Ok, I'll admit it. I really love the show The Newsroom on HBO. I recognize that it's got its flaws, but frankly, I like it. Time will tell how it all plays out (am I the only one who thinks it's rapidly getting closer to real time?), but I was particularly struck by an event that happened in the second episode. Without hopefully giving out any spoilers, a character accidentally sends an email out to the whole company that was only supposed to go to one person. Cringe-worthy, indeed, this is the stuff of nightmares of anyone with email access. But, from time to time, it's bound to happen - and sometimes a lot more publicly.
As it turns out, no one is immune. Particularly now, in the 24-hour-news-cycle-oh-yeah-and-twitter times we live in, a public gaffe can potentially lead to some pretty nasty backlash. I'm sure most of you can think of several cases in the last couple of weeks alone where an easily made mistake has led to some pretty loud public outcry, with some pretty widely varying results.
So, how does a person or organization recover from an error like this? Well, there are a few articles offering advice, and all of them say pretty much the same thing: own it, communicate it, fix it, and learn from it. Easier said than done, I know, but it turns out, they're right. Hiding from a problem, victimizing your organization, blaming others, and committing common mistakes more than once are really the worst ways to reassure the public that you know the landscape - even if you truly are being wrongfully presented.
Now, I'm not suggesting that you go rolling over every time the public doesn't like what you're organization is doing. Nor do I think you necessarily need to send out a retraction when your email blast has something that's poorly formatted. Only you and your organization can and should decide when to execute on a correction if and when you feel its necessary. But, given the evolution of communication, it's just good business sense for your organization to have some sort of contingency plan, just in case things go awry. Then, you can just cross your fingers and hope you never have to use it.
I'd love to hear more from our readers about who has either dealt with this sort of thing, is dealing with it now, or has started working on their plans. It's a new era of communication, and the learning curve is steep, so any information you can share would be great!
Not even a whole summer on the Blackbaud team, and we are knocking things out left and right. Last month we shared our “quick wins” and today we’re ready to share our “stronger together” initiatives.
Our “stronger together” initiatives are key areas where we knew we could plan better solutions once we put our minds together. Jana Eggers, Sr. VP of Products and Marketing, says it best.
For more information on our integration or any of the Blackbaud products, be sure to read the KnowHow product blog. If you’d like to provide feedback (and we hope you will), please do so in the comments below or on our Product Discovery page which now includes the Luminate and Common Ground suites.
We live in a world of touch. Nonprofits touch lives with their mission and passion in working to solve the world’s crises. Individuals touch lives by taking a stand for something we believe in by walking, or marching or running for a cause. Technology touches us, and we touch technology. On average, Americans spend 2.7 hours a day socializing on their mobile devices. “Touch” technology is all around us.
As mobile phone usage increases and technology advances, it seems we now have the world at our fingertips. Whether I’m sitting in bed and catching up on email, out shopping and comparing the prices with the online store, or trying to register for a 5k run this Saturday, I’m touching technology. Literally. Of the 4 billion mobile phones in use on this planet, over 1 billion of them are smart phones. In a study by Microsoft tag, it is predicted that by 2014, that internet usage on mobile phones and smart devices will exceed that of laptops and desktops. That’s in less than two years. And, the growing number of smart devices that use “touch” technology tells us that it’s time to kick adaptation into high gear. In comes responsive web design. And, in comes responsive web design built into the newest release of Luminate Online. [And the crowd goes wild!]
To state it very, very simply, responsive web design is a principle in which websites are coded in a way so that no matter why type of device you are viewing a site on, that site will look nice. Using an iPhone, tablet, laptop or gigantic monitor to view your favorite website? If the site is coded using responsive design technologies (like HTML5 and CSS), then it doesn’t matter what size device you are using; it will render properly. With responsive web design employed on a site or application, the site or app will adapt to your screen size and input device. While it’s actually very practical in terms of technology, it sure feels like magic!
The Luminate Online team and TeamRaiser product are adapting as well. Our upcoming release will feature a re-designed TeamRaiser event registration process which utilizes the latest and greatest in responsive web design technology. What does this mean for your event participants registering through TeamRaiser? They will experience a much, much smoother registration process and will be able to easily complete registration no matter what device they use. [And the crowd goes wild again!]
Here’s a quick rundown on the key benefits:
Sound fantastic? Current TeamRaiser-using organizations may click here for more information.
What are the three most important factors to a successful integration? Speed, speed and speed.
With our heads down and noses to the grindstone, we’ve taken that mantra very seriously for the past month. And we’re finally ready to (briefly) come up for air and share our first results with you.
Our “quick wins” integration initiative is doing exactly what it was intended to do – identify and execute on actions that in extremely short order can improve your ability to serve your mission. Our quick wins include
Each one is exciting in its own right and I’m sure that list has only whet your curiosity whistle. Hop on over to our product blog, Blackbaud KnowHow, or watch this short video by our Senior VP of Products and Marketing, Jana Eggers, to learn more. And please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below or through the form on our integration web page.
E-books and e-readers are a growing part of the attention ecosystem. Long-form journalism is finding new legs through social recommendation (#longform, #longreads) and time-shifting apps. Nonprofits struggling to communicate complex issues in 140 characters can benefit from deploying e-books and other long-form content as part of a thoughtful mobile and social media strategy.
Who is reading?
Owners of e-reading devices have similar profiles to audiences most nonprofits are trying to reach for fundraising. According to a recent report from the Pew Internet & American Life report, The Rise of E-Reading:
Compared with all Americans 16 and older, “e-reading device owners” are more likely to live in high income households and have more educational experience, and are also much more likely to be more tech-savvy in general… more likely to read in general, and to read a book on a typical day… more avid readers of newspapers and magazines than other Americans, and are more likely to read long-form content of any kind for pleasure. (emphasis mine)
29% of Americans age 18 and older own at least one specialized device for e-book reading – either a tablet or an e-book reader.
Also, it bears stating the obvious: smartphones are also e-readers. Don't think of e-books as being read exclusively by owners of dedicated e-readers like the Kindle or Nook, but instead think of any mobile screen. The audience for an e-book may be larger than you thought.
What content makes sense?
As chronicled in Forbes.com and elsewhere, long-form writing on the web is making a comeback. Many readers are using time-shifting apps to collect web content and read it later. In addition to purposefully written longer articles on your website, e-books are an opportunity to reach your audience with long-form content. Examples of content that could be produced in e-book format or targeted to long-form readers include:
Depending on the organization, other opportunities may present themselves. For example, distributing an exclusive work (or excerpt) by a well-known author in e-book format may be a way to generate donations or signups. Furthermore, new outlets for long-form journalism (Atavist, Longform.org, Longreads, Matter, PostDesk (UK), among others), should be part of your media planning.
TheNextWeb.com blogger Alex Wilhelm writes that "Long-form content is headed back to the business model of the pamphlet, with short works selling at low price points and in large quantity." According to Wilhelm, the key success factors for e-books are: locational convenience, formatting, and curation.
"By locational convenience I mean that people [with e-readers] often use them where they lack an Internet connection (the train). Therefore, to have something downloaded and ready to go is a real value. In regards to formatting, most ereading devices have browsing capabilities, but that doesn’t mean that they render pages well, or quickly. A well formatted ebook has none of those issues. Finally, curation means that things are assembled in a very specific way to give a cohesive and user-friendly experience."
An example of this kind of content curation is veteran nonprofit blogger Colin Delany's recent e-book, How Campaigns Can Use the Internet to Win in 2012, available in Kindle-optimized format via Amazon.com, and as a free PDF.
Why is formatting important?
As a consumer (not a standards expert), my experience is that PDF meets only the minimal requirements to be called an e-book, mainly for reasons of usability. While almost every e-reader can display PDFs, the end-user has no control over text size, background color, pagination, and other aspects of the the reading experience that make e-books a compelling medium. This is especially true for smartphones (currently your largest potential e-reader audience), where reading PDFs is possible but very tedious, with each page requiring zooming and scrolling.
How to publish an e-book?
Unfortunately, there isn't one publication standard that works across all e-readers. The major purveyors of e-book platforms (Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble) all want to make it easy for you to produce content, and make it sound as easy as uploading HTML or Word Documents. Because Amazon.com has the largest audience of e-readers, many independent publishers with limited time and energy are going the route of publishing in Amazon's Kindle-optimized format. One of the long-form content aggregators mentioned above, Atavist, offers a publication platform that looks promising.
If you are looking for deeper examination of the fragmented state of e-book publication standards, Nick Disabato fires a #longform broadside from A List Apart in two parts: the current state, and a look to the future. Nonprofits with limited resources would certainly benefit from industry adoption of standards as he urges.
Are you already making use of e-books and #longform content? Please let us know in the comments.
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