#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?

[Read more...]

#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.

[Read more...]

#COMMUNICATIONS: NFC Means More Than Paying By Mobile Phone

Phone as travel card for the subway

Wave-&-Ride to replace Swipe-&-Ride?

Near Field Communication has been around for a few years now, though the most popular mobile device, the iPhone, does not (yet?) carry the necessary transmitters to take advantage of it. The technology requires its own dedicated chip to send and receive data. Thus far, Google’s Android phones have been taking the lead in the US economy, but one of the more pulsating rumors about the iPhone 5 is whether it will contain said chip. The web consensus seems to be ‘probably not yet’, but as people become ever more aware of what NFC can do, then Apple will surely enter the market.

[Read more...]

#TECH: Why & How To Send One Text Message To Your Nonprofit’s Constituents

Smartphones and text messaging continue to expand

Ever more people want to communicate with their mobile devices, and they want to communicate on their mobile devices with text messaging. The distinction between those under about 25 and those older is striking − with the under 25s responding to emails, and even aural phone messages, with text. But even those who actually make calls with their cell phones find text messaging a convenient way to share practical information quickly.

Nonprofits are (slowly) starting to take advantage of text messaging as a means to encourage engagement and to inspire giving. One of the first crises/campaigns to get noticed for its use of text was the the American Red Cross’s response to the earthquake in Haiti. But many charities are working up ‘text lists’ to rival their ‘email lists’. The question is, how can a smaller nonprofit easily send out messages to its constituents without contacting them individually?

[Read more...]

#TECH: Mac? Windows? Need Both On Your iPad? Use Both! (Part III)

Virtualization software runs Microsoft Office on a Mac Laptop

Is it a Mac? Is it a PC? It's Virtualization!

Over the last few Tech Fridays we have looked at virtualization software that allows you to run multiple operating systems on one desktop or laptop. We covered the concept and the software packages of Parallels and VMWare. Today we discuss the move to mobile devices and how virtualization software can run Microsoft Office apps on your shiny new iPad. If you have been carrying around your laptop for your charity’s business and your iPad for your personal time, you could leave that laptop on your next trip!

VMWare and Parallels offer mobile apps to tap into the traditional desktop/laptop packages we introduced in previous weeks. Along with those we take a look at OnLive, which is expressly designed to make MS Office apps easily accessible on your tablet. Let’s watch them in action.

[Read more...]

#SOCIALMEDIA: Rise Of Micro-Networks Might Reconfigure Social Outreach

Path is a sharable diary only for mobile devices Online social networking is all about the sharing, even sharing stuff you wished the rest of the world didn’t see. The opportunities for outreach are expanded exponentially through a social network like Twitter or a blogging site like Tumblr. For businesses, to garner thousands of ‘likes’ or ‘followers’ can be testament to your product’s popularity in the market. But those thousands can also alter your message faster and farther than your company might like. The phenomenon of Kony 2012 proves that millions might watch, but many of those millions are also challenging the message. And how many of us have texted a work colleague meant for our significant other?

A micro-networking culture is brewing that might alleviate some of these stresses through greater control and focus of who is ‘in’ and who is ‘out’ of your particular network. And developers are not thinking in ‘Circles.’

[Read more...]

#TECH: Designing A Mobile App? Design For A Mobile Device!

Text messaging to the Red Cross to raise money

Who needs an app for that?

The nonprofit world is going mobile. The move might be slower than in the corporate world, but it’s steady, and nonprofits are developing ways to get around software or contractual walls. Mobile apps encourage supporters to stay engaged with your organization and its programs, and the apps also can give volunteers and staff in the field access to necessary information from the home office and/or report developments to that office. Best of all, mobile apps could links developments on projects directly to the mobile donors who can instantly see the link between their support and the progress the charity is making.

But before you get all buzzed about the synergy, you should be aware of the challenges of developing an application for mobile devices, including the fact that there are so many kinds of mobile devices.

[Read more...]

#FUNDRAISING: 2011 Was A Good Year For Email Outreach By Nonprofits

NTEN & M+R report their sixth annual report on e-fundraisingWith all the excitement about all the social networks and all the purchases that Facebook has been making lately, it’s worth remembering that not only do more ‘traditional’ media exist but they also can be of greater value than the newest platform that has all the media and investor eyeballs. Such should be especially remembered by nonprofits who might not have the resources to establish a presence on the latest Pinterest trend.

According to the latest eNonprofit Benchmark Study by NTEN (Nonprofit Technology Network) and M+R Strategic Services, a substantial email list and a well-crafted email campaign remain the most valuable fundraising tools in your charity’s box. Just how valuable?

[Read more...]

#Tech: The Net Is Not Quite Dead, But It’s Not Your Mom’s Web Anymore

First of all, an adjustment/correction to yesterday’s story: Facebook pushed back its rollout of Timeline across all accounts until tomorrow, the 31st. Facebook did this rather quietly and did not state why, but you now have about 20 hours to get your Timeline up-and-running, as we outlined yesterday. (Thanks to Cody Damon of Damon Strategic for the heads-up!)

The Pew Internet Trust LogoToday’s tech topic is related in so far as it is about how we interact with Facebook and other online services in new ways. The traditional ‘internet via browser’ model is fading away, to be replaced by a more precise paradigm − one that moves us from our mobile devices directly to the service/platform/medium that we want. The opportunity it presents will streamline, and perhaps redefine, the internet as we knew it. How?

[Read more...]

#Advocacy: ‘This American Life’ Retracts Story Of Abuses At Foxconn

Mike Daisey's one-man show is over, but is the story?It has been a rough week for social-consciousness movements whose leaders have produced stories a bit too slick to be true. We wrote last week about the doubts surrounding the viral video ‘Kony 2012′ meant to inspire a public campaign against Joseph Kony’s child army in Uganda − if that army still exists and Kony is indeed in Uganda. Over the weekend, the producer Jason Russell was arrested for public drunkenness and self-satisfaction, casting still further doubt on the veracity of the campaign and on the nonprofit ‘Invisible Children’.

To add to the unnerving series of good stories gone bad, Mike Daisey’s story/one-man-show “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs” has been discredited for his taking numerous liberties with what he claimed were personal encounters at Apple’s suppliers Foxconn in China. His story – somewhat truncated – was broadcast on the popular ‘This American Life‘ public-radio program this past January, causing quite a stir. And it now has been retracted by producer Ira Glass and Daisey has been reconfiguring his story in light of probing questions into its authenticity.

What might be behind the rise and fall of these stories?

[Read more...]

#HOWTO: Schedule Staff & Manage Projects From Any Networked Device

Tungle scheduling works on all mobile platformsKeeping you and your colleagues on schedule can be tricky if some of your organization’s work involves being on-site and meeting with donors. Add to that the annual fundraising gala or organizing staff for a booth at a fair and scheduling can become a nightmare. Thanks to ever growing wi-fi networks and smartphones, though, keeping staff aware of scheduling need not be so scary. We’d like to share two applications over the next week that are real lifesavers when it comes to keeping things on track around our office. Today let’s tackle Tungle.

[Read more...]

#SM4NP: Automate Your Google Searches To Follow Important Issues

Google Alerts is one of many services offered for freeSearching on Google is perhaps the single experience of the internet we all share. In the fine and flexible tradition of the English language, we turned the noun into a verb: to google (someone or something). The behemoth that is Google Inc. began over a decade ago (hint: Sarah McLachlan and Elton John won big Grammys that year) as a way to search for key terms on the net. Now it owns YouTube, has built its own social network, and created a smartphone operating system to rival the iPhone.

One of its underused developments, though, is the ability to automate and monitor specific terms or events or institutions on the internet for you. In a few simple steps, you can get an alert whenever your charity is mentioned or your plan-of-action praised.

[Read more...]

#PUBLICPOLICY: Pressure Grows On Apple’s Supplier Foxconn

Protestors challenge labor practices of Apple and Foxconn

These are protestors of, not customers for, the new iPhone

The reputation of a nonprofit can make-or-break its efforts. Note the stunning blowback and reversal of the Susan G. Komen Foundation when it quietly tried to back out of its relationship with Planned Parenthood. For a business, the reputation can perhaps take more of a beating and still survive. Note BP’s expanding presence in the Gulf of Mexico despite the human and environmental costs of the corporation’s oil spill in 2010.

And then there’s Apple: perhaps the only company that can have a serious court case against its flagship product (the iPad in China), a publicity firestorm and protests over its (suppliers’) treatment of workers, and can still surpass the $500 share price. How is its PR responding to the oxymorons?

[Read more...]

#INTERVIEW: Christopher Davenport, Founder of 501 Videos, A Company That Makes Videos Exclusively For Nonprofit Clients

501 Videos' Christopher DavenportChristopher Davenport is the founder of 501 Videos, a company that makes videos exclusively for nonprofit clients. His experience includes years in Hollywood working on commercial films and, later, making documentaries. His website is home to Movie Mondays, a weekly series of short films featuring fundraising professionals in action. The interview was conducted by Don Akchin, a principal of Nonprofit Marketing 360 and a frequent contributor to the MKCREATIVE blog.

MKC: Did you always know you wanted to make movies?

CHRISTOPHER: Not always. When I was 5 I wanted to be a fireman, and then when I was 5 and a half, that’s when I knew I wanted to make movies.

[Read more...]

#HOWTO: Efficiently Monitor Your Organization’s Busy Social Networks

Social Networking can overwhelm as well as enlighten

Need help taming those updates and retweets?

So many claims on the time of a nonprofit staff, and only so many hours in the work day. We might be temped to carry our work home with us, but aren’t the lines between work and family already blurred enough? If you want efficient tools for monitoring and updating your business’s social media, we’d like to suggest a few dashboards that can cull your various accounts into one place, allow scheduling of posts, and offer ways to save and/or reply to specific messages.

Let’s start with a couple of freebies, then move to some heavy-hitting services that require payment.

[Read more...]