we tend to use with Social Media because “share” is a more social concept than “publish.”

Fairy Dust
It seems “content” often falls into the realm of fairy dust — hard to even imagine let alone capture and use.

As a seminar speaker, coach, and consultant to small businesses on their marketing, I can tell you without a doubt that “content” trips up a lot of people. Because they trip over it, they avoid it. Because they avoid it, they are not as successful in their online marketing.

Now, let me help you stop tripping over using content marketing as a tactic on social media and in your email marketing.

I want to drop back to the issue of trust for a moment before I go there, however. I would like for you to consider seven basic concepts for creating trust in social media marketing. They are:

  1. Relate at a situation level. Commiserate with customers on the catalyst that brought them to you in the first place. Empathize, seek to understand, and comfort them in their struggles and in the solutions.
  1. Demonstrate social proof. Share stories, testimonials, and case studies.
  1. Be transparent. Don’t hide the important information such as your phone number, buying processes, location, warnings, concerns, etc.
  1. Display confidence, but with humility. Don’t bash your competition, but do show thorough information and inspiration how your brand is set apart. It’s best if you do this with honesty, integrity, and the freest flow of information you are willing to provide. Know and share your statistics and numbers that can be verified.

If they’re different from the competition’s marketing, explain why.

  1. Follow-through and engagement. When someone responds, respond back. This is oddly enough one of the most overlooked and underutilized components of social marketing. Remember a digital relationship follows all the same rules as a physical one — if you don’t respond, it’s rude and will be construed that way.
  1. Have a guarantee — or barring that, a return/ refund policy. State it — and state it often.
  1. Enable your customers and staff as a community. Engage and empower the community you create to build, share, and further your business with ease.

Now back to the content …

You can use any of these concepts as a base for your content. Take any one of them and create or curate something that works for that concept.

Example: Be transparent. Create a post with your contact information that’s entitled, Just in Case You Need Us, We’re Here! Add your hours.

Example: Relate to your customers situation. Write a blog post about your experience when you were at the same place they’re at now.

Example: Social proof. Post or email a testimonial.

Example: Follow-up and engagement. Create an email or post responding to a question you answered for a customer that day.

Content does not have to be difficult. It also does not have to be original. You can share (curate) posts and blogs and videos, etc. that have been created by others but support your consumer base in understanding and being inspired.

One final piece of advice: Be consistent. Show up on social media regularly. Engage and respond regularly. Disappearing and then reappearing — or worse — not showing up at all is damaging to your social media marketing as much as it is to building trust. It’s not the end of the world, but every time you avoid creating content or stop creating content, it sets you back a little. SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Facebook’s algorithm, and more depend on consistency to maintain rank and presence on digital media.

Kimberly Beer is a marketing consultant, coach and speaker. Visit her online at KimBeerSeminars.com.  She is conducting a FREE WEBINAR, “Marketing To Build Trust” for the BBB of Greater Kansas City on Wednesday, October 25th, from 11:30-12:30 PM.  REGISTER HERE!

Trust Dial.png

 

BBB Tips: Identity Theft

By:  Council of Better Business Bureaus

Protecting your identity is largely your own responsibility. The first rule of ID protections is:  if you don’t need it, destroy it – responsibly

Better Business Bureau of Greater Kansas, AARP-Missouri and Office of the Kansas Attorney General have partnered to offer a free shred event. BBB’s across the country are hosting shred events in support of “Secure Your ID Day”.  For a by state list of events, click here.

Everyday Habits to Safeguard Your Identity 

Scams are designed to either steal your money now, or steal your identity now in order to steal your money later. Scammers have all kinds of techniques to collect personally identifiable information (PII). Once they have it, they can effectively become you, using your identity to open accounts, file taxes, or obtain medical coverage.

How the Scam Works:

With enough information about you, a scammer can take over your identity and commit a wide range of crimes. Scammers can make false applications for loans and credit cards, withdraw money from your bank account, or obtain services that the scammer would otherwise be denied.

Identity theft may take a long time to detect. Scammers typically ensure that bills and statements for new accounts are not sent to your address. You may not notice what is happening until the scammer has already inflicted substantial damage on your assets, credit, and reputation.

If you believe you are a victim of identity theft, it is very important to act quickly.      In the U.S., visit www.identitytheft.gov for information on how to stop and recover from identity theft. In Canada, the Anti-Fraud Centre has information on identity theft.

Tips to Spot This Scam:

  • Look for unexplained withdrawals, charges, and accounts.When reviewing your bank account, credit card statements, or credit reports, you notice unfamiliar charges, accounts or withdrawals. You may stop receiving certain bills because scammers have changed the address associated with your bank account or credit card. Debt collectors may call you about debts that aren’t yours.
  • Check your credit reports regularly for unauthorized inquiries and accounts.In the U.S., you have the right to check your credit report with each of the three credit bureaus once per year at annualcreditreport.com.      Space these checks out across the year, and you will know fairly quickly if something is awry. In Canada, the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada provides information on requesting a free credit report.

To report a scam, go to BBB Scam Tracker.

To learn how to protect yourself, go to “10 Steps to Avoid Scams”.

 

Employee Spotlight: Cherie Reese, Vice President

By Dustin Johnson

Cherie Reese is the current Vice President of the BBB of Greater Kansas City. She has been with the BBB since 1993, starting from a complaint specialist and working her way through many roles. Her passion is helping people avoid scams and promoting good trustworthy business practices.

Cherie has many hobbies, one of her favorites would be S.C.U.B.A. diving and she has traveled to a few choice destinations to enjoy underwater sites. She helped start a dive shop in Lee’s Summit, Missouri and also helped start a computer software company to help companies become Y2K compliant. Other hobbies are art, painting and sketching, visiting museums, going to festivals and exploring new restaurants. Spending time with mother, Jean Young, two sons Steve and Aaron Reese and two grandsons, Nikolas and Zackery Reese is very important to Cherie. Marley, the bichon dog, is definitely part of the family and demands play time as soon as she walks through the door.

Cherie and her significant other, Steve, love to find new restaurants and try new dishes. Traveling to the Lake of the Ozarks, staying at their cabin, and inviting people to share the fun with, is something they also love.

How Does BBB Accreditation Help Charities?

By Jennifer McGlothen

Before we answer that question, let’s affirm that the Better Business Bureau offers accreditation to charitable organizations. Yes, we do! That is a little known fact about BBB services.

It may also be a surprise to know that only about 30% of donors do any research before donating to a charity, which leaves an overwhelming majority vulnerable to scams. Several sources state that charity fraud is on the rise.  It certainly doesn’t help that the IRS has a simplified version of the application form for tax exempt status for some groups, and also reduced the processing fee.  So, the number of new charities is rising dramatically.  It is vitally important that information is available to help donors make wise giving decisions. Equally important is for organizations to be accountable and transparent in providing this information. BBB Charity Review is a solution on both counts.

The charity review program of the Kansas City BBB began in 2009. Since 2012 when I came on board, one of the main challenges that I hear about from organizations is how to build awareness. BBB Charity Review can also help charities in this area. The BBB brand is strong, recognizable and communicates trust.

Charity review is a free service, providing an avenue for charities to demonstrate accountability and for donors to make informed giving decisions. We produce reports about local / regional charities, evaluating them against  comprehensive BBB Wise Giving Alliance Standards for Charity Accountability.

What is the BBB Wise Giving Alliance?

BBB WGA reports on nationally soliciting charities that the public has most often asked about as well as charities that request to be evaluated. Give.org reports on about 1,300 nationally soliciting charities. In addition, about half of the 112 Better Business Bureaus in the United States and Canada (Kansas City BBB being one of them) cumulatively produce reports on over 10,000 locally soliciting charities using the same BBB Charity Standards as BBB WGA. Charities can be searched at give.org.

How does a charity become accredited?

A great first step is to review the BBB Charity Accountability Standards to make sure your organization is prepared to meet them. Here are abbreviated infographics to get a basic visual overview of the standards.  Please visit How We Accredit Charities for details.Standards Infographics Poster

Next step is to submit an enrollment form at https://www.give.org/enroll-your-charity?BureauID=0674 , after which access to our online questionnaire based on the standards is provided.

The questionnaire is completed, financial statements, an annual report and samples of fundraising appeals are uploaded.  After evaluation, BBB provides an initial review and where possible works with an organization to allow an opportunity to meet any standards not met. A charity must meet all 20 standards covering governance, effectiveness, finances and fundraising for accreditation.  A draft report is provided for review prior to publishing.

As long as a charity meets all standardsthere is the OPTION to license the seal for use on the organization’s website and fundraising materials. The licensing fee is annual, $125, $225 or $325 depending on organization revenue. All accredited charities are included in promotional efforts of the Kansas City BBB, whether they license the seal or not.

Here’s what staff members of accredited organizations have to say:

Assistance League of Kansas CityAssistance League of Kansas City® fulfills specific unmet needs of children and adults in the Kansas City area through ten philanthropic programs developed, funded and operated by dedicated volunteers and community partners.

“BBB accreditation adds tremendous credibility for our business, The RESALE Shop, which is our main fundraiser for our programs, and also helped us with transparency to our donors.”

~ Cindy McGinnis, Strategic Planning Chairman

Angel Flight Central serves people in need by arranging charitable flights for health afc-logocare or other humanitarian purposes.  

“The review process was, and continues to be an OUTSTANDING exercise for our organization to go through – and regardless of the outcome, we are operating more efficiently, effectively and transparently as a result of the review questions.  The challenge attracts great conversation, planning and continuous evolving. It’s a low-cost, healthy exercise that can only lead to positive results.  We very much look forward to utilizing all of BBB’s resources for our daily operations.  Highly recommended for all non-profit organizations!”

~Brendan Sneegas, Director of Outreach & Development

First Call Alcohol / Drug Prevention & Recovery  It is the mission of First Call to reduce firstcall_logo_epsthe impact of alcohol, drugs and addiction by providing quality resources to individuals, families and the community.

“In 2014, First Call Alcohol/Drug Prevention & Recovery applied and became a Better Business Bureau Accredited Charity. As a non-profit we believe it is very important to stay transparent to both the people we serve and the people who support our work. The BBB Charity Accreditation process provides a robust look at the work of nonprofit agencies. From financials to governing boards to the services agencies provide, you can find all of the information on their Review Page. With our 60th anniversary coming next year, we feel it is vital to ensure the citizens of the Kansas City Metro learn about us in as many ways as possible, and the BBB Charity Accreditation is an important part of this mission.”

~Melissa Gard, Administrative & Operations Manager

To view BBB accredited Kansas City charities click here.

Back to our title question, we are hopeful that the comments of our accredited charities have provided answers. And if that’s not enough, here are more reasons why BBB charity accreditation is a cost-effective marketing tool that should not be overlooked.

  • 98% of the public is familiar with the BBB brand
  • Strengthens overall operations
  • Demonstrates commitment to accountability beyond legal requirements
  • Reassures donors that contributions are used effectively
  • Attracts new donors
  • Free of charge

Whether you’re a donor, board member or on staff at a charitable organization, we hope you’ll find reason to be familiar with the BBB Wise Giving Alliance and BBB Charity Review.  Go to give.org for more information.