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Blog Posts

Fun Friday Facts

Posted by Amber Wobschall at Jun 17, 2011 01:38 PM CDT
Categories: NPtech, Social Media, Technology

My colleague Cheryl brought this little gem to my attention this week. I feel like an entire post could be written about each of the facts included. I have asked the author in the comments to see if we  can get the sources of these stats here.

But here’s my reaction to a few of them:

Kindergarteners are learning on iPads, not chalkboards.  OK, so these kids must be in very well funded  school districts that I have not heard of. Regardless, I remember playing Number Munchers and Oregon Trail (this  article on OT is fascinating if you have a moment)  on my Apple IIe in grade school.  Technology has come a long way, but it always has and always will play an important role in our education. Let’s make sure non-profits are part of the picture by  developing content of use to educators, students, and the general public that is fun, engaging and makes the most of the tools at our disposal.

Facebook tops google for weekly traffic in the US. The non-profits community needs to consider this deeply. Your social media presence should be strong and up to date, because people aren’t just going to your website to find out about you. They look for you in the online communities they are already a part of. If you are not there, they might not find you.

90% of consumers trust peer recommendations. Only 14% trust advertisements. Peer to peer is where it’s at.  When my friend tells me about a non-profit and asks me to give (whether they are running a race, on the board, or just an evangelist) I’m much more likely to do so than if I just see an advertisement. Non-profits need to take  advantage of peer to peer tools like teamraiser to capitalize on this reality.

Check it out here:

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Internet Soup

Posted by Noah Cooper at Jun 16, 2011 03:36 PM CDT
Categories: Technology

Years ago, my dear friend Jack Shepherd (not to be confused with that other guy) came up with the idea for a clever little recurring blog series titled "Internet Soup". Since he long ago stopped writing the aforementioned blog series, and since he's responsible for me not having a passport anymore, I figure it's OK for me to plagiarize his work.

So, here are some things from around the internet that I found interesting, and I think you might too!

Be forewarned that my soup has a lot less cute animal pictures and a lot more techie jargon.

  • Earlier this month, Google announced that it will stop supporting older browsers like Internet Explorer 6 and 7 come August 1. I'm personally ecstatic following this announcement — the fact is that catering to users of a web browser older than the Nintendo GameCube (seriously) does nothing but limit innovation. HTML5 is no longer the futuristic sci-fi technology it once seemed. It's time we all start playing with <canvas> tags and stop worrying about making transparent images display for 5% of users still stuck in 2001. The next time you find something wrong in IE6, I encourage you to look the other way, and spend the time you would've spent worrying about that 5% thinking about your mobile strategy.
  • Speaking of mobile, I just picked up a copy of the new book "Responsive Web Design" from A Book Apart. The book describes a methodology for "thinking beyond the desktop" and designing content that is device agnostic. I highly recommend it, whether you're just getting into the wide world of mobile or you consider yourself an expert. I prefer something I can hold in my hands, but it's also available in ebook format if that's your thing. If you want to wet your pallete, check out the excerpt available on A Book Apart's site.
  • The folks at Families USA just launched an exciting new tool called Tweet Your Legislators that allows its advocates to sign a petition via Twitter. The Affordable Care Act petition integrates with act.ly, and includes almost 2,000 elected officials who are on Twitter, from U.S. senators and representatives to governors, attorneys general, and state senators and reps. I had a similar idea a few years back, so I'm glad to see organizations taking social advocacy to the next level!
  • I've often said that I have a love/hate relationship with JavaScript. That statement has made me somewhat of a magnet for questions about JS. Clients and colleagues have often asked me for advice on where to go to learn more about JavaScript. As is the case with most things web development, my defacto answer is W3Schools. Thanks to my co-worker Eric I now have another extremely helpful resource to add to the list - a blog entry from iFadey titled "Javascript Mistakes You Must Avoid". The post includes some really useful information for anyone who's new to JavaScript on producing performant web applications.


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It's a Multi-Channel World

Posted by Sally Heaven at Jun 15, 2011 09:02 AM CDT
Categories: NPtech, Social Media


It's a multichannel world out there, folks.  Consider this:

In any given day, I might interact with a friend like this:

  • respond to an email about plans to get together for dinner
  • send an instant message to suggest a different restaurant
  • text her to alert her to a new dish on the menu
  • tag her in a Facebook status update about how I'm looking forward to dinner
  • call her on the way to let her know I'm running late
  • talk face-to-face at dinner
  • tag her in a tweet about how the restaurant was great even though I was stressed about having left my wallet at home
  • write her a handwritten note to thank her for paying

And all of this happens fairly seamlessly - to the two of us, it's just one big long conversation even though each piece of it happened using eight different communication methods - or "channels."

It's a similar situation for nonprofits - we have so many methods to communicate with constituents.  Such as:

  • email
  • direct mail
  • telephone
  • events
  • website
  • text message
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • face to face
  • video
  • LinkedIn
  • TV and radio advertising
  • print media

And that's just the tip of the iceberg.  Add into this that most nonprofits aren't quite so lucky to have the undivided attention that we give our friends and family. 

Herein lies the challenge - there are many methods to communicate with constituents.  Your supporters might be in one of these channels, or a subset - or all of them.  It's imperative to tell a consistent story and to use each channel to support your goals - but it's also all too easy to operate these channels in silos.

Convio will have more to say about this later this year, but right now I'm interested in hearing from YOU.  Tell me in the comments how you're currently managing all of your channels and how you integrate your messages!

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Don't miss the boat

Posted by Cheryl Black at Jun 13, 2011 09:01 AM CDT
Categories: NPtech, Social Media

Miss the boatIt causes me pain when I see someone miss the boat…especially when I realize I’m that someone.

This is what happened with Convio’s LinkedIn company page. It was out there but it was really outdated and somewhat neglected. It took a friendly push from one of my marketing colleagues to get me on my game with our company page. And man, am I glad I did!

When I started Googling “best practices for companies on LinkedIn” and started reading, I realized I wasn’t just missing the boat, I was missing the whole bloody cruise.

LinkedIn has more than 100 million members, including executives from every one of the Fortunate 500 and making it the world’s largest online professional network. (I hope you are reading that and thinking “donors and board members and employees – oh my!”) There’s also more than 750,000 groups and a million company pages.

Convio’s company page alone has more than 900 followers. Hello opportunity!

In less time than it would take to add the task to my Outlook, I was able to make some really effective updates. And now, after that long intro, here’s the four things I’m suggesting you do today to your organization’s LinkedIn page (make sure you claim it first).

  1. Contact info & description. Add your address, phone number and website. People want to connect with you outside of LinkedIn too so let them. For your description, you can just use your mission statement. Since it's succinct and comprehensive (right?) it should be perfect.
  2. Logos. On the overview tab you can add logos, one of whatever shape and one that is specifically square. Very simple, just upload that sucker. Done.
  3. Social Media. Also on the overview tab you can add your nonprofit’s Twitter account and your blog’s RSS feed. Super simple, just copy and paste. And what's great about this is it will continually add new content to your page from social media activities you are already doing. Score.
  4. Products & Services. Maybe “products” aren’t the best way to describe what you can offer, but I bet you have services also known as “programs.” Whatever they are – delivering meals, teaching computer classes, offering tax assistance – add them to the Products & Services tab. (In fairness, this one might take several minutes, depending on how many programs you add. If you are really strapped for time, I suggest just picking your 2-3 flagship programs.)

Go. Do them all right now. Don’t even put a task in your Outlook. Just open another tab in your browser and get on it.

I’m telling you – you don’t want to miss this boat.

Convio on LinkedIn

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Lady Gaga & Celebrity Philanthropy

Posted by Rachel Muir at Jun 09, 2011 08:35 AM CDT
Categories: Nonprofit Trends

Lady Gaga & Celebrity Philanthropy

No doubt about it, Lady Gaga is a conversation starter.  But did you know she topped the list of most charitable Celebs in 2010, as ranked by Do Something, by how much energy celebrities devote to cause?  Notice the operative word here: energy. If you want to know which celebrities gave the most that's another list.   

Photo credit: lady gaga galore.com

With an audience of over ten million Twitter followers– more than any other twitting being on Earth (and two million more than our President) Lady Gaga can evangelize to a massive crowd.

What I find transformative about Lady Gaga’s celebrity philanthropy is that while she definitely has favorite causes, a significant part of her message is encouraging people to volunteer and take action.  As part of her Monster Ball tour, she partnered with Virgin Mobile and Volunteermatch to give free premium concert tickets to volunteers who gave eight hours or more lending a hand to organizations serving homeless youth.  Her call to action inspired over 30,000 hours of community service and a new wave of attention on homeless youth.   It also engaged a younger demographic of primarily 18-24 year olds in supporting the cause. 

Another example is her successful efforts to repeal the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell where she galvanized her fan base to take part in an advocacy campaign.  She released a video statement explaining her views on the policy where she actually picked up the phone and called New York Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and then asked her fans to do the same.  Then she sent out links to 30 videos her fans made calling for its repeal.  She modeled how easy it is to take action and contact your elected officials, galvanized her fans to get involved and then put the spotlight on their grassroots efforts. 

The risk and reward of celebrity endorsements

Celebrities can attract large audiences to your mission, use their fame to shape public opinion, promote global citizenship, and draw in multiple audiences like donors, volunteers, and consumers.  But if getting celebrities were easy we’d all have one, right?  5 things to consider while you are fantasizing about that famous face falling in love with your cause:

1. The time investment.  It takes considerable time to find, recruit, and motivate a celebrity to serve with your organization.   And let’s face it; celebrities are busy people with lots of gatekeepers.  The more personal connections you have to the star and more manageable your request (i.e. asking for a quote or to shoot a PSA) with clear and finite time commitments the more successful you may be.  
2. Is this a win win?  Taking compatibility and a strong connection to your cause as a given, what will the celebrity get out of it?  Consider how inundated with requests they might be.  Are they a rising star who could use the publicity?  Do you have a huge twitter following that you are offering them, or visa versa?  What will you get out of it?  Are your expectations clearly documented and agreed to by the celebrity?
3. The expense.  Even if a celebrity agrees to promote your cause for free, you will likely still have to spring for first class plane tickets, hotel rooms for the them and their entourage, special meals, a limo, and while celebrities are typically not paid for their celebrity service they are often paid an honorarium which could range from $1,000 to several hundred thousand.  Public reaction to this compensation can backfire and be a source of controversy like the one over Bristol Palin when it was leaked she was paid $262,500 for work at an abstinence non-profit shooting PSA’s, print and Internet ads, and doing town hall meetings.  You can also add in what you will spend just wooing them before they say yes. 
4. Fleeting flame.  Will today’s sweetheart stand the test of time?   
5. The risk of scandal. Are you, and your cause, prepared to handle the headlines when your celebrity takes a fall?

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