Monthly Archives: April 2009

Is Michael in the audience today?

I’m sitting in the audience at the National Technology Conference being held in San Francisco. The presentation I’m attending is on “Why the donate button isn’t enough: designing program-centric appeals online”.

When I say I’m in the audience, I’m not actually there. Instead I’m part of the global audience viewing the workshop online. With a limit of 1,400 people (wow!!), not everyone who wanted to attend the conference actually could. So NTEN, the event’s organisers, have provided plenty of ways for people to see at least a few sessions.

The session I’ve joined is the last of the live webcasts: live video with shots of the presenters and questions from other attendees.

There are about six sessions available free as webinars (a audio presentation with slideshow). These are covering topics such as open source constituent relationship management software, integrated mobile advocacy and online fundraising, program-centric appeals online and cloud computing. An archive means these are available after the event is long over. Plus there is live blogging – a bit like hand-written scrawls on your notepad, but shared online.

On a more face-to-face level I’ll catch up with Michael Woodcock, Marketing Manager at NZFVWO, when he gets back from the Conference. Over the past 18 months I’ve been intermittently sitting next to Michael and having many conversations about ecological sustainability, peak oil and the like. I’m wondering if he’s in the audience today – I’m waiting to hear a kiwi accent chime in during the Q&A session.

Michael’s been promoting the TechSoup program since it launched in Aotearoa last June with a positive response. He’s in San Francisco to meet with others running TechSoup programmes around the planet – in 23 countries and more coming.

Here’s a short interview with Michael the day before he headed over to San Francisco (apologies for the sound quality). I asked him buy a me copy of the recently released book “Managing Technology to Meet Your Mission: A Strategic Guide for Nonprofit Leaders”.

Michael Woodcock interview, 23 April 2009 from Stephen on Vimeo.

After he gets back I’ll do a longer interview and post it here as an audio file. Back to the session about “Why the donate button isn’t enough”……

Update 29 April: I forgot the mention that fellow kiwi and another greenie Peter Davis is also at the NTEN conference. He’s blogged about the conference on the webguide blog.

Update 30 April: Michael has emailed saying he’s got a copy of the book I mentioned above and is hunting down an autograph for me. Feedback from the conference floor: a presentation by Eben Moglen, a professor of law and legal history at Columbia University, and is the founder, Director-Counsel and Chairman of Software Freedom Law Center was fantastic. Moglen received a standing ovation.

Earlier today… a toe in the water {revisited} talk

When Brendon Veale from Wellington Zoo introduced me at today’s FINZ Central Division learning lunch he said I was going to shed some light on the world of online fundraising. What a big topic!!. I only had an hour so I quickly let everyone know my slightly narrower focus: an exploration of how to use social media and networking to attract support and get donations.

There was an interest in online fundraising in general, so I was pleased to have found references to some recent guides. As well as the one I mentioned during my talk – The 2008 Online Fundraising Survival Guide: 12 Winning Strategies to Survive & Thrive in a Down Economy, by Network for Good – I’ve listed a couple more resources on a blog post about the talk. See: “A toe in the water {revisited}”, and also my presentation on Slideshare.

My talk was based on an article published in “Fundraising in New Zealand” last September. I suggested caution at the time, and nothing I’ve read nor the people I’ve talked to have changed my mind on that.

I didn’t collect any references from the people participating about good examples of online fundraising using social networks. There is a tentativeness, almost wariness about all this – we know we have to get up to speed, but not just now. As one person I spoke to suggested – they’d need to set aside a lot of time to come up to read about what is required to be successful.

Other questions related to the loss of control implied by using social networks – what happens when your supporters take the message in their hands. What will I tell this boss if things go awry? A perfectly understandable reaction – and something I don’t come up against being a freelancer. However, I do think there are some answers to these potential dilemmas.

I presented two examples of people using for personal fundraising appeals, including Give a little, there were questions about making the leap from using social media like Facebook, YouTube and others, for individual appeals to using them for organisations. While I think it is possible, particularly by empowering supporters to take your cause out there, it’s not something I know a lot about.

I’m naturally cautious about trends and fads, and I’d include twitter amongst those. It’s the latest craze, with no little hype. A few NZ organisations like Greenpace and Oxfam are beginning to use Twittter, and I’m sure they’ll work out if they fit their needs (or just die away). Over on Beth Kanter’s blog she quotes Ivan Booth who said:

Begin with your campaign’s strategy — the food you want to eat. Then determine which technologies will best cultivate the fire within your supporters to achieve the social change you seek.

It’s something I endorsed. (See Beth’s original post “Twitter for Activism Tool VS Strategy Debate and A New Twitter Activism Guide” on 14 April 2009.)

I really enjoyed the session and would invite anyone who attended (or didn’t make it) to follow-up by making comments or sending me questions.

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