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Blog Posts


Mobilize Those Mobile Eyes

Posted by Guest Blogger at Mar 09, 2012 11:13 AM CST
Categories: Accessibility, Fundraising, NPtech, Productivity, Technology

Confession time: not more than ten years ago I was one of those people who said I would never have a cell phone. I simply did not want to be that accessible, I would say.

But one recent weekend morning, when I found myself walking around the house with an iPhone in the pocket of my bathrobe, I knew the assimilation was complete.

I am one of the nearly half of all Americans who now own not just a cell phone, but a smartphone, according to the latest Pew research. That’s a lot of eyeballs.

If your organization is thinking about starting or deepening mobile engagement with your constituents who, like me, are rarely out of arms-reach of their mobile device, then allow me to summarize my takeaways from the Nonprofit Mobile Day event I recently attended, presented by the Direct Marketing Association’s Nonprofit Federation (DMANF).

And if your organization isn’t thinking about these things, it might just be time to wake up, put on the ol’ bathrobe, and smell the coffee.

Know the possibilities
“Mobile” isn’t just one thing, it is many. Today, the term “mobile” covers four primary types of engagement:

  • Mobile messaging: sending text messages to your constituents
  • Text-to-give: enabling your constituents to text a $5 or $10 donation to your organization, paid via their mobile bill
  • Mobile Web: presenting content and engagement opportunities in a way that is optimized for mobile device browsers, including things like donation forms and advocacy action forms
  • Mobile Apps: taking your place beside Angry Birds and Flixster with packaged content or functionality

Beyond these four primary uses of the mobile channel, there are other possibilities:

  • Mobile advertising: placing your ads on other people’s mobile Web sites or in their apps
  • QR codes: enabling constituents to use the camera on their mobile device to snap a picture of a special bar code that then directs them to a mobile landing page or phone number
  • Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS): sending multimedia via text, such as photos or video
  • Augmented reality: taking advantage of the mobile device’s camera, compass, and GPS to overlay content or features on what the user “sees”. Think of apps like Pocket Universe that let you point your camera at the night sky and see an overlay of constellations and planets drawn on the screen.
  • Responsive design: new capabilities made possible through HTML5 and CSS3 that blur the line between mobile Web sites and apps. For an example, browse to the Financial Times site on your mobile device.
  • Phone calls: and, oh yeah, a lot of these mobile devices also have this thing called a telephone on them. This can also be great way to communicate with your constituents.

These are the different facets of the mobile channel to consider as you think about engaging with your constituents via mobile. In part 2, I’ll cover who the players are you can to bring to the table to help you harness these capabilities, and talk about creating a mobile plan.

Guest post by Watt Hamlett, Lead Solutions Engineer with Convio. He loves working with nonprofit organizations to help them access the strategies, software, and services they need to achieve their goals.

Watt Hamlett

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Convio and SXSW 2012

Posted by Guest Blogger at Mar 01, 2012 06:02 AM CST
Categories: Fundraising, NPtech, Social Media, Technology

It’s that time of the year again folks! Dust off your Tom’s, iPads, and lanyards- SXSW is finally upon us and no one is more excited than we are here at Convio. For those of you who are wondering what this fun acronym is all about, South by Southwest is a 9 day festival that includes 3 portions: music, film, and our favorite, interactive (March 9th-13th). 

This year we are diving in with our feet first by co-sponsoring the TechMix Happy Hour on March 9th. We invite you to come out and mingle with the hosting teams, customers and SXSW attendees on a variety of topics. Because, honestly, when else are you going to be in a room with people who want to discuss leveraging the power of Twitter for nonprofits or debate whether or not Google+ is an influential tool, and over drinks to boot? If our happy hour wasn’t enough time to get the creative juices flowing, or other juices were flowing too much, our Social Media Marketing Specialist, Cheryl Black, will be hosting a nonprofit meet up in the Beacon Lounge March 10th from 1:30pm-2:30pm. We encourage people to take advantage of this fantastic networking opportunity, and of course the complimentary snacks.

On top of that we are sponsoring lunch every day (delicious eats for free, yes!) in the Beacon Lounge, where the theme is, “Lounge With A Conscience.” Falling in line with the theme, each day we will be accepting donations during lunch to go to a local nonprofit, and at the end of the day we will match up to $500 dollars. The nonprofits benefiting are:

Nothing gets us more jazzed than to help out great organizations that are located right in our own backyard; because at the end of the day it is about the impact they are making in our community.

The icing on the cake that is our participation in this great festival is definitely our ability and fortune to be a supporting sponsor for the SXSW 2012 Interactive Awards. It’s kind of a big deal to receive it considering last year’s winners included, The Tiziano Project | 360⠁Kurdistan, The Onion, and Conan O’Brien Presents: Team CoCo, just to name a few.

I realize, this is a lot to take in, as is anything involving SXSW. Have no fear if you are new though, they provide a nice beginner’s guide and mobile app for those who are feeling overwhelmed.

In case this hasn’t revved up your engines for South by Southwest as much as it has for us, here is a sneak peek interview with our own Lori Bainborough, aka Convio’s own event guru, on why she can’t wait for this year’s festival.



Guest post by: Sarah Daniels, aka Marketing Intern. When Sarah isn't trying out new cooking recipes, reading a good book, or in class she likes to take long walks with her weenie dog.


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4 Questions to Ask Before Going Mobile

Posted by Guest Blogger at Feb 23, 2012 05:00 AM CST
Categories: Fundraising, NPtech, Social Media, Technology

An extraordinary thing happened last year.  For the first year ever, total PC sales around the world were outpaced by total smartphone sales. And 63% more smartphones were bought than the previous year.

So it’s tempting indeed to rush out and build an app for your nonprofit.

But before you do, it’s important to do some self reflection to determine if mobile is right for your organization.  And that means asking if mobile is right for your audience.  A good mobile strategy starts with your audiences and works backwards from them – rather than thinking of your audience after you’ve selected a shiny mobile solution!

Here are four groups of strategic questions to help guide your thinking:

  1. Who are your constituents and what are they like? Are they using smartphones? How do they typically support you? When are times when they might want to take action on mobile, and what types of actions are you hoping to inspire?
  2. What resources do you have to commit to mobile? Do a quick reality check. What time, money, expertise and staff do you have to commit to mobile, and what does that say about the scope of project you can handle?
  3. How will mobile fit into your other outreach efforts? Step back and look at mobile as a way to supplement, reinforce and enhance your other efforts, including donor acknowledgement, special events and social media.
  4. How are you going to measure your efforts? How will you track the return on investment in cost savings or added donations? How about the return on engagement in the form of new supporters, added convenience for supporters, improved advocacy and brand exposure?

For more on devising your strategy and making mobile happen for your organization, check out the new Convio and Network for Good eGuide or join our free webinar next week.

AndresenKatya Andresen is Chief Strategy Officer of Network for Good, as well as a speaker, author and blogger about nonprofit marketing, online outreach, social media and fundraising.  In addition, she is an adjunct professor of communications at American University’s Key Certificate Program and serves on the board of NTEN. Katya’s marketing materials for nonprofits have won national and international awards, and she is the author of the book Robin Hood Marketing: Stealing Corporate Savvy to Sell Just Causes. 

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POGO Wins IMA Award!

Posted by at Feb 21, 2012 10:49 AM CST
Categories: NPtech, Technology

IMA Certificate for POGOWho doesn't love kudos?! We want to offer a BIG congratulations to Project On Government Oversight (POGO) for their Interactive Media Award (IMA) for Outstanding Achievement! IMA - the Interactive Media Award competition is open to individuals and organizations involved in designing, devleoping, managing, supporting and promoting websites. Nominations are accepted from all over the world from web design firms, agencies to invidividuals and graphic artists.

POGO was nominated under the nonprofit category for web design and development. After attending Convio's Summit in 2010, POGO was inspired to re-evaluate their entire online presence, including their website. After several discussions and a preliminary evaluation, POGO and Convio started a two-phase project to create a more emotionally compelling, modern and accessible design that would make POGO's content appeal to website visitors. The project included a complete facelift for the homepage and overall look-and-feel for the entire site, as well as enhancing the site's navigation and structural elements.

Since POGO launched its updated homepage and new visual brand, the organization has seen a boost in several important website metrics:

  • Visits to POGO's website and blog (combined) increased more than 40% within three months of the refreshed design
  • Average visit time spent on the website has increased
  • Received an overwhelming amount of feedback on the look of the new design from donors, foundations, reporters and other constituents

These awesome results and POGO's new, modern-looking visual personality grabbed the attention of not only the constituents, but of the IMA judging panel as well. The Outstanding Achievement Award is the second highest honor bestowed by IMA and an extremely challenging one to win - in other words - it's a big flippin deal!

"POGO excelled in all areas of the IMA judging criteria and represents a very high standard of planning, execution and overall professionalism."

- Interactive Media Awards

It's wonderful to see when our client's hard work and innovation are recognized and rewarded. So cheers to POGO! Congratulations!

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Evernote for Nonprofits

Posted by Corey Pudhorodsky at Feb 09, 2012 06:01 AM CST
Categories: NPtech, Productivity, Technology

Jonathan Weldon  (This post was collaboratively written with Jonathan Weldon ...using a shared folder in....Evernote!)

In case you've never heard of Evernote this blog post is written from the perspective of a couple Inbox Zero & GTD geeks who are just as likely to be discussing the latest keyboard shortcut or productivity trick as we are where the next happy hour is. While we like to think of ourselves as early adopters, Evernote was recently named Company of the Year by Inc. Magazine and with more than 20 million users, it’s pretty mainstream. While Convio is not affiliated with or a partner of Evernote in any way, both of us are passionate about nonprofits and technology and thought we’d share a few ideas about how this application can help nonprofit professionals. 

Why is Evernote Important?Evernote

A key aspect of any nonprofit’s operations is storing and sharing information related to their mission, programs, outreach, and funding. You are probably all too aware that tracking this information is becoming increasingly complex. Convio has developed tools to help organizations track and act on information related to constituents’ relationships (CRM) and online engagement. There is another type of information and memory management that relates to the everyday memories and knowledge management of your staff, volunteers, and other supporters.

Visit Evernote’s website and you will be greeted with a simple statement: “Remember Everything.” A few key features of the tool include: syncing across devices, handwriting and text recognition, version tracking, photo and audio notes. There are too many amazing highlights to try to describe here, but this 2 min video gives a great overview

The following ideas are just a few of the ways that we thought different teams in an organization could use Evernote as a tool to support their roles. If you have other use cases, we'd love to hear about them in the comments.

Volunteer & Event Management

  • Volunteer Information: Perfect place for your volunteer code of conduct, name card templates, and other printable material.
  • Locations and Directions: Use Evernote to save directions to your headquarters and list of nearby restaurants and hotels, either as a free form note, geotagged note, or a PDF document.
  • Events: Great place to chronicle your events, possibly to track attendees or feedback post-event. Could also use it as a repository for event pictures.

 Mission & Marketing

  • Inspiration: When you're out in the community, use the Evernote smartphone app to capture moments or ideas that relate to our organization. For instance, if you run across something your organization has changed (or could change) in the community this is a great way to chronicle the impact your organization makes.
  • Social Media Archive: Tools such as If This Then That can put the Internet to work for you by creating tasks that automatically create notes within Evernote, allowing you to easily archive your social media presence.
  • Website Redesign: Use the Evernote Web Clipper to share inspirations or ideas from other sites. 

 Fundraising and Development

  • Annual Reports: Store notes, facts, and ideas related to your annual report in one place throughout the year. When it comes time to start compiling the report, you’ll have everything in one place.
  • Fundraising Appeals: With the Evernote mobile app, you can always have access to pictures, facts, and information about projects needing funding. If you’re at a meeting and an unexpected opportunity comes up, you’ll have digital copies of everything at your fingertips.
  • Statistics and Facts: It always helps to back up your appeals with hard numbers but they can be difficult to remember and find. Evernote can make it much easier to get this information when you need it.
  • Archive Appeal Letters: Most organizations keep a binder of previous appeal letters and copy for campaigns. Create a digital copy and you can have it with you at all times.


  • Manuals and Policies: A shared Evernote folder can be a great place to store manuals and policy documents.
  • Project Management: With the checkbox feature in Evernote, you can track tasks that are assigned to people and review notes about when actions have been completed. Additionally, you’ll have all the related project notes in one place.
  • Audio Recording of Meetings: The mobile clients and desktop apps allow you to record up to 90 minutes of audio which gets stored in a note. Never miss what was said in meetings by recording them for review later if needed.


Ultimately, Evernote gets more useful the more information you put in it, so hopefully you found this post helpful and will consider giving Evernote a try. To reiterate, Convio is not partnered with Evernote, we are just a couple of avid users and wanted to take this opportunity to share our ideas on how your organizations could utilize this fantastic tool in your day-to-day business. We are sure there are many more awesome, and even obvious, ways of how Evernote could be used by nonprofit organizations, so please use the comments to let us know how you're currently using Evernote or perhaps how you could put Evernote to work for you.

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