Influence and Impact: The new state of digital teams

Overall we see a very positive maturing of digital programs and leadership across the board. In the past two years digital leaders have increased their internal influence, successfully advocated for more resources, and built larger and better skilled teams.

They have stabilized their main digital platforms (websites, social media, email), partly due to a slowing of growth in new channels and other shiny objects they’ve had to chase after, and are now focused on more strategic optimization to produce better outcomes. Most leaders report their digital work is receiving more consistent attention from senior leadership, something we’ve long advocated for as essential to realizing its full potential.

What makes crowdfunding work (for causes)

There’s been a lot of excitement around crowdfunding recently, but until last fall I wasn’t convinced there was a there there. I knew they worked, sometimes, for start-up tech products, some indie films and a few hyper local community projects. But would they do heavy...

How are non-profit teams doing in 2014? Free webinar launch

Our first Non-profit Digital Teams report in 2011 helped create a much needed conversation in the NGO sector about the importance of focusing on digital teams as the foundation for overall digital program success. In two weeks, Wed Feb 5, we're releasing the 2014...

Hey Facebook! Give us back our audience, you jerks

A new campaign was launched today by a number of high profile bloggers in the charity tech space. ""What Nonprofits need more than a Facebook Donate Button" is the first volley in a campaign to pressure Facebook to give non-profits back the audiences they stole from...

How are non-profits managing digital teams in 2013? Let’s find out!

About 18 months ago Communicopia created the world’s first research report on the state of digital teams in non-profits. The report was downloaded by over 1,000 NGO’s from around the world, and has successfully helped inspire hundreds to re-think or re-structure their digital or communications teams. We are excited to announce we are releasing the second version of report for 2013 with fresh data this fall!

Quick refresh: the four models of digital teams

In 2011 we worked closely with our colleague Michael Silberman, who was then a consultant at EchoDitto and now runs the global Mobilization Lab at Greenpeace, on establishing key patterns that we saw institutions use to manage their digital programs. Since we first...

Why you have the best – and the worst – job

Last month I had the pleasure of being the opening keynote speaker at the Social Media for Non-profits all day conference in Vancouver. The organizers asked me to help set the tone for the day.

I find a lot of events like too trendy buzz-wordy, overly focused on positive things, and thin on actual substance. I wanted to provide something of lasting value to help shape the careers of the 200 or so, mostly young, attendees, and share what I’ve learned by staying in this industry for close to 20 years now. The result: “How to survive social media for non-profits: Why you have the best – and the worst – job”.

Can we please stop getting creamed on messaging?

While many progressive ideas tend to succeed in the long run, (I’m talking a 30 year time horizon) as a movement we’re not half as effective as our opposition at creating messaging that wins hearts and minds today. There’s a lot of suffering that takes place in that 30 year gap.

Here’s why I think right wing parties and interests resisting change tend to run circles around us in messaging:

Networking your institution for the Citizen Age: DC Event

Does your organization struggle with digital innovation or integrating campaigns across silos? If you’re in DC on June 17, check out an exciting event we’re co-producing, “Networking your institution for the Citizen Age” with Greenpeace’s Digital Mobilization Lab.

Why your PR strategy is only a third right

Success in the advocacy world is essentially about getting your issue or cause onto the agenda of the powerful by going direct, via a mass public outcry, or ideally both. Not so long ago, you could get pretty far with a supportive story in the top tier media, so most...

Setting KPI’s for your digital program

The problem with a lot of planning and visioning is it isn’t grounded in the actual reality of the now. For digital programs, that means knowing, as exactly as possible, the current state of our performance. Only when we know that, can we set realistic and actionable goals for the future.

Innovation is hard. What’s your one big thing?

Even before the election results were in, most analysts had called the digital game for President Obama. Their success has profound implications for the role of data and metrics in how we make all kinds of decisions, macro to micro. But it’s their innovation process, this ability to deliver such a game-changer while at the same managing a highly complex digital campaign with all the other expected bells and whistles, that’s almost as big.

The essence of Web of Change – revealed!

After attending 12 Web of Change conferences and seeing it all from the inside, I’ve often found it difficult to describe who we are, what we do, and why it matters to people who haven’t been there. So it was really great this year to welcome Micah Sifry among the 115 others who made the schlep to Cortes Island last month. If anyone would have a unique perspective on Web of Change it would be a guy who co-founded one of the highest profile online politics conferences Personal Democracy Forum in NYC), runs a consulting firm helping major institutions adapt to tech and open systems, and runs the go-to blog for online politics TechPresident).

Update and focus your content strategy to reach influentials

Many clients are asking whether it still makes sense to have a blog in today’s busy world. It’s smart to ask hard questions about whether our legacy publishing models are having impact today. If you’re just publishing to an audience of everyone without a clear message that consistently supports your core expertise, you’re probably wasting your time. Worse, if you’re not using the mediums that matter today, people with much less expertise than you, or even your opponents, are probably filling in the gaps.

Guest Post: Experiments with learning as 350.org grows

This is a guest post from 350.org’s Executive Director May Boeve, who is speaking at Communicopia’s event today in New York. May wanted to share recent insights into how 350, a still very young networked organization, is approaching organizational learning and staff development while maintaining its nimble culture.

NYC Event: How network orgs are re-invigorating social change

If you're in New York in early May, check out "How Network Orgs and Free Agents are Re-invigorating Social Change Movements". In it we share some of our latest thinking, and then we'll hear real world, really awesome stories from May Boeve, the Executive Director and co-founder of global climate campaigners 350.org, and Monifa Bandele, a senior campaigner at the 1M (engaged) member strong MomsRising.org. It’s a free community building event (with free drinks!) thanks to some of our awesome partners.

This event was successfully test-marketed in Vancouver, and we plan to do it in DC and San Francisco later this year.

Why your non-profit won’t make a KONY 2012

There’s been a lot of ink spilled about the KONY 2012 video, the most successful cause video of all time (and most viral video ever). But I haven’t seen a lot of discussion around the campaign that surrounded the video, that is at least as responsible for its success. And while Invisible Children has faced controversy – in my opinion much more than they deserve – I’d rather turn this into a constructive dialogue on how other causes can learn from their incredible success.

In my view, most of the larger, more well known NGO’s won’t produce a communications piece this successful, unless they radically change their structures. Here are 6 reasons most NGO’s will never make a KONY, and some lessons we can take to improve our campaigns for this exciting new world.

If you think all Network Orgs do are online petitions, you are wrong

I’ve been writing a lot about “network orgs” that are popping up like mushrooms after a rainstorm in nearly every movement. But one of the common critiques I hear about them from those who work in more traditional non-profits is “all they do are online petitions”. This then connotes their work with simple clicktivism, also known as “slacktivism”, and nothing more weighty. And it’s wrong.

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