You’ve applied and been accepted to the YouTube Nonprofit Program. Congrats! You are ready to start slapping call-to-action overlays on your YouTube videos…but hold on, what is your call to action? How are you going to use this awesome, free resource to help reach your mission?
I’ve got a few ideas for you.
Great! Now you have a call-to-action overlay. Where are you going to embed this awesome video, complete with call-to-action? I've got a few ideas on that too.
Check out the YouTube Nonprofit Program page for more ideas and best practices on using video to meet your mission.
We are, each and every one of us, consumers. We buy things – products, services, insurance, etc. And every time we make a purchase, we compare our experience to other similar experiences in our life – both consciously and subconsciously. Was my experience at the bank better than my experience at the grocery store? I really like the way my insurance agent lets me know what’s going on with my policy; I sure wish my credit card company would do something similar. We have a myriad of interaction channels to choose from when engaging with company x, y or z – online, direct mail, email, text, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Every interaction a company has with us – good and bad -- can be publicly scrutinized and publicly broadcast, creating whole new levels of accountability in a new digital world. But are the rules any different for nonprofits?
To put it simply, no. As a matter of fact the evolution of the digital world and the growth in multi-channel engagement requires nonprofits to be even more focused on the experience than ever before (and likely even more than their for-profit counterparts). Behavior drives response. When people donate to a cause, volunteer for a charity or advocate on a nonprofit’s behalf, they do so because the mission and the story resonate with a part of their soul. It’s personal. It goes beyond buying a widget or paying a monthly electric bill. People want to feel connected to a cause in which they believe, they want to feel a part of something bigger than themselves, which creates an entirely different set of expectations when simply buying a new TV set (although we all still want to be made to feel like we are human beings even when filling the tank with gas).
So, what should I focus on if I’m a nonprofit?
For the most part, what holds true in the for-profit sector carries over to the nonprofit sector as well – a seamless, integrated engagement experience that feels as though it has been personalized for me. Organizations that do this well are: Amazon.com, Hilton Hotels and Southwest Airlines. Nonprofits could learn quite a bit from these organizations in terms of these new rules of engagement that boil down to:
That’s all well and good, but how do I get there from a practical perspective? Glad you asked. Nonprofits that have any degree of success in creating a unique and memorable experience for the constituent base they engage have spent time, energy and money implementing the right technologies and understanding the right processes that pay significant dividends at the end of the day.
That’s a tremendous amount to absorb in very short article, but the reality is the world has changed for nonprofits. There is a greater need to create a unique and personal interaction in a world in which there are multiple distractions and multiple communication channels. We are all seeking a positive experience we can remember, and the more nonprofits embrace this brave, new world – the more successful they will be.
This post is by Dennis McCarthy, Convio's Vice President of Strategy and Organizational Practice and originally appeared as an article in 1:1 Magazine.
In traditional fundraising, having great name recognition and devoted fans can generate increased awareness and raise funds if a celebrity cares about the cause and invests time. Yet, online celebrity fundraising efforts are hit and miss, and often get outpaced by lesser known web-based personalities - weblebrities - who have deep ties to their communities.
Research across a wide range of PayPal users, from Network for Good and Operation Smile to DonorsChoose.org and TwitChange, reveals three key reasons that weblebrities succeed:
The paper includes multiple stories highlighting this phenomena. From Stephen Colbert’s interaction with the Reddit Community, to Paddy O’Brien’s stunning story that won the UCSF fundraising challenge on Causes.
One thing that stands out from these case studies, are the uncanny similarities that social media fundraising best practices share with traditional fundraising best practices. In fact, recruiting effective social media champions is a lot like recruiting terrific board members or major donors: First and foremost is finding someone who will become truly engaged in your work, and who is deeply connected to a community.
What do you think? Has your organization had experiences with celebrities and social media appeals?
Clam Lorenz manages the nonprofit engagement strategy for Convio partner, PayPal. You can learn more about social media fundraising with PayPal's white paper and by exploring our Common Ground Social Fundraising feature.
As the executive director and 1 of 3 staff members at small organization, I can honestly say I have a lot on my plate. I admit, I woke up at 3:00 am this morning with some anxiety about all the tasks I need to complete before year end.
I awoke thinking about the insurance committee phone call in the morning, processing gifts and thank you letters, working with volunteers to utilize Google Analytics, following up with prospects from a recent event, finalizing an off-site employment agreement with a University for a work study student, meeting with one of our partners regarding programming, signing checks, interviewing a co-op student, and many other tasks. After taking several deep breaths… and snuggling with my dogs…I was able to go back to sleep with a clear mind.
Being able to relax and go back to sleep hasn’t always been easy for me. First, let me explain. For a variety of reasons, I absolutely love working with small and/or start-up nonprofits and helping them grow into sustainable, viable organizations. I’ve been doing this for more than a decade and less than two. Through a lot of hard knocks & sleepless nights, I learned three important lessons that help me maximize my time and resources in a small shop that has big aspirations.
My first lesson was the need to establish strategic goals. To grow, small nonprofits need to take advantage of unplanned opportunities. The staff – and the board – can run circles chasing all the opportunities and ideas available to an organization. By establishing strategic goals, the staff and the Board can prioritize whether or not the opportunity or idea is worth pursuing. I learned this lesson by experiencing the challenges small and/or start up shops have in either a) chasing everything possible until everyone is exhausted or b) over planning and missing some make it or break it opportunity. Defining strategic goals is a happy medium between these two scenarios.
The next lesson I learned was regarding the importance of developing systems and processes for a variety of job functions so you can assign these jobs to volunteers, interns, or co-ops. I’m sure a lot of you are saying, this sounds great but who has the time! I used to think the same thing. Now I ask, who doesn’t have the time? If you are skeptical, start off small and see what happens.
I gave a hint earlier about the last lesson, which is to utilize volunteers, interns, co-ops, etc.! Believe me, I understand this adds work to your day. At the same time, it can take a lot of work off of your plate. The key, as outlined in lesson two, is to systematize job functions for volunteers, interns, or co-ops. This allows the person to work with minimal oversight and provides a mechanism to evaluate the quality of work. And, hopefully, a few of your volunteers, interns, co-ops will be natural leaders who quickly stand out. When this happens, utilize them as project leaders.
I admit all the lessons I’ve outlined above require an investment of time. The payoff comes when you’re out of the development stage and into the implementation and maintenance phases. This is when you’ll be able to sleep at night knowing you’re maximizing all your resources to help move the organization forward!
You’ve got 2 weeks until the end of 2011, 1 week before you’re on vacation, and maybe a few hours to address all those miscellaneous tasks fighting for your attention so if you haven’t made your end-of-year fundraising plan before now it’s just too late right? Not if you keep it simple!
End-of-year fundraising is important but you don’t need to over-engineer your message, especially for the final days of the year, if you’re short on staff or time. A simple, compelling and straightforward message can out-perform a message with fancy holiday graphics and will definitely outperform not sending a message at all.
Here is a fun EOY Fundraising Campaign Mad-Lib that you can use to create your campaign in just 15 minutes!
Ken Cantu is a program manager in Convio's services department.
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