- Social Media
- Active Citizenship
- Good Giving
- Corporate Responsibility
- Be Fearless
Transcript: Live Ask the Guru Session with Allison Fine
Kari: Welcome, I am Kari Saratovsky and you are tuned for the live session of ‘Gear up for Giving’ sponsored by the Case Foundation. We are thrilled to have Allison Fine as our guest today. I will introduce Allison in just a little bit but first of all, I want to give special thanks to Philasiphile New York, they have let us use their lovely office space. Allison I guess you must be exhausted, you have been here doing social media training for foundations today, so we are thrilled that you are stuck with us and going to impart your wisdom for the folks who are gathered for this live stream session.
As you know, we are doing these sessions every Tuesdays and Thursdays at 1 o’clock Eastern Time and these are only as rich as you make them. That’s why we are so thrilled to see your questions streaming in; not just technical questions but questions about social media and questions about non-profits. There are several ways that you can get in touch with us; you can email at ‘email@example.com’ or if you are already on Twitter, you can tweet your questions using the ‘#’ tag ‘# AGC’. Of course there is a live stream chat that is happening just below the screen, please do participate in it. We have noticed that the chat has become a community in itself. People are asking questions and other folks are waving in and participating especially if we can’t get to the questions. I want to start of thanking some of our other sponsors and partners; the Goldhirsh Foundation, See3 Communications and our newest partner Flip Video. You can learn more about the flip video spot light program for non-profit organizations. We will put the link shortly and will let you know how to find out more about that. You can see on the space on the right side of the screen, you can let us know how we are doing, by letting us know that you actually will be eligible to win a flip cam and $250 for a good card for the non-profit of your choice. So, couple of extra little incentives to thank you for staying with us here. Now I want to introduce Allison for some of the people who may not know, is a senior follower at Demos, she is the author of momentum, she and I worked together over a lot of Case foundation initiatives for the last couple of years and she is a mom, an activist, a blogger and a chocolate lover.
I want to handover the forum to you for a while to talk about it broadly. You and I had a great conversation at lunch about some of the trends we are seeing in social media adoption by non-profits. You can share some of your thoughts with our viewers. While Allison is sharing you can tweet your questions or send us via the chat below.
Allison: Thank you Kari and thank you to the Case foundation for providing me the opportunity to share my thoughts with you today. I think we had a very exciting inflexion point in the non-profit sector as it adopts the social media in larger numbers. I think what we are seeing is, if two years ago if the questions from the non-profits may have been ‘Do I need to do this?’ but the question now is ‘How do I do it better?’ which is very exciting. So, we are inching our way on to Twitter and to facebook. Some groups weeping our way; the difference between the groups that are using though is, some of them like ‘your moms rising’ I would call connected it’s DNA, inside of the culture of this organization is the inedibility to want to connect with their network. These organizations have low walls, open door and open windows. They gear themselves toward working with the larger groups of people outside and engaging them in a conversation about their efforts and their creativity. Most organizations aren’t like that. Most organizations were born in the last century with high walls, remotes and they have all those things to get around. So, anybody can use social media but not everybody uses it well.
Allison: The difference is, those groups that have what I call the social culture will use it well. So, the question is what is the social culture? The social cultures are organizations that think they are a larger piece of one eco system that consists of organizations and people like bloggers. They are organizations that do more of listening than talking; they are reversing the polarity between inside and outside; they are moving outside; they are giving credits, they are generous with their network, they are following their network and energizing it by speaking with people instead of at them.
Allison: People can feel the difference and what we found last time in AGC that Katron and I had a wonderful opportunity to work with you all to asses it was that, very small groups and individuals could be very successful by working this way but only if they have the social culture. Thad’s the secret sauce to what we are talking about.
Kari: That was a great introduction to help us think broadly about bringing social culture into non-profit organizations. I want to turn to our first question which came in via e-mail from Wingspan partnerships. I thought this was a good one based on the blog post that you wrote for Case foundation about managing your time on social media. On an average how large a portion of the day should a small non-profit organization with three people as staffs spend on social networking for a cause.
Allison: Billions of hours. This is a $64,000 question in large part because so many non-profits are under resourced and over stretched right now. So, when the question to them appears to be ‘how can social media on to a very long to do list?’ the answer seems to be ’I don’t have any time in the day to do this, I can’t possibly do this.’ When we begin to talk about social culture, when we begin to talk about changing the way you work to think about doing less yourself as a person and as an organization and connecting with your network to leverage the resources that are out there, it becomes more manageable. That’s the way to think about leading a social media. Now what we have to do is make sure to convey to the organizations that social media is not a purview just at the summer entrant. This needs to woven through the entire organization, it’s not a sport. Everybody from top to bottom needs to participate needs to get hand on, needs to be comfortable and spend the extra amount of time to master some of the tools. You don’t have to be in all the networks all the time. The key is to carve that time to become fastle, to become proficient in a couple of tools which maybe a sacrifice up front but by doing that other things are going to shift off your to do list, because you are going to be connecting with your network. So, instead of coming up with the whole plan by yourself which would have taken about 100 hours, you are connecting with the network who is helping to build that plan it’s going to take half of that time. So, there is no right percentage of time of the day but we know it is going to take a significant commitment of time by doing that it changed the way you work that is the key.
Kari: Absolutely, lot of folks have emailed in. You just mentioned the fact that you cannot handoff social media to a summer entrant and then you have 3 months of the year, you have your really great presence on facebook and on twitter. So, how do you get buy in from your CEO? What is the best way to go to a CEO and say “Hey everybody is doing this, we have to figure out a way to make our presence felt and to involve ourselves.”
Allison: This is not an easy sell in some places although in the past year when I am directly talking to CEOs, I hear them resist less even if they are anxious they may not know how to start again the response is ‘I know we have to do this’. So that’s different in this past year. I think the staff people who need to do to the sell to their CEOs and to the boards they need to do two things, they need to gather them up at the board room hold up the laptop and make it real. This is not an abstract conversation, if you go on to the Case foundation site and look at all of the interesting conversations on the blog and on twitter. Those are the real life everyday interactions and relationship building that is going on. Go on to facebook look at what do they mean society that’s going on facebook. So that’s’ one part to make it real and the other thing the staff people need to do is create byte size pieces to help the inch the organization. We are not going to throw up the old organization and start all new. We are going to enter our way in; we are going to find a project. AGC is a perfect example of a place to start, to practice working this way. Once you begin to practice once you begin to take the walls down and open up the doors, things begin to seek in before that CEO knows that they are going to be treating.
Kari: Exactly, we have seen that happen quite a bit.
Allison: That’s what happens. The biggest barrier is fear of losing control, without a doubt. People who have been thought that control gives power have to be unthought-of. The only way to un-teach is to practice it, to find the safe place to practice.
Kari: That’s very helpful. There is an interesting follow up question on the chat. ‘Can you talk little bit more about social culture and how to develop it?” That’s a follow up to your opening remarks but I think that’s something that you are writing more on.
Allison: Catherine and I are coming up with a book this spring, the working title is ‘Network nonprofit’ before this spring we will have a real title. In that we spent a lot of time talking about compilation of values and practices to make a social culture. So the first step is to take a realistic look of your organization right now, take a step back and see what our habits here are because that’s what culture is. It is the aggravated habit that norms the behavior. So, do we create plans in locked room, two guys three cups of coffee, lock it all down and say this is how it has to all unfold.
Do we think of ourselves in competition without the group as supposed to being in a network without the groups? Do we think of our work in zero sum terms which is a really dangerous place to be, zero sum thinking is extraordinarily enervating it is the opposite of energizing because everything you do you feel like you are losing something. When you are working social media when you are working with networks every contribution you make energizes the network, comes back and energizes you. So good needs to start from your way; how do we work here, what make us check and where are the places that we can begin to have a conversation about how to open up the doors, how to engage other people, how to push our information out and let it go instead of trying locking it up, how to ask people for help. Remember we have been doing this as professionals, we have been thought that we need to be the smartest guys in the earth with all the answers. When you open it up and say ‘I don’t know the answer to X’ that’s the way to invite people, in an authentic way to help. So there are whole list of things, which would require people to spend a little bit of time thinking about the issues; social culture that can be best log, which is magnificent and unparalleled. To start you really reflect on what is the DNA of their organization that they may not have made but has come to it that way. It doesn’t mean that it can’t be changed.
Kari: Very helpful. So turning to some questions via twitter rather shot questions. Professional versus personal, lot of people are really concerned about your facebook profile out there and your boss is seeing it, what is the line there? Is there a line, should there be a line?
Allison: This is a generational divide that we have because young people are coming to organizations, they do not have a divide of public and private, so they are much more open with whom they are, there are on the channels all the time and they come banging head first into organizational culture that shuts that down and says ‘we all need to look like wearing suit here, all the time’, no casual Fridays for them. Again, there is no right or wrong formula for this, the key is for executives born in that old culture, it’s very important for them to realize you can’t build strong relationships with people in organizations in a network if you are going to be hiding behind your logo. You have got get out and be real; you have enable people to connect with you and there is no other to do that other than revealing yourself. There are degrees in that, some of them are more comfortable doing this, you don’t have to go all the way to the end but you have to get behind the wizard of Askerton. For people who struggle with that on facebook, there are a lot of ways for dealing with that, you have different filters for letting people to see different kinds of things or you could have separate accounts. You could have a professional account and private divide for people, critically important if you move to a social culture, you have to become a real 3D authentic person.
Kari: Sure, that makes a lot sense thank you. I hope that answers that question about professional and personal. I want to move to the chat and I want to encourage everybody to continue chatting and sending in your questions via chat or email us at ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’. This one is coming in from the chat. “We created a social networking site just for case workers in my area to collaborate in case and share info. I send them emails every once in a while but how do I really get people to participate?”
Allison: You would do it the same way you do offline, talk to people. I understand that case workers are going to be talking about sensitive information in that case creating a private separate social network may make sense. For most groups though I would recommend going to where people are already. Trying to create your own network and a new habit for people coming to visit with you is tough. So you want to go where people are, it’s awfully important for the organizations not to make assumptions about why people are coming to them or not coming to them. The only way to find out is to talk to them; the powerful way to talk to them is bring them for lunch. This is one of the myths of social media and it’s back to that zero sum game that I was mentioning. Too many people want to believe that if you are working with social media, you are working online you are giving up something on land. We are met one another, we are not ever dismissing the importance of working on land, meeting people in person and trusting them. So if you want to know what would engage your network if you want to know how to resonate more with young people, you need to ask them. Ask them online, ask them on land and if you are going to ask them you have to listen to them.
Kari: Very good point. Also from the chat is this follow up question, “How do we drive people to the social media with barriers, in other words, we think we know our audience that we care about, we have got facebook we have got twitter but what do we do to actually make the tools useful?
Allison: That’s a tough one. Well, I would be careful about the case driving people. You can’t control the network; you can’t work within its context. So when you talk about driving people you need to connate the old media lessons that we are going to broadcast something with a bulleted message in it. That’s not what we are talking about now, what we are talking about is connecting with people, building relationships with people. When you are listening to them, when you are having a conversation with them whatever channel they are, they are going to be more connected to you, they are going to come and visit the things that you want them to visit. You can’t make them; some people may, some people may not. It’s very important that people are working on multiple channels, when we say multiple channels we mean using as much as the toolkit; facebook, twitter and email which is really important. They are using every opportunity to build relationship when they can, that way when people are talking about them when they are talking about their cause, they are able to listen and respond. What are the ironies that working with social media carries, if you do as much following as leading that’s a shift.
Kari: That’s a great way to put in. So, there has been quite a few questions about leveraging viral marketing techniques in social media settings. Can you point out any examples where viral marketing has taken hold and helped a non-profit organization?
Allison: Well, here is a problem, the phrase viral marketing doesn’t make any sense. Here’s why, you can’t make something go viral, you can leverage something that goes viral and you can help for it, you can celebrate it, but you cannot make it. Remember what we saw in the first AGC, we saw some really talented network weavers, whether they had experience in social media or not those are the people who were cheer leading, who were connecting, who were stroking the networks giving people things to do and it either worked or didn’t work, you can’t predict when it’s going to work. Nobody who puts up a YouTube video like Darren Carl, he is the guy with the guitar, when he posted that video there is no way in the world that he would know that 5 million were going to visit it. There is just no way to know when it hits. When it starts to go viral there is a great catalytic movement where networks weavers can’t really help it spread a lot more. When you can find influence in networks, who can tell their social networks is in boom, they are up and running. All the good habits that we were talking about of being social, being connected and building relationships, enable messages and information to become viral, they can’t become viral without it but you can’t ensure something that it’s going to become viral.
Kari: I hope that was helpful to our folks on twitter. I think there is a campaign that is going actually on viral marketing there. This one is in reference to your blog post, somebody twitted in, “how are the shelters like your friend Sheila in your blog post, currently using social media to reach their donors?”
Allsion: Sheila is a composite of the people that I need when I am travelling, for those who haven’t read the blog post which is on case foundation blog. Sheila is a reveled, she is reverting; she can add one more thing in her to do list, here is the social media. The kids around are tweeting and pinging and she is ever with send about what to do with this.
Kari: So, how is someone like Sheila deciding to take that leverage? How do you bring her in?
Allison: you know, one of the things that I worry about with my friend Sheila is, she is in my mind since all this is my mind. She is 55, she is been working at non-profits most of her career. She has been the Executive Director for the past ten years. Sheila is going to age out of that position very soon if she doesn’t embrace social media, she is going to age out and the younger people in the organization are going to be very frustrated. She is going to age out because she is not going to get affected as an organization. She cannot work in silence, disconnected from people in networks and be affected in social change. Social change happens in conversations, and conversations happen online. So, Sheila needs a mentor, in her organization in Hawaii, there are huge number of people who are under the age of 30 who can be Sheila’s mentor. In order to do that she has to open herself up to be willing to accept the help. So, I would say to Sheila, go make a deal, find yourself a young person who is clicking ask him to slow down, ask him to spend two Wednesdays a month at lunch with you. They will social media because you need to get off the bench and start to practice before you can figure out how to do it organizationally. You show them how to fundraise, how to read a financial statement and all the good things that you know. The key for Sheila is to start experimenting with the tools personally then she can see how to use it professionally.
Kari: Terrific, talking about the older and younger digital users. Is that gap diminishing, there was a study last month that came out that ARP and the centre for digital future put on. Do you see the gap of older and younger generations diminishing in terms of their adoption of digital media?
Allison: Certainly we are seeing older professionals start log on to social media tool kit. The fastest growing segment are women above 50. Whether they are using it well or not that depends. So, they are getting on, they need to practice more what they are doing, most importantly they need to understand that it needs to be infused in the whole organization. It’s not a communication function; it’s not a fundraising function. It is an organizational function and needs to be woven in everything that they are doing.
Kari: Okay. So folks at FC Cleveland on twitter has asked, “Can you suggest ways to crowd source feedback for your organization” and actually if you could also talk about crowdsourcing for those who may not know. Chat a little bit about that and then the ways how the organizations might use crowd sourcing for feedback.
Allison: Crowd sourcing is the function of enabling lots of people, a crowd to work collectively on a project together. Crowd sourcing isn’t new; communities of people have worked on things together for centuries. What is new is that the number of people who can work at a distance from one another on one project has grown exponentially large. The epic center of crowd sourcing efforts is Wikipedia. Now when you have a crowd, not everybody in the crowd is equal. You have got some power users in the crowd who are doing about 80 per cent of the work and you have got a lot of heirs on but people doing stuff. There is a great opportunity for non-profits to take advantage of crowd sourcing. We see that with micro volunteering that the extra ordinaries. What they are saying is, we need to break down some non-profit tasks into little bytes and pieces, for the extra ordinaries who are using the smart phones they have a few minutes contributed to this project. They might be translating a document or in the case of sunlight foundation they have a few minutes to go through the ear marks and help to categorize them. The challenge for the organizations carries two fold; one, they have to identify the project that can be broken down to byte size pieces, that’s a new activity we are not practiced doing, the second thing is they have to broaden their network to create large enough crowd, to make that work for large enough people because you don’t want that going back to that ten volunteers and exhausting them. You are exhausting on land and exhausting them on social media too.
Kari: Looks like our twitter audience are more active, that’s terrific. How long do you think facebook and twitter are going to last? What is the next thing, what does social media look like a year from now?
Allison: I think Kari, if I knew what’s the next big thing was; I wouldn’t be sitting here with you as much as I love you.
Kari: I know. Thank you. We would have investigated together. Right.
Allison: Here is the downside of that question. The downside is the hesitation that I hear from groups, about getting on to a platform; because they don’t know whether if it’s going to be here tomorrow.
Allison: That’s not a good way to look at it, because getting on to a platform is great practice. You are building a network. The networks aren’t going to go away if the tool goes away? I think, it’s very unlikely at this point that if the Facebook is going to fail. All social media worlds almost becoming too big to fail. This is our version of AIG in good ways. So, I wouldn’t want people to use as an excuse not to get on. There is no way to know what tools are going to last and what aren’t. I can know for sure; online social networking is not a bad way. It’s the way we are going to be working for a long future.
Kari: Very helpful. Hopefully, that was helpful to our Twitter there. So, from the chat do you have suggestions to create organization policy? This is something we have seen. An organization policy for utilizing social media or do you have any suggestions on how to start that? I think we have seen more and more of larger non-profits trying to think through what their social media strategy is. You know, Then that means employing a new set of rules and regulations.
Allison: Right. The Red Cross just approved the social media policy. It was in-depth. I don’t know that it has to be in-depth. I saw a tweet couple of weeks ago; I can’t remember the exact phrase. But the essence of it was, ‘Be careful of what you say, because it will be there forever’.
Kari: Fair enough.
Allison: Here’s is the problem. I call it challenge for the organization which is, in order to use the social media effectively; you have to trust staff and volunteers to do and say things on the organization’s behalf without approving it before hand.
Allison: Regardless of the policy, that has to happen. If that is a struggle for organizations; that’s what they need to talk about, not the policy. It is needs to be a clarification on the ways of behaving, if for no other reason than to allow staff to be comfortable in what they are allowed to do. There needs to be clarification. I strongly believe that there needs to be lot of conversation about social culture, about the shifting control if that requires, the trust if that requires and the policy comes in as well.
Kari: That’s very good advice. From chat, this is actually they are asking; what do you think about this scenario? Might not proper as very high level board. I would like to invite them to join our Facebook group, but there is hesitation about letting the board and key donors observe the free flowing opinions that there on. The person is writing is writing, I think the board members would enjoy becoming part of the community. What do you think Allison?
Allison: I think that person is just right. I think that any place that you can take the curtain down, where you can engage people on real authentic conversation; where they can not only just see; carry what it takes to do the work every day; because that becomes a mystery for the board members that is separate from the staff; kept separate from the staff. They can also contribute to it. There is this cause on the roles between Boards of Directors, staffs and then the communities that they serve. There are kept too separate. I think we think of them as almost delicate. Now, these are very successful people. They are doing their own work. I think they are to be invited to not just observe but to participate in those conversations and it will build their relationship. We have got to get Boards of directors using social media as much as you need CEO’s.
Kari: Absolutely. So a few people from Twitter have asked about, that question written on investments; so you knew you are going to get it. What are your thoughts?
Allison: I just hate it. You know, it has a financial connotation to it and relationship building takes time has an enormous amount of value over time and shouldn’t be thought of needing to have an immediate return financially. Now, that doesn’t mean that we are not measuring. So, I think measuring involves tracking where and how conversations are happening for your cause. Where your organization is responsible for capitalizing those conversations and are you growing them. And I think that’s very important.
Allison: I would want to know from the measurement stand point; where and how are we engage other people to talk with us; are there blogs that are talking about us or are we increasing links to our blogs from other blogs; you know, that’s the converse of the blog; are friends increasing on Twitter. That’s important. The people we tweeting is the converse of Twitter. So, there are whole house of ways of measuring what’s happening. I would strongly encourage to people; though to put it in the context of relationship building and out of the financial equation.
Kari: It’s a different of commerce.
Allison: You are exactly right. It’s a different kind of social commerce.
Kari: That’s great. Virtually, we haven’t talked much about blogging; you know you’ve got a great blog; you helped us launch our social citizen’s blog. And I think that there are lot of foundations that we’ve been talking to and other non-profit organizations are trying to get blogging right. And, I think that we struggled at the Case foundation; everybody in our organization to post on the blog; which is terrific, because you get variety of opinions and thoughts. But, at the same time you want to make sure that your blog has a good feel and you know, people know what they are going to get when come back. What do you think about it group blogging? How should organizations approach their blogging strategies?
Allison: I think it’s also important to think that what conversation you want to have on your blog; so, the mistake that groups make is Joe has a blog down the street and we should have a blog; So’ everybody has blog, let’s blog. So, you need to think about, what conversation, what topic is that we want to capitalize here. I think it’s a great strategy to have a group blog because again we have to go back to people’s time. If the burden falls primarily to one person in an organization, it will be overwhelmed. In addition there are lots of different voices in an organization and not just the staff. Think about those board members. Board member wants to blog; may be volunteer wants to blog. So, you know, there can be a whole variety of voices there. It’s important to stick to your topic. See blogging is a narrow messaging and that’s why it’s not broadcasting. Right?
Allison: So, you want to start by finding out who else is blogging about this, making sure you are linking to them, it is the generosity. You need to reach out to them, ask and request them to link back to you. Listen to the bloggers for using tools like Google alerts and techno writing to find out who is talking about what and keep participating in that group conversation. That’s the power of the blog; one part of the much larger conversation that is going on for years. There has to be better words. But that’s the power of the ongoing conversation. The other thing about the blog that people have to know is that it is a slow built. It is. Right? It takes time. It takes practice to do it well and it takes consensus. You have to stick with it for a while.
Kari: That’s not the field of dreams. Right?
Allison: yeah. But, I think it’s a great vehicle. It’s not for everybody.
Kari: That’s the other thing.
Allison: You don’t have to stick with the blog if it’s not working for you.
Kari: and so many organizations are finding. Ok, we got to be on twitter; it’s a hard thing, we got to be on Facebook and then they are spending all their time trying to figure out how they have a presence on all these. I think that smart of those is trying to figure out what works and what works best for your organization. How do you break it down into digestible pieces of those and would you suggest that kind of a strategy as opposed to just jumping in and trying everything?
Allison: Well. That just it. The danger is trying to do much and getting overwhelmed with it. We need to find small places to experiment like we talked about. You do need to be on multiple channels. So, you don’t want to say we got a blog and we don’t want social media. It’s not enough. People are in lots of different places. But, it doesn’t mean that you need to be on the channels all the time or that you have to have an equal amount of energy. So, let’s say that you are getting some traction in twitter; you may not have that much of energy at that moment of time to be stroking conversations on Facebook. That’s okay. It’s not disappearing. You also want to make sure that you take some brakes like you sit down and go and take a walk.
Allison: I took august off from Twitter; came back on September 1st, tweeted out what did I miss and the answer was nothing.
Kari: We missed you.
Allison: So you say.
Kari: Thank you. One of the questions that came from Twitter is how important is it for a non-profit organization to monitor their brands on the social web.
Allison: So, we will need to think about brands differently. The downside of branding wasn’t anyone’s intention. But the downside is an over duration of control. The fear that if you do X, it will damage the brand. How many times we heard a marketing person say don’t damage like it’s under glass in a museum. We need to take brands out for a walk. We need to get it some fresh air. We need to take it out there. The best part about social media is that it can really enhance the brand by building trust and authenticity with a large group of people. I think that really helps. People knowing particularly and particularly, we are talking about social change organizations. People need to feel that the organization is trustworthy, that it is authentic, that their donations will well used. They are only going to feel that way if the people who work in that organization are out and building relationship. That’s the way to build the brand. That’s again you got to get out from behind the logo.
Kari: In some other ways the organizations are interested in monitoring their brands, you can hire companies like Radiant Six or other organizations to help monitor your brand. I will give you the tools to do that. But I think things like search.twitter.com and write in the organization, you can see who’s talking about you. Google alert is other good thing. There are others.
Kari: Technorati. Yeah.
Allison: There are whole host of tools for listening tools. Listening is step 1 in working in social media. I will tell you, I spoke to a person at a large foundation a couple of weeks ago and we had spoken before. I encouraged him to start with listening using those tools. And he called me in a little bit of despair and told me you know, I have been listening; but nobody is talking about it. And there was a pause. He said that’s really bad. Isn’t it? I said yeah, it’s really bad. Nobody is talking to you because you are not talking. But, if you are trying to convince senior management and Boards to engage in social media; the easiest, safest first step is listening. That’s a great prospect when it comes to any format.
Kari: I am getting the only ten minutes left warning. Can you believe it? Time is flying by. I want to spend a little bit of time on fund raising and I think you are particularly case foundation is getting ready to announce America’s giving challenge part II. We are going to be doing it again. For those of you who are tuning in, you can find out more about America’s giving challenge through our last challenge happened back in 2007-2008. But we are getting ready to launch the campaign again, online fund raising campaign. So, tell us a little bit about how do you think that you can have an effective fund raising strategy online and I think I heard you say just because you have cause on Facebook; it’s not an ATM machine.
Allison: Well, first of all I think it’s important for people to remember that online fund raising is not the only mechanism to raise the funds. We are back to zero sum again. So, you got to keep doing things that you are doing online, still be talking to foundations, major donors, even direct mails if that work for you. I have communications with that. Now, we will augment all of that with online. And the key remember about online, Kari is it’s important to build friends first and fund is second. That’s the order of that it happens. People don’t give you a check first and then find out about your cause. So, you got to be able to demonstrate to people online that you are trustworthy and you are effective. The only way to do that Kari is to take the walls down and to begin to show them what you are doing. Alright. So, it’s also important to become more transparent to post your financial statements online without anyone having to ask for one first. Try to get ahead of that. Charity water does that. They put up their financials. They put up your nine nineties. I would like to see groups put up order reports with the management letters in them. Put it all out there without people having to ask or people having to find the door way in.
Kari: making it more easy and accessible.
Allison: yeah. I think one of the most wonderful stories I’ve seen about transparency in non-profits is your home town Indianapolis, Museum of Arts. They have a dashboard online of all the data points they are tracking around efficiency, around number of members, number of patrons and you can click in there and see what the trends are for the museum and then they are not always going up at the same rate. It’s a wonderful way to feel like they are letting you see the whole works here. Good and bad. And they are open to a conversation on it on their blog. So, I think all of those things add up to more effective fund raising, because you really are engaging with people building the relationship; they are much more likely to give. What we saw in AGC last time was friends connecting with friends and that the once that went viral or when those 2 degrees of separation of friends began to do thing on their behalf and they did it because they cared about the person who asked.
Kari: The research show that just because you gave you didn’t necessarily I mean, I would support the cause that you support.
Allison: And it’s $10 and most online fund raising is low $. But we can’t ignore the fact that giving is based on a personal request, it’s based on relationships and that needs to be built by organizations.
Kari: Yeah. Another interesting online fund raising campaign that several people have been asking about I mean in the chat in Twitter is ‘First of all’. You and I had spent some time with Amanda Rose who’s terrific and they took the model that did back in February. So for those who may not be familiar with ‘First of all’ it was online; it was actually a twitter campaign that took Twitter users and brought them offline come together in their communities for a night of fun but raising money and mobilizing around. The first time around was Fertility water and just this past weekend they wrapped up trustable locals and so do you have some thoughts about how the trustable campaign evolved and if Twitter is going to be kind of next way to do move people to fund raise online.
Allison: Well, It’s one way. There is never going to be one right way. There’s going to be multiple ways of doing this. I think what Amanda done so brilliantly though is she really understands in that way, that the online has to connect online. And that’s why Twitter trustable became local and was because, she really understood that people can use Twitter to organize but they really want to come together. They want get to know one another, celebrate and support a cause. Here’s the thing to remember Kari. Nothing about what I just said about Trustable is new. This is all old stuff. Relationship building is always been important to fund raising. Local meet up’s are always been important in building trust, raising awareness. What we have is a brand new tool set that makes all of it go faster and cheaper. All those good habits people have always needed to be successful is still there.
Kari: Very helpful. I was going sort of wrapping things up; but I just saw this one pop up on chat. How do you kill an organizational blog by positively? I like that.
Allison: You know, I think that there would be different reasons for somebody would stop a blog. One it’s not getting attraction. Two is it might be exhausted. I think anything that happens with the blog ought to be a conversation. That makes blogs powerful. So, it might not be, you don’t just turn off the power on a Thursday. You would want to tell people, you know what you are thinking about, thinking about winding it down, get their advice. Remember this is the shift in polarity that whatever happens we want to get input from people. It may be somebody in that network. One of the readers of that blog want to take up the blogging themselves. May be there is another organization that wants to start it and keep it going. Or maybe you just say that I am going to archive it over here. It’s been really fun talking to people. And close it down for a year and see how it feels. There is no one right way to do any of these. The key Kari is to keep having conversation.
Kari: Absolutely. Unfortunately, we are coming upto the 2’O clock. I want to thank everybody who’s joined us for this live chat today. For those of you who are on earlier, we are glad that we figured out our technical difficulties to provide you some great insights from Allison Fine. You can read more from Allison fine on her blog ‘a fine blog’. If you missed part of this chat or you want to share any pieces of it; It will be going up live in just a little bit later this afternoon on the case foundation websites. We of course want to thank our New York philanthropy, Philanthropy New York again for letting us squat in their lovely space today and to our partners on this Gear up for giving to the Goldhrish Foundation, See3 communications and to Flip video. Please go ahead and tell us how we did. We do want to hear. We look forward to being back here at every Tuesday and Thursday 1’O clock eastern time. Continue to send your e mails in to tweet your questions using found AGC. Allison, I am going to give you the last word. Is there anything else, some parting thoughts that you would like to share with our non-profits.
Allison: I would just encourage people to keep asking themselves when they are their work; what would the network do? Keep going back to the network. It’s there and they will help you.
Kari: Great. Thanks so much Allison.
Allison: Thank you.
Kari: Thanks to everybody for tuning in.