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?
From my friends at Ipadpalooza! For anybody with a story to tell, there is a powerful and accessible tool with you at all times. Your Apple iOS Device! Whether you have access to an iPad. iPad Mini, iPhone, or iPod Touch, you now have a “handheld film studio!”
That’s why we’re super excited to announce the first ever iPadpalooza Youth Film Festival: an iOS video contest created just for K-12 students. We are challenging students from Kindergarten through 12th grade to produce a two to four minute short narrative, documentary, or animation/stop-motion video. You must produce your video exclusively on an iOS device. That means you must shoot, edit, and export your video from an iOS device.
We will choose the top five videos from each of the following categories: elementary school, middle school, & high school, and feature them in a special iPadpalooza Youth Film Festival screening at the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, Texas on Wednesday, June 18th from 6pm-9pm. The top three videos, one from each category, will advance and be featured in a special presentation at the closing of iPadpalooza 2014 (2:30 pm on June 19th) where great prizes will be awarded to the 1st, 2nd, & 3rd place winners!
More here: http://ipadpalooza.com/youth-film-festival/
That’s not an order. It’s a request. I’ll be speaking about Digital /Social Strategy as well as the ethics of crowdfunding. In fact we will try and crowdshape the first “bill of rights” for crowdfunding consumers LIVE in our session. Would love to have everyone attend! SXSW is also featuring my book in their bookstore, “The Future of Nonprofits: Innovate and Thrive in the Digital Age.”
I’ll also be hosting the official SXSW Nonprofit and Social Innovation Meetup. Either way come say hello.
Ethics and the Future of Crowdfunding for Community
The Official SXSW Nonprofit and Social Innovation Meetup
Are you ready? Public voting will be open February 28th through March 10th! Winners will be announced live at this year’s NTEN conference in Washington D.C. on March 13th.
The National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture in partnership with the National Youth Media Network & with support from The National Association for Media Literacy Education Nickelodeon, AFI Docs and Lights. Camera. Help, will also provide the following prizes to the winner of the new Youth Media category:
- Lights.Camera.Help – will screen all four of the finalist films at their 2014 Festival
- AFI DOCS film festival - will provide two festival passes for 2014: one for the winning filmmaker and one for the filmmaker’s mentor from the facilitating nonprofit
- Nickelodeon- will award a $3,000 cash prize to the award-winning film’s nonprofit
- In addition to prizes provided by Cisco and the National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture, contest winners will receive free registration to the Nonprofit Technology Conference, the signature event hosted by the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN). Zacuto will also provide a $500 gift card to the winner of the Funny for Good category.
In interesting news for the nonprofit industry in Central Texas, Greenlights and Innovation+ have merged. Greenlights, Central Texas’ leading nonprofit consulting, training and research organization, and Innovation+, the Austin member of the international Social Venture Partners (SVP) network, announced today that they have completed a definitive agreement to merge. The merger creates a leading organization supporting and strengthening our nonprofit, social venture, and philanthropic communities, focused on bringing solutions to Central Texas’ biggest social problems. Innovation+ will be formally integrated as a program of Greenlights, and the merged organization will remain the Central Texas member of SVP.
“We look forward to leveraging the vision and expertise of Innovation+ to enhance Greenlights’ commitment to strengthening Central Texas through the power of nonprofits,” says Matt Kouri, President and Executive Director of Greenlights, “Together with Innovation+, we have an opportunity to make a transformational impact on this community.”
I love to see one of my favorite local nonprofits orgs evolving into this area of social innovation. I hope that future accelerators in the Greenlights world include not only nonprofits, but social innovation or social good companies. Examples of this are AuntBertha.com, DeedVine.com and Connect2Good.
More from our friend Matt: