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Blog Posts


Major Donors are Multichannel

Posted by Sally Heaven at Oct 20, 2011 02:40 PM CDT
Categories: Nonprofit Trends, NPtech, Technology

The Rich
And other than that, the rich really aren't that different from everyone else - especially online.  If you've read our major donor study The Wired Wealthy: Using the Internet to Connect with Your Major and Middle Donors, published in 2008 by Convio, Sea Change Strategies, and Edge Research, then you already know a few important things about major donors:

  • half of wired major donors say that online giving is their preferred giving method
  • most wired wealthy already give through multiple channels
  • most wired wealthy visit the website of a nonprofit before they decide to give

And if you've been keeping up with recent trends on mobile, then you also know that by 2014 more people will view webpages using a mobile device than a computer.

Not to mention the explosion of social media in the last several years.  Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Foursquare, Tumblr, YouTube, blogs, and a million other ways for your organization to get the word out and for people to have conversations about your organization and your mission.  A million ways for a wired wealthy person to find out about your oganization, to learn about your work, and to be inspired to give. And direct mail, email, telephone and face-to-face conversations haven't gone away - in fact, some might argue the strategic application of these communication channels has even more importance than it used to.  That's integrated marketing.

Finally, there's an interesting series of blog posts on the blog Passionate Giving that makes the case that nonprofits owe it to their donors to analyze the cost of major gift fundraising and to do it as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible.  There's a lot more contained in the 6-part series, so give it a read.

So what's my point about the wired wealthy's online habits, mobile, social media and making major gift fundraising more efficient?  Stick with me, I'll tie this all together in a minute.

Major donors are an important part of any nonprofit organization's budget.  Some organizations have been around for a long time and have robust major giving programs and robust membership (or annual giving) programs, and raise money from events, peer fundraising - a diverse revenue stream.  Some other organizations rely much more heavily on major gifts to support their work - and I'd venture to say that's more true for organizations that could realistically put themselves out of business in 10-20 years by solving the problem - curing the disease, passing the law, etc.  But in both types of organizations, major gifts are important.

Also, most major gifts don't happen out of the blue.  Most donors become major givers after already being part of the donor base.  That goes double for planned gifts.  So excellent donor management is important throughout the life cycle of the donor - you need a place for all of this information that helps you steward them in the best way possible.

Here's the punch line:  with so many different channels and so much new technology, the number of ways that you can interact with major donors - and they can interact back! - you need a system that can handle all of this data and put it together in a way that lets you make sense of it all.  A system that makes the right data available to the right people at the right time.  A system that is optimized for what it's doing in each particular moment.  And a system that is right for your organization's needs.  The point isn't to simply store your data, it's to make the data usable and accessible so in any given moment your staff can deliver the right message to a major donor.

That's why you should check out Convio Luminate™ and Common Ground Fundraising to see which system is right for you.  Whether you're a large national organization, a multi-affiliate group, a small or growing charity, or an enterprise operation, Convio has a solution that can help enable your success and take your fundraising to the next level.

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Thoughts from the Korean Taco Truck

Posted by Amber Wobschall at Oct 18, 2011 09:35 AM CDT
Categories: Fundraising, NPtech, Technology

On my last trip to Austin, I visited the Chi’Lantro food truck. It was delicious. But, more importantly for this post, it was nice to have the option to pay with a credit card.  A lot of businesses are jumping on board with mobile payment services to be able to take credit card payments while on the go. I see them most often in food trucks, craft fairs and other business models that move around and don’t stick to a traditional store front location.

Chi'LantroThere is a nice summary here of three different companies that offer this service. As far as I can tell, none of them offer special non-profit rates as of yet, but I hope they will soon because I’d like to see more folks in the non-profit community experimenting with this technology.

Here are some places I think it’d be great for the non-profit community to experiment with mobile payments.

1. Event Crowds: You have an audience of supporters for your cause lining the streets cheering on their friends and family as they run/walk/bike/climb/etc. While they wait, why not offer them the chance to give one more time (or for the first time). Offer them a pom-pom, small cow bell or other cheering enhancement as an incentive to give.

2. Tabling Are your staff or volunteers sitting behind a table at festivals, conferences and fairs all year long? Gathering petition signatures, handing out stickers and candy, and educating the public about your great work? Maybe they are taking cash and check donations or maybe they aren’t yet taking gifts at all. Having a mobile payment option would offer a way for supporters to quickly make a gift that they may feel is more secure than handing cash to volunteer. Added bonus, you should be able to set this up so the donor can instantly receive an e-mail receipt for tax purposes.

3. Canvassing: Do you have a street canvass team? Are they using this technology? Seems like another area where being on the go and accepting payments would work hand in hand.

Has your organization tried this or have you run into a non-profit making use of this technology? I want to know more! Tell me about it in the comments below.

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Innovator Spotlight: HRC

Posted by Cheryl Black at Oct 17, 2011 11:11 AM CDT
Categories: NPtech, Social Media, Technology

Earlier this month, we recognized The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) with an Innovator Award in the Best Use of New Mediacategory for its “Coming Out for Equality” Facebook application which allowed supporters of equality to use social media to express their support for the rights of LGBT Americans and raise awareness around National Coming Out Day. 

Their Facebook app was wildly successful. Just check out these stats

  • 12,000+ new followers on HRC’s Facebook page in two days;
  • 125,000 people donated their Facebook status for equality, which resulted in ~16.3 million newsfeed impressions;
  • 340,000 likes and comments in response to status updates;
  • 6,000+ Tweets for equality sent through the application; and
  • 117,000+ new email addresses, saving $200,000+ in new prospect list acquisition costs.

Impressive right?

While Facebook apps aren't right for every organization or campaign, the core message is: instead of reinventing the wheel, make some innovative tweaks to your long-standing and successful campaigns. (They are long-standing and successful campaigns for a reason right? No need to fix what ain't broke.) Tie in social media to empower your constituents, offer new forms of engagement and more by taking advantage of the new media available to you. With a few updates, good to great is possible - and I think we'd all agree that HRC's results are nothing shy of great.

VIDEO: HRC on HRC's Campaign

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It's Personal

Posted by Sara Spivey at Oct 07, 2011 07:31 AM CDT
Categories: Technology

I have this expression I say when I see a woman dressed to the nines with matching bag, shoes, hat, scarf and jewelry (in any combination of that list): “the only thing that separates us from other mammals is our ability to accessorize.” What makes jeans and a white t-shirt unique? Everything over, under or around it. Fashion is art and art is fashion.

SteveJobsNo one understood the power of this better than Steve Jobs. Now arguably, the guy who never wore anything but a black turtleneck and jeans is hardly a shining example of the art of fashion.  I’ll give you that. But he may have been the only individual who EVER understood it when it came to technology. 

Before Apple came along, we had 10 years of “personal” computers from other technology titans that were anything but.  We had 15 years of “smart” phones that were mostly the dumbest things ever invented.  And we had 20 years of “personal stereos” (cassette tape and later CDs) that were neither very personal nor very good stereos.

Mr. Jobs understood the relationship between functionality and individuality. He understood the philosophy of designing for the masses one customer at a time. I can’t think of a single consumer products company that understands either of these things half as well as Apple, and by association, Steve Jobs. 

At last count at the end of 2010,  there had been 92 million iPhones and 26 million iPads sold since their respective launches, and I am sure that number is now higher. Having said that,  I can with certainty GUARANTEE you that no two devices are alike.  They may look alike, but they are highly personal.  No two people in the word could possibly have the exact same combination of music, movies, photos, applications, games, ring tones, cases, contact records…the list goes on and on. They are like snowflakes.  No two are the same.

I read hundreds of Facebook statuses, Twitter posts (even at 140 characters they are unique), tributes from the rich, the not so rich, the famous and the not so famous, it is clear that Steve Jobs as an innovator, creator and human being, has touched every individual in a very deep and personal way.  What other individual that has passed away in the last decade can you remember generating this kind of personal outpouring of genuine loss?   We pay tribute and homage to others, but we grieve the loss of Steve Jobs.  I read a post this morning from a friend who wrote, “I am not sure why I feel this profoundly sad about a man I’ve never met.”  It’s personal.

The only conclusion I can draw from this is that millions of us have built a deeply individual connection with these products, and by extension, their creator.   We feel like we know him personally because all of us have created personas that he enabled.  He knows EXACTLY who I am even though he has never met me.  I saw a t-shirt the other day that said, “I hope I am half as interesting as the guy that owns my iPad.”  

How many times have these words been uttered in total panic?  “Oh my God, I have lost my phone. My life is on that thing.”  

And my personal favorite from a well known tech reporter:  “Apple owns me.  And my kids.  I’m waiting for my dog to learn how to use the IPad.  Seems unfair she’s the only family member that can’t leave her pawprint on the universe somehow.”

Who knew when he created these things he would spawn millions of digital fingerprints and millions of friends worldwide?  After all, it’s just a phone. But it’s my phone. And no two are alike.  Each one, a complete original.

Just like the man himself.  

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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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