I'm here at the NTC Conference, it hasn't started yet. I interviewed Joe Baker. He told me of a new evaluation project that N-TEN and Npower will be working on. The video clip is here: Download joe.wmv
At the NTC in Boston there were vendors in the hall way, including Macromedia. Since I had been playing with screencast software, Captivate, from Macromedia, I stopped by to put my card in the raffle for a copy of Studio and listened to the pitch.
They are selling Breeze, "a rich web communication system that lets you reach your audience anytime with engaging multimedia content." A high-end program. They had a special handout geared for large nonprofits and this case study about how the United Way has used it.
(Note: My collection of vlog and blog posts on the NTC Boston 2005 can be found here)
The theme of NTC Boston2005 was "Enabling Technology Funding: Issues for Grantmakers and Grantseekers." The keynote was presented by George McCully, President, Catalogue for Philthanthropy.
This gentleman looks like a Harvard professor, with his red bow-tie and eminent presence. His sense of humor was very subtle. Some of his quips made me do a double-take because you wouldn't expect such subversive things to be uttered from someone who looked so distinguished. For example, "I’m a trustee of a small family foundation, not by family, thank god.” "Anyone who donates to Harvard is an alumni or social climber."
Unfortunately, I was sitting in the back of a large room with a poor sound system and accoustics. It prevented me from hearing every word clearly or podcasting. But you can hear him in this 1/2005 interview on NPR about the generosity index which was also covered. He was also backlight, so no photo or video ...
He gave a history of his work with the Catalogue for Philthanthropy -- which is much better described on their web site than in my notes. He presented the new/old paradigm for philanthropyfor individual donors.
He spoke about how the demographics of wealth has changed and fundraisers need to pay increasing attention to individual donors. In the last five years, 1,000 private foundations have been created in MA. The new foundations are the ones to go after. Most aren’t staffed. They view philanthropy as is an extension of their investment stock. They don’t have any moral obligation at all to donate, thank you very much. They worked hard for their money and they want to decide who to give to.
He talked about how the word “Philanthropy” was misunderstood or had negative meaning to these new younger donors. “What is it, an intestinal disorder?”
He then asked everyone if anyone knew when the word appeared. (No raised hands.) His classics background was clear as he gave us a brief history:
“Prometheus – through his mankind loving character - and it isn’t clear if he loves humanity or actual people – gave people the gift of fire, symbolizing all the arts that mortals have. When I say arts, I mean it very broadly – science, craft, not just performing arts. He gave us optimism. Unless you are optimistic, what’s the point of giving? Prometheus means foresight. He gave to humans this point of view and the tools to make us civilized. Philanthropy was considered an extension of this. -- working to improve the human condition because you believe in humanity. However, no good deed goes unpunished. As we know, Prometheus was chained to a mountain. So be careful what good deeds you do. Eventually he reconciled with Zeus. So philanthropy is an education about human development."
He shared a visual diagram of his taxonomy of MA nonprofits that did with analyzing Form 990 information and google. He described the nonprofit sector in MA at four levels:
Level 1: Mega Charities (Harvard) Level 2: Charities of general philanthropic interest (2578 in MA -- the Catalogue is focusing on these) Level 3: Local philanthropic (e.g. Dover Historical Society) Level 4: Of interest to members only (Church, Schools, Etc.)
He spoke future plans to be able to map that information strategically to help make giving decisions.
Deborah Finn is famous in Boston nonprofit technology circles for knowing almost everyone and being able to introduce people who stand or sit near her. So, I was astonished to be able to capture this rare moment at the NTC Conference.
Brian Reich of Mindshare Interactive Campaigns gave an excellent presentation on Internet/Online Strategies. The video clip of Brian repeating our mantra, "Think about the tools last!"
Here’s some of the key points from his presentations:
• Identify you goals (specific, not outlandish) • Develop your strategy
• Pick your tools (CRM/database, individual giving pages (race for the cure), online auctions, mobile)
Online auction anecdote: He shared a story about an organization that had received a donation of toilet paper for an event 12 months before the event. The organization didn’t have any place to store it! (It was a lot of toilet paper). This type of stuff can be auctioned online. Unfortunately, the organization didn’t sell the toilet paper online because they were afraid they wouldn’t have toilet paper for the event.
Mobile tools are the future of how people will get information. Mobile phones stay on. How does/that leverage into fundraising? Right now, not much going in US. So, as a first step, organizations should be at least collecting mobile phone numbers in their databases.
He mentioned that “short code fundraising” – that someone could punch in a number on their cell phone and make a donation to a charity. Some money for Katrina came in this way. Unicef in Greece raised $6 million euros for tsunami. People were calling cell phone 5 or 6 times to make a donation. The campaign was about 1 month.
Also mentioned that selling ring tones is a way to raise money. People that buy ringtones are heavy users.
Bono/Live Aid Concert – concert in London, Flagship concert – did a lottery via mobile phones. Text your support and you get entered. Emailed your code and you showed your phone to get in. At U2 concerts, text message and spool it on the screen.
Provided some stats on Internet ads, “even though we find them annoying, they can make money.” Target ads aligned with news cycle are viewed more favorably and if ad is placed next to relevant news article more likely to click.
Defined CRM as a tool and a piece of technology that allows you to collect and manage people in your universe.
Way of life. CRM is about personalizing content and communication to your audience. You can talk to cat people about cat people. If you’re a dog owner and someone talks about cats, you tune out.
Most orgs don’t segment. People tune out if they don’t see something personally relevant to them.
It takes work and time. You can’t just put a “donate button” on your site and expect to raise money.
CRMs can help with organizational efficiency – multiple people in the organization can communicate with audience in different ways. Smart organizations balance good content and communication with what the organization is doing with fundraising request.
Vendors: Recommendations on which one depend on organization’s needs
Get Active (best for advocacy, easiest to use email tool)
Kintera (big program and lots of features are not necessarily used)
Other tools like, “Constant contact” can be good for smaller email lists.
For transactions, there are “just giving” and “authorize.net”
What doesn’t work
Going into it without a strategy – isn’t sustainable!
Doesn’t work to ask for money every time you communicate
Doesn’t work to raise money when you don’t have content
Lack of specifics about the ask about what you want people to (give a specific amount of money)
Content is king
Think about technology last
Hire a lawyer as part of your strategy – don’t break the laws – there is information you need to collect, security/regulations, if you’re raising money out-of-state, international fundraising has even more regulations.
Documentation on your site to demonstrate the rules
Processing and recording of gifts, be careful of regulations.
Established vendors have experience with other clients and lawyers on the regulations and rules and can help.
Can’t Spam regulations – turn to a lawyer?
Can’t Spam requires you to have a physical mailing address, opt out of every mail and be responsive, registered domain and bunch of other things, only allowed to email to people who have opted into your list.
Ways to get around it
Not of the methods are easy or cost-effective
Can contact them – we’d love to had you stay on the mailing list, click here to get on the list and then if they don’t get rid of them.
Still in a grace period for Can’t Spam. If you’ve been existing in a homegrown database, you need get people to opt in. Expect that you will loose some people during the transition 50-60% will drop off.
Constant contact is cheap and good for organizations with under 10,000 names. Does the can’t spam work. Over 10K, need to invest in a system with robust features that allow you to track.
Deliverability – 80% of communications is done via email. Most value thing you can have is a person’s email and permission to use. You must have that email get delivered.
Server level: Did it bounce back? Did it get passed into a spam folder.
Find tools that help you get into people’s inboxes.
Constant contact is great for that.
35% of email goes into spam filter, most people don’t check spam filters.
He knows this because he has different email addresses: yahoo, gmail, hotmail, aol and watches the spam folder.
How to get past spam filter:
Qualified ISP – good email vendor
Choose a tool with deliverability rates – anything less than 97% - the tool isn’t using its job.
Abandonment statistics – constant contact