Posts Tagged ‘Allyson Kapin’

No instruction manual? Adopt a start-up attitude.

The online world is changing the way we live, work and engage with our communities. Nonprofits that raise more and leverage new heights in advocacy relate with their constituents through a variety of online channels in tandem, meeting each group where it already is: on the Internet.

Social Change Anytime Everywhere coauthors, Allyson Kapin and Amy Sample Ward, establish beyond a doubt and with inspiring sector examples just how much a multichannel approach can help meet your goals.

If 78 percent of the U.S. population uses the Internet, nonprofit leaders must embrace not just one or two online channels but launch a coordinated effort that incorporates simultaneous online platforms, mobile devices and offline efforts.

One of the many stories Allyson and Amy highlight was the harrowing challenge faced by the National Wildlife Federation. The U.S. had just undergone the largest oil spill in its history on April 20, 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig.

Organizing a multichannel fundraising and advocacy campaign

The Federation responded with a multichannel disaster response campaign. Its two goals were to organize a multichannel advocacy and fundraising campaign to protect the wildlife impacted by the spill and to channel the community’s concern for the oiled animals toward the Federation’s campaign actions to make a real impact.

To meet these goals, the Federation spread information by creating a microsite to share data and impact and a Flickr group to feature photos. It recruited volunteers to help monitor rescue efforts, asked for donated supplies and urged people to advocate for legislation where needed. It focused on fixing the immediate damage and helping people cope by using social media as an emotional support.

Then, the National Wildlife Federation transitioned to a long-term goal of restoration, which involved more advocacy efforts, mainly the RESTORE Act that directly allocated BP fines to efforts to fix the damage. Through multichannels, the Federation not only shared information, but also ways to help and it “even filed a Freedom of Information Act request to make sure the oiled wildlife totals were made public.”

Here are some ways the Federation used multichannels to meet their advocacy and fundraising goals:


1) Website–shared adult and child-friendly content and set up campaign action pages for advocacy. 

2) Facebook and Twitter—planned and adapted messages for each from the beginning and tested them along the way. The Federation shared a couple of links a day, thanked people who posted fundraising efforts, encouraged people to reshare information, and used these channels as stories of the day for reporters. They were sure to balance messaging between sharing valuable information and making “the ask.”

3) Flickr—posted photos and made uploading easy for community posts.

4) Email—sent updates and direct mail appeals to donate to a restricted fund specific to the oil disaster.

5) Causes—supporters started fundraising on a page the National Wildlife Federation set up on Causes.com.

6) Text-to-Give—set up a first-time text-to-give program and promoted it through the heightened media exposure and other channels (website, Twitter, Facebook).

7) Ads—secured donated ads and travel.

So what did all of these channel efforts amount to?

It was difficult to measure all the relief efforts due to the urgency of this disaster but the Federation did track how people were responding to its appeals using source codes in its emails. Additionally, they raised $120,000 from the fundraising effort on www.Causes.com. It mostly tracked the impact on the ground (number of volunteers trained, number of news reports, number of sea turtle nests saved, the RESTORE Act, etc.). Internally, the Federation learned to identify point people from all departments who could meet daily to share information, brief staff so it could talk with the media, and streamline its website processes to make the website the main source of updated information. More specifically, Federation efforts resulted in:

– 250 wildlife surveillance volunteers to monitor more than 2,500 miles of coastline.
– 400 volunteers helping with events that included restoring fragile nesting habitats.
– Generated media attention by showing reporters the spill impacts in remote areas.
– Relocated more than 250 sea turtle nests (each nest has about 100 eggs).
– Directly impacted the passage of the RESTORE Act in Congress, ensuring that BP fines go toward restoring the damaged habitat.

    Lessons learned

    “We had no instruction manual on the shelf called ‘What to do when an oil rig explodes in the Gulf.’ It was written page by page, on the fly in the weeks and months after,” said senior manager for online integration, Kristin Johnson. Identifying a point person from each department to focus on the campaign and communicate regularly was essential. Additionally, we learned that having a streamlined internal web process for updating the site regularly was critical. Otherwise, our other channels working in tandem with the site would have provided duplicative or conflicting information.

    Adopt a start-up attitude

    Kapin and Sample Ward encourage readers to adopt a start-up mentality when launching a multichannel effort. I asked the authors in our CausePlanet interview, “What are some of the behaviors you admire about startups that nonprofits should consider?” Kapin answered:

    Startups prefer to fail fast and iterate. This gives them an opportunity to experiment with new ideas that they think have potential. Plus there is a lot to be learned from failing: It can lead to much better products, programs and initiatives. But in order for nonprofits to adapt this mindset, they must stop being so risk-averse and develop a plan to communicate with their funders, donors and board about learning from failure. One of the organizations we work with–Ask Big Questions at Hillel International–lists specific questions they are asking themselves about their programs, which they share with their funders. They talk about what they have learned and the exciting journey ahead of them.

    See also:

    Networked Nonprofit

    Content Marketing for Nonprofits

    Measuring the Networked Nonprofit

    Twitter for Good

     

    Leave a reply

    Public transit has a new plug thanks to social media

    If there was ever a doubt about the ripple effect social media and technology would have in our daily lives, all you have to do is walk out your front door to find out. According to a recent article by The Wall Street Journal even a commute to work will suffice. The article reported that workers are enjoying their commutes to the office more because they can use their mobile devices, check email, listen to podcasts or read the news. In a study of 27,556 British rail passengers, those who found commuting a waste of time in 2004 dropped by a whopping 37 percent in 2010.

    This study and many others underscore the meaning of Allyson Kapin and Amy Sample Ward’s new book Social Change Anytime Everywhere. In the book, the authors stress the importance of engaging your community via multi-channels consistently over time—not just when you need support or dollars.

    “After so many examples of using multiple channels for advocacy and fundraising, it’s important to remember that you can’t build real community around your work and move the needle on your cause if you invest in doing so only during campaigns or fundraising drives. Community building has to be an anytime, everywhere goal too.”

    Reaching your community anytime everywhere requires understanding them and knowing where to find them, even if it’s on their mobile device while riding public transportation. I asked Allyson and Amy about getting to this answer through collecting data in our Page to Practice™ interview:

    CausePlanet: One of the social media hurdles you acknowledge is accurately collecting data about your online community while facing the complications imposed by intermediary platforms. How should our readers go about proactively tackling this issue?

    Allyson Kapin: While it’s important for organizations to communicate with their community on what channels they prefer, it’s important to have a plan to move these people up the ladder of engagement. Capturing data such as their contact information, including emails, their mobile phone numbers, etc., gives your organization an opportunity to reach these stakeholders wherever they are on more urgent campaigns in case they did not see your tweet on Twitter or post on Facebook. Once you have this information you can also survey them to learn more what their specific interests are, conduct A/B testing to find out which messages resonate with them, etc.

    See also:

    Cause for Change

    Measuring the Networked Nonprofit

    Managing Technology to Meet Your Mission

    Leave a reply

    Social change everywhere: From Russia with gov

    “Weekly paychecks and free food!” was an excerpt from an ad that ran on Russian social media networks this summer offering full-time work for about $800 a month (the average Russian wage). Reporter Alexandra Garmazhapova of the Novaya Gazeta, a Moscow-based independent newspaper, was curious so she went undercover to investigate.

    Signs reading “Administration of Bloggers and Commentators” and “Rapid Reaction Department” hung over the offices within an enormous mansion in St. Petersburg. Employees are told to comment on articles or posts “praising Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin and President Vladamir Putin, abusing opposition leader Alexei Navalny and America, and defending Syria.”

    If you ever doubted the power of social media, I’m sure a conversation with the Russian activists on the government payroll in this pro-Putin operation would set the record straight. While many of us wish we had an office bursting at the door jams with people working in our own Rapid Reaction Department, the reality is that we do more with less in the nonprofit sector.

    Fortunately, we have experts on our side like coauthors Allyson Kapin and Amy Sample Ward who just released Social Change Anytime Everywhere: How to implement online multichannel strategies to spark advocacy, raise money and engage your community.

    Kapin and Sample Ward establish beyond a doubt and with great specificity just how much the online world is changing the way we live, work and engage with our communities. Nonprofits that raise more and leverage new heights in advocacy relate with their constituents through a variety of online channels in tandem, meeting each group where it already is: on the Internet.

    In the U.S., 78 percent of the population uses the Internet, according to the ITU (International Telecommunication Union or the United Nations agency for information and communication). Nonprofit leaders must embrace not just one or two online channels but launch a coordinated effort that incorporates simultaneous online platforms, mobile devices and offline efforts.

    In their book, Kapin and Sample Ward encourage readers to adopt a start-up mentality when launching a multichannel effort. We asked the authors in our interview, “What are some of the behaviors you admire about startups that nonprofits should consider?” Kapin answered:

    Startups prefer to fail fast and iterate. This gives them an opportunity to experiment with new ideas that they think have potential. Plus there is a lot to be learned from failing: It can lead to much better products, programs and initiatives. But in order for nonprofits to adapt this mindset, they must stop being so risk-averse and develop a plan to communicate with their funders, donors and board about learning from failure. One of the organizations we work with–Ask Big Questions at Hillel International–lists specific questions they are asking themselves about their programs, which they share with their funders. They talk about what they have learned and the exciting journey ahead of them.

    See also:

    Twitter for Good

    The Networked Nonprofit

    Cause for Change

    Leave a reply

    Multichannel efforts: Your path to social change

    “Social media is a tool, not the tool with Gen X and Millennials,” said Fundraising and the Next Generation author and consultant, Emily Davis. I hosted Davis at a live author interview for the Colorado Nonprofit Association’s fall conference yesterday and whenever we discuss fundraising with younger generations, social media inevitably comes up. Other questions that always surface are about what platforms to use, what social media preferences these generations have and so on. In short, there’s still a lot of uncertainty about the best use of our time online with our nonprofit communities. On the heels of this session with nonprofit leaders, I’m pleased we can offer our latest book Page to Practice™ feature about creating change through multichannel efforts.

    The authors of Social Change Anytime Everywhere challenge those of us who are setting up one or two online profiles and calling it good. Social networks such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are among the top five ranked websites for traffic in the U.S. More than 5.2 billion people have mobile accounts, which means there are five times as many mobile phone subscriptions as there are personal computers or landline phones.

    With jaw-dropping statistics like these and many more, coauthors Allyson Kapin and Amy Sample Ward establish that online multichannel efforts are a necessary bridge between you and the bright future for your cause. With literally dozens of illustrative examples, case stories and specific guidance, the authors describe how you can boost fundraising, spark advocacy and build community with a multi-pronged approach. They explain how you can earn the collective support of everyone in your organization—even the critics—as well as actualize your online plans.

    Kapin and Sample Ward

    I asked Allyson Kapin about how the book adds to the discussion about social media efforts:

    CausePlanet: With a wealth of rhetoric and written material about social media, what do you want readers to know about how your book uniquely adds to the discussion?

    Kapin: Social media is not a silver bullet for fundraising. It’s also not a replacement for your website, email or direct mail list. It’s one of multiple channels that organizations should be using to engage their communities. It’s important that organizations integrate these channels into their communications and outreach efforts. They should not be siloed.

    Join us next week when we’ll highlight why Allyson Kapin and her coauthor, Amy Sample Ward explain why nonprofits should adopt a start-up mentality when trying to instigate social change.

    Leave a reply

    Welcome! Please provide your log-in information below.
    Forget your password?
    Enter your email or user name and your log-in information will be sent to the email on file.