#COMMUNICATIONS: Postal Service Rates To Rise on 27 January

US Postal Service Stamp
Forever stamps still good after the 27th.

We have managed to put off the so-called ‘fiscal cliff’ for a couple of months, but we can’t avoid the changes in postal rates coming in a couple of weeks. Thanks to our fine business partners at Ecoprint in Silver Spring, Maryland, for the heads-up! The US Postal Service (USPS) has been on hard times over the last 5-7 years due to the overwhelming presence of email, social networks, and e-fax services. Moreover, the semi-private/ public service is carrying a striking burden of compensation packages for its executives that, frankly, seem to outweigh the performance of the venerable institution. Be that as it may, be prepared for upticks to many of the services. What’s coming at the end of the month?

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#FUNDRAISING: What’s So Great About Best Practices?

Photo of Roger CraverAdopting “Best Practices” sounds like one of those common-sense ideas nobody can argue with, right? Wrong. Roger Craver, old pro fundraiser and curmudgeon-in-residence at The Agitator, argues that best practices are a license to steal and an enemy of innovation.

#STORYTELLING: Your Story, As Told By Others

Flag of the Red Cross Suomi: Punaisen Ristin l...The American Red Cross took a risk last year: it mailed video cameras to 300 families or individuals who had received services from Red Cross and asked them to tell their stories. The risk paid off with a brilliant campaign, featuring 25 home-made video testimonials edited to about 30 seconds each.

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#HOWTO: Have A Film Screening As A Fundraising Opportunity

Tugg offers movies of your choiceWe at MKCREATIVEmedia wish you a joyous, healthy, and prosperous New Year!

As the year’s projects and fundraisers and festivals start rolling onto your computer’s calendar, you might be looking for an opportunity to host a one-off event that can bring much-wanted PR, good karma, and even some financial support. How about sponsoring a film screening? The chance for your nonprofit or charity to be a movie mogul, at least for a day, has been made possible by the social/cinema site Tugg. Though currently considered ‘beta,’ Tugg could make hosting a screening of a big-name movie, documentary, or short film so easy that you could host a few each season.

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#SOCIALNETWORKS: Questions & Answers Can Be Shared On Quora

Quora social Q&A siteThe Latin term ‘quorum’ (pl.pronoun: ‘of whom’) has almost no connection to what the term means in Anglo-American law, namely: “the minimum number of members of an assembly that must be present to make the proceedings of that meeting valid.” Without digging too deeply into the Oxford English Dictionary, the term evolved from Norman circuit courts in late-medieval England as the scribes noted the names ‘of whom’ appeared as witnesses of and jurors at trials. The term has been appropriated by the social-networking/question-posing site Quora. The site has been around since 2010, but it has really taken off in the last few months, and we wanted to introduce you to it before whenever the next apocalypse is due.

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#HOWTO: Keep Your Facebook Page Updated While Mobile This Holiday Season

Facebook with Santa Hat
Mobile Facebook for the new year.

As the Christmas Season approaches, most of us will be taking a bit of much-needed downtime from our nonprofits and charities. Many will also be traveling to see family as well. Unfortunately, the concerns of nonprofits and charities do not take holidays, and you might want to keep people updated via Facebook on what your organization is doing in the holiday season. Facebook has been striving to make inroads into the mobile market over the last number of months, and so we wanted to give you a few tips for getting access to your charity’s page via your mobile device. And even if you are stepping away from Facebook to spend more time with the egg nog, having mobile access to your account should be a resolution (and one of the easier ones to achieve) in the new year.

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#FUNDRAISING: Paul Jolly of Jumpstart Growth Explores The Spiritual Side Of Donors

Paul Jolly's fundraising organization
The soul of fundraising

Raising money for a nonprofit or charity is tough work. With the focus of the organization on fundraising, it is not surprising that outreach tends to focus on the numbers (the thousands who benefit from the nonprofit’s work, the millions required to keep such work going, the hundreds of people asked to give…). In this first part of our video interview with Paul Jolly, Founder and President of Jump Start Growth Incorporated, we learn that the numbers really should be the last concern of a nonprofit or charity, not the first. For Paul and Jump Start Growth, the first concern is the personal, the spiritual, connection between the donor and the cause she or he wants to support. Where is your organization’s focus?

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#GRANTS: Nominations Open For Awards of $5000 From WLR Automotive

$25000 to be given away in January
Click here to nominate a nonprofit

Have you made a nomination for the “Giveaway For Good”? The giveaway is an initiative of the WLR Automotive Group, who is celebrating twenty-five years of service in the central Maryland/York County PA region. As a part of that celebration, and to give thanks back to the community who have supported the company, its owners have opened up nominations for charitable organizations and nonprofits to win grants of $5000 next January. The nomination process was opened up in mid-November, and anyone can continue to nominate groups through 14 December. Once the nomination process closes (14 December at midnight), the public will vote on the five organizations that they would like to see get a $5000 award from WLR. As of this post, about 25 organizations are up, and your organization certainly can nominate itself.

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#GRANTS: WLR Automotive Group Looking To Give $25K Away In January

WLR Auto Group is giving away $25K
Click to nominate an organization

“Giveaway For Good” is an initiative of the WLR Automotive Group, who is celebrating twenty-five years of service in the central Maryland/York County PA region. As a part of that celebration, and to give thanks back to the community who have supported the company, its owners have opened up nominations for charitable organizations and nonprofits to win grants of $5000 next January. The nomination process was opened up in mid-November, and anyone can continue to nominate groups through 14 December (NB: The site balks when opened in Chrome browsers, but you can use it). [Read more…]

#HOWTO: Setup New Facebook Pages & The Types Available For You

Consider the small print when creating an organization page on FacebookWith the adjustments and reworkings on Facebook over the last 6-odd months, it’s time to update our periodic series on Facebook pages − Next week we will continue with more information about the scuttlebutt around Promoted Posts.

Facebook updates its interface and algorithms periodically. Usually the public response splits fairly evenly into the “love it” and “this is the death of Facebook” camps. We’re not about to predict the death of Facebook, so we want to stay up with developments and help you and your nonprofit do the same. So let’s see what it takes to make a page.

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#HOWTO: Use Crowdbooster To Marshall Your Social Media Conversations

Crowdbooster social monitoring platform
Let this platform tame your Tweetstream and Timeline

Numerous social-networking monitoring sites are out there by now: Hootsuite, Sprout Social, Klout, Tinker… As programmers develop new tools, and social platforms like Facebook or (even!) MySpace evolve, the staff at a nonprofit can feel overwhelmed with the changes. What is important to remember in this fast-changing communications environment is that you are looking for tools that are beneficial to you and your organization − not (necessarily) the latest platform that is getting some buzz. One of the newer sites meant to aggregate metrics from your social networks is Crowdbooster, and we do believe it is worth a look because it helps your busy staff consider the near future of its social-media outreach as well as lay out the past trends.

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#SOCIALNETWORKS: How To Promote Facebook Posts & Why You Might Not Want To

From a personal blog's experment with Promotions
CecilyK on ‘MomCrunch’ blog says ‘No’

This past summer Facebook launched the opportunity to purchase ‘Promoted Posts’ that − for at least a $5 fee − would be promoted across the Facebookiverse. The more you paid, the more broadly the algorithms (aka ‘magic’) circulated the post. It was hailed by many for- and non-profit organizations as an opportunity to push through the background noise endemic in most people’s timelines to get your words and images out to a larger but (broadly) targeted audience.

We want to show you how to promote a post if you are unfamiliar with the easy process, but we also want to call attention to the fact that many power users are not finding the return on investment that Facebook claims. Is it a case of false advertising, or is Facebook still working out the kinks?

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#GRANTS: Verizon Foundation Offers Support For Environmental & Educational Nonprofits

The Verizon Foundation supports educational and sustainability programsCountless members of nonprofit and charity staffs use Verizon as their cellular and/or internet (and/or cable) provider. But did you know the Verizon Foundation also supports such nonprofits and charities with grants in money, kind, and service? The Foundation focuses on issues pertaining to K-through-12 education, health care, and sustainability/environmentalism, so if your organization is involved in any of these fields, you should reach out and touch them (Er, wrong service. And century.). Here’s how.

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How To Be Better At Telling Stories

Depiction of Queen Scheherazade telling her st...
Scheherazade (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you can reduce your organization’s whole reason for being to a story packed with suffering and hope, love and pain, loss and victory – about people you can recognize as being like you – then you can attract support. Network for Good has a brief article with 7 useful tips for becoming a better storyteller.

 

#HOWTO: Setup A Pheed Account & Why It Could Prove Valuable For Nonprofits

Pheed connects to Facebook and Twitter
Pheed offers easy, and copyrighted, blogging

Alright, I admit that when I first heard about one of the newest social networks out there, Pheed, I was underwhelmed. Are we not overwhelmed with social networks as it is? But both professional engagement and personal curiosity got the better of me, and I signed up. The interface looks rather like Tumblr, whose praises we have often sung on this blog. The screenshot to the left is Pheed’s signup page: clearly it is pitched toward an artistic, and likely younger, audience. Nevertheless, it has a couple of features that nonprofits and charities could find especially useful as they present their own content via their social networks. Here’s how to sign up and see if it could be of use to your organization.

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#FUNDRAISING: Resources To Find Grants For Your Nonprofit’s 2013 Budget

Fifty Dollar Bill imageMaybe the federal government won’t ever work up or agree to a budget to cover an entire fiscal year, but your nonprofit has to. The 2012-2013 fiscal year is already on many organizations’ calendars, and certainly the final sprint to the holiday donation-giving season is upon us. But along with the money, time, and goodwill of your donors onilne and otherwise, you should be looking for grants. We’ve culled a few resources and pooled a few clearing houses that will help your nonprofit or charity tailor its search for support from specific organizations passionate to support your kind of work.

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#COMMUNICATION: Is Your Nonprofit Staff Conversing With Both Audience & Each Other?

Silos of information can damage communicationAs social networks and social marketing have matured over the last two or three years, a debate continues as to how effective social media is to inspire action (be it making a purchase, donating to a cause, or risking one’s life in a revolution). But it seems to me that the argument is both older than modern social media (read any Marshall McLuhan lately?) and more complicated than trying to argue cause-and-effect. Social networks offer wonderfully inexpensive means to expand and magnify conversations, but they also create stunning amounts of ‘noise’ that readers have to learn to tune out without getting distracted (no easy task). But how can a nonprofit leverage the powers of social media to inspire action while also striving not to distort the outreach with too much talk?

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#DEVELOPMENT: Do You Have Big Plans For Your Big Data? Not So Fast…

The latest buzz concept is ‘Big Data.’ Like most buzz concepts/ words, its definition leaves much up to the mouth of the speaker. Big Data, whatever the specifics, refers to the large amount of information that can be collected from online activity and exchange of information (on social networks, for example). The ability to aggregate such information from posts, streams, and online purchases creates some truly ‘big’ numbers. And they are only further extended with the collection of information from rewards programs and loyalty cards.

But Big Data can also trick us with impressive numbers like our Twitter followers or Facebook friends − but who within that number are encouraging each other to support our causes? Though ‘numbers don’t lie,’ statistics do, so an organization must know how it’s going to parse the data is collecting and what it hopes to achieve with the effort.

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#VIDEO: Rob Wu of Causevox Tells Us About Developments In Online Fundraising (Part I)

CauseVox online donor acquisition
Causevox moves to version 2

Rob Wu is co-founder of Causevox, an online social-media and donor-acquisition platform, and he and his team have been working hard over the last number of months moving the online system to 2.0. We had the pleasure of talking with Rob a year or so ago, when Causevox first went live. The focus then was to create a ‘turn key’ website/social-media hub for nonprofits, which allowed them to customize the look and feel of the site to fit their ‘brand’ while also enjoying some advanced features like bulk emailing and email subscription captures.

The success of the platform has been phenomenal, as charities working from Africa and to the southwestern US have gotten connected with Causevox and have raised many tens of thousands of dollars over the last year. But the New-York based staff has not been sitting on its laurels. Let’s hear what Rob has to say in this first interview.

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#INTERVIEW: Rob Wu of Causevox Tells Us About Developments In Online Fundraising

CauseVox online donor acquisition
Causevox moves to version 2

Rob Wu is co-founder of Causevox, an online social-media and donor-acquisition platform, and he and his team have been working hard over the last number of months moving the online system to 2.0. We had the pleasure of talking with Rob a year or so ago, when Causevox first went live. The focus then was to create a ‘turn key’ website/social-media hub for nonprofits, which allowed them to customize the look and feel of the site to fit their ‘brand’ while also enjoying some advanced features like bulk emailing and email subscription captures.

The success of the platform has been phenomenal, as charities working from Africa and to the southwestern US have gotten connected with Causevox and have raised many tens of thousands of dollars over the last year. But the New-York based staff has not been sitting on its laurels. Let’s hear what Rob has to say in this first interview.

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#SOCIALNETWORKS: Can Niche Online Networks Outperform Your Nonprofit’s Facebook Page?

Focus on niche social networks
Have you defined your organization’s niche?

Our participation in online social networks seems well beyond the status of a ‘fad.’ In some parts of the world, people risk censure − if not their lives − to post important information on such platforms as Facebook and Twitter. These social networks are the current heavy hitters, of course. But what about developing people’s interests in your nonprofit’s causes? Or engaging a peer group already predisposed to support your charity’s fund drive? The hard fact is, the best-known social platforms might just be too big for that kind of conversation. And we might just be witnessing the start of a tidal shift away from the bigger-is-better mantra of social outreach toward niche conversations among like minds. Could these more concentrated communities really be worth the effort of building a presence on yet another social network?

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#PHILANTHROPY: Evidence Of ‘Emerging Charitable Markets’ & How To Tap Into Them

Younger philanthropists want to be reached personallyAn article on yesterday’s E-Jewish Philanthropy caught our eye because the authors did a really interesting bit of research into the top givers in US in this calendar year. The study by Robert I. Evans and Avrum D. Lapin demonstrates how useful a careful parsing of statistics can be for fundraisers, and how that parsing can uncover shifting trends in the philanthropic world.

The ostensible foundation of their work was to try to explain why some 130 of the wealthiest Americans on the famed Forbes 400 list are Jewish, yet only about thirty of them have given gifts that break into the list of top donors as compiled by The Chronicle of Philanthropy. They have discovered not so much a shift in the habits of giving among Jewish donors but demographic and economic shifts that are opening what they call ’emerging charitable markets.’ Who is participating in these markets?

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#SOCIALMEDIA: How Can We Efficiently Use Our Time On Social Networks?

Avoiding the time suck of social networks
How are you measuring your time?

A definition of irony: using social media to encourage you to find ways to trim your time on social media. But the real goal is efficiency, and it comes with great financial and emotional rewards. According to a survey done by the enterprise platform Harmon.ie last summer, “45% of employees work only 15 minutes or less without getting interrupted, and 53% waste at least one hour a day due to all types of distractions. That hour per day translates into $10,375 of wasted productivity per person annually, assuming an average salary of $30/hour.” Ouch.

Moreover, even if digital interruptions (responding to a tweet that just came in relevant to your nonprofit’s project, for example) are a valid and necessary part of what you do, what were you doing that got interrupted? And can you easily and smoothly get back on that track? Here are some recommendations to rethink how you are using your time and mental energies on social networks.

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#SOCIALNETWORKS: 4th-Annual Social Media Week Will Educate & Inspire Worldwide

Social Media Week, 24-28 September 2010
Attendance is just a few clicks away.

The first Social Media Week went live in 2008, as Twitter was just hitting the mainstream and Lehman Brothers announced it was going bankrupt and would take down the economy with it. For better and worse, much has change. And Social Media Week continues to expand. It started to stress connectivity across continents last year, and this year the list of host cities already includes Barcelona, Bogotá, Doha, Hong Kong, Jeddah, LA, Shanghai, and Turin (among others). Individuals can register at any point for this year’s program, and organizations can prepare submissions to offer sessions for next year.  What will the 2012 week bring?

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