5 things Nonprofits should hope for in 2011

In the last week there have been a lot of predictions about giving, buzzwords to watch for and more in 2011.  Let’s face it, everyone’s guessing. Here are some thing I’m hoping and guessing might happen this year.

1. I hope the media harnesses its power for good.

Last year the Indianapolis Star started Our Children Our City, a special project to bring attention to the needs and issues in education in Indianapolis. Columnist Mathew Tully spent months in an inner-city high school, originally intending to share the issues around funding struggles, violence and teacher burnout. Instead, he rallied a city to attend a concert and donate a ton, find a football player some cleats that fit and literally help a boy exist.  In a world where media is supposed to remain neutral, they took a position.  Since the focus started, they’ve helped more people, recruited tons of volunteers for great organizations, spread good news and, I imagine…sold more papers.

2. I hope donor management software harnesses technology.

It’s funny to me that we can start cars from our iPhone but while Blackbaud has an iPhone app (released in 2009), nonprofit CRM systems haven’t remotely tapped their potential.  Why don’t they partner with Xobni so I can see my donor’s photo, latest tweet, Facebook status or LinkedIn update?  If I have donors nationwide, why can’t I plot them on a Google map to see where a critical mass exists so I can be more efficient with my travel expenses or even see, in a city, where a convenient place might be to hold an event?  These can’t be new ideas. With all the open source APIs and willing partners, I hope Convio, Blackbaud, eTapestry and others start looking to partner instead of trying to build their own everything and releasing outdated & buggy features.

3. I hope more people find more fun ways to give creatively.

Just last weekend, Pete the Planner, a financial planning expert issued a challenge on Twitter announcing that the most mentioned nonprofit on his Twitter and/or Facebook wall would get a donation of $10 per Colts point in Saturday’s Wild Card NFL Playoff game.  A handful of organizations and people quickly engaged and created a modest frenzy of mentions on Twitter and Likes/Comments on his Facebook page.  Then…a national organization got the word and the Pancreatic Cancer Assistance Network, along with several of its local affiliates, engaged their collective 40,000+ Facebook fans and quickly out gunned the other organizations.  Pete then got Colts owner and Twitter phenom Jim Irsay to add to the total and raised over $4,000 for the cause. By the way, I don’t have exact numbers but from my observations, Pete got around 1000 new Facebook fans in just a few days.  Everyone wins.

4. I hope organizations find new ways to mobilize and communicate to their supporters.

As we’ve discussed, there are over 1 million nonprofits employing approximately 10% of the U.S. workforce yet I bet if you asked random folks on the street to name 10 organizations, they’d rattle off a few of the big name charities and then draw a blank.  I hope organizations find ways to outfit their staff, boards, volunteers and supporters in usable SWAG and take advantage of the personal brand and social capital that all of their base holds.  Online, we’ve seen efforts with twibbons and coloring avatars, but here’s to hoping this year brings a more creative use of the mediums we already have.

5. I hope more companies of all types and sizes try cause marketing.

We all need to pick up on the trend of larger companies by doing good and telling the world about it.  It really is o.k. to do good, share about it and then improve brand image/loyalty and sell more stuff as a result.

Need examples? See the Hershey School, Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, or this great spot from Glee & American Express.

Do you think we’ll see any of this? What do you hope for in 2011?

7 thoughts on “5 things Nonprofits should hope for in 2011

  1. On media, I hope local Television spends a little less time on incorrect weather forecasts and a little more time reporting the difference that so many organizations are doing for our neighbors.

    RE: #2 Unfortunately, Blackbaud is more interested in buying up the competition than advancing the software. Ugh.

    Great post Nate.

  2. You’re right that hope isn’t a strategy. Too bad too many nonprofits rely on it. My hope for 2011 is that more nonprofits create a real strategy for their work and their sustainability.

    Sandy Rees
    Fundraising Coach

  3. Great point about donor management software needing an update. I use Hootsuite for social media posting and monitoring. I create private Twitter lists for people I want to keep up with. But it would be nice to have one system for all social networks.

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