Thursday, February 14, 2008 and the Future of Affiliate Fundraising

Miro, the free and open-source video platform, recently launched a new fundraising tool – Read more about its potential and how its technology could be used by the nonprofit community here.

Monday, February 11, 2008

How to Find a Volunteer Web Developer For Your Social Change Website or Web Application

Check out these new posts -- especially if great web 2.0 ideas keep you up late at night and you wish you could partner with a programmer to help save the world. Part 1 is here. Or you can jump to part 2 here.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

5 Ways Free Online Petitions Can Be Improved

I just finished my first post on's Community Blog - you can check it out here.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

How GreenPeace's "Whale Mail" Could Be So Much More!

I was recently browsing GreenPeace's “Get Involved” menu and saw a link to an action called “Whale Mail.”

My first thought was “That's absolutely brilliant!”

I envisioned “Whale Mail” as GreenPeace's way of providing email to its users. I figured Greenpeace was giving all of their members an email address that ended in “” The reason I thought this was a brilliant move on GreenPeace's part is because it would be a great way to engage me in spreading the word about their “save the whales” campaign. Imagine if I sent all my mail from And at the bottom of every message I sent – Greenpeace included an update on the whale campaign and how you could get involved. All of my friends and family would learn about GreenPeace's campaign and would be invited to join it. They could also open an email account with Greenpeace and start spreading the word in their own social networks. Greenpeace's “Save the Whale” campaign could spread virally through what is still considered the killer app – email.

Unfortunately, when I clicked on Greenpeace's “Whale Mail” feature – I found out it was just a niche Greenpeace newsletter that you could subscribe to “get regular updates and information about how you can help defend the whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.”

Interestingly enough, Greenpeace does offer an email service, except they charge $6.99 a month for it. I found it difficult to sign up to get my “” email account for a 15 day free trial – and just as difficult to find reviews.

As online storage prices get cheaper and cheaper – GreenPeace could capitalize on their pre-built infrastructure by giving away their email feature for free! More specifically, they could raise a lot more awareness about their issues and potentially raise a lot more funds by adding a “Donate Now” button to the bottom of every email that was sent through its service.

One reason MyGreenPeace might not take off even if it was free is because people don't really want to switch their email accounts. It's kind of like asking someone to switch their physical address – and that's asking a lot! If Greenpeace would want to get their users to switch email accounts, they'd have to make this process as simple as possible. They'd have to offer instructions for how to get your old email to forward to your new address. They'd also have to help their users transfer their address books. And most importantly, they'd want to make it easy for their users to access their email outside of the website.

Greenpeace aside, any nonprofit could use this approach to spread their campaign and engage their constituency. It's certainly not limited to saving the whales ...

Perhaps some nonprofits or grassroots groups are already using this approach? Are there any success stories? Any lessons learned? Please share in the comments.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Why Your Nonprofit Should Make A Viral *Music* Video!

What makes a video marketing campaign "viral?"

Monica Hamburg
recently wrote an article which is a crash course answer to this question. She quotes The Six Simple Principles of Viral Marketing:

any strategy that encourages individuals to pass on a marketing message to others, creating the potential for exponential growth in the message’s exposure and influence. Like viruses, such strategies take advantage of rapid multiplication to explode the message to thousands, to millions.”

In other words, a viral video is one that compels me to share it with my friends, and then compels my friends to share it with their friends, ad infinitum. Potential = Huge.

So, the question that begs to be asked is: What makes a video so compelling that I want to share it? What is it about a video that compels me to spread it through the social web -- that compels me to add it as a favorite on Youtube, compels me to post it on MySpace or Facebook, or compels me to write about it on my personal blog?

The general consensus is that that a video which is compelling enough to go viral is exceedingly funny or clever.

What's wild, though, is that if you look at the top videos on YouTube itself -- you'll notice that the great majority aren't just funny or clever. They're also music videos! And if they're not music videos, they almost always have a strong soundtrack that plays a vital role in the mood & meaning of the video. Music is key to their virality.

Interestingly, I've checked out a lot of the top videos and while they have gotten tens of millions of views and are clearly viral, I don't find them at all compelling. They were obviously entertaining enough for many people to share with their friends -- but they weren't compelling in the true sense of the word. If you feel compelled, then you feel like you absolutely must do something. And these videos didn't come close to making me feel like I absolutely had to pass them along...

What would compel me to spread a YouTube video? If there was something at stake. If spreading the video would make a difference in the world.

And that's where the nonprofit community comes in.

The nonprofit community is composed of organizations which focus on a wide array of issues in which everything from genocide, rain forest destruction, and child trafficking are at stake. These are huge and important issues - many of them with life or death consequences. And it is because there is so much at stake when it comes to the missions of these organizations, that they can create videos which are inherently compelling. People feel compelled to spread these videos because by doing so, they're building awareness and making a difference.

While the nonprofit community has created many great videos about social issues, the music video genre, which has proven to be the most viral, remains largely untapped by this sector. As previously discussed, creating a music video is key if you want to have a hugely successful viral video. People like music videos and if you can wrap a social cause around dancing, singing, & a good beat - you're far more likely to get your message spread through the web. There is a lot of space here for creativity as well as risk – although the potential exposure for social causes could be bigger than anything we've ever seen before!

Got a video that you think fits this description? Submit it here.

Monday, November 12, 2007

my first advertisement!

A result of an awesome AdHackUp* about a week ago @'s headquarters in Vancouver, BC.

*AdHackUp - where a bunch of people come together to make unsolicited ads for businesses that they believe in or otherwise think are great. In this case, well, the bagels were pretty good!

Our Team: James Sherret, Monica Hamburg, & Me.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Interested in Contributing to the Rayt project?

Rayt Developers Wanted

From: JoeSolomon, 44 minutes ago

Examples of how Rayt warnings can be used to inform the public and encourage companies to be more socially responsible. Plus an announcement that we're looking for programmers to take Rayt to the next level.

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