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Blog Posts

Big Things Come in Small Packages

Posted by at Jul 15, 2011 10:08 AM CDT
Categories: Advocacy, Fundraising

RESOLVEWe have so many great clients and we love when we hear the successes they are having within their cause.

RESOLVE, the National Infertility Association, is a nonprofit organization established in 1974 that improves the lives of women and men living with infertility. RESOLVE created Advocacy Day that occurs every year and helps bring the voices of their constituents to congress. Families from all over travel to their nearest capitol to take a stand on refusing to allow people with infertility to be ignored. Together with Convio and the support of Charity Dymanics, RESOLVE made an entire site redesign and a new advocacy micro site. With the micro site, RESOLVE was able to offer  three different options for people to be able to participate in Advocacy Day. Options included writing a letter to your legislature, sharing your story on their blog, and the ability to “mark your spot” on the interactive map if you were unable to physically attend. Last year’s advocacy had remarkable results by utilising their Convio tools and the passion of their cause.

Notable Results

  • Georgia Chapter helped defeat a dangerous and major legislation bill by using Convio Advocacy in combination with Facebook. The bill would have sent fertility treatment back twenty years by limiting the number of eggs that can be fertilized, how many eggs may be transferred to a woman’s uterus, and banning embryo freezing.
  • Supporter messages to legislators increased 177% from the previous year,
  • Fundraising dollars were boosted by 12% from the online fundraising appeals calendar

Read the full case study here.

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Does one size really fit all online?

Posted by Amber Wobschall at Jul 14, 2011 11:09 AM CDT
Categories: Content Management, NPtech, Usability

HSUSMobileDonateThis topic keeps surfacing around the office right now. It’s about how we’re all going to deal with the multitude of options people have for getting online. People are online on their smartphones, their tablets, their computers, their TVs, and I’m sure I’m forgetting some options. Basically, people are looking at content in XS, S, M, L and XL screens. And all these devices are better suited for some kinds of content than others.
So, the question in my head is, will we be able to create one-size-fits-all internet content? Or will we always need to be optimizing content for the various options that are there? And what kind of capacity do we as the non-profit community (often stretched thin for resources) have for that effort?

For  now, I think we are stuck in a hybrid land. And I’m not talking about cars. Most folks are understanding that they need some mobile device optimized content in addition to their standard website. And we are starting to see mobile sites emerge. Need convincing? Take a look at these stats, including the fact that one in four smartphone users makes use of the device as their primary method to go online.

Here are a few things to consider as you dive in:

1.    Look at your data. Of your current content, what can you already tell about the content you offer? What pages get the most mobile hits? Can you offer those pages in a format that better fits mobile devices? Which systems are driving the traffic you see? This should be a starting point for mobile optimization. See a good overview of general trends here.

2.    Think about what just makes sense. Perhaps your organization collects donations of food or clothing. You want to make sure people can find out what your organization needs and when and where they can drop it off while they are out running their errands. Or maybe you host some runs, make sure people can see the events and sign up easily or that friends that want to cheer them on can get to a route map on the day of the event.

3.    Get ready for mobile giving. A lot of non-profits already offer a "text to give" option and they also offer a donation form on their website. What they might not yet offer is a donation form that is has a layout that works for your phone. Check out this great example (best viewed from your mobile device of course!) from the Humane Society of the United States.

4.    While you are at it, prepare for mobile advocacy. You know it’s just around the corner too. People want to do things on their phone that they already do on their computers. In fact, while passing time waiting for the bus to come or sitting at the doctors office, they just might take an action they might otherwise have not made time for. Some good thoughts mobile advocacy are here and here.

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Maybe Google+ is Cool as They Say

Posted by Guest Blogger at Jul 12, 2011 07:34 AM CDT
Categories: NPtech, Social Media, Technology

Like everyone else, Convions are chomping at the bit for the coveted Google + invite...and to actually get in once we get that invite. Client Support Manager Cynthia Balusek was one of the first to get past the virtual bouncer and through the Google + door. Now she's making a cameo appearance here on Connection Cafe to share her initial impressions with you.

Many thanks to my friend Betsy, I did get an invite to Google +! And I'm lonely. I have less than 10 friends. But looking at what this could be, I'm pretty impressed.

First, the Circle concept. Early on in my Facebook history, I decided that I would accept any friend request that came from actual people I know. I'm quite the Facebook woman of ill repute - I'll friend anybody. That has brought me to a place where I have more than 500 friends, and I really can't say anything. I'm friends with family, coworkers, clients, neighbors, people who were jerks to me in high school - anyone that asks.  That also means that I really inhibit what I post. I had a bad day at work - probably not going to mention that since the CEO is one of my friends. Annoyed at the neighborhood kids because they keep playing in the street and I nearly ran over one again - probably not going to mention it because the neighbors are my friends. Having separate circles would give me the freedom to actually share my real thoughts.

And I guess that I could have not friended anyone I wasn't actually besties with, but the fact is that Facebook and it's social sharing has been extremely helpful. Convio has a D.C. office and being Facebook friends with my coworkers in D.C. (like Betsy) makes me feel closer to them - I can't see them daily, but I get to see what funny and awesome people they are daily on Facebook.  I know my neighbors better because I can see what they are up to.  I'm a terrible, terrible correspondent - I hate personal email and so infrequently respond - but Facebook allows me to but tidbits of my life up and keep people that I don't see as often as I would like close to me.

The second thing is the blending of private and personal, which could be a bad thing. To me, Google + combines the best things of Facebook (possible exclusivity) and the best things of Twitter (it's all out there, all the time.)

I was a Twitter user about two years ago, and I still have an account. (Follow @cbalusek.) But I don't do much with it.  I use it some most recently for work and that's about it. Oh, and I tweeted to unlock some Angry Birds levels.  A large part of why I don't use it is because I'm so freaking overwhelmed by it.  When I go look at my Twitter feed, I get about 20 updates an hour.  And I've reduced the number of people I follow down from 200 to 123. Still, these people are chatty! And I know Twitter has lists now, but since I can't see who isn't in a list, I can't easily sort people.  I think that Google + starting with Circles will make this easier.

However, there is still a main feed that shows everyone. And this is where I could get back to Twitterville.  I almost starting following an industry expert for the portion of the software industry in which I work.  And I noticed she's posting 5-6 times a day.  If I started Circling her and anyone else I don't have a personal relationship with, this could become Twitter 2.0 for me.

And finally, Google + is just beautiful. BEAUTIFUL. I mean, look at my Facebook profile:


And look at my Google + profile:

Minimalist. Soothing. A light rain on a summer's day.

I'm assuming some Google ads will appear at some point, but so far the base is so nice. I'm so relaxed looking at.

So, I guess the question is, will everyone join in? Will my 500+ friends migrate to Google + even though I can't even get my husband an invite today? Will I maintain statuses on both until they do? Will Google + go the way of De Lorean - beautiful, but doesn't catch on? 

My gut feel is Google + is a De Lorean, but then again, I told my boss in 2001 that I didn't want to attend Mac training because that technology would not be transferable in my career, and here I am typing this on a MacBook Pro I can barely use. 

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LinkedIn: Step It Up

Posted by Cheryl Black at Jul 11, 2011 09:44 AM CDT
Categories: Nonprofit Trends, NPtech, Social Media

“Do you like doing business with people with money? I like doing business with people with money.”

From Eve Mayer Orsburn, aka @LinkedInQueen, that’s my favorite quote for why LinkedIn matters.

The fact that LinkedIn’s 100 million members have an average household income of $110,000 isn’t the only reason to have a presence on the site. (Though that doesn’t hurt does it?)

Want to know what else awesome about LinkedIn besides the fantastically large, affluent audience?

LoveLinkedInIt’s easy.

Now like any social media channel, it gets more complicated the more you do but you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to nail the basics.

For example, back in June, I suggested four things you could do to your LinkedIn company page right then and there. And if you haven’t done those things yet, go do them now. This blog post will still be here when you are finished.

If you’ve covered the basics, you may be thinking there’s even more you could do. And you’d be right! There is!

Here’s five things you can do to your organization’s LinkedIn page fairly quickly.

  1. Specialties: In the Overview tab, add a few specialties. These aren’t specific programs, more like areas of emphasis. Some examples that come to mind are “research,” “patient services,” and “classes.”
  2. YouTube Video: On the Products & Services main tab, add a YouTube video that reflects your overall mission. If you have a PSA, this is probably a great place for it. 
  3. Banner: Also on the Products & Services tab, you can add up to three banners. Take a look at your other marketing materials. Does one already have a nice rectangular image you can just crop slightly (to 640x220) to put here? Yeah? GREAT! If not, no worries. Go through the awesome photos you have of your mission at work and just crop one (again to 640x220) to use in that space. Make sure whatever image you are using links back to an appropriate page on your website.
  4. Program Descriptions: You might have done this during our last how-to but if not, for each Product/Service you can add a short description. Again, this is a good opportunity to repurpose content you already have. Pull content from your brochure, website, annual report, etc to describe each Product/Service in 1-4 sentences. There is no need, I repeat, no need to reinvent the wheel for content here.
  5. Learn. Ok, this isn’t a specific action for your org’s page but it is a good resource. You can keep improving your LinkedIn presence by learning lots of goodness on their nonprofit page.

LinkedIn is growing rapidly and with each change becoming a more important resource for professionals and organizations. By keeping up with what’s current now, you’ll be ready for the updates of tomorrow.

And trust me, your org wants to be ready for what’s in the works…

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Things are going to get “.wild”

Posted by Jennifer Darrouzet at Jul 08, 2011 03:31 PM CDT
Categories: Nonprofit Trends, NPtech, Technology

So who do you think is going to own the new “.wild” domain next year, when anyone with cash can buy a brand new “vanity” domain? Will it be a consortium of environmental  conservation and wildlife groups? Or the purveyors of barely-legal videos, of the “girls gone…” ilk?  Cyber-squatters, suit up – it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN – what, nobody took the time to fix an acronymn that would end up as ICANDY??) says that when they start accepting applications for new domains in January of 2012, they’ll be ushering in “the next generation of creativity and inspiration.” So I was feeling creative and started considering some options, and wondering who’d get them:

Consider domains like:

  • “.planet”, “.green”, (even “.verde”?)
  • “.health”, “.heart”, “.cure”
  • “.kids”, “.youth”,  “.empower”,
  • “.school”, “.hungry”, “.learn”
  • “.dogs,” “.cats” (cute kitty says “i can haz domane now?”)
  • “.cause”, “.help”, “.give”

“Large businesses may have to buy addresses to keep their brands from being hijacked,” according to Pavel Alpeyev and Ketaki Gokhale of Bloomberg News, who put the price somewhere north of $100,000, with so-called “generic” domains being auctioned off to the highest bidder.  The only way nonprofits could participate, I’d bet, would be to band together, picking off “.equal,” for instance. Call me a cynic, but I don’t see anyone talking about reserving domains like “.donate” for organizations that can show societal benefits of a non-cash kind. (All sorts of arguments from “Uncharitable” are now springing to mind. Sigh.)

Now anyone who’s an adventurous theater patron & has gone to see Avenue Q (think Sesame Street for mature audiences) knows what the internet is for. And thus, of course, was born the “.xxx” domain earlier this year. Because there just wasn’t enough brand consistency for adult-content websites, out in the noise of the 90 million “.com” sites? (Somehow I’m not buying that my sons won’t stumble across adults-only content on the web because of this “partition.”) Anyway, I get that the interwebs were always going to change & grow & mutate. It’s just that, once again, I worry that nonprofits – many still adjusting to managing a website & getting it to perform for their mission at all - will be last to the table, picking up scraps.

What is this going to mean for the 8.3 million “.org” groups out there? It’s a thing that makes me go “hmmm.” I have to ask myself: are charities going to have second-rate addresses in the brave new cyberworld? My personal opinion (yes, this is just my own, personal gut instinct as a consumer, not based on research) is that websites with “.net” (13.5 million), “.info” (6 million) and “.biz” (2 million) addresses are just, kind-of, (shrug) dubious. [Oh, and I heard someone on Brooke Gladstone’s “On the Media” describe them as “low-rent districts.”] They’re like “also-ran” contenders in the evolutionary race. What, they didn’t think the interwebs would be all that? Or they couldn’t bother to do some homework before starting a new business? Or they’re just not that creative or relevant?

When am I going to see the first “.nike” advertisement, I wonder? Or “.energy,” (brought to you by which trade group?)? The International Trademark Association says this development will be a “significant marketing challenge.”

Domains, the new vanity plate

I’m guessing it will feel like more like parenting and less like an earthquake, in that things will go along – feeling steady – and then suddenly nothing will work quite like it used to, because the people you thought you knew just start acting differently over time, wanting different things, not responding as they once would. New, unexpected things will motivate them. Hopefully nobody ends up estranged. ; )

It could also be the kind of blue-sky opportunity that’s bigger than all of us. Who’s going to go get “.earth,” and shape that domain to serve us all?

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