Thursday, January 17, 2008

PowerPoint slides are not enough if you're lazy

Do you want to wow donors at your next presentation? Do you want to show the donor whales that you're up on the latest with all the technological bells and whistles?

If you do, just remember, less is more, and more is more.

That means less text on your PowerPoint slides, and more attention by to the audience.

In a book titled "Guide to PowerPoint," expert Dave Paradi offered the results of polls he has taken among people who have been in the audience for slide presentations. His findings show that people do not like a presentation in which the speaker leaves all the work to the slide show and none to him or herself. Remember, an audience does not see all the work a speaker has put into a PowerPoint presentation. It only sees the results.

Among the points to remember with a talk featuring a presentation such as PowerPoint:

  • People do not like too much text (that is, too many words) on each slide.
  • Speakers should not read off a slide. People do not like being told words they can read for themselves.
  • Visuals should be used to make a point and help hold a conversation with the audience. Think of visuals as material to be commented on.
  • People want bullets points rather than large groupings of words.
  • People want text that is big enough to see from the back of the room.

4 keys to successful Web social marketing

Social networking and Web 2.0 are the latest buzzwords for nonprofits on the technology front. YouTube, Facebook, MySpace, Technorati, what does it all mean, and why should nonprofits bother with all of this stuff anyway?
What's it got to do with mission?

As few has 10 years ago, the Web was a new channel. Today, the Web has become a platform, said Jo Sullivan, senior vice president of development for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), during a recent nonprofit direct marketing conference. There are media and cultivation opportunities for nonprofits, as well as user-generated content of all kinds, including audio, video and editorial.

"If your Web site is the face of your organization, then the 'www.' can make up the rest of the body parts," Sullivan said.

Sullivan suggested nonprofits be creative and look for alternatives to build 2.0 components into measurable things they are already doing. Other actions she suggests nonprofits take include:

  • Build Web 2.0 toolkits for donors to use, such as toolbars and donation links to post on blogs and personal pages.
  • Keep an eye on search engines such as Google and Technorati, to see what people are saying about your organization.
  • Work toward new ways to measure the audience, such as a Web survey to see how many more members or supporters have you on their blogs, etc., and flag them. Go back in six months to a year and determine the value of that segment.
  • Develop and implement a conversion strategy that would drive Web 2.0 traffic to become registered users on your site and then on to donors. Remember to measure it all the time.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Greenpeace International - Eight Countries, Six Languages

If you market a campaign as global, you better show people it's global.
That was the motto brandished by Greenpeace International during the planning stages of the nonprofit's global "The Great Whale Trail" tagging campaign. The accompanying Web site had the same global objective, with the added and very ambitious goal of combining activism with fundraising -online.

"What we're doing, in a sense, is inventing the wheel," said Ryann Miller, fundraising innovation consultant at Toronto-based HJC New Media, which partnered with Greenpeace to develop the online peer-to-peer fundraising aspect of The Great Whale Trail campaign. "This is not direct marketing. This is not direct mail. So, it's a lot harder for us to project what a campaign is going to end up looking like. We're still seeing what the potential is."

The Web site (http://secure.greenpeace.org/visitor/index.php?event_id=main), said Miller, is modifiable by each participating Greenpeace national regional office (NRO), but the main points remain congruent throughout. The custom-built platform includes a sidebar located on the right side of the page, which displays three ranking lists, "Latest Donors," "Global Top Fundraisers," and "Top Fundraisers," each updated automatically. "We built this tool and this campaign so that it would work in each and every country office," said Miller.

Still in the early stages of the project (it was launched at the beginning of November), Greenpeace International New Media Fundraiser Alexandra Merory, based in the Netherlands, said the group is not ready to share how much has been raised. She did speak to the uniqueness of the effort, and to its sometimes-unexpected successes.

"The Great Whale Trail tagging project has been an important project as through the scientific research," said Merory by email. "We approached the issue in a new way, and through the social network fundraising we allowed supporters to engage with the campaign in a different way."

According to Merory, the nonprofit managed to roll out the peer-to-peer fundraising in eight countries with very different markets, and in six languages. The participating countries include places where whaling is a big market, such as Japan and New Zealand, but there were also a few surprises. "Happy" surprises, said HJC's Miller.

"Hungary is a great example of a smaller regional office that is more nimble, and eager to take a chance and a risk," Merory said of the landlocked eastern European nation. Greenpeace's NRO in China also found success with the effort, as evidenced by the reigning "Global Top Fundraiser," Joe Wu of China, whose individual Web page (all in Chinese except for the dollars raised) shows that Wu garnered eight sponsors and raised $1,050 (as of Dec. 13).

Traffic to the group's Google Maps Web page, which uses satellite tracking to show the migration of threatened humpback whales has been impressive, said Merory. (Note: the posting of the whales' location is delayed to ensure whalers cannot locate them) And as a not-so-side note side note, a contest to name one of the whales resulted in "a huge viral explosion," she said, with more than 115,000 votes cast worldwide for the winning name, "Mr. Splashy Pants."

The contest was cited on several Web sites. People created their own "Vote for Mr. Splashy Pants" groups on Facebook; and, the "Mr. Splashy Pants" Web site earned the top spot on the user-generated site Reddit.com.

"This goes back to the psychology of it all," said Miller. "If you tell me that a campaign is global, I want to see that it's global. It fosters a much greater sense of connection and interaction with people around the world, united for this one single cause." - Marla E. Nobles

Monday, January 14, 2008

Netscape Users: Migrate Data Now

You spend years getting used to something and then it's snatched away. Netscape Navigator, the once-popular Web browser now owned by AOL, will not be supported after February 1. At one point during the 1990s, Netscape was used by more than 90 percent of people surfing the Web.

Old versions of the browser will be available for download, but won't be supported. "Organizations are going to want to find an alternative now and start the migration process. It's not terribly difficult, but it can be a little tricky, and it will take time," said Holly Ross, executive director of NTEN, a nonprofit technology organization.

According to AOL, the number of users has slipped to less than one percent because of competition from Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE), which is used by an estimated 80 percent of Web surfers.

AOL bought Netscape Navigator in 1998 from Netscape Communications Corporation but reportedly recently had multiple staff defections to Mozilla Foundation. It was developed by Marc Andressen, co-author of Mosaic, the first popular Web browser, which he wrote in 1992 while a student at the University of Illinois.

"Netscape Navigator is not dead; it's just been taken off life support with no new updates being released. For most of the Internet community, the news that support will cease is like hearing that some ancient rock and roll legend has died," said Tim Mills-Groninger, former associate director of the IT Resource Center in Chicago. "Some people morn by listening to their collection of the artists' music and go to work tired from staying up too late. "Most just say 'huh, I thought he died years ago.'"

For many people, according to Mills-Groninger, the choice of browser has been a fashion statement, with Navigator usage "shifting from a turn of the Century 'I'm a cool early adopter who will not be swayed by monocultural juggernaut that is Microsoft' to 'I'm comfortable and maybe a bit lazy and when I get around to upgrading from my Pentium II Windows ME machine I'll upgrade to Firefox."

The risks of staying with Netscape Navigator a while longer are the increased chance of a machine exploit by malicious code and that something will break -- either in not being able to interact with a Web site as the designer intended or Navigator not installing on a new machine, he said.