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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