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Blog Posts


Seven Deadly Mobile Myths

Posted by Lacey Kruger at May 14, 2012 01:10 PM CDT
Categories: Content Management, NPtech, Technology, Usability

Mobile MythsWhen you think about someone accessing your nonprofit website from a mobile device, how do you picture them? I can imagine you’re thinking of someone who is in a hurry, maybe standing in line somewhere, at the airport or in a car. While that’s probably the case with a lot of your mobile audience, it’s not always true.

I heard a great talk at the IA Summit a few weeks ago that debunked many ideas and assumptions we’ve made about mobile context. As a designer of mobile experiences, I too am guilty of these assumptions. Josh Clark, the presenter, defined the 7 Deadly Mobile Myths as follows. You can also download the slides from his presentation here.

  1. Mobile users are rushed and distracted

    Per my illustration above, it’s easy to think of mobile users as always on-the-go but the reality is that people access the mobile web in many contexts like when they’re lying on the couch or trying to kill time on a 3 hour travel layover. Josh cited a statistic that 28% of mobile users in the US are “mostly mobile” users meaning they rarely use a laptop or desktop computer.


  2. Mobile = Less

    Because users are not always rushed and distracted, they also don’t need a “lite” or dumbed-down experience from their mobile phone. Another statistic cited was that 85% of users expect your mobile site to be “at least as good” as your desktop site. Josh argued that users don’t like the “View Full Site” option and would rather be able to access all of your content in a mobile-friendly format. He said that omitting certain content on your mobile site is like an author leaving out chapters in a book!


  3. Complexity is a dirty word

    So we’re now challenged with providing the entirety of what could be a very complex nonprofit site in a mobile format that still feels uncomplicated and easy to use. Making the complicated seem uncomplicated. The nice thing for most of you reading this is that you can leave this challenge up to your designers. For the mobile designers out there, the next myth is really good news…


  4. Extra taps and clicks are evil

    When you’re dealing with such a small screen, the best approach is to use progressive disclosure. This means showing the user a little, and then having them click or tap to see more. We use this principle with navigation on a desktop website and it’s even more imperative with mobile. Josh said that the quality of the click or tap is far more important than the quantity.


  5. Gotta have a mobile website

    Let’s clarify here… you don’t need a separate mobile website. You still need to offer your constituents a mobile experience but Josh argued the best approach is to make your existing content mobile-friendly. Thanks to Convio CMS and other content management systems, this is not difficult. It does mean that you may have to start thinking a little differently when you create new content though. Perhaps there are additional fields you might need to add for each content item to make your mobile display work better.


  6. Mobile is about apps

    Josh stated that app vs. mobile website vs. desktop website are all just containers we use to present content. So apps definitely have a place in the mobile landscape but they’re not the end-all be-all. He played this NFL commercial to illustrate that users expect to access the same content across multiple devices. Again, this boils down to making sure your content is adaptable to all of these devices.


  7. CMS and APIs are for database nerds

    Going back to what I mentioned above, content management systems and APIs are the tools that we need to make our content adapt to all devices. Not just the devices we use today but the devices that we’ll be using in the future too. All we need to do is learn how to write content that will scale across multiple screen sizes and then rely on the CMS and API technology to control the display.


Do you agree or disagree with these mobile myths? What are some things you can start doing today to make sure your content is truly future-proof and adaptable to different devices?

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Where's the remote (worker)?

Posted by Brandy Reppy at May 11, 2012 08:15 AM CDT
Categories: Productivity

After a recent relocation, I'm learning a lot about working remotely from a home office. Well, I don't know if you can call my desk jammed into the corner of my bedroom a "home office", but we'll roll with it.

I've been fortunate that my team, which now covers three time zones and two coasts, has been so flexible and accommodating to the new arrangement. We've been tinkering around with a lot of different settings, options, software systems, and phone arrangements over the past few weeks. It's definitely easier now than ever to work remotely, but that doesn't mean it's easy.

remote officeIt also got me thinking about organizations, maybe like some of yours, where remote working isn't a product of having people who just happen to live in different areas, but is more a product of a lack of office space. Let's face it, the overhead of having an office can be more than a lot of organizations and companies can justify.

So, I thought I'd take a few minutes to talk about some of the options out there (and I'll let you know if we've tried them). If anyone else has ideas, especially ones you've tried, then let us know!

Google Hangout

When it comes to conferencing software, we already have one that we use as a company. But, for my team, we have a quick, 15-minute meeting every day, and we wanted to use something a little more lightweight. We all gather in a Google Hangout (via Google +), and knock the meeting out with out a lot of software overhead. Also, they seem to be adding a lot of features, inluding screenshare and a few app integrations that we've really been digging.(I've used Skype for personal video calls, and I've always been pleased with their software as well. I can't say I've used it for group calls, but the preference for Google's option is that it just requires a browser window.)

Conference Calls

Though not always the best way to keep everyone engaged, there's certainly something to just gathering everyone on the phone for meetings. It's not as personal as everyone being in the same room, but it certainly allows everyone to end up on the same page better than a slew of emails.

Chat Rooms

We have a chat room that we are all logged into for the majority of the day. Sometimes it's silent, sometimes it's chatty, but it's always there as a way to communicate to a lot of people in a quick way.

Basecamp and Campfire

I can't speak for Highrise or Backpack, but as far as web-based collaboration tools go, the suite from 37Signals is some of the best out there. It's been a long time since I've used Basecamp as an actual project management tool, but it's been an ongoing repository for document sharing for a while in my group of colleagues. The pricing is pretty approachable, and certainly allows for collaboration and visibility into ongoing projects.

Coworking Space

I'm giving this a shot for the first time next week, but a new crop of businesses out there designed specifically for people who don't have offices. These spaces typically provide some work space, internet connection, outlets, and small kitchen-like areas. They are often open spaces, and basically allow for those people like me, who don't work from an office, to have someplace to work. (If you've ever looked for a coffee shop to work from, you know that that can be hit-or-miss.)

If you're an organization or a person who is dealing with the remote office in a different way, or you want to just talk about one of the options I've already mentioned, then leave a comment and let us know. In the meantime, I'll be in my room...I mean, my office.

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4.8 billion reasons for a mobile site

Posted by James Burden at May 10, 2012 09:06 AM CDT
Categories: NPtech, Social Media, Technology

Mobile phoneLast week an important anniversary crept by — barely noticed. The humble SMS had its 20th birthday. It is now estimated that more than two-thirds of the world’s population have access to SMS. With 4.8 billion mobile phone subscriptions, we are in the startling position of living in a world where it is highly likely that more people own a mobile phone than own a toothbrush (toothbrush owners come in at a paltry 3.5 billion). And as the number of people who own or access a mobile phone increases, so will the penetration of more sophisticated handsets. Today, 1.2 billion phones are internet-connected.

The mobile phone has created a direct, instant connection to the majority of people on our planet. And as the technology increases, that sense and reality of that connection will have a greater impact — both for the user and for the content (and content originators) with whom they interact.

Only a few years ago social media was seen as a passing fad — a distraction. Now it is not only integrated into the lives of people and businesses, but is defining the development of communication. More than half of the 900 million Facebook users use their mobile to access Facebook. More than half of all twitter traffic is also from mobile. Mobile is the growing country in our new world order.

There’s a reason why Facebook just spent $1 billion in acquiring Instagram (the free photo sharing app). And it’s not because of the quality of the filters. It’s all about mobile! Facebook currently has no income from mobile, which considering how many hundreds of millions of people access their account via a mobile phone is astonishing. Instagram (whilst having zero revenue throughout its fledgling history) has a single-minded focus on mobile as a platform, and has the potential to support the primary use case for Facebook — sharing photos. Facebook is not a mobile-first company and has poor location data on its users. Instagram’s single-minded focus provides both of these — arguably to a greater long-term value than $1 billion.

So what are you doing about it? What is your nonprofit doing about it? It is very hard to overstate how crucial it is that the nonprofit sector understands the genuine and seismic shift that mobile technology is bringing to our world. The ability to engage with people, no matter where they are, is the most powerful and effective way of getting donors involved.

Out of those 4.8 billion reasons why you need to have a mobile website you can narrow it down to the one key fact that people are consuming more and more content on their mobile phones. That content (some of which your non-profit might push out as a text messaging campaign, QR code, location-based campaign, app etc.) invariably leads on to somewhere else. Do you really want that content to lead to a web page that was designed to be read on a 12-14” computer screen?

If you’re making the donate ask on mobile you need to keep the user journey within mobile. If you’re not making the donate ask on mobile, it would seem that there are just a few reasons knocking around why you should be.

Go be mobile!

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5 W's of P2P Social Media Hubs

Posted by Guest Blogger at May 09, 2012 01:54 PM CDT
Categories: Fundraising, Social Media

Social media is a great opportunity for your participants to spread awareness, recruit more participants and of course fundraise, ASSUMING they have the right tools and know where to find them. Make this easy for your participants by creating a social media section on your website to serve as the hub for all social media activities. 

To reach optimal results you need to provide the who, what, where, when and why in an easy to find location for your participants to access this information during their online experience. Be sure to make the webpage user friendly and clearly identify the actions steps needed for each opportunity. It is critical that you clearly define which social media channels participants join your online communities compared to the resources available for them to use in their social networks. Today we are going to focus on just resources you want participants to share.

Who: 

Recommend who participants should reach out to by providing a list of the most common social media platforms; Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter and YouTube. Include icons and links. It is important to highlight that while the participant may favor one social media platform, their potential donors may be prefer a different platform and it is a best practice to share their messages across all platforms.

What:

Provide both images and messaging for participants to share to each of their social networks. Customize the messaging for the different types of participants who might be using these images.  For example, If your are going to provide a selection facebook timeline images, try to include a message like "Walk with me!" that would appeal to Team Captains along with a "Volunteer with me!" message aimed at your Volunteers. 

Where:

Host all of this information on one page on your website so anyone visiting your page can access it but then link to this page inside the Participant Center. Identify the page as Social Media Resources and link in both your left navigation and home page. Refer to this section in all of your communications and drive participants to this hub for all social media activities.

When:

TODAY! Ideally, These resources should be set-up and ready to go when you launch your campaign, but it is never too late to add them.  

Why:

Peer to peer fundraising is only successful when participants are empowered to reach out to their personal networks to solicit donations.  Each day, more and more of the population is using social media as the primary means of communication to their friends, family, co-workers and acquaintances.  If you are not providing social-friendly tools to your fundraisers or burying those tools in hard to find places on your website, then you are leaving precious fundraising dollars on the table for your organization's mission.

Once you've figured out the 5 W's, you should be well on your way to creating an impactful, easy-to-use social media hub for your participants to promote your event and thier fundraising activities. 

Interested in Learning More?
Sign up today for a free webinar "How to Kick Start Your P2P Event’s Social Media Strategy."

Nancy PaloToday's post was prepared by Nancy Palo, a Senior Consultant in Blackbaud's Strategic Services team with an specialty in TeamRaiser and peer-to-peer fundraising. She brings more than 10 years experience in the event fundraising space and is looking forward to helping nonprofits implement solutions to increase their special event fundraising & recruitment.

Prior to joining Blackbaud in April 2012, Nancy worked at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society in California and New York where see oversaw the Society’s largest single day Walk MS and Bike MS events, raising more than $30 million during her 8 years with the organization. She studied Communications and Business at the University of San Diego and works remotely from her home office in New York City.  

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10 Online Fundraising Insights

Posted by at May 08, 2012 02:50 PM CDT
Categories: Fundraising, Nonprofit Trends, NPtech, Research

A couple weeks ago we released our 2012 Online Marketing Nonprofit Benchmark study. More than a few people have called it a “must-read” and as someone who knows it front-to-back and inside out, I must agree. To whet your whistle, here are just 10 of the interesting insights this bad boy contains:

  1. The median growth rate for online fundraising is 15.8%.
  2. The median number of online gifts grew by 12.6%.
  3. The smallest tier of orgs (less than 10,000 email records) experienced a median of $89,917 in online fundraising.
  4. The average online gift for that tier was $105.01.
  5. The largest tier of orgs (more than 250,000 email records) experienced a median of $1,993,713 in online fundraising.
  6. The average online gift for that tier was $65.49.
  7. The percentage of online advocates also making an online donation grew from 6.4 percent in 2010 to 11.9 percent in 2011. 
  8. First time donations account for a median 37.27% of online fundraising.
  9. Sustained online giving accounts for an average of $25,474 per org.
  10. The average online monthly gift amount was $31.96.

Let’s talk about that last one for a second – if the average online monthly gift is $31.96, that means a donor who gives a monthly gift for a full year is worth a whopping $383.52! If you take away one thing from this benchmark, write this one down, you must have monthly giving as an option on your donation form.

For more fundraising goodness, download the full Benchmark study (for free!) or check out our nifty infographic.

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