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Blog Posts

Constituent Empowerment

Cake in Face

Posted by Jonathan Weldon at Dec 07, 2011 04:02 PM CST
Categories: Constituent Empowerment, Fundraising, Social Media

In case you haven't noticed some odd looking facial hair over the last month, November, or as we like to call it Movember, is Mustache Growing Season. Movember is a "moustache growing charity event held during November each year that raises funds and awareness for men's health.” This all started back in 2003 where a couple of friends in Australia, where a Mo is slang for mustache, decided to grow a mustache and raise money for some good causes. All proceeds raised during Movember go to the causes it supports, specifically the Prostate Cancer Foundation and LIVESTRONG (read this article if you’d like to learn more about where the money goes). Here at Convio we had 17 team members donate their faces to men’s health and collectively we raised over $5K (not to brag but I finished first on our team, raking in over $1800). This blog post is about my month long experience of raising awareness & money for men's health, as I grew my Mo.Thank You

One of the most valuable lessons I learned was the power of embarrassing oneself for the greater good. Yes, the mustache itself was ridiculously embarrassing, especially in the first few days of growth (maybe weeks?) but seeing that this was my second year, I had to take this one step further. So I challenged my supporters to help me exceed a fundraising goal of $1500 by promising they could put a cake in my face if I exceeded my goal.

If you have ever asked yourself, "Do challenges change donor behavior?", I can attest that they in fact do! I literally saw the average donations jump from around $25 to $50 almost immediately after the challenge was issued. (I've also inspired my co-worker Corey Pudhorosky's NTEN fundraising efforts so check out his embarrassing fundraising efforts for another great example). Similarly, I had the great fortune of having a matching grant from a colleague, the awesome Betsy Gressler, who matched dollar for dollar all donations up to a certain date. Again, donations spiked during that time frame as people took the opportunity to double the impact of their donation (or perhaps they were thinking about the cake's impact on my face?).

The beauty, or perhaps horror, of growing a mustache, is it really is a conversation starter. Whether I was talking to old friends or new acquaintances, I was constantly explaining the story behind my new facial growth and thus spreading the world about Movember & consequently men's health. I also took to Facebook, Twitter & my Movember MoSpace where I was able to solicit pledges directly, post regular updates of the Mo growth and find funny ways of challenging people to donate. Even people who didn't donate were educated via my updates regarding the importance of men's health and maybe even scheduled a wellness check with their doctor.

Ultimately the lesson I would give any NonProfit focused on peer-to-peer fundraising would be to find ways of empowering your supporters to not only raise money on your behalf but have some fun at the same time. Men's health, and specifically prostate cancer, isn't usually something you want to laugh at, but we only live once and if you can find a way to do good while having fun, you're going to give your constituents, and those you support, something invaluable, a big smile and a good story.

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Meet Kenneth Kuhler

Posted by Corey Pudhorodsky at Nov 29, 2011 07:30 AM CST
Categories: Constituent Empowerment, Fundraising, Nonprofit Trends, NPtech, Technology

Ken Kuhler

This month for the Connection Café podcast series with Convio employees, I had the pleasure of speaking with Kenneth Kuhler, an Account Executive in Convio’s Sales team. Ken is a dynamic team player who enjoys his coworkers and is appreciated by many. I thought it would be interesting for you to hear from someone on our sales team to learn more about how Convio solutions are presented to prospective clients and organizations considering additional services and tools.

I’d love to hear from all of you about who you would like to hear from on the next podcast interviews. Also if you have any suggestions for ways to improve the podcast in 2012, please let us know.

Connection Cafe Podcast 4 - Ken Kuhler

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Social Media for Stewardship

Posted by Taylor Shanklin at Nov 23, 2011 09:25 AM CST
Categories: Constituent Empowerment, Nonprofit Trends, Social Media

Everyone is talking about social media these days. Many common questions come my way: How can I get my social media program off the ground? How can I integrate social media marketing efforts with other channels? How can I use social media to raise money? How can I engage my constituents through social media? However, one of the questions I don't get as often is: How can I use social media for stewardship?

Following up on one of Julia's points in her blog yesterday, I'd like to focus in on how you can use social media to show "how their contributions have helped," as she put it. Social media has still not quite yet proven itself to be the best fundraiser. However, I don't think anyone can deny what it is good at; and, that is sharing information. When developing your social media strategies and plan, think first about playing to its strenghts.

Saying thank you on FacebookThe holidays are a fantastic time to thank all of your supporters. Let's say that you send out an email ask this holiday or for end of year. Once all dollars are in and calculated for that particular ask and after the holidays are over and we are heading into January, think about how you can let your donors know how much they really helped. You may be planning an email to go out as a follow up and thank you message. But, think, too about using your social media channels to share your results and thank your donors. This can be as simple as a Facebook post or tweet that says, "Thank you to all of our supporters. We were able to raise $x this holiday that will help us do x." Or, "Thanks to you, we were able to feed x number of people this Thanksgiving".

Now, let's get even more creative. Did your organization do some sort of gift, food drive or animal adoption this holiday? Do you have photos? (Hint: If your event has yet to happen, remember to take photos or appoint a volunteer with the job!) How about posting an album on Flickr, or even turning your still photos into a video slideshow. There are plenty of tools out there - that are free - which help do just this. Check out VideoSpin, for example. If you are putting a video together, and sending out a print piece in the near future, how about putting a QR code on that piece that your constituents can scan and be taken to that "thank you" video? There are many ways you can thank your supporters. I'll leave you with a few of my favorite examples from some amazing organizations:

Enjoy and have a happy and safe Thanksgiving!

- Taylor

P.S. Scan this QR code for a special thank you message from Convio.


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Meet Chip Bell, Summit Keynote Speaker

Posted by Corey Pudhorodsky at Oct 31, 2011 07:30 AM CDT
Categories: Constituent Empowerment, Fundraising, Nonprofit Trends, NPtech, Technology

chipThis year's keynote and opening session at the 2011 Convio Summit I think was one of the best I've seen in the time I've been at Convio. It was full of energy, fast paced, and the keynote speaker was great! Chip Bell is an author, consultant, and regular keynote speaker who travels internationally to share his insights for engaging individuals and creating enthusism and loyalty for brands and organization. Prior to starting a consulting firm in the late 1970s, he was Vice President and Director of Management and Organization Development for NCNB, now Bank of America.  Chip Bell holds graduate degrees in organizational psychology and human resource development from Vanderbilt University and George Washington University.  He was a highly decorated infantry unit commander in Vietnam with the elite 82nd Airborne Division.

I was lucky enough to get a chance to sit down and interview him after the keynote session. This month's connection cafe interview includes the highlights from our conversation.

Connection Cafe Podcast 3 - Chip Bell

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5 Tips for Mobile

Posted by Guest Blogger at Oct 14, 2011 06:18 AM CDT
Categories: Constituent Empowerment, NPtech, Social Media

The following blog post is by Michael Sabat. Michael is the VP of Account Management and Business Development at Mobile Commons. He has worked there for 3 and a half years and has helped clients launch hundreds of campaigns. Mobile Commons is a Convio partner and they have just launched Mobile Advocate - A new product integrated with Convio Luminate and designed to drive targeted advocacy phone calls from the web or SMS. Michael can be reached at michael@mobilecommons.com and general inquiries can be sent to info@mobilecommons.com.

Mobile campaigns can be extremely valuable for organizations, and the best news is that you don't need to be chasing the newest technology. The most effective mobile campaigns utilize the more mature technologies that we all use daily - text messaging, phone calls and even the mobile web. Campaigns can be quite different, but we've found a number of small steps that are very valuable to organizations starting out with mobile. Today I'm going to share the first 5 steps recommended for organizations getting started with mobile.

  1. Build a mobile list now. Mobile lists cannot be bought or sold. This is a really great aspect to mobile communications because it keeps response rates high and as consumers it keeps spam out of our text message inbox. The biggest downside is that when non profits start mobile initiatives, many times they are starting without a list.    

    If you’re reading this article, the number one takeaway should be that you can start opting in mobile subscribers now – even before you’ve picked a vendor or decided on a keyword.  To opt supporters in to your future mobile program you need to collect their mobile number and be clear that by giving their mobile number, they are subscribing to text messages. Mobile number field should be added to new webforms and even paper forms. It’s also important to include the text Message & Data Rates May Apply, which is required to tell people when they are opting in.

  2. Integrate your mobile database with Convio other CRM. Once the organization is contracted with a mobile vendor, it is important to set up an integration. Ideally this integration should be a two-way sync. People that text in should be added to the database and supporters that enter their mobile number in forms should receive a welcome text message as soon as possible.

    Without a doubt organizations that have a mobile integration do much better with their mobile campaigns and their communication campaigns are more successful overall. Mobile campaigns work best when integrated into the overall communication strategy and it’s important to integrate the technology as well.

  3. Choose a go-to keyword and response. The goal of this step is to be able to give anybody in the organization a way to promote the campaign and list build with a moments notice. Think of this keyword as the "homepage" for the organization's SMS campaign. Sure you can add keywords for specific types of campaigns like walks, fundraising or chapter initiatives. But it's important to be able to brand a keyword so that marketing, PR or even the executive director can learn how promote the texting campaign. Having a clear and consistant call to action is the best way to make this happen.

  4. Show your boss.  Mobile campaigns are instant and exciting. As soon as the campaign is set up, it should be possible to demo the campaign by texting in and receiving a reply back.

    The most important reason to show your boss and coworkers is to get them excited and work towards buy in from the organization. The ability for coworkers to text in and see the interaction happen in real time is a conversation starter. It's exciting to imagine how the organization can use this new mobile channel to engage with supporters. If you're new to mobile demonstrating and discussing with coworkers is a great way to get feedback on the interaction as well.

  5. Build mobile into a campaign. Mobile works best when it is integrated into the planning of the campaign. Adding a QR code at the end is not a mobile strategy. Almost every campaign can integrate mobile effectively. Here are the two most common approaches.
    1. Use a mobile call to action in media to increase sign ups/list build. From any media such as print, TV, radio or live events, including a mobile call to action (right next to the website) will increase the number of people engaging with the campaign. If you've done step 2 correctly above, these extra engagements lead directly to more supporters in Convio.
    2. Use text messages to activate and remind people. One of the greatest advantages to SMS is that virtually every message is read, and they are read extremely quickly. The most widely quoted stat is that 83% of text messages are viewed within 15 minutes. SMS reminders have proved to be very effective at generating advocacy calls, getting out the vote and even getting supporters to open the organization's emails. It's important to be thinking about activating supporters with mobile during the planning stages of the campaign.

As with any communication channel there are a millions of questions that can come up. So the most important first step may be to find someone knowledgeable that you can ask questions. We'd love that to be Mobile Commons.

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