As we join the Blackbaud team, many things are staying constant. For example, our continued commitment to our clients. However other things are naturally changing and will continue to evolve as we form our new team. These last few weeks I’ve taken time to pause and reflect. How am I prepared for change? Can I be nimble and adjust?
When thinking about your organization are you prepared for the unexpected? Do you have a change management plan? Too often development and marketing professionals are focused on getting the gift, pitching the story, making a call, but we need to step back and assess our readiness for change.
So many questions, but if you spend time now outlining the plans, procedures and details you will be prepared and save time when change does happen. And saving time on details like this will ultimately save money, create stability and enable you to concentrate on the mission.
There have been a number of posts recently about the power and importance of donor thank you letters. Some have come from my incredible colleagues here on the Connection Cafe, especially Rachel Muir's "7 Ways to Say Thanks" and Cheryl Black's "Girl Scout Cookies" posts, and I have to mention yet another great article by the Agitator team reminding imploring people to test, test, test even when it comes to the thank you, but when I received this thank you update email from Charity Water, I couldn't stop thinking about it.
While I received an email thanking me at that time, their purpose was a simple update on a gift I made about 6 months prior to their Water Forward campaign. In case you're wondering, Charity Water "invested (my) money with local partners, Relief Society of Tigray (REST) and Action Against Hunger (ACF) in Ethiopia and Pump Aid in Malawi, to build and rehabilitate freshwater wells and spring protections for people in need." To top it off, they let me know that once the projects are complete, they'll send a project report similar to this one informing me on the final outcome.
Color me impressed.
It reminded me of an experience I had when I was a high-schooler raising money for a community service trip to Ecuador with Amigos de las Americas. I was responsible for raising the vast majority of the total cost of the projects, so I took to letter writing, car washing, lawn mowing, baby sitting, just about whatever I could (legally) do to raise money as a 15-16 year old kid. When it was all said and done, I had a ton of thank you letters to write. I took to the seemingly overwhelming task, and if I remember correctly, finished just before the trip started.
Once home, my parents suggested that I write yet another thank you letter to update the supporters about all the latrines that were built, the toothbrushes that were distributed and all of the other accomplishments that their donation made possible. I responded as any typical teenager would by saying I didn't have enough time and did everything I could to avoid it. After a few weeks (months?) passed, my mom responded by giving me the most memorable birthday gift of my life: a box of monogrammed stationary. It made the point and I turned around those thank you letters as quickly as possible.
So I'd be remiss if I didn't take this opportunity to thank Charity Water for doing such a great job with their donor stewardship program and showing all of us how it's done. Rather than a box of monogrammed stationery, another donation is likely to materialize in their future.
What’s the sure fire way to make certain your constituents continue to volunteer for your cause – ensure they are emotionally invested to the organization. Allowing your volunteers to be able to find other volunteers through your online directory, post messages about their upcoming events, blog about their experiences, and share pictures within your community site, empowers them to be more committed to the cause and yields higher fundraising for your foundation!
Angelika Lipkin is the Manager of Strategic Partnerships for Higher Logic, a social media and mobile software company for associations and nonprofits. Angelika specializes in fostering relationship development, developing social media engagement strategies, and consulting organizations on launching private social networks.
When 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.
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.
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!
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…
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.
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.
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.
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?
Last 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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