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Social Media

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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To App, or Not to App? That's the (Mobile) Question.

Last week at the Convio Summit, discussions of how to get started with mobile abounded. Mobile-savvy nonprofits inspired many of us with their interesting apps, from PETA’s mobile advocacy center to the Lance Armstrong Foundation’s collaborative BOOM app (in concert with Nike) to the Central Park Conservancy’s Insider’s Guide to the Park.

Sure, I’m as much of an app-aholic as the next smartphoner – even willing to pay for apps that deliver great charity content or interesting ways to get involved, particularly for causes I’m passionate about. Having just written a guide for nonprofits on getting started with mobile (co-authored with fellow Convian Lacey Kruger), I am also a realist with an argument to make, which is this:

Mobile Guide cover

Until your org has a strong, successful mobile-friendly version of your site available, offering a downloadable app shouldn’t even be on your radar screen.

To be even a bit more (kindly) cantankerous, I’d also say that any time you have a great new idea for an app, it’s worth contemplating first whether this service, or feature, or program could instead be delivered as a (non-app) mobile site.

Here’s the thing: Mobile strategy is, of course, tightly tied to your overarching engagement strategy, and it’s certainly a critical online channel (and as smartphone usage skyrockets around the globe, some are even predicting that mobile will become the online channel, surpassing desktop Web browsing). Despite this, an NTEN survey last year revealed that only 16% of orgs will have invested in a mobile version of their website in 2011, whereas 90% will have an email and social media strategy, and 19% will develop apps.

This means that nonprofits across the board are actively planning to drive traffic to their websites, their campaigns, their social media presences – without, in most cases, accounting for the fact that anywhere between 2% and 40% of constituents could be accessing their content and taking action on a handheld device. (For nonprofits with international constituencies, expect those numbers to be far higher in many countries.)

While mobile websites may not be as sexy as apps or sophisticated mobile engagement tactics like text-to-give, we consider having a mobile-optimized version of your Web presence and major campaigns or programs to be the foundation for effective campaigning – even effective email marketing.

My friend Lara Koch, whose full-time job at Humane Society of the United States is to own the organization’s mobile presence, has a policy on this: “If we direct people anywhere in a way they may use their mobile device, where we send them must be mobile-optimized. No exceptions.”

Bottom line: If your organization hasn’t invested in creating a mobile presence, but you’re thinking about campaign strategy for 2012, consider putting a mobile website foray at the top of your list. In many cases, you can develop a basic mobile site and optimize much of your content for mobile displays for $10,000 - $15,000, and then evolve your mobile presence iteratively over time, as you see how it performs and hear from your constituents. (For some contrast, developing a mobile app can run you $20,000 - $30,000 or more, considering the need to develop for multiple smartphone operating systems and browsers – and that doesn’t count paying for updates and iterations, provided that like most nonprofits, you don’t have an app developer on staff. And for mobile donations via iPhones and iPads, expect that Apple will take a 30% cut of your transactions.)

Wondering how to get started with mobilizing your main site, or a campaign or program? Or how to convince an app-happy exec to first pursue a mobile presence? Or how to even know if the investment will be worth it for your org?

Check out our Guide to the Mobile Web. If you’ve got an hour to spare next Thursday, October 20, I’d love to have you at a webinar on this very topic: Mobile Touches Everything. Or if you’re a mobile-ophile who just wants to talk shop, drop me a line!

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NEW: LinkedIn Company Updates

Posted by Cheryl Black at Oct 11, 2011 09:06 AM CDT
Categories: Social Media

Today LinkedIn announced the availability of company page status updates. As you might suspect, this works much in the same way you would personally post a LinkedIn status update or the way you would post a Facebook company status update. It’s fairly straight-forward.

The only thing that’s even a little tricky is in the set-up. Though you may not know it, LinkedIn defaults to letting every employee be a page admin. However to activate the status update feature, you have to have designated admins.

Here’s how to do that:

  1. Go to your company page
  2. In the top right, click Admin Tools, Edit
  3. In the Overview tab (the one it opens to), select “Designated Users Only”
  4. Add yourself
  5. Add coworkers who should also have access to admin abilities
  6. Click Publish. Ta-da! Done!

There’s two important things to note for number five. First, you can only make people you are connected with admins. This might require you to expand your LinkedIn network a little. And second, now you have to decide who in your organization should have admin abilities.

A few ideas for admins include:

  • Primary online marketing person
  • Back up online marketing person
  • HR Director
  • Executive Director

Learn more about the new company page status updates with this video. Happy updating!

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Innovator Spotlight: NPWF

Posted by Guest Blogger at Oct 10, 2011 03:34 PM CDT
Categories: Advocacy, Constituent Empowerment, Fundraising, Social Media

The following post is by Andrew Magnuson. Andrew is a Senior Consultant on the Convio Strategy Team, who has been working to help make Convio clients successful for the past seven years. 

I wanted to take a moment to recognize one of the recent winners of Convio’s Innovator Awards – the National Partnership for Women and Families.  Not only are they a great organization with a great campaign success story under their belt, but they are a perfect example of what integrated marketing looks like when done right. 

NPWF innovator“Integrated marketing” is an ill-defined term that often has many interpretations. It’s a bit like world peace, in that everyone agrees it’s a good thing, but nobody really knows what it looks like. Although any organization might have several different interpretations of what this can be (and indeed there is no single methodology for success), I wanted to point out the specific, replicable things that make this campaign great and that any organization can use despite staff size, budget, or sophistication. 

First, a bit of background on the campaign. Betty Dukes was a Wal-Mart employee who in 2000 filed the largest class-action civil rights lawsuit in U.S. history, charging Wal-Mart with discriminating against women in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. By last summer the case was in the Supreme Court.

The National Partnership for Women and Families saw a great opportunity to not only show public support for Betty, but to use this high-profile case to promote awareness and support for the Paycheck Fairness Act.  To this end, NPWF kicked off a four-month campaign to do just that.

Here’s where it gets interesting. In addition to sending out advocacy emails, they also used advanced segmentation to identify individuals on their housefile who would be their most likely supporters.  On top of this, they applied passive interest tagging on their donation forms, action alerts, and surveys to “listen” for the folks who were motivated by this issue, then provided those individuals with further, deeper actions they could take. 

Next, they offered supporters to submit a personal message of support to Betty, which they promised would be printed, bound, and delivered in person.  This provided supporters with an easy, tangible means of making an impact, which further strengthens their relationship with the organization and providing an even deeper connection with this issue. 

In addition to rallies held at the capital, they provided other ways for Non-D.C. residents to participate.  They created a Facebook fan page and solicited rally banner slogans.  They offered pins with the “Right Over Might” slogan for people to purchase and wear. 

Finally, they taped the emotional delivery of the book of messages of support, and turned it into a YouTube video that was sent to supporters so that they could see the direct impact of their contribution (in a terrifically savvy maneuver, the video was posted above a donation form before being distributed to supporters).  All of this was done within a context of heavy social media use, which helped to keep supporters up to date and “in the fight” for the duration of the campaign. 

Pretty nice, right?  Now for the takeways – here are the things we learned about what we can all do to make our campaigns more effective:

  • Find a narrative, and stick with it.  This is pretty cliché advice by now, but it’s pretty easy to fire off a one-off email appeal or action alert, then never follow up with supporters to keep them in the loop about the progress and impact they’re enabling.  This can take discipline in a fast-paced multi-narrative world, but the pay off from supporters can be substantial in the form of retention rates.
  • Leverage your data set.  Using Convio’s Interest group functionality, they were able to do smarter, more effective segmentation, thus working smarter (not harder) to find the target audience for whom this campaign would have the greatest relevance.  Do you have any past campaigns you could apply an interest to in order to yield a better target audience for an upcoming campaign with a similar interest or affinity?  I’m willing to bet you do. 
  • Create a tangible connection between your constituents and The Goal.  By printing and binding a book with the messages of support for Betty, NPWF wasn’t just doing something nice for their champion – they were creating a positive feedback loop with their supporters by allowing them a visible, tangible connection with the individual they were working to support. 
  • Invite feedback.  Soliciting rally slogans, in addition to soliciting messages of support, was an incredibly deft maneuver.  Not only did it allow a free, fun, and engaging way to leverage the enthusiasm of their supporter base, but it allowed the supporters to “put skin in the game” by participating without needing to live near where the rallies were taking place. 
  • Extend your megaphone.  Although NPWF was using social media heavily, they realized the they didn’t exactly have the biggest social media footprint.  However, because they included social sharing tools on every page where any kind of action was promoted, they were able to “extend their megaphone” by leveraging the enthusiasm of their action-takers.  This meant they were able to get their message out to a significantly larger group of people. 

Overall, this was a deftly managed campaign, and well worthy of Best Online Campaign Innovator Award. And lucky for us, it also demonstrates tactics we can all use and learn from, even if the way they are used will certainly differ between our varying organizations and causes. 

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From Summit, With Love

Posted by Cheryl Black at Oct 05, 2011 12:21 PM CDT
Categories: NPtech, Social Media, Technology

Convio Summit provides attendees with many cool experiences, inspirational stories and fun moments. And as much as I love optimized donation forms, custom reporting and APIs, I think this moment with Kris and Nate is my favorite.

We love you too! Happy anniversary y'all!

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