Thursday, February 25, 2010

I SEE You!

YouTube & See3 Communications have launched the 4th Annual DoGooder Nonprofit Video Awards

Got a great organizational video to share?  Enter today!

Awards will be given to four nonprofits.  Prizes include $2,500 in cash from the Case Foundation and a FREE registration to the 2011 Nonprofit Technology Conference by NTEN.  Winning videos will also be showcased on the home page of YouTube.  (Can you say "views?!")

You have to be a member of the YouTube Nonprofit Program to apply.  Deadline to submit is 3/19Apply away!


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Social Media Stuck?

This photo is from Loz Flower's photo stream on Flickr.

Not sure about the where, when or whys of using social media for your nonprofit?  Want some expert advice on how to finesse your Facebook presence?  Looking for a touch up on Twitter. (OK, enough with the alliteration.) Apply today for the Zoetica Charity Challenge

Zoetica is a new change agency founded by social media maven Beth Kanter, communications pro Geoff Livingston, and Kami Huyse.  To celebrate the launch of their new company, they are giving away a FREE consulting session at SxSW, the premiere social media conference.  You have to get to Austin, TX and find a place to stay.  But if you win, the pass to SxSW and the consulting is FREE!  Here's the overview from Beth's Blog.
"We are looking for a charity that is hungry for help but short on dollars. We will provide a Gold Pass to SxSW and you will be the guest of honor at our launch party and will get, in essence, a free consulting session with Zoetica’s founders.

We are looking for three things:

1. A description of your mission in less than 150 words
2. Your goals for social media in less than 150 words
3. Why you want to win this prize in less than 150 words

We will then ask for some contact info and for the URLs of all your current social media properties (Twitter, Facebok, Blogs, etc.). We are serious about keeping each section under 150 words. Forced brevity distills thinking and allows us to see what really matters.

We will pick the winner based on who we would most like to work with given the entries. We will make our selection no later than March 2, midnight PST.
Deadline to apply is Sunday February 28, 2010, 12 midnight PST. 

Good luck!

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Devil Knows Her Audience. Do You?

This photos is by Vermin, Inc.

In case you hadn't noticed (or in case things like this don't matter to you), it's Lent.  Lent is a time of contemplation, fasting, giving up life's temptations to make room for something new, something more - a state of transcendence.

I dragged myself to church on Sunday (guilt works wonders) and was struck by the gospel account of Jesus' wanderings in the wilderness.  As you may know, it's assumed that he was tempted three times by the Devil.  First, Jesus was tempted by HUNGER and the ability to obliterate it by turning stone into bread.  Second, he was tempted by what we might call FAME - the ability to flaunt his godliness by floating down from the pinnacle of the Temple, carried on angel's wings.  Third, he was tempted by POWER and the promise of owning the World. 

What I love most about this teaching is the recognition that the devil's pretty darn smart.  She knows her audience!  She knows what distracts us, drives us crazy and leads us astray.  She knows our secrets, our desires, how we really feel.  Less interesting to me is the fact that Jesus didn't succumb.  He is God after all.

Do you know your audience in a similar way?  I'm not just talking demographics or psychographics.  Do you know what really makes them tick?  How they love their kids and hate their exes.  How they worry about crime, smog and self-esteem.

Can you use this information to tempt them to do good stuff in the world? To stand up, take heed and join in.


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Diversity, Community, Technology and You

This beautiful photo is by chrisjfry.

I’m doing a podcast (my second) today with my frolleagues Holly Ross, Executive Director, NTEN (Nonprofit Technology Network) and Allyson Kapin, Founder, Rad Campaign.  The podcast will introduce our session at this year’s NTC called Diversifying Your Tech and Online Communications Teams and is meant to be a teaser to get you there.  Shireen Mitchell of Digital Sistas and Ivan Boothe of Rootwork will join us in Atlanta.  Here’s a full description of the workshop, below.
When we create technology, we develop it for the masses to consume.  When we create online advocacy campaigns, we develop them to reach hundreds of thousands of people including women, men, people of color and a wide array of ages from Gen Yers to Baby Boomers.  But, how diverse are your tech and online communications teams? And, do your teams’ demographics impact your advocacy success?  Join Allyson Kapin of Rad Campaign and Women Who Tech, Shireen Mitchell of Digital Sistas, Jocelyn Harmon of Care2 and Marketing for Nonprofits, and Ivan Booth of Rootwork for a thought-provoking discussion on how and why you should consider diversifying your tech and online teams in order to maximize your nonprofit advocacy, marketing and fundraising goals.


1.     Why diversity in your tech teams will make your nonprofit communications,  fundraising and organizing stronger.
2.     How nonprofits can recruit diverse tech and online communications staff.
3.     Tools and strategies for nonprofits looking to broaden their appeal to a more diverse audience of supporters.
Diversity is a nerve-racking topic.  Definitions seem like a good place to start because people have different ideas about what the term means.  Does it mean including more black folks in your community, organization or network?  Is it about being “gender-blind," less homophobic?  But, wait.  I’m getting ahead of myself. 

The idea for this session was born last year when I attended the NTC in San Francisco.  Walking the halls of the Hilton, meeting old friends and new, I found myself dismayed by how homogenous the group seemed (at least based on externals).  It was mostly white tech and marketing types. While I was trying not to judge, I wondered, in particular, why there were so few people of color at this REALLY important conference about how nonprofits can use technology to change the world. (So now you see my bias.  When I think about diversity, I’m usually thinking about adding more black folks to mix.) I mentioned my observation to Lynn Labieniec, the chair of NTEN and she said, “Well, will you help us to think about this?”  So here I am a year later, ready to dive in.

Maybe you’ve had a similar reaction in relation to your own organization, conferences or neighborhood.  Maybe you haven’t.  Still, here are my questions.  Do you ever worry that your posse (online or offline) is too homogenous?  Do you worry that your organizational staff does not reflect the people it serves?  Are you concerned that a lack of heterogeneity might mean that you’re missing something?  Or on the other hand, do you feel guilty, discouraged or otherwise sick of this conversation?

As a black woman, who grew up in a white family, my story (like yours?) is pretty complicated.  I grew up knowing that I wasn’t white.  And, like many black folks, I often felt conspicuous, even excluded, in all white communities.  On the other hand, I grew up with a lot of economic privilege and that sometimes separated me from the black folks in town.  It was hard to straddle two worlds.

Lest you think that this post and my interest in this topic is just a way of working out my own issues (in part it is), let me try to tie it back to nonprofit marketing, organizing and fundraising.

At the most basic level, all nonprofits are trying to change something in the world.  Whether it's empowering more women to take on leadership roles, electing new candidates or saving endangered species, we're all bringing various stakeholders together to make a switch.  It goes without saying that how we go about organizing, communicating and fundraising and whom we engage in our work can have a dramatic impact on our outcomes.  There are many variables, which hinder or accelerate success; but part of our performance (or lack thereof) hinges on who we attract and engage in our work.  In addition, in my mind, part of our performance is also driven by how open or closed we are as communities.  

Let's face it, we all wear blinders.  We all have a place we don’t go and a person we don’t “get” and that obscures our reality.  Thus, as world-changers, community organizers and leaders, we have to ask important questions and push ourselves to be more curious and self-reflective.  For example, if our organizing efforts are stalled, instead of focusing solely on tactics and technologies, we might spend some time talking about who is missing from our conversations. Who aren’t we connected to?  Why aren’t there any people of color on our staff or board?  On the other hand, if a new fundraising or advocacy campaign really takes off, we can reflect on what we're doing different.  Are we reaching new audiences?  Using new messages?  Why is this campaign resonating and for whom?

In The She Spot: Why Women are the Market for Changing the World and How to Reach Them, Lisa Witter and Lisa Chen report that many political campaigns have ignored women donors because they are slower "buyers" than men and tend to give fewer dollars.  However, this oversight comes at great expense.  Because while women may take longer to cultivate than their male counterparts, once engaged they are some of the most loyal and generous donors around!

The good news is that diversity in both organizing and staffing is now easier to accomplish due to the gift of technology.  It's clear that (at least conceptually), the Internet affords us a great OPPORTUNITY to connect with people with rich and varied experiences across space and time. In other words, we're no longer confined to socializing in our own backyards.  But technology's democratizing promise relies entirely on us.  It’s still the humans behind the browsers who have to seek, connect and engage across well-worn boundaries. 

This isn’t easy to do and I’m not suggesting that I have all the answers but I'm glad we're having the conversation. I hope you’ll join us and share your thoughts, suggestions and concerns.

  • What does diversity mean to you?   
  • What segments of the population are missing from your organization, coalition and conversations?  How does this affect your ability to advocate, fundraise and generally advance your cause? 
  • Would reaching different folks and incorporating more diversity into your staff or community change the composition of your work, and how? 
  • What are the pitfalls of bringing new people with different experiences and identities into the fold? 
  • What are the pitfalls of staying the same?
Warmest regards,

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Stand Up for Children

I was particularly moved by this video by International Rescue Committee (IRC).  If you have a minute, check it out.

Standing up for the rights of children seems so basic.  Thus, I was shocked to learn that we in the United States have not joined the world community in signing the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Won't you join me in signing this petition and urging President Obama to submit the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child to the US Senate for its' advice and consent without delay?


What Do You Want to Switch?

Thinking about making some big changes in your organization, professional life or community this year?  You should read Switch : How to Create Change When Change is Hard by Chip and Dan Heath, co-authors of the best-selling Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die.

Check out my post about Switch over at Frogloop, Care2's online marketing blog for nonprofits.  And, if you're interested in receiving a copy of the book for FREE, leave a comment.  We're giving away 5 books to folks who need it most.


Monday, February 1, 2010

Pepsi Refresh Project - Vote Today!

Voting begins today for the first round of awards for the Pepsi Refresh Project. 

Haven't heard of the Pepsi Refresh Project yet?  It's an ambitious effort by Pepsi to give away millions of dollars in grants to individuals, nonprofits and corporations with great ideas.  The first round of grants in the amounts of $5,000, $25,000, $50,000 and $250,000 will be awarded March 1. Anyone can vote on any project and voting starts today - February 1.

According to The Times,
"The project is meant to tap into a booming trend for what is called cause-related marketing or pro-social marketing, by which corporations seek to back up their talk about benefiting society."
It will be interesting to see if Refresh actually sells more Pepsi.  It will also be interesting to see which projects win.  To get an idea of the ideas that have already been submitted, check out the leader board.  Interested in learning more about this exciting initiative and/or submitting your own great idea?  Read the free toolkit.

Good luck!