News from the NTEN Connect Blog

Facebook Should Give You a T-Shirt

Submitted by Brett on Thu, 12/13/2007 - 5:08pm

New York Times technology correspondent Saul Hansell recommends trying the following exercise:

  • Search for "lawyers" on Google. Take a look at the ads on the right side.
  • Now, search for "malpractice".
  • Finally, search for "lawyers" again. Notice the change in the ads.

As Mr. Hansell notes, this limited implementation of behavioral targeting isn't too bad:

"So far this is largely harmless. It’s hard to imagine any violation that comes from Google having access to what you did 30 seconds before. What’s interesting is what comes next. As Google moves to place advertising on sites like MySpace, which have no natural advertisers, there is ever more pressure for it to use other sources of information to raise the prices at which it can sell those ads."

This is precisely the morass Facebook waded into with their creepy Beacon advertising program. The NYT has a great blow-by-blow of the changes Facebook has made to Beacon over the past 5 weeks, highlighting its slow acceptance of the privacy issues inherent to behavioral targeting.

The Year of the Mobile Phone

Submitted by Brett on Thu, 12/13/2007 - 3:39pm

New York Times technology columnist -- and 2008 NTC Plenary speaker -- David Pogue thinks next year will be the year of the mobile phone:

"...if you think there was a lot of cellphone news this year, you ain't seen nothin' yet. The coming year is going to be the real Year of the Cellphone."

Mr. Pogue charts two big shifts -- in 3 parts -- with implications for nonprofit technology: increased openness from carriers and greater push-back from a fed-up public. On Google's new Android platform, he says:

"It's open source, meaning that programmers all over the world can improve it and expand it. If all goes well, Android-compatible cellphones will become little miracle machines, capable of running all kinds of cool new programs that we can't even imagine today, regardless of carrier... Nobody knows what's going to happen with Android, but it's guaranteed to shake things up. Should be an interesting ride."

With Android and Apple's (admittedly closed for the moment) iPhone leading the charge, nonprofits will be able to use mobile devices in unimagined ways to engage and activate their constituents -- people already looking for more flexibility and functionality from their cell phones.

For more information on using mobile phones to encourage social change, be sure to visit MobileActive.

Do You Know Some Great Nonprofits?

Submitted by Brett on Thu, 12/13/2007 - 1:19pm

Perla Ni, former publisher of the Stanford Social Innovation Review, has launched a new site that aims to be the Zagat guide for Nonprofits. Great Nonprofits has already been profiled in The Chronicle of Philanthropy, where Ms. Ni says, "When's the last time you bought a book from Amazon and didn't read the customer reviews? This site provides that: peer reviews, from honest people, about whether [the charities] are making an impact."

Customer and peer reviews have contributed greatly to the success of Amazon and Ebay, but have been arguably less successful detached from actual products: according to Alexa, epinions.com has a traffic rank above 2000, whereas Ebay and Amazon are both in the top 50. It will be interesting to see if the focus on nonprofits will enable Great Nonprofits to succeed.

Currently, Great Nonprofits has a limited number of reviews on fewer than 100 organizations, but Ms. Ni is aware of the challenge ahead: "This is going to be a long process. It takes time to build people's awareness of this, especially in the nonprofit sector, where you're serving people that are hard to reach."

Perhaps you can help them grow.

America's Giving Challenge: Web 2.0 Philanthropy Style

Submitted by Holly on Wed, 12/12/2007 - 9:44pm

Here's the thing about Web 2. 0 and social media tools: it may all seem like a bunch of hype, but when foundations begin championing the cause, you have to start paying attention.

Today, PARADE magazine and the Case Foundation announced America's Giving Challenge: Get your supporters to install and promote a charity badge for your organization, and you could get $50,000. From the press release:

The program aims to show how anyone and everyone can have greater impact in their community and bring more support to the charities and causes they care about. Participants can choose to use a simple and fun Web 2.0 tool called a “charity badge” to promote their cause and help their charity get $50,000. Or they can simply give to a cause to help it qualify for a $1,000 award. The America’s Giving Challenge runs from 3:00 p.m. EST on December 13, 2007 through 3:00 p.m. EST on January 31, 2008...To sign up for America’s Giving Challenge, beginning 3:00 p.m. EST, December 13, 2007, simply visit www.Parade.com/givingchallenge.

You Knew Blogging Would Get You a Job Someday

Submitted by Brett on Wed, 12/12/2007 - 3:40pm

While we don't normally promote job opportunities in the NTEN blog, this one seems like it might be tailor-made for one of our community members.

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is looking for an Online Community Manager:

Play a key role in creating a vibrant online discussion community for Knight Foundation and shape it into the premier digital presence focused on journalism excellence, communities and systemic, transformational change. Help establish the foundation as the leading provocateur for community transformation in the digital age. This position serves as Knight’s eyes, ears and - in cooperation with other Knight staff - voice in the blogosphere.
Read the full listing on the NTEN Jobs Board.  Let us know if you get it!

Do You Heart Huckabee (Campaign Tactics)?

Submitted by Holly on Wed, 12/12/2007 - 1:02pm

Nancy Schwartz of Getting Attention has a nice bit up on her site about the effectiveness of Republican Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee's web strategy. (Say that ten times fast!)

You can read her assessment for yourself, but I think it's important to note that every affirmation has to do with putting the supporter in the driver's seat. I could go on and on about why this matters, but instead I'll paraphrase a women I met at a great social media event I attended on Friday:

Our younger donors have both time and money on their hands because they are waiting to succeed in their careers before starting a family. So they aren't just approaching giving as check-writing. It's about investing time too. And that means that they want to be engaged in seeing their cause succeed.

Your new donor doesn't want to fund change, she wants to create change. Give her the tools to do that.

2007 CRM Satisfaction Survey

Submitted by Brett on Tue, 12/11/2007 - 11:12am

Choosing a CRM can be frustrating and overwhelming. With so many choices and so little time to research all the options, many of us rely heavily on the recommendations of our peers to cut through the noise and provide some insight.

This is why NTEN is proud to present the results of our first CRM Satisfaction Survey.

> Download the Full Report

We've surveyed hundreds of your peers in order to provide you with a wide array of opinions about CRM systems, and the characteristics of the vendors providing those products. Over six hundred people indicated their willingness to recommend the systems they currently use.

Once you have identified two or three systems that meet your organization's needs, this report can help you to make your final decision as to which system is right for your organization.

The report is available free to NTEN Members, $50 for non-members. If you're not already enjoying full member benefits, join today.

> Download the full report

What You Need to Know Monthly Giving

Submitted by Brett on Thu, 12/06/2007 - 5:04pm

Back in October, we mentioned that M+R Strategic Services was running a survey polling nonprofits about online monthly giving programs. Well, they've published the results. Hooray for follow-through!

They surveyed nearly 70 organizations and analyzed the online donor data of eight large nonprofits to get some answers. You can get the full report from their web site.

Facebook Thinks It's Creepy Too!

Submitted by Holly on Thu, 12/06/2007 - 11:05am

There was a lot of hoopla over the recent announcement by Facebook about its Social Ads program, called Beacon. And by hoopla, I mean near hysteria-level complaining. The blogosphere was aghast at the idea of the opt-out based advertising scheme. Apparently, the fine folks at FaceBook have seen the error of their ways. Mark Zuckerberg posted to the FaceBook blog yesterday:

About a month ago, we released a new feature called Beacon to try to help people share information with their friends about things they do on the web. We've made a lot of mistakes building this feature, but we've made even more with how we've handled them. We simply did a bad job with this release, and I apologize for it.

In response, they are implementing a couple of interesting changes:

First, you will have to opt-in to display any Beacon advertising in your news stream, etc., instead of having to opt-out. Additionally, if you fail to respond to the opt-in request that is generated when you interact with a Beacon site, the system does not display the advertising. This is a significant and good change.

Secondly, you can opt-out of the dang thing to begin with. Just go to your FaceBook privacy settings and click on the link for External Websites.

How to Work with Your Organization's Wired Fundraisers

Submitted by Brett on Tue, 12/04/2007 - 11:46am

With the proliferation of fundraising widgets and social networks, nonprofit professionals are finding that they must share control of their organization's message with individual supporters, a concept that can be difficult to accept.

The most committed "wired fundraisers" or "uber-activists" will often accompany a homegrown fundraising campaign with their own images, video, and text. These personalized accounts of an organization's work present concerns about messaging and accuracy -- but opportunities for collaboration, as well.

Join NTEN and Peter Deitz for the webinar, "Sharing the Message: How to Work Effectively with Your Organization's Wired Fundraisers". We'll explore the impact of person-to-person fundraising on communications strategies and fundraising for nonprofits large and small.

When: Thursday, December 6th, 11 am PT / 2 pm ET

Cost: $25 NTEN Members, $50 for Non-Members

Presented by: Peter Deitz, Founder of Social Actions

> Register Today