Software/Technology

Online Message Boards: A Value Add
January 23, 2007

Online message boards can transform your Web presence from a one-sided mouthpiece for your organization to a place for interactive dialogue that allows visitors to communicate with you and with each other. Message boards not only encourage communication, but they foster community and accessibility. Message boards offer a specific location where constituents can gather, allow almost real-time communication and easy navigation through message threads, and archive conversations, writes Susan Tenby, online community manager for TechSoup, online provider of nonprofit technology services that include news and articles, discussion forums, and discounted and donated technology products, in her white paper “Using Message Boards to Build Community.”

The Benefits of Blogs and Message Boards
January 23, 2007

There is a new voice being heard on nonprofit Web sites. It’s the voice of Web site visitors stepping up, speaking out and taking part in their own online community spaces — blogs, discussion groups and more — and it’s changing the way nonprofits think about their Web sites, and about their strategic approaches to reach out and engage their constituents and supporters. Many nonprofits have “brochure” Web sites with pages that present read-only information about an organization’s goals, activities and accomplishments. These sites may be attractive and informative, but they don’t actively engage the Web site audience. Because of this, they are giving

Online Message Boards Offer Key Benefits to Constituents
January 23, 2007

Online message boards offer myriad benefits to constituents in search of support, information and community. Key to the success of a message board is a core group of people that can be relied on to keep conversations moving. The Alzheimer’s Association, a voluntary health organization dedicated to finding prevention methods, treatments and a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, offers constituents a host of online message boards and chat rooms where they can share their thoughts and experiences, ask colleagues questions, and make friends. The message boards are grouped by topic and include a board for people living with Alzheimer’s disease, a forum for caregivers,

Convio to Acquire GetActive Software
January 19, 2007

AUSTIN, TEXAS (January 17, 2007) Convio, Inc. – a leading provider of online constituent relationship management solutions (eCRM) for nonprofit organizations – today announced that it has executed a definitive agreement to acquire GetActive Software, Inc. Convio and GetActive are widely recognized as the two foremost eCRM software and services vendors within the nonprofit sector. The acquisition is expected to significantly strengthen Convio’s ability to provide the most innovative Internet solutions that help nonprofit organizations build high-impact fundraising, marketing and advocacy campaigns. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The acquisition is expected to close by the end of the first quarter of

Five Tips to Elicit Member-Created Content
January 16, 2007

One common characteristic of most Web 2.0 participatory tools is that they give participants and supporters a great deal more control than traditional engagement tools used by nonprofits. In late December, Beth Kanter, author of Beth’s Blog, posted a write-up about some organizations — e.g., the March of Dimes, the Nature Conservancy and Creative Commons — that have staged photo contests for constituents on Flickr, a popular Web 2.0 tool that offers online photo management and sharing. While some of the contests Kanter highlighted raised money, most — like the Nature Conservancy’s — were focused on raising awareness. The Nature Conservancy’s Flickr photo

Thou Shalt: 10 Musts for MySpace Advocacy-Building
January 16, 2007

Online social-networking sites offer nonprofit organizations a free, easy way to spread their message and acquire supporters. MySpace is one such site, where users can set up personalized profile pages with their own blog, photos, music and videos and connect with a network of friends. It has more than 100 million registered users and, according to a comScore Media Metrix report released in early October 2006, more than half of them are age 35 or older. Nonprofit organizations have begun to see the value in joining MySpace and creating a profile for their organization as a means of branding and advocacy building. But

Free — for Real
January 1, 2007

Through a program called Free is Free, e-mail security software is free for the taking for nonprofit organizations small and large that provide things such as food, medicine, shelter, emergency services and education to children in need.

The program is being offered by Newburyport, Mass.-based e-mail security company Declude. It was inspired by an encounter that Declude CEO Rich Person had with Pennye Nixon-West, founder of ETTA Projects, a Seattle-based organization that provides education, economic opportunities, food and health care to help Bolivian mothers feed their families and escape poverty.

Bringing Wishes to Life
December 1, 2006

A new, free service allows nonprofit organizations to set up online wish lists made up of items that they need, which individuals then can purchase for them as donations.

The program is run by DollarDays International, an Internet-based product wholesaler that offers more than 33,000 goods (ranging from clothing to personal-care products to office supplies) mostly to independent and mom-and-pop retail stores. Marc Joseph, DollarDays CEO and author of the book “The Secrets of Retailing, Or: How to Beat Wal-Mart!,” says DollarDays’ second- largest customer base is nonprofit organizations that buy products and supplies to take advantage of the site’s closeout and wholesale prices.

EFT Makes Recurring Gifts A Reality
November 7, 2006

It’s much more efficient to collect donations via electronic funds transfer than it is to process a check by hand, says Jon Biedermann, vice president of fundraising products for DonorPerfect Fundraising Software. No one has to physically go to a bank, and there are fewer problems with reconciliation. On top of that, EFT facilitates recurring payments for monthly givers. The white paper, “Creating a Successful Pre-authorized Gift Program,” authored by Frank Chudnow, vice president of DonorPerfect’s parent company SofterWare, looks at the benefits of accepting pre-authorized, or recurring, gifts. For these types of gifts, a donor makes a pledge and authorizes the organization

Four Back-end Musts for EFT
November 7, 2006

Electronic funds transfer, defined simply, is a paperless payment option that allows nonprofit organizations to transfer donated funds from a donor’s bank account directly into its own. It is a no-brainer when it comes to sustainer or monthly giving programs, as it simplifies the collection of recurring payments. EFT also can be used for single and less-frequent gift giving. Beverly Kempf, president and founder of Bethesda, Md.-based Payment Solutions Inc., says that aside from the obvious benefits to the organization such as no mailing costs and less use of paper, EFT also is a cultivation tool, as donors tend to be more loyal and