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The iPad Is The Tip Of The iCeberg

The iPad was announced this past April, and for much of 2010 when anyone spoke of a ‘mobile computer,’ most anyone listening/reading substituted ‘iPad.’ What is striking about the iPad in terms of the history of Apple is that it is a device that largely created a market, rather than an Apple device that overtook a market (Think iPod: Apple came a few years late into the crowded MP3-player market, but has since dictated what that market looks like).  Can the iPad remain top dog in 2011, given the fact it was seemingly the only dog in 2010?

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| Category Apple, Communications, Hardware Review, iDevice, Reviews, Software Review, Technology | | 0 Comments

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Mobile Websites: A Quick How-To and Primer

The developments of mobile technology is likely familiar to all of us to one degree or another. Smart phones and iPads and micro-laptops mean more and more of us are capable of accessing the internet at any point in the day and from almost any place. Sure, we are more likely to access the game ‘Farmville‘ than the BBC News while waiting for a bus or standing in the grocery-store line. Nevertheless, charitable organizations should get ahead of the curve (or at least ‘catch up to the curve’!) and be prepping their sites for easy and pleasing access via such mobile devices.

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| Category Fundraising, iDevice, Marketing, Media Review, Public Relations, Site Administration, Social Media, Technology, Web and Print, Web Design | | 0 Comments

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Was 2010 The Year Of Social Media?

Mark Zuckerberg got bio-pic-ed and chosen Time’s Person of the Year in 2010. The iPad gave us opportunity to carry the internet with us (something our phones let us do for a couple of years, but who wants to type even 140 characters with those phone keyboards?). Foursquare joined the ranks of social media, especially mobile social media, and too many other SM portals rose and fell over the calendar year to try to list here.

With so much energy and interest pointing to social media and its influences on our habits, purchases, and language, we might want to remind ourselves that a mere 8% of Americans use Twitter at all.

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| Category Campaigns, Communications, Marketing, Public Relations, Social Media, Technology, Twitter, Web and Print | | 0 Comments

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#Philanthropy: Charitable Giving Rebounded Faster Than Business Cycle

Charitable donations inevitably follow the business cycle: when we are feeling flush and confident of future earnings, Americans want to share their bounty with those less fortunate. When those same folks are worried about their employment status or, worse, have lost their jobs, they still give, though not as much. Nevertheless, generosity still outperforms the general economy.

Most of us are attuned to the stock market as the the barometer of the state of the economy, even if we are not much invested in stocks. New information presented by USAToday‘s ‘Mind & Soul‘ section suggests we might also want to pay attention to charitable giving. If giving is a ‘leading indicator,’ 2011 might prove to be a pretty good year for the economy and for donations.

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| Category Community, Fundraising, Grants, Nonprofit | | 0 Comments

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End-Of-Year Giving And How It Might Change

300px Thaler End Of Year Giving And How It Might Change

Image via Wikipedia

Many of us give all through the year, which is to say, we are conscious of giving periodically to specific organizations or through special events. Nevertheless, the last week or two of December sees a great spike in giving. The motivation being a heady mix of holiday good will and thankfulness, as well as a realization that a few more donations might register a useful deduction on the tax form come next April 15th. How should one plan for that end-of-year outpouring, and how might charities and nonprofits marshal that planning?

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| Category Banking & Finance, Donor Acquisition, Fundraising, Grants and Funding, Interview, Major Gifts, National/International, Nonprofit, Politics, Technology | | 0 Comments

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All I Want For Christmas Is A New iPad…

Ah, the magic of Christmas. Children laughing, people passing, meeting smile after smile. Makes you want to break out in song. This blog tries to draw some attention to those who are doing good for others, be they charities or politically engaged organizations. We plan to do so throughout 2011 as well. But it’s Christmas eve, and as I put on my cap to prepare for a long winter’s nap after the office party, I just want to come out and say what many, many, people are wishing: Santa, I’ve tried to be good this year. Could I have an iPad under the tree? If it’s there, here are a few ideas of how some tech experts think you should stuff it (the iPad).

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| Category Apple, Fundraising, iDevice, iPad Apps, Reviews, Social Media, Software Review, Technology, Twitter | | 0 Comments

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HAMP, or ‘Extend and Pretend,’ Continues To Hurt Troubled Mortgage Holders

We drew up a report about the Obama Administration’s ‘Home Affordable Modifications Program‘ (HAMP) in early August this year, in which we looked at news stories and even the government’s own figures that demonstrated the slow start, and middle stretch, the program was having. The program was meant to offer those who were behind on payments, but with a history of good-faith compliance on their mortgage, a chance to have a three-month trial period of a notably reduced mortgage payment. If/when that period was successfully completed, the mortgage owner would receive a refinanced mortgage with lower monthly payments for up to five years.

An economic quarter later, and the news for homeowners is still not good.  Economists are poking holes in the program, and – unlike in August – the knives of political opposition have been sharpened as well.

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| Category Affordable Housing, Banking & Finance, Conference/Congress, National/International, News and Current Affairs, Opinion, Politics | | 0 Comments

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Net Neutrality Neutered

NetNeutralityFail1 300x200 Net Neutrality Neutered

"IF"?

The FCC voted 3-2 to pass the rules it had drawn up with the ‘help’ of telecommunications companies like Verizon and AT&T. In the ways of Washington over the last several months, almost no one is happy with the plan. And yet again the Obama Administration is being called to the mat. Well, AT&T seems pretty happy with it, which might tell us something about the plan already:

Based on our understandings, this measure would avoid onerous Title II regulation; would be narrowly drawn along the lines of a compromise we have endorsed previously; would reject limits on our ability to properly manage our network and efficiently utilize our wireless spectrum; would recognize the capabilities and limitations of different broadband technologies; would ensure specialized services are protected against intrusive regulation; and would provide for a case-by-case resolution of complaints that also encourages non-governmental dispute settlement.

So why do we keep harping on the issue?

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| Category Advertising, Advocacy, Communications, National/International, News and Current Affairs, Opinion, Politics, Social Media, Technology, Web and Print | | 0 Comments

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Will Ferrell’s Good Humor Helps Cancer For College

Screen shot 2010 12 21 at 10.56.47 150x150 Will Ferrell’s Good Humor Helps Cancer For CollegeThe online (micro)charity organization ‘Crowdrise‘ has grown in presence and influence since its founding a bit over a year ago. Its goal was/is to raise money by encouraging people to sign onto ‘teams’ that use their social-media presences to reach out to their friends. The team thus pools its time and the money collected, and a whole bunch of $10-$20 donations can mean big bucks to some wonderful organizations.

Sure, if you are a regular reader of our blog you are quite familiar with the concept of micro-donations. And as we neither invented the concept of micro-donation nor were the first to praise its great influence, you likely have heard of it anyway. But what makes Crowdrise a bit special is that it encourages your participation through humor and sarcasm, the sorts of things not often linked to helping cancer survivors.

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| Category Communications, Community, Fundraising, Grants and Funding, Nonprofit, Social Media, Web and Print | | 0 Comments

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‘Lame Duck’ Seems A Misnomer – Or A Political Attack (On Net Neutrality)

Lame-duck Congresses refer to those sessions that follow a November election through the winter holidays. Some number of Congress people have just lost their seats, but the newly elected replacements do not get to move in until they are sworn in in January. Thus the ‘duck’ is too ‘lame’ to fly, though it is alive and could continue to do whatever ducks do. In the case of Congress, the group in the minority (especially if it is going to be the majority in January) tends to want to stall any activities its members are unhappy with. The majority, on the other hand (especially if they are about to become the minority) try to cram through as many things as they might get away with. Even when the roles are reversed, somebody gripes that the lame-duck session should not tackle serious concerns until the newly elected representatives are situated – newly elected because they represent the will of the people. Unless you are a Republican or you do not see the irony of the slogan “Ignorance is Strength.”

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| Category Communications, Conference/Congress, iDevice, National/International, News and Current Affairs, Opinion, Politics, Technology, Web and Print | | 0 Comments

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Harsh Op-Ed On ‘Charitable Scrooges’

scrooge mcduck 150x150 Harsh Op Ed On ‘Charitable Scrooges’Debates about social media as catalyst, about political responses to economic crises, about open internets, about the care of our health… can help us sharpen our own positions and/or encourage us to take on ideas that we had avoided. This particular blog outlet tends to focus on the nexus of nonprofits, politics, and communications technologies, and we strive to show some of ‘the other side’ of a given issue. Yet when Pablo Eisenberg’s recent op-ed from the Chronicle of Philanthropy arrived through our tweet stream, we were admittedly hard pressed to stay on his side – though his passion is to be admired. You should read his ideas in their entirety first. Go ahead, we’ll be here when you get back. (more…)

| Category Advocacy, Banking & Finance, Community, Fundraising, Grants and Funding, National/International, News and Current Affairs, Nonprofit, Opinion, Politics, Thought for the Day | | 0 Comments

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Holiday Retailers Have “Lost Control Of Their Shoppers”!

No, we don’t mean that door-busting deals have returned to the insane smack-down ‘running-of-the-bulls-in-Pamplona‘ kinds of stuff found on Black Friday a few years ago. We are referring to a quote by Vodafone chief executive (in the United Kingdom) Guy Laurence in TheGuardian.co.uk. His point is that stores have traditionally sought to steer their customers toward certain products or up-sales, but modern mobile technology has stripped them of their abilities to draw people into their stores and entice them to buy what they see. The days of the “Personal Shopper” also seem to be numbered.

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| Category Advertising, Geo-Location, iDevice, iPhone Apps, Marketing, Social Media, Technology | | 0 Comments

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Twitter Aflutter With News Of Zuckerberg as Time’s ‘Person Of The Year’

Time POTY2010 225x300 Twitter Aflutter With News Of Zuckerberg as Time’s ‘Person Of The Year’Oh, the irony. Yes, Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook and subject of the fictionalized bio-pic “The Social Network” is Time Magazine’s Person of the Year (POTY in Tweetspeak). Yet the Twitto-/blogo-spheres are full of comments, reactions, and largely surprises at Time’s choice. Perhaps the medium is indeed the message, for much of the criticism of the choice is being disseminated via Twitter, and a number of those critics believe Jack Dorsey and Biz Stone should have been the winners. The critique tends toward the notion that Time is about two-years-too-late to note the presence of Zuckerberg’s behemoth. Is ‘better-late-than-never’ a reasonable criterion for awarding the title?

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| Category Communications, Facebook, Marketing, Media Review, National/International, News and Current Affairs, Politics, Publications, Social Media, Twitter, Web and Print | | 0 Comments

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Efforts to Green Up Baltimore Schools From The Ground Down

Building a house on sand can be a disaster. Building a playground on it can be beneficial to Baltimore’s kids and to Baltimore’s urban environment. The premise is simple and ancient: the ground wants to be a sponge that absorbs water and feeds plant life. Humans, their buildings, and their machinery pack down that sponge to the point that it has no spaces to absorb water. The ground grows harder and dryer, which increases the packing effect. From ancient Mesopotamia to the contemporary Midwest the obvious solution has been to plow the soil to break up the packed in slabs and allow air and water back down into the ‘subsoil.’ As Timothy Wheeler reported in The Baltimore Sun at the beginning of this school year, some local school playgrounds are getting the same treatment in an effort to stem runoff and to enrich children’s playing experience.

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| Category Community, Education: General, Environment, Greening | | 0 Comments

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Twitter And Philanthropy In The Holiday Season

Twitter Table 300x199 Twitter And Philanthropy In The Holiday Season

A Twitter Table At A Fundraising Event

“Twitter and philanthropy. They go together like a horse and carriage….” Well, it does not rhyme, but at least you are not hearing my Sinatra impression. The philanthropic and nonprofit communities have been on the forefront of many extensions of the uses of social media, largely because the financial investments are minimal. The rewards can be striking, though: many organizations have raised incredible sums of money via Tweet-Ins, and many political movements are being conveyed online.

The last couple of weeks of the year also tend to be the weeks in which Americans give the most of their time and money to charitable organizations. Whether the motives come from the ideals of Hanukkah or Christmas and/or from the prospects of a quick tax write-off, the second half of December can be the moment that carries an organization through much of the next year. For those of our readers who want to ensure that their time investment in social media pays off through the holiday season, we recommend two recent stories from our peers at Philanthropy.com. (more…)

| Category Communications, Conference/Congress, Development, Fundraising, Grants and Funding, Marketing, Nonprofit, Public Relations, Social Media, Technology, Twitter | | 0 Comments

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#Tech: Computing Moves To ‘The Cloud’ – Your Files Can Be There Waiting

Last week we pointed out that MobileMe‘s ‘Find My Phone’ feature is now a free stand-alone service for those who have the latest software on the iPhone 4G. If not, the fine folks at MacWorld.com figured out how to get a 3G/3GS onto the same service (although someone’s 4G is required to set it all up). And we have had numerous stories about how computing is moving to ‘the cloud,’ where software and services will sit awaiting your beck-and-call. The ubiquity of fast (and often wireless) networks help make such cloud computing possible (leaving aside what the tiered internet of the near-future will look like).

A great piece of software that we have been using to get our documents up in that cloud is ‘Dropbox,’ and we wanted to introduce it to you. Please note that we get no kickbacks or referrals. Oh, and Dropbox is free.

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| Category Desktop Apps, iDevice, iPad Apps, iPhone Apps, Reviews, Software Review, Technology | | 0 Comments

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Email Remains An Evolving Technology, Not A Dead-End One

Before I had to start paying the bills, I used to love all the stuff that came through the mail slot at this time of year: announcements, coupons, cards, and catalogs – glossy, full-color, hundreds-of-pages thick catalogs. My brother and I spent weeks poring over them picking out each and every thing we needed for Christmas.

Now I am paying those bills and no one sends out such catalogs any more. Instead, many of us wade through the spam of our email inboxes sifting out the stuff that would have been recycled if anyone was savvy about recycling in 1975. Different medium, same problem? Neil Davey at MyCustomer.com pulls in some resources that suggest ‘no.’ People are not only still engaged with their email, but they are enticed by further integration of email and social-media networks. Even the ‘junk mail’ draws pretty positive responses. How come?

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| Category Advertising, Communications, Direct Mail, E-Mail, Facebook, Interview, Marketing, Public Relations, Social Media, Technology | | 0 Comments

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If Charities Can Not Market Apps, Then Text Them Your Support

So Apple is uninterested in working with the nonprofit and charitable community to give them access to the iTunes Store for money raising. There are other ways that bypass the Byzantine process of Apple acceptance and still offer means to support (some of) your favorite charities with your mobile device. Even your iPhone: Texting donations (‘Textonations’ anyone?).

The gold standard of money raised thus far comes from The American Red Cross, which raised over $305 million for survivors of the earthquake in Haiti last year – over $30 million of it from people donating $5 a text message. Though the campaign via text messages is closed for Haiti, this holiday season, The Red Cross is upping the ante for its supporters. Is texting the new ‘Please include your check in the envelope provided”?

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| Category Communications, Facebook, Grants and Funding, Nonprofit, Social Media, Technology | | 0 Comments

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Resource: Writing Better Headlines

90672v1 max 450x450 Resource: Writing Better Headlines

Image via CrunchBase

Network for Good has published an e-book, Big Impact in Small Spaces: 9 Ways To Write Better Email Subject Lines, Headlines, Tweets and Facebook Updates. It’s available as a free download that will take less time than it takes to type the book title.

 Resource: Writing Better Headlines

Guest blogger Don Akchin writes frequently about marketing and philanthropy at donakchin.com.

| Category Communications, Education: General, Marketing, Writing | | 0 Comments

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NeighborWorks America Helps Small Businesses Too

Screen shot 2010 12 07 at 22.37.46 150x124 NeighborWorks America Helps Small Businesses TooNeighborWorks America has been helping citizens finance their homes since 1968, when Dorothy Mae Richardson, a homemaker and community activist in Pittsburgh, enlisted city bankers and government officials to join with her block club to improve her neighborhood. That early, grass-roots, endeavor to improve the urban housing of Pittsburgh became the successful model replicated across the US in the early and mid-1970s. Now the organization is working with banks to finance small businesses.

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| Category Blogs, Grants and Funding, Nonprofit, Revitalization | | 0 Comments

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The Best Metrics for Marketing

300px Junk mail collection The Best Metrics for Marketing

Image via Wikipedia

Wondering what to track to know whether the marketing is succeeding? A useful post on an agency blog suggests measurements to monitor on the website, online promotions, social media sites, emails, events, and press coverage.

 The Best Metrics for Marketing

Guest blogger Don Akchin writes frequently about marketing and philanthropy at donakchin.com.

| Category Communications, Marketing, Measurement, Research | | 1 Comments

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#Philanthropy: Apple – The Bad Apple In The Corporate Philanthropic Bushel?

We have often discussed the roles corporate philanthropy plays both in supporting environmental, social, educational (etc.) causes and in the arguments that corporations should not be preemptively philanthropic as corporations (though even those who criticize ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’/CSR tend to encourage share-holders to be philanthropic). A recent argument has flared up over Apple’s unwillingness to allow the selling of apps for its mobile devices designed to garner and/or collect donations. Jake Shapiro, the CEO of PRX, and Beth Kanter seem to be leading the charge, as they have complained since this past summer about Apple’s unwillingness to allow nonprofits to create apps meant to encourage donations. Ms. Kanter has even taken steps to end her iPhone/ATT contract to move to a new phone with the Google Android platform. Will Apple take heed of such switchers?

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| Category Apple, Cross-Post, Fundraising, Grants and Funding, iDevice, iPad Apps, iPhone Apps, Nonprofit, Technology | | 1 Comments

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Being Good Ain’t Enough

300px Toothpaste Being Good Ain’t Enough

Image via Wikipedia

In a fascinating essay in the Huffington Post, commentator Matt Dunn ponders the differences between the marketing of toothpaste and nonprofits (hint: toothpaste marketing is more successful) and why nonprofits cannot presume to win support just because they do good work.  Even in a season of hope, there’s nothing gained by relying on wishful thinking.

 Being Good Ain’t Enough

Guest blogger Don Akchin writes frequently about marketing and philanthropy at donakchin.com.

| Category Advertising, Fundraising, Marketing | | 0 Comments

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#Tech: You Can Now Find Your Apple iDevice For Free

One of the big selling points for Apple’s MobileMe service (keeps mail, contacts, and calendar information in the cloud and uses push technology to keep everything in sync across multiple devices automatically) a couple of years back was the feature that allowed an owner of an iPhone 3G or 3GS to register his or her phone in his or her MobileMe account, then use their MobileMe portal from any internet-connected computer to find the phone. I can say from personal experience (and panic) that the service could distinguish the fact that my phone was in the car some 10 feet in front of my house, and not actually in my house (At least it was not forgotten at the gym, as I had feared). My story is one of forgetfulness, but this feature has been known to take a bite out of crime as well.

Well, Apple recently opened up the specific ‘Find my iPhone’ (and iPod Touch and iPad) feature to anyone with an iPhone 4 running the latest operating system (iOS 4.2.1). Better still, MacLife has figured out a fairly simple workaround to allow 3G/3GS iPhones to take advantage of the service as well. It won’t stop your forgetfulness, over even crime, but it might prove a phone-saver as you scuttle among your holiday parties, shopping, and travels. Let us walk you through the basics. (more…)

| Category Apple, Communications, iDevice, iPad Apps, iPhone Apps, Technology | | 0 Comments

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The Atlantic Says: “Apple Wins!” But Is The Competition Over?

If you already own an Apple product or two, you might already have become one of those endearing/irritating Apple Evangelists excited by any new product announced from Cupertino. Or you might see your Appleware as the best of a crowd of good products. Or you might find the whole cult-of-Apple think rather weird. But you can’t argue with success, they say. And Apple has proved stunningly successful over the last few years – especially as it has developed the iPod line and released the iPhone. The latest MacBook Air must feel like a bully’s pile-on to the competition. Where can they possibly go from here? (more…)

| Category Apple, Hardware Review, iDevice, iPad Apps, iPhone Apps, Marketing, Software Review, Technology | | 0 Comments

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