Ask why before acting from habit

first_imgBonny Wolf told a great story on NPR that goes something like this:In Chicago, a friend cuts off the end of roast beef before she cooks it. She does it because her mother does it. Her mother does it because her grandmother did it. So one day, the friend asks her grandmother why for years she has cut the end off the roast beef. The reason? Her grandmother says, “because my pan is too small.”I love this story because it tells us so much of how humans think. We so often do as we have always done out of tradition or habit or imitation without questioning why. We move within our personal frames of reference, over and over, back and forth, until our ways are ingrained and unquestioned.I do this so much myself. And deep within the comfort of habit, I find myself irritated at the end of the day when my eight-year-old asks, “why?” to so many things. Yet she is so wise for asking. We should all ask why the end comes off the roast beef more often. I know I should. When I do is when I make a breakthrough on a problem, idea or project. Reject the frame you’re given, just a little, and see where it leads you.last_img read more

Electable vs. Marketable for Nonprofits

first_imgConsider this thought from Seth’s blog:Electable vs. Marketable. It’s easy to get the two confused, but if you do, you’ll probably regret it.To be marketable, you must be remarkable. Marketing isn’t about getting more than 50% market share, it’s about spreading your idea to enough people to be glad you did it… 3% of a market may be more than enough, especially if you have a local business or an expensive service. Or a nonprofit, I’d add.People in our sector (myself included at times in my life, unfortunately) often try to get more donors by doing mass outreach that isn’t very targeted. That’s trying to get big, “get elected” numbers.Try instead to get a committed, marketable base of passionate donors by focusing on likely supporters who already care about your issue – they are out on there on blogs, in support groups, at special events, etc. Then, and more important, make sure you are dutifully cultivating that market. You are creating an ever-widening circle of supporters through your marketing work every day — don’t forget to tend to them! How many times did you thank them? Have you told them the difference they are making? Have you asked them to tell their friends and family about you? Have you asked them to convince others and advocate for your issue? That’s thinking marketing campaign, not election campaign.last_img read more

Implementing a Donor Database by Guest Star Cheryl Gipson

first_imgMichelle Murrain at Zen and the Art of Nonprofit Technology is hosting a carnival on “Nonprofit Data Management: from slips of paper to CRM.” I think that’s a good topic, so I’ve asked my esteemed colleague Cheryl Gipson who is Network for Good’s Director of Nonprofit Services to contribute the following post. When the full CRM carnival goes up on Monday, I’ll link to it so you can read what other folks think!Before I turn things over to Cheryl, I’d like to cover the basics. CRM means “customer resource management” — it’s software that allows you to centrally store and access information about donors or other constituencies. Why do you need this? So you can better organize fundraising data and more easily build a long-term, personalized relationship with donors. You can learn more at TechSoup about why you might want to get a database. If you’d like to get on Network for Good’s email list of free tips on CRM, email me at robinhood at’s Cheryl on how to actually get your donor database in place successfully. She offers a helpful checklist.Steps to a Successful CRM implementation from Cheryl GipsonConverting or implementing a CRM database is a big step for a nonprofit organization. Generally a conversion or implementation represents a sea-change within the organization, brought on by management changes, fundraising need, programmatic expansion, or extreme discontent with current systems. The data within a database is one piece of the data conversion pie, as the steps surrounding the data, and what the data represents (donors, money) are the life-blood of a nonprofit organization.A successful data conversion/implementation has several component parts:*If an implementation, a plan to establish workflow and data structures for processing incoming gifts and reconciling data with accounting *If a conversion, an established plan for how to maintain current workflow and data structures while the data is being converted.—Parallel processing: two systems are run simultaneously (legacy/new) parallel to one another with duplicate gift processing—Gradual Legacy Switch: the new system is established and people work in the new system with new data after processes have been established, keeping the legacy system running for old data. Legacy data is imported on a time-based plan—Planned Legacy Switch: a date is set for the new system to go live. Legacy data and systems are re-worked, a cut-off time is established for the old system, several test conversions are conducted, and the new system goes live. *A strong internal champion for the database project with a database administration background. This individual will work closely with the implementation consultant to implement new procedures, train themselves in the new product, document the procedures within the nonprofit organization and train other staff *A strong executive champion for the database project willing to understand the importance of investing time, money, and human resources into the success of the project *A fundraising database implementer who understands fundraising strategies, gift processing workflow, nonprofit accounting laws, and best-practice coding structures for development reports. They must also be technically savvy in multiple fundraising databases and understand how to write queries, import and export data, manipulate and “clean” data using tools such as Excel or Data Junction *A mutual understanding between the nonprofit organization and the database implementer that converting a database involves organizational change, and this can be stressful and threatening for employees. Both the database implementer and the nonprofit organization will need to establish in the project plan the metrics and deliverables that comprise success *Detailed procedures/documentation on the part of the database implementer for contact and gift counts. Verifiable data transfer is the metric that can be used for the client to understand the success of the conversion and helps to create confidence from both sides *Training of new procedures and workflow. This will be specific to each organization It is also worthwhile to note that the size of the database or the size of the organization do not diminish the complexity of a database conversion, because the issues of coding structures, workflow, fundraising practices, and accounting reconciliation are all the same. What’s different is scale. Small nonprofits are in the uncomfortable position of having to handle these issues without the same level of human or monetary resources enjoyed by large nonprofits.THE FULL CARNIVAL IS HERE if you’d like to read it.last_img read more

Get $10,000 for your nonprofit – and a t-shirt

first_imgToday at Network for Good, we’re relaunching Six Degrees with sponsorship from Hanes. We hope the site (which we’re putting the final touches on this morning) is easier to use – and there are some good reasons to use it. Hanes is supporting people including you) who create badges by awarding up to $10,000 to the causes of the six people most successful at connecting with friends and family to raise funds for their favorite charities. In addition, anyone who gets six people to donate to their badge will receive an official Six Degrees t-shirt from Hanes.Get your supporters to create a badge – or build your own. It’s a great way to experiment with web 2.0, widgets and friend-to-friend fundraising. In our first six months, we’ve seen $700,000 donated through the badges, which suggests there are a group of people very willing to donate in this way. I’ll be talking more about Six Degrees this morning here in New York, where I’m speaking at the Money for Mission conference.ALL THE DETAILS:Six Degrees, a site created by Kevin Bacon in partnership with Network for Good, is a way to engage your supporters in fundraising for you with their own friends and family online with charity badges, which are fundraising widgets. This approach of person-to-person fundraising is often called “viral fundraising,” and it’s a new way your most loyal donors can help you. Because Six Degrees gives you a tool to fundraise anywhere online, it’s a great approach to getting bloggers involved in your cause and for tappinginto your supporters to integrate into social networks like MySpace. Consider it a creative, easy, and low-cost supplement to the fundraising you already do via your website and email.Your charity can create a badge for your supporters – or you can ask your supporters to create their own. Here’s how it works:-You go to and click on “create a badge”-Create a badge for your charity by uploading photo and text and generating a Donate button for your organization – this takes about 5-10 minutes-We give you the code to display the badge on your website and share it with your supporters-The badge tracks in real time the number and amount of donations-You can create as many badges as you want, and you can invite your supporters to create their own badges if they’d rather design their own, instead of using yours-Any badge created at Six Degrees during our matching grants campaign is eligible for the matching grants-There’s no charge for creating badges. The only fees invovled with the program are the Network for Good transaction processing fees, which are 4.75% of transactions. We give donors the choice of covering that fee for the charity or deducting it from the donation-You can log in to your Network for Good Donation Tracking Report at any time to obtain information on the donors that have supported you through the badgeslast_img read more

What to do about that new generation

first_imgBy Darrenxyz, flickr.I’m turning 40 next week, and one of the depressing consequences is realizing I’m not really a “new generation” of anything anymore. Oh well. Whatev. My day was brightened today, however, by having Network for Good’s Six Degrees profiled in an article in the Wall Street Journal on the “New Generation of Philanthropy.” The article says:Young donors and volunteers, snubbing traditional appeals such as direct mail and phone calls, are satisfying their philanthropic urges on the Internet. They’re increasingly turning to blogs and social-networking Web sites, such as MySpace and Facebook, to spread the word about — and raise funds for — their favorite nonprofits and causes. They’re sending Web-based fund-raising pitches to their friends and families, encouraging them, in turn, to forward the appeals to their own contacts.So what does this mean for nonprofits? What does one do in an online world that is increasingly about this kind of portability and personalization? Is your web 1.0 web destination site enough anymore? What do you do when the “new generation” is constantly generating new stuff, and you’re feeling decades behind in this decentralized new world?I want to share how some smart people just answered those types of questions. Micro Persuasion just dubbed this the “cut and paste” era, which I think is a very good way of summing up the Internet today. Steve Rubel means:Imagine for a moment that you can take any piece of online content that you care about – a news feed, an image, a box score, multimedia, a stream of updates from your friends – and easily pin it wherever you want. Once clipped, you can drop the content on your desktop, an online start page like Windows Live or Pageflakes, “the deck” of your mobile device or even “a crawl” on your Internet-connected television… It’s the coming era of the Cut and Paste Web.Here’s what he – and one of his readers – recommends you do. I agree on all counts.1. Think web services, not websites. What he means here is, make things that plug into other sites. Or better yet, use things that do that for you – like fundraising widgets.2. Connect people. Help consumers clustering around different goals (making money, being entertained, etc.) with something that gives them value while promoting your cause. The LA Fire Department uses twitter to alert people when disaster strikes. I get local government disaster alerts on my cell phone.3. Make everything portable. Make everything you’ve got to offer, embeddable.4. (This one from his reader, Rich Pearson): Understand where and how your content is being used. Check out what is spreading so you know what works, what doesn’t, and what is your ROI.If I had to sum all this up, I’d say this: Do not expect anyone to come to you any more. Go to where people are online.last_img read more

Building Your Nonprofit Email List

first_imgWhen you’re collecting email addresses, you need to focus on both donors and non-donors. Don’t neglect one group in favor of the other. It’s critical to get the email addresses of your donors so that you can keep them informed of news and information that relates to their membership status with your organization. Also make an effort to collect the email addresses of donors that joined in past years, which you can do at membership renewal time. Non-donors are a large group of individuals that have an interest in your programs or activities, but for various reasons haven’t had the time or financial freedom to become contributing members. We like to call these future donors! Non-donors should be asked to “stay in touch” by providing their email addresses. Always remember the golden rule:Get permission to use an email address.Anywhere you solicit an email address, include a brief explanation of what you will do with it, such as “We’ll use your email address to send you occasional email updates. We won’t share your email address with anyone, and you can ‘unsubscribe’ at any time.” Purchased lists simply do not work and should not be used. You will be regarded as spam and be almost universally deleted before anybody sees your messages, all the while building a bad reputation. A smaller list of people who are known to be interested in your organization and cause is much more effective than a huge list of unknown and uninterested recipients.So you may be wondering, well how do I go about building a large email database? Don’t worry – there are plenty of opportunities to ask for email addresses:On your site. Get email addresses from your site visitors by making it really easy to get on your e-news list. Place the subscription form prominently on the home page and other high-trafficked pages – and give visitors a good reason to leave their name by telling them they’ll get something they want in your e-newsletter such as tips, important information or reminders of scheduled events. In the ideal setup, the user inputs their email address on your home page, clicks submit, and is then taken to another page where they can optionally provide additional information, such as first name/last name, zip code, and interests so you can personalize and target messages.With printed materials: All of your print materials should ask for email addresses and provide easy ways to sign up for the e-newsletter. You can invite people to send a blank email to an email address that you set up through your email messaging system; just by sending the email they will be subscribed. You can tell them to go to your home page and sign up there. Or you can tell them to mail or fax back the ad or form with their email address scribbled on it and you will enter it into the database.At events: If you’re running a kiosk or a booth at an event, ask people face-to-face for their email address, and explain why you’re doing it. Or you can set up a laptop and let people enter their email addresses and other information. You can announce a raffle or a contest, asking people to write their email addresses on the raffle stub to enter. If you’re at a business event, you can ask people to leave their business cards.On the phone: At the end of a call, when a donor has either pledged or declined, the caller can ask: “Please give me your email addresses so we can stay in contact. Email saves us money, and let’s us contact you when there’s breaking news.” It’s an opportunity for the person on the phone to be in the loop, not an intrusion.In person: This won’t grow your list fast, but it shouldn’t be overlooked. In a busy day, you might meet a dozen new people. Ask them for their cards or email addresses, and then make sure their email addresses are entered onto the e-newsletter list. When you or others representing your organization give a speech or make a presentation, invite listeners at the end to give you their cards if they’d like to get your e-news.Mailings: Mailings are good opportunities to ask for email addresses, because there’s often a response mechanism built into the mailing. Make sure there’s a line for email addresses – and possibly a premium or some other incentive. Double postcards are also good for collecting email, since people can tear off the reply postcard and mail it back to RSVP or sign up for something.Premiums, contests and raffles: Any kind of donor contact that has a reward is a good opportunity to ask for email addresses. In the case of a membership premium, the donor is already excited about receiving a gift in exchange for a donation, so obtaining their email is usually easy. Contests and raffles are other good times, since the expectation of winning requires someone to do something, and giving their email address is easy and free.last_img read more

Review of Recent Online Communications Benchmarks Studies

first_imgAs more and more organizations turn to the Internet to enhance and expand their fundraising, advocacy and communications work, a number of key questions have arisen, including:How does our online program compare to other programs?What are reasonable goals for list growth, response rates, churn rates, etc?How can we measure the success of our online work?Until very recently, little data existed with which to answer these questions. However, in the past year, several studies have aimed to establish the benchmarks needed to evaluate the performance of nonprofits’ online communications, advocacy, fundraising, and email messaging programs.We recently reviewed these studies: the eNonprofit Benchmarks Study, the Online Marketing (eCRM) Nonprofit Benchmark Index TM Study, and the donorCentricsTM Internet Giving Benchmarking Analysis, and we have provided a brief summary below of the main findings on which all three studies agree.SHARED FINDINGS The three recent benchmarks studies capture online program metrics from a variety of nonprofits that focus on a multitude of issue areas. Though the data differs somewhat among the studies, one point is perfectly clear: the Internet is the place for nonprofits to invest! 1. Online Giving Is On The Rise All three studies found that the amount of money raised online per organization is rapidly increasing. Though the statistics vary fairly widely, the studies reflect the general trend of growth in nonprofit online fundraising programs.The Online Marketing (eCRM) Nonprofit Benchmark IndexTM reports a growth rate of 27 % in median dollars raised from 2005 to 2006.The eNonprofit Benchmarks Study reports a 40 % growth in average amount raised from the year 2003-2004 to the year 2004-2005.The donorCentrics Analysis reports that the median cumulative growth in online donors amongst its study participants has been 101% over the past three years.2. Rapid Response Pays Both the eNonprofit Benchmarks Study and the donorCentrics Analysis note significant spikes in online donations due to giving after the Asian tsunami and Hurricane Katrina. All three studies emphasize the importance of nonprofits’ quick response to a natural disaster or other breaking news.3. Email Lists Are Growing The eNonprofit Benchmarks Study and the eCRM Nonprofit Benchmarks IndexTM both report growth in email list sizes. The former reports an average growth of 73% across the 15 study partners from September 2004 to September of 2005. The latter reports a median growth rate of 47% from July 2005 to June 2006. In addition, the Index Study reports that organizations with smaller lists (under 50,000) grew twice as fast as those with larger lists.4. Bigger Lists = More Money & More Actions The eNonprofit Benchmarks Study illustrates that email list size is directly proportional to the number of advocacy actions and letters generated. Simply put, the bigger the email list, the larger the number of advocacy actions generated.Likewise, the eCRM Nonprofit Benchmarks IndexTM split funds raised online by email list size to show the difference in amount raised by various file sizes and the trend of larger email lists raising more money holds true.5. Fundraising Messaging Metrics Holding Steady Both the eNonprofit Benchmarks Study and the eCRM Nonprofit Benchmark IndexTM calculated open, click through, response, and conversion rates on fundraising messaging from their data. These metrics have stayed consistent over the last two years.ADDITIONAL INTERESTING FINDINGS 1. Online Donors Versus Offline Donors The 2006 donorCentricsTM Internet Giving Benchmarking Analysis by DonorDigital and Target Analysis Group reviewed data from 12 nonprofit organizations to compare online giving with offline giving. The key takeaways include:Online donors tend to be much younger and to have higher incomes than direct mail donors.The distribution of online donors is more evenly spread over age ranges while direct mail donors are heavily concentrated in the 65-and-older age group.Online donors tend to join at higher giving levels, give larger gifts, and have higher lifetime giving than offline donors.Only 4% of newly acquired online donors also gave direct mail gifts in their first year on the list, but 46% of them gave direct mail gifts in their renewal year.Multiple-channel donors have higher revenue per donor and higher retention rates than single-channel donors.Revenue for donors who gave online was 28% higher ($114 compared to $82) than donors who only gave offline.Donors acquired online tend to lapse at higher rates than donors acquired by mail. Some of this turnover may be attributed differences in cultivation strategies.2. Website Traffic and Site Visitor Registration Convio’s Online Marketing (eCRM) Nonprofit Benchmark IndexTM Study looked at website traffic and visitor registration across 16 client websites. The key points the study found include:The websites received an average of roughly 26,000 unique visitors per month.The groups had a median growth rate of 30 % in unique web visitors in the year studied.Groups with e-newsletters and member center registration had a median registration rate of 2.8 % per month.Recommendations for improving website sign up rates included consistently providing compelling content and incentives to register, optimizing the registration process, and providing multiple engagement opportunities.Source: read more

What to Get Cousin Cal? A Good Card!

first_imgWhy buy a toxic Bob the Builder this holiday when you give the gift that not only does no harm – it does good.The Good Card is a gift card for charity – where the recipient gets to donate to their charity of choice. That includes ANY charity with registration in the US – up to 1.7 million. Customers, clients, employees, friends and family all have their favorite charities and now you can give them the perfect gift – a donation to their favorite charity via Network for Good’s secure giving system. That includes the charity fighting a disease that’s touched their family, their alma mater — or even your organization!And yes, I work for Network for Good, so this is product placement.How it Works§ At, you can buy a card to be mailed or choose an electronic gift card to be sent§ Your recipient receives the cards via mail or email (or you can send it to yourself if you want to give it in person!)§ The Good Card recipient comes to Network for Good’s website, chooses a charity and then enters the amount to donate using the code on their Good Card/email § Network for Good sends the charities the donation § Cost per card is $5. 100% of the card value goes direct to charity.last_img read more

Using Social Networking Tools: Best Practices from SaveGuimaras

first_imgI interviewed Tuesday Gutierrez from SaveGuimaras over at blogher.   What I didn’t include was the in-depth conversation we had about how she has explored and used social networking tools. SaveGuimaras is a group of individuals who are dedicated to raising awareness on the recent oil-spill tragedy in Guimaras, Philippines.  Because the international community and media have failed to respond to this environmental disaster, they are bringing the campaign to the Social Web.  Their goal is to mobilize grassroots participation by using online networking tools and their blog.If you check out their blog, you will notice that the group has a presence on myspace, friendster, YouTube, and few other communities. Tuesday shared some of her learnings with me about using these tools.  She has been the most successful when the tool matched her audience and outcomes.  And, she had to go through a bit of experimentation to learn that!1.  How have social networking tools helped spread the word about  your cause?   Friendster is a very popular social network in the Philippines.  Almost  everyone I know has a Friendster account and its very easy to find people, influential or otherwise in Friendster. When I opened a saveguimaras account, in less than two weeks, we had 200 people who signed up. What´s good about Friendster is that everytime a “member” of your group posts a new entry on your blog, you receive it on your email/ and you see it right away on your Friendster page. This led me to stumble upon Roy Alberto/Joseph Alberto who was a co-founder of 1 fish entertainment who was promoting a rock gig for Guimaras and that was how our relationship started.MySpace hasn´t taken off like Friendster because the Filipinos I am targeting there are based in the US. To invite people in Myspace is also painstakingly difficult unlike Friendster that you just click a button and invite.  Myspace avoids spamming so the members usually blocks people from adding them directly unless you know them personally or their email. So what I have been doing is sending out mails one by one!YouTube is also good in finding videos about Guimaras. Its pure luck too.  Project sunrise, the provincial government led organization (supported by Canadian Urban institute) happened to post their videos and I was given permission to post them in the blog. The IFCP (Independent Filmmakers Coop) in the Philippines just had their Guimaras Short Film project which was shown on television and some moviehouses in Manila. Unfortunately, there were some short films that were censored by the Movie Television Board (which I want to say is one of the most conservative board of censors in the world! and is really stifling Pinoy creativity) and some directors uploaded some movies on Guimaras (some will upload more videos soon.) YouTube would have been more helpful for my cause if people in the Philippines have home videocameras and if they have a fast broadbandwidth.  Unfortunately, the journalists on the field are still using pen and paper technology which explains why there are not a lot of videos about Guimaras.  Because regional flights are more expensive,  people from Manila who are supposed to be more technologically equipped do not come to Guimaras to shoot videos/photos which also explains why there is a lack of photos uploaded in Guimaras at Flickr.  I rely on photos sent to me by the filmmakers and some journalists on the field.Mobile technology is more popular in the Philippines and we are looking  into how we could use this platform. The only difficulty I find here is that SaveGuimaras is not a non-profit org and is simply running as a webblog therefore, mobile networks might not trust us enough to collaborate with has been helpful  in a way that other social networks have not been.  Although it is difficult to find people or connect with members, what’s good about their system is that you can send out letters to ten members each and for me its much better to send out ten letters once than sending out letters one by one. And yes, I’ve painstakingly sent out letters to care2.members ten at a time.I’m only discoveriing about Flickr. Personally I think Flickr is useful if you are two or three in a group but if you’re only one person like me running a blog for a social cause, you need something faster.2.  How has your blog connected you with people to help with your cause?  Through this blog we´ve met so many wonderful people who all have the passion and the drive to help the victims of Guimaras.  Some have their  own projects already in place before they´ve contacted us  but we´ve also managed to link people with  the same agenda and get them to collaborate with each other. Some organizations have also written expressing their willingness to collaborate with SaveGuimaras and its partners.For example, Chromatic Experiment, a Filipino band contacted us thru our blog. They are willing to play for free for future rock gigs planned by the team of Joseph, Sazi and Laura (There are more people involved behind this team, but for the sake of brevity we will only mention these three).   3.  This is the bonus question and please do not take offense.  I’ve noticed  that a lot of folks from Phillipines are really into social networking   apps  and lots of wonderful communities in places like  YouTube, Flickr, etc.  Why do you think that is?Filipinos are very warm people and like to belong always in a group. Thats why these social networks are working for us. Add to this the fact that Filipinos are the no. 1 labor export of the country and there is a diaspora phenomena happening with us so we really need these networks to make us keep in touch with our families. We hate being alone and despise isolation which usually happens when youre living outside the country. A lot of Filipinos wouldn’t want to leave if only the government is doing its job but the future of the Philippines is very bleak.BTW, we are the  no. 1 text messaging capital aside from the fact that sending out text messages is always cheaper than making an actual call.Source: read more

A Few Good Examples of Widgets

first_imgThere are a group of widgets designed to spark conversation or interactivity on your site or blog. These include voice messages, IM widgets, audience polls and others. Audience poll widgets seem to be more widely in use by nonprofits. Some good polling widgets include Vidzu and PollDaddy.You can do a general reader survey, such as the nonprofit tech blogYou can connect it to content in a post such as the Bamboo ProjectOr you can connect to the key goals of your blog, say, Save GuimarisThere are many widgets that allow you take content from one site or location on the Web and easily republish it elsewhere. The best examples are the widgets or badges provided by well-established services such as Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, and others. If you are already using one of those services and want to integrate content onto your blog or website, check on their website first. They might not be calling it a widget. Some refer to them as “badges.” Simply look in the “help” section of your favorite social site.Fundraising is the life’s blood of nonprofits and is another area of active experimentation using strategies called “personal fundraising.” Think citizen donor, citizen philanthropist. Widgets, charity badges, blog fundraising plugins allow your supporters to become messengers for your cause. The shift is now from the organization raising money to the supporters taking on that role/responsibility. The widget just helps people track their commitment and shows progress being made.Sucessfully using widgets to realize outcomes is a matter of experimentation and learning. Above all, the widget needs to be connected with your blog’s or website’s content, readers’ interests, or to amplify conversation. The best way to get started is to pick a few widgets, install them, and track them over a period of a month or so. Figure out if your strategy is bringing in new traffic, generating more comments/activity on your blog, or making visitors take action. If not, don’t be afraid to ditch it.Source: read more

10 Ways to Win a Corporate Partner

first_imgPut yourself in the shoes of a corporation or small business for a moment. There are about 1.5 million nonprofits, and most are hitting up you — the businessperson — for money. That’s a lot of competition. And that’s the bad news.The good news is that most nonprofits do a lousy job approaching businesspeople. It’s easy to stand out by doing better. Simply stop treating corporate folks as sources of money and start treating them as an audience.Here are ten steps for gaining a corporate partner: Find your match. Think of yourself as searching for a relationship (not a fat check) with a company. Any relationship needs compatibility to work. Ask yourself, who wins when I win? What corporations are naturally aligned with my audience and my mission? You want to partner around mutual benefits or you won’t be partnering at all.Find out the business and philanthropic agendas. You need to do some homework before you pick up the phone or fire off an email all about your organization. What are this company’s business priorities and philanthropic goals (because they likely already have some)? How can you align with those?Find an in. Find a board member or a LinkedIn connection who can introduce you so you’re not cold calling. I always respond to people who have been recommended by someone I know, and businesspeople do, too.Try to get to the businesspeople rather than the community service people. They have more power and can get things done faster. You’ll usually fare better if you’re coming in as a partner who can drive a brand or business initiative.Start your sentences in the right way. Instead of: “This is what we do,” say “This is what we can do for you.”Sell the benefits to them along with the social impact. Instead of: “We need x,” say “We understand you need x, and we can help make that happen.” Don’t only say: “This is who will benefit,” ADD, “AND this is how this benefits your image, bottom line, etc…”Go into partnerships – like relationships – with open eyes. No partnership is perfect. Look for more positives than negatives in regard to fit and benefits and devise a plan for compensating for weaknesses within the alliance.Put work into it. Inevitably, the benefits that partners receive will change, and one partner may perceive diminishing value. Create new benefits if commitment is flagging on one side.Communicate constantly. Keep your partner energized by regularly sending them updates, examples of good media coverage, positive reactions from people, stories about impact, etc.Know when to call it quits. Knowing when to stop a partnership is as important as knowing when to start one. Declare success and move on when a goal has been achieved, or set a new, finite goal together. Better a clean finish than death by disintegration.last_img read more

Five-Minute Facelift for Your Website

first_imgThis is product placement, but it’s a well-intentioned plug: If you’re not already signed up for Network for Good’s weekly fundraising and marketing tips, I encourage you to do so here. Here’s a sample of the types of tips we feature from editor Rebecca Ruby: Why isn’t your website performing better? Where are all those online donors? Is this creating the urge to completely revamp your site? You may not have to start from scratch! Here is a way to give your website a five-minute facelift: Make your Donate button easier to find. Grab a friend or relative, sit them down in front of your website home page, and count how many seconds it takes them to find and click on your Donate button. If it takes them more than two seconds, you need to place your button in a far more prominent position. Make it central to the page. Make sure it is above the fold. Make it big. Make it colorful. Make it impossible to miss. Here’s an example of an easy-to-find Donate button. Frame the Donate button in a more compelling way. Now think about why someone should click on your Donate button. Your financial needs are not enough. Create an appeal around the button that is focused on donors, their interests, and what they get in return for their donation. What tangible change will result if they give? How is that tangible change relevant to them personally? Will it feel good to make the donation? Is clicking on the button fun, touching or compelling? Here’s an outstanding example of framing. Add a sense of immediacy. You want to inspire someone to give right now, but that can be hard to do if it’s not December or if there’s not an urgent crisis to address. Create a sense of urgency for donating by creating a campaign with a goal and deadline, matching grant, or appeal for specific items or programs that are highly tangible. Here’s an example of bringing a sense of urgency to an appeal by making it clear what the donation does (it buys a bed net) and tying it to a popular show. Recognize that getting clicks requires cultivation. While you want someone to donate right away, it’s important to remember that it takes time to cultivate donors. Be sure your website includes a way to capture the email addresses of visitors so that you can build a relationship with them and turn them into donors in the future. Think beyond a newsletter sign-up. Here’s a nice example of an innovative approach to capturing emails. Tweak your DonateNow page. (This is step is particularly easy if you have Network for Good’s service. Yes, NFG is my employer, so I’m biased!) Take a hard look at your donation form/page. If you are asking too many questions, potential donors may abandon the form. This page may also need some increased messaging and reinforcement of why and how donations are important. Remember: This page has the last copy a donor is going to read prior to actually giving you money–you don’t want to lose them in the home-stretch!last_img read more

How to compete like a champ

first_imgI recently chatted with a roomful of nonprofit folks before giving a speech, and I heard the same things over and over:1. Money is tight.2. They feel a keen sense of competition for resources from other organizations. (No wonder, given more than 100 new nonprofits crop up every day)3. They are anxious about the future.So how do you stand out? How do you compete in that environment?By focusing on your audience, NOT your competition. This is about reaching out to your audience better than anyone else. You must do a better job connecting with those people than your competition does.We get into so much trouble imitating others organizations. Don’t waste energy worrying about another nonprofit’s website, event or corporate sponsor. Focus like a laser beam on pleasing your audience.When you meet with corporate partners, stand out by impressing them with your ability to listen to them and by showing how you’re uniquely qualified to help them reach their business and philanthropic goals. It’s not about your needs, it’s about theirs.When you reach out to supporters, stand out with your ability to connect to their interests and values – and with your gracious gratitude for their help.That’s how you win – by focusing on the people you want to reach, not the organizations around you.last_img read more

Dr. Joseph K. Ruminjo Offers Additional Insight on the Use of Catheters to Treat New Fistula Cases

first_img ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on June 3, 2010October 16, 2014Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Earlier today I posted a guest blog post from Dr. Fatouma Mabeye on a recent meeting in Benin of midwives from West and Central Africa. The goal of the meeting was to explore the role of midwives in preventing and treating fistula—and to discuss the use of Foley catheters to treat new fistula cases. Dr. Joseph K. Ruminjo, Maternal Health Task Force Editorial Committee member, is an obstetrician-gynecologist and the clinical director for the Fistula Care project, managed by EngenderHealth and supported by USAID. I asked Joseph to share his thoughts on the post. Here is what he had to say:Immediate catheterization for select fresh fistula is one of the four key prevention interventions for fistula. The other three are family planning, use of partograph, and appropriate Cesarean section. Together, these four interventions make up the key prevention interventions of EngenderHealth’s Fistula Care Project. Building on the work done by Dr. Kees Waaldijk, when it comes to catheterization, the following are important considerations:– What is the process for selecting appropriate cases or those that are most likely to succeed?– What is the actual percentage of that selection that will then go on to heal spontaneously? A sub-group of these do not heal completely, but the fistula becomes small enough for quicker and simpler repair.– What does all of this translate to in terms of cost-effectiveness and safety? For instance, you might need to have the catheter in-dwelling for many weeks; in most but not all facilities, this translates into the woman being an in-patient for all those weeks.– With regard to training midwives or any other health personnel to do the actual catheterization (rather than the case selection) there is no great mystery to the procedure; indeed, most midwives will already know how to do a safe, clean, urethral catheterization for women from their midwifery training.– Foley’s catheter was mentioned in today’s blog post, but the catheter need not specifically be Foley’s. Dr. Mabeye’s post was very useful and informative. It provides a good analysis of the important role catheterization can play in treating new fistula cases.Share this:last_img read more

War and Peace: The Story of Maternal Mortality Estimation

first_imgPosted on January 14, 2011August 17, 2016Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Earlier this week, we hosted Professor Wendy J. Graham from the University of Aberdeen who spoke about maternal mortality estimation here at our New York office. If you couldn’t make it and/or were unable to watch the webcast, the video is now available online. Click either of the links below to watch the video. High resolution / medium resolution / low resolution Choose resolution based on the speed/quality of your internet connection. High resolution for a high speed/quality and low resolution for low speed/quality.Share this:center_img ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:last_img

An Old Man, a Young Boy, Cricket and…Maternal Health

first_imgPosted on February 28, 2011June 20, 2017By: Hellen Kotlolo, Young Champion of Maternal HealthClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)This blog post was contributed by Hellen Kotlolo, one of the fifteen Young Champions of Maternal Health chosen by Ashoka and the Maternal Health Task Force at EngenderHealth. She will be blogging about her experience every month, and you can learn more about her, the other Young Champions, and the program here.In South Africa and for myself January symbolizes the beginning of a new season, the New Year, the beginning of school…but mostly it symbolizes the beginning of new things. Former South African President Nelson Mandela now aged 92 years has been sick and hospitalized. I was saddened by the news and praying daily. The fear I have is that many South Africans face the reality of one day losing a legend who has transformed our country, our world and our people. I realized my own selfishness yet also my attachment to this man whom I have never personally met. I am only 27 years old and the life I know is the life of inspiration, freedom, democracy and diversity, ‘the rainbow nation’. I just realized that many outcomes of my life are based on his sufferings and as I was talking to Faatimaa Ahmedi and Ifeyinwa Madu about many other issues I realized the spirit of his life when Faatimaa said to me, “Some people like Nelson Mandela recognized their mission in this world and accomplished it perfectly! Now it is our turn to identify what our role is and what we are supposed to achieve.”I have been in India for 5 months and the project here is at the intervention and implementation phase. On the 18th of January we travelled to Jodhpur for a training of trainers and for field visits. The first two days consisted of training sessions on Birth Preparedness and Complications Readiness and then there were four days of field work in ten villages. We used the picture books on government entitlements, danger signs during pregnancy, birth and postpartum teaching as well as safe delivery including the birth preparedness calendar. We also took time to visit a Primary Health Centre and a Community Health Centre in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, and the conditions were not the best with an iron bed and a bucket below for blood which I think is one of the core reasons of home deliveries. Some of the major challenges we faced were:Social and gender inequalities; women were refusing to talk if men were presentHigh illiteracy in almost all the villages and for the registration the women had to do thumbprints as many could not sign their namesThe role of women was considered to be that of being housewives and bearing children, and all the women complained about having little time for the training as many were either pregnant with an infant of less than 12 months breastfeeding or with two or three young children around herWomen were very shy about the female reproductive system or pages in the picture displaying a woman giving birth or bleeding, and it was followed by giggles or women turning away or bending their heads downPoverty displayed a major role in lack of access though the results also differed from village to villageChildren were malnourished and at risk of kwashiorkor and many were not attending school regularlyThe presence of men in the meetings was not welcomed, yet I felt there was both an interest and a need to learn. Allowing the men to sit amongst the women to learn about women’s issues may be a very necessary intervention in this area. There is also a great need to explore such issues as understanding of the body’s anatomy and physiology and issues around family planning, but I realize we cannot achieve all these changes in one day.In the evening of our return to the training centre where we were staying there was an eager boy who took us to the sand dunes for sunset. We watched cricket matches together with other colleagues, between South Africa and India. South Africa eventually won the five day series. Many people had either never seen a black person or had little knowledge about Africa except for its poverty. My new friend indicated they were taught in school about the poverty in Africa. It was initially hard to relate on a social level but as soon as I mentioned cricket it was easier to grasp attention. Even when giving health education and engaging with the women in the field somehow cricket allowed an entry to the hearts of women and their relatives on discussing maternal health issues. One evening I gave the boy one of my books and sat with him to try and teach him how to read English better. One my favorite stories is that told by Yeabsira Mehari in her previous blog, “A Starfish Saved.” In all the days in rural Rajasthan I was often disheartened to see the children not going to school while their parents could not read and write. It is a vicious cycle of events but this boy showed something different: a passion to thrive. And it was not I who made a difference in his life, it was he who wanted to learn more. I realised hope exists amongst all of us.In the end I realized my mission has many unaccomplished aspects. Thinking back over the things that occurred: one man has inspired us to be better and achieve missions impossible, and with patience they can be achieved. Sometimes the oddest things can link people and assist communication, in this case the sport of cricket connected me with people. A young boy’s efforts to read and learn the skill showed me that even desolate environments cannot remove inspiration and hope. May these lessons bring me closer to achieving maternal health outcomes.Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:last_img read more

Maternal Health Care in Urban Settings

first_imgPosted on April 20, 2011November 13, 2014Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Yesterday, a group of health experts met at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington as part of the Maternal Health Policy Dialogue. The topic was “Accessing Maternal Health Care in Urban Slums,” but some presenters questioned whether the word slum is an accurate term. When we hear the word, we often imagine the sprawling, corrugated tin roofs of the Kibera slum outside of Nairobi. However, the urban poor often occupy small pockets of unused land throughout cities and are not highly concentrated in certain areas.In general, the urban poor are unable to access the necessary health services because there are no facilities in close proximity, high costs, poor transport, insecurity or some combination of factors. Given the rates of urbanization in Africa and South Asia, 50% of populations may live in urban settings by 2030. However, the trajectories of urbanization have been different in the developing world both within and between regions. Therefore, needs assessments and extensive planning will be required to ensure access to (maternal) health care for the urban poor in developing countries. One such organization undertaking this challenge is Jacaranda Health, an MHTF grantee, that is working “to create a fully self-sustaining and scalable chain of clinics that provide reproductive health services to poor urban women.”Presentations from Anthony Kolb and Catherine Kyobutungi are available through the WWC website and the full video and event summary will be posted soon.Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:last_img read more

The Most Exciting Nine Months of My Life

first_img ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on June 27, 2011June 20, 2017By: Ifeyinwa Egwaoje Madu, Young Champion of Maternal HealthClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)This blog post was contributed by Ifeyinwa Egwaoje Madu, one of the fifteen Young Champions of Maternal Health chosen by Ashoka and the Maternal Health Task Force at EngenderHealth. This is her final post about her experience as a Young Champion, and you can learn more about her, the other Young Champions, and the program here.Its 10:45 p.m. and I am sitting in the Atlanta International Airport with only one more hour until my Delta flight takes off to Lagos, Nigeria. How time flies! I am still grappling with the fact that this is officially the end of the Young Champions Program. I thought this day would never come — the entire nine months went by so fast that it is almost impossible for me to believe that today is May 31, 2011. I am excited and afraid at the same time — excited because I can finally see my children after nine full months and uncertain about what the future holds for me and my project. While I waited for the Delta personnel to announce the time to board, I drifted off in thought about how it all began and the past nine months, the most interesting months of my life.As a batch B corps member in the National Youth Corps serving in Abuja, the end of the service year was drawing near, and so, like every other corps member, I started looking for vacancies in different organizations on the Internet. My intention was to check out organizations that I already knew were working in the reproductive health and gender field to see if they had vacancies I could apply for. I searched some organizations and then went to the Ashoka website and discovered this competition for the next generation of maternal health leaders. As soon as I saw the competition, I wanted to be a part of the program. I applied, went through a rigorous interview process, and eventually became one of the prestigious Young Champions selected to undergo a nine month mentorship in a different country. I was paired with Kathryn Hall-Trujillo in New Orleans at the Birthing Project USA.From when I submitted my application until the end of the program, the Young Champions Program has helped me to push myself a little bit further and challenged me to think and see things differently. It helped me see that there are many alternatives to solving a social problem and we do not always have to do it the conventional way. I was continually forced to think outside the box and search for a simpler, better, and more cost-effective means for solving this social problem. The program taught me that being innovative means removing the box and seeing endless possibilities. The nine months for me was a school, another type of school, one that teaches limitless possibilities. A school that tells you that everyone is a changemaker, a school that taught me the power in building partnerships and forming relationships, and a school that told me powerful stories. I have always been confident in myself and my abilities, but not as confident about my idea. The Young Champions Program has built my confidence in my ideas. It helped me connect with people who agreed with my “crazy” idea! It gave me confidence that this idea is not so crazy after all and I can realize this idea. I now know that I am the only one who can stand in my way because anything is possible — I just need to stop looking at the obstacles.For the nine-month period, I lived in New Orleans — an entirely differently place from Nigeria, where I had lived all my life. My stay in New Orleans was an opportunity for me to understand how the history and environment of a location and the health system all affect women. I now understand how other factors are linked with individual decision-making abilities towards their lives and health. This transcends to how women see and treat themselves and how they expect to be treated by other people. This taught me to look at all the factors that make people who they are. Some women never reveal their true selves, they carry an invisible mask, in order to meet societal expectations. I know better now because looking at the other issues are just as important when tackling maternal health problems.In New Orleans I was paired with the best mentor. I wish I had spent even more time with Kathryn Hall-Trujillo. The fact that she is an Ashoka Fellow is not a coincidence — she is indeed a changemaker. I learned from Ms. Kathryn how to get to the heart of the matter, which means getting to the hearts of women. She taught me how to work as an executive director taking care of all the paperwork and at the same time working with community women — opening your heart and hands and helping them see that they matter, are valued, and deserve respect.The Young Champions Program had me conduct research for the first time on the maternal health situation in Nigeria — since I began I have not rested. I want to do as much as I possibly can to reduce the maternal mortality rate in Nigeria, which is the second highest in the world next to India. I have this desire to ensure that the maternal mortality rate is reduced because talking about maternal mortality means talking about dead women, women who were mothers, wives, sisters. And most of these women died of preventable causes. My desire is that all women will live and realize their full potentials.The Delta flight 54 from Atlanta to Lagos has started boarding. The announcement jolts me out of my thoughts. I am getting on that aircraft and going back to Nigeria armed with so much knowledge. I’m still uncertain about my future, but I know that I have a burning desire to bring an end to maternal mortality. I am going back home to help women see that they can become solvers of their own problems. I am going back home to help deal with the maternal health situation. I am happy because I am going back home as a maternal health champion.Share this:last_img read more

Reflections on the ICM in Durban

first_imgPosted on June 30, 2011June 19, 2017By: France Donnay, Interim Deputy Director, Maternal, Neonatal & Child Health, Senior Program Officer, Maternal Health, The Bill & Melinda Gates FoundationClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)I am sitting in a huge auditorium filled with a very special crowd: midwives from all over the world. They are cheering, arguing, listening, celebrating. In Durban, South Africa, the 29th Congress of the International Confederation of Midwives is in full swing. Here are my three highlights.First, the presentation by the President, Bridget Lynch, of the Global Standards, Competencies and Tools for Midwifery, covering Education, Regulation, and Country Associations Capacity Assessment. While this sounds trivial, it is no small achievement. Until now, midwives from various countries trained and practiced in many different ways. Standardization of education and practice across countries will now be possible. There is a long way to go before this newly available guidance is put into action, but it already makes midwives stronger and more united. Go to for more.Second, the launch of the first ever State of the World ‘s Midwifery – Delivering Health, Saving Lives – prepared by UNFPA with support from – no less – than 30 organizations, from USAID to DFID, AMDD to Save The Children, WHO to UNICEF. The report outlines the key role of midwives in delivering care at all levels, and presents country specific profiles of midwifery in 58 countries in all world regions. The role of skilled birth attendants, in particular midwives and others with midwifery competencies, is crucial to addressing maternal and newborn mortality and to promoting women’s and children’s health. In addition to evidence accumulated over time from Sweden, the United Kingdom, Australia and France, quality midwifery has spurred development in countries like Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Tunisia and Thailand. Midwifery personnel and services are unequally distributed –between countries as well as within countries. The report examines the number and distribution of health professionals involved in midwifery services. Most midwives are women, and the report explores the constraints and challenges that they face in their lives and work; and the report calls for accelerating investments in midwifery services, as well as “skilling up” other categories of providers living and working in communities under the supervision of midwives. Attending the sessions were many pediatricians and obstetricians, and that is a first as well.Finally, the Foundation with AMDD organized a panel with three outstanding voices from the field: Kaosar Afsana from BRAC/Bangladesh, Fatima Muhammad from the Society for Family Health in Abuja/Nigeria, and Phoebe Balagumyetime, from the Ghana Health Services. They presented encouraging results from projects operating in very challenging environments, from crowded impoverished slums in Dhaka, to remote villages in the North East of Nigeria and the Northern part of Ghana. They showed how locally designed configuration of health services and transportation systems can increase access to life saving care for women and children. Helen de Pinho, from the Columbia University based Averting Maternal Death and Disability, brought all of this together to show that intelligent health leadership engages communities in driving local solutions.The audience was good too: midwives clad in colorful outfits, listening attentively, getting up to share their own challenges.Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:last_img read more

Systematic Review: Referral Systems for EmOC

first_imgPosted on July 7, 2011August 17, 2016Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)DFID, partnering with IMMPACT and others, recently published, a systematic review that delves into the evidence on transport and referral systems for emergency obstetric care (EmOC). The review covers 14 interventions that address organizational problems, structural issues or a combination of the two. The organizational interventions included creating emergency funds through community groups, educating women and traditional birth attendants, and improving facilities. Structural interventions included establishing maternity waiting homes, improving transportation and enhancing radio communications.After discussing and analyzing the interventions, the authors recommend:while continuing to invest in implementing referral interventions within maternal and newborn health programmes, we urge health planners to ensure that the interventions are rigorously monitored and evaluated, or operations research studies designed with controls and comparisons. Secondly, we believe that our finding of the reduction in stillbirth rates in maternity waiting home interventions needs further exploration through well-conducted studies, as the finding was based on studies with suboptimal study designs subject to biases. Finally, we believe that the type of research most relevant to referral interventions for policy and practice is not based on questions of ‘what works’, but should aim to understand how the interventions work andwhy.Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:last_img read more