8 BBCON 2013 Panels To Check Out This Week

If you’re going to the BBCON 2013 Conference starting September 29th, you should expect a great conference filled some of my favorite nonprofits and campaigners who will be sharing their insights in email marketing, storytelling via multiple channels, and social media wins and fails.

Here’s a list of some of the panels that caught our attention as we looked through the agenda.

Sunday, September 29th

10:30 to 12:30

Interactive Workshop: Creating More Innovative and Efficient Organizations

In the last 10 years, the nonprofit sector has grown more than 60 percent in the United States to an estimated 1.5 million organizations. In every vertical, ranging from the environment to public health, there are hundreds if not thousands of organizations with similar names and missions competing for advocacy, donor, and foundation support. No wonder our constituents’ inboxes and mailboxes are stuffed with action alerts, appeals, and newsletters with similar messaging from several nonprofits vying for attention. If we are going to truly solve the world’s toughest social problems and obtain the necessary resources to do it right, we need to examine how the nonprofit sector can evolve to create more innovative and efficient organizations. This involves disrupting the nonprofit sector as we know it today. I will be joined by Amy Sample Ward of NTEN, Jacob Worell of IAVA, and Sheila Katz of Ask Big Questions at Hillel International to discuss topics ranging from thinking like a startup to exploring reducing competition and consolidating resources.

2:15 to 3:30

Social Media Police: Nonprofit Edition

Channeling Joan Rivers and E!’s Fashion Police, nonprofit social media authors including Maddie Grant, and Melanie Mathos, and myself Allyson Kapin will talk about the latest trends, campaigns, and faux pas in the nonprofit social media world. Attendees will be entertained, educated, and inspired by social #fails and the nonprofits that are making some seriously #winningmoves.

20 Ways to Trick Out Your Donation Forms

Trick out your donation forms! In this informative session, you’ll learn tips to building the most effective donation forms and walk away with practical information you can use.


Monday, September 30

8:30 AM to 9:45 AM


Dr. Seuss Helps You Rock Digital Storytelling

Digital storytelling has a fundamental approach that can be gleaned from simple, popular children’s books. In this session, we’ll discuss the similarities, define the strategy, and review quick tips and tricks that will make your online story more impactful, engaging, and interactive. Join us to learn how to turn your online presence into a bestseller! 

10:00 to 11:15

Direct Mail and Social Media: Strange Bedfellows or a Match Made in Heaven?

Social media and online fundraising have taken the world by storm, but traditional fundraising methods still account for more than 93% of total fundraising. This session will explore the intersection of traditional and new fundraising methods, leaving you with actionable insights you can take back to your organization.

3:00 to 4:15

Fast, Cheap and Under Control: Online Advocacy as an Acquisition Engine

You’ll leave this session -- co-presented by Care2's own Clint O'Brien -- with a set of simple but effective tactics based on case studies around building your list through advocacy, when to augment earned growth with wise investments in online acquisition, and the ins and outs of low-cost or no-cost marketing options (like online list swaps and Facebook ads).  BEST OF ALL, if you attend this session, or if you visit Care2's table in the exhibit hall, you can drop your card in a bowl to be eligible to win a valuable FREE REGISTRATION to the 2014 Nonprofit Technology Conference ("14NTC") from March 13-15 in Washington, DC.  If you've ever attended the NTC, which is NTEN's annual conference, then you know it's one of the very best conferences for nonprofit sector professionals.


Tuesday, October 1st

9:15 to 10:30

From Inside the Beltway and Beyond: Measuring the Impact of Your Online Advocacy Program

We know that advocates can change the world, but how can they help you take your entire online program from “meh” to marvelous? Join Ocean Conservancy and Feeding America to learn how to track your advocacy program, measure the connection between advocates and donors, and increase the impact of activists.

10:45 to 12:00

Email in a Social Media/Mobile Device World

What is the role of email with constituents these days? Are people reading them at all? Should we be emailing? What is the role of scalable design? In an ever-shifting online communications landscape, this session will explore where email still has the greatest value in your marketing and fundraising efforts.


A Look At Canadian Philanthropy Across Generations

Last week Blackbaud along with partners HJC, Sea Change Strategies, and Edge Research released findings from the 2013 Next Generation of Canadian Giving study.

The study looked at the following: 

  • What are the preferred giving channels for Generation Y (18-32); Generation X (33-48); Baby Boomers (49-67); and Civics (68+) ?
  • What are the preferred communications and engagement channels?
  • What kinds of charities do people support?

Eight Key Findings:

1. The majority of Canadians donate money to charity. Civics are the most generous generation. About 9 in 10 of Civics give, and they support a variety of causes than younger generations. However, it’s worth noting the this generation is dwindling and their income  is holding steady.

2. Baby Boomers will have great influence on charitable giving for the foreseeable future, but Generation X is quickly catching up. This is the generation to watch and cultivate now.

3. Most donors across all age groups do not plan to expand their giving in the coming year. This is not surprising given that many people across generations are still feeling the impact of a struggling economy.

4. While multichannel communications has become standard these days, your organizations needs to find the right mix when you target different generations. For example, direct mail is not dead. Generations Y and X prefer to give online, and as many Baby Boomers say they give online as via direct mail.

5. Generation Y donors have distinct priorities and preferences with regard to causes they support.  They demand accountability and transparency than older donors.

6. Among transaction channels, the future of telemarketing and giving by SMS/text does not look so great in Canada, but face-to-face and street funding is surprisingly strong.

7. Peer-to-peer fundraising and crowdfunding appear to have promising futures as fundraising strategies for younger generations. Though you should note that this takes a lot of staff resources, planning, and time to raise significant money.

8. Nearly half of those who give engage with causes in ways other than making donations. Embrace it!


Now that you have seen the statistics around Canadian giving, how will you use this data? The report suggested that you think about the following questions:

1. Have you underinvested in fundraising to Gen X donors, who are a quickly rising force in philanthropic giving in Canada?

2. Have you completely ignored the up and coming younger generations, or relegated them to an un-strategic social media effort?

3. Does your fundraising channel mix include direct mail for younger donors and digital communications for older ones? 


New Study: Facebook Hashtags Decrease Engagement

When Facebook launched hashtags many people questioned how useful this feature was going to be. Facebook assumed by rolling out hashtags, that organizational and brand pages using hashtags would receive increased exposure from other brands and organizations who were using the same hashtags.  

However, according to a new study by EdgeRank Checker posts with hashtags on Facebook don’t have as good reach as posts than those without. Edgerank reviewed more than 500 Facebook pages and 35,000 posts. The study found about 6,000 of the posts contained hashtags and these were the same posts that had a decrease in engagement per fan. Organic reach was slightly impacted negatively too.

The study also examined if there was a benefit for Facebook Pages with larger audiences (100K+ page Likes to 1M) that used hashtags. But once again, the study showed that not even the Facebook Pages with the largest audiences were benefiting from hashtags.

The leads of the study said they were surprised to see that hashtags on Facebook did not even have a positive impact on viral rates. “This is a surprise for us, as we would have been certain that using a hashtag would have caused an increase in Viral Reach, even if it were a small increase.”

The results from the study are not surprising. People use Facebook very differently then they use Twitter, where hashtags are popular to follow news and trending topics on breaking information or pop culture. For example, on Twitter, “using a hashtag typically resulted in roughly double the likelihood of being ReTweeted. Over 70% of the brands experienced an increase in RT’s when using a hashtag versus not using one,” said the study.

Facebook is more personal. Many people use Facebook to connect with friends and family. They also use it to connect with organizations or brands they support. People visit these FB Pages when they are prompted by a post in their newsfeed, an email alert, or FB ads. But people aren’t coming to Facebook to look at what’s trending in the news – unless it’s their friends or family posting the news often accompanied by commentary.

What’s your experience using hashtags on Facebook? Do the results surprise you?


5 Examples of Organizations Who Were Tactful or Tacky on 9/11

Dealing with tragedy is not just difficult for people on a personal level, but it’s also hard for nonprofits and brands that want to show their support without appearing opportunistic. Many organizations and brands wrestle with this every year when it comes to the anniversary of 9/11.

Yesterday many organizations chose to post images and messages about 9/11 to their website, social media channels like Facebook and Twitter. Others chose to remain silent. In my book, this is personal. Do what you think is right. But it’s worth noting, how quickly things can go wrong when your organization uses tragedy as an opportunity to promote its brand. It’s tacky and offensive. And your community will be very vocal about it.

Take a look at these brands that mistakenly thought they were honoring 9/11. Who runs these marketing teams? I would like to know how senior leadership at some of the biggest companies like AT&T and Marriott could think that these examples below were a great way to honor the victims and the fire fighters, police officers, and volunteers who helped saves lives on 9/11.

ATT&T's Product Placement

AT&T shared this photo - a product placement of a smartphone with text above that said “Never Forget.” Did they mean “P.S. never forget AT&T, the phone company?” People were so outraged by AT&T’s insensitivity that they removed the photo after about an hour.

Marriott Offers Free Coffee and Mini Muffins for 30 Minutes

Over at Marriott in San Diego, marketing was feeling generous. They offered guests free coffee and mini muffins from 8:45 AM to 9:15 AM in their lobby “in remembrance of those we lost on 9/11/.”

Marriott eventually responded to the public criticism with the following:

"We apologize and understand why some people may have misunderstood the intent of the offer," Marriott Hotels said in a statement. "We are reminding our hotels to use discretion and be sensitive when remembering major events such as 9/11."

So clearly these opportunistic and insensitive approaches are the wrong way to remember such a painful and tragic day and honor the people who helped save so many lives. But there are many nonprofits who did it right that these brands can learn from.

Thank You from IAVA

This is a powerful image from IAVA with two simple words. Thank You!

Remembering the Red Crossers

Ok so the Red Cross maybe promoting themselves in this Facebook post, but that’s ok they were a key responder. The comments from their community are incredibly supportive. People also relayed stories of waiting in line for hours to donate blood at one of the local Red Cross affiliates in New York.

Man in the Red Bandana

I didn’t share very much yesterday, but one video that really resonated with me was the story of a young man, Welles Crowther, who sacrificed his own life to save at least 12 other people in the World Trade Center that morning. Interestingly it was produced by ESPN.


Webinar: Multichannel Strategies to Convert Online-Acquired Supporters into Donors

Ned Baker of Care2

Recruiting an army of online supporters and advocates is the first step to building a powerhouse fundraising machine. But to sustain that influx of new prospects, organizations need to master the art and science of converting those supporters into donors – and that means multichannel.

Join us for this live online event as we share best practices from our base of 1,000+ nonprofit clients who use Care2′s 23 million member online community of “do-gooders” as a source of new donors. Using donor conversion data from Covenant House, Human Rights Campaign, IFAW and Nature Conservancy Canada, we’ll drill down on how the time-tested multichannel fundraising approach is producing strong results.

Multichannel Strategies to Convert Online-Acquired Supporters into Donors
Tuesday, 9/10 at 3pm ET

Register for this Care2 Expert Webinar


In this webinar you'll learn:

  • What's the best way to do a paid donor lead acquisition campaign, in which a nonprofit pays a flat "cost per lead" to acquire a guaranteed quantity of multichannel, behaviorally targeted, opt-in supporters?
  • What’s a good first welcome series of messages to a newly acquired supporters — and how should a nonprofit coordinate the messages through multiple channels (e.g. Direct Mail + Online)?
  • How many donation appeals should it take to convert the average engaged supporter into an actual donor — either a monthly sustainer or a one-time donor?

This Expert Webinar is FREE but space is limited so make sure you register today!


About the Presenters:

Clint O'Brien — VP of Nonprofit Services, Care2
Clint O'Brien of Care2Clint O'Brien has worked in the nonprofit sector for 15 years, starting at TV network PBS, the Public Broadcasting Service, where his work included helping local PBS member stations use their websites and email to find and keep donors. For the past eight years O’Brien has led the nonprofit services team at Care2, the online community of 23 million “do gooders” who take action every day to save the environment, help animals, advance human rights and support other great causes. In a past life, Clint was a foreign correspondent based in Moscow for Newsweek and The Associated Press, where he covered the breakup of the USSR and the re-birth of Russia. He also reported on the U.S. Congress in Washington, DC, where he won the National Press Club’s Washington Correspondence Prize for investigative reporting on toxic polluters. He blogs about online marketing on Care2’s “” blog for nonprofit professionals. He holds an MBA in marketing from the Wharton Business School, and lives in Washington, DC with his family.


About Care2
Care2 (, with 23 million members and 16 million unique monthly visitors, is the largest community of people taking action every day to support causes and make a better world. For more than 1,000 nonprofit clients, Care2 is also the leader in the field of online recruitment of multichannel donors and supporters, using behavioral targeting and permission-based marketing. The acquisition campaigns that Care2 conducts for its clients also reach tens of millions of additional people via Care2’s partnership program, which serves as a vertical ad network of 200 media sites and blogs, including Mother Jones, AlterNet, National Memo, LeftAction, Woman’s Health, Ms. Magazine and many others. More information about Care2′s services for nonprofits — including social media services to boost nonprofits’ Facebook presence — can be found at

REGISTER to attend this FREE Expert Webinar on TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 10th at 3PM ET



Support B Corps โ€“ Vote for this session at SXSW

Can you spare one minute to help promote transparent and sustainable businesses?

Please vote for this SXSW session about B Corporations! This is the only panel on B Corporations proposed for SXSW, so if you can please take a moment to cast a vote, I'd appreciate it!

If approved, one of its panelists will be Care2 founder Randy Paynter – who is a champion and pioneer of the B Corp movement – alongside some other great speakers from fellow B Corps: Singlebrook Technology, Call2Action, and B Revolution.

Please vote today! The deadline for voting is Friday. 

Voting takes less than a minute. Just do the following: 

1. Sign up for a SXSW voting account 

2. Click on the "Confirm my account" link in the SXSW automated email you receive

3. Go to our voting page and click the "vote up" button:  so it looks like this:

And that's it! You're done! Thanks for helping us champion the B Corp movement!

Want to learn more about B Corps? Check out the B Corporations website, as well as our B Corp press conference from our archives.



4 ways to supercharge your nonprofit images to connect with your supporters 

Are engaging visuals a priority in your organization? With so many things competing for people's attention today, images and photos are a more important aspect of your communications toolbox than ever before. Audiences are so accustomed to viewing images networks like Instagram, Tumblr, Vine, and Pinterest that it can be difficult to get people to pay attention without visuals.

Your audience is snacking on images with their smartphones, posting selfies, laughing at animated GIFs, and liking and pinning photos from their friends throughout the day. The best way to be on your target audience's radar is to meet them where they are. Here are some tips to help you improve your image content.

Seek out great images:

  • Borrow images from others - Flickr has a treasure trove of Creative Commons accessible images you can search through to find the perfect image for your message. Be sure you attribute photos properly wherever you post them.
  • Community events - take photos at the events your organize or cosponsor with partner organizations. Make it easy for attendees to submit photos and give permission for your organization to use their shots.
  • Conferences - Your staff work hard to make your conferences a success. Be sure you capture the experience. Conference photos can help you tell the story of your movement and help document what your organization is accomplishing.
  • Bring the silly - Do you have a mascot for you organization or for a campaign that you are running? If so, you can order a mascot costume and take photos of someone in the office dressed up as the mascot; better yet, take turns! If you can pull this off with personality, your event attendees will want to take photos with the mascot too.
  • Check out these 7 fantastic free or low cost sources to get images for your content strategy from Beth Kanter's recent blog post.

Be strategic about your subject matter:

  • Share images that tell a story.
  • Shine a light on your donors, constituents, and the communities where you are making an impact.
  • Behind the scenes - show people the progress you are making along the way on different programs. This might mean photos of your new building at different stages of construction, photos of table setups and room decor before your annual dinner to build anticipation for what's coming, or even new supplies in your offices that will help you work more effectively. ("Look at our awesome new conference room everyone. Here's how we plan to use it to convene leaders in our community and begin important discussions...")
  • "Action shots" - Capture your organizers and activists in action. This might mean grabbing photos from lobby days, meetings with legislators, protests and rallies, or other actions. You can caption these photos with brief tid bits of what happened and include links to Actions and Petitions so viewers can take action immediately.        

Choose the right message for just the right photo:

  • Choose photos that invite questions - Ask questions about the images you post. You can learn a lot from your audience from the responses inspired by question you ask with images.
  • Host a "Caption This" contest to engage your network, and get a lot of visibility for a photo.
  • Ask people how a surprising or astonishing image makes them feel.
  • Pair inspiring quotes with inspiring images that illustrate the idea.
  • Always make sure that all of the people in your images have given permission to be published online.

Share the images that you are capturing:

These are just a few of the places you can share photos to engage your community. Sometimes the right channel is different for each photo.

  • Instagram;
  • Pinterest;
  • Reddit;
  • Facebook;
  • Twitter;
  • Flickr;
  • Dropbox - This can be handy when you need to share photos in bulk or high resolution images with large files sizes.
  • Your conference program books;
  • Annual Reports - your key stakeholders want to see what you're doing. You can easily spruce up a report with a few really good photos.

Where have you gotten your best images from, and how do you use them? Share your best tips for supercharging your nonprofit's images.