#OurWork: NYU Faculty Against the Sexton Plan Marketing Campaign

Social Marketing and Media Relations Campaign

Working under the aegis of the Nonprofit Marketing 360 collaborative, MKCREATIVE and LCG Communications embarked on an ambitious campaign to promote an online silent auction for a client. We used a combination of PR (LCG Communications) and social marketing (MKC). Our client, NYU Faculty Against the Sexton Plan, sought to raise funds to continue its fight in preventing New York University from embarking on a multi-billion dollar plan to redevelop parts of Greenwich Village in New York City.

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A New Year – and a New Era in NYC?

Happy New Year to all.  As ever, we hope it will be a good one.

We started out the year here by getting the court’s answer to the question, “if it looks like a park, acts like a park and is used like a park, is it really a park?”  The answer was a resounding yes, and with that, on January 7th, the court struck down as illegal the giveaway of parcels of parkland in Greenwich Village to NYU as part of the university’s plan to implement the ludicrous, overblown, unneeded and unwanted 2031 expansion plan.

The struggle against NYU’s plan has been ongoing, and the lawsuit, filed last year by our client, NYU Faculty Against the Sexton Plan and other individuals and groups, hoped to stop it from squashing what’s left of the Village.

NYU’s attempt to push through their own super-sized expansion plan during the Bloomberg years, was indicative of a larger problem, one that has effected neighborhoods in all boroughs.  During Bloomberg’s time in office, developers had, more or less, free reign in NYC, and there was not one development plan that the administration didn’t wholeheartedly back. And there appeared nothing that the administration wouldn’t do to make sure big developments happened, no matter what the community or anyone else had to say.

This latest attempt to take away parkland from the people of NYC – a violation of the Public Trust Doctrine – isn’t the first.  In 2011, the City, along with the State and Federal government, tried to take away park space in Brooklyn – the Tobacco Warehouse in Brooklyn Bridge Park – and give it to an arts organization for private development.  In that case, the court ruled in a similar way; the Warehouse had actually been included on the park’s map, but the government entities declared that it was a mistake.  Fortunately, that paper thin excuse didn’t get by the court.  In the end, the Tobacco Warehouse was given over to private development, but, as required by the law, the park had to go through what’s called an “alienation” process.  A new, equivalent parcel of land had to be found and given to the park to make up for giving the Tobacco Warehouse to a private arts organization and, at the end of the day, approval to remove the Warehouse has to be approved by the state legislature. Although many people are still unhappy that the Tobacco Warehouse will no longer be part of the public park, at least, because of the lawsuit, the park will now be given an equivalent amount of land nearby.

These are just two cases that we know of (because we had/have clients in both suits), and there may be even more.

It’s a sad day when the dwindling resources of the public at large are no longer protected and can be snatched away at any time.  The corporatization of everything continues, and, in these cases and so many others, is aided and abetted by those in public office.

However, the firm decision of the court in both instances has been extremely hopeful.  While we still don’t know what will happen with the NYU expansion plan, at least three strips of parkland there have been saved from the bulldozers.

We hope the court’s decisions will set a new standard for the protection of public space in our City.

 

#SOCIALMEDIA: Facebook Quietly Rolls Out ‘Gifts’ & Nonprofits Can Get Them Too

Message of a Facebook Gift
Didn’t Facebook develop Android integration?

Over this past spring Facebook has been expanding its Gifts service as a way to offer presents to family and friends. The service can be activated by clicking on the bowed gift box that appears on your organization’s News Feed or on the page of the person or nonprofit you want to give the gift to. Though the service is being touted as a way to connect to individuals and help them celebrate birthdays, milestones, promotions, etc., Facebook Gifts also offers opportunities to make donations to a small but growing number of nonprofits. How far will the service expand?

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#FUNDRAISING: Outreach Tactics & Technologies Need To Adjust To Demographics

Mail still best way to get donationsWith the texts and tweets and the touchscreens and with those crazy(-cool) Google goggles and whatnot, a nonprofit would be daft to send those old-fashioned appeals by mail. The cost of printing and stamps, the hassle of upkeep of a database of address, the imposition of making potential donors find their checkbooks buried ever-farther into their desk drawers… who would bother?

But an extensive whitepaper from the folks at Convio makes it quite clear that not only is the traditional through-the-snail-mail appeal still a great way to solicit support for your charity, it is the hands-down winner over all media outreach. As the chart to the left reveals, outreach by mail achieves incredibly high response rates. That said − and unsurprisingly − the impact of mailers fades as one moves down the age groups, as Generations X and (especially) Y choose to respond to other media as well. What media will carry the donation message into the future?

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#FUNDRAISING: Outreach Tactics & Technologies Need To Adjust To Demographics

Mail brings almost 1/2 of all donations - for now
Mail brings almost 1/2 of all donations – for now

With the texts and tweets and the touchscreens and with those crazy(-cool) Google goggles and whatnot, a nonprofit would be daft to send those old-fashioned appeals by mail. The cost of printing and stamps, the hassle of upkeep of a database of address, the imposition of making potential donors find their checkbooks buried ever-farther into their desk drawers… who would bother?

But an extensive whitepaper from the folks at Convio makes it quite clear that not only is the traditional through-the-snail-mail appeal still a great way to solicit support for your charity, it is the hands-down winner over all media outreach. As the chart to the left reveals, outreach by mail achieves incredibly high response rates. That said − and unsurprisingly − the impact of mailers fades as one moves down the age groups, as Generations X and (especially) Y choose to respond to other media as well. What media will carry the donation message into the future?

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#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: Crowdfunding Response To Boston Bombing Raises Hope & Caution

Crowdfunders HandsOne of the wonderful qualities of Americans is the way we respond with our time and our money when a terrible shock or natural disaster hits our fellow countrypeople. The bombings in Boston on the 15th were certainly ‘terrible shocks’ and as homemade and smartphone videos make clear, volunteers and fellow marathon watchers ran in to help before the smoke cleared. And since then Americans all over the country have been raising money online and via a sprouting group of crowdfunding sites. But along with over $2 million being raised to help survivors recover, warnings are also being raised about cases of fraud. How do legitimate crowdfunding organizations separate themselves from the occasional fraudsters?

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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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#DEVELOPMENT: How Much Cash Is Required To Land A Donation?

Woman charts customer relationships
What does it cost?

How often do nonprofits reach out to donors potential and actual online, yet have no real sense of how successful the outreach was? Did the time and money spent developing a program or launching a campaign prove to be worth the support? Dan Norris, founder of the online-analytics service Informly offers a tool to help you make that call. He also recently posted his somewhat-scientific results on using his ‘Cost Per Acquisition‘ (CPA) calculator to see what kinds of costs he was incurring to get people engaged with his for-profit business. Let’s see how the costs to acquire customers or donors can prove strikingly steep.

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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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#PHILANTHROPY: Zuckerberg’s Millions Suggest New Style Of Giving By Young

 

Mark Zuckerberg gives $500 million
Mark gives big again

Mark Zuckerberg always makes headlines, and few were as stunning as the ones he made in the fall of 2010 when he donated $100 million to the Newark, NJ school system − a system with which he has no personal connections whatsoever. His generosity was intended to help right the ship of one of the statistically worst school districts in the nation. But the shock of such a huge gift was met with as much skepticism as thanks, and within a year parents groups and the ACLU sued the city of Newark to open up its correspondence with the founder of Facebook so they could trace what launched the donation and what the city had been doing with the money.

Mayor Cory Booker and state officials continue to state that no email trail exists (a dangerous defense to mount in this day-and-age if untrue), and the money is being plowed back into the schools. Zuckerberg, though, has felt no qualms about giving other big gifts. Last fall he gave a stunning $500 million to the Silicon Valley Foundation. Two such gifts suggests a pattern, but what kind?

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#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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#SOCIALMEDIA: It’s OK To Say ‘No’ To Your Social Networks

Fatigue of keeping up with social networks
You know you want to…

We are often extolling the virtues of particular social-networking platforms or encouraging specific strategies to reach out to your audience(s) across these platforms. When moving through the ‘tubes’ of our social networks, it is easy to think that each post we prepare is the most important one ever and that if we don’t get to each post on our nonprofit’s wall we’ll be upsetting a potential volunteer or donor.

The fact is, you won’t upset anyone: followers of social networks can feel just as overwhelmed as the producers of content on social media. What can you do to unwind, and what might happen when you do?

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#SOCIALNETWORKS: Pew Research Keeps Us Up With Changing Faces of Internet

Hispanics use social media more than any other ethnic communityThe latest surveys carried out by the Pew Internet and American Life Project are tracking both the most popular online social-networking platforms and the kinds of people who are using them. We enjoy sharing such findings with our readers because the information the folks at the Pew Internet group can help nonprofits refine their online efforts for the many constituencies that these nonprofits want to reach. The latest study, The Demographics of Social Media Users — 2012, points to a few new developments we’d like to highlight this week.

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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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#SOCIALNETWORK: Are You Prepped For Rollout Of Facebook Graph Search?

Mark Zuckerberg introduces latest features
Building the Facebook network

Facebook’s latest tool, Graph Search, was announced a couple of weeks ago and it is being rolled out through the Facebook0sphere through February. Though many wondered if Facebook were challenging Google, the fact is Facebook is trying to rejigger how you can access information within Facebook, not how you wend your way through the tubes of the internet.

Facebook’s own introduction emphasizes the concept that the billions of connected bits of information within people’s Facebook accounts can now be viewed along a graph of variables that the user asks for:

The main way we make the world more open and connected is by giving people the tools to map out their relationships with the people and things they care about. We call this map the graph …  There are already more than a billion people, more than 240 billion photos and more than a trillion connections. Today we’re announcing a new way to navigate these connections and make them more useful. We’re calling it Graph Search.

What does the Graph Search mean to the average user or nonprofit on Facebook?

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#FUNDRAISING: Register for Maryland Governor’s Grants Conference

Plenary Speaker of Governor's Grants ConferenceAs the calendar year unfolds and the fiscal year 2013-2014 appears over the horizon, so too does registration begin for the Maryland Governor’s Grants Conference. This year’s conference will be held at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County campus on Thursday, February 21st. The one-day conference − sponsored by such organizations as the National Grant Management Association, the Grant Professionals Association, and Deloitte − offers plenary talks by leaders in the grant-providing and grant-winning fields, as well as breakout sessions allowing networking and specific assistance for your organization’s needs.

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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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#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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#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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#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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