As nonprofits struggle to adapt to changing donation patterns organizations like CPAWS, WWF and Pivot Legal are diversifying their revenue streams by selling merchandise to their supporters. But merchandise programs bring with them a host of new challenges, including inventory management, distraction from the core mission, and the potential to divert donors to a gift stream with lower net revenue.
But merchandise sales also bring lots of potential benefits. Join a panel of experts at Net Tuesday February and learn if selling merchandise is right for your organization.
- What makes for a successful sales program?
- How do you determine your program’s goals?
- How do you setup a program that will meet your goals?
- Will merchandise clash with your organization’s values?
- Can merchandise sales support other organizational goals besides fundraising? How can it be used as an employment creation program?
It’s gonna be an awesome evening, so please RSVP.
Date: Tuesday, February 1
Duration: 6:00 – 7:30pm
Venue: W2 Storyeum, 151 W Cordova
- Denise Taschereau, Fairware Promotional Products
- Akua Schatz, David Suzuki Foundation
- Paul Ryan, Hope in Shadows
September’s Net Tuesday is next week, and I finally have all the panelists confirmed. Better late than never, I say. 🙂
TOPIC: Email communications – still alive and kicking
It’s easy to get distracted by that new-fangled social media stuff (so shiny!), but the folks on the ground in non-profits know that the real action’s in email. That’s where you raise the funds to advance your mission. That’s how you get people to show up to events. That’s how you get petitions signed.
There’s plenty of life left in email communications, and learning how to test, optimize, and integrate email campaigns is (I reckon) the best investment you can make in the online space.
Join a panel of experts from Vancouver’s nonprofit community as they discuss the value of email to their organizations, how they manage and grow their lists, and how they test and measure their campaigns so that they’re constantly improving.
DATE: Tuesday, September 14
TIME: 5:30 (doors) 6:00pm (event starts)
LOCATION: W2 Storyeum, 151 W Cordova, Vancouver, BC
Meet your panelists:
Ben is an online marketing and research specialist. He’s raised over $1MM in donations online, currently works in the development department at Union Gospel Mission, and thinks email is the next big fundraising tool.
The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives is a research institute focused on social, economic and environmental justice. The CCPA works closely with social movement groups to support education and mobilization efforts by bringing providing information, analysis and solutions in areas like climate justice, economic policy, health care, education, human rights and more. www.policyalternatives.ca • www.policynote.ca
DUNCAN OWEN, David Suzuki Foundation
Duncan has been with the David Suzuki Foundation for 1 ½ years focusing on fundraising campaigns (direct mail, telemarketing, email), supervising day to day operations of the donor relations team and looking to find innovation and efficiencies.
Last week’s Net Tuesday event was everything I could have hoped for. It’s been almost a year since I took over Vancouver’s Net Tuesday meetup from Joe Solomon and I’m thrilled with the evolution of the event. There’s now a strong presence from local nonprofits every month, and because the events have become less technical we’re getting questions from people outside Vancouver’s Technorati.
As always it’s the folks who volunteer to be speakers that make Net Tuesday work. Mad props to Sarah Hall for sharing her fundraising wisdom, love to Rob from Mobio for the smooth introduction to their iPhone app, and most especially to everyone who came out. You ask good, hard questions and the presenters love how engaged you are.
The group decided that we’d all use the hashtag #ntvan because it’s short and clear. So if you’re commenting on Net Tuesday Vancouver on Twitter please append a “#ntvan” to your tweet.
And why should you bother using hashtags? Because you can do cool things like the automated event summary on http://hummingbird604.com/
So, what did we learn this month? That there’s clearly no clear answers when it comes to friends-asking-friends fundraising platforms. There’s a TON of tools and there’s no obvious winner among the bunch. Based on your particular needs you’ll have to do some laborious research to find what’s best for you.
But Sarah’s best practices for fundraising apply to ALL of the online fundraising platforms, so give her slides another look (see below).
Notes from the Canadian Cancer Society’s Sarah Hall: (with annotations by Eli)
Facebook causes – stops working in Canada as of May 31, 2010
Give Meaning – Vancouver-based
Artez – Toronto-based
Blackbaud Sphere/Kintera – not cheap!
Convio / Get Active -also not cheap!
Democracy in Action – A nonprofit Company
Salesforce.com – free licenses to the to the core product for charitable nonprofits.
Chip In – a widget for accepting Paypal donations. You don’t need to be a nonprofit
Pinc Giving – based in Delta, BC
Canada Helps – if you’re a registered Canadian charity you’ve already got a page here. Includes giving pages that anyone can setup. (thanks Ben for the correction)
Paypal – love ’em, hate ’em… they’re ubiquitous and easy to use.
Gift Tool – Vancouver-based.
Civicrm.org – opensource software… the sandbox demo they offer is quite impressive.
Update: June 27
Causes offers some back-story on the situation:
CanadaHelps’ donation processor, Chase Payment Tech, contacted Causes and insisted that we drastically alter our security standards as they relate to the processing of donations. We are working to find a way to meet these standards without adversely affecting users’ experience or undermining Causes’ ability to provide its donation platform to Canadian nonprofits for free.
So as of May 31 Causes will no longer accept donations for Canadian charities.
Most of my lies are unintentional.
Like when I suggested at the last Net Tuesday that Facebook Causes was a good introductory way to experiment with friends-asking-friends donations. That particular lie was unintentional.
Thankfully Darian Kovacs of Venus Marketing set me straight by letting Net Tuesday know that as of May 31 Causes and Canada Helps (who processes the donations for Causes) are splitting up. This isn’t going to affect the American charities on Facebook Causes, but it means you won’t be able to donate to your favorite Canadian charity on Facebook. Which would be a shame, because Causes’s Birthday feature actually works at raising money.
Damn. I hate it when Mom and Dad fight.
Anyone know the full story?
Here’s the message Canada Helps sent out:
As of May 31st, 2010, Causes on Facebook will no longer support donations to Canadian charities. Charities and donors will be unable to fundraise using the Causes on Facebook application after this date.
While CanadaHelps has attempted to work with Causes for a different outcome, Causes on Facebook has chosen not to meet the security standards that are required to process credit cards and work with CanadaHelps in the Canadian market.
CanadaHelps puts the safety and security of your donors first. As part of our mandate as a charitable foundation, we provide charities with cost-effective online fundraising solutions that are safe, secure, and trustworthy. We thank you for your continued use of CanadaHelps. We continue to look for alternatives for charities and donors to use Facebook as a fundraising platform.
If you have questions or comments about the decision to stop supporting Canadian fundraising on Facebook, please direct them to Causes on Facebook at [email protected], (510) 981-0790 or
http://apps.facebook.com/causes/about. If you have questions for CanadaHelps, please don’t hesitate to be in touch with our Director of Program Development, Zenia Wadhwani ([email protected]).
Causes sent this to Canadian charities on May 12, 2010
We are writing to let you know you that after May 31, 2010 it may no longer be possible for users to make donations to Canadian charities on the Causes platform.
Recently, CanadaHelps’ donation processor, Chase Payment Tech, contacted Causes and insisted that we drastically alter our security standards as they relate to the processing of donations. We are working to find a way to meet these standards without adversely affecting users’ experience or undermining Causes’ ability to provide its donation platform to Canadian nonprofits for free.
We will keep you updated as these discussions progress. Moreover, the Causes Team will continue to support your work and answer any questions you may have. Whatever the outcome, all other cause functionality will remain operational after May. Do not hesitate to reach out to us at [email protected]
The Causes Team
Causes sent this to Canadian charities on May 14, 2010
Dear THE DAVID SUZUKI FOUNDATION (Canada),We are writing to let you know you that after May 31, 2010 it may no longer be possible for users to make donations to Canadian charities on the Causes platform.Recently, CanadaHelps’ donation processor, Chase Payment Tech, contacted Causes and insisted that we drastically alter our security standards as they relate to the processing of donations. We are working to find a way to meet these standards without adversely affecting users’ experience or undermining Causes’ ability to provide its donation platform to Canadian nonprofits for free.We will keep you updated as these discussions progress. Moreover, the Causes Team will continue to support your work and answer any questions you may have. Whatever the outcome, all other cause functionality will remain operational after May. Do not hesitate to reach out to us at [email protected]Sincerely,The Causes TeamOur mailing address is:Causes2105 Martin Luther King Jr WayBerkeley, CA 94704
Last month, you should have received an email from Causes about our donation services in Canada. We regret to inform you that we have been unable to reach an agreement with our transaction-processing provider that would allow us to continue processing donations in Canada without introducing substantial fees. As a result, Causes has temporarily suspended donation collection for Canadian charities. We will continue to look for ways to re-open this functionality in the near future.
The good news is that while Canadian charities will not be able to collect donations on Causes, they will be able to use the other tools on the platform to build communities, spread awareness, and run advocacy campaigns. We very much value each of our Canadian partners and hope that Causes remains a core part of their online strategy.
We apologize for the inconvenience and welcome your feedback at [email protected]
It has always been our goal to provide nonprofits and activists with online fundraising tools that are both easy to use and affordable. This vision will continue to guide our work and we look forward to helping you achieve your mission.
The Causes Team
May’s Net Tuesday has been scheduled, with a focus on event-based and friend-asking-friend fundraising.
The event will be anchored by Sarah Hall, Online Giving Specialist at the Canadian Cancer Society. She’ll share some case studies and best practices.
But wait, there’s more:
- a quick survey of entry-level online tools for friend-asking-friend fundraising
- http://fundrazr.com/ – a Facebook application that helps you manage events
- Mobio, maker of an iPhone application that uses bar codes for payment (download the application ahead of time to play along)
- and maybe even a Twestival postmortem.
Haven’t whet your appetite enough yet?
Then check out an earlier version of Sarah Hall’s slide deck and RSVP for the event.