New Media+Nonprofits and Thoughts On Both

I made the video to display why it took me a couple days to get back to everyone (the mess of moving šŸ˜› ). šŸ™‚

Earlier this week I got to be a guest at a local “giving circle.” I had never heard of one of these before getting invited a couple weeks ago. A giving circle is a group of individuals that pool money together and find a place to put said money. The place they find to put the money comes after weeks (months… years?) of discussing issues that are important to the members of the group. Googling the term “giving circle” brought me to this website [GivingCircles.org] if you want information about that. I think I’m going to have to start my own after seeing how one operates and thinking about it for three seconds… But that will be for future discussion.

Hello To All Whom I Met On Thursday

Hello! This post is going to be dual purposed. One purpose will be to further introduce myself to the members of the group I met that morning. The other purpose will be to inform any other readers who may stumble upon this page, my thoughts on social media and nonprofits.

First allow me to elaborate on something I brought up to the group. I, because it’s my nature, last year attempted to raise $16,000 in one months time for a program called [Room to Read]. I’ll spare you the details of why and go straight to the results. With ABSOLUTELY no knowledge of how to raise money for something like this I got $400 in a months time. Then because school and life was kicking my ass, I dropped it for a while, picked it back up again and ended at $1,125. You can see the results on [this page].

I’m really not impressed with my results BUT I did complete them alone, unorganized and uninformed with the ins and outs of fundraising. I’m fully confident that, with what I learned from that “experiment” and spending time getting prepared first I could EASILY raise $16,000 in one months time. I actually have a new plan that I would like to try implementing but my massive case of ADHD/biploar prevents me from starting… šŸ™‚ šŸ˜‰

My Political Leaning

Because the group threw jokes around about different peoples political leaning I thought I would clear mine up a bit. I know it is unnecessary, but it will make the next section of this post make more sense. I’ve only recently started involving myself in politics and what got me interested was my interest in economics. Seeing that economic theory can’t function without the “politics” I realized I would have to embrace both disciplines. That being said I tend to label myself as a “Classical Liberal.” I’m sure it would be easier to just say I’m a “Libertarian” but neither one of labels seems to fit me well… Now on my thoughts on nonprofits…

Why I Don’t Like Nonprofits

As a general rule of thumb I don’t like nonprofits. This dislike has nothing to do with an entity being formed as a nonprofit and everything to do with how (my experience has shown) nonprofits tend to be managed. When I think of nonprofits, I generally think of a sloppily managed organization with a dollar to getting shit done ratio that is terribly low. I also think of passionate people that don’t know anything about business who are essentially running a business with passion instead of sound budgeting/business sense. I’m reminded of countless hours spent organizing fundraisers and writing grants to get enough money to barely make ends meet. I think about a lot of things…

I think that nonprofits are, by design, setup to be black holes for dollar bills. They never have enough, always need more (because there is no end to the work they do). I guess it took me all of that writing to get out one word that basically sums up my feelings for (most) nonprofits: inefficient.

I suppose I could be totally incorrect in my general assessment of nonprofits, and I would be pleased to find out I am. I guess I’ll see what the future brings me. šŸ™‚

Solutions To The Above Problems

For a hyper-optimistic and positive dude that last section seemed pretty negative… I guess I have some issues with nonprofits from personal experiences in the past. I’ve thought long and hard about how to correct these issues and… reaching back to the meeting this morning, I’m sure some of my proposed solutions are already in practice.

The solution I came up with for myself and any “nonprofits” I may start is this: make them profitable OR attach them to a profitable organization that will oversee the nonprofits finances and keep everything look good. Probably the best example in the world of this would be the [Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation].

How New Media Fits Into All Of This

New Media = Web 2.0 = some cool ass shit.

First let me do a quick explanation of what new media/web 2.0 is. In a nut shell it’s new technologies and software that allow for more interactivity on the web and mobile devices. It is in an organizations interest (nonprofit or not) to learn these things because 1. when used properly a small amount of work can turn into large returns on invested time and 2. There is an ARMY (let me say this again an ARMY) of youth coming up who will be MASTERS of this stuff. Mark my words. The dinosaurs of old are going to get replaced so hard and fast they won’t know what hit them… (that’s another post for another day as well…)

Anyhow, let me tell you some of the ways new media fits into all of this.

I’m assuming everyone is at least a little familiar with what Barack Obama did with the internet/new media in his campaign. Well YOUR organization can utilize some of those same tactics to get regular small contributions from a large group of individuals. Individuals who believe in what you’re doing. Who can’t spare an extra $1 to $10 per month for something they believe in? You can use new media to find these people and them give them the tools to sign up (with a credit card) and make regular payments. I’m just scratching the surface on this. Want to read more about it? [Here’s a free online book: The Websters Dictionary]

I wrote everything above that line the day I met with the giving circle. Now (at 5:50AM Sunday morning) I’m going to wrap this up (and shoot a video I think…) I could get A LOT more in depth into a lot of things but… There are only so many hours in a day. šŸ˜› Here are a couple services you guys should consider:

YouTube

I’ve been on the internet for a LONG time (pretty much since it started, the graphical version anyway šŸ˜‰ ). I’ve had a blogs, started discussion forums, hung out on different social networking pages, etc. but YouTube is the first time I’ve built a sizeable audience. And I’ve done this with almost no effort. Don’t get me wrong, I spend a lot of time on my YouTube stuff, but it wasn’t really time spend trying to build an audience. It just “happened.”

I want to point this out because I worked HARDER on my blog and discussion forums in the past than I do on my YouTube channel. I’ve never really tried promoting anything I’ve done online but BOOM the YouTube thing caught on. Why? Because I was doing it and “regular” people watch videos! Blogs and discussion forums are for a certain caliber of nerd. Everyone’s on YouTube.

I can give you tips and tricks for building a large subscriber base and getting views and all that stuff, but A. I never really used them and B. They’re USELESS unless you start a YouTube channel!

Use the power of video to talk about what your organization does! Respond to other organizations on YouTube. Holding a fundraising event? Record it and post it! The risk is VERY much worth the reward!

Internet Marketing/mailing lists

I’ve been studying internet marketing (IM) since December of last year. If you’re not familiar with IM in a nutshell it is the art/science of building traffic and converting that traffic into sales of a product. The people who are at the top of this game do VERY cool things. They master copy writing, they get professionally designed websites put together, they build followings of people that buy the various products they release (or recommend). I highly recommend spending some time learning this skill (or at least inviting me out for beers/lunch and talking about it šŸ˜‰ ).

There are a ton of different tricks these guys employ, but I want to talk about their email lists as I think this is the key to mostly everything they do (it was pretty much the key to everything the Obama campaign did, email lists, SMSes, Twittering, etc.). Basically you build a “sales” page explaining your product/service (or your organization). People willingly sign up to get emails from you because they believe in the product/service or because you’re going to give them something free for signing up, whatever. Then you send that list information and products relevant to the list, making sure you balance good content with sales offers so people are always looking forward to an email from you.

I’ll even give you guys an example of how one of the participants from that last meeting could use something like this…

There was this calendar that gets sold to raise scholarship money. I found a link to [the cover of that calendar here]. Anyhow, that calendar is released every year and sold for $10. Now, in this day and age pretty much EVERYONE that would buy one of those calendars has an email address. GET IT FROM THEM! Why? New calendars are released EVERY YEAR! If email addresses are collected year after of from people who WILLINGLY purchased that calendar, guess what?! They’ll probably want to buy and support the cause again next year! BUT! You’ll need to find them again. With that growing email list, every time the calendars are available to be purchased BOOM! You blast out an email.

Calendars could even be presold via the list and everything handled online. There would be one week each year that BOOM! a chunk of money would come from hitting that list announcing the new clendar release. That’s enough about that though… I think you get the idea.

Twitter

I don’t want to spend too much time on Twitter because… I still don’t use it that much. BUT it’s worth mentioning. Basically Twitter is “microblogging”. You can send short updates about what’s going on with you using this platform. Take a second to check out my Twitter to get an idea of what it’s about.

[miltownkid’s Twitter]

So not only can you post little micro updates, but you can converse and ask questions via the platform. People “follow” (subscribe to) you and get these updates whenever you post them. When I’m done with this blog post, I’m going to post it on Twitter and I KNOW someone will follow the link to read it here… Speaking of that, I don’t do it I didn’t use to do it, but you can use a service to actually track how many people follow your link when you post it on Twitter. [I used Bit.ly] to track this link. šŸ™‚ I’ll review of some shit later (maybe lol).

Anyhow, check it out and trust that it’s cool.

Blogging

I gotta mention blogging. It’s free, easy to use and helps get your message out. What you’re reading right now is a blog (if ya didn’t know šŸ˜‰ ). I’m trying to close up this post now… Can you tell? šŸ˜€

Facebook Charaties App

I should have talked about this thing earlier in the post when i had more energy. This thing is TRE-COOL! Basically, via Facebook, you sign up to support a charity, make it public that you’re supporting it, and get other people to either help you get more members or to donate money. [Check out the page I’m “testing” here]. I haven’t really done ANYTHING there except make the page and… send out a couple messages. There’s a lot more I can and will do. But I’d like to point out that $114 has been raised and 55 people signed up in support. All it takes is a little nudging to get people to do a little more.

Sound fucking BAD ASS to you? Want to get your non-for-profit involved?

[Sign up here]

I would GLADLY help Milwaukee based not-for-profits that get on there and contact me to help them utilize it. Isn’t [Bucketworks] a not-for-profit…

How to contact me

Just leave a comment on this post. Use an email address that I can contact you at and BOOM! It’s handled.

My current rate for consulting is a lunch/dinner/beers of your choosing at a location of your choice, but I have a feeling it will be going up in the near future. šŸ™‚

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5 Responses to New Media+Nonprofits and Thoughts On Both

  1. Magdalicious says:

    LOL, when you said you were finishing that post I thought you meant a couple of lines maybe a paragraph. That was like half the post! Chuckle… would be cool if you could get local Milwaukee stuff on the facebook charities thing!

  2. romke says:

    dude, clean your house. šŸ™‚

  3. miltownkid says:

    Come man! I just moved! šŸ™‚ Give me a couple days… I pledge to not let my place to in a perpetual state of mess like it has in the past. New beginnings! šŸ˜€

  4. Dave says:

    All need to start anew.

  5. We need all the help you are willing to offer–we’ve been teaching others how to use the tools you list (and describe rather well, I think!) but we’re suffering from the old ‘cobbler’s shoes’ dilemma. Will you help us master these techniques so the voice of our work is spoken in the new media? (And yes, our parent company the School Factory is a 501c3.)

    You know how to reach me!

    GET YOUR KEY, DAMMIT

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