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Live from SXSW! Innovation in Nonprofits

Posted by Cheryl Black at Mar 12, 2011 02:05 PM CST
Categories: Nonprofit Trends, NPtech

Live from the floor of SXSW! (Literally, I'm sitting on the floor at the Austin Convention Center for use of a highly coveted electrical outlet.)

We all want to be innovative right? Sure. It sounds and is fabulous. But you can't just wake up and say "today our organization is going to start being innovative." You need a culture and structure that will actually encourage innovation and creativity.

Randy Moss, co-author of The Future of Nonprofits: Innovate and Thrive in the Digital Age, gave Convio the two-minute summary of his SxSW session on innovation in nonprofits. Watch it here and forget that old warning of "don't try this at home." This is one YouTube video we really hope you will try at home.

PS For more live SXSW news you can use, follow @Convio and the #sxsw hashtag on Twitter.

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Emergency Response Guide

Posted by Kent Gilliam at Mar 11, 2011 10:36 AM CST
Categories: Email Marketing, Fundraising, NPtech, Productivity, Research, Social Media

Is your organization working to ready itself to respond to the needs caused by the earthquake in Japan? Convio wants to help you. Download and put our "Be Prepared When Your Mission Calls" rapid response fundraising guide to work for you.  

   Nonprofit Rapid Response

Rapid response is a top-of-mind topic for nonprofits of all shapes and sizes right now. After the Haiti earthquake last year, Molly Brooksbank posted 7 quick tips to taking action quickly in times of need and numerous other resources and learnings have been put out since with the issue at top of mind for nonprofits and charities around the world (see: 5 Social Media Lessons From the Haiti Earthquake Relief Effort by Geoff Livingston, Helping Haiti: Places to Donate, Creative Fundraising Ideas and Being a Smart Donor by Britt Bravo, How to Communicate in the Shadow of Disaster -- Guidelines for Respectful but Effective Outreach by Nancy Schwartz, The Social Media Response to Disaster in Haiti by Amy Sample Ward and Text-to-Give Fundraising Campaigns Take Off by Joanne Fritz amongst others)

Being prepared for an unforeseen surge of donations is something every nonprofit should be positioned for, and the swell of attention doesn’t need to come only from a natural disaster. Unanticipated press coverage and subsequent attention on your cause can be the result of change of law or a court’s ruling. It may even be as simple yet unexpected as a pop culture figure bringing an issue to the forefront through controversy. The lesson far too many nonprofits learn the hard way is how to be prepared for unplanned events.

A few of the top takeaways from the guide include:

  • Respond Quickly — When communicating during times of crisis, simplicity and effectiveness are far more important than design or prose.  A straight-forward communication will help your supporters understand your organization’s position to the crisis and how they can support your efforts.
  • A quick response requires a quick setup — The more time you spend on approving messaging is less time you have to harness the energy and interest around your cause. Plan and prepare to the best of your ability so that you can respond rapidly.
  • Adjust Your Message — Sometimes messaging around an event requires sensitivity. But don’t let that inhibit your creativity to turn this concentration of awareness into something positive for your organization.
  • Know the Plan — Working quickly sometimes is accompanied by haphazard decision making. The unintended fallout of such mistakes can be missed opportunities, offended donors or worse, PR problems. The number one mistake any organization can make is not having the right message on the right donation form at the right time. Planning for these events and knowing your anticipated response helps you to minimize the opportunity for error and maximize your capacity to seize the benefits a media spotlight can provide.

The Guide outlines the above best practices in detail, provides additional best practices and tactics to follow and offers examples from nonprofit peers highlighting successful ways they've followed the guide's tips.

Have any other lessons learned or tips to add to the list? Know of an organization who exemplifies how to respond rapidly in times of need? Share them here so the nonprofit community can be better prepared the next time the need arises.

This information was originally posted by Convio's Molly Brooksbank in March of 2010. Read Molly's post.

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The World is Obsessed with Facebook

Posted by Cheryl Black at Mar 11, 2011 09:51 AM CST
Categories: NPtech, Social Media

Originally created by Alex Trimpe and recently posted on Conor Bryne's Blog here's a 1:46 video on the global obsession with Facebook.

Now that you've watched the video, are you feeling a sudden urge to look at your Facebook page and make sure it's up to snuff? I had the same reaction. Here are a few resources you can review to help make sure your Facebook page is working for you.

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Breaking out of the Volunteer Data Silo

Posted by Amber Wobschall at Mar 10, 2011 08:52 AM CST
Categories: Advocacy, Constituent Empowerment, Data Integration, NPtech, Volunteerism

In many of my past jobs and internships, I worked with volunteers. And I loved it. But, I struggled with data and I know many organizations still do.

In college, my non-profit internship had me managing my program in a three ring binder. Useful for me, but not so useful for other staff members of the small office who might benefit from the information I gleaned. And my bad hand-writing, use of acronyms, and cryptic notes might not have made that much sense to my colleagues or future volunteer coordinators.

As my career progressed, so did the role of technology in my volunteer management and tracking. I went from binders, to excel, to access, to creating custom fields in database programs. And it helped, the writing was cleaner, the types of information we gathered was more streamlined. I could finally figure out quickly and easily who had actually shown up before to phone bank, so I could start with that list to fill up the slots when urgent legislative action called for mobilization.

ToySiloHowever, a large problem remained even as my data solutions improved – the data was always sitting in a silo. And I’m not talking about the kind of silos you find on a farm. Even in an office of 5, the person in charge of asking for donations didn’t always know who had volunteered. Or the volunteer coordinator didn’t know that the person signed up to table at the county fair was also a board member.
Organizations large and small could benefit from sharing volunteer information. One of the primary barriers to integrating volunteer data with other important organizational data was showing the potential value that volunteers bring across the organization. There are many “outside the box activities” that volunteers can be involved in, which points to the need for your volunteer information to live and be accessible in the same place as your other important constituents.

Here are a few ideas of how other departments, programs or teams could collaborate with you to make the most of your volunteer base.

1. Volunteers as Donors:  I wish it was more widely known and accepted, but volunteers are current or future donors and should always be treated as such. While it may be true that some volunteers may never donate and some donors may never volunteer, those who do both will likely give you a lot more money.  In fact, a 2009 study indicated that on average, volunteers donate 10 times more money to charity than people who don’t volunteer.

2. Volunteers as Spokespeople: Volunteers can help you write letters to the editor, produce heartwarming videos about the work your organization does, submit quotes for your newsletter or mailing and more.

3. Volunteers as Media Resources: Volunteers can tweet, comment on your blog, post to your blog, and even connect you with their friend who happens to write for the local paper, blog or other media outlet.

4. Volunteers as Government Relations Resources: Volunteers may want to participate in a lobby day or lead a portion of a lobby day training for their peer activists. They may also have a compelling story to share with an elected official on lobby visit.

When all is said and done, your volunteers will feel ever more valuable to your organization and you will have more resources at your disposal. Just don’t forget the most important thing – thank your volunteers early and often!


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You Know You Want Our Tchotchkes

Posted by Sally Heaven at Mar 09, 2011 12:24 PM CST
Categories: Nonprofit Trends, NPtech

tchotchkesIt's spring and the flowers are blooming, the birds are chirping, and the online marketers are conferencing.  Conferences are a great way to meet other Convio users, gain best practices, and think creatively about online marketing.  Let's take a virtual tour of some upcoming conferences and I'll give you a preview of where you can see some of us from Convio in the coming months (including yours truly!).

Before we jump into the laundry list, Convio's Facebook page is your one-stop shop for upcoming Convio events - bookmark it for future reference!

SXSWi - South by Southwest Interactive.  This conference is NEXT WEEK in Austin, Texas (corporate home of the Convio mothership).  The content is always edgy and compelling, and 10% of the attendees are from nonprofit organizations.  Here are the sessions that are aimed at nonprofits and where you can find us:

conferencesLet's Hook Up: Brands, Celebs, and Non-profits

Causebuilding Games: Fundraising & Social Gaming Streams

Text-to-Donate Fundraising for Non-Profits

The Future of Philanthropy: Social Giving Takes Off

Nonprofit Group Meet Up Hosted by Convio

Method Tweeting for Non Profits (and Other Players)

The Beacon Lounge is always popular with nonprofits as well

NTC - Nonprofit Technology Conference.  Put on by NTEN, this conference always has great content and attendance - it's "the one EVERYONE goes to."  As an added bonus, I will be there at the Convio table on Thursday and Friday - so come by and say hi to me and maybe even pick up one of the our awesome tchotchkes, pictured to the right.  Find us here, among other places:

Anytime, Anywhere: Extending Your Reach with Online Advocacy

Get a Little Closer, Making Online Fundraising Personal

AFP - Association of Fundraising Professionals.  This conference has over 4,000 professional fundraisers registered in 2011 and is in Chicago this year.  Convio will have two speaking sessions in the Buzz Theatre and we hope you attend!

Yeah, Yup, Right On - Getting the Younger Donor to Say Yes to Your Nonprofit (PDF)

Tuesday, March 22, 11:30-12:15pm: Navigating the Waters in a Sea of Social Media (PDF)

DMANF - Direct Marketing Association Nonprofit Federation.  This one has already come and gone this year; it's every February.  Convio was there and we'll be back next year so start planning your trip now!

Convio Summit.  THE place to be, obviously.  Mark your calendar for October 3-5, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland as the Convio annual conference returns to Charm City!  Also mark your calendar for April 4, when registration opens up - you don't want to miss the early bird rate!

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