Love the Video, But What Does It Do For Us?

BC 251 - Video Production 2012
Photo credit: wcn247

Into Focus, the first-ever benchmark study of how nonprofits use video, was released in June by video producer See 3, the Edelman public relations firm, and the YouTube Nonprofits Program. Bottom line:

  • 80% of nonprofit respondents think video is important to their organization today
  • 91% believe it will be even more important tomorrow.
  • But nearly two-thirds expect no budget increases for video production
  • and 76% don’t measure the impact of video, except anecdotally.

Budget and metrics are closely related. It’s hard to justify more money for a project when you can’t prove whether it works. And you can’t prove whether it works if you haven’t set goals to measure against. Fortunately, the study shows how to work through this conundrum with excellent case studies and suggestions.

With video accounting for more than half of all Internet content, and YouTube viewers watching 4 billion hours every month, it’s hard to argue that video is not an essential communications tool.

Are You Ready for Your Closeup?

Some people – elected officials immediately come to mind – experience a magnetic attraction to television cameras. More of us want to run the opposite direction. But when fate points its fickle finger and says it’s your turn under the bright lights, it helps to be prepared. You can’t do much better than this advice-packed two-minute video, “The Esquire Guy’s Guide to Media Interviews.”


#ADVOCACY: Google Does Harm To Privacy & Suffers An Hour’s Income For Infractions

Google as a gateway spying agency?
Google as a gateway spying agency?

What you think about Google’s (and Facebook’s. And Twitter’s…) efforts to collect personal information of its users probably says quite a bit about what you think about human nature: If you don’t mind a database of your online activities being used by social networks and search engines, then you are likely comfortable with the fact that Google might know quite a bit about you but will not use that information to do any one harm. If you wonder if that flatscreen TV is looking back at you, then you might see in Google’s inadvertent collection of personal data while collecting its street maps over the last few years as the foundation of our Orwellian fate.

Google was recent fined for its ‘accidental’ collection of information across open Wi-Fi networks while filming its Street Views for Google Maps (And by ‘accidental’, I do not mean to use the term ironically. Google executives, once called on it by the federal government, immediately apologized and said it would accept the fine.). The fine was for $7 million − about what Google Inc. collects per hour from its various advertising and business interests. How might we understand these latest infractions into our privacy?

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Trickle-Down Lives On at Nonprofits

Curing the Charitable Curse
Dan Pallotta’s viral video  (Photo credit: jurvetson)


If you haven’t yet seen Dan Pallotta’s 18-minute TED talk, the viral video of the month with more than 1.2 million views, here’s your chance.  Pallotta, who founded AIDS Ride and raised $581 million for AIDS and breast cancer research over nine years, argues that philanthropy is being undermined by our beliefs about it – in particular, the belief that low overhead is worthy of praise.  He contends that overhead – including investments in fundraising and marketing capacity – is the only way to grow nonprofits large enough in scale to tackle society’s most intractable problems. What makes more sense, he asks: 94% of a small pie, or 60% of a pie 100 times larger?*

Palotta argues that in a capitalist economy, nonprofits are restricted from playing by the same rules as every other type of organization. While others feast, nonprofits compete against one another for the crumbs – for four decades, a consistent 2% of Gross National Product. Or, it seems to me, nonprofits may be the last Americans who act as though they still believe in the Trickle-Down Theory.

*For the math-impaired: 94% of $1 million = $940,000; 60% of $100 million=$60 million.


#VIDEO: Ken Sterns’s Book Offers Tough Love To Nonprofit Economy

Ken Sterns, former CEO of NPR, challenges the nonprofit sector
Ken Sterns, former CEO of NPR, challenges the nonprofit sector

Ken Sterns has served as CEO of National Public Radio, arguably one of the best-known nonprofits in the country. He supports The American Red Cross, and has served on the boards of a number of charities. So when his book, And Charity for All argues that the nonprofit sector is a huge part of the American economy, yet the least productive sector as well, people listen. And they should.

Mr. Sterns was recently interviewed at The Huffington Post, as he joined a roundtable (‘multiscreen’) discussion that included Alexander Berger at GiveWell; Dr. John Brothers, founder of Quidoo Consulting; and Rigo Sabarino, President and CEO of St. Barnabas Senior Services. The interview begins with him throwing down the gauntlet, wondering if the nonprofit community is even worth preserving.

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#PHILANTHROPY: #Sundance & A3 Foundation Extend Cooperation for Asian-American Artists

Asian American Artists Foundation
Shot from a film sponsored by the A3 Foundation

Though the Initial Public Offering of Facebook devolved into comic fodder last May, the fact remains that it made many people quite wealthy − especially those who had been working with Zuckerberg’s company from the early days. A number of those who cashed out their stocks and jobs at the social-network giant have since turned toward philanthropic efforts, and we would like to highlight one of those concerns that also is having a big impact on this week’s Sundance Film Festival in Utah.

The A3 Foundation was founded in 2012 by Philip Fung, Julia Lam, and Franklyn Chien, who were early Facebook employees, and who wanted to encourage both Asian-American artists (thus the ‘A3’) and those working on projects pertinent to the larger Asian-American community. According to their own site, “The A3 Fellows Program is the inaugural program for the foundation placing emerging artists with seasoned artists to learn and grow. The fellowship consists of $10,000-$20,000 in funding, as well as mentorship from more established artists, and the opportunity to build your skillset and network.” A large presence at the Sundance Festival is only the beginning of what they hope to accomplish.

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#INTERVIEW: Paul Jolly of Jump Start Growth Helps Us Plan for the 2013 ‘Ask’

Our interview with Paul Jolly
Paul Jolly, President of Jump Start Growth, Inc.

This past December, Paul Jolly, President of Jump Start Growth, Inc., talked about the spiritual side of fundraising, and how he works with nonprofits to help them appreciate the motives and desires of big donors. Paul’s company has many years of experience to bring to organizations that are trying to improve their success rates with big donors.

Today we are excited to bring you part two of our interview with Paul. We shift directions just a bit in this conversation to talk about the near future of fundraising. What seems to be the lay-of-the-land for 2013? What technological/communications developments should we keep our eye on? What is developing on the Jump Start Growth website for the new year?

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Your Story, As Told By Others

Flag of the Red Cross Suomi: Punaisen Ristin l...
Photo credit: Wikipedia

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.

It’s brilliant, in my opinion, because it has:

  1. Good Storytelling. People respond to people stories. This is a response hard-wired in our brains – literally.
  2. Credible Sources. Who are you more likely to believe: somebody who says how great you are, or you telling me how great you are?
  3. Authenticity. You can’t get much more authentic than real victims of traumatic events telling their stories in their own words, and looking you right in the eyes.

For more insight into Red Cross’s thinking on this project, check out this brief interview with senior communications professionals.

#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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Resources: Are You Job Hunting?

  • Social Media: For those whose most immediate marketing problem is marketing themselves to employers, have I got a book for you. It’s The Wild Woman’s Guide to Social Media, by Mazarine Treyz, who is the Wild Woman. I interviewed Mazarine last year about her fundraising consulting and found her full of wit, insight and charm. Her new book promises to explain how to market yourself (or your business) in 15 minutes a day.
  • Content Management: Idealware, a nonprofit that analyzes software for nonprofits,  has produced a free, downloadable report that reviews and compares 11 content management systems. It also includes a directory of qualified consultants who can help with implementation.
  • Video: a free report by the Jun Group on the impact of online video finds, surprisingly, that the group most likely to act after seeing a video is the 55-and-up cohort.
  • Advocacy: “The Advocacy Gap,” a free downloadable report, refers to the difference between how most advocates talk to Congress and how Congress would prefer to be talked to.

#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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#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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#HOWTO: Establish Your Tumblr Account Preferences To Stay Organized

Tumblr Infographic shows 33.3 million blogs in 8 languages
33 million blogs in 8 languages − Where's yours?

We have already presented videos on how to sign on to Tumblr and how to tweak the settings of your new blog − including how to ensure your activity on Tumblr is reflected in your Twitter account and on your Facebook page (though recent developments have limited the interaction between Twitter and Tumblr, alas). We want to continue with more how-tos associated with Tumblr both because we think the platform is an easy and flexible way to communicate with the larger world and because many have reached out with questions and ideas about the series. We appreciate your contacts and questions − thank you!

Today we present a video about Tumblr’s account preferences (to be distinguished from the blog’s settings).

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#HOWTO: Set Up Your Tumblr Blog’s Settings & Connect To Twitter/Facebook

Tumblr offers rich-media blogging for us non-codersWe continue our video series on setting up your nonprofit’s Tumblr blog account with a look at the two Dashboards within your account. We also explore the blog’s settings and what distinguishes them from your account’s preferences. Tumblr is a free platform and one that can give you an up-and-running blog in about 10 minutes − as well as powerful customization and design tools that can make your blog uniquely branded and connected. We’ll be introducing those more advanced features in future episodes.

What the Blog Settings offer that is worth emphasizing is the opportunity to connect your organization’s Twitter and Facebook accounts to your Tumblr blog. Once done, you can post something on Tumblr and have it announced on the other social-networking sites: three for the price of almost $0.

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#NONPROFIT: Some Models Of How Charities Use Tumblr

First Book's call to actionWe’ve sung the praises of Tumblr a number of times on this blog, and today we want to present a few examples and ideas of just how nonprofits are using this free platform as a means to spread the word of their great work. One of the many great things about Tumblr is its simplicity of setup. That said, you don’t want to treat your organization’s efforts simplistically.

First off, you might want to consider Tumblr as your calling card to a larger audience, rather than as a venue for in-depth reports to your committed constituents. Tumblr loves images, quotes, and videos, but few go to their accounts to read long analyses. Your nonprofit definitely should have a place for such detail, but Tumblr might not be that place. How have nonprofits used it?

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Storytelling at Its Very Best

English: child enjoying clean and safe drinkin...
Child enjoying clean and safe drinking water from a newly built well, funded by charity: water (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To see just how powerful storytelling can be for your cause, take just a few moments to watch this new video from Charity: Water. The story of “Rachel’s Gift,” in brief: a young American girl pledges to raise $300 for Charity: Water, which helps bring clean water to Third World villages. But the girl is killed in a car accident before she can fulfill her pledge. Then something happens, and Charity: Water knows how to tell it. (WARNING: Two handkerchief rating, discretion advised.)

#SOCIALMEDIA: IOC Struggles To Corral First “Social Olympics” In London

Infomous envisions social media activity around London Olympics
Click on image to visit

The Opening Ceremonies went off without a hitch. Security concerns have been allayed thus far. The weather hasn’t been too bad. For Americans, we’ve had a few sub-par performances in the pool and on the gymnastics apparatuses, but so far, so good.

Unless the issue is how this so-called “First Social Games” is going. The social media events have not gone quite like fans, competitors, or International Olympic Committee members had thought it would − all for different reasons. Indeed, the biggest security dust-up has to do not with fears of terrorists, but fears of unwanted mention of sponsors by athletes and/or their supporters. Is the IOC fairly trying to protect the Olympic ‘brand’ or are its members greedily limiting expression through social media? And does anybody else really care?

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#HOWTO: Establish A Tumblr Account & Why You Should Do So

MKCREATIVE media for donor engagement & social mediaA couple of months ago we talked about the free blogging platform Tumblr, and the series got a great deal of response from you our audience, and we really appreciate your interest and feedback! We want to step up that earlier discussion with a series of video how-tos that will show you a Tumblr account, what can be set within that account, and why we think Tumblr is a great platform to develop a social-networking presence if your organization has not yet done so. Indeed, we find Tumblr such a simple and powerful platform that you even should consider moving your outreach to Tumblr!

Let’s begin by setting up an account, and exploring what you’ll see inside your new Tumblr account.

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#MARKETING: Build Your Search Engine Marketing Strategy With Solid Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Marketing for the internetSearch Engine Optimization (SEO) includes numerous tools and plug-ins that help (first) web crawlers and algorythems find your organization’s website, so that human web searchers can then find your site via Google, Yahoo!, Bing, etc. Optimization means (in part) key words are placed in specific parts of the website’s code and banners to ensure that not only do search engines find your site, but they easily calculate the importance of certain terms and ideas so as to put your site ever higher on their list of relevant sites.

SEO is something we’ve often talked about on this blog, but marketing experts have been taking SEO to the next level over the last year or so to develop an overarching strategy of online marketing: Search Engine Marketing. But what is it and why should your business incorporate it into your outreach?

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#FUNDRAISING: Facebook Gives Pages & Apps To Nonprofits (Zuckerberg Gives Cash)

Nonprofits Group Page logoFacebook’s power on the social-networks scene need hardly be introduced, and thousands of nonprofits and charities have tapped into that power to expand and support their good work. But has the company offered any of its billions to those nonprofits and charities? Facebook, like Apple, does not have a philanthropic foundation like some other corporations, like Dell or Intel. Facebook’s CEO, unlike Apple’s, has given a great deal of charity on his own. Zuckerberg has taken the “Giving Pledge” drive initiated by Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, and he famously gave $100 million to the Newark (NJ) school system last year.

So if a charitable foundation is not part of the Facebook portfolio at this stage, what does it do to support the work of nonprofits?

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#SOCIALNETWORKS: Facebook Adds Handy Scheduling Features To Organizations’ Pages

Facebook is not known for its simple elegance, and some recent developments might not change that fact. But Facebook developers have added some great features to organizational accounts and Pages. What kind of Page you want to have for your nonprofit or charity is an important early decision to make, but once you have one, you have much greater control over working with your account. For example, you can now schedule posts up to six months in advance (and delete them later − before they go out − if need be). Let’s take a look at those features and how they can be a real boon to your organization.

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#SOCIALNETWORKS: NTEN 2012 Report Shows Real ROI Growth Over Past Year

Survey results of NTEN's questionnaire for nonprofits
Click to go to the report

Okay, so you have been developing your nonprofit’s presence on the staples of social media new for a couple of years. Facebook page? Check. Twitter account? Sure. But how much time do you want to put into keeping up with those outlets? Has your organization seen any growth in volunteers or donors thanks to the outreach on social media?

The 2012 Nonprofit Social Benchmark Report from NTEN is the fourth in this annual series, which means the surveyors have enough materials to start identifying longer-term trends and to offer meaningful statistics as to how social networks are changing communications and fundraising for nonprofits and charities. Spoiler Alert: Nonprofit use of social networks is growing, and with that use most nonprofits are enjoying significant returns on investment (ROI). Still not sure you want to commit resources to it? Please read on…

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#TECH: How and Why To Develop A Google+ Page For Your Nonprofit

Google+ offers numerous means to reach out to clients, donors, and customers
Tools for your nonprofit's outreach

Yesterday we looked at how to pin something of interest to Pinterest, and why such activity can draw many many eyeballs to that interest and then to your organization. One of the striking demographic facts of Pinterest is that the audience is strikingly female. Toward the other side of the spectrum is Google+, which is largely made up of males. Though the status and interest of Google+ remains an open question, we remain confident that it supplies a number of features that are not difficult to use yet create a well-organized presence for any nonprofit or individual.

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#SOCIALNETWORKS: What Makes Pinterest So Engaging? It’s Incredibly Simple to Use.

Pinterest is 'Invitation Only,' which will come quickly if you askPinterest was released as a private beta in March 2010, which makes it something of a late-comer (or the ‘second generation?) of social networking platforms. Its mission was “to connect everyone in the world through the ‘things’ they find interesting,” and its modus operandi was to encourage people to ‘pin’ whatever they found interesting online to their own boards (e-bullentin boards, if you will). Within two years, Pinterest claimed over 11 million users, making it the fastest site/service to break 10 million subscribers.

How has use in Pinterest exploded and why might a nonprofit want to establish a presence on the site? The simplicity of administering and advertising your organization’s interests make it well worth the effort. Let us show you how:

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