That is one of many, many questions a new City of Austin committee has been tasked to answer. Luckily a smart group of people has been pulled together to answer this question. That group includes me (strangely enough) and I’ve decided to blog about the process. Consider me your inside FOIA person. The committee has been pulled together by the City of Austin Chief Information Officer and is called…ready for this….The Strategic Advisory Group for Community Service, Volunteerism and Philanthropy. What’s the acronym for that?
Austin’s in need of a serious reboot of what we do around all three of those . Why? Well Austin’s on a downward slide for volunteering. Since 2007 we have moved from 5th to 41st on volunteer hours. And as Monica Williams (who joins me on the committee) put it’s in her editorial in her latest issue of GivingCity “Where have all the leaders gone?”
Take a look and let me know what you think. I’ll update you as the committee takes shape and defines a clear vision.
Long time, no talk! In fact I almost let this domain name expire. Life has been insane (which you have seen if you follow me anywhere else). The latest change? Well it’s time for the Fourth Annual Lights. Camera. Help. Film Festival. And that’s happening the same month that my consulting gig just got acquired by PwC. That’s right. What an insane month. But never fear dear reader. This blog is making a come back. Stay tuned for a great ten part series on top trends in nonprofit technology…..coming soon!
Thanks for reading!
A special guest post from our friend Ehren Foss over @ helpattack.
Last month we took some time to plot the history of social media fundraising, and summarized our findings into 10 hard-won lessons of raising money on social networks. It’s relatively easy, with hindsight, to look into the past. But what about the future? What might happen in 2012, or 2015, as more organizations look to their online communities for additional support?
#1 Rewards for Sharing Content
It was tough not to use the biz-speak “incentivize” content in the headline, but this is a very important, and not well understood, part of online campaigns. When Ashton Kutcher donated $1 per MySpace follower to Habitat for Humanity in 2006, he was basically saying “If you follow me, I’ll reward you with the good feeling of knowing another $1 went to a cause you support.”
That basic model continues today – Southwest Airlines gave $1 per #SWAAFF hashtag, Pepto Bismol gave 8 Thanksgiving meals per retweet, and on HelpAttack! organizations like Progress Texas and the Electronic Frontier Foundation are using the Tweets of certain users to drive support.
I think we’re just scratching the surface. As the internet evolves, the cost and difficulty of tracking certain kinds of online actions continues to drop. Thanks to open data interfaces and great tools, we can easily count Flickr uploads, blog comments, YouTube uploads, online gaming achievements, every time someone opens an email or links to a certain URL.
- What if an organization asked their supporters to write a blog post about how that organization has helped them, while a matching donor contributes $10 per blog post? Those people will probably link to the organization in their posts too, improving search engine rankings.
- What if Occupy Wall Street, fighting for mainstream media attention and funds, had asked armchair supporters to give 1c, 5c, or 25c each time #OccupyWallStreet is mentioned on Twitter? As more people participate with donations, the incentive to use the hashtag increases, so more people use the tag, so more people hear about the campaign, and so on.
- What if, instead of those weird, inspiration chain letter emails your aunt always sends you, you receive an email from her where she tells you she’s agreed to give $10 to an organization you support, only if you forward the email to 10 people you know, and they open it?
In these three examples, donations, or potential donations, are used to urge people to take certain actions online. When you those actions up, they can have huge benefits!
#2 Online Currencies
Currently, each organization, or third party tool, that handles your donation has a different donation infrastructure set up. Some use PayPal, some use Authorize.net, some use FirstGiving. This is why you have to enter your credit card again and again! Once you have your payment details stored, you can start using “Give Now” buttons (like Amazon’s One Click Shopping). These gateways also have different minimum donations, policies for tax deductions, currencies, and international policies. It’s confusing!
At some point, someone will figure out how to make this easier for donors worldwide. That someone, rather than being a donation company, will probably be Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Google, BitCoin, or maybe even Weibo. Apple is notoriously stubborn on the issue, but at some point one of these companies will decide that the benefits of helping society, alongside those of cause marketing and corporate social responsibility, outweigh the benefits of collecting 30% of Facebook Credits or iTunes transactions going to a verified nonprofit or NGO.
Online currencies make it easier to give micro-donations, across borders, in creative ways that harness the social power of the internet. Start looking at the size of those communities versus the cost of implementing donations to your cause in that medium. Worth it yet? It will be.
#3 Respect Your Elders
Billions of dollars of knowledge, infrastructure, study, and effort have gone into direct mail fundraising. The online medium is fundamentally different, but many of the lessons, techniques, and best practices apply in extremely similar ways.
Direct mail pieces are costly to produce: You need to design them, test them, print them, track them, and handle the responses. I think we’ll see more online “pieces” like Apps, Facebook tabs, and websites, that are more involved, costly, and higher quality than what we’ve seen so far, because organizations can invest what they would have spent on postage in a richer online experience.
The direct mail professionals who are retiring are an extremely valuable resource. They know that sometimes you have to spend money to make money, and they know how to track every last little detail. Go out for coffee and learn about the kinds of things you’ll be doing online in 5 years.
We aren’t the only ones guessing what might happen in the future of online fundraising, and remember that most pundits are wrong most of the time. What do you think will happen in the year 2017?
It’s that time of year again! This year I need you help supporting some great folks who have some very cool stories to tell.
The first panel I would love your vote on is all about herding your internal employees and using the power of internal social collaboration networks to make that happen. The next panel is how big brands have their legal and social media teams working together to get content out faster than ever.
Both are full of great speakers, best practices and case studies. Take a second and do the following:
1) Vote THUMBS UP on both of the panels
2) Leave a comment on both panels.
3) Look on the right side of the pages and tweet/facebook out your favorite out of the two!
Our friends at NTEN have released a new NTEN CHANGE journal. This one is concentrating on what’s going on with mobile trends and mobile strategy across the nonprofit sector. If you are not familiar the NTEN CHANGE journal was established in 2011 to address the strategic and practical considerations nonprofit leadership staff and board members need to make in order to make sound investments and effective planning decisions that will help their nonprofit organizations achieve their missions.
Each issue includes case studies, in-depth articles, practical tips for applying tools and strategies, leader profiles, and community feedback. Contributors to the journal include experts in the nonprofit and technology sectors and members of the NTEN community (who are also experts!).
“Testing the Waters With Mobile Technology: What You and Your Peers are Finding”, by Kyle Henri Andrei, Idealware.
“A Mobile Silent Auction”, Josh Hirsch, The Weiss School.
“Three Things You Should Know About Your Mobile Supporters” from Claire Kerr, Artez Interactive.
“Leadership Cheat Sheet: 10 Steps for Planning Your Nonprofit App”, from Allyson Kapin, Rad Campaign.
“Case Study: Mobility and Program Delivery”, Headway Emotional Health Services.
Grab it here: http://www.nten.org/ntenchange
Looks like my friends at nonprofit webinars have fired up the education engine again.
They are offering free educational opportunities for Nonprofit Professionals and Trustees!
Nonprofit Webinars, part of the soon to be launch 4Good platform, hosts free webinars each week covering all aspects of nonprofit strategy.
- Learn about governance, marketing, fundraising, grants and more.
- Attend webinars live and interact with expert top-tier leaders.
- Learn at your own pace from a library of videos and slide decks from past webinars.
Webinars are offered throughout the year, with Tech Tuesdays focusing on software and technology to help your organization be successful, andWednesday
The City of Austin is looking for ways in increase volunteerism across the city. As volunteers that have already found meaningful volunteer opportunities, you know that volunteers are directly taking action to solve our community challenges.
To create the most useful tools for volunteers, we would like your thoughts on your own volunteer experience. Please fill out the following short survey by THE END OF JUNE. Your answers will help us develop programs to improve your volunteer experience, support organizations you care about, and introduce new volunteers to impactful opportunities.