Page 1

CHANGE A Quarterly Journal for Nonprofit Leaders · June 2014


PLUS: The Missing Middle: Neglecting Middle Donors is Costing Nonprofits Millions by Alia McKee Crowdfunding: Tomorrow’s Fundraising Models Today by Miriam Kagan and David J. Neff Changing the Conversation About Overhead by Rick Cohen Bitcoin: A Fundraising Digital Disruptor by Jason Shim


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

NKD - Neuwirth/Krayna Design

Editorial Committee Members

Jeanne Allen Manager/Instructor, Duke University Nonprofit Management Program

Chris Bernard Editorial and Communications Director, Idealware

Melanie Bower Client Services Manager, Social Accountability Accreditation Services

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

Cindy Leonard Consulting Team Leader, Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management

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

Rebecca Reyes Communications Manager, Everyday Democracy

Cover Art: Ashley Paulisick— 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: AttributionShareAlike 3.0 Unported. Example Attribution text: “First published in NTEN:Change (, June 2014, CC BY-SA 3.0 ( by-sa/3.0/).” More information about the journal can be found at



In Faridabad, India, I once led a presentation about nonprofit fundraising best practices with social media. Attendees included representatives from new initiatives that were run by one or two individuals. Surprisingly, the group included Tibetan monks who wanted to learn more about fundraising but were not using social media or the Internet. At first, I thought my presentation was moot. However, the truth was that regardless of the channel being discussed—in this case social media —fundraising best practices remain the same: organizations need to continually cultivate and maintain relationships, demonstrate effectiveness and impact, and acknowledge donors for their support. In this issue of NTEN: Change, we take a closer look at some of the latest trends and topics at the intersection of technology and fundraising: the billion dollar crowdfunding industry, Bitcoin opportunities for nonprofits, and how to reframe the conversation about overhead so nonprofits can get the funding they need for technology. We also go behind the scenes with successful nonprofits: Kiva, Surfrider Foundation, GlobalGiving, FundsforNGOs, and Urban Ministries of Durham’s imaginative

Names for Change initiative. We also take a peek into two recent publications: The Missing Middle and Mobile for Good. The key takeaway from these articles: People and relationships still raise money; tools and channels help you do that. Think about the value your organization brings to the broader sector you work in and make sure you consistently communicate that. At the end of the presentation in Faridabad, one of the Tibetan monks imparted his key takeaway: “mission driven means no ego.” It’s true. It’s not about you or your organization, but about how your organization meets its intended mission and contributes to the greater good... and donors are the some of the best ones to judge.

The key takeaway from these articles: Think about the value your organization brings to the broader sector you work in and make sure you consistently communicate that.







the “Overhead Myth” and “Real Talk About Real Costs.” Learn how your nonprofit can take action.

Reinventing the Ask: Fundraising in the Digital Age


Bitcoin: A Fundraising Digital Disruptor


by Jason Shim, Pathways to Education Bitcoin presents numerous opportunities for nonprofits. Is it right for yours? PAGE 16 Changing the Conversation About Overhead

by Rick Cohen, National Council of Nonprofits The conversation about overhead is changing, thanks to campaigns such as

Crowdfunding: Tomorrow’s Fundraising Models Today

by Miriam Kagan, Kimbia and David J. Neff, PwC Digital & Lights. Camera. Help. Explore the first ever crowdsourced “Crowdfunding Bill of Rights” and learn how nonprofits are investing in crowdfunding. INTERVIEWS: PAGE 26 PAGE 30






by Josh Hirsch, The Weiss School and Dave Tinker, CFRE, ACHIEVA It is more important than ever for a nonprofit’s communication strategy to be clear and concise with their donors and stakeholders.


PAGE 15 Infographic: Cracking the Crowdfunding Code

Crowdfunding raised over $5.1 billion worldwide in 2013. EDITORIAL COMMITTEE PROFILES:

Wiebke Herding & Sophia Guevara PAGE 36

Q&A: The seven questions we always ask about nonprofit technology. NTEN VOICES: PAGE 43


Interview with Food & Water Watch by Eileigh Doineau, NTEN PAGE 41

Donor Stewardship

Think beyond dollars to donor cultivation, by Megan Keane, NTEN

PAGE 8 Infographic: The 2014 Nonprofit Benchmarks Report


This year’s industry standards for online fundraising, advocacy, and list building.

We asked the NTEN Community: What’s an example of a great online fundraising campaign?

Community Buzz




CHANGE A Quarterly Journal for Nonprofit Leaders · June 2014


Reinventing the Ask: Fundraising in the Digital Age by Josh Hirsch, The Weiss School and Dave Tinker, CFRE, ACHIEVA (page 6) It is more important than ever for a nonprofit organization’s communication strategy to be clear and concise with their donors and stakeholders. An integral part of any nonprofit organization’s communication strategy has to be diversification in online presence. Over the past five years, there has been exponential growth in the ever-evolving existence of social media and how it can benefit fundraising in the nonprofit sector. With wellwritten copy and appealing visuals, you can capture the attention of your donors and stakeholders.

Infographic: 2014 Nonprofit Benchmarks Report


PLUS: The Missing Middle: Neglecting Middle Donors is Costing Nonprofits Millions by Alia McKee


Crowdfunding: Tomorrow’s Fundraising Models Today by Miriam Kagan and David J. Neff Changing the Conversation About Overhead by Rick Cohen Bitcoin: A Fundraising Digital Disruptor by Jason Shim

how organizations just like yours are investing in (page 8) crowdfunding. Now in its eighth year, M+R and NTEN’s 2014 Benchmarks Study crunches the numbers from 53 nonprofits to define Infographic: Cracking the Crowdfunding Code (page 15) this year’s industry standards for online fundraising, In 2013, crowdfunding raised an estimated $5.1 billion advocacy, and list building. Check out what we found this worldwide. But how much money is raised per nonprofit, year, and where your nonprofit stacks up. and what are some of the best practices out there? In this The Missing Middle: Neglecting Middle Donors infographic, craigsconnects compiles giving data from is Costing Nonprofits Millions some of the biggest charity-focused crowdfunding by Alia McKee, Sea Change Strategies (page 9) platforms. Ignoring middle donors – the most committed part of a nonprofit donor pool – is costing nonprofits millions of Changing the Conversation About Overhead dollars. Based on findings from a recent report, this article by Rick Cohen, National Council of Nonprofits (page 16) offers three tips for how organizations are bridging the Funding for technology projects has always been difficult functional and philosophical gap that exists between to come by. Part of the reason for that has been a longdirect marketing and major gifts fundraising. held bias against the appearance of overhead expenses Crowdfunding: Tomorrow’s Fundraising being too high. Find out how the conversation is Models Today changing, thanks to campaigns such as the “Overhead by Miriam Kagan, Kimbia and David J. Neff, PwC Myth” and “Real Talk About Real Costs.” Then learn how Digital & Lights. Camera. Help. (page 12) your nonprofit can start educating your donors and Crowdfunding is the newest tech wave in the fundraising funders, and advocate for the funding to advance your ocean, a conversation that’s becoming impossible not to nonprofit’s mission through technology. have. To have the right conversations, and bring the right teams to the table, you need to fully understand this Bitcoin: A Fundraising Digital Disruptor by Jason Shim, Pathways to Education (page 18) growing fundraising trend. Explore the first ever Bitcoin presents an opportunity for nonprofits to adapt crowdsourced “Crowdfunding Bill or Rights” and learn



to an emerging global payment system, develop new revenue streams, and tap into new demographics. Learn if Bitcoin may be right for your organization.

Visualizing Transparency: The “Names for

Change” Campaign, Interview with Bryan Gilmer, Urban Ministries of Durham (page 20) Urban Ministries of Durham’s (UMD) imaginative “Names for Change” campaign teaches about poverty and homelessness by offering the naming rights to scores of different items—from tampons to cans of vegetables— that UMD uses to rebuild lives. In this interview with their Director of Marketing & Development, learn how UMD’s commitment to transparency inspired this campaign.

Riding a Wave of Change: Interview with

long-term impact, and the key role of tech in GlobalGiving’s work.

Book Spotlight: “Mobile for Good” by Heather Mansfield, Nonprofit Tech for Good (page 34 An excerpt from the newly released book, Mobile for Good: A How-To Fundraising Guide for Nonprofits by Heather Mansfield, which is based on the premise that all communications and fundraising are now mobile and social. Written as a step-by-step how-to guide, Mobile for Good details how to write, implement, and maintain a successful mobile and social fundraising strategy for your nonprofit.

Editorial Committee Profiles: Wiebke Herding

& Sophia Guevara (page 36) Chad Nelson and Nancy Eiring, Surfrider Foundation Wiebke Herding from On:Subject Communications & (page 22) Sophia Guevara from the Emerging Practitioners in As one of the first nonprofits with a website, the Surfrider Philanthropy answer the seven questions we always ask Foundation has come a long way since its founding in about nonprofit technology. 1984. In the past eight years they have had over 260 Tech Support: Holiday Fundraising is Not Just coastal victories, benefitting greatly from being early for Year-End (page 39) adopters in the e-activist space. In this interview, we by Sue Anne Reed, The Engage Group explore how they strategically leverage both online and Holiday fundraising at the end of the year is a critical time offline engagement to win campaigns and meet their for nonprofits. For some, it can bring in as much as 40% mission. of their online revenue. But during this holiday rush, nonprofits’ appeals can get lost in the crowd. Your Bridging the Knowledge Gap: Interview with Sameer Zuhad, FundsforNGOs (page 26) nonprofit can stand out by engaging throughout the year Sameer Zuhad started as an informal with donors and using holidays as an opportunity to blog in Kathmandu after not being able to find a single connect and raise awareness...and hopefully give compelling reasons to donate! online fundraising resource for NGOs in developing countries. Six years later, Sameer works with a team of 30 NTEN Voices: Donor Stewardship (page 41) staff members and a community of over 100,000 people Looking to cook up some fundraising success? NTEN’s across 150+ countries. Learn more about Sameer’s Megan Keane explains how and why to think beyond journey, and the unique way that he has funded this dollars to donor cultivation, and shares examples from entire operation. different nonprofits. First Mover Advantage, Interview with Kate NTEN Voices: Sustainability, Interview with Kleinschmidt, Kiva (page 30) Sarah Alexander, Food & Water Watch (page 43) Can you believe Kiva has been around for almost a Do you practice what you preach? Food & Water Watch decade? In this interview, Kate Kleinschmidt, Senior (FWW) talks to NTEN’s Eileigh Doineau about how they Manager of Online Marketing at Kiva, shares reflections strive to embody their own values of environmental on Kiva’s past, present, and future as the first online sustainability at their office. From using technology to lending platform—from the tools they use internally to help far-flung teammates collaborate, to working with a the ways they keep donors and lenders engaged. union print house, FWW reminds us that even small changes can have a big impact. Catalyzing a Marketplace of Ideas, Interview with Kevin Conroy, GlobalGiving (page 32) NTEN Voices: Community Buzz (page 45) With $107m+ raised since 2002, GlobalGiving is We asked the NTEN Community on social media: What’s expanding the amount of fundraising dollars worldwide an example of a great online fundraising campaign? through their global crowdfunding platform. In this See which nonprofits left an impression, and get some interview, their Chief Product Officer shares the elements inspiration for your upcoming campaign. of a successful crowdfunding project, how they measure





e live in a hyper-paced world. Our attention spans have become non-existent. There is an overwhelming need to be connected through our smartphones, tablets, and computers. It is more important than ever for a nonprofit organization’s communication strategy to be clear and concise with their donors and stakeholders, and to start integrating channels such as



social media into their comprehensive communications strategy. A recent Pew Report found that today’s Internet consumers live in a world of “instant gratification” and “quick fixes.” This means that nonprofit organizations do not have time to waste in delivering their message. Whether the intention is to educate donors and stakeholders about the latest conditions in

pediatric cancer research, to inform them of the ongoing genocide in Darfur, or to issue a call to action to donate in order to unleash the full potential of gifted students; a nonprofit organization’s communication has to be timely and to the point. Know the story you are trying to tell, and how it impacts your donors and stakeholders. This is critical to your communications strategy. This is the 140-character world that is our reality. It is our constant. Forget the old thought of having a two-minute rehearsed elevator speech with the hopes of sharing this with a potential donor. How do you measure performance and communicate your successes in accomplishing goals? How do you inspire the community to engage in

supporting your nonprofit organization’s mission through donations, volunteerism, and collaboration on projects? Donors and stakeholders want to know the differences you are making and what positive change you are able to accomplish over time. With wellwritten copy and appealing visuals, you can capture the attention of your donors and stakeholders, even if it is for a moment in time. Sometimes this brief interaction is all that it takes for a donor to act upon your desired intent. An integral part of any nonprofit organization’s communication strategy has to be diversification in online presence. Over the past five years, there has been exponential growth in the ever-evolving existence of social media and how it can benefit fundraising in the nonprofit sector. This cannot be ignored. If a nonprofit organization has yet to establish a foothold in the social media world already, they need to do so immediately. If your organization is not on social media, no one is speaking in that space on your behalf. You may not have a social media presence, but people may be talking about you on social media behind your virtual back, or even misrepresenting your organization.


behalf of your organization to ensure your overall brand integrity. Today’s donor, with an already diminished attention span, needs to be able to reach out and touch your nonprofit organization whenever is

“TODAY’S DONOR, WITH AN ALREADY DIMINISHED ATTENTION SPAN, NEEDS TO BE ABLE TO REACH OUT AND TOUCH YOUR NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION WHENEVER IS CONVENIENT.” convenient for them and they so desire. Your online presence is your brand. It is your voice. It is a 24-hour billboard showcasing who you are and what you do. Your online presence goes beyond just having an aesthetically pleasing and functioning website, but having an existence on multiple social media platforms. For any nonprofit organization that is trying to capture the attention of donors, investing time and resources into having your nonprofit organization represented on social media is imperative. One such example is a Facebook page. This is where your nonprofit organization’s brand is alive and interactive. Whenever I meet with a potential donor or new family to The Weiss School, I always refer them to not only visit our website but our Facebook Page, as well. It allows them to get a sense of the school’s heartbeat and personality. Setting up an account on Facebook or Twitter only requires an email address and a few minutes of your

time. Make sure you have your logo and a compelling image ready to upload. Facebook and Twitter even have easy to follow instructions and pointers for new users. Once you have your accounts set up, make sure to find your constituents on the platforms, friend or follow them, and engage with them. Announce that you have set up your profiles so others can start following and interacting with you. And most importantly, make sure that you have a strategy in place for posting on these channels. The last thing you want is to set up channels without a content plan to make sure that they are up to date. With a multitude of tools readily available at a moments notice, an educated and well-informed donor expects constant access to information about your nonprofit organization. They need this in order to make informed decisions about what nonprofit organization(s) to support. In order to accomplish this, make sure your nonprofit organization’s communications strategy is defined and well thought out; so you are able to stand on your soap box, scream from the highest mountains, and share with the world the great impact and inspiration you have on your community everyday. JOSH HIRSCH, MS (@JoshHirsch1) is Director of Development at The Weiss School in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. He serves as Marketing and Communications Chair for the Association of Fundraising Professionals Palm Beach County Chapter and is a proud member of the #AFPeeps. DAVE TINKER, CFRE (@davethecfre) is Vice President of Advancement at ACHIEVA in Pittsburgh, PA and adjunct professor of informatics in the Master of Information Strategy, Systems and Technology program at Muskingum University. He has written extensively and spoken internationally on social media, fundraising, and nonprofit management.





Number of advocacy actions

Number of online gifts

Email messages

41,755,332 subscribers





Email Fundraising



12% Open Rate

Click-through Rate

Response Rate

11% Drop in Email Fundraising Response Rates

Email Advocacy




13% Open Rate

Click-through Rate

Response Rate

Drop in Email Advocacy Response Rates

For every

1,000 email subscribers, nonprofits have...

199 Facebook fans

110 Twitter followers 13 Mobile subscribers

Average number of posts per day

37% Facebook

Annual Growth



5.3 Twitter Annual Growth

Now in it’s eighth year, the data compares findings from the previous year. View the full infographic and report: 8



M SSING M DDLE Neglecting Middle Donors is Costing Nonprofits Millions by Alia McKee Principal, Sea Change Strategies




—one you might not even know exists—could be costing your nonprofit millions of dollars. It’s a functional and philosophical gap between direct marketing and major gifts fundraising. My colleague Mark Rovner and I call it the “missing middle.”

Who Are Middle Donors and Why Should You Care? Middle donors—donors who give more than direct marketing donors, but who don’t qualify for a major gift portfolio—are an extraordinarily valuable, yet typically ignored part of the nonprofit donor pool. In a typical organization these donors give between $1,000 and $10,000 each year. Middle donors—despite the “middle” terminology—are actually better described as committed donors. They will be retained and upgraded far more than smaller donors and far more than major donors. They represent a significant block of money and loyalty. A surprising discovery almost six years ago prompted us to look at middle donor fundraising in more depth. In the process of studying the online habits of donors, we found that—among more than a dozen participating organizations—donors at the $1,000 to $10,000 level (annual giving via all channels) represented roughly one percent of the donor population, but were giving more than a third of the dollars. Yet middle donors are often lost in a shuffle of organizational charts, attribution wars, and efficiency metrics, which measure immediate return instead of long-term value and donor satisfaction. With donor acquisition rates falling 10


every year since 2005, and donor retention rates hovering around 25%, nonprofits must focus on bridging the middle donor gap, which will lead to longer-term and committed donor relationships. Over the last year, Sea Change has probed the state of mid-level giving in an effort to create a “best practices” rule book. Here are three lessons we learned.


Leadership is Everything

Mid-level giving is one of the most overlooked fundraising areas by executive leadership. It’s not as intuitive as new donor acquisition. It’s not as exciting as a million dollar major gift prospect. And it’s not a media-friendly hook about how the Internet is disrupting fundraising as we know it. When senior executives don’t fully grasp the interdependent workings of fundraising programs, it’s impossible for them to set their sights on the types of investments that are the real game changers. Further, they can’t foster the needed cooperation and collaboration among siloed fundraising teams (direct marketers vs. major gifts officers) needed to get results. Executives need coaching on why they should adjust strategies and investment priorities to bridge the gap. Further, they must enforce

collaboration as a performance measure. Without executive commitment to this approach, organizations won’t be able to tap the enormous financial potential of middle donors.

Bust Those Silos


Middle donors need hybrid treatment between direct response mass communication and high-touch major gift cultivation. Remember the half lion/half tiger creature in Napoleon Dynamite? “It’s a liger.” Most organizations are structured at odds with this hybrid model, with the major gifts and direct marketing teams siloed away from each other and accountable to different bosses. Further, it’s hard for anyone outside the fundraising field to understand how profoundly different the cultures and skill sets of major gifts work and direct marketing really are. Major gifts fundraising is a game of quantum leaps. More and more, major gifts officers focus on donors who can make mammoth gifts, often in the millions or even tens of millions of dollars. Direct marketing is a ground game. Progress is incremental, costs are high, and returns on investment measured in short-term periods. A successful mid-level giving program borrows the best of both of these disciplines and adds a little extra. It draws on major gifts by keeping the focus on the donor. It provides a sense of exclusivity, access, and special status. And it draws on the richer and more sophisticated content that major gifts departments produce. From direct marketing comes a passion for analytics so the program can scale. Moreover, a substantial percentage of middle donors come to an organization through the low dollar program, which means middle

THE M SSING M DDLE givers need to be acquired and welcomed appropriately regardless of the size of their first gift.

All We Need is a Little More Patience


The baker who bakes a cake fastest and cheapest usually doesn’t have the best tasting cake. And the fundraiser who yields the most immediate return for the least amount of dollars usually doesn’t have the happiest, most generous donors. Efficiency is a Flawed Metric Fundraising guru Roger Craver says, “Transactional analysis of fundraising by most direct mail people is that all the analytics are geared toward efficiency. Which part of the file do I use to get the most return for this The chart below offers a representative snapshot of selected mid-level programs. In each case it shows mid-level donors to represent a significant percentage of each organization’s income. Our thanks to the participating organizations for providing data for this table. ORGANIZ ATION


American Civil Liberties Union

particular of campaign? None of these metrics has anything to do with the effectiveness in terms of how they are helping me keep this donor.” Fundraisers often focus on proving investment in 0-12 months or 13-24 months. But finding the bit of the file that gets the most immediate money for the least expense is a recipe for ignoring middle donors. In order to solve this problem, we have to rethink organizational priorities and metrics. Instead of efficiency, we should be looking at cradle-to-grave long-term value metrics first and foremost. Conclusion Our research—interviews and surveys—with middle donors reveal them to be steadfast in their commitment to their causes, conversant in the many finer points of the issues, and tuned into the particulars of recipient organizations’ strategies. That—and their deep pockets—makes them ideal MID -LEV EL FLOOR AND CEILING

investments for nonprofits. Let’s stop giving them such short shrift.

Download the entire Missing Middle study for free online at You’ll get additional lessons learned as well as two profiles of nonprofits who have thriving middle giving programs. ALIA MCKEE (@aliamc) is principal at Sea Change Strategies, a boutique research and fundraising strategy firm that helps nonprofits raise money by building strong donor relationships. She is a veteran online communications and fundraising strategist who has worked with clients including Amnesty International, Wikipedia, and many more.





Specialty Gifts/Crystal $250-$9,999 Eastman Leadership Society ($1,000+)


$73.5 million

$10.3 million


National Audubon Society

Leadership Circle



$55.2 million

$4.9 million


Amnesty USA

Amnesty Leadership Group



$33.7 million

$4.1 million


Defenders of Wildlife

Wildlife Circle



$28.4 million

$4.5 million


Env. Defense Fund

Leadership Team



$53.3 million

$3.6 million


Human Rights Campaign

Federal Club



$33,355,812 million

$5.7 million


International Rescue Committee

No Name



$29.5 million

$4.6 million


Monterey Bay Aquarium

Ocean Advocate Donor Circle; Packards’ Circle; Leadership Council of the Packards’ Circle



$20.2 million

$4.0 million


Rainforest Alliance

Canopy Associates



$5.8 million

$0.3 million


The Wilderness Society

Advocates for Wilderness



$19.0 million

$19.0 million







Online fundraising has changed tremendously over the past decade. The rising tide of mobile and social media fundraising and crowdfunding is impossible to ignore. You are also seeing that your donors need to be educated in a way they have not been before. That’s why, with the help of the nonprofit community, we have created a “Crowdfunding Bill of Rights”—to help charities and donors navigate the new crowdfunding waters. Before we get to that, has this situation happened to you in the last year? You mention to a board member about a need you have, or a future campaign you are thinking about, and they shoot back immediately with a “Have you tried crowdfunding?” Here is some data to consider before you venture into this. Crowdfunding sites began as a way for musicians, artists, and filmmakers to bring in small investments to help “kick-off” a project. The idea of crowdfunding has been around for quite a long time. In fact, according to the BBC it’s been around since 1885, when Joseph Pulitzer encouraged his newspaper’s readers to contribute to a campaign to buy a pedestal for the Statue of Liberty in New York. He even offered incentive prizes and printed letters from donors on the front page to sustain the campaign. The results? 160,000 donors raised over $100,000 (which is $2.4M in 2013). A pretty good market for 1885. Crowdfunding has come a long way since 1885, or even since 2008 when Indiegogo (a nonprofit friendly site) was launched by a group of U.C. Berkeley students. In fact, the numbers are staggering. According to research from the World Bank and Craig Newmark’s

craigconnects (see infographic on p. 15), in 2013 the market overall is around $5.1 billion (including nonprofits and for-profits), with approximately a third of that ($1.5 billion) going to causes. The market is projected to grow to an estimated $93 billion by 2025. The research also indicates that there are now over 1,000 crowdfunding sites on the Web. With an average of $582 raised per cause, an average gift of over $88, and almost 30% returning donor rate, the market is clearly there.

“Crowdfunding campaigns come with a whole new set of challenges that the industry is only beginning to understand and address.” However, as many are starting to learn, crowdfunding campaigns come with a whole new set of challenges that the industry is only beginning to understand and address. Charities are now faced with sharing the “fundraising” duties, often with supporters they are not familiar with, on platforms they haven’t heard of. This poses a challenge to both the nonprofit and the potential donor. How does the nonprofit ensure the message regarding funds needed that is being communicated on its behalf is consistent with the actual mission? How can donors have confidence in whether their funds

are going to legitimate fundraisers for worthy causes? One way to start is to create a bill of rights that nonprofits, and the platforms they work with, agree to adhere to in order to provide donors and supporters with a level of confidence, transparency, and clarity on the impact of funds and the role of the platform. Based on this approach, nonprofits are developing models for crowdfunding both from the top-down and the bottom-up that allow supporters creativity in how funds are raised, but also lets those of us in charge of answering to boards sleep at night. One approach that is working well for top-down crowdfunding campaigns is single-day online crowdfunding campaigns. For some charities, this may mean developing their own platform, but for most, this means working with a leading crowdfunding platform provider to create a unique, branded, and targeted crowdfunding campaign with the charity itself at the reigns. These single-day online crowdfunding events combine a sense of urgency, prize structures, incentives, and social media engagement to raise millions of dollars in one or two days. Examples of successful campaigns are starting to pop up throughout the industry and across verticals. Last year, for example, Columbia University raised nearly $7 million in one day with a single-day crowdfunding campaign using Kimbia’s single-day crowdfunding platform. That same month, the Communities Foundation of Texas raised over $25 million with a similar one-day event, also using Kimbia. Organizations are also taking



advantage of the other side of the crowdfunding spectrum—bottomup grassroots crowdfunding—that more frequently zeroes in on a specific project or need, rather than organization-wide giving. Two great examples of this are incubators/accelerators and pitch contests. In the for-profit/start-up world incubators/accelerators are aimed at new companies that need a quick push out of the gate when they start. They need a resource for funds, brains, legal help, office space, and more. And that’s what the incubator/accelerator does. nonprofits with high potential or impact are identified and vetted, and if accepted into the program, the nonprofits are able to subscribe to the financial and human capital needed to execute their growth plans. For great examples of how nonprofits can benefit, see the Greenlights and Innovation+ Accelerator in Austin, Texas or the Points of Light Civic Accelerator. The second crowdfunding method that’s growing in popularity are pitch contests. This is a great idea taken from the start-up world where some organizations need a purely financial push to fund their next big idea or pivot from their existing programs. That’s what a fast pitch can do: help fund projects that normal funders might not want to fund. They seek out a pitch contest and apply. After a vetting process, they have 3-5 minutes to pitch a panel of judges and a larger audience in attendance to help fund their project. At the event, a variety of cash awards are divided among the contestants. In some cases, judges bring their own funding to the table. Audience members can often use their mobile phones to donate as well. Although there have only been a few market studies, the average 14


amount of funding varies between $5k and $100k. For great examples of how nonprofits can benefit, be sure to see Build-A-Sign’s Philanthropitch 2014 in Austin, Texas. So the next time someone mentions crowdfunding as a way to raise revenue for your organization, perhaps give it some consideration —there are many success models. But as all good fundraisers know: success is in the details and in ensuring your donors have a good experience, so pick a project and fundraising partner that is in line with the “Crowdfunding Bill of Rights” and your organization’s mission.

DAVID J. NEFF (@daveiam) is an Author, Consultant, Speaker and what Beth Kanter calls a “Network Weaver”. He currently works with PwC Digital on Digital Strategy work concentrating on large nonprofits. He’s also the founder and VP of the Board of Directors for the nonprofit Lights. Camera. Help. as well as serving on the Board for the University of Texas Co-op. He was named the top Austin Person Under 40 for the Nonprofit category by AU40 in 2014. As senior principal at Kimbia, MIRIAM KAGAN (@MiriamKagan) works with clients to drive superior program and fundraising results and embed best practices into all program aspects. Her passion is helping clients use data-driven insight to inform decision-making. With over a decade in strategy roles at companies including Merkle, Convio and Blackbaud, Miriam’s experience spans a broad variety of nonprofit clients, including the health, social and human services and animal welfare verticals.

Crowdfunding Bill of Rights We the people, who are asked for money, hereby resolve that crowdfunding sites will: ✓ SHOW A CLEAR CONNECTION: What’s the relationship of the people raising money to the project? This should be clearly evident and endorsed by the group. ✓ EXPLAIN ABOUT THE BENEFITTING ORGANIZATION(S): Information about the organization benefitting should be easily available, with info or links to site, leadership, key projects, and verification of legitimacy of nonprofit status. ✓ PROVIDE FEE TRANSPARENCY: Be upfront about the fees that may be associated with the platform and the project. ✓ REPORT BACK: Show impact of the charitable giving. Report back on a regular basis. At the minimum the project leader should provide monthly updates. ✓ PROVIDE CLEAR TIMELINES: Post regular updates on how the project being funded is progressing (toward the goal or otherwise) or when work will take place. ✓ HAVE A LEMON POLICY: Spell out what happens if project doesn’t meet its goal. ✓ LIST YOUR DISCLAIMER CLAUSE: Explain and disclose any kind of moral imperative considerations that might go into funding the project. Define what is tax-deductible and what’s not. Make sure you are clear about fair market value of any incentives or offers. ✓ LIST RISKS AND BENEFITS: Make sure there are clear disclaimers about the possible risk of the project, from a financial and outcome perspective. Be clear about benefits to backer, society, and beyond. ✓ GO BEYOND THE ASK: Explain how donors can get involved with the organization beyond just writing a check. Coding, Volunteering, Board of Advisors?

✓ OFFER PERKS OR PRIZES: Clearly define what donors or

participating funds might get by giving at different giving levels or reaching funding milestones, and make sure it’s followed through on. Make it fun! For more information, contact via Twitter: Miriam Kagan @miriamkagan David J. Neff @daveiam


Crowdfunding has raised an estimated $5.1B worldwide and peer-to-peer nonprofit fundraising is exploding.






The growth in the number of acquired donations by peer-to-peer fundraisers in 2013. The growth in funds raised through peer-topeer giving between 2012 and 2013.


But how much money do crowdfunding campaigns raise on average for nonprofit organizations? What are the best practices for doing crowdfunding right? craigconnects spoke with some of the biggest charity focused crowdfunding platforms like Causes, CauseVox, FirstGiving, Razoo, StayClassy, and others, to collect giving data to crack the crowdfunding code. Here’s what we learned!













534.49 Average funds raised for charity on individual crowdfunding pages (fundraising by people who set up their own pages.)


9,237.55 Average funds raised on campaign crowdfunding pages (fundraising by teams of people all working to raise money for the same issue.)

Developed by Craig Newmark of craigconnects and Rad Campaign. View the full infographic: NTEN CHANGE | JUNE 2014




verhead. Administrative costs. Indirect costs. Whatever term you use, public and funder perception of these costs are among the greatest sources of frustration for nonprofit IT professionals. But there is hope on the horizon. For years, articles in the media and rankings from charity ratings sites have made overhead costs seem like something to be avoided, rather than what they truly are: necessary



investments that make service delivery possible, and more efficient. As a result, these critical expenses are put off, again and again. Thinking about a new CRM to better target your nonprofit’s services? Replacing that ten-year-old PC that’s still running Windows XP? Sorry, that’ll make our overhead ratio look too high. Maybe next year… Nonprofits have always been known for their ability to do more

with less. Over time, it’s become an expectation, leading to a “nonprofit starvation cycle,” where nonprofits are pressured, even incentivized, to continue to short-change necessary infrastructure investments. At a time when resources are still scarce, with conditions so stretched that 56% of nonprofits reported to the Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF) that they were unable to meet demand for their services in 2013, underfunding technology expenses turns into not funding them at all. The only way to break the cycle is to make the conversation broader than technology, and make it about mission. A Turning Point Research demonstrating that the pressure to keep costs low damages nonprofits has existed for more than

a decade. Yet, real momentum to end the starvation cycle has only picked up recently. Last year, Guidestar, Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance, and Charity Navigator came together to launch the Overhead Myth campaign, calling for an end to the use of overhead ratios as a measure of nonprofit performance. In Illinois, Donors Forum and the Bridgespan Group created the Real Talk about Real Costs campaign, bringing together nonprofits and funders to encourage dialogue about the true costs of nonprofit results (and creating the great video seen here). On the government side, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) recently issued final Uniform Guidance directing any governments using federal funds to pay a nonprofit its indirect costs, with a minimum rate of no less than 10% of its modified total direct costs. This new Guidance was momentous in that it was the first official recognition by the federal government that these core infrastructure costs, essential for delivering the services that the government contracted for, are legitimate. New resources are now available to help nonprofits demonstrate to potential donors, funders, and partners that overhead ratios (and technology expenses as part of that equation) are not the best metric to determine if a nonprofit is worthy of their investment. These tools can also be useful internally to demonstrate the value of investing in technology, and how finding funding is indeed possible. Everyday Advocacy for Your Mission Equipped with these new tools and prominent endorsements of overhead costs, your nonprofit can advocate for that infrastructure funding and make the necessary investments in technology to serve your community and achieve your mission.

Advocate with Funders Are your funders still asking about overhead on grant request forms? Help redirect their focus to the impact of your programs. Demonstrate how their investment in core technology systems will help their philanthropic dollars go even further.

“NONPROFITS HAVE ALWAYS BEEN KNOWN FOR THEIR ABILITY TO DO MORE WITH LESS. OVER TIME, IT’S BECOME AN EXPECTATION, LEADING TO A ‘NONPROFIT STARVATION CYCLE.’” According to NFF, 70% of nonprofits report that more than half of their funders are asking for “impact metrics” in grant reports. Take that focus on impact and apply it to grant applications, too. Don’t just say how many more people you plan to serve, say how. The process and the tools for making service delivery more efficient can be just as important as the results. Using technology to track and analyze outcomes increases the ability to provide better measures, cut costs, and improve program and service quality. Advocate with Media Giving days are more popular than ever. Giving Tuesday is growing each year, and local giving days are popping up across the country. Before the local giving day, or before the holiday giving season, submit an op-ed to the local paper with tips for people who want to donate—what they should and should not be looking for. We could use more articles like the ones that appeared recently in the Denver Business Journal and

Crain’s Detroit Business, or this list from NationSwell of five things that shouldn’t discourage a donor from donating to a nonprofit (full disclosure, my colleague Jennifer Chandler is quoted extensively in the latter article). Advocate with Donor Research Sites Many articles lead potential donors to sites, such as Guidestar, to evaluate whether to donate to a nonprofit. Ensure your nonprofit’s profile on this site is fully complete, including the “Charting Impact” questions. The importance of these questions isn’t the gold seal that Guidestar provides that you can post on your website, but an opportunity to really talk about how technology is helping achieve your missions—or how lack of technology capacity is holding you back. You can do the same in your annual report, demonstrating to donors how their investments allowed your nonprofit to upgrade its technology, resulting in their donated dollars going further. The conversation is changing. Be sure your nonprofit, your donors, and your funders are part of the dialogue. It’s a win-win-win for your nonprofit’s funders and donors to see their investments create greater impact, for your nonprofit to have the tools it needs to succeed, and most importantly for your community to receive the greatest possible benefit. RICK COHEN (@NatlCouncilNPs) is Director of Communications and Operations for the National Council of Nonprofits, a trusted resource and advocate for America’s charitable nonprofits. As the hub of a powerful network of State Associations and 25,000-plus members—the nation’s largest network of nonprofits—the Council of Nonprofits serves as a central coordinator and mobilizer to help nonprofits achieve greater collective impact in local communities across the country. It identifies emerging trends, shares proven practices, and promotes solutions that benefit charitable nonprofits and the communities they serve.





itcoin is a digital peer-to-peer currency that has been gaining global momentum over the last couple of years. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, Bitcoin had 3.4 million online mentions in 2013 and many companies, as well as nonprofits, have begun experimenting with this emerging digital currency. What is Bitcoin? Introduced in 2009, Bitcoin is an algorithm, or set of rules, written down as a computer program and it is designed to create and manage a supply of digital currency units, as well as processing payments between users. Think of it as a special kind of 18


currency in which you can whisper where you would like it to go, touch it to a computer screen, and it will be transferred to any person or organization connected to the network. Bitcoin is created, or “mined,” by computers that solve complex mathematical problems with highspeed computers. The reward for mining is Bitcoin, which is provided to the person who is running that computer. There are approximately 12 million Bitcoins currently in circulation and there are 21 million Bitcoins that are built into the algorithm—reaching that limit will take decades.

Bitcoin addresses a fundamental problem that has existed since the beginning of the Internet — when dealing with digital currency, how do you avoid counterfeiting, or doublespending, by users? If a central authority is issuing the currency, what is to keep them from creating more? This problem is solved by the Blockchain. The Blockchain is central to Bitcoin’s existence and it is a universal public ledger. Every Bitcoin transaction is logged on the public Blockchain, which is then verified by the computers that are connected to the network and enables users to agree on who owns how many Bitcoins. In essence, Bitcoin represents a way in which individuals and organizations can transact with one another without the need or approval of a central authority. Bitcoin has the potential to democratize finance the same way the Internet democratized information. We are still witnessing the early stages of Bitcoin and its evolution, but nonprofits should be paying attention. Why Should Nonprofits Pay Attention? Bitcoin is a revolutionary new way of transacting value online. While the Internet has heralded the decentralization and democratization of information and knowledge, the finance sector has not been presented with a serious challenge to its fundamental underpinnings until the emergence of Bitcoin. Up until now, small transactions on the Internet have not been practical due to processing fees of various payment providers. In practical terms, transaction fees for traditional online payment processors typically range anywhere from 2% to 6%. In comparison, fees of Bitcoin exchanges tend to be closer to 1% or less when transacting directly between individuals.

In addition to generally having lower overall processing fees, Bitcoin also makes it feasible for nonprofits to run micropayment campaigns. The Chicago Sun-Times experimented with micropayments in February 2014, which allowed visitors to donate Bitcoin in order to access articles, with all proceeds going to the Taproot Foundation. The experiment resulted in 700 donations. The Opportunity However, Bitcoin’s potential for nonprofits extends far beyond micropayments. Organizations like Sean’s Outpost, which serves homeless individuals in Pensacola Florida, has received over 400 Bitcoins in donations to date. By today’s exchange, 400 Bitcoins is worth over $250,000 USD. In addition, the University of Puget Sound recently received a $10,000 Bitcoin donation from one of their alumnus. For organizations that are interested in exploring Bitcoin, donates $1,000 USD to any registered charity in the world that adopts Bitcoin. Bitcoin presents an opportunity for nonprofits to engage with their supporters who are early technology adopters as well as position themselves as tech-savvy organizations. As well, this also permits those who prefer to donate anonymously to do so easily. Though some have dismissed Bitcoin as a trend, it is worth noting that there has been a significant amount of investment in Bitcoin startups, namely Bitpay and Coinbase, which have received over $25 million in venture capital in 2013. In my own conversations with, which is a Canadian service that allows individuals to quickly convert debit transactions into Bitcoin, they estimate that at least 25% of their users are under the age of 18. It is worth noting that for young people who wish to purchase goods and services online, while many of

them may have bank accounts, not all youth have access to credit cards. Bitcoin offers a way for youth to engage with financial systems that have previously been outside their reach. As additional organizations start accepting Bitcoin, this has become a way to allow young people to engage with them. For instance, online games such as have started allowing Bitcoin to be used to purchase premium items. While larger merchants like and

“BITCOIN PRESENTS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR NONPROFITS TO ENGAGE WITH THEIR SUPPORTERS WHO ARE EARLY TECHNOLOGY ADOPTERS, AS WELL AS POSITION THEMSELVES AS TECH-SAVVY ORGANIZATIONS.” are accepting Bitcoin, there still remains a few key challenges for nonprofits. When assessing whether your organization may be a good fit for Bitcoin adoption, it is worth considering whether you have the technological capacity to support it, and on a pragmatic level, if your donation systems can properly record these transactions. However, tools such as Bitpay and Coinbase continue to emerge, which make Bitcoin accessible to those who are not software developers. Governments are still in the process of determining how to deal with Bitcoin. In the US and Canada, it has been classified as a commodity that is subject to capital gains and

taxation, but this may change over time. When it comes to charitable donations, as long as fair market value can be established, this satisfies most requirements for tax authorities. Why is This Useful? Beyond all this however, it is worth exploring Bitcoin because digital currency is not an if, but a when. It is the next natural evolution of existing financial systems and we have already seen this progression with the advent of the Internet, with the usage of credit cards for online shopping, and online banking. This is also being reflected in government initiatives that are exploring this area. The Royal Canadian Mint explored digital currencies with a project called MintChip, and most recently at Apple’s worldwide developer conference, it was announced that the developers may be able to integrate “approved” digital currencies into their apps. If you are looking to learn more about Bitcoin, is a site that is dedicated to educating and supporting nonprofits who are looking to adopt digital currencies. It is a site that has been developed by individuals at nonprofits who have adopted Bitcoin and are keen to share their knowledge and experiences. Whether it be Bitcoin or another digital currency, it will only be a matter of time before a payment system emerges that reflects and embraces the decentralized model of the Internet and nonprofits who are prepared for this may stand to benefit as early adopters. JASON SHIM (@JasonShim) serves as Digital Media Manager at Pathways to Education Canada, an organization dedicated to helping youth in low-income communities graduate from high school and successfully transition into post-secondary education. Jason successfully implemented Bitcoin donations at Pathways to Education in 2013, and has advised numerous other nonprofits on how to do the same. Jason gratefully acknowledges the contributions and thought leadership of David J. Neff of PwC Digital for this article.





Visualizing Transparency: Names for Change Campaign Interview with Bryan Gilmer, from Urban Ministries of Durham, which is using the imaginative “Names for Change” campaign to teach about poverty and homelessness through a tongue-in-cheek approach to naming rights. Learn how a commitment to transparency inspired this campaign.


What’s the story behind this campaign? We’ve been fortunate to have the partnership of McKinney, an international advertising agency based here in Durham, NC, for the past several years. McKinney previously worked with us on a traditional TV and print campaign “Invisible,” and on an awarenessraising Web project, Play Spent, a game about being a working poor person. As we brainstormed together early last year, we agreed it was time to try a Web campaign designed from the ground up to raise money directly.


After initially setting a goal of $50,000 and achieving it, it’s been raised to $100,000. Can you tell us why? With the site’s early success, we decided to raise the goal. We would love to surpass $100,000 and raise the goal again.




One of the best features of the site is the real-time donation tracker that links to the overall impact of the campaign. When UMD was first working with McKinney to develop this microsite, what were some of the core features that you considered? Thanks—I like the tracker, too. A central idea of the whole site is that UMD is an agency that’s completely transparent about how we use the resources entrusted to us to do our work. Therefore, your contribution isn’t going into a black box, but into trustworthy hands. We’re showing you all of the tiny items we use to end homelessness and exactly how we use each one. You’re hearing stories about the difference it makes. And we’re showing the whole world to the dollar how much we’ve raised on the site, and giving each viewer partial

responsibility for the distance between that amount and the goal. McKinney had the great idea of asking us how much it costs to end one person’s homelessness through UMD, and it’s actually really cheap: $4,956. I love that the meter shows what can be accomplished if a community cooperates and each person does a little bit.


Aside from raising money, how has this campaign helped your organization? Have you seen an increase in new donors? I think its innovativeness gives us much greater credibility with younger professionals with the financial ability to take part in our work. The campaign is designed to be shared via social media, and it is also great for gift-giving occasions: Name one of our items after your mom, husband, or work colleague. We are finding that many people honored with the naming rights to an item buy additional items for their loved ones. This has indeed generated hundreds of new friends for UMD to engage with, and many go on to support our work in other ways.


How do you promote this campaign? We have used Facebook Promoted Posts with success, and the site is built to propagate organically on social media, letting each person share the naming rights poster they just created. We’ve pitched

area and national media for news coverage, getting metro TV coverage and stories in both the New York Times and Fast Company, among others. We’re working on a keyword search campaign using a free Google Grants budget we’ve been awarded. We’ve encouraged our supporters to visit the site via eblasts, and we tried a Valentine’s Day promotion with donated print ads in the local alternative weekly newspaper: “Nothing Says ‘I Love You’ Like ‘I Named These Vienna Sausages After You.’”


Can you describe the reaction of your audience and constituents that your serve? People have been really touched. They like the idea of associating

themselves with an item they can relate to that we use at UMD. I thought we might have some criticism, but we really haven’t. One reason is that the head writer on the project, Associate Creative Director Jenny Nicholson of McKinney, made sure each item— and the way we use it to meet a universal human need—was treated with compassion and respect. It starts off being a lark to name a tampon after your sister, but when you read the copy about the tampon, about how much it means for a homeless woman who needs one to get one, it gets serious again pretty quickly.


For nonprofits that are starting to plan their annual fundraising campaigns, what are some key lessons

Fast Facts • Year Established: 2013 • Project Duration: Indefinite multi-year lifespan • Number of Staff Members: No dedicated staff; Director of Marketing and Development and Marketing and Development Associate oversee it • Project Budget: Tiny– $2,000 for web hosting, survey research, and incidental expenses. Site development, including creative and coding, was a pro bono gift of the McKinney advertising agency.

learned that you would pass on to them? Don’t budget the revenue from a very experimental campaign like this in year one, but treat it as gravy. By the same logic, this didn’t replace anything else we were doing (mail appeals, major donor fundraising, etc.), but it was extra work that was designed to work in concert with those strategies to build our list, raise additional funds, and spread awareness of our brand. Bryan Gilmer (@BryanGilmer) joined Urban Ministries of Durham in 2012 after 10 years as a communication consultant with colleges, universities, and corporate clients. After volunteering and leading fundraising campaigns on the boards of family homeless shelter Genesis Home and St. Philip’s Episcopal Church, Bryan decided to combine his interests professionally. A former newspaper reporter, Bryan has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and is the author of three crime thriller novels, including Record of Wrongs, set in Raleigh. IMAGE CREDIT: URBAN MINISTRIES OF DURHAM




Riding a Wave of Change 22


An Interview with the Surfrider Foundation’s Membership Director Nancy Eiring and Environmental Director Chad Nelsen




260+ campaign victories in 8 years is a lot! Do you see common threads across all winning campaigns? Surfrider Chapter leaders and staff provide volunteers with the tools and resources necessary to become activists. We teach them how to run an effective campaign through expert training, continued science, policy, legal, and campaign support on issues. This model has been successful—and we like to think that our track record speaks for itself. During the last 30, Surfrider has had countless victories. Since 2006, we’ve counted more than 260 coastal victories. Simply stated, the biggest victories are the unseen victories.


What tools and channels do you use for online organizing? Surfrider Foundation maintains a network of more than 250,000 supporters, activists and members worldwide. Our activists, experts and staff are organized around local communities and issues, which has been greatly enhanced and connected online. It’s grassroots organizing at its best, where we work with our regional staff and chapters to engage citizens where they are at—either online, through email, e-petitions, social media or on the ground at Chapter and city council meetings. Key tools include Facebook, Twitter, and an intranet where activists can share stories, experiences and best practices.


What are the most popular channels? sf: Our social media following is one of the most engaged in the environmental advocacy space. Currently we have over 242,000 Facebook fans, 99,000 Twitter, and 33,000 Instagram followers.




What is the internal process behind identifying the next campaign? Surfrider is a truly grassrootsdriven organization, so most campaigns are identified at the local chapter level. At headquarters we try to aggregate, support, and enhance those local campaigns so the sum will equal more than the parts. For example, we are trying to scale our 39 bag bans in California to a statewide ban. We have a total of 70 bag ban victories to date.


Since you started in 1984, how has the Surfrider Foundation leveraged technology to meet its mission? Surfrider Foundation was one of the first NGOs to have a website. Thanks to volunteers from U.C. San Diego’s super computer lab, we also were very early to use

“At the end of the day, all the digital tools in the world are only effective as the number of people who physically pitch in.” listservers to share information. Next, we embraced e-activists by great action alerts in 2004 that enabled our activists to easily communicate with their elected officials. We were also early adopters of social media, employing MySpace and then Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, etc. Since we already had a well-established human network, making the transition to social media was a natural evolution. As Beth Kanter, a nonprofit social media maven said, “Surfrider is the

poster child for the networked nonprofit.”


The website’s user interface, especially the campaigns page, is a great example of how to convey the impact of your work, and also make it easy for people to get engaged in their local communities. When was this designed and what was the story and strategy behind it? The campaigns page was originally designed to illustrate the strength and impact of our chapter network and show how our coastlines are constantly under siege. Today we are in the process of refreshing the design and functionality of the Surfrider website, we are in the process of migrating from Salsa to CQ Engage’s interface to be fully integrated with our new CRM. This new technology will allow our supporters and activists to easily participate in current campaigns, promote to their social networks, and keep up-todate on news about our oceans, waves, and beaches at the local and national level. And, because all of our constituent data will be fully integrated, Surfrider will be able to engage with our supporters on the issues that they care most about.


With members, chapters, and clubs all around the world—what is the Surfrider Foundation’s approach to communications and engagement? Using our network, social media, and e-activism tools, we can quickly generate support for issues around the world. For example, when the small town of Rye, New Hampshire considered banning surfing at their local beach, we were able to quickly

notify activists from around the country and world to weigh in and oppose the closure. It shocked the town’s “selectmen” (city councilors) that their decision could garner so much attention, and they decided to leave the beach open to surfing.


Anything else that we didn’t ask? Yes—while digital tools have greatly enhanced our ability to network, communicate, and share information, the world is still run by those who show up, whether that’s to run a chapter meeting, organize a beach clean up, or testify on an important coastal issue. So at the end of the day, all the digital tools in the world are only effective as the number of people who physically pitch in. Chad Nelsen (@chadnelsen) is the Environmental Director for the Surfrider Foundation. Encompassing a wide variety of efforts, Chad specializes in coastal policy and leads efforts to ensure a healthy ocean, waves, and beaches. Prior to Surfrider, Chad was a National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Coastal Fellow where he led efforts to improve estuary management in Coos Bay, Oregon. He received a Doctorate from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), a Master’s of Environmental Management from Duke University’s Nicholas School for the Environment, and Bachelor’s of Science from Brown University.

Surfrider Foundation: Campaign Milestones CAMPAIGN: Saves Trestles LOCATION: San Onofre State Beach, California VICTORY: Stopped a six lane private road that would

have destroyed a popular coastal state park and one of the best surfing waves in the world. CAMPAIGN: Reserva Marina Tres Palmas LOCATION:: Rincón, Puerto Rico VICTORY: Established the first marine reserve on

the mainland of Puerto Rico that is designed to protect threatened Elkhorn coral reefs and one of the east coast’s premiere big wave surfing areas. CAMPAIGN: Rise Above Plastics (RAP) LOCATION: 68 cities across the U.S. VICTORY: Banned single-use plastic bags and format at retail and grocery stores across the U.S. in 68 different cities.

Facts+Figures • Annual Budget: $5.7Million (2014) • Number of Supporters, Activists and Members Worldwide: 250,000 • Number of Countries Represented: 25 countries • Campaigns in Action: 99 campaigns on May 1, 2014 • Full-time Staff Members: 47 • Surfrider Chapters: 85

With nearly twenty years of nonprofit and political fundraising experience, Nancy Eiring (@NEiring) joined the Surfrider Foundation as the Membership Director in December 2013 to oversee the fundraising efforts of the organization, growing membership, increasing member retention, and developing the pipeline for increased giving. Prior to Surfrider, Nancy was the Director of Acquisition at The Nature Conservancy. Previously, she also worked Hillary Clinton’s senate re-election campaign and her presidential campaign as the National Director of Grassroots Fundraising. Nancy earned a Bachelor’s of English and Bachelor’s of Spanish from Catholic University, Washington, D.C. All photos provided by the Surfrider Foundation





Bridging the Knowledge Gap: FundsforNGOs From a modest informal blog to a social enterprise with a community of over 100,000 members, learn how sameer zuhad founded FundsforNGOs to help build the fundraising capacity of NGOs in developing countries.


Why did you start FundsforNGOs? FundsforNGOs was started as an informal blog back in 2008 when I was posted in Kathmandu, Nepal by an international NGO. I was tasked with building the fundraising capacity of five local NGOs, yet during my extensive research on funding sources, I realized that unlike in some developed countries, there was a not a single reference website that offered fundraising information



for NGOs in developing countries. I took it upon myself to create a site dedicated to supporting NGOs in developing countries to access funds and build their capacity, with an aim of creating a better world. The site provided fundraising resources, funding alerts, foundation profiles, funding guides, and other materials, all developed in an easy to digest format that would enable people from every country in the world to benefit.

The impact was almost instant, with thousands of organic searches landing on the blog in just a few weeks. I quickly realized that the knowledge gap and demand for funding information was even bigger than I had imagined. In just a few years the site became so popular that it evolved from a hobby to a full time job and the organization it is today.


One of the goals of FundsforNGOs is to “digitally empower” NGOs by increasing their access to donors, resources, and skills. Can you tell us how that’s going? FundsforNGOs initially targeted small and medium-sized NGOs in developing countries for whom access to information was still a challenge. Common problems in these environments are limited knowledge about grant information, poor bandwidth

issues, undeveloped proposal writing skills, unfamiliarity with donor research, and a lack of awareness of online tools. FundsforNGOs addresses these issues by organizing information on fundraising so that it is accessible to audiences in the developing world. We take great care to simplify often complicated funding information to enable people and NGOs from all over the world to benefit, regardless of educational background and resources. Since 2008 we have produced a wealth of resource guides that offer practical tips, advice, and strategies to access funds and build the capacity of development organizations. These materials have enabled tens of thousands of people and NGOs to develop their skills and create new opportunities for their cause. Whether it is providing information on how to develop a complex proposal, or operate a local fundraising event, FundsforNGOs aims to empower people at the grassroots level to make a positive impact on their communities. Over the years, we have observed how FundsforNGOs is valued by grassroots NGOs as well as by some of the biggest

“We’ve been able to grow by leveraging the Internet and digital tools to reach people wherever they are and whatever their circumstances, to create a better world.”

server management, web design, development organizations in the content development, software world. We have worked with UN professionals, optimization, and Women, GlobalGiving, and everything else that is needed to MasterPeace among others to maintain the site. These costs develop greater understanding often need to be paid upfront between donors and recipients, which has created a demand to showcase their work, and drive establish reliable revenue streams. applications to their latest funding In the past 18 opportunities. months, we have Our passionate launched a community of webinar series and NGOs and a Premium website development Fast Facts to meet the professionals from • Year Established: 2008 demand for our over 150 countries • Number of Staff services, for a fee. around the world, Members: 30 The Premium site combined with • Number of People in offers all the donors both big Your Online Community: benefits of and small, has led 100,000+ subscribers FundsforNGOs to • Countries Represented but with the become a true in Your Online addition of a information Community: 150+ robust donor marketplace for database that the entire captures nearly 5,000 of the most development community. We’ve active donors in Africa, Asia, and been able to grow by leveraging beyond. NGOs and development the Internet and digital tools to professionals from over one reach people wherever they are hundred countries are using and whatever their circumstances, FundsforNGOs Premium to to create a better world. discover great international How is your organization donors for their cause. primarily funded? We also developed a jobs FundsforNGOs is a socially driven board in a similar spirit to enterprise that has never received FundsforNGOs—JobsinNGOs. grants or funding from any donors. This free service collects the latest Instead, we rely on our users to career opportunities in the generate advertising income that is international development field used to support the growth and and hosts them all in one development of the organization. convenient place. For example, For example, we leverage online you can quickly and conveniently advertising, such as Google discover jobs that are right for AdSense, to cover some of our you, as well as read expert guides operational costs. We also bring in on how to secure a job within the revenue through hosting webinars, development sector. which have trained thousands of people around the world on issues To date, how many such as EU Commission Funding people are in your online and raising money for human community, and how many rights projects. countries are represented? As demand for our services has FundsforNGOs has blossomed into grown, so have costs for hosting, an organization with regular users





in 100+ countries. We have over 100,000+ individuals and NGOs who subscribe to our newsletter, funding alerts, and social media channels, with hundreds more signing up every day. India and the United States represent the largest number of subscribers, with countries in Africa and Asia not far behind. The site also welcomes thousands of regular visitors from Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East.


To have so many active users from countries all around the world. How do you manage to continually grow your user base? Our years of experience have taught us what information is needed by the development community. Our close links with development professionals and NGOs has allowed us to develop a well defined content strategy that is designed to build capacity in organizations around the world, especially amongst those that need it most. We actively listen to our user base to ensure we stay relevant while ensuring that materials on FundsforNGOs are accessible and solve genuine needs. We actively work to boil complex ideas down to an easy to understand format and language with links to relevant content for all learning levels.


How has technology played a role in the growth of your organization to help meet your mission? Technology has played a critical role in the growth of FundsforNGOs, from a simple blog to becoming a well-respected organization working in international development. Despite considerable advances in Internet speeds, we 28


continue to provide content that can be quickly and cheaply accessed in environments with extremely limited resources. Without Internet technologies, FundsforNGOs and our diverse community of users wouldn’t exist today.


What are some tools that you use to stay connected? In our efforts to reach out to NGOs all across the world, we have utilized both paid and free tools that have enabled us to reach more people than ever before. We are big fans of WordPress because it is not only easy to use, but also supported by a robust online community. In most cases, we build all our small-scale projects on WordPress and typically recommend that small NGOs do the same. Other tools that we use include hosting from Synthesis and WPE; MailChimp is great for our email newsletter, targeted dissemination, and analytics; Google Docs, Google Calendar, and other tools from Google Apps have also helped to reduce our operational costs.


After starting this as a one-man project, to having multiple offices and staff members, what piece of advice would you offer to nonprofits that are trying to achieve scale? We are a social

enterprise and our model is slightly different from the typical nonprofit, but there are still many lessons to be learned. NGOs around the world need to focus on long term sustainability rather than be driven by short-term donor funding. FundsforNGOs has evolved from my experience as a consultant providing services to NGOs as customers. If NGOs treat beneficiaries, donors, and partners as customers for whom they are filling a unique need, they will be better able to sustain and grow their operations. Our mission is to help all development organizations to make a sustainable impact in their communities, and to do so in the most effective way possible. Sameer Zuhad (@fundsforngos) is the Founder and CEO of, and leads the operations in India. Sameer is an accomplished writer and social researcher with extensive experience in the field of sustainable development. Having worked in India and Nepal with various grassroots-oriented community organizations, he is passionate about civil society development. In starting, Sameer has digitally empowered thousands of NGOs at all levels in over 150 countries.

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Tracy Kronzak & Tanya Tarr Future of Technology

Join NTEN this September as we launch the Leading Change Summit in San Francisco. Exclusively for nonproďŹ t leaders, this Summit oers three tracks to help you accelerate your career development: • Impact Leadership: Dynamic executive directors and leadership teams – Learn how to plan and implement eective programs through a data-informed approach • Digital Strategy: Savvy online marketers, communicators, and fundraisers – Use the Web to drive innovation and engagement • The Future of Technology: Cutting-edge technologists – Strategize how to adapt to the evolving role of technology in your work






When Kiva was founded nearly a decade ago, it was one of the first pioneers in the microfinance and crowdfunding space. Today, microfinance and crowdfunding have become more mainstream, recognized development approaches, and there are now over 1,000 crowdfunding exchanges worldwide.


After nearly a decade of work, there is a lot to reflect on! Can you share some milestones? In early 2013, we hit the milestone of reaching more than 1 million borrowers with Kiva loans. When you imagine that each of those people has improved the lives of their families and their communities, the impact Kiva lenders are having is huge. Later in 2013, around our 8th birthday in October, we also reached 1 million Kiva lenders. That means that more than 1 million people worldwide have contributed to loans and changed lives around the world. We’re excited to see when we can reach 2 million!


How has the landscape changed for microfinance and crowdfunding overall? When Kiva first launched in 2005, crowdfunding wasn’t yet a part of our daily lives the way it is



now. Kiva was really one of the pioneers of the concept, so we got a lot of attention early on. We were featured on Frontline and Oprah, which really helped to spread the word quickly. Now, crowdfunding and microfinance (happily!) are a lot more popular and mainstream. But, the growing popularity of these worlds makes it a bit of a challenge for Kiva to remain part of the crowdfunding dialogue, even though our work is more exciting than ever. We’re really reaching a point in our history where we have to be more proactive to get noticed, instead of just being discovered for being an awesome model for a nonprofit. That includes our work to find new and more impactful ways to use microfinance to change lives.


What is the ratio of lenders versus donors to the organization? Does the option to donate in the shopping

cart help to remind people that Kiva needs funding to “keep the lights on”? We never charge a fee for our loans, but obviously it costs a lot of money to make sure our field partners are reviewed and supported, to make sure all the money gets where it needs to be, and to make sure our website is always up and running. Whenever someone makes a loan on Kiva, we also ask for a small donation to support our operating costs. From this we get about 50-60% of what we need to keep the organization running and growing. Other than in the checkout flow, we only do proactive outreach to get our lenders to become donors once or twice a year (December 31 being one of those key times). Whenever we try, it’s challenging. Our lenders feel like they’re already donating to Kiva, even though their funds are going right to the field and they aren’t supporting the organization’s growth. We rely heavily on some of our major donors and corporate partners to help support our operational expenses and plans for growth.


Can you let us know more about the demographics of your donors? We’ve never done a full append of our database, but based on our survey results we know that many of our highest value donors are women aged 55+ and men 45-55. Interestingly, since we don’t require our lenders to give us their address, we don’t know the geographic location of all of our

lenders either. We only have selfreported data for about 60% of our audience. In terms of where those Kiva lenders live, our top five countries are the U.S., Canada, Australia, U.K., and Germany. We only do proactive outreach right now in the U.S., but word has spread and we have passionate supporters around the globe.



What are some of the key channels that you’re using to disseminate your messages to reach your audiences and donors? Our primary channel for communicating with existing Kiva U is our new education lenders is via email. Twice a month initiative, which focuses on we do a query of anyone in our supporting students and educators database who has $25 in their Kiva as they develop global competency, account (as Kiva loans are repaid critical thinking about poverty, and by borrowers, the money is a better understanding of returned to our lenders!), and microfinance and financial remind them to use inclusion. It those funds to lend facilitates the use of to another Kiva as a teaching entrepreneur. We and learning tool in also try to keep our Fast Facts subject areas as lenders posted • Annual Budget: $15M diverse as math, with stories from language arts, • Number of Lenders the field, updates Worldwide: 1,165,947 geography, social on promotions, and studies, and • Number of Borrowers more, with Worldwide: 1,301,126 economics. It is also targeted email an engaging way to • Number of People in programs. Kiva’s Community: develop students’ We also use our 1,728,533 financial literacy blog and social understanding and • Number of Countries media to keep Receiving Loans: 76 capabilities. In lenders updated addition to • Full-Time Staff: 113 about what we’re educational doing and how resources, such as a Kiva loans are changing lives free K-12 and undergraduate around the world. We try to share curriculum, Kiva U also provides lots of inspiring stories through tools and information on what’s these channels because so many of happening now, and how best to our lenders love Kiva and are so take action. The program is passionate about lending. dedicated to building the next


Tell us a bit more about Kiva U? How does this help bring in new supporters?

generation of informed and mobilized global citizens with awareness of their agency to impact lives through microfinance.


How will you use technology to meet your mission? Kiva is really part nonprofit, part financial institution, and part tech start-up. Our entire model is based on technological innovations. One big thing we’ve done recently on the marketing team is invested in new software for our email communications. Our new toolset will allow us to better track how our lenders are interacting with our emails, and gives us options for automating more communications with lenders. Like many nonprofits, our staff is limited and we’re always working on dozens of things at once. With some of the email automation we have planned for the next year, we’ll be able to spend more of our time on planning and creativity, and less of our time on setup and execution. Kate Thomas Kleinschmidt is the Senior Manager of Online Marketing at Kiva. She manages Kiva’s content team and leads the strategy for lender communications. Her team works to encourage new users to join Kiva while engaging existing lenders with inspiring field content and campaigns. Prior to her work at Kiva, Kate was building years of experience in online fundraising and communications through her work at, Share Our Strength, and as a consultant with many other cause-based organizations.





Catalyzing a Marketplace of Ideas: GlobalGiving What are the elements behind a successful crowdfunding campaign? We interview Kevin Conroy, Chief Product Officer at GlobalGiving to find out.


Can you tell us about GlobalGiving’s background? GlobalGiving was built around the belief that the world’s most pressing problems are too complex and too important to be left to a select few. We believe that great ideas can come from anyone, anywhere, at any time. To that end, we’ve built the first truly global crowdfunding platform that helps people raise funds in over 150 countries. We



provide 501(c)(3) equivalency vetting and determination for international NGOs so that they can fundraise online and work with donors and companies around the world to provide support to these organizations.


What are the most popular projects by topic? By region? We have a wide range of projects on our site which donors love. That being said, we do see some

extra affinity for projects working in the categories of Education, Children, and Disaster Relief.


Are there common threads that you see across all successful projects that receive funding? The most successful projects have a clear, compelling title and description that tells potential donors what the problem is and how the project solves it. When combined with a great photo and clear, realistic donation options, a project is often able to attract many new donors.


How has technology played a role in the growth of your organization to help meet your mission? I like to say that GlobalGiving is one part nonprofit, one part tech startup. Technology is the key to

our growth and ability to scale. With a staff of about 30, we use technology to manage fundraising, grants, and reporting for more than 2,000 organizations annually.


Do you track and measure impact of each project? We ask all projects to provide an update on their progress every 3 months. This report is reviewed by GlobalGiving staff and is sent to donors to show the impact their donation has had. We’ve repeatedly heard that donors love these updates and we’ve seen them give again. We also send staff and volunteers to visit projects around the world to ensure that they are accurately reporting the work that they are doing.


Looking at the big picture, aside from connecting projects to people that are willing to fund them, how is GlobalGiving helping to build the capacity of grassroots organizations, and organizations in developing countries? Every nonprofit wants more funding, but our mission is actually to catalyze a marketplace for information, ideas, and money. We believe it’d be irresponsible to just focus on fundraising and not help organizations develop other capacities. That’s why we offer free training to our partners to help them become more effective and connect with each other to share best practices. We’re also working on a new impact and effectiveness framework to help us measure how organizations improve over time. We want to help organizations experiment and measure ways to improve their programs, show how they are becoming more effective, and in turn help them raise more funds.

In short, we want to get more money to more effective organizations!

that in terms that a donor can understand. Then, think about your network of supporters and how you can engage them not only In your opinion, what is to give, but also to help you one project that stands fundraise. The most successful out to you? projects on One of my favorite GlobalGiving (in stories is Lotus terms of dollars Outreach, an raised) don’t do it Fast Facts organization that alone—they ask key • Year Established: does work in donors or volunteers 2002 Cambodia. Lotus to be a “team • Number of People in Outreach has captain.” Each team Your Online raised $220,000 on Community: is responsible for GlobalGiving over 380,000+ reaching a small goal, four years -almost • Total Amount Raised such as 20 new half of the for Projects: $107M+ donors. If you have organization’s and counting 10 or 20 teams, that annual project • Number of Staff adds up quickly! Use budget! We’ve Members: 34 that network to think given them the • Operating Budget: through your ability to expand $4M fundraising strategy. and fund programs GlobalGiving can help they previously with this, and thought would not be possible, although GlobalGiving can get such as the Blossom Bus and its your organization new donors, the sister project, Lotus Pedals, which most successful organizations look provide bicycles to girls in at us as a fundraising partner, not a Cambodia who live too far away provider. Finally, remember to from school. Lotus was even able thank your donors and follow up to fund an entire project that with the impact that their gift has provides children’s scholarships had. Too many nonprofits view and teacher training to ethnic crowdfunding as a one-time event minorities in the Mondulkiri rather than a chapter in their province of Cambodia, in a single relationship with that donor. day through GlobalGiving! Bonus tip: experiment! Not For nonprofits that are everything will work the first time. interested in posting a Keep iterating and you’ll find a project to GlobalGiving, what strategy that works well for your are your top 5 pieces of advice organization. that you would offer? Kevin Conroy (@KevinConroy) My advice is to focus on your leads GlobalGiving’s Product team—a talented group of goals, communication, network, programmers, system strategy, and thank yous. First, administrators, and unmarketers that work tirelessly to improve figure out what your goal for so that donors can support online fundraising is. Very few more projects and projects can get more donors. organizations raise 100% of their Previously, Kevin worked in the for-profit technology sector until he realized his skills were annual budget online, so figure out being wasted on things that weren’t making the what program or project you want world a better place. Kevin has a B.S. in to fundraise for, and clearly define Computer Science and a B.A. in Economics.








he popular misconception that mobile and social media do not result in more donations hinders many nonprofits from making the necessary financial investments in upgrading their technology systems. Unless your nonprofit specifically asks your donors what messaging tool inspired them to make their donation, it’s very difficult to track and allocate specific donations to mobile and social media. Until recently, mobile and social media managers (for simplicity, from this point forward referred to as new media managers) had to rely solely on a combination of gut instinct and tracking metrics, such as website and blog traffic, e-mail, and mobile subscribers, and social network community growth, to prove to executive staff that their efforts were resulting in more funds raised. Without concrete proof, it’s been challenging for most nonprofits to get the buy-in to hire new staff, to invest in cutting edge communications and fundraising systems, and to shift budgets and staff job descriptions toward new media. 34


The early adopter nonprofits that are now some of the most popular, well-funded nonprofits on the mobile and social web were given the green light to experiment and to invest financial resources long before there was any proof or indication that their mobile and social media campaigns would pay off in the end. Most often these efforts were spearheaded by an ambitious and enthusiastic millennial or gen Xer who knew instinctively that mobile and social media were the new frontier and the future of online communications and fundraising. Some early adopters initially met resistance from executive staff who feared

open and social communications, but they were persistent and would not give up until support was given. Others were empowered to invest time and financial resources early on by forward-thinking executive staff who were not resistant. Sadly, however, most small to mediumsized nonprofits are still struggling to get buy-in. All over the world, it’s the one theme that unites all nonprofits, NGOs, and charities—they may have the green light to experiment with mobile and social media, but only if its free and doesn’t require any additional investments in staff time or training. But as the statistics below demonstrate, this is an approach doomed to failure and is

“Even if you can invest only five staff hours and a mobile and social media budget of $1,000 annually, your nonprofit must invest in mobile and social media.”

“As mobile and social media have matured, the expectations of donors and supporters are much higher than when winging it was an acceptable strategy.” counterproductive to your nonprofit’s future fundraising efforts (see box on following page). To successfully utilize mobile and social media, staff time and financial resources need to be allocated. Very few nonprofits can “wing it” on a $0 budget. As mobile and social media have matured, the expectations of

Mobile: Fast Facts • 37% of nonprofits attribute their social media success to having executive management make social media a priority. • 55% of individuals who engage with nonprofits on social media are inspired to take action. Of that 55%, 59% donated money, 53% volunteered, 52% donated food or clothing. • 18% of all social fundraising donations are referred from Facebook. • 28% of text donors give in response to hearing about a text-to-give campaign on social networks. • Online fundraising is growing on average by 14% annually across all sectors.

donors and supporters are much higher than when winging it was an acceptable strategy. It’s understandable that during challenging economic times nonprofits need to pull back financially, but as the economy recovers and nonprofit staff take a breath and move forward, it’s crucial that they truly digest and understand how dramatically online communications and fundraising has changed since the Great Recession began in 2007. It’s the message woven throughout this book gently yet forcibly—even if you can invest only five staff hours and a mobile and social media budget of $1,000 annually, your nonprofit must invest in mobile and social media. When you realize their power and effect upon fundraising results, you’ll see that they are not a financial risk at all, but in fact, will pay off in the long run. The Importance of Mobile Fundraising Campaigns To many nonprofits, text-to-give campaigns have become synonymous with mobile fundraising. When you mention mobile fundraising, the automatic default is to think of text giving, but mobile fundraising can no longer be that narrowly defined. Because of the rapid adoption of mobile devices, all online fundraising campaigns are now mobile. Mobile

fundraising apps and mobile wallets are on the verge of going mainstream and will have a profound impact on how nonprofits raise funds. The truth is that mobile fundraising is in its infancy, and it’s unclear how it will evolve and effect our mobile and social fundraising strategies. The first step into mobile fundraising is to mobilize your website, e-mail communications, and online fundraising campaigns. Beyond that, the next few years will be spent experimenting. Text-to-give technology and how it works will continue to evolve. It could become integrated with mobile apps and mobile wallets—or not. And there are future mobile fundraising technologies that even today’s brightest, most forward-thinking new media managers can’t yet conceptualize. Mobile communications and fundraising will be transformative, and those nonprofits that are willing to take part in the experiment will benefit the most. Those nonprofits that were slow to adopt social media now struggle with communications and fundraising success. The “wait and see” approach didn’t work with social media, and it’s definitely not going to work in a mobile Internet age. HEATHER MANSFIELD (@nonprofitorgs) is the principal blogger at Nonprofit Tech for Good and author of the best-selling books Mobile for Good and Social Media for Social Good. She also created and maintains the “Nonprofit Organizations” profiles on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram which cumulatively have more than one million followers. Heather has twenty years of experience utilizing the Internet for fundraising, community building, and advocacy. She has presented more than 100 nonprofit technology trainings as well as over 500 webinars to audiences worldwide.




Wiebke Herding Managing Director, ON:SUBJECT Number of years you’ve been a member of NTEN? Intermittently since 2008. What is your connection with the “nptech” (nonprofit technology) community? When I was studying computer science in the early noughts, my campaigner friends tried to convince me to change to political science to increase my impact. I’m glad I stuck with technology. This allowed me to harness tech skills for good, such as when I set up one of Germany’s first online petitions in 2001. Why do you think it’s important for nonprofit leaders to think about technology strategically? Because technology is a driver of change and a driver of strategic clarity. An understanding of technology helps tremendously in focusing your efforts where they are needed: neither ignoring important developments nor overinvesting in shiny new toys.

Was there an “ah-ha” moment for you when you learned something new or realized something about the role of technology in the mission-driven work that you do? I’m currently co-hosting a MOOC called “Leadership for Global Responsibility”. We have about 150 participants from all continents in our online meeting. It blows my mind to witness how people from completely different contexts and places step up to help each other—just because we’ve built a bridge with technology and an invitation. Borders become invisible, and that is incredibly powerful.

An understanding of technology helps tremendously in focusing your efforts where they are needed: neither ignoring important developments nor investing in shiny new toys.



How has nonprofit leadership changed (if at all) as a result of technology, from your perspective/experience? Technology has sped up nonprofit communications and has blurred boundaries. Today’s nonprofit leaders need to understand effective systems and networked, open approaches to engagement. In organizations with broad or blurry missions, this can be a huge challenge as complexity increases. New organizations often excel by focusing their contributions and building in data-driven decisionmaking from the get-go. Why are you serving on the NTEN: Change Editorial Committee— what makes you want to volunteer? The Editorial Committee is a great occasion to reflect about patterns I see in technology use and to reflect with others. I love being able to learn by sharing and listening. What’s the one technology tool that you wouldn’t want to go without in your daily work? Skype. Follow Wiebke on Twitter @wiebkehere


Sophia Guevara Social Media Fellow, Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy Number of years you’ve been a member of NTEN? A little over a year. What is your connection with the “nptech” (nonprofit technology) community? I developed my interest in technology while completing my Master’s degree in Library and Information Science. After graduating, I continued to develop my interest in technology and shared my knowledge with those in the field by presenting and publishing. Why do you think it’s important for nonprofit leaders to think about technology strategically? I think it is easy for nonprofit leaders to see all the new tools available and be tempted to try each and every one. But with wisdom, the nonprofit leader should make use of the right tools, not every tool, to meet their goals. This also requires having good tech advisors around you to help you make the best decision. Was there an “ah-ha” moment for you when you learned something new or realized something about



the role of technology in the mission-driven work that you do? I think that the use of social media, especially sites like LinkedIn, provide people in the nonprofit environment with an opportunity to make the connections they need to move their work forward. In the past, work was largely based on who you knew and collaboration opportunities were rather limited. With sites like LinkedIn, people can more easily connect with those that can help move their important work forward. How has nonprofit leadership changed (if at all) as a result of technology, from your perspective/experience? From an information professional’s perspective, I think that technology has provided an opportunity for leadership to gain access to up-todate information to make quicker and more informed decisions. With this being said, leaders can face information overload in an online environment where just about anybody can post material online. Leaders need to be wise in sourcing their information.

Why are you serving on the NTEN: Change Editorial Committee— what makes you want to volunteer? I decided to serve on the NTEN: Change Editorial Committee because I believe it is important for professionals to publish and share the knowledge and lessons they have learned with other professionals. I appreciate serving on the committee because the committee is made up of innovative professionals that are committed to helping their fellow professionals learn. Also, I value the expertise of the committee as I usually learn something new each time I participate in a meeting. What’s the one technology tool that you wouldn’t want to go without in your daily work? My smartphone. Follow Sophia on Twitter @virtualibrarian

I think that technology has provided an opportunity for leadership to gain access to up-to-date information to make quicker and more informed decisions.


Habitat for Humanity – Father’s Day Tool Drive What’s more iconic as a father and son activity than building something in the garage? A local branch of Habitat for Humanity used Father’s Day to encourage local residents to donate new and gently used tools for them to use in building projects. Their campaign gave a list of the most-needed tools and provided easy drop-off locations.



Holiday Fundraising is Not Just for Year-End Holiday fundraising, specifically the five weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, is a critical time for fundraising for most nonprofits. Some nonprofits get as much as 40% of their online revenue in the month of December. However, as more nonprofits devote additional time and resources to their online fundraising programs, it’s more difficult to stand out from the crowd. Earlier this year, at the 2014 Nonprofit Technology Conference, Kerri Karvetski from Company K Media, Matt Seney from the Lukens Company, and I presented a panel titled “Holiday Fundraising: It’s Not Just for Year End.” Our goal for the presentation was to highlight ways nonprofits could use holidays throughout the year to raise awareness for their cause – and to hopefully give donors a compelling reason to donate. We presented more than

25 different examples of year-end holiday fundraising – and fundraising done at other holidays throughout the year. Here are some of the examples we shared:

National Audubon Society’s – I ♥ Birds Campaign for Valentine’s Day

For the past two years, the National Audubon Society has created a multi-channel campaign at Valentine’s Day encouraging members and new constituents to make a donation to show how much they love birds. In 2013, Audubon used a t-shirt as a premium to encourage donations. In 2014, they used a bumper sticker, which proved very effective and resulted in over 900 donations. Audubon used social media posts on Facebook and Twitter, and an email campaign to bring people to the donation page.

Several nonprofits used the Academy Awards, (commonly known as the Oscars) as a way to rally their supporters. The Accountability Lab and ONE held an “Accountability Oscars” where they solicited nominations and votes from the community on the best videos, infographics and songs that were being used to fight global corruption. An extensive blogger outreach and social media campaign garnered over 100,000 votes and 14 million impressions on Twitter. Other campaigns included NASA promoting Gravity’s nomination; LGBT groups like OurTime celebrating Matthew McConaughey’s and Jared Leto’s success in Dallas Buyer’s Club; Edutopia asking members to vote for their favorite Oscar-nominated movie with an educational theme; and even some fast thinking nonprofits who were able to edit the infamous Ellen selfie picture and post their own versions. You can see these and other Oscar campaigns over on Kerri’s Pinterest board.




Back to School August and September have many families focused on back-to-school activities, and nonprofits focused on education and children’s causes can use that to tie together with their important missions. The panel highlighted one campaign by Beyond Borders titled, “Schools not Slavery.” The campaign took a multi-channel approach using direct mail, email, videos on YouTube, and social to raise donations. Over $30,000 was raised with 41% coming from new donors.

Art Institute of Chicago Holiday Campaign In addition to some nontraditional holidays, we also provided a deep-dive into the Art Institute of Chicago’s membership campaign that covered November and December – including the two major holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas. The Art Institute of Chicago used advertising, social media posts, several email campaigns, and lightboxes on their website to promote the membership drive. Visitors could purchase either memberships for themselves or gift memberships for others.

Final Takeaways In addition to the individual examples, the panel also shared some key takeaways: • Take advantage of known dates on the calendar, like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Halloween, and others. • Use the same messaging across all channels – direct mail, email, social media, and advertising. • Plan multi-channel campaigns using tools like Lightbox



Collaborative’s Editorial Calendar • Review what’s been done before by other nonprofits and businesses. You can follow Kerri and Sue Anne on Pinterest to see examples of what nonprofits are doing on the different holidays. • Be creative. Don’t just rely on the expected holidays. Use days like “World Toilet Day” to support water issues or “World Peanut Butter Day” to support hunger causes. Even though it’s the middle of the summer, there are several things you can do now to get ready for that critical year-end holiday donation season. First, focus on list growth and engagement. Whether it’s an inexpensive premium that can be easily shared on social media (bumper stickers and printed calendars are great), a lightbox on your homepage, or a paid acquisition campaign, the summer and early fall are the perfect times to add names to your online prospect list. Engaging them through the fall with surveys or advocacy actions are great ways to build up their awareness of your cause before asking them for a donation during the holidays. A prospect that takes an action for your organization is seven times more likely to make a gift after that action. Second, find ways to make sure

you’re getting your message in front of your donors in multiple ways. The data shows that donors who see your message more than once are more likely to give, so make sure that you’re coordinating your message between departments. The summer and fall is the perfect time to have those internal planning meetings to ensure that everyone in your organization is on the same page. Early coordination and calendar planning now will reap huge rewards in November and December. If you have a large direct mail file, look into using an email append service to sign those people up for your email list. Finally, be creative and brainstorm on how to get your donor’s attention. Experiment on Facebook and Twitter and see what types of messages your audience responds to so that you can be prepared to use those tools during the busy holiday season. Research examples of what’s working on social media and email. Creativity will help your message stand out both on the Facebook news feed and in the email inbox. For more information, view the presentation on the 14NTC site. Sue Anne Reed is the Account Manager at the Engage Group (PMG), where she works directly with nonprofit clients helping them with their digital strategy and production. Follow her on Twitter @sue_anne.

“A prospect that takes an action for your organization is seven times more likely to make a gift after that action.”



NTEN’s Megan Keane explains how and why to think beyond dollars to donor cultivation, and shares examples from different nonprofits.


hen we think about fundraising success, we often think of a handful of viral campaigns that led to impressive fundraising numbers. While these are examples we can learn from, true fundraising success isn’t just the amount of dollars raised—it’s about meaningful and continuous donor stewardship. You can’t necessarily put a dollar

amount on the relationships you cultivate, but it’s these very connections that translate into lasting support for your organization. There’s no exact recipe for donor cultivation, but several key ingredients make for a thriving community of supporters and a growing donor base. Your supporters don’t just want to write a check; they want to be actively involved in creating change

with you. Offer specific ways for people to actively take part in your cause. That’s just what the city of Baltimore did when they embarked on their B More, Give More campaign as part of Giving Tuesday, an international day of nonprofit giving. In partnership with GivingCorps, the city brought together local organizations and involved the community in the giving process. They provided lots of opportunities to spread the word through social media and other communication channels. Through encouraging residents to “Together make Baltimore the most generous city in America,” individuals




were also motivated by being a part of a larger collective movement. Drawing on civic pride and the passion of people for local causes they cared about, Baltimore raised over $5.7 million dollars in just a single day. Finding ways to recognize partner organizations and nonprofit colleagues can also be an invaluable way to grow you community base. The San Francisco chapter of One Brick, a volunteer-run nonprofit providing local volunteer opportunities, runs monthly happy hour fundraising events. Instead of event proceeds going only to their organization, each month they select one organization they work with as the beneficiary of the event. Not only do these mutually beneficial joint events engender good feelings with partners, but it also results in a crosspollination of both organizations’ communities. One Brick gains awareness for their organization and brings in new volunteers who are already beginning their involvement with a positive experience.

“FINDING A CREATIVE AND ENGAGING WAY TO RALLY SUPPORTERS CAN BE JUST THE MOMENTUM YOUR COMMUNITY NEEDS TO TAKE ACTION.” Never underestimate the power of a “thank you”! At NTEN we do this through our annual Member Appreciation Month, where we designate the month of November (already a month associated with




gratitude) to express our thanks to all of our Members. Throughout the month we provide special free events for nonprofits, procure prizes for daily giveaways, and offer special NTEN swag and other goodies for our local 501 Tech Clubs. During Member Appreciation Month, we also offer NTEN Community Impact Year in Review webinar, where we invite several actively involved NTEN Members to share their experience with different NTEN programs, and offer an open arena for other community members to share and ask questions. Key supporters receive recognition and webinar attendees have the opportunity to learn more about the value the community has to offer— and possibly take that next step towards engagement. Of course, member acquisition and retention is always an objective for a membership-based organization like NTEN. Member Appreciation Month happens to coincide with renewal season and immediately precedes NTEN’s annual fundraising campaign, so it’s an effective way to foster a spirit of generosity and community to lend itself to continued Member retention and financial support. But don’t forget to include the fun.

Let’s face it, social change is hard work. Finding a creative and engaging way to rally supporters can be just the momentum your community needs to take action. 826DC, a literacy organization, put on a clever fundraising campaign, a ping-pong benefit tournament: Paddlestar Gallatica. Participants had a month to fundraise and competed in the bracket-style tournament at the end of the month. Along with the clever name, 826DC offered fun pre-tournament events, such as weekly practice sessions where weekly top fundraisers were awarded prizes. And the more money participants raised the more “cheats” they could obtain at the tournament. By making the campaign social, interactive, and humorous, with a healthy does of friendly competition, 826DC turned the challenging task of fundraising into an enjoyable way to connect around a cause. For more great ideas and tips on donor stewardship, check out these helpful resources: Fired-Up Fundraising CraigConnects Crowdfunding Infographic ginfographic Peer Giving Ideas The Fundraising Coach (Marc Pitman) MEGAN KEANE is the Membership Director at NTEN, and is a long-time SF bay area resident with an extensive nonprofit background in community management, social media, and volunteer management. She’s a problem solver and network builder passionate about connecting with people both on and offline. Follow her on Twitter @penguinasana.



Do you practice what you preach? NTEN’s Eileigh Doineau interviews Sarah Alexander from Food & Water Watch about about how they strive to embody their own values of environmental sustainability in their office.


Food & Water Watch’s mission is to ensure that the food, water and fish we consume is safe, accessible, and sustainably produced. How is this mission reflected internally with your team?


Food & Water Watch really works to walk the walk when it comes to how we run our office, and do our work. Our office in D.C. is based out of a LEED certified green building that has a rooftop garden, and a courtyard with lots of green space for our employees to enjoy. We source local,

organic, and Fair Trade food, coffee, and teas whenever available, and try to make sure that all of the events that we host in our office include organic, local, and sustainably produced food. We also have water filtration stations throughout the office that provide hot and cold filtered tap water to all of our staff. We try to live the values in how we treat our employees too. We have very generous benefits and vacation packages, and want people to find balance in their lives. We are all very passionate about the work that we’re doing, and want to make sure that we’re all taking care of ourselves so we can do this work for the long term,




which includes encouraging people to take vacations, take breaks during the day, and unplug from work after work hours.


With staff members all around the world, how do you stay connected? We have staff in 17 offices throughout the U.S., as well as staff in Europe. Some amount of travel is inevitable, but much of our collaborative work happens online or over the phone. For example, people on the organizing team are all over the U.S. and we have our weekly team meetings on a web conferencing system, we do individual check ins over video chat, and much of our collaboration happens in email, chat, or individual phone calls. Everyone is able to stay connected through the technology we use, but we’ve found you have to create a culture around inclusiveness of remote staff to be able to really use technology to stay connected with one another.



For the sake of adopting a particular green practice, has your organization had to make any sacrifices?





I think we’ve been pretty lucky in this regard, since we’re a relatively new organization, and many of the practices we have in place have been around since day one. We haven’t had to sacrifice anything in particular, but we also believe that we need to make systemic political changes to do our work, and that can have a bigger impact than any individual can make on their own.


How has technology helped your organization to become more sustainable?

I think we have been able to do less travel because of how we’re using technology. We’ve also been able to use less paper. Nearly all of our files are electronic now, versus even 9 years ago when we started, and were still keeping paper files for projects.


What are some examples of sustainable practices you have adopted within your organization? We compost in our kitchens, and one of our staff uses it for his garden. We use all recycled paper products, and as I mentioned all of our water comes from the tap, and our food is local, organic and sustainable whenever possible. The signs we use for our campaigns are from a union printer on recycled paper whenever possible. We really try to live our values when it comes

to the physical things we are putting out into the world.


Becoming and maintaining sustainable practices can be a challenge, especially if it means breaking old habits to adopt new ones that are sometimes less convenient. For organizations that don’t have an environmentally-focused mission or for those coming up against push-back from colleagues, what is your advice to them on how to create sustainable change in their office?


Change is always hard, and it’s important to start small. There are so many options out there for sourcing recycled or sustainable materials whether it’s paper or food, and a lot of times it costs the same as the non-recycled stuff. I would recommend to start with purchasing and the things you’re bringing into the office, and then look at the things you’re putting out into the world, whether it’s newsletters, or t-shirts, or campaign materials. We all have room for improvement no matter what we’re currently doing. SARAH ALExANDER (@sarahatfww) is Food & Water Watch’s Deputy Organizing Director where she directs their online campaigns, their national food organizing campaigns, and also helps with outreach to new communities. Sarah has worked on issues related to food sovereignty, genetic engineering, and local food security. Her background is in community organizing, strategic campaigning and legislative campaigns, having previously worked with Green Corps, the White Earth Land Recovery Project, and the American Community Gardening Association. EILEIGH DOINEAU is NTEN’s Sponsorship and Development Coordinator. She enjoys using technology to be more efficient in her work, but admits that sometimes a No. 2 pencil just can't be beat.


What’s an example of a great online fundraising campaign? We asked the NTEN Community on social media. Here’s a snapshot of what they said: Ken Zakalik @kenzakalik

@NTENorg online fundraising campaign - St Jude Naming Opportunities.

Michael Stein @mstein63

@NTENorg Great online fundraising campaign that we worked on for AmeriCares, here’s article on our Blog

Keep Indianapolis Beautiful: Small But Mighty (SBM) campaign

Challenged Athletes 2KADAY Boys and Girls Clubs of San Francisco: Give 5 For School Supplies

Spread the Word | Ada Initiative

Bethany Lister I thought The Ada Initiative did a great job in their 2013 fundraising campaign. All totally ricked community-created content about how All is needed and how they’ve helped. Donors were given great sample sharing text which successfully flooded Twitter and created an army of advocacies. Plus: nerdy suggested giving amounts: $128, $256, $512m $1024!

Mchael Stein @mstein63

@NTENorg Another great campaign raised money for No Kid Hungry

Miriam Kagan @miriamkagan

AWESOME! check it out @daveiam Give Local America: The Aftermath by @kimbiainc #infographic #2014 via @SlideShare

Jayne Cravens Pro: The Humane Society of Henderson County Kentucky does a great job of coming up with quick, successful campaigns tied to very specific needs—a dog that needs to travel to a specialist several counties away, a dog that needs very specific behavior training, etc. Bpeace also does interesting yearly campaigns encouraging people to “vote” for different entrepreneurs they are helping in Afghanistan or Rwanda with donations. Two others I like are Responsible Charity and Mayhew International... I really love the tone of such, and how they space such out amid LOTS of program updates, and tie program updates to funding. NTEN CHANGE | JUNE 2014


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