April 23, 2013

Is your nonprofit using responsive mapping?

Geoloco-on-iPad

Photo by ipadhacks (Creative Commons)

Reach your on-the-go audience with mobile tech

Guest post by Brett Meyer and Betsy Ensley
ThinkShout, Inc.

By now, you may be tired of hearing about how important it is to think about “mobile.”

For one thing, it’s a huge topic. Do you need to think about mobile marketing? SMS fundraising? Responsive design vs. a dedicated mobile site?

The answer is, of course, “Yes.” But then you get into problems of time, scale, and cost, because really, mobile needs to be thought of holistically, not in some piecemeal, “Oh, the Red Cross raised a lot of money, so we should do a mobile fundraising campaign, too” kind of way.

Just for fun, let’s review the numbers, because they’re becoming more compelling all the time. Up to 23% of all web traffic flows through mobile devices already. According to Pew, of American adults:

  • 26% own an e-reader
  • 31% own a tablet computer
  • 87% have a cell phone
  • 45% have a smartphone Continue reading
June 22, 2011

6 ideas to help nonprofits get started on Foursquare


A heat map of Foursquare members worldwide.

Use check-ins & shout-outs to raise awareness among its 10 million members

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, foundations, NGOs, brands, start-ups, Web publishers, educators.

Guest post by Wilneida Negrón
LawHelp.org

WilneidaHere are six ideas to get your organization started on Foursquare, the geolocation social network that announced Monday it has surpassed 10 million members.

Make your nonprofit a venue on Foursquare

1Make your organization a “venue” on Foursquare so that when people are in your area, a notification about your organization will show up. You can take advantage of this feature by adding advocacy action alerts that will show up when others view your organization to alert people to any advocacy needed or even to recruit volunteers, etc.

Also encourage your staff to start individual Foursquare accounts so that they can promote their activities. For example, if you have an outreach or community education component to your work, your outreach staff could check in at venues where they are holding a workshop, attending a task force or participating in any other community meetings or events.

Bring awareness to resources in your community

2Use the “tips” feature on Foursquare to bring awareness about resources available in your community. Have your staff create individual Foursquare accounts and have them leave tips about locations in the community that could be helpful to your client population. You can also encourage local community leaders to leave tips as well. Your staff can also include facts about your organization, hours of operation, nearest subway or bus stop.

Promote and enhance the donation experience

3Consider this idea to enhance the donor giving experience and support local businesses. Talk to local stores and businesses and see if they will make a tax-deductible donation to your organization if a number of people come to their store. For example, talk to your local coffee shop and see if they will make a donation to your organization if 50 people will check into their shop within a period of time.

You can promote this arrangement in your other social networks accounts such as Twitter, Facebook, etc. and let people know that if they check in at this store, the shop will make a donation to your organization. This is a win‐win situation for all: You can promote your organization and raise funds, local businesses also get promotion and business, and customers feel involved and glad they made a direct contribution.

Community education and public awareness

4Many organizations have been using Foursquare to educate the public and bring awareness to issues affecting the community. For example, the National Wildlife Foundation developed a campaign where every time someone checked into an outdoor space like a park or natural landmark, they would receive NWF sponsored tips of the wildlife they should look for, or views to not miss. The idea is to make visiting outdoor spaces interesting and informative and increase awareness, while at the same time increasing awareness of NWF. Continue reading

March 22, 2011

Using location-based services for your nonprofit


The Feeding America campaign using geolocal.

John HaydonOn Saturday I was on a panel at the Nonprofit Technology Conference in Washington, D.C., discussing the use of location-based services to create awareness and raise money for your organization.

The panel included Estrella Rosenberg of Big Love Little Hearts, Joe Waters from Boston Medical Center, and Dan Michel from Feeding America.

Here are five points I took away from the session:

Understanding user motivations

1Understanding user motivations is important in developing your location-based service strategy. For example, Foursquare users love collecting badges and love becoming the mayor of a venue, while Places users are motivated by sharing interesting places and being on stage in front of their friends. Obviously, these are generalities – using them yourself is the best way to know what your constituents’ motivations are.

Use the services as is

2As you may have guessed, services like Foursquare and Gowalla don’t have the bandwidth to focus on special projects, or wish-list feature requests. With that in mind, develop your strategy around these services as they are – both in terms of user base and features.

Use them as one channel among many

3Because of the limited user base, cultural adoption and functional limitations of these tools, they should be used only as a marginal supplement to other channels. You might be wise to use them experimentally with no expectations of Return on Investment (and be pleasantly surprised when you have a win). Continue reading

July 29, 2010

10 ways geolocation is changing the world

map

 

Geo-aware apps will help democratize news and information

Guest post by Rob Reed
Founder, MomentFeed

Social media has changed the world. It has revolutionized communications on a global scale, and the transformation continues with every status update, blog post and video stream. The global citizenry has become a global network.

Since becoming widely adopted just a few ago, social media has supercharged social action, cause marketing and social entrepreneurship. Its true value hasn’t been the technology itself but how we’ve used it. Today a second wave of innovation is defining a new era and setting the stage for change over the coming decade.

Mobile technologies will extend the global online network to anyone with a mobile device while enabling countless local networks to form in the real world. We’ve decentralized media production and distribution. We’re doing the same for energy. And we’ll continue this trend for social networking, social action and commerce.

The combined forces of smartphones, mobile broadband and location-aware applications will connect us in more meaningful ways to the people, organizations, events, information and companies that matter most to us — namely, those within a physical proximity of where we live and where we are. Can location-based services (LBS) change the world? Here are  #10Ways:

Checking in for good

1If Gowalla and Foursquare have taught us anything, it’s that people respond to simple incentives. By offering badges, mayorships and other intangible rewards, millions of people are checking in to the places they go. Apps like Whrrl take this a step further and enable like-minded “societies” to form on a local basis. The next step is for these apps to add greater purpose by encouraging more meaningful check-ins and offering corresponding badges and stamps, thus mapping the cause universe. Or for a dedicated app to be developed that rewards conscious consumption, social responsibility and civic engagement. (Yes, the CauseWorld app features a cause element, but it’s not about cause-worthy places.)

Eating locally

asparagus2Sustainability demands that we source our food as close to its point of production as possible. Many so-called locavores subscribe to the 100-mile diet, which requires that one “eat nothing — or almost nothing — but sustenance drawn from within 100 miles of their home.” Given the difficulty of accessing and verifying this information in order to live by this standard, there’s a geo-powered Locavore app. It gives you info on in-season foods, those coming in-season, farmer’s markets and links to recipes. This rather simple app is clearly just the start. In time, location-aware apps will guide us not only to the grocery store or farmer’s market but through them, identifying foods based on our particular diet or sensibility. Continue reading

December 24, 2009

CauseWorld: Support causes on the go

Beth KanterLast month I made a prediction that we might see fundraisers with Foursquare or some other location-based mobile social network with gaming element. Looks like my observation of fundraising 2.0 trends of 2009 and  my 2010 predictions are on track. TechCrunch just wrote about a new mobile application called CauseWorld.

Here’s how it works:

CauseWorld app users earn “karma points” when they walk into stores and check in with their cell phone. No purchase is required at any store, and karma points can be redeemed nine predefined good causes. Big brands like Kraft Foods and Citi (both are on board) then turn the karmas into real dollar donations to those causes. Food for poor families, water in Sudan, trees in the Amazon, etc. are examples of the causes.

Like foursquare and gowalla, you open the application on your phone and see local businesses (instead of showing everything around you, CauseWorld only shows businesses that you can check into for karmas). Enter the store, check in, and get the karma points offered to you. Once you’ve collected enough karmas you can donate them to a variety of causes. And, of course, you get badges for various activities.

The causes that are supported are listed on CauseWorld — it’s a good mix of wildlife conservation, hunger and others. 

This idea is really cool for a couple of reasons. The user doesn’t have to donate, but they’re leveraging a corporate donation. Sort of like embedded giving that Lucy Bernholz talks about, I think. The application is fun and well designed.

It doesn’t have a social element where you can see how many karma points your friends have within the app itself, although it uses Facebook Connect and you could opt to have your good deeds streamed on your wall. It might get more motivated if it had the leaderboard design that Foursquare has. Continue reading