12 digital fundraising trends for 2012 #1 Truly Personalised Video Thanking

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2011 was a bit of a quiet year here on Giving In A Digital World, as a combination of client work and house renovations took-up all the spare time I normally spend researching and writing posts. However, in response to a number of folks saying that they missed my occasional updates and ideas (which was really encouraging) I’m officially planning to get things back on track this year. Starting with what I hope will be a thought provoking short series on what I think will be 12 important digital fundraising trends for 2012. I’m aiming to post a few of these each week throughout the month of January – then we’ll have the whole of the rest of the year to see just how wrong I was!

First-off, something that I started to see fundraisers doing last year but which I think we will see a whole lot more of in the future: Truly Personalised Video Thanking. As an illustration of what I mean by this, take a look at the video above about charity: water’s 5th Anniversary donor thanking initiative, which has to be the gold standard in the art of digital thanking.

Of all the ways in which charity: water’s staff and volunteers personally thanked their supporters – telephone, letter, email, and video –  it is the YouTube thank you videos which have the most exciting potential to have impact beyond the immediate 1-to-1 thank you. Because when they’re done in such an authentic, enthusiastic, and fun way they become perfect shareable digital content. The sort of thing that I’d imagine lots of their supporters shared with their friends on Facebook, with the result that not only did the donor receive a uniquely personal experience of the charity: water brand, but so did everyone within their online social network. Great for driving both brand awareness and consideration.

The creation of these 250 short personalised videos clearly involved a lot of effort. But it is the True Personalisation that results from this investment of time and creativity that really makes them stand-out in a world where data-driven ‘mass-personalisation’ now just looks like so tired. And it’s this personal stand-out that makes them into content worthy of being shared through supporters’ personal social networks. Far more so than the sort of generic, well meaning but typically rather worthy videos that most charities send to their supporters.

Interestingly, telecomms. provider O2 also jumped onto the Truly Personalised Video trend this Christmas with their #o2santa Twitter and YouTube campaign. In response to a Tweet to @O2 with the hashtag #02santa, you received a completely personalised – and well adlibbed – YouTube video message from The Man himself.

To see what I mean, and how great Santa’s ad-libs are, here’s the Tweet I sent (I was prepping a workshop for WWF at the time, so they were front of mind) and the video message I got back:

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Now, by highlighting this form of supporter thanking I’m not saying that you should all grab video cameras or smartphones and make a fun personalised video for everyone on your database. However, there are some types of your supporters for which this might prove especially effective – perhaps if they are involved in sponsored events or community fundraising and so can share your video to thank all those who supported their personal fundraising activity.

At the very least, before releasing any form of online video content do think about whether it is likely to be something that your supporters will be keen to share more widely through their own networks, by asking yourself the following question:

Does it make good use of the digital opportunities available to really bring someone closer to your work; help them understand the impact their support will have; motivate them to give again; and make the experience of supporting such that they want to share it with their friends?

One last example to end with – which isn’t personalised beyond being originally sent to thank donors to a specific appeal, but which is wonderfully authentic and ticks all the right boxes – from child’s i foundation:

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If you come across any other good examples of other organisations using Truly Personalised Video Thanking do share them by leaving a comment below.

Great new in-video interactive functionality now available for YouTube Non-profit Partners

Back in March I wrote about the launch of YouTube’s ‘Call to Action’ feature enabling UK and US organisations in its Non-profit Partners Programme to place overlay ads linking direct to their own websites from their YouTube videos for free – basically turning YouTube videos into simple interactive video ads.

While this feature was good, it was also somewhat restricted – as the Call to Action link could only be placed in a banner at the bottom of the video, and if the video was embedded outside YouTube then the feature didn’t work at all.

The great news is that YouTube has just announced a much improved form of in-video interactivity based on enhancing its existing interactive ‘annotations’ functionality, which previously only allowed links to other YouTube videos, with the ability to link to external sites. What’s more, these interactive annotations will work when YouTube videos are embedded in any site – your own website, a supporter’s blog or Facebook profile, wherever…

This means that Non-profit Partner organisations can now easily add clickable buttons anywhere in their YouTube videos that will link the viewer direct to any other website they want them to visit – and these interactive videos can be shared through any site or social network profile and the interactive functionality will still work.

Take a look at the demonstration video above to learn more – and if you belong to a UK or US non-profit which hasn’t yet registered for the YouTube non-profit programme then go here and sign-up.

YouTube launches free in-video clickable ads for UK and US non-profit partners

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Last week YouTube launched a new feature called ‘Call to Action’ for Non-profit Partners, allowing them to place overlay ads linking direct to their own website on their YouTube videos – for free. The clickable ads can direct viewers to any webpage, such as a secure donation page – essentially making YouTube videos into online DRTV ads.

To test the new feature, last Sunday YouTube placed a video for charity:water on its homepage, complete with a clickable overlay encouraging viewers to donate to fund water wells – and generated a very impressive $10,000 in donations in one day. So it certainly seems to work!

Before you get too excited about the potential to upload your latest video, add an overlay, and sit back as the money just rolls-in, you need to bear in mind that the test video was on the YouTube homepage – which guaranteed it a whole load of traffic.

However, ‘Call to Action’ still represents an opportunity not to be missed for any non-profit with good quality video content looking to find a way to monetise their YouTube uploads. At least it does for US and UK non-profits – as I’m afraid that at present YouTube’s Non-profit Partner Programme is only available to organisations from those two countries. Although they are apparently intending to expand the programme.

So, if you’re a UK or US non-profit what’s stopping you? Click here to register as a Non-profit Partner and then all you need to do is go to ‘edit Video’ and complete the ‘Call to Action’ fields for your headline, promotional copy, and destination URL. If you’re feeling really adventurous you could even combine clickable overlays with YouTube’s ‘annotations’ functionality to develop interactive direct response ads.

And do leave a comment to let me know how you get on with it.

Kiva founder to speak at first IFC Online fundraising conference in May

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The Resource Alliance, organisers of the annual International Fundraising Congress that last year attracted some 900 fundraisers from all around the world, has today announced that it is to host what it describes as “the world’s first virtual fundraising conference”, from May 12-14 this year.

The organisation trialled a series of webinars last year and the success of these led to the development of ‘IFC Online’, which it hopes to make an annual event.

For its first year IFC Online will be focusing exclusively on new media fundraising because the organisers, probably rightly, believe that it will be the online fundraisers who will be the most comfortable with an online conference format. However, the plan is to expand the programme in future years to attract fundraisers from all disciplines.

The conference programme will comprise ten one-hour practical workshops (including 30 minutes q&a) delivered twice over the three day conference, plus three 45-minute plenaries (including 15 minutes q&a). The full programme has yet to be finalised, but the plenary speakers will be Kiva founder Premal Shah and YouTube’s Ramya Raghavan.

As well as the main conference sessions, there will also be an online community space with topic discussion areas, downloadable materials, etc. The organisers say that “the site will take on the buzz and frenzied pace of the best offline conferences” – which should make for an interesting experience.

Conference registration will cost US$275 (£190). For more details just go to www.fundraisingonline.com.

Which charity will be first to make use of YouTube Annotations interactivity?

Earlier this week YouTube released a new feature called ‘Annotations’ that allows you not only to annotate your uploaded video with captions, but also to create links within the video to other video clips or to your YouTube channel.

Easy captioning is a handy function, but it is the interactivity offered by the embedded links that makes this new feature particularly interesting. There are several simple demonstrations of what’s possible already on the site, including one involving the good old ‘pick a card trick’ shown above (which jumped from 300k to well over 2m views in a day – showing the level of interest in the feature) and a ‘find the shell’ game (keep going to the ‘hard’ video and just see where it leads you;-).

Interestingly, the annotations seem only work on YouTube and not when the videos are embedded elsewhere – which is unfortunate (and presumably why embedding on the ‘pick a card’ video has been ‘disabled by request’).

Ever since YouTube took-off I’ve had countless discussions about how best to use videos on the site to engage with consumers beyond simple viewings, comments and ratings- other than just including a URL for them to type into their browser. While still restricted to links within YouTube, this new feature does offer a new level of interaction which has the potential to be used in interesting ways by non-profits. For example as the basis for a personally guided, interactive video presentation of your work or support opportunities.

Thinking ahead, if links out of YouTube are added then the potential becomes even greater. Allen Stern at CentreNetworks suggests that external links could offer a new way for YouTube to monetize – through a small fee being paid to link products in videos to the product owner’s site or ecommerce sites.

Many non-profits are already making use of YouTube – so who will be the first to get into YouTube interactivity?

Insights, tips and tricks for online fundraising – it’s this week’s Carnival of Nonprofit Consultants

Welcome to this week’s Carnival of Nonprofit Consultants, a weekly blog carnival drawing together some of the best nonprofit news, advice and resources on offer across the blogosphere.

Each week a different host blogger sets a topic for this carnival and other bloggers submit posts on that theme – with the best seven being highlighted on the host’s blog. This week it’s my turn to host and the topic I chose was ‘Insights, tips and tricks for online fundraising’.

So, without further ado, here are seven online fundraising insight, tip and trick posts for you…

1. Starting off with some tips on how to evaluate and utilise Website architecture and and design to boost online fundraising from Jim Killion and Amanda Wasson of is7.

2. Staying with website design, Katya shares some tips from the latest study by Donordigital on what makes a great donation page.

3. And still on websites, for anyone at the early stages of website planning Jason King has posted the handy presentation he gave at the Connecting Up conference in Brisbane on Planning your non-profit’s website.

4. The Care2 folks over at Frogloop have reported on a recent survey that suggests that ‘51% of donors are not at all interested in Social Networks. However, apparently around a third of donors are somewhat or very interested in keeping-up with nonprofits through Social Media – rising to 40% for high level donors. Handy insight for social network fundraisers.

5. In her Nonprofits blog, Joanne Fritz shares some tips derived from UNICEF’s use of social networking and video-sharing sites.

6. For email fundraisers, here are Ten tips from Network for Good to help prevent your emails being deleted.

7. Finally, over at onLine, Garth Moore examines the potential of the new generation of ad funded click-to-donate applications.

That’s it for this week. You can keep track of the Carnival of Nonprofit Consultants as it travels around from site to site by subscribing to the Carnival feed.

Flipping the funnel – the future of fundraising?

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Recently I’ve been using an analogy originally promoted by online marketing pioneer Seth Godin to help illustrate how individual donor fundraisers, steeped in traditional direct marketing, need to evolve their thinking to capitalise on the new opportunities being offered by Web 2.0.

In his free to download ebook ‘Flipping the Funnel’ (with a tailored version for nonprofits), he highlights how fundraisers should re-evaluate the traditional approach of funneling high volumes of prospects into a fundraising programme to convert low volumes of supporters.

In Godin’s analogy, when you ‘flip the funnel’ (with the help of Web 2.0 tools) what you end-up with is a megaphone, through which passionate supporters can shout-out to their network of personal contacts on your behalf – overcoming the decline in mass-market appeals and reaching people traditional fundraising communications can’t reach.

In his own words “A new set of online tools makes this approach not just a possibility, but also an imperative for any organization hoping to grow. Give your fan club a megaphone and get out of the way.” I couldn’t agree more!