April 16, 2013

Nonprofits, online giving & secrets from the Obama campaign

online-revenue

Highlights of 2013 eNonprofit Benchmarks Study (infographic)

This is the second of two articles on NTC 2013. Also see:
Highlights of 2013 Nonprofit Technology Conference

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises, educators, journalists, general public.

JD LasicaEvery year, Socialbrite takes a look at the annual study of online nonprofit trends put out by the communications firm M+R Strategic Services and the Nonprofit Technology Network. This year, we waited a couple of weeks after the report’s release to hear directly from Madeline Stanionis, creative director of M+R, who dissected the annual survey of the nonprofit sector at last week’s Nonprofit Technology Conference in Minneapolis.

The 2013 eNonprofit Benchmarks Study offers the sector’s only in-depth look at how nonprofits fared with email marketing, online fundraising and nonprofit advocacy over the past year. The report studied data from 55 generally large nonprofits in the environmental, health, human rights, international and wildlife and animal welfare sectors. As I’ve said in the past, a study of 55 large organizations — which sent 1.6 billion emails to 45 million list subscribers and raked in more than $438 million online donations during 2012 — is hardly representative of the 1.5 million mostly small nonprofits in the United States. Still, the trend lines are worth examining. Continue reading

April 15, 2013

Highlights of 2013 Nonprofit Technology Conference

ntc crowd
At the NTC session on social data (Photo by JD Lasica).

And tips on how to reinforce habits for social good

This is the first of two articles on NTC 2013. Also see:
Nonprofits, online giving & secrets from the Obama campaign (the 2013 eNonprofit Benchmarks Study)

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises, educators, journalists, general public.

JD LasicaLast week’s Nonprofit Technology Conference in Minneapolis was the fourth NTC I’ve attended in the past five years. I spoke twice at last year’s event, but this year I had the freedom to roam the hallways in search of interesting people and ideas that are shaping the nonprofit sector.

NTEN’s NTC serves an invaluable role as the one central gathering spot for the nonprofit community — a place where those of us involved in the sector (I run Socialbrite, a leading social media consultancy for nonprofits) can see friends and colleagues, keep abreast of new trends and, most importantly, encounter smart, interesting, passionate people we haven’t met before.

Oh, and I took a few photos, as usual. Here’s my 70-photo set on Flickr.

Highlights from the Nonprofit Technology Conference

There were far more interesting sessions than I was able to attend, so here are just a few takeaways that I managed to scribble down:

• Kathryn Engelhardt-Cronk, at lunch: “Storytelling without data is just an anecdote. Asking people to donate on the basis of anecdotes – those days are long gone.” Continue reading

April 1, 2013

Calendar of nonprofit conferences: April 2013

storytelling-at-NTC
Me, Cara Jones, Jenna Sauber and Rob Wu after our “Future of Nonprofit Storytelling” session at last year’s Nonprofit Technology Conference.

Plan for the month’s top conferences & events

JD LasicaApril marks a busy month for the nonprofit and social good community. I’ll be heading to Minneapolis for the Nonprofit Technology Conference (how about you?). Other highlights include Innogive, the National Conference for Media Reform, Investing In Women, Skoll World Forum, the Global Philanthropy Forum, Sustainatopia and Social Venture Network Spring.

Which of these are you going to? Continue reading

January 2, 2013

Calendar of 2013 nonprofit & social change conferences


The graphic recording created during Socialbrite’s “You Need a Strategy” session at the 2012 Nonprofit Technology Conference.

SuperGuide to events for nonprofits & social good organizations

JD LasicaHere’s our roundup of conferences in the nonprofit and social change sectors coming up in 2013. This has become an annual tradition here at Socialbrite, and we hope you’ll bookmark this page and return to it throughout the year — we’ll be updating it throughout 2013 as more conference details firm up.

We’ll be reporting on many of these events and invite you to share your coverage or observations on Socialbrite, or let us know and we’ll tweet it or Facebook it. Throughout the year we’ll publish monthly calendars on the first of the month. Continue reading

April 13, 2012

10 secrets to video storytelling success

 


“Protect Our Defenders,” winner of the DoGooder Nonprofit Video Award among small organizations.

At NTC, expert advice on best practices in telling your nonprofit’s story

Target audience: Nonprofits, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises, cause organizations, brands, businesses, Web publishers, educators, video producers, storytellers.

JD LasicaIf there was one buzzword at last week’s Nonprofit Technology Conference, it was storytelling. On Wednesday Debra Askanse wrote about our Future of Storytelling panel. And there were at least two or three other sessions about nonprofit storytelling.

One of the most informative was the session “Sight, Sound, and Motion: Video Storytelling and Using Video for Advanced Messaging” put on by Michael Hoffman and Danny Alpert of See3 Communications, which works with nonprofit clients to create compelling video stories.

Michael and Danny offered these tips on how to make your visual story work — and I’ll second all of these recommendations, since I know a little about video production.

Choose one message

1Here’s one of the biggest shortcomings of far too many videos. Settle on a single message — not three, not two. One. You don’t need to cram your organization’s entire message into a single video. Be selective. The more messages you include, the more muddled it becomes. Marketing folks have lived by this rule for decades.

Decide who you’re trying to reach

2You’re creating your video for a reason, right? It’s not to communicate to your staff. Or even to the public. “There’s no such thing as the general public,” Michael said. Target your audience and speak to them. Frame the story in a way that touches and appeals to those people.

Decide what you want them to do

3After you grab people’s attention, what is your call to action? You want to gently but forcefully direct viewers to take a specific action on your behalf. “How realistic is the ask?” Michael said. He pointed to YouTube annotations (see our article How to effectively use calls to action in nonprofit videos) as a great, underutilized mechanism to make your call to action crystal clear — in text form that pops up during the video. “Every one of you should be using annotations in your video in some way.”

One video with a great call to action — Protect Our Defenders (shown at top, with screen grab immediately above) — won this year’s Nonprofit Video Award in the small organization category for best use of video for the social good. At the end of the 1:45 video you’ll see a way to take immediate action, transporting viewers to the petition page or letting them share it on Facebook or Twitter. (This gets a little technical: You add 15 to 20 seconds at the end of the video with these “buttons” hot-linked to your pages; only certain kinds of software can pull this off.) 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