Software/Technology

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.

Get Prepared for EFT
November 7, 2006

Fewer people are using cash and personal checks to donate funds, opting instead to choose electronic funds transfer payment options. It is therefore necessary for all nonprofits to accept these types of payments in order to maintain their fundraising capabilities. But before jumping into EFT with both feet, organizations should understand what it will mean for them, as EFT changes the way they relate to and reach out to donors. “Opening up new avenues for payment means that you need to be prepared to respond differently,” says Cheryl Campbell, vice president and general manager of government solutions for eFunds, a firm that

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

Five Tips for Making the Most of Blogs
October 24, 2006

Search engine optimization, blogs and RSS are all the rage these days for marketers. But how can they best be used? This was the topic addressed in the session “Blogs, Podcasts and RSS: New Tools for Customer Acquisition and CRM” at the Direct Marketing Association’s 2006 Annual Conference & Exhibition in San Francisco last week. Stephan Spencer, president and founder of New Zealand-based Web design and consulting company Netconcepts and a co-presenter of the session, says that these technologies can be used by for-profits and nonprofits alike. Blogs — which are basically Web sites made up of journal-like entries — can

Crash Course
September 1, 2006

The growth in recent years of online contributions to disaster-relief organizations clearly illustrates that Web fundraising has come of age. Consider the online giving that the American Red Cross has generated following major disasters: $64 million related to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks (2001); $140 million in the wake of the Southeast Asia tsunami (2004); and $479 million after Hurricane Katrina (2005). Also telling is that the percentage of individual donor funds raised online (excluding corporate contributions) grew from 29 percent for Sept. 11 to 55 percent for the tsunami, illustrating that donors have become increasingly comfortable giving over the Internet.

Book Preview
May 1, 2006

If you’ve ever unjammed a printer and then found yourself designated the technology guru at your organization, the book “The Accidental Techie: Supporting, Managing, and Maximizing Your Nonprofit’s Technology” is for you.

Local Giving Gone Global
October 1, 2005

Allison Koch is chief marketing officer for GlobalGiving, an online service started in 2002 that connects donors directly to local social, environmental and economic-development projects worldwide.