As the CEO of Tendenci, the company and the software – I apologize for my lack of communication to you. I apologize to you -our long-time clients and our our new clients. I apologize to the developers who have deployed Tendenci on your own servers with little or no documentation and not posting public developer training.
No we aren’t going out of business. Been at it 17 years. Still here. Still serving my clients. Now expanding Tendenci to build a global legacy that is better than the proprietary vendors like Blackbaud while we still make a profit and grow. What else does anyone recommend I do that helps my clients the most? (Feel free to comment. But make no mistake, the tipping point is near. Open Source will win. Why should that be different for non-profits and association management software needs?)
Yes we are restructuring and that includes costs that go along with it. We’ve had some ups and downs and yes we are downsizing our offices in Houston and being inclusive of more remote team members.
True rumor – NO, Tendenci 5 does NOT have all of the functionality of Tendenci 4. Nor the other way around. They are different. It’s like going from a PC to a Mac. It’s different. Don’t convert if it isn’t for you yet.
And number 10….. yes, apparently people still actually read the paper. Didn’t realize I was newsworthy. Not sure if that is good or not. I just want to build Tendenci to “Connect and Organize the World’s People. Do Good.” Sorry if I messed up the PR part by having my head down laser focused on Tendenci.
I deleted the rest of this blog post to keep it short. Consider it my own test to myself to keep the dialog going. And I am committed to keeping open communication. Links and systems solutions in the next few posts.
PS. Tendenci is all about YOU! I get that. I deeply respect that. #candid #honest #servant
When event organizers plan fundraising events, they meticulously plan out details regarding location, accommodations, logistics, and fundraising goals, but it’s also important to formulate a strategic plan for connecting with your online community.
In my half, (viewable on SlideShare), I discussed basic tips and tricks to help event organizers make their fundraising events successful.
Three things to keep in mind to make sure your event participants come back year after year are:
Personal relationships drive event fundraising success.
Your organization can significantly influence participant behavior.
Think of the event as an engagement tool to lock in a relationship.
One tangible takeaway for the audience was an event planning checklist for your online strategies. I thought it would be helpful to share it with the rest of the internet! Read on for a detailed explanation of each point. You can download a printable PDF from our website.
6-9 Months Before Your Event
According to Mashable, 17.4% of all online traffic is mobile. If your site isn’t mobile optimized, your event could be missing out on a possible avenue of promotion. Additionally, if participants can’t access basic information about parking and registration on their mobile device, they’ll be less likely to participate again next year.
If you have participant teams fundraising for your event, give them tools to make their jobs easier. Did you know that 64% of participants don’t know that they should be raising funds? Creating email templates for team leaders is a great way to make fundraising easier for everyone involved!
Share Last Year’s Highlights
Past events can be an ill-used marketing medium. Don’t be afraid to resurrect last year’s stories to remind people how great this year is going to be.
Share Personal Stories
If your event had beneficiaries, then tell their story. People like to hear about the real people. Show your audience that you’re real and so are the people you’ve affected!
Both Twitter and Facebook use hashtags (#) to aggregate data and content. Establish a hashtag for your event and begin using it to keep track of all your event data and content. That way, you can search for it and event attendees can participate by “hashtagging” posts during your event.
3-5 Months Before Your Event
Organizing your content ahead of time can really free up your time on event day. As speakers, giveaways, or certain events are locked in, pre-write content about them that you can save and share during the event for increased engagement and exposure.
As you continue preparing for your event, continue sharing speaker announcements, past anecdotes, and news. Don’t forget to continue sharing highlights and personal stories. It’s always a good idea to link folks back to your website so they stay engaged with your organization.
1-2 Months Before Your Event
Schedule Your Content
Remember that pre-generated content you’ve been sitting on? Now’s the time to use it. Create a schedule for sharing all those wonderful words online and then put someone in charge of that said sharing.
Designate, volun-tell, or hire someone to be in charge of photography and create a shot list to document the event. Use photos in your promotional materials and on your website to tell your organization’s story!
During Your Event
Just because the event is here doesn’t mean your job is over. Keep using your hashtag and make sure you share announcements and event updates or changes.
Engage, Respond, Act
When people are using your hashtag and talking about your event, you need to be involved. Show that what people are saying is important by responding to what they say. Come up with a plan for how you will respond to social media–both negative and positive feedback need responses!
1 Week After Your Event
Say Thank You
Use your online mediums, whatever they may be, to say publicly say thank you to all the volunteers, attendees, and various participants. Send personalized thank you notes to the speakers and participants. It’s a nice extra touch and they be flattered. It show that you put in extra time and that you actually care.
Share Your Photos
Sharing photos should be a two-pronged attack.
Use your social outlets to post a few “teasers” of the photos you took
Store the photos on your site and include full album links on your posts
This way, you’ll share relevant content on social media anddrive traffic to your site.
Share Your Content
If you have any photos, blogs, whitepapers, infographics etc. create a schedule for sharing those to continue exposure and keep people talking about what happened at your event.
1-2 Months After Your Event
Analyze, Analyze, Analyze
Use traffic tools to analyze traffic to all of your sites or online portals. You can use these free tools to ensure accurate results:
Gain insightful feedback from your event participants by sending out a survey. For example, if folks complain about the parking at your event, when it comes time to market your next event, fix the parking situation and let participants know that they helped to make the event better!
Use your newly-gleaned analytics to plan ahead for next year by maximizing your strengths and minimizing your areas of weakness.
You can download a formatted checklist of all these steps in PDF format at on our website.
Caitlin’s topic “Driving Traffic With Paid Advertising” takes you through an overview of the many channels of paid advertising and how to use them all to your advantage.
1. Setting Strategic Goals
Put yourself in your audience’s shoes. Who are they? What do they want/need? Where do they hang out? (Google, Facebook or LinkedIn?) When are they on certain channels? For example: Twitter users are more often on Twitter on the weekends vs. the week. Do your research and get a good idea of what your audience is up to.
Define your conversion: How will you define success? A contact form submission? A phone call into your office from an ad on the search network? You also need to know how to measure it? Did your ad drive traffic to the site that sold x amount of tickets? Did you reach 5 contact forms in a day? Once you figure out what success will mean and how to measure it, you need to be able to track it. Some great tracking tools you can use are Google Analytics, Hootsuite and Sproutsocial.
Remember to set expectations: Results will take time. There is no overnight success in marketing. Our job is never over!
2. Finding Your Audience
It’s important to know where your audience is hanging out. Are they mainly a Facebook crowd? Or will they be seeking you out via Google or other search engines?
To answer these questions, it’s important to remember that your website is your mothership! We can use a variety of tools to research what our audience wants/needs/where they are, etc. See our hierarchy of web marketing tools below:
With your website as the foundation, you can use Google Analytics to track how users found your site and how the behave once they reached the site. You always want to make sure your site optimized for Search Engines (SEO) and is easily accessed on mobile devices. From there, spread out to Social Media and fill that space. Once all of these portals are well maintained, branch out to paid advertising with Google Adwords or Facebook Ads.
3. Platform Choices
If using Google Adwords for paid search ads, you will have two options:
Search Network: This is when the user goes to Google and searches “purple shoes houston” and your Purple Shoe shop in Houston ad will show up on Google. You get the advantage here because you have the advantage of being there when they are searching for you. This usually results with a CTR (Click Through Rate) of 2-4%.
Display Network: Ever noticed when you look up those cute shoes on Banana Republic… you KEEP seeing ads on other sites for Banana Republic shoes? This is called remarketing that utilizes the Display Network, which serves Google ads across the web on site’s that work with Google. This can take the form of banner, text or video ads.
If you’re interested in using Bing ads here are a few key takeaways:
They hold 16% o f the market share.
The less competition tends to be cheaper.
Long tail keyword phrases tend to work better here.
Demographics skew older because it’s the default search engine on several browsers.
With 1.11 billion users, Facebook accounts for 90% of all time spent on social networking. Chances are, your audience is there – one way or another. Users are 40-150 times more likely to consume your content on their newsfeed than on your website. Their algorithm, Edgerank determines newsfeed content based on 1) your personal interaction with that user and type of content & 2) your network’s interaction.
With Facebook Ads/Posts, think FUN, think social, think low barrier to entry. You can start small to see what works and target by demographic. Remember to consider how you use Facebook and remember that when trying to reach/influence your audience.
With the relatively new Twitter Paid Ads, there are two options: 1) Full-Service: provides a customer service rep, promoted accounts, tweets and trends 2) Self-Service: provides promoted accounts and tweets and you only pay for what works – when someone clicks, replies, RTs etc.
Remember to keep it short, timely and use images and links. Users are 5x more likely to share news items.
With 1 billion unique visitors each month, it’s no surprise that Youtube is the second largest search engine. Paid ad options include: 1) Standard In-Stream – 15 or 30 second long “commercials” 2) TrueView – Can be longer, can skip after 5 seconds.
It’s important to keep your ads entertaining. People don’t come to Youtube for ads. (Remember when there weren’t any ads on Youtube?!)
Below is a quick ad we created for our open source CMH for non-profits, Tendenci, featuring Carl, the Guinea Pig.
Caitlin and I enjoyed hanging out with AMA of UHD and look forward to doing it again soon!
I was so happy to be able to attend my first TEDxHouston event this weekend. TEDx is the collective of local independant events organized in the spirit of the TED Conference and its motto – Ideas worth spreading.
2013 marked TEDXHouston’s fourth annual event, and Schipul was among the sponsors. Speakers ranged from astronauts to artists, and included a diverse group of local scientists, sustainable farmers, engineers, magicians, poets, and cancer survivors.
“We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” – John F. Kennedy
What are “the other things” that we still wish to accomplish? The TEDxHouston speakers gave their insight.
It was a day full of fresh perspectives and lots of brain candy. My favorite quotes from the event are listed below. (Disclaimer: These primarily came from my notes, with a few from the tweets of other #TEDxHouston attendees – so I apologize if I get any words off in my note taking!)
12 Inspiring Moments from #TEDxHouston 2013
“Comedy is a contagious emotion.”
– David J. Neff (@daveiam), on why everyone should do stand up comedy once in their life
“There’s nothing like your first career panic attack.”
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.
This morning we watched Jeremiah Andrick (@jeremiah) on SoLoMo aka Social, Local, Mobile. Here are some of our favorite moments from that session!
SoLoMo is a Buzzword
SoLoMo is a buzzword that Jeremiah admits he doesn’t like to use, but the concept is a big one. What SoLoMo really means is the idea that the mobile device can increase and facilitate relationships with brands.
Every customer journey begins with a story – even if you’re just going to the grocery store, that is a journey. Fun fact: Most studies find that people are extremely loyal to their laundry detergent.
“Most of us are on a journey doing something” – Jeremiah Andrick
As web developers we don’t like to talk about it, but the browser tends to be a cold experience. Mobile is more personal, in the moment. That’s what SoLoMo is about.
What Multi Screen Means
Time Inc. found that “digital natives” under 30 years old switch devices (i.e. from phone to tablet to computer) 27 times per hour. That’s once every 2 minutes. For adults age 35-55, they’re switching 15 times per hour.
It’s important to understand not just who you audience is, but how they use technology as well.
For instance, Chrome saves browser history across multiple platforms so if you pick up your phone, it remembers your history from surfing your PC.
And Jeremiah played the latest Chrome commercial that tells a fantastic story of a kid using his Samsung tablet to solve a problem:
Know Your Audience
Jeremiah uses a lot of Luxury brands as examples of what not to do. Luxury brands tend to fall into the trap of thinking that because their product is exclusive they don’t need to allow consumers to buy products or even view their catalog online.
This is an issue, because 89% of women use their phone while they’re shopping. So these brands are missing out on a huge opportunity by making their products not accessible.
SoLoMo has different context within different industries. Jeremiah shared this great graph of different types of products and what is happening online with them – whether consumers are interacting with them Online Purchase or Digital Engagement.
(click to view this photo larger in a new tab)
Mobile Matters – People Buy from Mobile Optimized Sites
Jeremiah shared stats from a recent Google Shopper Study on how much a mobile optimized site impacts your potential customers:
67% of people are more likely to buy when a mobile site works.
61% of people will leave if the site is unfriendly.
#SoLoMo Advice – Top 3 Takeaways!
Listen Before you Build – Stay away from trends, try to find what will stick around.
Metrics > Hypothesis > Experiment > Act
This tends to be harder in an agency because clients want fast results
Start with education on why it’s important
Remember what Lord Kelvin said – “If we can’t measure it, we can’t improve it”
At the End of the Day, It’s About Customer Centricity!
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.
This month’s Netsquared Nonprofit + Technology Meetup was a great discussion on social media with Lauren Ramsey.
We started with the simple problem that may marketers face – so many social media platforms to engage on, but what to write and how to organize it all?
Here are a few ideas to get you to great new content:
Community -Who can you write about? Do you have fundraising superstars you can feature? How about employees? What about the leader of your organization?
Engage your audience – Send out a survey and post the resulting answers. Spread the answers out over a span of time. Making things visuals helps draw attention so include images or add some styling to the questions and answers. If someone asks a great question – spread it across the community.
Cross promote – Posting amazing photos on instagram? Just uploaded a new video to vimeo? Use your other social media outlets to draw traffic there.
How to organize it all:
Create a weekly calendar with every hour of the day
For each hour fill in what platform you will post on and what content you will post
Review your results – a weekly view will help you figure out where there are gaps in content or if you are focusing too much on one area!
“Using Storytelling in Your Proposals to Make Your Buyers the Hero and Win More Deals”
Everyone loves a good story, right? Of course! Everyone knows what happened to Humpty Dumpty or Goldi-Locks, right? It has to do with how our brains are wired. They process experiences into a story, because it’s easier to understand.
“Cognitive psychologists describe how the human mind, in an attempt to understand and remember, assembles the bits and pieces of experience into a story… Stories are how we remember.”
– Bronwyn Fryer, Storytelling That Moves People, Harvard Business Review
So let’s dive in:
1. Before you even begin writing –
Find out why they have come to you. Why did they choose you? Build that relationship. Do your research.
2. Get to know your characters –
Who are the characters? The people you are working with! The doers and the decision makers. Who is who? What is important to each of them? Who will make that final decision to sign?
You can do some “character development” by using tools like LinkedIn, Website Bios, Social Media and Google searching to learn more about them.
3. What is their pain and what is your value? –
You have to address their issue/pain point. If they can’t log into their site to make changes and that’s the issue, then you target that and help them.
What is your value to them? You’ll need to “disrupt the pattern” of what they expect from you and your company/product/service.
“It emphasized that people form an opinion about a company or product based on the signals that it conveys. “People DO judge a book by its cover,” he wrote. “We may have the best product, the highest quality, the most useful software, etc; if we present them in a slipshod manner, they will be perceived as slipshod; it we present them in a creative, professional manner, we will impute the desired qualities.”” – Cliff Kuang, The 6 Pillars Of Steve Jobs’s Design Philosophy
4. Weaving your Narrative –
Create your story through the Elements of the Story:
Setting -> Executive Summary
Characters -> Buyers
Plot -> Scope of Work
Theme -> Content
Conflict -> Budget
5. The Pre-Proposal, Proposal –
This allows you and the buyer to get on the same page and “then enables the formal proposal to become just that – a formality.”
6. Step outside the proposal –
Don’t be afraid of techniques that take you a bit outside the box. Consider a unique proposal delivery. Educate the clients with webinars and trainings. Free, but useful, “swag” never hurts.