Posted by Bryan on May 31, 2009
There has been a lot of discussion this year about the potential value of microblogging service Twitter to nonprofits, so I’d imagine there will also be a lot of interest in the latest version of the Twitter-based virtual currency – the Twollar.
Described as “a currency of appreciation” for Twitter, the idea is that every Twitter user is given 50 Twollars and can then use these to thank or reward other people who use Twitter – perhaps in thanks for a particularly useful Tweet or as a reward for engaging on a website.
But the interesting thing is that you can also give your Twollars to a charity which uses Twitter – by sending a Tweet as shown in the screengrab above. The receiving charity can then convert them into real money (at an exchange rate of 10 Twollars to 1 $US) by selling them back to Twitterers who have used-up their 50 allocation, or companies who want to make use of Twollars as part of a reward or loyalty programme. And, all money goes directly to the charity with no cut going to the folks behind the Twollar site.
I really like this initiative, and guess it could have some real fundraising potential if companies start to use Twollars and thus need to purchase them in large volumes from charities – and charities can engage with enough Twitter users to keep them stocked-up.
However, one thing struck me as I checked my own Twollars page (which you can do here) and found that I had indeed been credited with 50 Twollars. What is there to stop me spending the rest of the afternoon opening new Twitter accounts so as to snag a big pile of Twollars for myself? Perhaps not a bad thing if I then donate them all to good causes – but it does seem like an easy way to subvert the Twollar economy?
This aside (and perhaps there is a way to stop such Twollar-piling that I haven’t picked-up on?) there are already over 50 charities from all over the world signed-up to ‘trade’ Twollars, and any interested in giving the scheme a go can register here.
Posted in Online fundraising, Twitter | Tagged: Bryan Miller, Online fundraising, Twitter, Twollar | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Bryan on May 17, 2009
It’s May again, which means that the latest update of the annual M+R and NTEN eNonprofit Benchmarks Study has just been released.
The study, which provides cause-specific benchmarks across a range of email metrics is based on data from 32 US nonprofit organisations, but I’ve always found the results to be a good steer for European nonprofits too.
The headline take-out is that despite the recession most of the organisations taking part in the study saw their online fundraising up overall from 2007 to 2008, driven by more donors giving online but at lower average values than seen previously.
Beneath this overall trend is a wealth of data across both fundraising and advocacy activities that anyone involved in email communications is bound to find useful.
You can download a free copy of the 2009 report here.
The eNonprofit Benchmarks Study was first released in 2006, so it offers the potential to examine the latest data in the context of previous years to illustrate some multi-year trends. Unfortunately the latest report doesn’t provide much insight beyond the 2007 to 2008 comparisons, but you can still download the 2008 Report and also the 2006 Report (there wasn’t one in 2007) to look at the trends yourself.
Posted in Email, Online advocacy, Online Campaigning, Online fundraising | Tagged: Benchmark, Bryan Miller, Email, eNonprofit Benchmarks Study, Online advocacy, Online fundraising | 1 Comment »
Posted by Bryan on May 14, 2009
It’s been an interesting three days this week, with the first ever IFC Online eConference taking place – bringing together an estimated 500+ attendees from 42 countries world-wide, through an entirely online conference.
Unlike traditional ‘real world’ conferences, it’s tricky to be sure just how many people are ‘attending’ an online conference. The IFC Online organisers at The Resource Alliance tell me that 387 ‘sites’ signed-up for the event, but the number of individuals at each ‘site’ who watch the sessions can vary massively – from one individual to, in this case, a group of more than 70 people who gathered together in Jerusalem to attend. So, I’m not sure exactly how many people attended the two sessions I presented, but I did spot around 160 ‘sites’ logged-on in places ranging from the US and Latin America, right across Europe, to Singapore, Korea, and Australia – which made for a good crowd.
If you’ve never attended a big web-based conference like this, and it was my first time – both as an attendee and a speaker, then the screengrab above will give you a bit of a feel for how it works. Presenters speak over VoIP and use Powerpoint presentations just as if they were in a convention centre with people infront of them, and throughout the session people can ask questions and make comments by typing into the Chat/Q&A box. Must admit, when I kicked-off my session it felt a bit odd sitting all alone talking to my Mac – but once the questions started coming-in onscreen the whole thing came to life and it was great fun.
Some really interesting speakers too, including Scott Goodstein, External Online Director for Obama for America, and Premal Shah, President of Kiva. And what was particularly handy is that all sessions are recorded, so attendees can catch-up on any they missed or re-watch any session they found especially useful. (Except for Scott Goodstein’s session, apparently – which is a pain, as I missed that one myself).
So, all-in all, a very interesting and, by the looks of it, successful event – and a great extension to the Resource Alliance’s annual ‘real world’ International Fundraising Congress held each October in Holland.
One other thing that struck me was just how much more Twitter activity was going-on amongst the attendees at this event than at the main IFC just last October – when there were a lone two folks Tweeting for all they were worth. This time, there was a pretty constant stream of Twitter commentary coming through under #ifconline – and even a degree of consternation when Twitter went down for maintenance right in the middle of a session yesterday evening (London time).
Posted in Fundraising, Online fundraising, Twitter | Tagged: Bryan Miller, IFC, IFC Online, Kiva, nptech, Online community fundraising, Online fundraising, Twitter | 1 Comment »
Posted by Bryan on May 5, 2009
As you’ll see from the promotional video above, the world of online charity crowdfunding ‘supermarkets’ looks set to grow yet again later this year, with the launch of See The Difference.
Founded by former BBC Executive Dominic Vallely, See The Difference plans to engage supporters with a diverse range of projects from all around the world, through a video-based site that uses ‘digital storytelling’ to promote projects and, very importantly, to show donors just what a difference their support has made.
With a very impressive line-up of corporate backers – and endorsements from a diverse group of people from the Head of Individual Marketing at the RSPB to the editor of Heat Magazine – See The Difference is clearly a very ambitious initiative. Not only are they looking to raise £500m (€563m; $756m) over the next five years but they also believe that “See the Difference could ultimately become the standard way in which people choose and express the things they care about and the differences they want to make in the world”.
It all certainly seems very well planned and from what can be seen of the website on the video, the user interface looks pretty slick and engaging.
I wish the team at See The Difference all the very best, as this is just the type of innovative approach that is needed if we are going to see the real potential of online fundraising start to be released. However, £500m seems an incredibly ambitious target to set for their first five years.
The best performing charity crowdfunding site out there at the moment is probably Kiva – and even with its highly innovative ‘investment’ project funding approach and incredible levels of PR support they have just reached £47m (€53m; $71m) over their first three and a half years of operation. While at the other end of the scale, the recently launched video-based project crowdfunding site PifWorld seems from the statistics on its homepage to only have managed to raise £5,250 (€5,915; $7,922) over its first two months.
Here’s hoping that See The Difference can at least get their online giving going at the Kiva-levels – it’ll certainly be very interesting to see just how quickly the income grows once their site goes live. There are no details of a planned launch date on the See The Difference website, but you can contact them through the holding page and keep-up with the site’s development through their recently launched Facebook Page.
Posted in crowdfunding, Online fundraising | Tagged: Bryan Miller, crowdfunding, Kiva, Pifworld, See The Difference, seethedifference.org | 10 Comments »