If you’re new to nonprofit communicatons, fundraising or technology , here are 10 top resources you should know about:
Nonprofit Technology Network (NTen) - As a long term member, I’ve learned through webinars, local 501 tech meetings, attending the annual conference and participating in a wonderful , supportive community
Idealware - Wondering what software is best for your needs? Laura Quinn’s Idealware offers impartial reports and low priced webinars to help you decide.
Beth’s Blog – Beth Kanter taught us how important social media was before it became mainstream. Her insights are always insightful.
Does your nonprofit struggle to measure the impact of your work? Is the main reason you collect data to satisfy grant requirements? Do you have data but then not take the time to use it when making spending/budgeting or program decisions? According to The State of Nonprofit Data (an Nten Report prepared by Idealware), you’re not alone. This report is well worth your time. (Aso, see Beth Kanter’s take.)
And if you think Nten is just for techies, think again. Many of our ongoing webinars, reports and sessions at our annual Nonprofit Technology Conference are focused on fundraising and how to communicate effectively with your constituents. We also learn from from sharing each other’s successes and failures. And, by the way, you won’t find friendlier people than my colleagues in the Nten community.
Hope you will consider joining Nten. It’s's a great buy to learn from others’ success (and failures), build your network and to learn how to be more effective at your nonprofit.
This week, a friend of mine was invited for a group interview for a prospective job, but not simply to meet many staff members but where multiple candidates would be interviewed together. While this seemed unusual, my guess is that the organization wanted to find out how well she would work with others – not only whether she had the skills to do the job.
Also this week, See3 Communications and Darim Online announced plans to merge, as detailed here. Mergers aren’t that unusual, but I was intrigued by how Darim explained how it had consistently collaborated with other great nonprofit organizations such as Big Duck and Idealware to enable its supporters to succeed in digital communications before deciding to join with See3.
Most of us have been in the situation of having a job fail not because we couldn’t do it, but because we didn’t work well with the existing team. (This is why it’s so important to meet as many people as you can during the interview process.) For nonprofits, it’s equally important to work together with other organizations with compatible missions. After all, it’s really about serving our clients and furthering our cause; that’s why we’re in nonprofit.
While my friend’s ‘group interview’ is a bit unorthodox, I hope she uses it as an opportunity to show how well she can ‘play with others.’ And good luck to Darim & See3! I know people at both organizations and they’ve done great work for our community.
As presenter Paull Young mentioned during his opening remarks, it seemed only fitting yesterday to discuss Charity:Water on a day when heavy rains soaked the NYC area. Despite the harsh weather and the scheduling of the event in mid-July, a capacity crowd attended our monthly 501 Tech NYC meeting held at the NYC Foundation Center.
Even though the organization has only existed for six years, Charity:Water has had amazing results in fundraising, and consistently raises the bar in how nonprofits should communicate with supporters. How do they do so well?
blending traditional fundraising and communications functions, which many nonprofits struggle with. Their focus isn’t only on raising money, it’s on maintaining an ongoing dialogue with constituents to demonstrate the impact of their donations
consistently strong videos and photography to show their work
focus on positive messages, not doom and gloom about the difficulties that many people around the world have in obtaining clean water
ability to learn from mistakes – as Paul said, we ‘do it wrong quickly’
website focuses on story telling, not only on getting donations (although the money comes in anyway)
These are great ideas to take back to your organization. As demonstrated by Paull’s enthusiasm, Charity:Water also thrives by hiring a great staff who are truly engaged in their cause, and who thrive in a flat, team-oriented culture. We can all learn from their success. (See also my post from last year when Paull spoke at Fundraising Day in NYC.)
It’s been an eventful week in New York. First, we were shaken by a rare East Coast earthquake. Then, we were faced with a Hurricane Irene which forced many of us to relocate to higher ground. While not as severe as anticipated, this weekend’s storm has caused massive damage and electrical outages for many. I was extremely lucky; my thoughts are with those who are facing major clean-up efforts.
As might be expected during an event on social media, there was an active stream on Twitter, which you can review with the #SM4SG hashtag. Below are some highlights:
Mentioned several times this week and also by Danielle Brigida who recently spoke at the NYC 501 Tech Club, social media involves a lot of trial and error and experimentation. Often you will have to try different tactics before you find what will work best with your audience. Don’t be afraid to fail.
Engagement = stimulating a conversation and encouraging constituents to take action on issues.
Your social media policy should be a fluid, living document that is reviewed with staff and updated regularly, not in a book that is stored on a shelf.
On Twitter, in addition to sharing ideas from others you find worthwhile, make sure to include your own ideas too – the best Twitter streams have a mix of links, no links and original content. See this example of a Twitter engagement formula.
If your management is still uncertain whether social media is worth the effort, show what your competitors are doing online to engage and build their constituent base.
Social media is sexy, but don’t forget the online basics: make sure your website and email marketing program is in place. Social media works best when part of an overall communications strategy that includes any way you connect with your constituents, whether online or offline. Focus not only on your organization’s programs, but on the issues which your organization (and constituents) is most focused on.
Thanks to the Foundation Center’s Vanessa Schnaidt for moderating the discussion and to social media guru Jereme Bivins (who manages the Foundation Center’s Twitter stream) for planning this event.
Attended an interesting session on email marketing and social media at the All About Email Virtual Conference and Expo yesterday, reviewing how these channels can be used to complement each other. An important point – since you don’t ‘own’ information on Facebook and Twitter, it’s still important to build your own email list. (Sessions were recorded and will be available for listening starting Mon, Nov. 15.)
While we’ve seen reports on social media and email marketing, there’s been little to guide nonprofits on website statistics until the new 2010 Website Benchmarks Report available from Groundwire. Although the report focuses on small environmental organizations, its findings are useful for all nonprofits.
If you still need help with your year end fundraising drive yet, get some help from Network from Good’s upcoming webinar as well as this tool from Blue State Digital which analyzes your Google Analytics data. (Tip – don’t wait until the last week of 2010 to frantically prepare an appeal.)
Like to be on the cutting edge? Try RockMelt, a soon to be released browser which integrates social media.
Reminder: Thursday evening, January 8, I will moderate a panel discussion at the NYC Foundation Center, Online Fundraising Strategies for Tough Times. Guest speakers will include Allan Pressel of Charity Finders and Cristine Cronin of NY Charities. Due to a large number of registrations, the Foundation Center has closed registration, so unfortunately you won’t be able to attend unless you’ve already signed up. However, I will offer a follow-up webinar on Wednesday evening, January 21 on ephilanthropy strategies. Watch for details in my next post.
On Thursday, January 8, 2009, from 5:30 – 7:30 PM EST, I will be moderating a program at the NYC Foundation Center, Online Fundraising Strategies for Tough Times. My speakers will include Cristine Cronin, President of NY Charities and Allan Pressel, CEO/Founder of Charity Finders. We will discuss ways to continue to fundraise effectively during tough economic times using online techniques. Our target audience will be mostly small to mid sized nonprofits that already have a web site, but want to raise more money onlne.
Attendance is free, but early sign up is encouraged. Thanks to Charlotte Dion, Director of Foundation Center’s NY Library / Learning Center, for helping to arrange this program.