What's on our mind
Discipline in messaging to your audiences can make all the difference for the success of your event. Read our summary of tips and resources from this free Brown Paper Tickets workshop.
This morning I attended a free workshop offered by Brown Paper Tickets, along with about 50 attendees from nonprofits with varied missions (I recognized colleagues from Alliance for Nonprofits, Seattle Works, Explorations in Math, and Bike Works.)
Kudos to BPT for offering workshops (and for free!) to spark new thinking and spread best practices. The first thing I noticed was the postcard on the table announcing, “It all comes down to Love. We love ticketing for you.” That, plus the overall messaging from presenters that “we are one of you, you are our neighbors” had me feeling pretty warm and fuzzy towards BPT right off the bat.
To do my part to spread the word on event promotion that gets results, here’s my summary from today’s workshop. Enjoy! You can find out more about upcoming free workshops directly from BPT , and request help and advice for your event promotion at firstname.lastname@example.org
The workshop kicked off with a section by Cal on how to woo the press. Which turned out to really be about how to use our limited time and resources to best promote our events to audiences that matter, using all forms of "media". Cal observed that pure PR is time consuming and not easy. Publicists invest lots of time gathering info and making friends. If you really want to woo the media, Cal’s advice is to hire a publicists or agency, both of which are expensive. So what can we do to focus our time and resources for the biggest impact?
1) Develop a strategy
Start with a simple grid like this, and use it to guide your work. Tip: Keep your grid simple and clear, focused on your event and not overall communications.
It’s important and you’re important to us: Good investment, thank you, catalyst for our work, fun and engaging
Invitations, talk in person, smaller event leading up, specific/unique interactions (email, website)
Cultivate (coffee. Lunch, calls)
In person. Staff meetings, plus offsite or lunch?
NPR or Classic KING
Invest most of your time here because payoff is higher
SecondaryFriends of the org (smaller donors, volunteers, community partners, vendors, in-kind or smaller sponsors)
|We need you. You are important to this event||Email, phone, newsletter, Facebook, twitter followers, other social media||
Blogs in our content area
The people who don’t know about us and are likely to come (NOT “everyone else”)
|Come to the event||Community partners||
People who need news (corporate or union or schol newsletters)
BLOGS - with newspapers dying, this is where it's at in media
2) Build a Social Network
Like wooing the press, social media is a time investment, but you can do it alongside your other work.
What kinds of social media posts get the best response? Ask a question, foster conversations.
Sarah from the BPT event promotion team recommends keeping a focus on 1st and 2nd tier audiences from the grid above. From there you will also reach the 3rd tier.
- Think about how “your” people use social media and tailor your strategy to their interests.
- Facilitate discussions on your social media platform about topics “off platform” on other sites. For example, bring in concrete statements reflecting current events and tie to news sites.
- Relationship building is key. Make it a goal for your organization to become an integral part of your audiences’ online ID.
Building a loyal online audience makes event promotion easier. Promotion becomes part of the conversation and not just a one-off request.
- Use social tools for what their best at: Facebook is like a 24-hour cocktail party conversation. Engage in the conversations ongoing and organically, then the event flows naturally. Play around a little at first to build community and engage. Then do a mix of engagement and calls to action. Twitter is a different animal - more about broad reach than a cozy chat with friends.
Bold statements get a lot of response. Just make sure it's on message, in context and at the right time. It's not a good idea to provoke just to get attention.
3) Try some "guerilla marketing" tactics
Jimmy from BPT advises mixing in some guerilla tactics to reach 3rd tier audiences who haven't heard of you. For example, handing out fliers at events or at locations frequented by the type of person who responds to your mission is a great way to make a personal connection. Posting poll fliers with a good eye-grabbing design can be effective too. Some tips for fliers:
- Don't skimp on design. Hire a pro, or get some probono help. Artwork can transform your message and will encourage people to hang on to your fliers.
- Create a design that prints in black and white to save on printing costs.
That's what I've got from today's workshop. Thanks again to Brown Paper Tickets, our friends and neighbors.
- Peg Giffels
Having an office in Seattle's Central District means that we're in close proximity to a lot of interesting international food options. We end up dining at the nearby Cheeky Cafe pretty often, and it seems like not a week goes by without someone picking up Bahn Mi from Saigon Deli. Today was a Saigon Deli day, and V, our Senior Database Consultant, decided to pick up a random food item for the staff to test out. That random food item turn out to be Nem Chua. Read more about our taste test...
Having an office in Seattle's Central District means that we're in close proximity to a lot of interesting international food options. We end up dining at the nearby Cheeky Cafe pretty often, and it seems like not a week goes by without someone picking up Bahn Mi from Saigon Deli.
Today was a Saigon Deli day, and V, our Senior Database Consultant, decided to pick up a random food item for the staff to test out. That random food item turn out to be Nem Chua. Thanks to the internet, we now know that Nem Chua is a Vietnamese fermented pork roll. All that was known at the point of purchase was what they had listed as ingredients on the package: pork, garlic, pepper, and "sour":
Most members of the web and database teams were willing to give 'em a try. Even our new intern, Andrea agreed to partake in the taste-test despite saying that they "look like brain."After heating the rolls in our toaster oven (which we later learned was a mistake as they are supposed to be eaten raw), we went for it. Web Consultant Patrick responded respectfully, calling the rolls "flavorful, peppery, sour and spicy." Andrea ate a whole piece minus the pepper. I took one bite and opted to stop there. V's reaction pretty much summed it up - "whoa!"
Nem Chua - you be the judge.
- Mandi Moshay
This Saturday the Happy Go Techy Expo took over Mary Gates Hall on the UW campus. Designers, artists, and crafters alike came together to share their love of tech and showcase their wares. Read more...
This Saturday the Happy Go Techy Expo took over Mary Gates Hall on the UW campus. Designers, artists, and crafters alike came together to share their love of tech and showcase their wares. The gifts and accessories ranged from practical to wacky and everywhere in between. It was a fun event and NPower was happy to be a part of it. We're especially grateful that the Happy Go Techy team will be donating the proceeds from admissions to NPower, helping us further adoption of technology in the nonprofit sector.
- Mandi Moshay
The Seattle Foundation's GiveBIG Challenge ended last night at midnight and by this morning you couldn't throw a rock in the Twitterverse without hitting a tweet about the results. Not to mention every Facebook status, blog post, and article celebrating the news: over $3.5 million was raised in 17 hours for approximately 900 local nonprofits. Including the match dollars, that's over $4 million contributed to charitable organizations in ONE DAY! Read more...
The Seattle Foundation's GiveBIG Challenge ended last night at midnight and by this morning you couldn't throw a rock in the Twitterverse without hitting a tweet about the results. Not to mention every Facebook status, blog post, and article celebrating the news: over $3.5 million was raised in 17 hours for approximately 900 local nonprofits. Including the match dollars, that's over $4 million contributed to charitable organizations in ONE DAY!
From The Seattle Foundation's website:
The Seattle Foundation’s GiveBIG challenge: By the Numbers
Note: Final tallies will be available on Tuesday, June 28
Total donations made: More than $3.5 million
Total amount raised (donations + stretch pool): More than $4 million
Number of donations made: More than 18,800
Number of nonprofits receiving donations: Approximately 900
Average gift size: $189.99
Most donations received by a single organization: The Seattle Public Library Foundation
Top 5 nonprofits receiving donations:
Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest
The Seattle Public Library Foundation
Tennis Outreach Programs
The 5th Avenue Theatre Association
We here at NPower were thrilled to hear that The Seattle Foundation credits social media for the massive response, citing nonprofits' use of Facebook and Twitter to spread the word and encourage involvement. It's a powerful illustration of technology playing a pivotal role in creating the greater good.
NPower is grateful to the donors that chose to contribute to us. We look forward to using the contributions to help the sector use technology to meet their missions. Click here to read the full results summary on The Seattle Foundation's website.
- Mandi Moshay
The Seattle Foundation's GiveBIG event has been underway for just over five hours and they have already raised over $1.2 million dollars for local nonprofits via their online Giving Center. Make your gift to NPower today and have it stretched thanks to matching dollars from The Seattle Foundation and generous support from local businesses. Because we serve so many nonprofit organizations in the Seattle area, making a gift to NPower is like making a gift to the local nonprofit community as a whole. Please support us today!
The Seattle Foundation's GiveBIG event has been underway for just over five hours and they have already raised over $1.2 million dollars for local nonprofits via their online Giving Center. The response to this event is truly remarkable, and we've still got almost 12 hours to go before it ends!
Today will certainly go down in history as one of the most remarkable moments of charitable giving in what is already an extremely philanthropic region. Don't miss your chance to be a part of it all.
Because we serve so many nonprofit organizations in the Seattle area, making a gift to NPower is like making a gift to the local nonprofit community as a whole. Please support us today!
- Mandi Moshay
On Monday I attended the first of three presentations in a series hosted by Brown Paper Tickets that aim to help nonprofits maximize event fundraising. The presenters were the venerable Susan Howlett and Tara Morgan from the Mount Baker Clubhouse. While I learned a lot of great stuff, I’m naturally inclined to share the tech-related pieces here. There were a few good suggestions of ways to incorporate social media and web-based promotion into your events. Click through to read more...
On Monday I attended the first of three presentations in a series hosted by Brown Paper Tickets that aim to help nonprofits maximize event fundraising. The presenters were the venerable Susan Howlett and Tara Morgan from the Mount Baker Clubhouse. It was an engaging presentation that helped us all think more strategically about event planning and promotion, and really get down to a granular level when it comes to the mission-based outcomes that we hope to achieve with our events.
While I learned a lot of great stuff, I’m naturally inclined to share the tech-related pieces here. There were a few good suggestions of ways to incorporate social media and web-based promotion into your events:
- The team at Brown Paper Tickets has a dedicated email address just to help nonprofits with promotion. And you don’t even have to use their ticketing service to get their help (although, if you ask me, you should - they donate a portion of their proceeds to charity, their fees are low, and we had a great experience using them for our recent Techtacular event). Just email email@example.com and they will help you write press releases and work within the framework of your event messaging to compose tweets and Facebook posts to promote your event. It's all free!
- Using your organization’s social networking profiles to promote your events is a no-brainer, but both presenters recommended leveraging the online networks of your existing staff, board members, and volunteers to get the word out. When you email your event team detailed descriptions of their roles before, during, and after the event, include pre-written status updates, tweets and links and ask them to post the updates to their personal pages to get the event details in front of their friends and colleagues. It is a bit of a sticky personal/professional boundary to breach, but hopefully your supporters love you enough to walk this line to help create a wildly successful event.
- Consider creating a Facebook page specifically for the event (especially if it is an annual event and you can use the page year after year). We (NPower) caution you to set that up early on (i.e. several months before the event). It will be important to build a real community on the page before asking them to give their time and money for your event. We’d recommend posting photos from previous events and asking prior event attendees to post their own photos or share stories about their engagement with your organization. Nothing is more powerful than a testimonial from your peers.
This is not at all tech-related, but I was astonished to hear that, despite having the worst ROI out of all fundraising activities, there are over 400 auctions held in Seattle every year. Susan mentioned that a bigwig from Ben Bridge once told her that each store is solicited an average of 20 times per day for a jewelry donation for an auction. Definitely something to consider when planning your next event.
Thanks to Susan and Tara for a great workshop, and to Brown Paper Tickets for arranging the whole thing. I’m looking forward to the next two workshops, and we’ll be sure to post the details on our Facebook and Twitter pages so follow us there to stay in the loop!
Sidenote: Special thanks to Tara and the Mount Baker Clubhouse for offering a free four hour rental of their event facility as a door prize. I’m so excited to have won it and can’t wait to brainstorm what type of event NPower will be able to use it for.
- Mandi Moshay
Analysis of info from recent attacks on Sony and Gawker outlined key problems in password use. What this info mean for your nonprofit's security? Learn what you need to do to implement practical password policies for your nonprofit.
Last week, Tony Hunt, a technology blogger, released analysis that he had done on the passwords released after the recent attack on Sony's Playstation Network and last year's attack on Gawker. (Thanks to BoingBoing for pointing out this story!) This analysis pointed out some alarming facts about the strength (and lack thereof) of passwords used by the general public and by the frequency at which these passwords are re-used. Definitely give the full article a read, but here are some key problem areas:
- Less than 1% of passwords used on the Playstation network used a single non-alphanumeric character (i.e. !@#$%)
- For users who had both Playstation and Gawker accounts, 67% used the same passwords in both places.
- More than one third of passwords used either were straight dictionary words or easily predicted patterns such as 12345.
What does this mean for my nonprofit?
Just because it's unlikely to find too many people using Playstation and Gawker for work-related reasons, doesn't mean that this data shouldn't be concerning. With the rates of using low-quality password and the alarming rates of re-use, it's not too far of a stretch to assume that at least some of your staff members are using these practices on your network, database and other vital resources. Nonprofit managers should definitely be making a point to set good password policies and to give education to their staff on their importance.
Password security is constantly a delicate balance between creating policies strong enough to ensure the security of your network and policies that your staff will actually follow. Our consultants regularly get strong pushback when we institute stronger password policies, so we strive to find the right balance of security and practicality. To this end, here are some sample policies and tips that you can use today to start implementing some better security for your network and software.
Make strong passwords a policy that is clear and shared with all staff.
It is important to have a clear policy outlined regarding passwords and to share that with your staff. Many staff members will not realize the importance of passwords, but will improve their practices with some education. Here is a sample password policy that you can include in your HR manual or tech policies:
Sample Password Policy
It is important that the passwords that you use to access ORGANIZATION NAME's network, email, and other software meet minimum security requirements. Choosing a secure password is the first step to ensure that our network, resources, and data will be protected from misuse.
All passwords staff use to access ORGANIZATION NAME'S resources must meet these criteria:
- All passwords should be at least 8 characters long.
- Use both upper and lower case letters in your password.
- Include at least one special character (i.e. !@#$%^&*).
- Don't use dictionary words or keyboard patterns (i.e. "qwerty").
- Do not re-use passwords between sites.
In addition to making a policy like this available, include some education regarding your policies and the importance of passwords as part of your orientation for new employees. You may also consider providing information on passwords and general technology security as part of regular staff trainings and meetings to make sure that longer-term staff are informed of these issues as well.
Passwords need to be changed regularly.
Even if you use all the criteria listed out above, passwords still need to be changed regularly to protect yourself and your network. Most security experts advise changing passwords every 90 days. If you are having problems keeping staff using good passwords while changing them that frequently, speak with your IT staff/consultant for additional advice. They can help you evaluate the risk at your organization and help you create alternative plans to keep your network safe.
Use tools provided by your network and software to enforce your password policies.
In addition to sharing your written password policy, you can work with your tech staff/consultants to set up tools to enforce these policies. Organizations with a server on their network can set server policies to enforce your password policy for you - both setting your policies regarding complexity and forcing your users to change their passwords regularly. Cloud-based email and software will typically provide these tools as well. Check with your IT staff and/or consultants about what policies you have set on your network and software and to learn what options you have for changing them.
Consider software and options that make secure passwords easy.
Even if you prioritize just a handful of sites that require very secure passwords, it can still be a chore to remember truly secure passwords for each one. There are many articles online outlining methods of creating sufficiently complex passwords that people can also remember. One is the method outlined by writers at Lifehacker and another is outlined in this video by Google. While these may not be as secure as one that is randomly generated, it will still provide you with a good level of security, especially when they are changed regularly.
Another option is to use a password management tool, such as the method described at the end of Tony Hunt's article on passwords. His procedure is to use 1Password (one of many such tools available) to create randomly generated passwords for each site, leaving him only the 1Password login to remember. This kind of method will provide you with a high level of security, but does have the drawback of having all of your password eggs in one basket - should you forget that one, you can be pretty stuck.
Avoid keeping your passwords written down, especially in obvious places like on a post-it under your keyboard. These paper records are gold for thieves who instantly know how to get into important files on the equipment they just stole.
Consider which staff needs access to what information.
While this isn't directly related to passwords, it's a good thing to consider while looking at your nonprofit's technology policies. Does every staff member need access to every bit of information in your CRM and every file on your server or shared drive? Probably not. By setting security policies limiting staff to only the information that they need to do their job, it limits the amount of data at risk should that staff member's login information become compromised.
I hope that these tips can help you start to implement some good security policies at your nonprofit, and start to educate your staff on good practices. I invite you to contact us or leave your thoughts or questions in the comments. What policies and/or procedures does your nonprofit have in place regarding passwords? How do you remember all of the different passwords that you use?
UPDATE 6/17/2011: The folks at Microsoft TechNet just put out a blog post today with their own advice on creating strong passwords, and they also reference a tool that individuals can use to rate the effectiveness of their current or prospective passwords.
- Elaina Buzzell
We're excited to announce a new partnership between NPower Northwest, United Way of King County and HandsOn Network. We’ve been selected to serve as one of six pilot sites for a newly launched AmeriCorps VISTA program called TechCorps. We’re looking forward to the opportunity to build our staff capacity, serve small poverty-alleviation organizations, and evolve our volunteer program. Click here to learn more about the opportunities available.
We're excited to announce a new partnership between NPower Northwest, United Way of King County and HandsOn Network. We’ve been selected to serve as one of six pilot sites for a newly launched AmeriCorps VISTA program called TechCorps. We’re looking forward to the opportunity to build our staff capacity, serve small poverty-alleviation organizations, and evolve our volunteer program.
AmeriCorps is a national volunteer program that recruits individuals to serve for a year in exchange for a small living stipend and an education award. It’s a phenomenal program that is life changing for the individual and delivers critical service to our communities. VISTA is a subprogram of AmeriCorps that focuses exclusively on alleviating poverty.
NPower is attempting to recruit three highly-motivated individuals with solid technology skills to serve on our AmeriCorps team. This team will supplement the good work we’re currently doing while adding to our capacity to create a set of IT Best Practices and our Theory of Change efforts. Additionally, the AmeriCorps team will provide support to our community education efforts by hosting weekly/bi-weekly brown bag training sessions.
Visit the Join Our Team page for a full job description and details on how to apply.
- Alison Carl White
Are you digging our new logo? Have you explored our new website? We can hardly contain our excitement over the launch of our new identity as NPower Northwest with service in Washington and Oregon, and are thrilled to be able to debut this revamped monthly publication for nonprofit organizations. Over the last year we’ve been hard at work putting our strategic plan in motion and with the launch of our website we’ve taken another step toward our aspiration of creating a high-performing nonprofit community. Click through to read more about the work we're doing to help Northwest nonprofits use technology resources to meet their missions.
Are you digging our new logo? Have you explored our new website? We can hardly contain our
excitement over the launch of our new identity as NPower Northwest with service in Washington and Oregon, and are thrilled to be able to debut this revamped monthly publication for nonprofit organizations. Over the last year we’ve been hard at work putting our strategic plan in motion and with the launch of our website we’ve taken another step toward our aspiration of creating a high-performing nonprofit community.
Not only have we been working hard to expand our service area and make ourselves look fancy, but we've remained focused on serving our clients. Over the last year, we’ve helped over 300 nonprofit organizations work toward meeting their missions by: building databases to track donors, volunteers and clients; maintaining their PCs and firewalls; revolutionizing online communications with updated websites and social media strategy; and helping their senior leaders align their strategic plans with their technology strategy. And this is just our starting point.
We’ve also stretched ourselves by hosting our first ever Discovery Blitz. We put our belief in innovation and creativity as a catalyst for community change into action. Our teams worked on a variety of projects: creating a cloud readiness assessment with an ROI calculator; developing a plan for expanding our services to include business continuity planning; and creating an integrated mapping function on a Plone website using data pulled from a Salesforce database and Google Maps. It was an amazing couple of days that showed the potential of our team to find creative solutions for unmet sector needs, and was a great opportunity for us to collaborate across internal teams.
We're happy to report a groundswell of support for our work. We're thankful for the investment from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation to create a technology theory of change that will help our nonprofit clients make the case for technology investment. Our partnership with Microsoft will provide important financial investment in our infrastructure. They'll also join us in thought leadership to develop tools like the Dynamics CRM Nonprofit Accelerator and the Silverlight Story Wall. We’ve also assembled a team of CIO’s and nonprofit tech leaders to help us develop a set of nonprofit IT best practices so every nonprofit in the community has a road map for strategic technology investment.
We’re inspired and encouraged by your mission, and we know it’s a good time to be involved in technology and nonprofits. The tech space is undergoing another transformation, making technology an increasingly accessible and integral part of our daily lives. As I look around and see budget cuts coming from the Federal and State levels, I hold onto the belief that the answer to solving our most pressing community issues is NOT going to be found in dollars, but in opportunities for us to create a different way of doing our work. I know many of you have squeezed out every bit of efficiency from your teams, so this isn’t about doing more with less (that’s so 2007) but, rather, it’s about creatively aligning our resources with new ways of delivering our work. Technology can and must play a pivotal role in this work. NPower Northwest stands ready to lead this charge.
Thank you for doing your part to make this community vibrant and healthy. Together, I know we’ll do even more great things.
- Alison Carl White
Our friends on the other coast, NPower Greater DC, published an article in their recent eNewsletter that outlined all the benefits of using Salesforce campaigns. We couldn't have said it better ourselves, so we didn't. We'll let Bob Bailey from DC lay it out for you via this reprinted article: Click through to read the article.
Our friends on the other coast, NPower Greater DC, published an article in their recent eNewsletter that outlined all the benefits of using Salesforce campaigns. We couldn't have said it better ourselves, so we didn't. We'll let Bob Bailey from DC lay it out for you via this reprinted article:
Salesforce.com Campaigns—By NPower’s Salesforce Guru, Bob Bailey
cam·paign [kam-peyn] –noun a systematic course of aggressive
activities for some specific purpose: a sales campaign.
We nonprofit types don't like to be aggressive or to associate ourselves with the word "Sales" but humor me here. This is actually the second definition; the first definition is "military operations for a specific objective" and I suspect that will be even less popular.
A Salesforce.com campaign can describe:
- An event such as a fundraiser, an auction, a march. This can be a major event with months of planning or a simple training on Monday morning.
- An outbound direct mail or email drop—or a telethon.
Salesforce.com campaigns are an excellent device for tracking all these things and more. Generally speaking, anything you do that involves time, people, and money is a candidate for a Salesforce campaign.
Let’s take a relatively simple example—say you want to have a breakfast meeting and invite twenty or so of your best supporters. Here's how a campaign can help:
- After you define the new campaign in Salesforce you should add all the people that you want to invite. This is easy to do because you can add them from a report.
- You should also create the tasks necessary to bring off the event—rent the space, order food, send out the invitations and so forth. This is your to-do list and it has to live someplace.
- As the RSVPs come back in you can mark them as responded and show whether or not they will be coming. Now you can do reports on who is coming or not.
- A couple of days before the event you have all the information needed to nag the non-responders and confirm / remind the people who will be coming.
Besides helping to manage the run up to the event, all this campaign data can be a big help later. How much money did we raise? What response rate did we have?
When money comes in, either as a donation or sale, it is recorded in Salesforce. There are some obvious connections to the people and the organization that wrote the check. In addition, you can record a "Primary Campaign" reference. This gives us the ability to know more about where the money came from. We can report on this using standard Salesforce reports. We can compare events and learn which was more successful.
Obviously, the more data you have the more reporting and analysis you can do. The problem is that capturing data is not easy or trivial. Moreover, storing and organizing data into information is no small chore. Salesforce.com campaigns are a great way to capture, organize and analyze event data.