#PRESSRELEASE: The Knowledge Fountain Launches Online Learning Website (Live Instructors) Aimed at Nonprofits

The Knowledge Fountain LogoThe latest entry in the rapidly-evolving distance learning education market is a new online education service geared exclusively to people who work for nonprofit organizations. The Knowledge Fountain, which launched October 1, 2013, is offering a spectrum of courses online covering fundraising, communications, organizational development, social media, and productivity software.

The site pitches its product as “just in time” online learning for adults. “We’re delivering very practical information to employees of nonprofits who need it to do their jobs better,” explains co-founder Marco Kathuria.

Online seminars are delivered live, in installments of 60 to 75 minutes. The courses will also be available as archived video streams for students who register but miss the live class. “This way, if a situation comes up and you can’t attend the class on schedule, you still get the information,” Kathuria says.

Both Kathuria and co-founder Don Akchin have consulting practices serving nonprofit clients – Kathuria principally in video production and community media, and Akchin in communications strategy and implementation. The Knowledge Fountain, they say, fills a largely unmet need for a centralized online learning center in the nonprofit community.

“If you’re a nonprofit that needs help reaching your audience on Facebook, for example,“ Akchin says, “you once had three choices: classes aimed at for-profit businesses, a free webinar that attracts hundreds of attendees and stays very high level, or a semester-long college course that devotes about a week to social media. We’re filling the gap with solid information, specific to your need and specific to the world of nonprofits.”

Kathuria noted that The Knowledge Fountain faculty are both experienced practitioners and proven teachers. All online course designs are built on current research and best practices in online learning. “We’re only hiring instructors who have a proven track-record of working with small groups of students, either face-to-face or online,” he said “We’re maximizing personal interaction online,” says Akchin. “Classes are small, so there’s ample opportunity to ask questions.”

Another unique feature of The Knowledge Fountain is a private social network, “The Water Cooler,” whose members are limited to participants in The Knowledge Fountain classes. “Not only can you learn from the online course,” says Kathuria, “but you can learn from peers long after the class has ended. I think people in nonprofits will see that as an important added value.” Membership in the social network is included with class registration.

For more information about The Knowledge Fountain online learning center, visit the website at www.kfountain.com or email the co-founders. The Knowledge Fountain can also be found on YouTube and on Twitter at @TheKFountain.

 

#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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#FUNDRAISING: Mobile Platforms For Donations Have Pros & Cons

iPhones ofer text donationsThat mobile communications devices like smart phones and tablets are the platform-of-choice for most people around the globe is a truism. Ever more business is being conducted over such devices as well, especially over tablets − and by ‘business’ we mean logistics, orders, and purchases, not just business calls.

Nonprofits have appreciated the impact of mobile devices for their work as well. The Red Cross’s famed text-to-donate drive after the Haitian earthquake of 2010 stands as one of the best-known early examples of such fundraising. But as the platform grows in scope and matures in form, what are some of the options out there that fit best with your nonprofit’s needs?

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#FUNDRAISING: Does Your Nonprofit Need Help Keeping Up With Its Growing Donor Base?

Open-Source CRM Package

OpenPetra’s Client Screen

Just this past week Idealware published its 2013 Field Guide to Software for nonprofits and charities. The staff at Idealware demarcate a number of areas that nonprofits and software developers have been collaborating, such as social-networking management, and gives reviews and how-tos on some of the solutions in the market. The book can be had via Amazon ($25) or directly from Idealware’s site ($20).

As you know, though, MKCREATIVEmedia has been tracking software developments for our clients for a number of years now, and we want to share some recent developments in the field of Customer Relations Management software (CRM). In particular, we have found some open-source and free platforms well worth considering to manage your donors and volunteers.

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#HOWTO: Let Your iPhone Connect You To Volunteers & Deserving Projects

Volunteer Match brings individuals & nonprofits togetherApple has not always been a forthcoming corporation when it comes to providing outreach for nonprofits and charities. Many lamented the early iterations of the iPhone for not allowing fundraising applications due to iTunes Store’s stingy policies. Indeed, nonprofits were not even allowed to develop apps if any money were expected to change hands. Though policy has not changed (and Apple still demands a $99 fee to have access to the storefront), many nonprofits are finding ways to leverage the iOS platform of the phone without running afoul with Apple’s lawyers. MacLife‘s A.J. Dellinger offers a compendium of eight such apps that use the iPhone’s OS, and we wanted to highlight a few of those apps to give you a sense of the directions developers are marking as they write software for the nonprofit sector.

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#FUNDRAISING: Causevox Improves Online Outreach & Fundraising To 2.0

Widgets to turn on or off

Easy-to-customize donation pages

We have often sung the praises of the online charity-site platform Causevox. And we do so again as the good folks at Causevox have released a significant series of upgrades and integrations in version 2.0. It moved out of beta last week, allowing any charity or nonprofit to take advantage of the expanding toolbox. This is how the programmers put it last week on the company blog:

We found out that the key to success for online fundraising this decade is easy customization, community engagement, and content marketing. Our existing platform couldn’t accommodate that vision, so we scrapped it and developed, from the ground up, a new and improved CauseVox.

CauseVox 2.0 is our first step to revolutionize online fundraising.

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#HOWTO: Tweak Your Organization’s Facebook Site For Graph Search

Facebook's Graph Search

Help your supporters find your organization on Facebook

Last week we talked about what Facebook’s latest feature, Graph Search, is (Namely, a way to combine keywords, categories, and what friends are saying about them within Facebook) and it is not (Namely, a challenger to Google’s search algorithms across the internet). This week we want to help you and your organization make the most of the new feature by prepping the content you post on Facebook.

First and foremost (and this tweak applies to any images you post on your blog or website, much less your Facebook Timeline), tag your images and identify them. Such terms will show up in people’s searches (both Graph & Google). What else?

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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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#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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#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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#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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