Created with Sketch.
What's New in NPTech
25 minutes | 3 years ago
Episode #23: Chromebooks, a small sample size
In this episode, Jim O’Reilley describes his experience in first selecting and then purchasing a Chromebook to replace his PC. While doing this he realized that the Chromebook may be an ideal fit for nonprofits, both because of the price points, and also because through Google Docs, it is an ideal way to share work products within a group. Birgit Pauli-Haack provides the technical narratives that allow us to focus on the technical features of the Chromebook. There are links attached to lead the reader to the online comparisons and recommendations that led Jim to his purchase. Resources about Chromebooks and more Salon: How Google Chromebooks conquered schools PC Magazine: The Best Chromebooks of 2017 WireCutter: The Best Chromebook Asus Chromebook Flip C302 Amazon WorkSpaces Nonprofit and NGOs in the Cloud Google For Nonprofits Transcript: Chromebooks, a sample of one Jim O’Reilley: Hi everybody, welcome to Episode Number 23 of our podcast series for NPTechProjects, and this one is entitled “Chromebooks, a Small Sample Size”. The small sample size is me, can’t be any smaller sample than one person but it was kind of an interesting system that I went through or process and I’m hoping it will be helpful to you, our listeners. Let’s start off, and I’ll be as candid with you as I can about what was going on, why a new computer for me? My current laptop is or was because I’m now working off of the Chromebook, about six years old. Why a new Computer for me? It was getting old as evidenced by the fact that when I had a new cable provider come into the neighborhood, the speed on my computer was measured so slowly they actually hooked an ethernet cable up to it in order to try to speed up the process for the computer but it was also slowing down in general. I had been transferring documents and data from probably three other computers as they went through their lifestyle. When I upgraded to Windows 10 I noticed that any upgrades for Windows 10 were taking a long time. In some cases, the computer would actually, since I’d started as I was going to bed at night when I’d get on the next morning I’d find out that the computer went to sleep and I still had to finish the updates. Starting about three years ago I started using Google Apps as opposed to Microsoft Office or Windows Applications and the specific immediate one was using Google Docs instead of Word. I haven’t used Word now in well over two years and I’ve become very comfortable with that. That’s sort of the background. So why Chromebook? First of all, the price is very compelling. For less than $500 you can get a fully operational, fast, modern, computer. When I looked at my actual usage of what I was using my PC for almost everything I was doing was on the internet. That was of course amplified by the fact that I was in Google Docs where everything was in the cloud so that was not an issue to me, I wasn’t doing that much within the computer itself. Speed. It’s so much faster because there’s nothing to load. You turn it on and it’s on. Battery life. Because of its size, which is quite small, I was thinking of it that this would also replace my old iPad, which I haven’t used in a while, but instead of buying a new pad of some sort I could use the Chromebook for that place in my technical life if you will. When I looked at the applications I was using everything was available through the Chrome Book. Birgit Pauli-Haack: Well, that seems an unexpected winner in the race. Jim O’Reilley: Yes. How do Chromebooks fare in a business setting like a nonprofit organization? Birgit Pauli-Haack: How do Chromebooks fare in a business setting like a nonprofit organization? Let me ask you this, it’s a rhetorical question of course. Do we know any other institution that is constantly strapped for cash and has limited tech support staff? Yes, US schools. And Chromebooks have taken on in the schools. The Online Magazine Salon wrote in February 2017, “Chromebooks share of the US education market was 49% last year, in 2016. That’s up from 40% in 2015 and from 9% in 2013.” Something is going on and I did a little research in terms of why would this idea also be ideal for nonprofits? Of course, as Jim said, the price point is pretty attractive. If the nonprofit is already subscribed to the G Suite on Google for Nonprofit that would be ideal because everybody’s then working together on the Google drive, has access to the content together in the folders but also can use an organizational write calendar, it would be there. All the advantages of Google for Nonprofits would be there. What I also find very intriguing is the central management console to manage a group of Chromebooks. If you have a group of 10, 100 or even 1,000 Chrome Books you can all manage them in a central place on the web-based management console where you can pre-install apps for new ones or for new staff or new program managers. You can configure the network and you have a central user administration and you can track all your assets through that web-based console and there’s still remote desktop available, what some people like on Windows. How, Jim, did you decide which Chromebook you wanted to get? What’s the best Chromebook? Jim O’Reilley: Well, that was kind of interesting and it created a little bit of a problem for me because the last time I bought a computer I was able to go into a computer store and look at, physically, look at several different computers, different styles and so forth, but and I’m making a presumption here that I’m going to share with you. Because the price point is so low on a Chromebook trying to find a Chromebook in Best Buy can be a little bit of a treasure hunt because it’s hidden. In my case, the two Best Buys that I went to the Chromebooks were sort of hidden in the back, they only had two models on display, two brands; in my case, it was Samsung and HP. The rest of it they said you could order online and they would bring it in and if you didn’t like it they would take it back as a return to the store. I wasn’t awfully comfortable with the idea of buying online without physically touching, holding, looking at the shiny, new object so that was a bit of a barrier to me. I started reading some of the reviews, and one of the links that we’ll enclose in the show notes is PC Magazine did a review of Chromebooks and I believe there were 10 that they looked at. Different price points, different styles, different sizes and so forth and that was a good place for me to start. Then, I’d recently heard of Wirecutter, which is a company that does reviews of different kinds of things. I looked at Wirecutter and one of the things that they had was an article that they published. I believe it was published in May of this year, of ’17 and one of the headings was Best Chromebook so I looked it up, I just looked it up online obviously and they had some really good things to say. I’ll just go over a little bit of a blurb about it. The Asus Chromebook Flip For an ASUS Chromebook Flip. It says it’s the best Chromebook for most people. It’s fast enough for tab heavy browser work. I have a bad habit of keeping a lot of browsers open. It provides a full workday of battery life, and I’m going to put an asterisk after that and come back to that with you. It has a small, light body as well as a comfortable backlit keyboard, which is important to me because in my office I’m dependent on daylight. Early in the day and late in the day a backlit keyboard is very helpful and a bright screen is very helpful. Then they make the comment, “Around $500. It’s more expensive than we’d like but unfortunately, all good Chromebooks are expensive right now. The flip feels more like a $1,000 UltraBook than a $500 laptop so we feel it’s worth that price.” They then go on and they talk about the Lenovo ThinkPad 13 Chromebook saying that it’s a great, reliable Chromebook but it lacks some amenities like keyboard backlighting and a touchscreen. They’re saying, “But if the ASUS Chromebook Flip is not available you should look at the Lenovo.” My suggestion to you is to look at Wirecutter because they also talk about what is the best if you have a modest amount of money to spend. What’s the best one on a budget? What’s the best medium one, what’s the best one technically? I thought it was a good overview. It was a good overview for me obviously because I went out and I bought the ASUS and I thought that that was a very good thing for me to do. Birgit Pauli-Haack: What made you decide to go with the flip one? That’s kind of so you can … It has 360-degree hinges, right? Jim O’Reilley: Yes. Truthfully, I haven’t even opened it that far yet. I’ve had this computer, by the way, folks, for about three weeks as we’re talking today. Essentially, what it does is it allows you to move the screen to the back of the computer and then it operates as though it’s an iPad or any other device like that. Because it’s got a touchscreen you can operate it completely that way so that’s why the flip. It made some sense. I remember you and I having a discussion about the touchscreen and I was saying, “You know, it’s not so important to me now but when I think about my phone I’m using the touchscreen all the time so maybe it will become important to me.” Anyway, that was that. What are the differences in working with a Windows versus a Chrome? Birgit Pauli-Haack: What are the differences in working with a Windows versus a Chrome? The operating system is Chrome OS. Jim O’Reilley: Correct. Birgit Pauli-Haack: Did you install any anti-virus or any security addition to that? High built-in Security & Instantaneous OS Updates Jim O’Reilley: I did not because everything I read said that the data security on a Chromebook, across brands now, is very high and it’s because things are updated all the time in the Chrome operating system. As soon as something becomes a threat, in theory at least and we hope it’s always true, whatever deterrent is available is automatically installed on your computer as are all updates. Updates are instantaneous on this thing. Birgit Pauli-Haack: Wow, that’s fabulous. Extensible via USB for larger monitor + wireless mouse Jim O’Reilley: The other differences that I find, and this isn’t just because it’s Windows, it’s because it’s not operating system specific, the screen size is smaller. I wanted to continue to use a large screen that I have at my desk, which I think is probably a 20 or 21-inch screen. I wanted to continue to use a remote wireless keyboard and a wireless mouse and so forth. One of the negatives, if you will, about a Chrome is that they presume that everything that you’ve got will hook into them wirelessly and there are therefore only two USB ports on the computer, and they’re both USB-C, by the way, so anything that you’ve got now doesn’t fit. Anything I’ve got now doesn’t fit so I had to buy adapters and that was a little bit painful because I bought the wrong adapter, one wrong adapter when I bought the computer, for some reason. It’s totally illogical and you’re going to agree with me, I thought my desktop display device was an HDMI and it wasn’t, it was a VGA, so I’ve got this great HDMI adapter that if I ever hook it up to my television set I’m all set. Birgit Pauli-Haack: Okay. Long Battery Life, except when viewing video, fast reloading Jim O’Reilley: Then the other thing I had to do was, and I told you I’d go back to battery life, is it says the battery is good for a full workday. Whenever I’ve seen that … You may find it in some other fashion, there’s a little asterisk after that. I had a hard time finding the asterisk until after I had the computer but I have since found it. It essentially says that if you’re watching videos, such as videos on Facebook or videos on YouTube it will consume the battery a lot faster. What I’ve found in actual usage is I’ll turn my computer on a little bit before seven in the morning and sometime around noon I’ll notice that there’s maybe 15% of battery life left. I unplug one of my adapters, which happens to be the display monitor, plug in the power port and … I’m sorry, power port implies Apple. It’s not power port, it’s the USB from power cable is what I’m trying to say. I almost bought a power port adapter, that’s why I know that that was the wrong term to use for it. It charges up my battery in about 20 minutes it comes back to full charge. Birgit Pauli-Haack: Wow, that’s fast. Jim O’Reilley: In theory, if I was an organized person, which anybody that knows me knows I’m not, I could just charge it during lunch. It would be fully charged when I came back and it would be all set for the rest of the day. At any rate, so that is my mea culpa about battery life. Do you always have to be online and on WiFi? Birgit Pauli-Haack: I heard from Chromebooks that you always have to be on wifi to use it, is that true? Jim O’Reilley: It is quite true but not entirely true because you can work offline in Google Drive, and therefore you can work offline and then when you plug back in that goes back online and goes up to the cloud and you’re back reconnected. Birgit Pauli-Haack: How did you make it through the transition from your PC to your Chromebook in your everyday work life or at your retired work life. Migrating files and directories to Google Drive Jim O’Reilley: The biggest problem I thought I would have was moving documents from a PC, which were stored in Microsoft Office … In Windows, stored in Windows, I’m sorry. Not in Office but in Windows, moving documents to Google Drive. What I found, and you tipped me off to this, is that if you go into Google Drive in the upper left-hand corner there’s a big button that says new. If you press the new button below that it gives you a menu. One of the menus is to upload files or upload documents. Birgit Pauli-Haack: Folders. Jim O’Reilley: I’m sorry, folders or files I guess it is, is what it actually says. Well, I thought, and this is what I had feared because I’m just not this detail oriented, was I’d probably have thousands of individual files on my old laptop, but because I could upload folders I could upload a folder and, literally, the first night I said, “Okay. I’m going to upload my documents folder.” I put new upload documents folder and I started to go to bed. As I’m getting ready for bed I’m just curious. I go back and I look at it and it was already uploaded. I said, “Huh,” so I did another one. It was taking less than five minutes to upload a full file folder and these were full file folders. What I thought was going to be a huge detail-oriented task to make sure I had everything turned out to not be that way at all. Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Well then, your high-speed internet connection that you just got probably took care of that because your computer was fast enough to use it. Chromebook are ready to get to work when opened Jim O’Reilley: Yes, and I still had the old one connected to the ethernet cable. It was actually pretty easy. Because it turns on immediately I feel proactive, I’m not sitting there waiting for it to come on when I … What I had been used to is my Windows would come on, my Gmail file would open up but it hadn’t updated since the night before so I’d have to refresh. It could have been a five-minute exercise. I turn it on now and it has refreshed, as I’m waiting for it it’s refreshing and it’s now less than a 30-second exercise. Birgit Pauli-Haack: You’re not sitting there searching on your computer and waiting til the Windows updates come through? Jim O’Reilley: Right. One of my morning habits used to be I’d turn it on, refresh, go get a cup of coffee. Now I bring the cup of coffee, turn it on because it’s already refreshed. What did you do with your local software? Birgit Pauli-Haack: Did you have any, and I know that that’s one of the mental blocks for people to go to a Chromebook is, “Well, but I have my local programs that are stored on my computer and where I have a license on.” Did you run into any of those? Jim O’Reilley: No, I haven’t. The closest I came to it was I had, have Kaspersky on my old laptop and I elected not to move it over so the issue just didn’t happen for me. I don’t think I had anything else. Birgit Pauli-Haack: You don’t have any Quicken or QuickBooks or something like that? Jim O’Reilley: No. I do have a tax program but I’ve already checked with them and since I already moved the folder across, the older things are still there and I’ll just download electronically when the new version comes out for 2017. Amazon WorkSpaces, remotely accessible machines via Apps Birgit Pauli-Haack: Okay, yeah. Now, we in our office when … I wanted to say robot but the remote. Everybody is now remote and we are using MACs but we had one Windows computer where QuickBooks was installed. We didn’t want it to go, for whatever reason. I know the reasons but it’s kind of because it’s we have multiple companies in that and our accountant doesn’t like it. We were having a hard time figuring out what to do with that local copy and do we still need a Windows computer just for that particular function. I found Amazon Workspaces where you can order a computer in the cloud and then you get an app for your Chromebook or an app for your MAC or an app for your Android tablet or a program for your iPad. Then you can access that Windows computer through these different devices and on the Windows computer you can install whatever you need to install. I downloaded to the computer a license of QuickBooks that I already bought, the physical license, and was able to install it on the Amazon Workspaces. We will talk about it in our next podcast. Jim O’Reilley: I’m really interested in learning more about that because I’m sure that at some point in time I’m going to run into a program, process, something that is not designed for Chrome OS and somebody is going to decide they don’t like Google or whatever and I’ll want access to it. That sounds like a great tool. Birgit Pauli-Haack: It’s a very new service so you hear … Amazon also offers for nonprofits quite a few services so I’m ready to do another podcast but let’s bring this to an end, so you are happy with your Chromebook? Chromebooks speed up your Computer work Jim O’Reilley: Yeah, I’m very happy with it. Actually, a very good example is today prior to … Actually, prior to last week when it was the first time I used the Chromebook on a podcast. Prior to that, I would come here with a briefcase that would have my PC. It would have my plugin wire because I didn’t know how long the battery would have to last, my portable or my wireless mouse, and it would take me maybe 10 minutes to set up and then find your wifi connection here. I come in today, I’ve got the mouse and I’ve got the Chromebook. Between the two of them, I’m probably lugging maybe three pounds worth of hardware at this point. Yes, that is a joke. I turn on the computer and I hit update for my Gmail account, which I have it open up into, and I was up and running, again, within 30 seconds. It had found the wifi, it was up and running and everything was updated and I was ready to go. Yes, I’m happier because it’s new. I like when I drive a new car, I love the new car when I first drive it. I’m feeling the same way about the computer. I really feel like I made a good choice and the more I use it the more I really believe that for a nonprofit that’s got budget restrictions when you’ve got just a few hundred dollars to spend to replace a computer that’s going bad in your office think seriously about the Chromebook. I think you’ll find that you, you’ll feel like you made a good choice. Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, I think so, that that’s really something to consider especially when you have to replace more than one computer to get them all on one platform there. All right. Well, if you want to learn more about Chromebooks feel free to comment on our podcast. The show notes are as always nptechprojects.org/podcast. This is the episode number 23 and if you don’t want to leave a comment because it’s too public for you we are happy to answer your emails, email@example.com. Podcast@nptechprojects.org. That’s it for me. Jim O’Reilley: This has been Jim O’Reilly and Birgit Pauli-Haack. We’re the co-founders of NPTech Projects, which I forgot to say when I introduced us back at the beginning of the podcast. Have a great time and try a Chromebook the next time you walk into Best Buy or your favorite local computer store. Birgit Pauli-Haack: Thank you for listening. Jim O’Reilley: Bye-bye. Birgit Pauli-Haack: Bye-bye.
28 minutes | 3 years ago
Episode #22: Optimize Your Emails to Donors for Mobile Reading
In episode #22, Birgit Pauli-Haack and Jim O’Reilley discuss what you can do to increase the effectiveness of your emails. First, they discuss the method in which your emails are received, hint: mobile. Then they go on with emphasis on how you can be more effective with your donor base. This discussion ranges from the use of John Haydon’s idea of ensuring that your donors feel like heroes to how to eliminate the problem of your emails ending up as spam. Should be good stuff for all… Reports on Email Marketing for Nonprofits & Business Emma’s 2017 Email Marketing Industry Report GetResponse: Email Marketing & Marketing Automation Excellence 2017 Adobe Consumer Email Survey Report 2017 Campaign Monitor Email Marketing Trends Tips & Tricks For Better Donor Retention and optimal emails Lower First-Time Donor Remorse With This Amazingly Simple Strategy by John Haydon These 12 Ways to Thank Donors Will Keep Them from Saying Goodbye via NonprofitHub The Donor Retention Handbook 7 Essential Tips to Creating Mobile Friendly Emails via CampaignMonitor How Can My Subscribers Whitelist Me? by Aweber How to Retain First-Time Donors with Your Email Welcome Series Transcript: Optimize Your Emails to Donors for Mobile Reading Jim O’Reilley: Welcome to episode number 22 of the NPTech Series podcasts. My name is Jim O’Reilley. I am here with Birgit Pauli-Haack. We are the co-founders of NPTech Projects. The subject of today’s podcast is how to optimize, or optimizing, your emails to donors and supporters for mobile viewing. Why are we doing this episode now? We are all planning on your year-end campaigns about this time of year. Some new research has come out about mobile devices that we want to share with you, but we also want to give you a headline, and the headline is that your donors need to be your heroes relative to your non-profit organization. I’m stealing that and paraphrasing from John Haydon, whom you’ve heard from before in our podcast series. I also want to talk a little bit, very briefly, about something that MailChimp says, which is there’s a distinction to be made between mobile-friendly and responsive, since a mobile-friendly email is not necessarily responsive, and a responsive email is generally speaking always mobile-friendly. Mobile friendly vs Responsive Design Birgit Pauli-Haack: Well, hi everybody. Glad to be here again. I have a few thoughts, kind of the responsive or mobile-friendly. Responsive means it actually reacts to the size of the screen, so while a mobile-friendly email is just for the mobile device, a response can also be read on the bigger screens and not just on the small screens. Jim O’Reilley:Some of the recent research that’s come out, and this is by way of Campaign Monitor, is talking about open rates by devices. In 2011, 73% of emails were opened on a desktop and 27% were opened on a mobile device. Fast forwarding to 2016, 45%, less than half, are opened on a desktop and 55% are opened on a mobile device. That’s why mobile is the key for what you’re going to need to do effective emails. Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, it’s quite astonishing that within five years, the open rate for mobile has actually doubled, and more than half opening it on mobile. What we also found in that research, and we’ll put the link in the show notes, of course, is that emails that are opened on the desktop are many times also the second look at the email. So they are on the road or just opened the email on the mobile because they are doing something else on mobile, but then they go back to the office and open the email again. It might be because it’s not mobile-friendly or responsive, or it might be that the website or the click that comes that they open it up on a desktop, because the second resource wasn’t mobile-enabled or mobile optimized. Jim O’Reilley: It could also be because you did such an effective job on the mobile device that they remembered it and they just wanted to read it again to enjoy it. Birgit Pauli-Haack: That could very well be. Yes. So when you go through your email marketing provider’s statistics, you will see that those subscribers will have more than one open attributed to them, and that’s where you kind of need to look at your mobile open rates and also on the mobile-friendliness of the emails. Could be something there. But what do you need to think about? Tips for optimizing your mobile emails Jim O’Reilley:>Let’s talk about some tips for optimizing your mobile emails. The first tip is that it’s got to be less wide. You’re talking about 25 to 30 characters on a line, as opposed to 60 characters on a line. You need to use a pre-header text. Now, this is really easy for me to say, but quite frankly I had to call Birgit and say, “What do we mean by that?” Birgit Pauli-Haack: What is a pre-header text? When you look at your mobile email program, most of the time you will have three lines and a list of all the emails. The first line is the “from” name, the person who sends you the email. The second line is the “subject” line, and then in the third line, you see either the pre-header text or the first line of the email. These three indicators give the person a clue if they want to read the email, yes or no. So email service providers have gone through the effort to create another field to fill in, and that’s the pre-header text. That’s what that means. Does it make sense? Sounds like I’m clear? Jim O’Reilley: That makes sense. And the next one, since it is a no-brainer, keep your copy very concise. That’s exactly what it means, be concise, be to the point, get to your point, make it, and keep going. The next one is not so simple: plan for images off. Once again, I picked up my phone and I called Birgit. Birgit Pauli-Haack: I remember that I open sometimes emails where I need to enable pictures on my email program to actually see what’s in the email because without the pictures it’s empty. So it’s an event invitation to a fundraiser, and everything’s in a picture, but the copy in my email body does not say, “Come join us to the gala at so-and-so and so-and-so at this date.” So when I’m getting emails I need to decide if I want to open the pictures in there. There have been studies that actually pure text emails have a much higher open rate than emails that contain pictures, so that is certainly a shift from these wonderfully decorated email templates and almost like a web page-designed emails, to going back to plain text. But in the age of rushing through and reading through, who has time to wait that an image downloads? I make a decision now, and tell me what it is. That leads right into the next tip that we have: keep CTAs front and center. CTAs = call to action. Make this very prominent on your email. Don’t let them scroll all the way down because they might not get to the point where they have to click on something to do something, like the “donate now” button or register for an event. Keep those relatively high in the email, and definitely big enough so somebody on the mobile phone … And that goes to the next topic, the next tip, which is leave breathing and clicking room for touch. It wouldn’t be the first time that I fat-finger something on my mobile. When you click on your mobile phone, the touch is not as precise as my mouse cursor, so when the click region is not big enough, people might miss it. Jim O’Reilley: Right. And of course, you want to test your emails across multiple devices. You want to make sure it works on both iPhone and Android as a very minimum. These tips, by the way, we’ve taken away from a list that was published by Campaign Monitor, and in our show notes, you’re going to find some more tips that were done John Haydon and some more from Constant Contact. Who was that? Tips to increase open rates Birgit Pauli-Haack: Matthew Montoya, from Constant Contact. He has four tips for actually optimal emails, no matter desktop or mobile, and one of them strikes me as quite a move away from these long emails that we get, is not more than 25 lines of text or less. Keep the key content on the top, above the scroll so to speak, and do not add more than three links in your email. The last one is one column only. So these elaborate layouts for emails where you have one column and then you have three columns underneath and then you go back to one column, they are very detriment to mobile reading, or the columns kind of behave differently than as you actually designed them. Studies really show that the shorter the email, the higher the open rates are. Jim O’Reilley: Let’s move away from what’s already been pre-published and tell you a little bit about some questions that we’ve actually received from non-profits. One of them is from one of our friendly non-profits that’s local here, saying that members tell him that they don’t receive the emails he sends, so he asks them to look in the spam folder. Most of the time they find it there. So what does he tell them so future emails don’t get caught in the spam folder anymore? How to avoid the spam folder again? Whitelisting! Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, that’s kind of an interesting question. Of course, it depends on the level of technology knowledge, but most email programs like AOL, Hotmail, Yahoo, Gmail, they have a way to, if something arrives in the spam folder, to highlight it and then click on a button or click on a link to say, “This is not spam.” With that measurement, they actually tell the program, “You were wrong. This is not spam.” Each email client behaves a little bit differently or has a different method. Then there are methods by internet service providers that they give you a method to whitelist some email addresses because they have another layout to secure their own servers. They have spam assessing running that has multiple markers what is considered spam. To make a long story short, we have in the show notes a link to a page where there are instructions for each of the email clients on how to whitelist an email address so it does not continue … land in the spam folder. On the sender side, of course, you need to make sure that whatever email marketing program you use also is recognized as coming from your domain. There are certain instructions that you can give to your web developer or to your IT person to set up the DNS accordingly, so it allows them to be recognized as an allowed sender, so to speak. How can I share my blog posts with my donors? Jim O’Reilley: Another question that we get is how can I share my blog posts with my donors? We actually have two different answers for you on this one. Birgit Pauli-Haack: This non-profit who asked there was saying, “I write a blog post, but I don’t want to spend another time to then put it in an email and create an email again from that. That’s duplicate content. Is it possible to hook my blog up to an email client that does that automatically?” There is. One of the features of a full-blown blog is that they have an RSS feed. RSS means “Real Simple Syndication”, and it’s a machine-readable content of your blog, so it takes the headline, it takes the publication date, it takes the featured image, and a teaser from your blog, or even the full blog post, and puts it in an email and sends it out. The email marketing provider can do this automatically. Every time something is posted new on the blog, it will send out the notification. It could be via MailChimp or, if you’re on WordPress, that’s also a feature from WordPress that it can send out a notification. But Jim also had another idea, too, how to do that. Jim O’Reilley: One of the things that I think is very effective, and it takes a little bit of skill because you have to have a list of donors where this makes sense, is that you segment your donors into areas in which they have a specific interest, and then when you’re going to publish a blog that you know is about their specific interest, you do send an email to that group of donors, letting them know that on your blog you’ve published something that they should be interested in, and here’s a link. In that way, you are making them know that you’re aware of what their interest is, you are catering to that interest, and you’re making sure that they know that you’re doing something in their area of interest. So I think that’s a very effective way to do that also. Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, I think so too. How to Thank Your Donors? Jim O’Reilley: When we started, we talked about making your donors heroes, or thinking of your donors as your heroes for your organization. One way to do that is to thank them. Whenever you say “thank them,” somebody says, “Well, how do I do that? What are the different ways to do that?” Classy, whom you’ve heard us quote about many times, actually, has recently come out with something, and there’s a link again in the show notes, about 15 creative ways to thank donors. We’re not going to read all 15 to you, so don’t get up and leave right now, but what we are going to do is tell you a little bit about the ones that we think are most important. The first one, which I’ll grab, is that your website is a perfect place to show appreciation. Website appreciation is number one on their list. You can appeal to both one-time donors and recurring donors, but posting something on your website that lets them know that you appreciate their time and effort is a very effective way to do it. Birgit Pauli-Haack: A second way would be to think of a welcome package for your donors that educate them on your organization. Classy actually has not only talks about mailing a welcome package, but it seems to be thinking about an actually tangible one that is a thank you letter and it has some photographs, has a survey, a small gift or a bookmark. It’s just a little package that they find in the mail. I really like that, but it also can be quite costly, and depending on the budget of that organization, it might be a little bit too much, or depending on your staffing, do you have staffing to do this? What goes into an Email Welcome Series? Another way, and that is to create an email welcome series. As soon as the donation gets in, you schedule a series of emails one week apart to educate them also on the organization. When we talked about it with non-profit organizations, we had the question, “If I wanted to create a welcome series, I wouldn’t know what to write about.” We asked others what are the ideas that you could come up with, and here are a few suggestions. Gather two or three facts about the organization and make a “Did you know?” opening in one email. Another email to introduce the new donor to some of the people and supporters of the organization, along with links to stories and testimonials. So they say this is who you work together with to make an impact in the community. Another idea would be snippets from the annual report. That will be not kind of the whole annual report, which is maybe too boring for that as a whole, but if you have some infographics that you put into the annual report, putting them in an email might not be a bad idea. Then if you have any plans for a specific program in the near future, and especially it might be really … think about if there are events in the near future that you already sent emails to other donors, but because that person is new hasn’t gotten that information, but might be actually … wanted to come. So include that. You mentioned John Haydon, and he has a suggestion of three messages. One is to welcome the new donor and reinforce their decision to give. The second message says to update the donor on the impact and ask for feedback, a quick survey of whatever you need to know from your donor. And then the message three would invite the donor to give again, second ask, or upgrade to a monthly donor. Those are very goal-oriented messages. You have quite a set of suggestions here on what a welcome series could look like. Thank-you Letters via your Donor Management System Jim O’Reilley: The next thing, which sounds obvious to you, is a thank you letter. The important thing about a thank you letter is that the longer it takes before you send it out, the less sincere it sounds. Nonprofit Hub recommends sending out a thank you letter within two days, which we think is a great idea. Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yes, absolutely. If you set up your donor management systems to do that, then it could actually … so every day you collect the thank-you notes you want to send out from your donor management system, and just print them and put them in an envelope. That is definitely a process-heavy thing … not heavy, but you really need to look through the process on how you organize it in your office. Handwritten-Notes can not be shared! Jim O’Reilley: The next category is kind of interesting because this is one where I will take the responsibility to say I disagree with what Classy’s putting out because the category is handwritten notes. What they’re saying is that there are some ideal times to send a handwritten note: upon a second donation, when they attend an event, on the anniversary of their first donation, around the holiday season, etc. The reason I take issue with it is I think one of the opportunities that we have, and one of the things that we can actually do for our donors, is to make … not make them, but let them see that something can be just as personal in an email that is correctly put together in the sense that it’s personal, that it tells you that you know who they are and that it’s not just email number 47 in our continuing series. And I think that will have a longer-term effect. Among other reasons, it’s easy for them to share it. They can say, “Look what I just got,” and they can send it to cousins, uncles, neighbors, friends, whereas a handwritten note is going to be folded up and put in a file and fondly thought of forever, and probably never read again. But that’s me. Resolve Complaints quickly You have a responsibility in the next category to resolve complaints quickly, within 24 hours. If you don’t know how, or you’re not aware of the entire situation and you have to learn more before you can do a response, if you just respond saying, “Thank you for making me aware of it. I’m working on it. I will update my response as soon as I learn more about it and can answer you more personally.” If you do that, your donors are going to feel like you’ve got a personal connection with them, you’re listening to them, and that you will respond to them at the appropriate time. I just think that’s a good thing to do. Celebrate Donor Anniversaries Birgit Pauli-Haack: So the next thing is anniversary cards, being the cards … could be emailed, doesn’t have to be handwritten … but send a personalized anniversary. Recognize that the donor loyalty year after year, after their first donation, is something you are aware of, you are very grateful for, and you have made the chairman of the board and the executive director are noticing that. It can be any anniversary that you put in there: the first year, the fifth year, the 10th year, the 15th year, or 20th year. Make sure that your donor management system is set up to notify you for those anniversaries, and develop a process in your organization. Public Recognition on Social Media: Wait for the donor to make the first step Jim O’Reilley: The next category that they use is called “social media,” which is obvious, thinking of things like Facebook and Twitter, and I think this is one where we’ve got to be really kind of careful, because there are some people who would not want you to necessarily publish, “Thank you for your donation of $500 to this fund.” But instead, perhaps the social media shout-out, as they refer to it, is more likely to be successful if it recognizes “In response to our recent campaign, our donors have provided us with funds with which we can do the following …” That answers a couple of things. One, it tells the world in general what you’re doing with the money. It is thanking the people that responded to the campaign, and it’s letting them know that other people donated also. To me, that’s more powerful and less risky than doing a shout-out to an individual. Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, I whole-heartedly agree. The shout-out should come … the first step should come from the donor, that “Oh, I was so happy to give something.” Then on a post that you talk about that, like the post-Jim mentioned, what you do with the money, and then a donor outs herself on the post. Then the thank you definitely needs to happen; otherwise, that goodwill goes away very, very quickly. But yes, be careful not to out your donors against their will, or if you don’t know, rather not do it. Jim O’Reilley: There’s the whole subject of phone calls, physically calling someone on the phone to thank them. I think this falls into several categories, and it’s going to depend on the size and the organizational structure that you’re dealing with. If you’re a small organization, then perhaps the best way to think about this is for your major donors, perhaps a monthly phone call is well worth your time and it is well received by them. If it’s something for a specific activity, perhaps the event chairman for that activity can call and thank the donors personally 30 days or 60 days after the event and say it was really successful. Let me tell you what happened, and here’s what we did with the money. But a phone call can be a time consumer, especially if you don’t get through and you feel like you have to call back, but it’s something that can be very effective for establishing a personal relationship. I hope the point we’ve made is that saying thank you is a necessity. Fundraising really comes down to two categories, new donors, and existing donors, and you really need to keep donors coming back. As we’ve said in prior podcasts, repetition of donors is actually the key to your success in any of your fundraising, so you need to make sure that your plan includes them and you treat them well, and hopefully, they will be your donors for years to come. And I think that’s all I have to say today about this. Birgit Pauli-Haack: And you did very well. Jim O’Reilley: Thank you very much for spending some time with us. We apologize for the break. There was this thing called Irma that happened here in Southwest Florida, and we were shut down for a couple of weeks, but we’re hopefully back in gear and that you’ve missed us terribly. Anyway, thank you for listening. Birgit Pauli-Haack: All I have to say is get you to the show notes. That is on NPTechProjects.org/podcast. This is the episode number 22. We are always grateful for your input and your opinion, so leave your comments or send an email to podcast@NPTechProjects.org and we will answer them, maybe on the next podcast, or we write you back in an email. If you listen on iTunes to these podcasts, please leave a review. It helps us to get people to know about this. That’s it for now from me. Thank you very much for listening. Goodbye. Jim O’Reilley: Goodbye, everybody.
23 minutes | 4 years ago
Episode #21: Locating and handling graphics and photos for your Social Media and Blogs
Jim O’Reilley & Birgit Pauli-Haack discuss the value of visual content for social media and blog post. They provide solutions to the challenges content creators face locating and handling graphics and photos, from licensing and proper attribution to free images. They also talk about image quality, image weight and load speed of a website as a Google ranking factor. And lastly, Birgit & Jim go over the aspects of how a photo on the blog also becomes the eye-catcher on the social networks to drive traffic to your website. Birgit also goes off on a tangent about the creation of the Unsplash.com site as well as how long a Facebook Video should be. Thank you to all the #nptech folks, who inquired about our #HurricaneIrma experience on Facebook, Twitter, email, Slack etc. It has been quite heartwarming and we are very grateful for everyone who reached out. Jim and I and our families are ok, our houses intact. Some screen damage and lots of yard/ landscaping damages, though. — Birgit Links and Resources on Handling graphics and photos 42 Visual Content Marketing Statistics You Should Know in 2017 by Hubspot Best places to find graphics and photos for your Social Media and Blogs by Birgit Pauli-Haack Google Image Search Flickr Search Unsplash.com Pexel Episode 37: Michael Sacca & Crew/Unsplash at How I built it Analyze your site performance by Google WordPress Plugins for image compression Imagify Smush.it from WPMU DEV Next Episode: Episode 22 Subscribe to our podcast on your most favorite network: Previous Episode: Episode #20: Donor Data Privacy Transcript: Locating and handling graphics and photos for your Social Media and Blogs Jim O’Reilley: Hey everybody, welcome to NPTechProjects, episode number 21 in our podcast series. My name is Jim O’Reilley and I’m here with Birgit Pauli-Haack. And today we’re going to be discussing graphics … Locating and handling graphics and photos for your social media and blogs. And by the way, I should make sure that you understand that this is not the teleprompter version, instead this is the non-teleprompter version, where hopefully we’ll laugh and have a little more fun with you. The reason why this subject is important, locating and handling graphics, is that it not only attracts more readers to your website and making them stay longer, but there are legal restrictions about it and you ought to be aware of those. And we have some best sources that we’d like to share with you. And in addition to that, we’d like to talk to you a little bit about the speed of loading a graphic and how important that is to you. And I’m gonna turn it over to Birgit now, to do her introduction as to where we are. Birgit Pauli-Haack: Well, hi everybody. Welcome back. And this has been quite a journey on the podcast for the first 21 … Our 20th episode. And we learned quite a bit. In terms of graphics, yeah, I struggle with that since the beginning of time or the web. But it’s always interesting to see what other people do with graphics and I like it. So why the topic? Eye-tracking studies show internet readers pay close attention to information carrying images. In fact, when the images are relevant, readers spend more time looking at the images than they do reading the text on the page. That’s quoted from HubSpot’s 42 Marketing Statistics for 2017. Where can you find good photos and graphics to use? What of places where you can find good photos? I think the most favorite place for everybody is Google and the image search on Google. And the other one is the … I think it’s the mother of all photo sharing apps, which is Flickr. And it’s still around and a lot of photos is there. Those systems have been talking about legal restrictions, so you cannot just because you find it on Google use the image on your website. The photographer or the person that posted it on their website has definitely still the rights, unless they give it up. But Google has a … Under tools, on the top of your search is section Usage Rights is the sub header there. And there you have multiple options. So, you can use that to find the ones that you can re-use, either by modification or, you know, without attribution. And on Flickr, there is a similar way to determine the license under which the photographer has published the images. So, you can drill down on the search results as well, looking for the license, either it’s all creative commons or commercial use allowed or US government works. So, that’s how you can find photos on the internet for re-use. There’s another site out there, it’s called Unsplash.com, which has the slogan, “Beautiful and free photos. Gifted by the world’s most generous community of photographers.” And they’re free high resolution photos. Also, you can search them and download them and then re-use for whatever you wanna do. It gives you a little snippet actually how you can attribute that on your blog post, when you say photos by and found at … That’s certainly always appreciated, but Unsplash doesn’t need you to do that. Flickr and Google, it kinda says with attribution or not. So, adhere to that. Unsplash, interestingly enough, was actually a side project by a company called Crew, and they match up projects with developers and designers and they just wanted to get more traffic to the other website, so they created that as a side project. And I was listening to a podcast on how they built it and you will find the link in the show notes, talking with one of the founders of Unsplash on how Unsplashed.com grew so much that their first full time employee actually was for the side project and not for the other one, for the enterprise project, but that’s besides the point. And this is what you get live on podcast, I go on a tangent. So, bringing it back. So you can … And there’s another site out there called Pexel. It gives you a overview of all available stock photos and some of them are free, some of them you can pay for. And most of them, if you use them on the web exclusively, you only … The prices are very low, they are under $10 mostly. They get higher when you use them for higher print quality, like in your newsletter or your high coffee books, coffee table books or magazines or something like that. Then they get really expensive. But the most impact your photos will have are when they’re from your own organization. So, create an easy way for how you can store photos from all kind of places, from your volunteers, from your leadership, from other supporters. So you can collect them all and then also re-use on your blogs. That is actually my suggestion that you try to get from your events, from your … You know, just with real people in it. Stock photos always have a little bit … When you have people there, they’re a little bit distant, they’re a little bit out of context kind of thing. So, the closer it is to your story line, then the better the photo will be. Optimized images speed up your website Jim O’Reilley: What we wanna talk about now is a couple of things, but the first one is speed of loading and what do we mean by that? You’ve all had the experience when you’re going through Facebook or you’re going through a search on Google, where you get to a website that has an image and it just sort of freezes. And it takes time before that image actually loads, so that you can appreciate it. So, the speed of loading is very important to you and it’s very important to the people who gave to visit your site, so we wanna talk about that a little bit. And then we also wanna talk about the quality of the image, because the image that you are having someone look at strikes them in a number of different ways. It strikes them at a real psychological level, if you will, that will help attract them to wanna stay with you, to stay with your site for a little bit longer. Birgit can help us a little bit with the speed of loading and the quality of the image. Analyze your Site Performance with Developer Tools at Google Birgit Pauli-Haack: Sure. Load times for websites, in general, are becoming more and more important, just because Google, the big brother decided that loading speed is part of their ranking algorithm. So, Google has developed tools where you actually can measure the load times for your desktop version, as well as for your mobile version. And when you do that, you will see that, you might see and we see it quite often, that the biggest hurdle for faster loading is very large pictures that need to be downloaded to display on the website. The direct impact of those slow loading images is felt right there in your Google ranking as well. I have always had trouble explaining a difference between the viewing size of an image that you see on your website and the actual file size of that image, because html you can kind of have an image that is as big as a picture on the wall reduced to the size of your screen size and also then reduced again to the mobile version of your website, where the image is even smaller. What you don’t see is that the file size could actually be the same, just the display part of it is smaller. And that’s kind of a disconnect that is very hard to manage for content creators that are not programmers or graphic specialists. And the content management system that runs your website helps you with that part of it. Adjust the images file size according to need So, first when you upload a image in the biggest size that comes from your camera, and even the photos from your mobile phones are four, five thousand pixel wide, when you look at the file size or the dimensions of the original. So what the content management system’s like word press does is on upload it also creates copies of that image in smaller sizes, so you can say, okay, the large size is 1000 pixels wide and 600, yeah, and then the next one is 600 wide and then the next one is 300 wide. And then you have a thumbnail that’s 150 wide, pixel wide. So, and those different sizes will be available for you depending on the context in which you use that image. Is it that you wrap around the text or it’s only half the size of the blog post or do you just wanna have it as a thumbnail in a group of other pictures. So, depending on the context, your content management system helps you very well, very much with that. It’s still recommended that you, before you upload that image, you actually don’t upload the 5000 pixel wide, but only resize it to maybe 2400, half the size or even 1600, so you don’t waste so much time uploading it. So, another way your content management system helps you is the web designer actually adjusts the image size, depending on screen size with the cascading slide sheets and with code that it actually resizes the image on the file when rendering from the website. And so that’s … Your developer would do this, you are not gonna have to bother with that, but ask your developer about it, what happens with the images. WordPress Plugins for Image compression And then for WordPress, there are two plugins out there that help you with the compression rate. So, an image has a level of detail and when you cannot take pixels out because you wanna resize it to a smaller size, you pick pretty much pixels out which means you remove detail and then and the plugins help you with that to get to a compression rate, where it is a minimal loss of detail, limited loss of quality, with a maximum of compression. The plugin, one plugin is called Smush.it from WPMU DEV and the other one is called Imagify from WP Media out of Europe. And we will have all the links of course on the show notes, not only for those two plugins, but also for how you can test the load speed of your website. Now, Jim you want to ask about a quality of the images. I think you mentioned that it touches the viewer on an emotional level and allows the viewer to connect, so that’s more the composition or the topic of an image. I think that would be just another podcast, we could have topic of photography. Yeah, it’s definitely a composition kind of point of view. To lead people into the image and then out of it or yeah, kind of through the image, to connect with the people in there, people connect with people, so unless it’s an environmentalist organization or a landscape kind of that wants to preserve nature, of course nature is also very appealing, but most people connect with faces in images. So, it would be good to have actually your heroes from the organization in a picture. What else were you thinking of? Make your supporters your heroes also in your photos Jim O’Reilley: Well, now that pretty much answers where I was trying to go with it. You have a choice really between a very professional image that you have taken from another source that we’ve already talked about or you have the image that’s taken from your organization. As you take your donors, volunteers and staff members and make them into heroes, that is a very powerful image for the reader, because the reader or the viewer all of sudden sees people who are intimately connected with this mission and strategy of your organization, so that’s where I was trying to go before when I was talking about quality of images. Let’s return, for just a second, to the importance of images as a whole. And I think there’s two ways to approach this, one is to talk about why viewers prefer images and what percentages are we talking from a data point of view. And then, just finally, how do we efficiently get images to social media? ‘Cause it’s one thing, as we’ve talked about, bringing it into your CMS and getting it onto your website and your blog, but then you also wanna get that image to other media. Other social media. Why a Featured Image for every blog post is essential for social media engagement Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. So when people come to your website, you would use images, like a featured image, that the image attracts more than a headline. When people skim through, scroll through your front page, it’s almost like the social media newsfeed trains us to scroll first and then stop and see what grabs our attention. And images are so much more powerful than any text that you could put in there. Although, Facebook is actually experiment quite nicely with background of text. But HubSpot, which is a very large marketing organization, content marketing company, learned through their studies that Facebook posts that include images receive nearly three times more engagement than plain text content. If you follow our podcast or go back and binge listen to some of our podcasts. I learned it’s a thing now that you binge listen to podcasts. And we have 20 other episodes for you. You will hear us say that your website is actually your central hub, where you post your content because you’re in control, you’re not on rented land. Publish once and then use some of the automation or some the tools that are on your website, like a sharing button, or a publicize plugin to push your content to the social webs. And your content management system has some scripting in the background of it that identifies the particular image that belongs to your blog post and pushes that to the social media as the big image next to your sharing comments for that particular link. OpenGraph meta tags help with Facebook and Twitter displays of your posts The same happens when you share something on Twitter. It also shows that image on the Twitter feed. It’s very important, because everybody scrolls and if there’s an image that they like, then they stop and actually start reading the text that’s on the post. Instagram is really big now, after Instagram stole a few features from Snapchat. There is however not a easy way to publish something from your website to Instagram, because it’s a different platform and that has been our experience now that … Although you post a lot on your website, your blog post, but in between you wanna make sure that you post the relevant content suitable to the platform where you post it. So, it might be something different because Instagram is a whole social network by and in itself and it’s actually a photo sharing site. So although a lot of people read the comments and there is some interaction there, any link that you put in an Instagram post is not live. So, people cannot come back to your website. That’s more kind of to entice and to, okay, there is more to see and they need to go to your profile to get to that link, while they’re looking at an ad. But that’s the only two pieces where you actually have links that go to the website. But, nevertheless, the interaction and that’s another trend now is that you can certainly automate a lot of social media, but to have real impact and to connect with your followers, you need to actually be present. And the social networks make you do this some way or other. Instagram you cannot push somebody back to your website. If you wanna interact with them, you need to be on Instagram. Facebook prioritizes Facebook Live Facebook does the same thing with helping you with Facebook Live. Yeah, so you need to interact with the people while they’re there, while you’re on a live video entertainment. You do a Facebook Live broadcast for 15 minutes or 20 minutes and Facebook will prioritize that kind of content, so the algorithms build so that interaction actually happens on the social network with your audience for one single reason, those social networks wanna sell the advertising and then need the eyeballs and those are your audiences as well. So, there’s that kind of few things that are not necessarily built for community building, they’re more built to make that business worthwhile, that’s the thing right now and if you wanna reach 1.5 billion people at once in some way or fashion. And if it’s only the few thousands that are connected through your website, they need to play by their rules. So, you have the two things, both things, two birds with one stone. Put the feature image into your blog post, so it performs well on the social media and then be present on the social media, so you can connect with your audience there. Jim O’Reilley: Thank you. That, I think sums it up pretty well. It’s … We have to remember always why we’re doing something and the significance of where we’re going and why we’re going there is what makes this kind of thing important and hopefully we’ve conveyed that to you today in a non-tele-prompted fashion as opposed to sometimes, before I get carried away the day before we gonna present a podcast and I script out a whole thing and then we throw it away and we come back with a different kind of script entirely. So, hopefully you’ve enjoyed it. For us, I think it’s a little more pleasurable and I think we get a little bit deeper into subjects that you might be interested in at the time. So, for now that’s all from me for today. We look forward to next time. And the links of virtually everything we’ve talked about today will of course be on the show notes. Bye for now. Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yes, and if you enjoyed our podcast, leave us a review or send us an email. Yeah, we’re always happy to hear from you, the email is podcast@NPTechProjects.org. The show notes are on https://NPTechProjects.org/podcast. And this is episode number 21. Until the next time, good bye. Jim O’Reilley: Thanks everybody.
28 minutes | 4 years ago
Episode #20: Donor Data Privacy
Donor Data Privacy – Where it is now and where it appears to be going In this episode, Birgit and Jim revisit the topic of Donor Data Privacy. They begin with the premise that just as nonprofit organizations believe that they ‘own’ the content of their websites and blogs, so donors believe that they ‘own’ their private data. They explore the chain of technical events that can move the data from an email to a full blown exploration of their data that can be used for fund raising. They then describe the way that donor data has moved from a single identifier to an expansion that can tell the nonprofit how much a donor can afford to donate, and to which other nonprofits the donor may be contributing. The idea of the way in which Predictive Analysis has expanded is an interesting and perhaps frightening process. Finally, Birgit describes how a nonprofit can and should control the data that the donor has loaned them. This includes discussions with the donor, making sure that donors can opt-in as opposed to opting-out. Software systems that allow the nonprofit to control the data in their possession completely is the capstone to this episode. Privacy News Stories FTC’s Cross-Device Study Reveals Opacity of Data-Sharing Practices Firefox Lightbeam Network Advertising List DonorSearch databases The NonprofitTimes: Donor Privacy Opinion: Europe’s Strict New Privacy Rules Are Scary but Right BuzzMachine: SXSW: Privacy (and publicness) by Jeff Jarvis Privacy Policies of Nonprofit Organizations DonorsChoose National Geographic Society Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN) Colon Cancer Alliance Posts on Donor Data Privacy Donor Bill of Rights Donor Privacy in Online Donations Next Episode: Episode #21: Locating and handling graphics and photos for your Social Media and Blogs Subscribe to our podcast on your most favorite network: Previous Episode: Episode #19: How to Stack Technology Tools for a Startup Nonprofit
22 minutes | 4 years ago
Episode #19: How to Stack Technology Tools for a Startup Nonprofit
Jim O’Reilley & Birgit Pauli-Haack discuss how to stack technology for a nonprofit in start-up mode from the very beginning and you will not have to rework major parts later on. A group of like-minded people working on an idea to better the world. When the organization doesn’t have a 501c3 status yet and is not eligible for offerings via TechSoup, it is also not yet eligible for Google for non-profits, nor for Microsoft Office 365. We’ll discuss a path for founders to think through to the end vision. Before one starts the journey and as a result keeping the redo effort to a minimum. It’s not always possible that everything is a journey into the unknown, especially in technology, but there are some basic principles that apply when one begins to think about untangling your private information from your organization’s business. More information in below transcript Show Notes w/ Links to Resources Secure your private computers on public Wifi Techradar: The best free VPN 2017 PC MagazineThe Best VPN Services of 2017 TunnelBear Hotspot Shield Google Drive Desktop App Email Service Gmail Why Gmail is awesome Google Will Stop Reading Your Emails for Gmail Ads Bloomberg News Using Google Drive for Board Collaboration Google for NonProfits Google Analytics Listen also to #5 Google Analytics with Yesenia Sotelo Google Search Console Google MyBusiness Google Domains Website Restaurant vs Mealkit vs Grocery Shopping (or WordPress.com vs Jetpack vs WordPress.org by Helen Hou-Sandí, a release lead for WordPress Core. Listen to our podcast episodes: #2 Content Management systems #3 Getting Started with your org’s Website and #4 Nonprofit SEO Technology 21 century. Office Applications Libre Office Alternative: G-Suite, Microsoft Office. CRM – Constituents Relationship Management The Best CRM Software of 2017 by PC Magazine Two Powerful Nonprofit CRMs by Upleaf A Consumer’s Guide to Low-Cost Donor Management Systems by Idealware Salesforce for Nonprofits CiviCRM – Open source constituent relationship management for non-profits, NGOs and advocacy organizations. Email Marketing: MailChimp Aweber Constant Contact Social Media Charitable Giving on Facebook Graphics Programs GIMP PC Magazine Review of Gimp 2.6.1 Canva.com More Resources on Nonprofit Technology Products TechSoup Products Donated to nonprofits for IT Infrastructure The Modern Mid-Size Nonprofit’s Tech Stack by Kyle Matthews 2017 Field Guide to Software for Nonprofits Next Episode: Episode #20: Donor Data Privacy Subscribe to our podcast on your most favorite network: Previous Episode: Episode #18: Using Google Drive for Board Collaboration Transcript: How to Stack Technology Tools for NonProfits Starting Out Jim O’Reilley: Hi. Welcome to episode number 19 in our podcast series from NPTechProjects. I’m Jim O’Reilley and I’m here with Birgit Pauli-Haack. We are two of the founders of NPTechProjects. In this episode, we’re going to discuss technology stacking, specifically software. Stacking is a way to organize your software planning in such a way that from the very beginning to further down the line, you will not have to rework major parts of your plan due to forgetting important steps. We will be using the life cycle of a typical non-profit organization to make some points. A major life cycle point for a non-profit organization is the time when you gain your 501c3 designation, which is the point at which your donors can receive tax benefits from donations and typically a point at which you can begin to apply for grants from foundations and other enterprises. But that’s not the beginning. Let’s go to the non-profit in start-up mode. A group of like-minded people working on an idea to better the world. When the organization doesn’t have a 501c3 status yet and is not eligible for offerings via TechSoup, it is also not yet eligible for Google for non-profits, nor for Microsoft Office 365. Birgit Pauli-Haack: Many of you have begun with your private email or under an account setup with an organization that provides website creation and email, but without good planning, a lot of documents, emails, and the online asset may be tied to someone’s private email account. In episode #3 of this podcast starting with your org’s website, we describe several scenarios that resulted in non-profits starting from scratch not being able to take control of domain or online assets. You may be looking for trouble down the line. We’ll talk about this some more in a few moments. We’ll discuss a path for founders to think through to the end vision. Before one starts the journey and as a result keeping the redo effort to a minimum. It’s not always possible that everything is a journey into the unknown, especially in technology, but there are some basic principles that apply when one begins to think about untangling your private information from your organization’s business. These principles will help you to see, which technology supports the start-up non-profit as well as the grown up non-profit. Jim O’Reilley: And we speak from experience. NPTechProjects was founded in August of 2015 and only in April of 2016 did we receive our 501c3 letter from the IRS. Some organizations wait even longer. Some of the key vision work and collaboration on ideas happened even before that. Personal Computer Security & Backing up Files Before we go into the software part, let’s take a quick look at hardware for just a moment. Everyone in your organization at the very beginning will use their own computers. But we encourage you to consider private security applications, especially if everyone is meeting as we did at a coffee shop in some place with public WIFI. We strongly recommend spending an hour setting up a VPN, a virtual private network, together with services like TunnelBear or Hotspot Shield. Not all services are free, but personal computer security is priceless. You can read more about this topic in a recent article in TechRadar, talking about the best VPNs for 2017 and how to secure your phone and laptop on public and hotel WIFI VPNs in an article from PC Mag and both links are in the show notes. You also want to at the very beginning back up your files. You can use your Google Drive. Google published a desktop app and will sync files. It behaves like a regular folder on your hard drive and you can access the files anytime from any device. Free Google Services and Google For NonProfits Birgit Pauli-Haack: Let’s start with email service. Our recommendation is to use a private Gmail address like YourOrg@Gmail.Com. There are multiple advantages for it. The biggest is that Google spam filter system is unmatched since 2005. Over are the times when you sift through hundreds of spam emails every day to get what you are looking for. Filtering and labeling systems are unmatched as well. You can color code and tag each email. The search capabilities are also phenomenal, which is no surprise with Google being the best search engine on the internet. At least use a considerate for the main organizational account. It would however also be beneficial if each founding member get their own Gmail accounts. Coincidentally our last episode, episode 18, discussed Board collaboration with Google Drive. All the ideas there apply also to a Gmail account. But those of you who encounter people worried about privacy issues, when it comes to Google Gmail, according to Bloomberg’s article from last month, Google will stop reading your emails for Gmail ads. We link the article also in the show notes, so you have a good counter argument for the warriors. There are also organizational transitional advantages for later on. Once you have your 501c3, you can migrate easily to Google for non-profit. At this point, an email with your domain name and the GSuite for the whole organization is offered freely and other Google services come with it. First of all Google AdWords grant, giving you the opportunity to place ads on Google search result pages for free. Worth up to $10,000 a month. Another big advantage is that you need the Google account anyway and I’ll tell you why. For your website you want a Google Analytics account and a Google search console account. You can use your Google account to order a domain name via Google Domains and control your appearance and your information on Google Maps on search results via Google Plus Business Accounts. What are these Google services that I talk about? Google Analytics is needed to track traffic on your website. You learn where people are coming from or visitors are coming from, what are they doing on your site and how many of those sign up for your newsletter, wanna become a volunteer or just read your pages. In episode five of our podcast, we discussed Google Analytics at length with Yesenia. Give it a listen once you’re done with this episode. Google Search Console allows you to find out how your site performs on search engine pages for certain key word phrases and what position on the pages your site has. You also learn if the Google crawlers are able to index your site and if your site has duplicate content issues. I wrote about this in more detail on our blog on how you can use Google search console for your content marketing. Of course a link is in the show notes. Google MyBusiness is Google service to allow you to claim or create your location on Google Maps or create a Google Plus page, which is Google’s equivalent to a Facebook page. It might not get as much engagement as a Facebook page will, but it surely has a closer connection to Google search index. Facebook pages content hardly get indexed by Google. And lastly Google Domains. It’s a fairly new service, probably about three years old and it’s the easiest and most straightforward way to register your domain. Although, I hear you saying, “I leave all this technical jumbo jumbo or Nitti Gritti kind of, well to our web developer.” And I say, “Yes, you’re right about that.” And the web developer, however, doesn’t come on board your organization until you have raised the necessary funds and for that, you have to wait for a 501c3 letter of your IRS. Unless one of your founders contributes out of their own pockets or is actually a web developer. Nevertheless, you need to be in control of your Google account. That brings us also to the next section. Using WordPress for your Start-up Website system Jim O’Reilley: Let’s talk about your website for a moment. We recommend, pretty strongly, that you start with WordPress.com and then migrate later to a self-hosted website. In order that you don’t lose any bookmarks or any SEO information, you wanna use YourDomain.Org as the title for WordPress.Com. A personal plan at the time of this recording for your website is $2.99 a month, billed annually at $35.88. It also removes ads from your site and gives you access to live chat and email support from the happiness engineers at WordPress.Com. You can go to the free site if you must, but just consider that when you leave the WordPress.Com or any other service, you will want to take with you the Google search rankings and that is only possible when you tie the web location to your own domain name. Once again, it’s very important to set up under WordPress.com YourOrgDomain.Org. Otherwise, the hard work you’ve spent in getting ready for good Google rankings with quality content will stay with WordPress.com and you’ll need to recreate all the content, always competing with the old content on a higher authority site. Higher authority just means it’s older, it’s been in place longer, it’s already been looked at by an audience. If you tie it to your domain name, the search ranking going goes with your content to the new space. Equally, to the physical content being migrated to the new site. There’s a wonderful article or analogy about WordPress.Org versus WordPress.Com and it’s included in our show notes of course. Listen also to our episode number two about content management systems. Getting started with your organization’s website in episode number four. Non-profit SEO Technology in the 21st Century. Open-Source Office Application: Libre Office Birgit Pauli-Haack: Which brings us to office application and of course you can all invest in Microsoft Office, but there is a free version out there, open source, called LibreOffice, which we want to introduce you to. Another viable alternative is Google G-Suite that comes with your Gmail account. Both alternatives to Microsoft Office provide you with a document writer, a spread sheet application, a PowerPoint like application, as well as drawing and charting apps. The price is unbeatable and for organization’s team members equally affordable. Libre office, just a few notes on that, is a free and open source office suite. A project of the document foundation. It was forked or came out of Open Office in 2010, which was, some of you might remember, an early version called Star Office. It is available in 110 languages and LibreOffice also supports the file formats for most major Office Suites, including of course Microsoft Office and has a variety of import and export filters. It’s available on a variety of computing platforms including Microsoft Windows, MAC operating system, MAC OS or Linux. There’s also a LibreOffice viewer for Android available. CRM Systems for Nonprofits Jim O’Reilley: Let’s now change channels on you a little bit and let’s talk about CRM. Or constituents’ relationship management, sometimes customer relationship management. Essentially CRM software is a contact list with a brain. It not only records your customer’s contact information, but it remembers the detail of your relationship in every interaction. Whether by phone or email and nowadays across other channels such as social media or even your customer help desk. Remember, it will remember only if you remember to actually enter the data. Just because you send out an email, the system will not remember why you sent it. It won’t remember what the relationship is. You do have to enter that detailed information. As a non-profit starting out most of these systems might feel like too much for the few contacts you might have, but if your founders put together all the potential strategic partners you may have, your possible donors, your possible volunteers, you may already have a couple of hundred contacts. Organizing them for all, available in the Cloud system software as a service app, will make coordination and import export into your email marketing system easier and more coherent. Birgit Pauli-Haack: Just as a side note, Jim, there are actual services and dear listeners, you need to definitely look out for those, that CRM’s allow you to send in BCC to an email address that actually inputs that email’s information right into the CRM, which is fabulous, but that’s definitely a necessary feature set. Look out for it. Jim O’Reilley: Interesting. Interesting. There’s more information available to you about CRMS’s. There’s an article by Upleaf about two powerful non-profit CRM systems. One is Salesforce, the other is CiviCRM and again we’ve got a link in the show notes and there’s a consumer’s guide to low cost, donor management systems, that’s put out by Idealware. And this brings us to everybody’s favorite topic. Email marketing. Email Marketing Service Providers Birgit Pauli-Haack: Right and we probably can put a whole new podcast out there, but the email marketing providers are necessary, because most internet service providers don’t let you allow sending out more than 50 emails at a time and the deliverability is questionable, so the email marketing provider that has a strong, free offering for anybody is actually MailChimp. You can have up to 2,000 subscribers, that’s contacts or 12,000 emails per month for free. “12,000 emails” means, you send six emails to your subscribers in a month. There are other services out there like Constant Contact and Aweber. For these services it doesn’t distinguish between start up or 501c3, it’s about the number of subscribers determining the price. Once you’re over the paying thresh hold, however, non-profit discounts might apply. That’s actually all I wanna say about email marketing for now. Social Media For Nonprofits The same is, let’s talk about social media. All social media profiles for your organization, for a business entity, are actually free. You can create a free Facebook page, a free Twitter profile, a LinkedIn page for free and profiles on the others social media networks. But once you all have your 501c3 designation so to speak, you might be eligible for a free non-profit donation service by Facebook, which is in the background managed by Network For Good and Network For Good takes a percentage of the donation amount, but you don’t have to pay any payment gateway, you don’t have to have monthly fees. This is certainly something to start out once you have your 501c3. Graphics Programs I have a couple of ideas and so another software recommendation for non-profit starting out is in puncto graphics programs. The Adobe Creative Suite that has Photoshop in it or InDesign, they’re all on a monthly license per computer, so it might not be suitable or affordable for a start up non-profit. There is a graphics program that is an open source and has been around for more than a decade, it’s called Gimp. G-I-M-P and we put in a show note, a PC Magazine article about it, but it’s a full fledged graphics program that works on your computer. You install it on your computer and helps you organize your graphics. There’s another software as a service, free, it’s called Canva. C-A-N-V-A.Com, Canva.Com and it gives you a tool to create social media graphics with the right size, with the right dimensions, with additional tools in there., but you can use it to do flyers, to do postcards, letter heads, all of those for your new organization. Accounting Software The last thing that I wanted to talk about, but I wanted to Jim ask about it, is accounting software, what do you think? Jim O’Reilley: Accounting software is a complex subject, but I truly believe there’s a simple solution. When you register your non-profit organization, you probably have a requirement for an annual audit or you have a requirement for regular financial statements. In other words, you’re going to need an accountant. To me, rather than picking up a piece of accounting software and then trying to find an accountant who uses that software is the wrong way to start the equation. I really believe that what you should do is find an accountant that you feel comfortable with, that you feel is confident, competent rather and honest and then find out what kind of software he or she likes to use and adapt to your accountant. It will no doubt save you money since the accountant is gonna charge you by the hour and if they have to convert your program to their program, it’s gonna cost you some money. That’s my suggestion about accounting software. Here are some other helpful things you might want to use. Additional Resources on Selecting Nonprofit Software TechSoup has products that are donated to non-profits from software companies or IT infrastructure and there’s a whole forum and a blog about this, which is of course in our show notes, that’ll tell you a little bit about some of these software products and hardware that’s donated to non-profits. In our show notes you’ll also find a post from Kyle Mathews, talking about the modern mid size non-profit and how they should perhaps consider stacking their technology. And there’s a field guide for 2017, recently released by Idealware and that’s also an excellent source for you to look at what types of reports are available and different types of software. Basic Principles of Software Selection But no matter the maturity of your non-profit organization, make sure you follow basic principles of software selection. Avoid what we call the shiny objects syndrome. The latest new product that looks like it’s gonna solve all your problems. Start with your needs first, then look at software. Open source software is free, but there are advantages to proprietary software and both have trade offs. When you decide on one or the other, make sure you are aware of the available migration paths of your data. Both into the new system and out of the current system. Get an understanding of what the support network is like and a general cost of ownership for updates in software, licenses and any custom development work that you may need. Birgit Pauli-Haack: There’s an old joke out there, talking about open source it’s the three freedoms that you have. Open source is free, as in free beer, open source is free as in free speech. You can publish anything with it, but it’s also free as in free kitten. It always needs a little tender love and care. This is it for now. You find all the mentioned resources with links in the show notes on NPTechProjects.Org/podcast. NPTechProjects.Org/podcast and this is episode number 19. Let us know your questions or what’s missing by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want to help us increase our audience, let your friends and colleagues know about this podcast and leave us a review on iTunes, on Stitcher and whatever app you’re using to subscribe to this show. Have a great summer. Stay cool, until the next time. Jim O’Reilley: Take care, everybody. Enjoy life, enjoy being a non-profit. Goodbye.
Terms of Service
Do Not Sell My Personal Information
© Stitcher 2021