conferences, fundraising, social media strategy

Trendspotting: 2015 Nonprofit Technology Conference

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I just returned from the 2015 Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTC) energized and excited about where nonprofit technology practitioners think the field is heading. In this #15ntc roundup, I talk about the trends in nonprofit technology that I spotted at the conference, and why this is the year that nonprofit technology field jumped past "where are we now" to answer the question "where do we want to go next?"

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13 Comments 10 March 2015

community, fundraising

Finding #GivingTuesday Community at the NTEN Hangout 12/2

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In just two years #GivingTuesday has become the recognized day of giving (and giving back) in the US, and now has participation in 9 countries worldwide. This year, #GivingTuesday is starting to become a communal experience, not just in the giving...or almost requisite ask for donations...but in the desire to come together to discuss generosity and giving as a community. NTEN, the Nonprofit Technology Network, is hosting a one-hour open conversation on GivingTuesday at 11am PT/ 2pm ET as a way for community members to share #GivingTuesday efforts, discuss why they are a part of the NTEN community, and share ideas for the year ahead. Joleen Ong, Marketing and Publications Director of NTEN, explained that "NTEN is all about community and on #GivingTuesday, we're gathering the community together to celebrate the giving season."

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1 Comment 01 December 2014

presentations, storytelling

Creating Stories that Compel: Video Storytelling for Nonprofits

Image courtesy of Kenno McDonnell, Creative Commons license

As humans, we tell stories in order to make events that have happened to us relatable, we re-tell stories we've heard because they are memorable, and we tell stories to make sense of our world. Why wouldn't we do the same when explaining a need, cause, or event? In October, I offered a workshop for organizations participating in Valley Gives 2014, highlighting what makes a good story, the stories you have right now, and the types of stories that can power your fundraising/crowdfunding campaign. This is a summary of the workshop content, with embedded slide presentation.

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0 Comments 17 November 2014

free agent community fundraising, fundraising, storytelling

An Unexpected Nonprofit Fundraising Story

Great Apes Amazon Wishlist brown paper

The Center for Great Apes has hit on a brilliant merge of fundraising and storytelling. The Center is using Amazon Wish Lists to ask for specific donations for their great apes. Each item includes a small story about why it is needed, often connected to a specific animal. This is small moment storytelling. It also is storytelling fundraising, with a whiff of whimsy...and personal appeal. It's refreshingly simple, yet unexpected.

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2 Comments 27 August 2014

case studies, presentations, social media campaign

Designing Effective Online Engagement Campaigns

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One of my favorite types of online campaigns to run are online engagement campaigns. Once an organization has built what it believes is a steady and committed following online, I strongly suggest testing fan commitment by designing an online engagement campaign. Engagement campaigns serve the purposes of identifying who is most engaged with your organization online, whether online fans can be moved to action, and testing new ideas. What's the secret to designing and executing a successful online engagement campaign? In this blog post, I outline the assets needed to launch and run a successful campaign, timelines, elements of engagement campaigns, and two case studies. A comprehensive slide deck is included.

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3 Comments 12 August 2014

community, conferences

Unlocking Community Conversation: Cantors Assembly Keynote Address

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We all want to connect with others, and to be valued and heard. Even a conversation with a barrista at Starbucks can increase our happiness, as the studies show. In this blog post, a writeup of the keynote address that I gave at the Cantors Assembly, I offer a workplan for creating real community online. If we can "unlock the community conversation" in our online social spaces, then doesn't it follow that it's a hop-skip-jump away to increasing connectivity within our offline communities, and to creating the groundwork for long-term viable 21st century communities?

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0 Comments 07 July 2014

Reports and studies, Uncategorized

Informing Ourselves: The 2014 Social Media Marketing Report

Benefits of SM Marketing SME 2014

Social Media Examiner recently released the 2014 Social Media Marketing Report detailing how 3,025 business marketing professionals conduct social media marketing activities. The report reveals what platforms marketers are using, how much time they are spending on them, the perceived return on investment, what marketing jobs they outsource, and which marketing activities complement social media.

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5 Comments 01 July 2014

email fundraising, email markeing, social media strategy

M&R 2014 Benchmarks Study: Findings and Implications

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The M&R 2014 Benchmarks Study is here! For the past eight years, M&R,with support from NTEN, has produced a study of email and fundraising benchmarks. This year's study looked at email (open rates, churn, clickthrough rates, list growth, response rates), online giving (email, other giving online, monthly vs. one-time gifts), website traffic (traffic growth and web gift rates), and social media (Facebook and Twitter fan size, growth, and frequency of posting) in 2013. What is interesting about this year's study isn't so much what is in it, but what it implies for the future of web communication.

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0 Comments 18 April 2014


How Upworthy Thinks About Metrics

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The founder of the news site Upworthy, Eli Pariser, knows just a little bit about how to get people to read his content. Pariser spoke with New York Times journalist David Carr at South By Southwest Interactive about Upworthy, why he created it, the relationship with Facebook, and how Upworthy views metrics. Upworthy's secret sauce is a mix of importance, satisfaction, and quality.

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0 Comments 03 April 2014

conferences, presentations, social media policy

50 Shades of Social Media: Navigating Policies, Laws & Ethics at #14ntc

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As the manager of your nonprofit’s social media presence, knowing what you (and your colleagues) can say or how you should respond gets tricky. Establishing solid social media governance policies and understanding your legal and compliance obligations are both important aspects of your overall social media strategy. But, where do you turn when you encounter a dilemma that isn’t easily solved by turning to the law or an existing policy? At the 2014 Nonprofit Technology Conference (#14ntc), myself and three fellow presenters addressed these and other social media questions during our "50 Shades of Social Media" workshop. This blog post includes a session summary, our slide deck, and highlighted takeaways of the legal, cultural, ethical and policy considerations for organizations using social media.

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1 Comment 24 March 2014


Debra Askanase is an experienced digital engagement strategist, non-profit executive, and community organizer. She is works with mission-driven organizations to develop digital strategies and campaigns that engage, create trust, and move stakeholders to action. Debra speaks at conferences worldwide on the intersection of technology, social media, and nonprofit organizations.

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