This month’s meetup was riddled with interesting startups and nonprofits ranging from Kandy Kruisers, a Houston company that builds skateboard and skateboard accessories, to the Houston Center for Literacy, a nonprofit working to increase adult literacy in the city of Houston.
Greg talked about the 26th Annual Young Inventor’s Showcase, to be held at the Wolff Center of Entrepreneurship, in the C.T. Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston campus on May 24, 2014. The showcase aims to promote creativity and innovation among students from Kindergarten through 8th grade.
Jeff Reichman – Open Houston & The Houston Writeathon
Perhaps you’ve heard about a marathon. How about a hackathon? A writeathon? If not, you have now!
In conjunction with Open Houston and The City of Houston, a group of volunteer designers, writers and data scientists are teaming up to streamline the local Houston government’s communication strategy.
Reichman says, “It’s about diversifying the pool of people who are civically engaged. Our key is to get writers and designers to communicate universally outside of language, because people assemble data in different ways.”
The Houston Writeathon aims to improve government communication through building infographics that simplify processes, drafting petitions onto Change.org and working with affiliated organizations on general communication tactics and strategy.
“The city provides so many services that just aren’t marketed. We have to be able to rally the talented and improve our surroundings if we want to improve local government,” said Reichman.
If you’re interested in coming to any of the NetSquared Houston meetups, you can find out more information here. Attendance is free and meetings are held monthly at the Stag’s Head Pub on Portsmouth Street. See you there!
As a bonus, to demonstrate how much fun a writeathon can be when you get a bunch of creatives together in a room. The group wrote this techie Valentine’s day story tag-team style:
It’s Valentine’s Day, the year 3000. I’m cruising on my spaceship, headed to pick up a bouquet of flowers, when I look over to my artificial girlfriend that I’ve created from a 3D printing lab and ask her, “What color would you like?”
“Wow,” she says. “I’ll defer to you. This is worse than the time I had to jump out of a train after my old boyfriend, which made me lose my legs. I had to get them replaced by an open source firmware running on a 3D printer. My previous legs were shorter so I decided to get new ones to make me taller. What do you think about augmentation, honey?” She asked me.
Ignoring her comment, I remembered I had a 3D printer on board and decided to print the flowers myself. As I was doing that, the 3 moons and 2 suns began to rise over the horizon and it reminded me of when I first downloaded her from Github. At that moment, a horrible thought struck me, as I plummeted out of the sky, crashing into Earth and destroying it. I’d forgotten to put space gas in my space gas tank…
Meanwhile, at a bar on the other end of the universe, the women toasted to the destroyed earth, celebrating the end of man and all his artificial girlfriends as they had pillow fights and braided each other’s hair.
If you lived through the 70s and the 90s, you know that trends are cyclical.
How many times have we seen bell bottoms and big sunglasses make a come back?
Of course this isn’t limited to fashion. A detailed look into your Google Analytics charts will reveal that your organization has cycles, predicable ones you can plan for.
So how do you read this data and equate the data to your organizations live campaigns?
1) First, collect your data. (Everything you do on a recurring basis including dates). Create an aggregated list of anything involving donor/volunteer/member communication including:
2) Find your data store. (Google Analytics is free to install and has a lot of useful data.)
3) Choose your relevant date range. I like to look at two or more time frames. Typically a year’s worth of data, a smaller three month period of activity, and a one month period.
4) Run your analytics for the type period then look for patters in your data!
Types of patterns you are looking for are
b. Sequential Dips
c. Dead Spots
We partnered with one of our clients, a large nonprofit organization, to increase donations an engagement of their audience in nontraditional ways.
To achieve this we turned to the data recorded on their website:
The graphs below are pulled from a report in the Tendenci software (the cms software is free for download on https://www.tendenci.com/ – click on “For Developers”). These same practices can be applied with Google Analytics or whatever your analytics of choice is.
This graph shows site activity grouped by module/plugin (for example any event page that was clicked on during the time period would show up as orange)
This is an engagement graph of activity on a client website.
What we noted:
We see a huge increase in site visits on the 4th-6th
Followed by a huge increase in site visits to photos on the 11th
And then a decrease in site activity after the 12th
So what did we find when we matched up the engagement graph with our dates of activities
Saturday, 6th was a large event
Thursday, 11th a newsletter goes out to members
When we compared to another month with a large event, we found the same graph shape.
The data tells us:
Before the event and day of we had lots of people on the site looking for information and directions
After the event we had a dip in activity but we had a lot of people visiting the photo pages to look for images of the event
The newsletter contained links to the images for the event so we had a huge increase in visits to the photo page.
So what types of actions can an organization take based on this data?
Have upcoming event information on your website loud and clear. People will be looking for it
Make sure to be taking lots of photographs at the event – photos generated a huge amount of traffic to the site
Newsletters or an email post event drive traffic.
Add a call to action on your photo pages. These pages get huge amounts of traffic post event and people are reliving the experience – make sure there is a call to action to donations or volunteering.
Engagement is low post event. Brainstorm ways to reengage audience after the event excitement is over.
The patterns are there, you just have to look for them and connect the pieces of the puzzle.
You are a nonprofit or association with a great cause and a world of potential audiences out that that could get involved in forwarding your mission.
So, what if I were to tell you there is a way to accomplish the following actions, that you probably aren’t taking advantage of:
1) Engaging new audiences
2) Utilizing the super powers of your followers and volunteers in meaningful ways
3) Raising funds and awareness towards your mission
Crowdfunding is the ability to use the web to raise money for a project or cause.
Last week Pledge Cents – a crowdfunding platform focused on the education community gave a great presentation at Net2.
Luckily we were there to pick up some handy tips on running a successful crowdfunding campaign….
1) Don’t spread yourself thin – choose 1 platform for your campaign – you are kicking yourself if you are sending your supporters to multiple crowdfunding sites and harming your credibility. If the platform wasn’t a good match, go with another one next time.
2) Make a realistic ask. Many people make the mistake of going for the pie in the sky. What is your minimum goal to achieve what it is you want? Start with that number and anything above that is icing on the cake.
“Why wouldn’t we want to reach for the highest we can go?”
Some crowdfunding platforms will not give you any of your funds if you do not attain a certain percentage of your goal. Example: On Kickstarter, if you do not reach 100% of your goal you don’t get your funds
Some crowdfunding platforms will charge you a percentage of your stated goal
Build street cred
If this is your first crowdfunding venture – let’s start realistic and build trust with new followers before jumping to the big numbers
Finially, it just feels good to be a winner!
There is no limit to how much your allowed to raise – and gosh darn it, doesn’t if feel good to exceed those initial expectations!
3) Keep your donors updated on your progress
If people are donating to your cause, they have invested in you and want to know where that investment is going. Keep them updated. Upload photos and videos. SAY THANK YOU!
The relationship doesn’t end when you reach your goal. Follow up post campaign. If donors can see the good they have helped to create they are much more likely to donate the next time you come a knockin with your next crowdfunding campaign.
4) Make your campaign specific
Andyshea Saberioon from Pledge Cents helps coach a lot of educators on their campaigns. If you send him a campaign that says you want $500 to raise money for calculators – you know what his response is going to be (paraphrasing here) “and? why should we care?”
Who are the calculators for? Why do they need them? How much does each calculator cost? If you want a successful campaign, you need to tell the world your story!
So as an organization, nonprofit, or association what should you be doing?
1) Get out there, try running a campaign
If you have a great project that you just don’t have the budget for, may be the community can help you make it happen
2) Empower your members or volunteers to start a crowdfunding campaign
Maybe some of your members have a great idea for a project. Empower them to make change by supporting their efforts towards a crowdfunding campaign.
Crowdfunding is a great way to get yourself out there to new audiences, especially if your volunteers and members are involved. They are reaching out to their communities to help spread the good and your mission.
All Non-Profit organizations should take advantage of this opportunity, no matter what your size or how long your organization has existed. In fact, non-profits benefit more if the purchase is made through Facebook, mostly because 100% of the transaction is transferred. Facebook covers the convenience fee that most traditional payment gateways require.
So what does this mean for the traditional website? Is it necessary? One might evaluate the value that can be provided by a traditional website vs a Facebook page.
Once again it is very important to recognize that a Facebook page and traditional website are not mutually exclusive; you can have both. As I stated earlier; you should take advantage assuming your customers pay with the US dollar.
I like to think that it’s less a matter of if you’re going to want a website and more of a question of when you’re going to need a website. If you’re just getting started, then I would start with a Facebook page first. It’s quick, it’s easy, it covers the basics and it’s free.
The basic needs of a non-profit organization are awareness and an avenue in which to donate. Facebook gives that to you. Once you’ve grown large enough, now you can start to consider more robust events, more reporting, and access to your member data.
Currently, I don’t believe there is an easy way to export member data but I could be mistaken. If your non-profit is a smaller version of a parent non-profit then you might require access to export your member data in order to share it with your network.
You might also want to offer more to your members such as discounts on events, job postings, or resume listings. Or maybe you want your own domain where you have more control over your organizations brand. A place that offers a subscription service; allowing you to more easily get into the inbox of your members. You might just be looking to collect more information via a custom form.
In summary, a Facebook page with it’s new donate button is a great place to start and is also a great extra resource to leverage once your website requires more features.
This blog post is intended to get you started. If you have more insight I would love to hear it. Thank you in advance.
I recently had the privilege to speak to a group of local students working with the Hashoo Foundation – an organization that works on human development and poverty alleviation projects in Pakistan.
The students are specifically working on putting on and promoting their annual Culture Shock Charity Show to support Plan Bee – a Hashoo project that supports a beekeeping collective in Pakistan where one of the few income opportunities for women is beekeeping.
Note: The show will be held November 16 at the Talento Bilingue de Houston. Check it out or donate to Hashoo at hashoofoundation.org!
The students are primarily using social media personally, so we focused on how organizations use social media to advance their cause – and specifically on Facebook and Twitter.
I recently presented on the topic of Trends in Association Communications Tech to the American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) 2013 National Conference in Oklahoma City. We got such great feedback from the topic that we decided to turn it into a PDF download covering trends in Association and Membership websites! I hope you enjoy!
The whitepaper is broken down into the follow subcategories:
Mobile Trends – Including how people are accessing the mobile web in 2013 vs. the past.
Content Trends – Tips for creating content that is VISUAL and easy to share.
Membership Trends – Trends in online advertising to get in front of potential members!
Social Media Trends – Tips for creating highly shareable content!
Web Analytics Trends – New data tools we can’t live without.
#NET2Houston will host the City of Houston and Houston’s Civic Hackers on May 14th for our monthly meetup at Stag’s Head Pub. RSVP on the Netsquared Houston meetup group.
Houston’s City Data Goes Open Source
I’m really excited about our upcoming event, where we’ll learn about the City of Houston Hackathon to kick-off the City of Houston’s Open Data Initiative.
Bruce Haupt, from the City of Houston’s Finance Department, will share the vision of Mayor Annise Parker and Council Member Ed Gonzalez for utilizing Houston’s Open Data Initiative to improve our city.
Bruce will show you some examples of how initiatives like this have benefitted other cites, and tell you about some of his favorite projects. You can view a few ideas the Mayor’s office has developed on the HoustonHackathon.com Projects page.
We’re going to also be brainstorming our own ideas about how open City data sets can help advance civic-minded causes in Houston!
Learn More about Open Data and Your City
Open source data sets are rapidly being released by local, state and Federal governments regularly now, and thanks to newer technology frameworks, like Django and Rails, it’s easier than ever to connect to different databases and sync or share data sets.
Here’s 3 awesome links to get quick facts and juicy details about the City of Houston and Code for America’s Open Data and Innovation projects:
1) The Code for America App database aims to be the “most complete and up-to-date database of government and civic software”, according to their website: (http://commons.codeforamerica.org/apps/), and some of the apps they have listed are really incredible and they’re open source.
2) The open data portal software that Houston’s data portal will utilize is called CKAN. CKAN provides the tools needed to enable and manage file and data sharing between two databases. Learn more about Code for America’s open source data portal platform: http://commons.codeforamerica.org/apps/ckan.
Tuesday May 14th – Join us for Netsquared at Stag’s Head Pub
Come share your ideas for using the city’s data with Bruce and other civic-minded hackers and techies. Your ideas on how to use these data sets can dramatically improve our community by providing us with more accurate, real time data about our city’s resources and how they’re utilized.
The City of Houston will Kick-Off the Open Data Initiative with a weekend long Houston Hackathon.
Ed and I will be sharing Tendenci t-shirts and stickers at the Hackathon, and we’re available to help with your project if you need an extra geek. If you’re interested in using Tendenci’s open source platform for building a city data app, come find me because I have a few ideas about how nonprofits and associations might want to use public city data with their websites and membership databases.
Join Us Tuesday, and Bring a Friend!
Leave your comments below if you have ideas to share, and follow the conversations on Facebook, too!
Our team spent yesterday morning with the American Marketing Association of Houston (AMA Houston) as part of their Nonprofit Special Interest Group on the topic 10 Things Nonprofit Marketers Can Learn from Packaged Goods Marketers.
As Suzy put it – “Packaged goods is the grand daddy of marketing.” Many case studies in business schools and MBA programs revolve around these highly targeted, high budget, high volume campaigns.
Ten Things Nonprofit Marketers can Learn from Packaged Goods Marketers
1. Have a Plan
Suzy recommended NPOs use the same framework that for profit companies use when running a campaign. Know your:
Strategies (product, price, place, promotion)
Tactics – message, media, promotion
Be sure to think both external and internal (don’t forget internal!).
2. Know Your Audiences
In packaged goods, your audience is made up of buyers, your salesforce, and the store. For nonprofits, your audience may be your board, donors, community, etc.
Focus not only on the question “Who are they?” – but also “What’s important to them?” Dig into their motivations of why they donate, volunteer, purchase, join, etc.
Spend time to determine how they perceive you – this may be something you think you know, but you really can’t without an objective survey or focus group.
3. Know Your Competition
For non-profits, your competition may not just be other non-profits. Your competition includes other people competing for your audience’s attention and time.
4. Identify Your Brand
Who are you? What makes you distinctive?
5. Develop Your Message – the “Elevator Pitch”
Your elevator pitch should be:
Put the “Why” before the “What”
Tell a story
Include an ask
6. Build Relationships
In packaged goods marketing, loyalty programs make people feel valued and invested in your product. Think of how you can build relationships with your audience by providing more value for them.
7. Recognize the Value of Word of Mouth
Create content that people will want to share. The example Suzy used here is a video Dove made as part of their “Real Beauty” campaign called Dove Real Beauty Sketches.
The video shows a woman behind a curtain describing herself to a forensic scientist who draws a picture of her based on her description, and then cuts to him drawing her based on a stranger’s description. In every case, the image the stranger described was more beautiful. The video and drawings got buzz in the media and has been viewed over 35 million times!
8. Use “Free” Samples and Promotions
Free samples in packaged goods marketing serve to engage people with your product with almost no effort from them. Think of ways you can engage people with your organization to “get them hooked” – for example, Houston’s Neighborhood Centers allows anyone on their board to invite friends or new supporters for tours of the facility to engage them with the organization.
9. Learn from Traditional Advertising
Things Traditional Advertising does that can inspire NPOs:
Show, don’t tell
Offer a benefit
Grab attention quickly
Consider non-conventional media
10. Never Underestimate the Power of PR
Find the story people can relate to and tell it!
11. (Bonus!) Keep Track of How You’re Doing
Be sure you are measuring your success!
Case Study : Lynda Sanders of the Boy Scouts of America
Three Channels to Serve
In packaged goods marketing, there are three channels to serve. These also apply to NPOs:
The sales force
But First, Start with “The Product”
Ask yourself: Does it meet the consumer’s needs?
Example of a Tangible Product: Coupon Pack for the Boy Scout Fair
Lynda discussed a Boy Scouts Coupon pack that scouts were selling to their 16 counties as a “ticket to the Boy Scout Fair + coupons.” Many of the coupons were focused in Houston-only locations and the ticket was positioned as the main benefit (even though a ticket to the Scout show is free).
Lynda’s team refocused the product to position it as a coupon book (because that is what her target audience really cares about) and cover coupons from all 16 counties to attract more interest.
They also changed salesforce incentives to give each year’s book a theme and got the prizes for each year donated from corporate sponsors around that theme.
Example of an Intangible Product: Boy Scout Membership Recruitment
Sometimes it’s more challenging to sell an intangible product like membership. Lynda also discussed the Boy Scouts partnership with the Houston Grand Prix to drive membership.
The Grand Prix has a partnership with BSA National and has an official BSA car. This national partnership does not include much for the local chapters, so the BSA of Houston worked to create their own partnership with the Houston Grand Prix. They positioned scouts as the salesforce to help launch the Houston Grand Prix and to recruit BSA members.
What’s in it for the BSA?
A “Scout Day” at the races, including a booth, PSA playing on the big screen, and a flag ceremony featuring local scouts (enhance the brand with a cool event)
An Automotive Merit Badge sponsored by the Houston Grand Prix
Donated tickets for new BSA members (“Gift with purchase” for joining the Boy Scouts)
What’s in it for the Houston Grand Prix?
Information about the event given to kids and their parents area-wide from the Boy Scouts
Partnering with a strong brand
Increased awareness and attendance at the event
Advice on Forming Partnerships
Don’t wait to ask them what they would like out of a partnership – be prepared and tell them what you can provide them
When forming a partnership – ask your partner to do what they are really great at, don’t try to force them to do things they don’t usually do
Case Study: Mike Hagan on YMCA Houston Cool Days
Summer is a big time for Houston families, and it is also a big time for the YMCA Houston programs.
This summer was different, gas prices had increased dramatically and many families were option to spend more “vacation” time in town.
As far as brand recognition, most everyone has heard of the YMCA. But people tend to think of the one piece of the YMCA that they are involved with (i.e. the gym, childcare, etc.) The YMCA wanted to be more than a “gym and swim.” The YMCA team set out to bring the brand alive by institutionalizing the brand into the community’s everyday plans and actions.
Introducing Cool Days
The YMCA began the program Cool Days – a value added program for YMCA Houston member families of fun, free things to do during the summer. The program included great things to do at the Y including special family events, and provided free things at other partner organizations (the Houston Zoo, Children’s Museum, etc.) with a YMCA membership card.
Getting the Word Out
Partner Participation was Key
The Y partnered with other brands to expand usage occasions for more interaction with YMCA members. They began by looking at companies who had value-added campaigns or programs like museums and venues. Almost every partner organization was also a nonprofit.
Other Ways they Got the Word Out
Spanish language ads
Got internal staff involved – printed Cool Days tshirts and buttons that said “Ask me about Cool Days” for staff to wear
Posters in their YMCA locations
When it comes to measuring success, Mike recommends starting with your membership because you can have the most impact over that group. The YMCA sends out surveys to their members before and after a campaign. They focus on what their membership might not know about the YMCA and educating them on those things.
The top takeaways of the panel for me were:
Nonprofits need a strategic plan in the same way product companies do – start with Objectives, Target Audiences, Strategies, and Tactics
Look for strategic partnerships that are mutually beneficial
Take inspiration from packaged good advertising and distribution
We had a wonderful time attending and presenting at NTEN’s annual Nonprofit Technology Conference last week in Minneapolis! We got a ton of knowledge on the latest and greatest trends in the NPTech world, got to meet great people, and see some snow!
We will continue to post here to keep the conversation going by recapping some of our favorite panels and trends we saw. We’ve also posted a special page on our website aggregating NTC 2013 Resources and Recaps! We’re starting with a recap of our panel – Level Up Your Fundraising, Understanding the Psychology Behind What Motivates People to Give.
We had a packed house(!) – which tells us that this is a topic that gets people excited. We’re sharing our slides and presentation recap below!
We now have over ten years of data on online giving and we have seen online giving continue to grow. According to the 2012 Digital Giving Index, 65% of people gave in 2012 vs only 4% in 2002. The average donation through social media is growing as well as people are more comfortable with social giving, and one study found that giving campaigns that integrated social media raised TEN TIMES more dollars than those that didn’t.
And your website supports more than just an online donation form – your website can increase revenue for your NPO through channels like event registration, sponsor directories, job board listings, and more. (Sidenote – In May we are hosting a webinar on Increasing Your Earned Revenue through Tendenci Modules. Register on our events calendar free!)
Social – Identity, relationships, a sense of belonging
Material – This is the most straight forward of the three, you give something (time, money, etc.) to get a material gain
Ideological – Identifying with a cause
We often hope or assume that donors are motivated purely ideologically, but it is important to note that sometimes people start interacting with a nonprofit based on other motivations like social events, material membership benefits, etc The challenge is to nurture the relationship with them and convert them to an ideological supporter!
What Motivates People Online?
Tap Into Visitor Motivations in 7 Seconds
On the web, there is the added challenge of timing – you only have about 7 seconds to tap into these motivations before they make a first impression. If the visitor isn’t hooked in these first few seconds, they won’t continue onto other pages of your site – and certainly won’t donate.
Visitors are Skeptical of Nonprofit Websites
Researchers from Stanford University studied how people evaluate credibility of different types of websites, and found that when it comes to Nonprofit Websites, visitors are generally skeptical.
Evaluating Website Credibility: Design vs. Motive
The credibility study found that on average, visitors use design to evaluate credibility 46.1% of the time. For nonprofits, this percentage is lower than average at 39.6%. Design is still important, but less so for nonprofit websites than other industries.
On the other hand, the researchers found that people use company motive to evaluate credibility higher than average for Nonprofit Websites. Nonprofit websites visitors look for company motive to evaluate credibility at 20.2%, versus 15.5% of the time for all websites on average.
Build Credibility Online Through Content
We’ve presented the challenge – visitors are skeptical of nonprofit websites and you only have a short time to change their minds. But there is some good news! NPOs can build credibility online through content.
Tips for Creating Credible Content Online:
Make it Visual
Visual matter because:
Visuals show that you are “real” – a photo of your real volunteer is much more powerful than a stock photo of a “volunteer”
Visuals can be processed more quickly – the average person reads 200-300 words per minute, but can process a visual image in as little as 1/20th of a second
Visuals aid in STORYTELLING
Emotions drive Buy Decisions.
Recent studies have shown that despite our preconceived notions about rationality driving decision, that actually emotions drive buy decisions- to the point that the human brain can’t make decisions without emotional influence.
Neurologist Antonio Damasio observed this phenomenon through the peculiar behavior of one of his patients. Elliot had suffered brain damage to a part of the brain known as the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, which is implicated in the risk and benefit analysis of decision making.
Elliot ostensibly seemed normal, with one glaring exception. He lacked the ability to make decisions, deliberating endlessly in the face of simple, mundane choices such as whether or not to use a black or blue pen or when to schedule his next appointment. Because brain damage had severed the connection between his emotions and his rational thinking, Elliot was strangely devoid of feeling and even emotionally numb to his own tragic inability to make decisions.
This does not refer to making it visually pleasing, but more about making it consistent with your branding. The 2012 Digital Giving Index showed that branded donation pages raise up to 6x more dollars.
Make it personal
Peer to Peer fundraising was a trend we saw lots of people talking about at NTC. The premise of P2P fundraising is that the ask comes from an individual instead of the organization. Race organizations have been doing this for some time, and now other social causes are creating fundraising kits where a volunteer can set up a donation page and ask their friends individually for donations. This new framing immediately makes the potential donor more connected to the cause, and builds trust because the ask is coming from a friend. Giving is all about trust. And who do you trust? Your friends.
2. Develop Trust
Think about Content you can add to your site that immediately develops trust. Examples of content that builds trust:
Showcase your people – volunteers, board, staff – through photos, video, bio content
Show the outcomes of your donations
Ask for more than money – include other ways to give back like volunteering, in-kind donations, etc.
Incorporate third party validation
3. Apply Social Pressure
Social is a powerful motivation of people. Use social pressure to:
Start with the people who already love you
Host a kickoff event or special experience and invite them to share photos and videos with their friends
You then reach their extended networks
Engage new supporters
Engaging supporters is sort of like dating, you have to work harder in the beginning
Start by tapping into material or social motivations, offer them something
Create shareable content and make it easy to share – think about content people love like photos, video, infographics, statistics, etc.
Easy places to start
Incorporate social aspects into your website
Show photos from past events to show how many people came, how much fun it was
Display the names and photos of people registered for an event on the registration page
Incorporate Add This (addthis.com) or Share This (sharethis.com) buttons to your pages to make content easily shareable across social media channels
4. Give Back First
As we mentioned before, in the beginning you have to give back first to build trust. There are other ways to do this beyond offering material goods:
Be a trusted source on your cause. Curate content with a resource library on your site. You don’t have to create all of the content, provide value with your time and expertise by curating content from other organizations as well and link out to the great work they’re doing.
Listen to your visitors and give them what they want
Review your analytics to determine what content your visitors care most about – and give them more of that!
5. Aim for Slow Change
Meet people where they are. Don’t assume they will start being ideologically motivated – you may have to start with material or social motivations to get them in the door and begin to build a relationship with them. Some examples:
Popular Content Like your Job Board
Tendenci Client PRSA Houston gets 60% of their traffic to the Job Board. They do a great job of using this real estate to cross promote other programs like membership.
Young Professionals Groups
Many NPOs have a Young Professionals Group that meets for networking and happy hour events. These young professionals may not be ideologically motivated by your cause yet… they may just want to drink beer with their friends. That’s ok! Tap into those motivations and offer interesting experiences for them to keep them coming back, and continue to conversation to deepen their relationship to the cause.
6. Inbound Marketing
Inbound Marketing means using content marketing to bring traffic in to you through search engines and social media. Inbound Marketing is based on the idea that your audience (especially Generation Y) no longer gets information “pushed” to them through traditional advertising methods – they read the news and watch television online, and use Google to search for information they want. The challenge is to have your content appear when they are looking for it.
There are two parts to this: Content Marketing and Analytics Tracking. More resources on NPO Content Marketing Strategy.
Recognize the value you provide and charge for it! Many of our clients are membership organizations who offer exclusive benefits like member only events and special member pricing in exchange for membership fees.
Even if you don’t have membership, your Events are a great place to charge for your value. Think about ways to provide value through events and don’t be afraid to charge for these events.
Want More NTC?
We’ll be posting more NTC Recaps and Resources here!
Each year in January, I spend time researching different market reports from 2012 to identify the upcoming trends within the technology industry. I use this information to predict what technology and marketing trends will most likely matter to the nonprofit association and open source community so I can give you insight without having to spend the time researching all of this data yourself.
I’m really excited about 2013 because I see a dramatic shift coming this year in the way we all interact with and think about information technology. Knowledge that was once proprietary or extremely difficult to gain is being pushed out onto the web in a volume that we can’t consume fast enough.
Take Coursera.org, for example, where you can take courses from Universities like Stanford, CalTech, and John Hopkins. For Free!!
Coursera is just one of dozens of online education platforms that have free (or nearly free) classes on virtually any topic. Add to this the important details that because the classes are offered through your web browsers – you also can access them anytime and any place with the added bonus of an online community from connecting with the other students who’re taking the class. Personally, I prefer the learning experience I get when I’m on Lynda.com or Codeacademy to that I received back in college. I predict that as more people gain access to the web through cheaper and faster mobile devices, more people are going to these online learning sites instead of paying tens of thousands of dollars in tuition.
Knowledge is Freedom
Knowledge is power when someone else knows how to do something you need done and don’t know how. When you know how to manage your own website, for example, then you can choose whether or not you want to pay for someone to manage your site. You also have the choice of how much you want to manage and how much you want to outsource.
Schipul Technologies has always believed that education is key, and provides tons of free training and resources for our employees and our community. This year, we’re really ramping up our training opportunities for clients and web developers looking for more Tendenci training. Keep an eye on our Events Calendar to find new webinars, in-person workshops, and other classes we’ll be adding this year. We’ll also be sharing more nonprofit website success stories and technology tips and tricks in our email newsletters and here on the blog.
What topics do you want to learn more about? Tell us in the comments below or send us an email. Now, here’s the 3 tech trends I predict will be the biggest nonprofit boosters in 2013.
Avoid the “ooh shiny!” Syndrome in 2013
All three of my top trends are going to be familiar to you. There’s no surprise tech hidden in this blog post… and that’s because 2013 is going to be the year we all focus on simplification and education. Marketers are overwhelmed trying to produce enough content and users don’t have time to read it.
This year, instead of creating a new account for every “next big social media app” – spend time looking into your analytics to see what’s not working that well and cut it out. That’s why each of my predictions include some of the things to consider before you jump into the newest web trend. You’ve got a lot on your plate this year if you’re going to change the world, so be selective with your time.
Trend #1 – Online Video Becomes Mainstream
In the 2012 report released by the NPD Group, 45% of people in a survey said that the TV was their primary screen for watching online videos. In 2011, that figure was 33%. The report also discovered that online video viewing from PCs is declining, because more people are watching internet videos on their TV’s, instead of watching traditional television and cable programs. It’s pretty obvious to me that in 2013, we’ll see that number rise well above the 50% and online video becomes something families watch together.
Google’s been preparing for this for years and you can apply for the Google for Nonprofits program to get a premium YouTube Brand channel that offers additional tools to customize and promote your stories through video. If you already have a YouTube Brand Channel and are trying to figure out how to better utilize it, then check-out this cool YouTube Brand Channel Interactive Show And Tell Google and TED developed. Download the Playbook Guide: Youtube for Good to get started with Youtube for your nonprofit with great tips, examples, and advice specifically developed for nonprofit’s seeking to boost their engagement online through videos.
Should You Focus on YouTube This Year?
Videos are a great platform for telling engaging stories and driving action from people and are a perfect tool for nonprofits. Videos also take time, money, and a fair amount of expertise with filming and editing. Before you dive into a YouTube Brand Channel, you’ll want to evaluate your resources and compare them to the costs involved with managing the production process to create new and engaging videos regularly.
Large organizations probably want to get serious about allocating a portion of your budget for video marketing and make this the year you commit. Smaller and mid-sized organizations who haven’t done any online video marketing yet may want to start with making one video that they can embed on your website and share on your Facebook page to get an idea of what an ongoing video campaign would entail.
I wrote about nonprofit video storytelling in a blog post last year with great advice that still holds true. In addition though, new online video tools have been popping up almost daily that are inexpensive and easy to use. Here’s a few video apps I recommend that will introduce you to online video production and marketing:
Animoto – I love how EASY it is to use Animoto and they offer free upgraded features for nonprofits. Check out the Animoto blog to watch other nonprofit videos created with Animoto.
GoAnimate! Videomaker – Sign-up for their basic plan (it’s free) and try your skills at making animated videos. GoAnimate also has a ton of Video Maker Tips on topics like selecting animation software and directing voice overs in your videos.
Wistia – Host your online videos here instead of YouTube when you need to keep your videos privately accessible by members or specific people. Wistia has a free plan that includes 5 videos, and integrates with other tools you’re already using like Salesforce, Google Analytics, and many social sharing sites, including Facebook.
Trend #2 – Leave Your Wallet at Home, Just Remember Your Smartphone!
Mobile Payments just might be the biggest disruptive tech in 2013. This technology is changing the economy in Africa at a pace never before seen, and Africa isn’t the only economically disadvantaged country that’s benefiting from mobile technologies. Ironically, the U.S. is one of the slowest countries to adopt mobile payments technology, primarily because the US banking industry already had a very large technical infrastructure in place that wasn’t compatible with mobile payment tech.
Americans are gradually adopting mobile payments, and Starbucks, in a partnership with Square, is leading the pack of businesses who’ve discovered how to profit from mobile payments, with a reported 7 million users paying for their morning cup of coffee with their smartphones. Mobile and web merchant account providers have been learning from the early adopters, like Starbucks, that the key to increasing consumer adoption of mobile payments means designing a better experience via “virtual wallet” apps for iOS and Android devices.
Square, for example, offers a free mobile wallet app that includes features for earning and tracking loyalty points from participating vendors, sending and receiving virtual gift cards, and reporting tools on how you’re spending money. Square wants to increase adoption of mobile payments by creating that emotional connection between a consumer and their virtual wallet; evident when you visit their website:
“A wallet holds credit and debit cards, half-punched loyalty cards, wrinkled checks, and ancient receipts. But a wallet should do more. It should help you discover great places and earn you rewards. It should help you build relationships, not just pay for things.”
A wallet that helps you build relationships? That sounds exactly like the kind of wallet a great donor is going to have, and that’s why nonprofits should start incorporating mobile payment options that go beyond the web page.
Things to Consider Before Jumping into Mobile Payments
Of the three trends I list here, mobile payments is the one that you definitely shouldn’t ignore. Why? Because it’s relatively cheap, easy to set-up and manage, and you don’t want to ever miss a donation opportunity. Gen Y and Millenials are growing up and growing ever more attached to their mobile devices, and they don’t have the barriers towards adopting new technology.
If you haven’t been taking online payments through your website, then this could be a great opportunity to jump into digital payments for donations. That being said, you still want to do the research to determine if and how your organization can benefit from mobile payment adoption. Here’s some tips to help you evaluate mobile payments:
If you aren’t able to or don’t need to accept financial contributions, then it’s probably safe to say you don’t need mobile payments.
You probably don’t need to spend the money to have a custom mobile app designed, however if you’re looking for options then you might want to check out LevelUp’s white label option which saves you time and money by giving you a custom designed app built on a pre-existing platform.
Sixrevisions has a great article that provides an overview of online payment processing including definitions of commonly used terms and reviews of 10 most common online merchant account providers.
Trend #3 – Tablets are More than Just Mobile, They’re Everywhere
Many nonprofit organizations have been using tablets for engaging with their constituents over the past couple of years. Museums, like the Smithsonian and Children’s Museum of Houston, incorporate tablets into their exhibits to increase interactivity with their members. Humanitarian organizations, like the Red Cross and FEMA, are using tablets for their mobile staff who need access to email and online tools while working in remote locations or regions that have had their infrastructure destroyed from natural disasters.
Even though many nonprofits have readily adopted tablets for mobile engagement efforts, most haven’t taken a look at how their own .Org’s website looks on a tablet, or more importantly, tried to complete their online donation form from a tablet. This past year, tablets were repeatedly out-purchasing smartphones, and I’m predicting that nonprofits will miss out on potential fundraising opportunities if their websites aren’t donation-friendly for tablet users.
What does your website look like on an iPad? How does it look on a 7″ screen vs 9″ or 10″? These are the kinds of questions you should have been asking in 2012, because there’s a great chance that visitors are looking at your website from a tablet now more than their smartphones. If you’d like to see some examples of great mobile sites for nonprofits, check out Nonprofits.org’s article on Nonprofits.org has a great article that shares three great mobile nonprofit websites http://nonprofitorgs.wordpress.com/2012/10/08/three-nonprofits-pioneering-responsive-web-design/”>Three NonProfits Pioneering Responsive Web Design.”
Tablets give you a faster browsing experience and longer battery life compared to smartphones, without sacrificing their portability. In addition to providing a better mobile experience than smartphones, tablets also tend to have lower prices for features than smartphones. You can spend $600+ for an iPhone5 or you can spend $400 for a Google Nexus and get a higher performance tablet that comes with more storage, longer battery life, and a bigger screen. Tablet prices are dropping fast too, with $100 prices being touted at CES this year.
Granted, the tablets don’t come with the ability to make phone calls – but who cares? We can download one of the numerous free (or nearly free) apps that allow us to have voice over IP chats and just hunker down in the nearest Starbucks or McDonalds for the free wi-fi. Check out Viber’s app, for example. I find it interesting that the only “downside” I can think of to a tablet versus a smartphone is the size – and if we go back to trend #1, you’ll recall that we’re rapidly moving our online video experience to the larger tv screens. We want the larger screen.
Tablets seem to have found their niche as the perfect balance between mobility, performance and screen size.
Should You Invest in Tablets and Mobile Tech?
I highly recommend you head over to Beth Kanter’s blog to find the in-depth answer to this question in the post: How and When Should Your Nonprofit Organization Invest in Mobile. It recommends you look at your site’s traffic sources and if you’re getting more than 20% traffic from mobile devices, then you should prioritize getting a mobile-friendly website design. If you’re getting less than 20% mobile traffic but the vast majority of your online community is reporting issues with using your site on mobile devices, you might also want to look at a redesign.
Tablets come with an entirely different interface from other devices, navigating the web using gestures. Finger swipes and taps interact with web pages different than a mouse and keyboard. Most websites, even those with responsive or mobile stylesheets, weren’t designed to engage with visitors that way. A recent survey done by Compuware.com on tablet user web experience expectations shared that not only did tablet users expect a website page to load in 2 seconds or less, tablet users also expected their tablet to perform as well as their laptops.
If you don’t own a tablet, I recommend heading to your local Best Buy or Fry’s and playing with some of the different models. Find one that has access to websites and go look at yours and other sites and try clicking through the sites and performing the same functions you would normally perform from your PC and Smartphone. In particular, try making a donation on your website from a tablet and see if you run into any roadblocks.
Did you run into problems testing your donations form using a tablet? If so – you probably will want to look at updating your site to a responsive designed theme. Want to go more in-depth with tablet design for websites? Here’s some great articles I recommend:
Find out the “Do’s and Don’ts” for tablet website design in this article on 1stwebdesigner.com, which includes tips like keep your website design simple, don’t use flash animation, and consider the information tablet users are looking for when they visit your site so you can highlight this on your homepage and in your site’s headers or footers.
Webdesign.tutsplus.com has a great article that teaches the 6 tips to remember when designing for tablets. The article gives realistic advice like how to design for fingers instead of mouse clicks, and designing for multiple orientations.
Check out the results of a 2013 Consumer focused survey by Accenture which evaluates the devices that are going to be the most popular, and shares the best tactics to use based on your audience’s preferred devices – download the PDF of the Survey and Read the Full Article on TechCrunch.com.
What Trends do You See Coming in 2013?
My predictions are based solely on my experience and research, and you most likely have a different perspective that I haven’t thought of yet. What trends do you see coming in 2013 that nonprofits should be paying attention to?