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CHANGE A Quarterly Journal for Nonprofit Leaders · December 2014

BEST OF 2014

CULTIVATING LEADERSHIP FEATURING: Tech Forward Leadership: Executive Staffing for the Digital Age By Miriam Barnard Navigating the Mobile Security Ecosystem Interview with Jeff Forristal How to Prepare for the Heightened Scrutiny of Social Media Prepared by Bonnie McEwan


· The Denver Foundation · Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy (EPIP) · InterAction · International Living Future Institute PLUS:

· Rethinking the PDF · 6 Tips for Online Board Engagement

CHANGE A Quarterly Journal for Nonprofit Leaders


Letter from the Editor


Joleen Ong Marketing & Publications Director, NTEN


Philip Krayna

JOLEEN ONG Marketing & Publications Director, NTEN

Conifer Creative

Editorial Committee Members

Jeanne Allen Manager/Instructor, Duke University Nonprofit Management Program, and Consultant

Melanie Bower Credibility Manager, Green Electronics Council

Tobias Eigen Executive Director, Kabissa—Space for Change in Africa

Sophia Guevara Social Media Fellow, Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy (EPIP)

Wiebke Herding Managing Director, On:Subject Communications

Josh Hirsch Director of Development and Marketing, The Weiss School

Nicole Lampe Digital Strategy Director, Resource Media

Bonnie McEwan Assistant Professor and Consultant, Milano-The New School &

Rebecca Reyes Communications Manager, Everyday Democracy

You can't talk about technology implementation without discussing change. Tending to technology needs in today's changing nonprofit landscape requires ongoing cultivation and adaptability. We launched the first issue of 2014 by planting the seed: How can nonprofits remain competitive, innovative, and responsive to the changing external environment? The inspiration, as reflected on the covers, came from farmers, a profession characterized by the need to be responsive. We've come full circle. In this issue, the articles reflect on 2014, and offer up some important perspectives to take into the New Year.

Cover Art: Ashley Cecil

Advertising: Learn more about sponsoring NTEN:Change at advertising/reserve

Permissions & Inquiries: Please give credit to all referenced or re-published content according to the Creative Common license: Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported. Example Attribution text: “First published in NTEN:Change (, December 2014, CC BY-SA 3.0 ( by-sa/3.0/).” More information about the journal can be found at



In Tech Forward Leadership, Miriam Barnard explains that 75% of nonprofits will undergo an executive transition in the next five years, and how tech leadership should be a critical attribute when hiring. Security technology expert Jeff Forristal explains the steps that nonprofits can take to ensure that sensitive information, like donor data, remains secure across all devices. In Dark Side of the Force, Bonnie McEwan interviews four nonprofit pros to ask: When campaigns go viral, how can nonprofits prepare for the heightened scrutiny of social media?

We also go behind the scenes with The Denver Foundation, InterAction, Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy, and the International Living Future Institute to learn how they’re using technology for social change. Network for Good and Vibrance Global explore different donor experiences, Jeanne Allen offers six tips for online board engagement, and James Murdock eloquently shares his experiences on a question we take to heart: How can nonprofits rethink the PDF? We hope these articles prepare and inspire you to create change in your organization and through your mission. Roll up your sleeves and dig in. Thanks for reading!

Tending to technology needs in today’s changing nonprofit landscape requires ongoing cultivation and adaptability.









INSIDE FEATURES: PAGE 6 Tech Forward Leadership: Executive Staffing for the Digital Age by Miriam


PAGE 18 The Dark Side of the Force: How to Prepare for the Heightened Security of Social Media Prepared by Bonnie McEwan


PAGE 30 Rethinking the PDF: Designing Publications for a Mobile World by James Murdock,

Carnegie Corporation of New York




PAGE 32 6 Tips for Online

PAGE 8 Navigating the Mobile

Grantmaking in the Digital Age Interview with Christiano

Security Ecosystem

Sosa, The Denver Foundation

Interview with Jeff Forristal, Bluebox

PAGE 24 Building the Next Generation of Leaders

by Jeanne Allen, Jeanne Allen Consulting and Duke University Nonprofit Management Program

Subscription Economy, and the Future of Nonprofit Fundraising

Interview with Rahsaan Harris, EPIP

PAGE 34 Making Green Events

by Jamie McDonald, Network for Good


Interview with Julie Tonroy, ILFI


PAGE 12 Generosity, the

PAGE 16 Designing Meaningful

Donor Experiences to Inspire Giving by Yasmin Nguyen, Vibrance Global

Board Engagement

the Norm PAGE 27 NGO Aid Map: Mapping

Disasters and Development by Julie Montgomery and Laia Gri帽贸, InterAction




AT A GLANCE NTEN: CHANGE JOURNAL DECEMBER 2014 Tech Forward Leadership: Executive Staffing for the Digital Age – page 6 By Miriam Barnard, Nonprofit Organization Strategist and Consultant, Research predicts that over the next five years, up to 75% of nonprofit Executive Directors (EDs) will leave their jobs. As the nonprofit sector braces itself for a massive leadership transition, how can your organization ensure that your next executive is a tech-forward leader? Learn why tech leadership is a critical attribute for the next generation of nonprofit EDs, and how you can make sure your organization is poised for success.

Navigating the Mobile Security Ecosystem

CHANGE A Quarterly Journal for Nonprofit Leaders · December 2014

BEST OF 2014

CULTIVATING LEADERSHIP FEATURING: Tech Forward Leadership: Executive Staffing for the Digital Age By Miriam Barnard Navigating the Mobile Security Ecosystem Interview with Jeff Forristal How to Prepare for the Heightened Scrutiny of Social Media Prepared by Bonnie McEwan


· The Denver Foundation · Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy (EPIP) · InterAction · International Living Future Institute PLUS:

· Rethinking the PDF · 6 Tips for Online Board Engagement

page 8 Designing Meaningful Donor Experiences to Interview with Jeff Forristal, Bluebox Inspire Giving – page 16 Early computer security looked a lot like physical security: By Yasmin Nguyen, Vibrance Global put all your valuable assets in one place, and build a Whether we are fundraising or in a sales role, asking for fortress around it for protection. Today, firewalls and what we desire and need can often trigger fears, centralization are a lost cause; mobile is everywhere so anxieties, and frustrations in many of us. When we shift you must protect data independent of location. Learn the our mindset and perspective from asking to giving, steps that nonprofits can take to ensure that sensitive we can instantly change our experience and results. information like donor data remains secure across all Philanthropist and storytelling strategist, Yasmin Nguyen, devices. outlines his approach and strategies to designing meaningful experiences that inspire donors and Generosity, the Subscription Economy, and the customers to give and share our stories. Future of Nonprofit Fundraising – page 12 By Jamie McDonald, Network for Good Points of View | The Dark Side of the Force: Recurring giving is revolutionizing the way nonprofits How to Prepare for the Heightened Scrutiny of fundraise. No longer do we have to ask the same donor Social Media – page 18 for a gift every year. With the rapid growth of fundraising Prepared by Bonnie McEwan, Milano – The New School technology, nonprofits can not only get more dollars in and the door, but retain donors at a higher rate—without Given the critical backlash to the recent ALS Ice Bucket having to bug them every December. Network for Good Challenge, we wondered how nonprofits handle the gives you the scoop on how to start a recurring giving scrutiny that comes from extensive visibility in social program and why you should right now. media. To find out, we talked with four nonprofit professionals to get their diverse points of view: Jereme Bivins, The Rockefeller Foundation; Mike Morey, SKD Knickerbocker; Amber Washington, PolicyLink; and Brooke Wiseman, Blessings in a Backpack.



Behind the Scenes: The Denver Foundation Grantmaking in the Digital Age – page 22 Interview with Christiano Sosa, Director of Capacity Building, The Denver Foundation Technology is a critical tool to help nonprofits gain tremendous efficiencies in their work – especially with fundraising applications. At the Denver Foundation, an impressive 76-100% of their grantees have demonstrated exactly that. In this interview, learn how this 90-year-old Foundation tracks their outcomes, measures impact, and strategically uses technology in their everyday work to continually reinvent themselves to be relevant to their community.

Behind the Scenes: Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy (EPIP) Building the Next Generation of Leaders – page 24 Interview with Rahsaan Harris, Executive Director, EPIP What does it take to build the next generation of leaders? In this interview with Rahsaan Harris, we learn his journey to become the head of EPIP, his work on the Member Connect and Measure a Leader (MCMal) campaign to build leadership skills, tips for fundraising, and the importance of leveraging the power of networks.

Project Spotlight: Mapping Disasters and Development – page 27 By Julie F. Montgomery and Laia Griñó, InterAction Information “is as important as water, food, or shelter,” in a humanitarian crisis, or long-term development for that matter. Drawing on the lessons learned from the international community’s response to the earthquake in Haiti, an alliance of U.S. NGOs is now using new online mapping and data visualization technologies to help NGOs better share information, avoid duplication of efforts, and make smarter decisions through data analysis.

Rethinking the PDF: Designing Publications for a Mobile World – page 30 By James Murdock, Carnegie Corporation of New York As more people use smartphones and tablets to access donor magazines, annual reports, and other web content published by nonprofits, readers are seeking a better reading experience than the PDF format can provide. Several tools and approaches, designed for every budget, allow organizations to enrich their digital publications with multimedia, social sharing, and other features that make the reading experience more engaging and better suited to the mobile computing world.

Tech Support: 6 Tips for Online Board Engagement – page 32 By Jeanne Allen, Duke University Nonprofit Management Program and Jeanne Allen Consulting Social Media and other tech tools are embedded in the communications and fundraising strategies in many nonprofits. Yet, it is still a fledgling in the boardroom. Encouraging board members to use social media and other online platforms as part of their duties can set the tone for a culture of engagement, the magic that can be missing from many boards. This article examines six common responsibilities of boards, and how social media and other tools can be used to engage both your board and your constituents.

Making Green Events the Norm Interview with Julie Tonroy, International Living Future Institute – page 34 Prepared by Eileigh Doineau, NTEN Can your organization’s events be environmentally sustainable? The International Living Future Institute’s Conferences and Events Manager, Julie Tonroy, shows NTEN the ropes on creating zero waste events, and shares her greatest obstacle to achieving a truly green event.

Editorial Committee Profile: Jeanne Allen page 36 Jeanne Allen, Instructor at Duke University Nonprofit Management Program and Consultant, answers six questions about nonprofit technology.


CHANGE A Quarte rly Journa l for Nonpr ofit Leader s · Septem ber 2014



FEATURES: Seeing is Believing: The of Visual CommunicationsPower By Nicole Lampe

Win or Go Home: Lesso From the Campaign Trailns By Andrew Rothman


Visual Media 101: New Tools for Nonprofits By Jessica Willia ms






eadership change in the nonprofit sector is becoming the only constant. Studies by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, CompassPoint, and dozens of other researchers predict that “between 60% and 75% of nonprofit Executive Directors and CEOs are planning to leave their jobs within the next five years.” A sector leadership transition of this scale may feel intimidating— some have called it a crisis—but it also presents a powerful opportunity to create a new kind of nonprofit sector with a new kind of leadership. And for many organizations, a leader with a strong tech vision could be the key to achieving new mission heights. 6


Tech-Forward Leadership Drives Success NTEN’s most recent Nonprofit Technology Staffing and Investments Report (released July 2014) defines its highest rating of tech adoption as one which “…allows an organization to perform not only skillfully and confidently, but also nimbly and proactively…anticipating and even driving sector trends.” Organizations that have high tech adoption rates and high tech effectiveness scores have generally integrated technology into their strategic plans, their annual budgets, and their staffing plans — all of which fall squarely under the job umbrella of

the Executive Director (ED). A techforward ED will ensure that the organization’s technology resources and plans are aligned with best practices and fully meet the organization’s needs. Boards of Directors should expect their CEO to envision and lead the organization’s tech health just as they expect the CEO to lead the fiscal, fundraising, and programmatic health of the organization. It’s no secret that if the DecisionMaker-in-Chief refuses to prioritize and value technology, then there’s an impenetrable silicon ceiling limiting the capacity of technology to enhance and accelerate your mission. At the NTEN Leading Change Summit in San Francisco this fall, digital strategists and systems specialists alike cited EDs at their organizations as major barriers to technology adoption and effectiveness. Of course, there are exceptions to these norms: EDs who understand the power of technology as critical to their mission. These exceptional EDs who effectively harness technology have access to one of the keys to drive their nonprofit to innovative new heights. As the leadership landscape shifts, the organizations that know how to recruit these executives will reap the benefits. Recruiting for the Future Unfortunately, many nonprofits that are currently seeking executive leadership are recruiting for the past, not the future. I reviewed fifty recent CEO/ED job announcements from nonprofit organizations. The organizations from my sample spanned 28 states and had annual budgets ranging from less than $100K to over $5M. They represented education, service, advocacy, and arts organizations, as well as associations and grantmaking foundations. What I found is that nonprofit organizations are overwhelmingly failing to prioritize technology leadership or experience in recruiting

their top executives: 70% of position announcements mentioned technology only briefly or as a “preferred, but not required” skill area, and 48% of announcements did not mention technology at all. If your organization may be facing an executive transition, you’ll want to get ahead of the curve and recruit a leader who will bring a tech vision and verve to your mission and team. Similarly, if you’re an ED or aspiring ED looking to help shape the next generation of nonprofit leadership, making sure that your tech chops shine could be what makes your candidacy stand out in a competitive executive hiring process. Tips to Hiring a Tech-Forward ED Hiring an ED is one of the most important and exciting responsibilities of a nonprofit Board of Directors. Including technology considerations in your search process will help you attract the right candidates, ask the right questions, and make the right hire for your organization’s future. 1. Ask and you shall receive: You would never write the ED job announcement without mentioning fundraising, right? Or forget to


require that your future leader come to the table with management experience or financial acumen? Include requirements for technology leadership in your job announcement to show your candidates that it’s important to your organization—you’ll also attract candidates for whom this will be an exciting skill to showcase. 2. Consult your experts: Your org’s top technology staffers will not only know what kind of support they need, but know where barriers have existed in the past. Their input is valuable and often overlooked. 3. Cultivate Curiosity: A great techforward ED does not need to be a tech expert. However, technology changes fast—and good leaders find this exciting and are eager to learn. If you’re hiring a ED who’s only interested in what she or he knows at expert levels, you may find that translates into resistance to innovative or new ideas—and your organization’s tech capacity can quickly fall from early adopter to flip-phone level. 4. Interview for Innovation: The best way to learn about your candidates’ technology vision is to ask about it. Include an open-ended interview question that gives your candidates a chance to talk about

% of nonprofit Executive Directors and CEOs are planning to leave their jobs within the next

five years


1 CompassPoint. (2011). Daring to Lead: A National Study of Nonprofit Leadership. Bell, Jeanne; Cornelius, Marla; Moyers, Rick. Retrieved from

MY REVIEW OF RECENT CEO/ED JOB ANNOUNCEMENTS FROM NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS FOUND THAT 70% OF POSITION ANNOUNCEMENTS MENTIONED TECH ONLY BRIEFLY AND 48% OF ANNOUNCEMENTS DIDN’T MENTION TECH AT ALL. ways that they’ve used technology successfully in the past, or lets them share their vision for your nonprofit. 5. Don’t Get Lost in the Details: When you’re hiring your top executive, an understanding of the importance of technology and a willingness to learn is much more important than experience with any specific program or application. If you’re a MailChimp shop and your top candidate is a Constant Contact whiz, you’re going to be fine. But if you ask about databases and they talk about rolodexes, you might want to revisit your resume pile. 6. Knowing (What you Don’t Know) is Half the Battle: It’s ok for your next ED to have some knowledge gaps in their tech repertoire. But hiring someone who understands where their own knowledge ends and how to staff up or otherwise secure resources to keep the organization technologically strong means your tech needs will be well cared for. Miriam Barnard ( provides organizational development, consulting, and transition support for nonprofit organizations in Oregon and across the country. She has over a decade of management, fundraising, and planning experience. As an associate with the Nonprofit Association of Oregon’s Executive Transition Services, Miriam works as an Interim Executive Director for Oregon nonprofits, and also provides nonprofit Executive Search services. Miriam lives in Portland, Oregon, and is on the NTEN Board of Directors. About the Research: To learn more about the research that helped to inform the article, please contact







You’ve been part of the online security sector since the early days in the 90s. How has the sector evolved? Early computer security looked a lot like physical security: put all your valuable assets in one place, and build a fortress around it for protection. IT departments took care of centralized fleets of desktops and servers. Firewalls delineated an explicit perimeter, and a person was either 100% fully trusted or 100% fully untrusted depending upon which side of the firewall they were on. All things of value stayed inside the firewall perimeter. Eventually network DMZs (demilitarized zones) became status quo as an intermediary layer to publicly expose limited computing services to un-trusted or semi-trusted parties on the Internet. Fast-forward to today, we see operational notions like cloud computing, SaaS (Software as a Service), and mobility have fundamentally decentralized our fortress and scattered our digital assets all over. No longer can we point at a clear perimeter to defend. The blossoming of mobile computing means work is now done from anywhere a person may be located. You no longer backhaul the people to the data, instead you bring the data to the people. This is very powerful for productivity, but operates contrary to the “centralize and fortify” security philosophy.



But it is not just about keeping (outbound) distributed organizational data secure – the way people interact with computing services has fundamentally changed due to mobility. Mobile applications bring new compelling ways to engage with people, including the (inbound) data they offer. Whether it’s sales transaction information, donor information, or other PII data, your organization may now be party to the responsibility of keeping that data secure at the point of entry, i.e. on the mobile device. No longer is it just a stateless web browser operating on a backend service; real computing is happening localized to the user through mobile applications, and with that comes the implications of data security and user trust of offering a safe computing experience.


Why should nonprofits be concerned about mobile security? How much are they at risk? If your current data security procedures revolve around using firewalls to create a perimeter, installing anti-virus on all computing systems, and having an IT department responsible for facilitating system patches and updates, you will find this approach is woefully inadequate for mobile devices. Mobile security requires a new playbook that is tailored to the dynamics of how mobile ecosystems operate. Firewalls and centralization are a lost cause; mobile is everywhere so you must protect data independent of location. The security sandboxes that keep mobile applications safe ironically also prevent third-party anti-virus applications from thoroughly analyzing the other applications on a device, undermining the effectiveness. Mobile device patches and system updates are directly issued by the device manufacturer in cooperation of a cellular carrier – assuming any updates will be issued



at all. Thus organizations need to stop thinking in terms of device-level security since it’s often out of their control, and instead turn their attention to what actually matters: the data. Offering a mobile application that facilitates the collection of data necessitates the need to ensure the mobile application is following security best practices such as keeping that data secure while at rest on the device, securely transmitting it over the network only to authorized parties, and proactively identifying when security is being actively impacted by an attacker or malware.


Bluebox’s website discusses “BYOD” and “BYOA” – can you elaborate a bit on what this means, and why this is especially relevant for nonprofits? BYOD stands for “bring your own device”, referring to when employees use their personal mobile devices for work purposes. Similarly, BYOA stands for “bring your own application(s)”. BYOD and BYOA are part of a large movement where employees are now in charge of their own productivity. The tools to make work life easier and more productive are now within reach for everyone. The added benefit for nonprofits

embracing BYOD and BYOA is increased productivity and reduced overhead. Allowing employees to use their own devices and applications for work and personal use enables employees to be more productive on the go. Eliminating device management from the mobile security equation also saves organizations a great deal of time and money. BYOD and BYOA do, however, raise serious concerns about the security of corporate and/or sensitive data. The common response to this concern has been to increase restrictions and lock down employee-owned mobile devices. However, Ovum found in their 2013 multi-market bringyour-own-anything survey, that nearly 70%of employees use their tablets or phones to access corporate data, 15.4% of them are doing so without IT’s knowledge, and nearly 21% in spite of established policy. This goes to show that no matter how strict security controls may be at any given organization, data may still be leaking without us ever knowing.


In your opinion, what organizations are doing a good job with mobile data security and why? Mobile has enabled a major shift in almost every organization, from the largest

Mobile Security Resources: • Download the Trustable by Bluebox app from the Google Play Store here: • Learn more about Trustable by Bluebox via our blog here: measuring-mobile-security-trust-introducing-trustable-bybluebox/ • Android User Security Guide: • iOS User Security Guide: • OWASP’s top 10 mobile risks:

enterprise to the smallest startup and everything in between. Mobile has provided employees the ability to choose their own devices and applications, and control how they use them. As a result, mobile has fundamentally changed the way that organizations manage risk. Organizations that take a holistic view of mobile risk and take user needs and concerns into consideration have the most successful mobile security programs. In the past year we’ve seen more reports about incidents of mobile data breach. According to the, “Impact of Mobile Devices on Information Security: A Survey of IT Professionals,” 79% of companies reported a mobile data breach, with the cost of data loss ranging from less than $10K to over $500K per incident. It’s no wonder organizations have moved from managing devices to the real issue, protecting the data. So in today’s fast paced mobile environment, how do organizations manage the risk of mobile data loss while supporting productivity? By utilizing next generation mobile technologies to fortify applications, organizations can trust the applications their employees are using are secure and that data won’t be lost in the name of productivity. Organizations that do this will be most successful.


What steps can nonprofit organizations take to protect the privacy of themselves, their clients, their employees, and supporters? The most important step organizations can take to protect themselves, their clients, employees and supporters, is to identify risk. Be aware of what apps your organization is using and/or developing, and what risk those applications pose. In addition, knowing your users and understanding their behavior is critical. Organizations must

Is your mobile device safe? Download the Trustable by Bluebox app from the Google Play Store to find out:

understand what applications employees are using and what risks those applications pose to your organization. Applications like Trustable by Bluebox can help organization identify risk and take the necessary steps to mitigate it. This app will not only help organizations identify their own risk, it will also help individual users identify risks to their personal data. Another step to take is to understand what external risks your organization faces. The OWASP’s top 10 mobile risks is a great place to start and covers everything from data encryption to preventing man-in-themiddle attacks to client side injection.


Is there anything else that you’d like to share? Security, or the state of being secure,

is a point-in-time statement. Device security comes and goes, depending on the state of known vulnerabilities in the ecosystem and whether your device has been updated to protect against these vulnerabilities. What this means in terms of practical risk management is that any device will go through periods of temporary insecurity until the problems get fixed. This is where the concept of mobile trust comes in. Most users trust that their device will, in the long term, serve their security interests and keep their data safe overall despite the fact that the device may have temporary moments of insecurity and vulnerability. Thus “trust” is a holistic view of the whole life of the device and incorporates notions on whether the vendor is known to proactively issue device updates or patches in a timely fashion, and whether the vendor is making good long-term security choices, etc. Bluebox Labs has recently released a free application, Trustable by Bluebox (see image above), that analyzes all Android devices (phones and tablets) and provides a security trust score illustrating how trustable the device is for security and protection of data. No longer do we need to guess, hope, and speculate which devices may be more “trustable” than others – we can measure and compare on equal grounds. This allows everyone to move away from devices that are notorious for making below-average security decisions, and instead favor vendors/devices that make aboveaverage security decisions. Jeff Forristal has been a security technology professional in the industry for 15 years. His professional background includes all things security, spanning across software, hardware, operations/IT, and physical access control. He has written multiple articles for Network Computing and Secure Enterprise magazines, and is a contributing author to multiple books.



GENEROSITY, THE SUBSCRIPTION ECONOMY, AND THE FUTURE OF NONPROFIT FUNDRAISING BY JAMIE MCDONALD, CHIEF GIVING OFFICER, NETWORK FOR GOOD Inspire them once, get them giving forever The most important supporters of any nonprofit are the committed donors who give each year. Today, most repeat donors are acquired through an expensive process of online and offline stewardship, involving periodic communications and cultivation followed by an annual ask. And every year, 40-50% of these past donors fall away. Technology is enabling nonprofits to reverse this dynamic with subscription giving.



To receive multiple one-time donations from a single donor, a nonprofit must present a persuasive reason to give every time, which may or may not work. But with subscription—or recurring—donors, you only have to inspire them to donate once. After that, they must actively take steps to stop being generous—which goes against our basic instincts. This results in the long-term retention of subscription givers who will end up giving more over their lifetime than they would as one-off donors.

The rise in the subscription economy It’s not surprising that recurring giving is on the rise. Its growth mirrors one of the hottest trends in the economy: subscription buying. You may be familiar with subscription startups like Dollar Shave Club, Birchbox, Love with Food, Pact Coffee, and even big companies like Microsoft and Adobe that now sell software through low-cost monthly subscriptions as an alternative to onetime purchases. These companies recognize the value of subscription buyers in terms of recurring revenue, loyalty, ongoing marketing, and higher lifetime value. Growing momentum in nonprofits Nonprofits are now getting in on the action. Subscription giving is the fastest growing segment of online giving,

up 27% in 2012 across all nonprofits in Blackbaud’s study, and up 73% in Higher Education, one of the largest philanthropy sectors. Rapid growth will continue into 2015, although a dedicated recurring giving program is still a small segment of overall nonprofit fundraising. The good news is that the increasing prevalence of subscription purchasing, combined with a growing number of successful nonprofit programs and a proliferation of technology options, makes it a realistic strategy for even the smallest nonprofits. Why focus on recurring givers now? The infographic, compiled with data processed through our platform, summarizes our experience with recurring giving across the Network for Good community. Here are the most important reasons to focus on recurring giving now: • It drives increased revenue. The average recurring donor gives 42% more than one-time donors. In a recent Stanford Social Innovation Review article, the average annual donation from recurring givers totaled $625. • It provides a stable flow of funds. Organizations can count on the funds month after month. • It builds deeper relationships. Each month there’s an opportunity to inspire, cultivate, and celebrate donors when they are thanked for their gifts. • Recurring givers are highly qualified potential prospects for major and planned giving because of their sustained commitment to the organization. • Recurring givers stay with you. According to the Nonprofit Times, retention among donors giving onetime gifts ranges from 41-50%, while recurring donors are retained 70-80% of the time. • It appeals to younger donors. According to the Millennial Impact Report 2013, 52% of millennials are interested in giving monthly. Young people like the low monthly cost, and big annual impact, of a recurring gift. What makes a recurring giving program work? There are five fundamentals we see across all successful campaigns. Focus on attracting recurring givers. It’s not enough to have a message on your checkout page to “make this gift recurring.” A strong recurring giving campaign focuses on inspiring donors to be sustainers of your organization through their monthly commitment. Make the commitment so small that donors feel they can’t say “no.” A classic example of this approach is the famous quote from an international aid

1 2

To view the original infographic, visit NTEN CHANGE | DECEMBER 2014


organization: “For less than a cup of coffee, you can provide food for a hungry child.” The image below shows an example from UNICEF. Make sure your online giving page mirrors the campaign message. When a supporter is ready to make a gift, the online giving page should reinforce the campaign messaging and have suggested amounts that demonstrate the impact their gift could have. Recognize subscription givers as special. All points of contact with subscription givers should acknowledge them as a special group that powers and sustains the organization. Identify them as members of a cohort, with a unique identity or brand. Here are a few examples of branded recurring giving groups: • The 1000 Women Campaign of the Women’s Fund of Central Ohio • Pipeline of Charity: Water • Humane Heroes of the National Humane Society • Red Cross Champions Talk about impact. When recurring givers are thanked for their monthly donation, reinforce the impact of their contribution and keep feeding their “helper’s high.” Share stories and images of those affected by their donations. Put a face on their investment in the organization.




A strong recurring giving program takes planning. Whether your staff is large or small, here's a checklist to get you started: Build the organization’s commitment to launch the program. Create a name and brand for your monthly giving program. Test and measure. Try several campaign themes with segments of your donor base to determine which campaign motivates the most donors.



Fundraising “ask” examples (from top): UNICEF explains the impact of donations, no matter how small; ASPCA’s branded image to ask for monthly gifts.

Simplify the best theme down to a compelling message, like ‘$25 a month provides meals for one child,’ and a branded image that can be used everywhere, like the ASPCA image above. Make donating easy and mobile-ready. Technology that makes recurring giving simple and easy, from any device, is critical. Develop a target list of potential donors. Start with existing annual givers; they are strong prospects for increasing their donations with a monthly program. Plan a starting “ask” of a monthly donation that is 15-20% of your average annual gift. So if your average annual gift is $200, plan an average target monthly donation of $30-$40. Market your monthly giving program in all channels. Write a welcome series acknowledging the donors’


special status as a sustainer of the organization. Communicate with monthly givers about the impact of their gift when each monthly payment is received. Make a plan to handle credit card decline notifications. Celebrate your growing base of supporters!


About the research: To learn more about the research that informed this article, please contact Elizabeth Ragland, Content and Nonprofit Marketing Associate at Network for Good Jamie McDonald is the Chief Giving Officer of Network for Good, the nation’s largest online charitable giving platform. Jamie’s professional mission is to spur people to give, act and innovate on behalf of communities and causes. She writes and speaks about online engagement and giving, next generation philanthropy, and the rise of the millennial generation as a force for changing communities. Jamie serves as an advisor to nonprofits, cities, and state associations around the country on giving movements like #GivingTuesday.



arlier this year, I spoke at the 2014 Nonprofit Technology Conference. While in Washington DC, I stayed with my friends Heather and Neal. Each morning as we were enjoying breakfast together, their 10 year old daughter, Kendall, was a radiant ball of energy, sunshine, and curiosity. However on my last morning with them, Kendall was strangely quiet, reserved and melancholy. I asked her, “Kendall, what’s going on? Why do you seem different today? Why are



you not your cheerful self?” With a sad look she responded, “Well I am in scouts and I have to go sell cookies today. I don’t like doing it because I get rejected most of the time. People tell me they are watching their weight or they already have some, or some other excuse.” I responded, “Wow, I totally understand. Being rejected doesn’t feel good at all.” I paused for a moment and asked her, “Hey, how much are a box cookies?” She replied, “They are $4 a

box.” I reached for my wallet and pulled out a $20 bill, handed it to her, and said “I’ll take 5 boxes!” With a surprised look, she asked “Really?” I said “Yes, however I don’t eat cookies, so what I would like for you to do is to take each box and give them to 5 different people you’ve never met before.” Kendall immediately leaped out of her chair and ran to her mom to share her excitement,” Mom, we get to give cookies away!” The transformation in her was amazing. As her excitement settled down, I said “So Kendall, here is why I want you to give the cookies away. I want you to know what it’s like to generously give, to see the joy in people’s eye, to feel their genuine appreciation, and to hear that you have made a difference for them. I want you do this five times so that you truly know the joys of giving.

Then once you do, instead of asking people if they would like to buy some cookies, I’d like you to ask them: “Is there someone in your life you really care about? If so, I’d like to help you make their day by giving them a box of cookies. Are there others you would like to give this gift as well?” Her eyes lit up with excitement, again ready to try out this new approach. Ask Less, Give More Whether it be donations, sales, referrals, or just help, many of us struggle with asking for what we need and desire. The challenge is that subconsciously, we often put ourselves in a scarcity mindset where we feel inferior, needy, or less than which impacts our confidence. By “asking less and giving more” we shift the dynamics of our situation to empower ourselves to offer people an opportunity to experience a

“We must shift the mindset... Allow [donors] to experience the journey where they are the hero and are transformed to a better version of themselves in the process.”

special moment. In return, they are inspired and reward us with that which we originally desired. A few months ago, I was meeting a friend at a local coffee shop. Like many service establishments, there is a tip jar with a couple of dollars and some change at the counter. What was different about this situation was that there were 2 jars filled with cash instead. One was labeled “Boys” and the other “Girls.” The sign above it read, “Some people say girls tip better than guys! Take our survey below!” Essentially, they shifted the situation from “asking for a tip” to giving their patrons a fun experience to play a game and share memorable moments. The end result was more tips and goodwill. Designing Your Giving Experience 1. Before we even start, we need to identify what it is that we actually desire. Is it that sale, tip, donation, referral, or advocate? By knowing that objective, we have clarity to measure our success, and a foundation to design our giving experience. 2. Next, we need to understand our audience’s intrinsic desires. Life coach Tony Robbins shares the concept of the 6 basic human needs (certainty, variety, significance, connection, growth, and contribution): “Understanding these needs, and which ones you are trying to meet in any given moment, can help you create new patterns that lead to lasting fulfillment.” When our donors, customers, and audiences experience that fulfillment, they become inspired to give. We must identify what those needs are to focus on. 3. When we design the giving experiences, how can we be more experiential and less transactional in our approach? We must shift the mindset and put on our “giving” lens. Start with giving to open our doors for receiving. Allow them to

experience the journey where they are the hero and are transformed to a better version of themselves in the process. We are the facilitators and a conduit for them to experience that joy of giving. It’s really about how we can become stewards of philanthropy. To facilitate these positive giving experiences, below are some ideas: • Stories of the impact they have made • Genuine personal appreciation • Valuable insights and information for them to share • A fun memorable experience • A moment of positive self-esteem and meaningful recognition • A platform and audience for their message and passion • A cherished personal or business relationship Next time you find yourself in a position where you are anxious to ask for something, think about how you can help the other person give. I owe much of my perspectives and inspiration for giving to the following thought leaders who share more in-depth insights and valuable strategies in their books. • Donor Centered-Fundraising by Penelope Burk • RelationShift by Michael Bassoff & Steve Chandlers • Giving 2.0 by Laura ArrillagaAndreessen • The Go-Giver by Bob Burg & John David Mann Yasmin Nguyen is a speaker, philanthropist, social innovator, and storytelling strategist helping business, and nonprofits emotionally connect with their audiences through stories, videos, and marketing partnerships to generate sales and raise money. He is the founder of Vibrance Global and Philanthropy Talk, and brings business, community and nonprofit leaders together to share ideas, insights, and feedback. With over 18 years in entrepreneurship, communications strategy, online marketing, media production, and relationship building, Yasmin’s mission is to facilitate more giving in our lives, community, and world. Follow him on Twitter at @vibranceglobal.











Given the critical backlash to the recent ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, we wondered how nonprofits handle the scrutiny that comes from extensive visibility in social media. To find out, we talked with four nonprofit professionals: Jereme Bivins, Digital Media Manager at The Rockefeller Foundation; Mike Morey, Senior Vice President of the public affairs firm, SKDKnickerbocker; Amber Washington, Manager of Social Media for PolicyLink, a research and action institute; and Brooke Wiseman, CEO of Blessings in a Backpack.


What’s the first piece of advice you would give to a colleague about managing complaints and negative comments in social media? Jereme: First, have all the relevant information at hand, so that if someone has a legitimate question or complaint, you have supporting materials to answer them. Don’t go radio silent (particularly on Facebook where comments can linger). Second, take the conversation offline. If someone leaves a negative comment, acknowledge their concern and apologize where and when appropriate, but most importantly offer to help address their issue off of social media and direct them to get in touch over email or phone. Mike: Just because social media communication is easy to deliver doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be reviewed and crafted with care, just like any other outward communication. Don’t be casual about it. If the organization uses social media with the Executive Director’s (ED) handle, it should be managed by communications staff, not the ED’s office. This keeps messages consistent. Brooke: Be cautious about what you’re putting out. Have a core structure in place to actively

manage social media so that it showcases the values of your organization. Plan with the big picture in mind and be prepared to offer useful facts and stories that focus on your mission. Amber: Avoid the back and forth. Often, people will not be satisfied with the response they get. You’ve failed to meet their expectations, reasonable or not, and there’s no way you are going to be able to, so there is no point in engaging in a social media battle.


What if your organization really is in the wrong? Jereme: Own up to the failure, apologize, acknowledge that you’re human, and release a correction. If your organization can survive the dose of humility, share publicly what the mistake taught you. Write a blog post about it or Tweet to infuse a little humor (depending on the mistake). It’s ok to fail and then celebrate or poke fun at it if you’re going to use it as a learning opportunity. Mike: In responding to criticism, you’ll hear everyone say you have to be transparent, and to an extent you do, but there are levels of what should be public, what should be responded to via a private message, and what should be addressed in a statement as part

of a larger strategy.


Do you use different techniques for different platforms? Mike: Yes. On Facebook, you should respond as you would to any other type of customer service issue. Things hang around on a Facebook page. On Twitter, which lends itself to snarky comments, you can often just let things pass. Amber: The PolicyLink audience on Twitter is dynamic so comments move through the stream rapidly. Many of the tweets don’t require a response. Facebook pages are different. The info on them stays up for quite a while. You have to consider the source of each complaint or problem and give priority to the ones that have the greatest reach.


Do you use different techniques if the challenger is from the news media? Amber: If it’s a media representative, they have a larger platform, so you need to be prompt about getting back to them. Send them a direct message and invite them to have an offline discussion. Jereme: Yes, because whatever that blogger or journalist decides to share could become a much larger story. It’s important that the person responsible for social media is informed enough to help with rapid response and can clearly and correctly articulate the organization’s positions. Have a system to easily share and access information like Yammer or Slack, or even a messenger tool like WhatsApp so you can communicate quickly and easily. Ideally, your organization has an accessible crisis communications




plan in place, but internal communication is always critical.


How do you prepare for managing negative content? Jereme: Think about different scenarios when releasing content or press releases. Consider those things that some people want to tear apart. What’s useful or worth celebrating? What’s controversial or could be misunderstood? What are the valid counterpoints and who might challenge us on it? Be prepared to back up your organization’s point of view without becoming confrontational. Not everyone has to agree with you, but you always want to keep the dialogue civil and respectful. Brooke: Don’t jump to respond to every untruth. You don’t always have to answer a challenge, but you do need to have the clarity to know who you are and what really matters. Then, you can engage thoughtfully. Amber: When I note criticism, I will respond in a neutral way to indicate that we acknowledge the person but don’t necessarily agree or endorse their viewpoint. I am always respectful and do appreciate their interest in our organization.


Any other tips? Jereme: Be prepared! Hope for the best, but always be ready for the worst. Use social media as a platform to build relationships with people that understand and support what you do. They can be powerful advocates for your organization and can even engage with naysayers without you having to step into the fray – saving you time and face.



Failure is a humbling way to learn a really good lesson. Read NTEN’s story of failure:

Mike: Beware that false sense of perspective that assumes everyone “out there” is hanging on every negative word just because you and your colleagues are. You work there. It takes up most of your attention. But to external observers, chances are good that they won’t notice. Brooke: For us, the challenge is less about managing criticism and more about handling volume. In 2012, our organization was chosen by People Magazine as its “Charity of the Year.” Similar to what happened to ALS with the Ice Bucket Challenge, interest in us exploded. Everyone wanted to help, which was wonderful, but having just six staff members made responding a huge concern. Our office looked like the Merc (the trading pit at the Chicago

Mercantile Exchange), with all of us pitching in to do anything and everything! That experience showed us the importance of facilitating people’s engagement with us over social media. Now we try to offer different options and techniques that makes it easier for people to volunteer, donate to a particular school, or designate their gift for a specific purpose. Bottom line: Be thoughtful. Be prepared. And, above all, just keep moving forward. A member of the NTEN: Change Editorial Committee, Bonnie McEwan is a consultant, college professor and writer. She is profiled in the book, “Thriving in 24/7: Six Strategies for Taming the New World of Work,” by Sally Helgesen, and author of “501(c)(3) Nonprofits and EarnedIncome Generation” in the textbook, “Social Entrepreneurship,” edited by Thomas Lyons. Earlier in her career Bonnie directed the national communications divisions of Girl Scouts USA and the Planned Parenthood Federation. Find her on Google+ and Twitter.


healthy nonprofit organizations including: governance, staffing, planning, programs, finances, fundraising, evaluation, and inclusiveness. 76% to 100% of our grantees have gained tremendous efficiencies in fundraising applications through technology.


The winner of the 2014 Annual Report Cover Shot Photo Contest, one of the many fun ways that The Denver Foundation engaged with their community through social media.

Grantmaking in the Digital Age Interview with Christiano Sosa, Director of Capacity Building, The Denver Foundation


Tell us about yourself. I have been with the Foundation for nine years and came here after having served as Executive Director of the Northern Colorado AIDS Project. I currently have the tremendous pleasure to serve as the Vice President of the Mi Casa Resource Center Board of Directors, advancing economic success of Latino families in Denver, Colorado. For eight years, I have taught courses in “Wealth and Philanthropy” and “Resource Development” in the Masters of Nonprofit Management Program at Regis University.


In your everyday work, what are the three ways



that you use technology? The Denver Foundation collects Technical Assistance reports to discern qualitative and quantitative data through an online system. Numbers without stories and stories without numbers have limited effect. We use both the data and stories to make connections between our grantees and qualified consultants, and to track the outcomes of our technical assistance grantmaking. The impact (data sets) and peeradvice (stories) can be explored on our technical assistance blog. Additionally, we fund technology through our Technical Assistance program. We believe that technology can help in eight key dimensions of effective and

As the Denver Foundation raises funds and distributes them to grantees, how does the use of technology differ between these two efforts? The Denver Foundation has hundreds of donors, many of whom wish to share their favorite nonprofits with each other and motivate more contributions; at the same time, nonprofits seek to communicate with donors. To address the challenge (ubiquitous in the community foundation sector), in 2015 the Foundation will elevate an online platform to connect dynamic stories created and shared by nonprofit sector and community leaders directly with donors who have funds with the Foundation. The platform is called Floodlight. While the platform will remain open to the general public, it will be targeted to meet donor needs, and will allow donors a set of expanded capabilities for sharing stories, voting for, or giving “seals of approval” to, their favorite organizations, and recommending grants to the organizations from their funds. In a networked nonprofit world, the Foundation does not want to be a bottleneck or otherwise impede the flow of great opportunities for both donors and nonprofits. In our role as a philanthropic catalyst, the capabilities and scalability of Floodlight is one step in what we

believe aligns with the incredible savvy and generosity of our Denver nonprofit and donor communities. On the grantee side, we have had an online application available for our resident grantmaking program for some time, and we are currently working to create both an online grantmaking system for all discretionary grants and an online scholarship application system.


How has technology been used to demonstrate the impact of the organization and how has this contributed to increased funding? In addition to the exciting potential benefits of the Floodlight tool, the Foundation offers other avenues to demonstrate impact. We highlight stories of our grantees through “Good News” eblasts, online newsletters, “Give Magazine,” and annual reports. Anecdotally, we see an increased call volume from donors inquiring after complex community problems and exceptional nonprofits are emphasized.


Donors may have differing preferences in making use of technology to make their gifts. How has the Foundation balanced staying ahead of the curve while ensuring that the right kinds of tools are utilized to simplify the donation process? When The Denver Foundation was founded 90 years ago, the bulk of our grantmaking went to purchase wooden prosthetic legs for returning soldiers. True to our history, our job is to ensure donors have real-time tools to harness their philanthropy to meet current needs and future needs. We have a variety of options for donors to contribute, in many different ways,

including web-based grant recommendations. These tools have particularly come in handy when natural disasters (such as wildfires) have threatened our region and we have stewarded funds to take action, or when families create memorial funds. However, the reality is that the vast majority of our donor demographic aligns with the Boomer and Veteran generations. Consistent with our peers we have catered our communications to these demographics. However, this year we have taken a deep dive into the changing preferences of Millennial giving (personal connections, global view/local action, time, talent, and dollars) by offering specialized, targeted issue briefings and opportunities through relationships reinforced by social media outlets.


Can you share some innovative ways that the Foundation has used social media? During the 2014 Super Bowl week, the Seattle Foundation and The Denver Foundation squared off in a unique partnership that challenged our communities to give big. Through a viral campaign, United in Orange to Fight Childhood Hunger, The Denver Foundation raised money to help feed hungry kids through the Food Bank of the Rockies, a flagship community partner of the Broncos. Both The Denver Foundation and Food Bank of the Rockies waived all administrative charges so that every dollar raised went directly to buy food for children in need. 118 local donors contributed $26,703 in just one week; but more importantly, the donors learned about our leadership activities in ending childhood hunger in a fun and unique way. While Denver

ultimately lost the actual Super Bowl, our staff, donors, and communities had a great deal to celebrate! Another innovative approach was our Annual Report Cover Shot Photo Shot Contest. The contest solicited great images from our grantees, donors, and community partners by utilizing social media as a vehicle to expand our Facebook, Twitter, and website communication channels. Through these digital avenues, we seized the opportunity to communicate a shift in our grantmaking and embraced gamification theory. The winning selections were determined by the number of Facebook votes (30%), creativity and originality


What else would you like to add? Though donors and their families are dispersing more globally, we know that people have an increasing hunger for local connection. It is critical to strengthen the tether of donorcentric information as it intersects with emerging needs in our local communities. While tools such as Floodlight and social media platforms will be a prominent cornerstone in our efforts, The Denver Foundation will need to double down on innovative techniques such as the ones mentioned here and many more yet to be discovered. Christiano Sosa is the Director of Capacity Building at The Denver Foundation. He previously served as a Program Officer for the Gill Foundation and The Denver Foundation. Christiano is a Colorado Trust Fellow and for the last eight years, he has taught courses in “Wealth and Philanthropy” and “Resource Development” in the Masters of Nonprofit Management Program at Regis University. He currently serves as the Vice Chair of Mi Casa Resource Center Board of Directors, advancing successes of Latino families in Denver.



Interview with RAHSAAN HARRIS, Executive Director, Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy (EPIP)





Tell us about yourself and what you do? I am Rahsaan Harris, the Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy (EPIP), what we do is provide leadership development for changemakers that are committed to changing organized philanthropy to make the world a more just, equitable, and sustainable place through their grantmaking in how they move resources. We’re also committed to making sure that changemakers, no matter where they go, share the same values to make the kind of world that we want to make.

measure a leader.” Measure a leader is about helping our members develop their leadership skills to help them have more of an impact. We see social media as an important way of connecting our members to one another, aggregating knowledge, and giving them a chance to actually have a platform to share their ideas with the rest of the field. A lot of times, people who are emerging and new to philanthropy don’t necessarily have many platforms to share ideas, and provide thought leadership, but we see social media as a place where they can.


What technology and strategies are you using to promote these new ideas? In particular, the technology that we try to use is Twitter, Facebook, we’re also looking at a new platform called NationBuilder that was used by a lot of political campaigns to really reach out to people that were like minded to get them to vote. We also use Salesforce for our database, and we use Google Apps for our mail system.

What drew you to your current work? I got drawn to my current work because I was working at the Atlantic Philanthropies, a grantmaking foundation that is actually going out of business because they believe in giving while living. While I was there, working as special assistant to the President and also as a program officer, I really was able to build my experience and figure out how to leverage power through networks. EPIP was one of the places that helped me to develop my national network of people who work in foundations across the country. When I left the Atlantic Philanthropies to get my PhD and was looking for a job [after], EPIP was a logical place for me to work.


What is the MCMal campaign, and how do you think it will help the next generation of leaders? I’m using social networking and social media at EPIP to implement our program called MCMal. MCMal is “member connect and



As a nonprofit leader, you are also responsible for raising funds for your organization. What strategies have you found to be the most beneficial? In regards to trying to raise money, I think it’s important to be able to tell a good narrative. Being able to have people that understand what you’re about and getting to know you and creating relationships is what makes raising money possible. Doing great research and understanding who you’re asking is really important, but once you’ve identified who you want to ask, it’s

about relationship building, so we’re really trying to get better at articulating what our vision is, what our mission is, who we are, and why we’re valuable so people want to invest in us.


Are you using technology in fundraising and if so, what tools seem to be the most effective? In regards to technology, technology can be really important to fundraising because it helps to maintain relationships and keep people up to date. So doing things like reaching out to people periodically with email, social media, creating videos, allows us to connect with our potential funders and help them see what we’re doing on a regular basis.


Is there anything that we didn’t ask that you’d like to share? Anybody can use technology and social media. It’s not difficult, but it takes risk taking and determination that allows someone to unleash its power. You don’t lose much by taking risks and innovating in ways that are not necessarily very cost intensive, so I really encourage people to step out there, get feedback, and see what works because that’s when success comes and that’s how innovation happens.

This interview was transcribed from the video recording created by Rahsaan Harris. To view this video, please visit: Rahsaan Harris, Ph.D. has over 15 years of experience working in philanthropy and nonprofits. His experience also includes teaching high school and serving as a volunteer in the Peace Corps. Dr. Harris’ expertise is in organizational assessment, diversity and teaching. He is the executive director of EPIP, Avery’s dad, and a Spanish speaker.



CALL FOR NONPROFITS Participate in M+R and NTEN’s 2015 Benchmarks Study to help determine this year’s industry standards for online fundraising, advocacy, and list building. Now in its ninth year, the study collects data from 50+ organizations to capture the metrics and trends that nonprofits can use to gauge their current work, and help inform how to move forward with their digital strategies.

If you’d like to participate, fill out this quick survey: /participate.html.


organizations make smarter decisions about where to direct their resources, identify gaps and avoid duplication, and find opportunities to collaborate and cooperate with potential partners. So far, we’ve collected information on more than 9,000 projects from over 130 organizations in more than 150 countries, amounting to over $10.6 billion in programs. Along the way, we’ve learned a lot about how to make data matter. CHARTING A NEW COURSE IN THE WAKE OF DISASTER

Screenshot of NGO Aid Map's project list in Haiti, where this initiative began. Check it out:

Mapping Disasters and Development By Julie Montgomery and Laia Griñó, InterAction Whether it’s from seasoned practitioners or those new to international development or humanitarian relief, we hear it all the time. An NGO working on a project later learns that another organization is doing similar work nearby, or even in the same location. The government of a country receiving aid has trouble planning its budget because it doesn’t know how much funding is being provided when, or which NGOs are working in their country. One community receives an over-abundance of assistance while another with greater needs is ignored. For the past six years, InterAction has been working on the development of an interactive, user-friendly visualization tool

called NGO Aid Map that is based on the premise that access to timely, high quality, and comprehensive information is critical to making aid work better. In part, the tool is meant to help InterAction tell the story of our members, a collective community of more than 180 NGOs working to advance human dignity and fight poverty around the world. But what we’re really trying to do is help address some of the common challenges faced by organizations working to eliminate poverty or respond to humanitarian crises: duplication of efforts, lack of coordination, and inappropriately (or sub-optimally) targeted aid. By making it easy to find information on who is doing what and where, NGO Aid Map aims to help

NGO Aid Map began in Haiti. Though we had been working with our members for some time on ways to help capture and visualize their work, it was not until the devastating 2010 earthquake that the mapping initiative really took off. The scale of the earthquake, intensity of media coverage, and depth of the public response created a sense of urgency and made organizations realize the importance of sharing information on their activities. It was clear that NGOs had to demonstrate to their donors and the general public that they were willing to be held accountable. By June 2010, we had created a map that allowed our members to see not only where work in Haiti was taking place, but the nature of the work being done. Knowing that it would take time before our members were ready to contribute data on all of their work – and before we would have the capacity to handle all that data – we decided to expand the site slowly, one map at a time. This year, at our annual conference in June 2014, we finally reached a major milestone in the initiative, launching a global map covering NTEN CHANGE | DECEMBER 2014



our members’ work in all countries and all sectors. MAKING A MAP THAT WORKS

Gathering up-to-date, standardized data from over 100 NGOs is no small feat. Getting here has required us to continuously focus on two things: understanding our members’ motivations for sharing data, and ensuring the quality of the data on the site so it is trusted and used. Building political buy-in was the very first step. From the beginning, we’ve made it a point to work closely with our members, who we’ve consulted on everything from data standards to the functionality of the tool. We knew from previous experience that just demanding information wouldn’t work; members had to feel comfortable if we were going to get data with the level of detail we were asking for. We had to build their trust and help them understand the risks and benefits for sharing information. They needed to know that the time and effort spent providing this data was worthwhile. We’ve learned that most NGOs are willing to share data for three main reasons: 1) To raise the visibility of their work, both as individual organizations and as part of the larger NGO community 2) To demonstrate their commitment to transparency 3) To save time, by giving organizations a resource to which they can direct their key constituents and donors. In addition to understanding motivations, we also spend a lot of time thinking about what we can do to improve the site’s data Images on right: Screenshots from the NGO Aid Map site. To learn more, visit



quality. An online visualization tool is only as good as the data, and good intentions must be married with good data collection protocols. TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE, MEASURE IMPACT

In the end, NGO Aid Map’s measure of success is not how much data is gathered, but whether that data is used to improve how development is done. Like so many worthwhile things, that is a very hard thing to measure. We do know a few things, though. From Google

Analytics, we know that people from countries all over the world are visiting the site, and in November alone, we received more than 10,000 visits. From surveys, we also know a little bit about who those people are: most are from NGOs, followed by universities or think tanks, the private sector, and donor agencies. User feedback suggests that NGO Aid Map is a powerful tool and “discussion starter,” helping NGOs and their funders demystify the complex web of international aid.

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Provide up-to-date detailed proje ct d including donor information, budg et and more.


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These anecdotes have proved invaluable as we look for ways to improve NGO Aid Map as a tool for organizations to do more and do better work in the field.

5 CORE PRINCIPLES OF NGO AID MAP 1. Make it as easy as possible to share data. If it’s not easy, organizations won’t keep providing information, and there is little value to a map that never gets updated.


2.Present the data in a way that makes it simple to understand and use. NGO Aid Map is designed to make it easy to find the information people are looking for, to help them make the decisions they need to make. 3. Make the data open and accessible. We know there are many ways to slice and dice data. That’s why we’ve made it possible to download the data on every page of the site. 4. Do no harm. While we are strong advocates of openness, we realize there can be negative consequences to sharing data. We let organizations know that they should only share information if it is safe to do so, and review data that has been submitted to make sure that there isn’t anything that could put someone in harm’s way. 5.Collaborate with like-minded organizations also working to make more information available. NGO Aid Map is just one piece of the puzzle. By working with organizations who also see the value in open data, we hope to create a more complete picture of what is happening with international aid.

In the case of Haiti, for example, one of our members reported that NGO Aid Map helped them “find out more about the ‘spread’ and allocation of aid throughout Haiti,” and better understand the “obstacles and issues faced by other organizations.”


data, data

We still have a long way to go before we have information on all of our members’ projects. And we realize that, even if we did have this, information alone is not enough to make development better, but it is a necessary step for long-term success. The NGO community is stronger when it works together. By working with NGOs to help them collectively harness the benefits of new mapping and other data visualization technologies, we can help build the tools today that will help address the humanitarian emergencies and aid efforts of tomorrow.

Others have reported using NGO Aid Map to inform proposals, to share information about their work with governments and funders, or to find out who might be responding to a disaster or supporting certain groups (such as people living with disabilities).



Julie Montgomery is the director of innovation and learning and leads InterAction’s mapping efforts. Laia Griñó is a senior manager for transparency, accountability and results and leads InterAction’s transparency work.

Embed maps on your website, add pictures and videos to projects, and use the map to promote your work via social media.



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Rethinking the PDF: Designing Publications for a Mobile World By James Murdock, Carnegie Corporation of New York The use of smartphones and tablet computers reached new heights in 2014, according to the analytics service comScore Inc., accounting for 60% of all online traffic—a 10% jump over the previous year. Foundations and other nonprofits are seeing similar growth. Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY), for instance, saw the percentage of its website visitors using smartphones double in 2014 and, when combined with the number of tablet users, expand to one-fifth of total online traffic. With these numbers in mind, nonprofits know the need for building websites that seamlessly adapt to smaller screens. NTEN has published plenty of resources during the past few years on the basics of responsive design: a coding method that enables websites to serve content and navigation appropriately sized to a user’s device. CCNY, for its part, is in the midst of a major website overhaul that will include responsive design. Beyond responsive design, though, often overlooked are the exciting opportunities that mobile devices—with their touch screens and built-in multimedia capabilities—offer for rethinking how normally static content can be enriched and repackaged. This is especially true for rethinking the design of magazines, annual reports, and other print publications. Publications comprise the



largest portion of content on CCNY’s website: a library of more than 470 periodicals, strategy papers, and other documents available as PDFs. The PDF is great because all devices can display the format without needing extra software. However, its usability experience on a smartphone is less than ideal: swiping between pages is difficult and documents often fail to size appropriately to different screens. CCNY’s communications team saw the PDF’s limitations as an opportunity for innovation. Rethinking publication design for the mobile world can be as deluxe or as basic as time and money allow. At the “Cadillac” end of the spectrum, organizations can hire teams of coders and graphic designers to build a custom mobile app. Not only is this approach costly—think six figures—it is time

“Often overlooked are the exciting opportunities that mobile devices offer for rethinking how normally static content can be enriched and repackaged.”

consuming and, given the relatively small number of eventual users, likely unwarranted. At the opposite end of the spectrum, organizations can simply make their PDFs do more. The Adobe Creative Suite, for instance, allows designers to hyperlink content and enrich it with audio and video in such a way that the PDF comes alive and feels more app-like. While much cheaper than building an actual app, this approach does require that someone be versed in using the Creative Suite’s extra features— and at the end of the day, of course, you’re still dealing with a PDF. In rethinking its own publications, CCNY decided to purchase a service called MAZ that effectively combines both approaches. For its pilot project, the communications team tackled Carnegie Results, a periodical that provides an in-depth look at the foundation’s grantees: in this case, the National Security Archive (NSA). The NSA is a clearinghouse that uses Freedom of Information Act requests to declassify U.S. government documents, such as transcripts of Oval Office conversations during the Cuban Missile crisis, and makes these materials available online. The print version of Carnegie Results could only accommodate a few images from the NSA’s archives, but the e-publication version in MAZ holds more—an entire gallery, in fact. The MAZ version also includes streaming video files and, using a feature unique to MAZ, allows readers to view websites and other related content without leaving the magazine. MAZ also enables sophisticated social sharing of content from the publication: the ability to instantly capture a

screenshot from within the magazine, for instance, and save it or share to social media sites. Creating a digital publication in MAZ is as simple as uploading a PDF to the publishing platform and then adding a layer of hyperlinks onto the PDF. MAZ’s reading app and content delivery system, though, turn the base-layer PDF into something far more engaging. Readers can easily navigate within a publication, whether swiping pages or zooming, and the experience feels natively designed for mobile. Publishing platforms such as Zinio, qmags, and Calaméo offer another, simpler approach to jazzing up the PDF. These are web browser-based document viewers that replicate, in digital form, the three-dimensional experience of turning a magazine’s pages. Depending on the service, additional features can include: • hyperlinking • ability to bookmark pages • printer-friendly versions • basic social sharing capabilities • usage analytics Zinio, among the oldest and most sophisticated of the document viewing platforms, also offers a mobile app. While reading a publication in Zinio’s app is a more elegant and feature-rich experience than reading a PDF on a mobile device, these document viewers lack the full interactivity and multimedia capabilities of MAZ. They are potentially easier for publishers to set up, though, and they’re cheaper. Still another possibility is using a platform-specific tool such as Apple’s iBooks Author. As its name implies, this program creates epublications for Apple devices. The free software is easy to use— no coding experience needed—and

Screenshots from CCNY’s publications on MAZ.

it creates an attractive product that’s especially well suited to presenting highly visual content. New York’s Museum of Modern Art, for instance, has published several gorgeous iBooks filled with images from its collections. Readers can pinch and zoom into images as well as play embedded audio and video files. The downside to iBooks, however, is obvious: it’s only available to Apple users. However nonprofits decide to do it, the advantage of moving beyond the PDF is simple: rethinking publications for an increasingly mobile world gives audiences content in forms better suited to their reading habits. In a

world where everyone online is competing for attention, keeping readers satisfied is crucial to keeping them engaged. As Carnegie Corporation of New York’s Director of Digital Strategies, James Murdock oversees the development of online tools to disseminate the work of the foundation and its grantees. He has also served as Director of Multimedia Content for The New York Public Library, where he designed mobile and video products, such as the iPad app Biblion, to publicize special collections.



Tech Support: 6 Tips for Online Board Engagement ByJeanne Allen, Jeanne Allen Consulting, Instructor/ Manager, Duke University Nonprofit Management Program, Editorial Board, NTEN: Change Journal Social media and other tech tools are embedded in the communications and fundraising strategies of many nonprofits. Yet it is still a fledgling in the boardroom. Encouraging board members to use social media and other online platforms as part of their duties can set the tone for a culture of engagement, the magic that can be missing from many boards. Providing opportunities for a board to practice, or to learn new skills, can help make a board a magnet for the “creatives” and the innovative thinkers. This article examines six common responsibilities of boards, and how social media and other tools can be used to engage both your board and your constituents.


Beyond the conference call use tech to make committee meetings more engaging: Consider holding committee meetings via Google Hangouts. It’s free, members can meet from home or office, and documents can



be shared. Find 1-2 board members who are familiar with this or willing to be your early adopters, and get them to take the lead. This allows board members a chance to experiment, to learn a new skill, or to play a lead role in moving the board forward.


Attend all board meetings & functions, such as special events: While at the meeting or event, have a “selfie” moment: Ask all board members to take a picture and tag it/post it to the organizational Facebook or Instagram account. Brainstorm fun or provocative comments to post about the meeting or the eventand do it live in the board meeting. If location is important to your events (ex. museums, animal shelters) use a geosocial platform, such as FourSquare, and have board members check-in. This can create a sense of belongingness, and a culture of sharing."


Be informed about the organization’s mission, services, policies, and programs:

Consider posting your Board Orientation PPT on Slideshare and asking new board members to review the slides prior to the meeting. This follows the educational model of “Flipping the Training” by sending the material out ahead of time for individual review and then utilizing the group time for discussion. Ask each new and returning board member to bring three questions, concerns, or opportunities to the next meeting as a result of viewing the orientation. This allows board members to spend the time together in conversation, and enables the new board member the opportunity to be proactive in learning about the board. Additional benefits of using Slideshare to share public information about your organization: potential funders and new board members can research your organization, and the exposure could also help optimize your SEO. Search in Slideshare for “nonprofit board orientations” to find other good, and not-so-good, examples of board orientations that are visible for year-round information sharing, branding, and improving your own orientation. Example #1: The board orientation for the Highlands Ranch Community Association is quite comprehensive at 93 slides. It shows a range of organization information that can be shared ahead of time such as policies, programs, and organization chart. Example #2: Corner Health Center in Ypsilanti, Michigan, posted their 12- slide board orientation. The content is very simple, and there appears to have

been an audio link at one point. On the last slide, there is a link to SurveyMonkey. Board members could be asked to list their 3 questions, 3 concerns, and more, which are then compiled for the meeting.


Review agenda & materials prior to board meetings: Sharing your board agenda publicly, such as via Google Docs, could perhaps make the board feel more accountable. In the example linked below, the information shared is not private info, but it still gives a way for your constituents to learn more about your organization as well as for board members to prepare for what is on the agenda. Example: Life Academy’s board agenda


Inform others about the organization: Bring fun into the board meeting. Here are three ways for Board Members to use YouTube, Pinterest, or Twitter to tell the world about the great work of your nonprofit. • Create 30-second simple videos with each board member talking about why they are on your board and then post the videos on YouTube. Smart phones have all the capability that you need. Keep it short and simple! Make it a group project and let Board members brainstorm various statements and then do the taping right there in the board room. Authenticity and personality can help the videos shine. Example: American Red Cross Cape Fear (NC) chapter posted a video of a board member explaining why he is on the board. • Many nonprofits are using Pinterest to share info about their nonprofit. Many of your board

“Providing opportunities for a board to practice, or to learn new skills, can help make a board a magnet for the “creatives” and the innovative thinkers.” members may be active on Pinterest and ready to share stories for the public. Search “nonprofit boards” for pages with links to additional information. Example: Make-A-Wish Foundation, Phoenix AZ Create a “board” on your nonprofit’s Pinterest page that is specific to your Board and your Board Development plan. • Consider hosting a Tweet chat during your Board meeting. Announce to your members or constituents what the topic will be. Ask for their input into the strategic plan or trends that are impacting your mission. For first time success, make sure that some members from outside the boardroom will join the conversation. Have all the board members participate together so that they can learn together. Limit the duration to a short period of time, at first, perhaps only 30 minutes during the meeting. Project the tweets so that all can see. Make sure that all involved know that this is a first time experiment to set a tone of learning.


Suggest possible nominees to the board: Board members are responsible for recruiting new board members. Ask all board members to update their LinkedIn

profiles with their affiliation with your nonprofit. They could also post updates about their involvement, or new directions, not just ask for money via these networks. Posting your organization’s name helps with board recruitment, as potential board members might like to know more about the board membership prior to joining. Example: LinkedIn Board Connect tells how to use LinkedIn for board recruitment. Go to the site and click on "find board members.” Want a more engaged board? Lead a brainstorming session with the board on how to use social media to meet the ongoing responsibilities of the board. Have board members select one or two ideas to begin. Try, fail, experiment, and learn what works in your nonprofit. Have fun with social media and various platforms. Engage your board in creating a new culture of learning. Jeanne Allen focuses her work in the intersection of board governance, technology and nonprofit strategy. Her work includes Instructor/Manager in the Duke University Nonprofit Management Certificate Program (NC) and leading her consultant practice with nonprofits (Jeanne Allen Consulting). Jeanne is a BoardSource Certified Governance Trainer and a newswire contributor for Nonprofit Quarterly.




Green events in action (clockwise from left): Using reusable native potted plants for stage dressing, Maya Lin delivers keynote address at LF14; ILFI connects their attendees with local Portland food trucks for lunch, and uses sustainable GoBox lunch ware; Attendees explore green roofing materials at LF2014.

Making Green Events the Norm INTERVIEW WITH JULIE TONROY, INTERNATIONAL LIVING FUTURE INSTITUTE, BY EILEIGH DOINEAU, NTEN As the International Living Future Institute (the Institute) seeks to transform people’s relationship with the environment, moving us toward a future that is socially just, culturally rich, and ecologically restorative – How is this mission reflected internally with your team? Our staff has internalized our organizational mission, and we are all passionate about the issues we work on. Each one of us came on board at the Institute with a background in and a commitment to, sustainability. As such, we have an environmentally conscious staff that understands the need to push the envelope and develop the critical path for building ecologically restorative communities. 34


We’re committed to sweeping change as opposed to incremental ones. It’s amazing to be surrounded by people who are excited and engaged by the work we do. What are some social and environmental practices you have adopted within your organization? How has technology played a role? As the body that oversees the Declare and Just label programs for manufactured products, we have a duty and obligation to walk the talk in our own purchasing habits. Therefore, we don’t purchase supplies and materials with toxins (or “red list” ingredients) in our workplaces. Our Seattle headquarters office is designed as a net zero building –

widely considered the greenest office building on the planet, complete with composting toilets, on-site rainwater harvesting, and complete onsite solar power generation. In order to operate optimally, these systems require extensive technology reporting and behavior modification in response to the data. The Institute organizes a lot of events – from 6-hour workshops to multi-day conferences – all over the country and the world. How does your organization hold events while staying true to your mission and vision? We work hard to host events that are thoughtfully crafted from the outset. We work diligently with our venues to ensure that our mission statement and principals are reflected in the event design, including sourcing local, sustainable, and organic food for our meals, creating a swag-free registration experience for attendees,

sourcing native plants for stage and table decor, removing bottled water, as well as single-serve packaging, disposable cutlery, plate, and drinkware, and we additionally write in our contracts the request that the venue both recycles and composts waste to divert our event waste from landfill. We also partner with external organizations to offset the carbon impacts generated by our conferences. What is your advice to nonprofits on how to create sustainable change in their office or at their events? We try to use carrots instead of sticks. For example, the Institute provides employees with a monthly stipend for non-automotive work commute options – whether public transit, walking, or biking to the office. Financial incentives tied to positive actions are a great way to break bad habits. I think the Institute uses this approach on a number of issues related to our mission. Instead of dwelling on the negatives, we ask “Why wouldn’t we want to create buildings and communities that are beautiful, highly efficient, and nontoxic?” Motivation is a great accelerator, so working to find the key to it is important. As far as creating more sustainable events, again, I believe focusing on upsides generates the most traction. I believe the best tactic is to elaborate on the financial and social upsides of creating a more sustainable event— for example, convey the cost savings


to your organization and to attendees when you don’t provide expensive print programs. And, illustrate for attendees that they are a part of the solution through participating in an event where sustainability is a prime directive. For internal conversations, ask your staff if your attendees really need another conference bag, a printed conference program, a branded squeeze ball, a plastic pen, or paper flyers that are likely to be tossed. Perhaps create a better interactive digital space for these messages. For example, at the Institute, we have largely eliminated printing at our events through the use of mobile apps, and we had a 90% adoption rate with our mobile app rollout. We do still produce a print program on 100% post-consumer paper using soy-based inks, but it is a minimalist, passport-sized piece on a sustainable lanyard that doubles as the attendee badge. Our program is simple and well designed, so it’s a benefit instead of a drawback. In terms of the onsite event footprint, encourage attendees to purchase offsets for their travel or seek partners or sponsors to help. Also, make sure to write in sustainability criteria to your venue agreements and select those who have already made efforts to reduce the impacts of events on waste, water, food, energy, and building materials. As an event planner, what do you find to be the greatest obstacle to achieving a truly green event? What do you propose as a solution? The largest sources of the event carbon footprint are typically the attendee travel and the food. I think the biggest challenge for events by far is food sourcing. We can always partner with carbon offset entities to

“INSTEAD OF DWELLING ON THE NEGATIVES, WE ASK ‘WHY WOULDN’T WE WANT TO CREATE BUILDINGS AND COMMUNITIES THAT ARE BEAUTIFUL, HIGHLY EFFICIENT, AND NONTOXIC?’” minimize the impact of attendee travel, but we are in a more challenging position with regard to food sourcing. The average plate of food in America travels 1,500 miles and is primarily sourced from industrial agricultural models because of the exclusive relationships at venues. Many purveyors do not necessarily consider regional, seasonal, sustainable food options as the preferred model. It takes effort and resources to put sustainable food on the event tables. Events by their very nature are fraught with environmental challenges, and I hope that events managers heed the call for sustainable events. It’s when the conversation shifts from an irregular position to a standard request that food and procurement will change, the cleaning agents will change, and that we will all see healthier, sustainable plans in place wherever we go with our events. JULIE TONROY is the Conferences and Events Manager at the International Living Future Institute, the creators of the Living Building Challenge, the world’s most rigorous building standard. She produces events for more than 2,500 people a year that promote a socially just, culturally rich, ecologically restorative future. She holds a B.A. in urban studies and planning from San Francisco State University.




Jeanne Allen Consultant, Jeanne Allen Consulting, & Instructor/ Manager, Duke University Nonprofit Management Program

What is your connection with the “nptech” (nonprofit technology) community? My career has been in the nonprofit world as a non-techie. About 5 years ago, I attended the NCTech4Good conference, which is a NTEN-affiliated local group. I was completely transformed by all the new ideas, and possibilities for making strategic changes. Afterwards, I attended the monthly meetups, getting regular exposure to all sorts of innovation and the challenges that accompany that. I was hooked, and continue to play a leadership role with our local group in planning our annual NCTech4Good conference. As a result, I developed and teach the course on Social Media Strategy for Nonprofits in the Duke University Nonprofit Management Certificate Program, and lead workshops for nonprofit boards on integrating technology and social media into their work. Why do you think it’s important for nonprofit leaders to think about technology strategically? We need to strategically think not just about the technology itself, but also about how these changes will impact work flow, relationships, outcomes, and the nature of the problems that we seek to impact. Every function and



every person involved in the nonprofit sector is impacted by technology changes – and that deserves bigpicture thinking. What was your ‘ah-ha’ moment? NTEN partnered with NPower in Charlotte, North Carolina for a workshop on “Becoming a Datadriven Organization” in June 2011. More than 150 nonprofit folks stuffed the room. The day overflowed with amazing examples and stories of nonprofits moving into using technology, and tools, and giving meaning to all the accumulating data. A group of colleagues drove from Durham, a couple of hours away. We talked all the way home about the implications and how we could use the information. How has nonprofit leadership changed as a result of technology, from your perspective? Technology is definitely more integrated into organizational culture, not just the database for capturing names. Increasingly, I hear conversations about measuring impact as it relates to social media efforts. Also, technology has made managing nonprofits a much more complex challenge, with more tools and more possibilities.

Why are you serving on the NTEN Change Editorial Committee – what makes you want to volunteer? When I became a member of NTEN, I looked for ways to get more involved and to increase my connections to this community. I love talking to nonprofit folks and uncovering their stories and examples that can be shared in the journal. Whenever I hear someone describing a project that they’re doing, or sharing what they just learned about technology in their nonprofit, I ask them if they’d like to contribute to the next journal. It’s great fun to give people a chance to share their stories about their nonprofit. What’s the one technology tool that you wouldn’t want to go without in your daily work? On a daily basis, I use my trusty laptop and smartphone. I remain amazed at the technology that is available to me via my smartphone. It will be so fun to see what evolves next as the generations who are growing up with smartphones push the limits and create new possibilities.

We need to strategically think not just about the technology itself, but also about how these changes will impact work flow, relationships, outcomes, and the nature of the problems that we seek to impact.

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NTEN: Change | December 2014  

Best of 2014: Cultivating Leadership

NTEN: Change | December 2014  

Best of 2014: Cultivating Leadership

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