#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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#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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#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.

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#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?

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#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.

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#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.’

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#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.

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#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?

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#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?

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#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?

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#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.

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#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.

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#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?

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#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.

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#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.

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#Tech: Apple’s Reputation Gets Pulped – Deservedly So?

A tweet that missed the expose against Foxconn and Apple

Tweets often move faster than facts. True, the Apple web store was down for a bit yesterday, but when it came back up, no new iPad or iPhone 5. Indeed, the only notable difference I could see was the prominence of Apple’s report on ‘Supplier Responsibility‘ for 2012.

Which proved to be a ‘fortuitous’ move, given the fact that yesterday The New York Times published a scathing and in-depth report about workers’ conditions at technology-suppliers Foxconn in China. A significant portion of Foxconn’s factory in Chengdu exploded in May 2011, killing four workers. Which slowed output of iPad 2s, which caught peoples’ attention. Which inspired investigations into what was going on at Foxconn. Which are now coming to light and showing the terribly rough conditions at the factory/city. For which Apple is taking most of the heat. Is that fair?

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#Tech: Don’t Confuse Innovation For Implementation This Year

Woman using a hearing horn from the 1940s
Sure, often new technology IS better...

Who doesn’t like to toss out some predictions about the upcoming game/meeting/primary/year? The thing is: predictions about nonprofits and technology tend to push the envelope of the latter while ignoring the needs and practices of the former. Sure, the iPhone 5 might include Near Field Communication (NFC) technology allowing its owners to round up purchases to the nearest dollar as micro-donations to their favorite charities. Perhaps indeed cloud-computing services will bring nonprofits’ databases to their staff’s tablets in the field.

But some of the most important work for a nonprofit takes place off the grid and away from the latest thinnest laptop. Which is worth remembering, even as your nonprofit absolutely should be keeping an eye out for the tech innovations that can indeed help your colleagues and community.

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#HowTo: Getting Back To Your Desktop From An iOS Device

LogMeIn Ignition opening a Word document on a laptop
Write your next proposal on your iPhone!

It’s inevitable: You’re out of the office, armed with an iPhone or with your iPad, and prepping for a big presentation to a potential donor. You need to get to a file or access something on your computer, which – alas – is sitting on your desk back at the office. Now you’ve either got to go back to the office, or to call and hassle a colleague to sift through your machine to find what you need. This scenario probably also involves giving someone else your computer’s password, which you shouldn’t do.

Enter a number of options to allow you to connect back to your computer from iOS, saving you time and the embarrassment of calling HQ for help with your own files. I’ll explore two popular ones that I’ve frequently used. The first is one most have at least heard about, thanks to their email advertising campaigns: LogMeIn.

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#Tech: What Will 2012 Look Like For Social Media?

Happy New Year from MKCREATIVEmediaWelcome to a New Year! As we gear back up we wanted to introduce what other trend watchers are saying about the universe of social media for 2012 – some of which might surprise you.

Two likely developments over the upcoming year according to Lance Ulanoff at Mashable are the implementations of Augmented Reality (also ‘Mobile Augmented Reality’) and the development of the ‘Micro-Payment Economy.’ The former means we will look via our mobile devices (or perhaps glasses) to see not only the objects out there but also any digital information about them. Look at your favorite bistro, for example, and reviews will come up before your eyes as well.

The latter has been developing through much of 2011 as news journals have begun establishing pay walls for content and games are giving themselves away, though the more interesting features must be paid for along the way. Of course, nonprofits have been developing a micro-donation economy for some time already, so hopefully that trend will only expand.

An early augmented-reality interfaceBut Lance also believes Facebook is about maxed out in the Anglo-speaking world, and reactions against the ubiquitous cell phone are growing. States, and even the federal government, for example, are starting to implement no-phone policies for moving vehicles. But if augmented reality becomes part of the windshield, then both sets of issues get solved.

Christina Thomas at Technocrati argues, along with many others, that tablets will grow more powerful and grab still larger shares of the computing market. If that’s the case, we will likely see different form factors over the next couple of years as well – though it’s unlikely screens will notably improve in size or strength just yet.

Of course, part of the fun of the new year is to make such predictions in the hope no one hunts your guesses down twelve months later. But we predict that we’ll do our best to keep up with these and other trends – and keep you well informed of them over the coming year.


#HowTo: Be Productive Anywhere on Apple’s Mobile iOS

Scott Caldarelli of Caldarelli Consulting, LLCWith the advent of the iPhone and iPad, it’s easier than ever to get things done when out meeting potential donors or organizing fundraisers.  Depending on what you need to do, an iPhone or iPad can keep you productive on the commute to and from work or on an airplane etc.  That said, we are not condoning working on your iPhone or iPad while driving!

Many organizations use Microsoft’s Office suite for word processing, spreadsheets and presentations.  Though it’s rumored they’re working on a version for iPad and iPhone, Microsoft has been notably absent from the AppStore, the marketplace where all applications for Apple’s mobile operating system (iOS) can be purchased. Not to worry: here are some ways to get started creating and sharing immediately with your mobile device. [Read more…]

#Tech: Hidden Features Of iPhone Show A Caring Side Of Apple

The AssistiveTouch homescreen on an iPhoneApple‘s lack of interest in supporting charitable organizations either with money or with allowing apps on its mobile platforms has gotten the corporation some bad press. And Steve Jobs continues to inspire some rancor for his leadership style, even after his death from cancer. Yet, defenders of Steve Jobs and/or Apple are quick to point out that Apple’s products have revolutionized the ways nonprofits work, and that influence is surely the more important in the long run.

Last month, Steve Pogue of The New York Times uncovered further evidence that Apple might not be one of the philanthropic giants (or even minnows), but its directors and engineers do indeed have hearts.

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#Tech: Hidden Features Of iPhone Show A Caring Side Of Apple

The AssistiveTouch homescreen on an iPhoneApple‘s lack of interest in supporting charitable organizations either with money or with allowing apps on its mobile platforms has gotten the corporation some bad press. And Steve Jobs continues to inspire some rancor for his leadership style, even after his death from cancer. Yet, defenders of Steve Jobs and/or Apple are quick to point out that Apple’s products have revolutionized the ways nonprofits work, and that influence is surely the more important in the long run.

Last month, Steve Pogue of The New York Times uncovered further evidence that Apple might not be one of the philanthropic giants (or even minnows), but its directors and engineers do indeed have hearts.

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#Tech: Near-Field Communication Now Allows Two-Way Exchanges Of Information

NFC Forum LogoThe NFC Forum announced last week a technology protocol that allows NFC to be able to work in two directions synchronously. The press release touted the flexibility of two-way communication and the standards established at the outset to ensure universal access:

The extension of the NFC Data Exchange Format (NDEF) to peer-to-peer use in SNEP is a significant advance. Previously, NDEF was applicable only to NFC tags in reader/writer mode. Now, SNEP enables the use of the openly standardized NDEF in peer-to-peer mode, making seamless interchange of data a reality. Application developers no longer need to concern themselves with how their NDEF data gets transferred between NFC-enabled devices. By providing this capability, the SNEP specification makes the difference between reader-writer and peer-to-peer operation modes disappear – a major step towards global interoperability of NFC applications.

What does all that mean for the technology and for the ways nonprofits can utilize the technology?

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#Fundraising: How To Apply For A Grant From Apple (Sort Of)

Steve Jobs Looks Confrontational At WWDC

This story is the first in a periodic series of research projects to give you the quickest onramp to begin developing programs and relationships with some major foundations.

We begin with the most valuable company in the world, whose recently deceased CEO inspired and infuriated many millions.

The passing of Steve Jobs last week has inspired all kinds of love, various remembrances, a couple of movie options, and a few thorny reminders that neither he nor the company he founded – then saved – have been engaged in philanthropic causes in any public way. Some have jumped to the defense of his seeming lack of philanthropic interests, and even the Chronicle of Philanthropy granted that though neither Jobs personally nor Apple gave to nonprofits, their innovations and products have reconfigured, almost entirely to the better, ways that nonprofits function.

It is impossible to assess Mr. Jobs’s philanthropic legacy without discussing how Apple’s technology has changed the way nonprofits operate. Devices like the iPhone and iPad have helped many organizations communicate efficiently. They have allowed groups to improve the way they respond to disasters, communicate with supporters, and carry out day-to-day work.

Despite that charitable account of Apple’s influence in the philanthropic world, Apple’s new CEO, Tim Cook, was quick to suggest a slight altering of company’s position on giving. Is Apple going to think different about the issue of corporate philanthropy?

Tim Cook’s initiative seems small and largely to be driven largely by internal company dynamics, as his announcement was originally made within Apple’s corporate system: Apple will match donations made by its employees up to $10,ooo a year. But could it be the beta of a more expansive and public engagement with the nonprofit world? At this stage, admittedly, the one thing to be done to encourage philanthropy from Apple is to encourage philanthropy from its employees on your donors’ list.

Apple’s history entwined with Microsoft – and Steve’s braided with Bill Gates‘s – is ‘complicated,’ with slights and high praise going back and forth. In our next installment in this series, we shall look at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and how your organization could benefit from its many major grants.

Are you reaching out to Tim Cook’s Apple Inc. or any of his employees? Please let us know what you have heard and how those employees are treating the matching-gift policy! Moreover, as our series unfolds, please share your experience with the organizations you contact and/or let us know of some resources we have missed. Thanks!


#Aging: iPad’s Technology Can Draw Out Memories And Skills For Elderly

One stereotype of the elderly and long retired is that they fear new technology. Yet many of the GI Generation and Silent Generation were, in fact, the ones who started the phenomenal research and development in the middle of the twentieth century that give us our hybrid cars and smart phones today. A recent report from the McClatchy-Tribune Information Services demonstrates how the caregivers of these generations are discovering how quickly and happily their clients and patients are responding to the latest mobile technology, the iPad.

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