Tag Archives: ntc

Will Your Nonprofit be Ready for the Future of Payments?

This article was originally published on nten.org in January

15NTC poster

from nten.org on instagram

One recent sunny afternoon in Austin, I gathered with a small crowd of NTEN 501 Club NPTechies to lunch and learn about digital currencies and payments innovations.

We were there to talk about Bitcoin—what it is (digital cash), what it isn’t (internet not required), why you would want to take advantage of it (0% transaction fee, anyone?), and what you need to know before implementing (multi signature wallets!)

The informal discussion was led by presenters, David J Neff, Digital Strategy Manager at PwC and Jacob Parks, Legal Researcher at the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. (You can watch the whole thing on Capital Factory’s YouTube or read my blog post for a summary.)

Most importantly, I learned that tech-savvy charities need to address changes happening in the payments landscape NOW.

Timing is perfect for you to learn from trailblazing organizations already breaking ground on the new frontiers, while still being early enough to claim advantages for your own cause. For example, digital currencies, such as Bitcoin, offer an excellent fundraising currency for micropayments and microlending because they provide a platform where you can give $0.25 without credit card fees eating it up.  Organization who have a good strategy in place will be poised to gain exposure to new sources of support with little accounting risk.

Digital currencies aren’t the only thing shaking up the payments landscape. Changes in physical security, such as chip-and-PIN (smartcard) technology, are already being used widely in Canada and Europe and will be expanding in the United States. ApplePay and others are radically increasing the adoption of tap-to-pay NFC platforms, especially in event-based scenarios. Will your nonprofit be ready?

All this innovation has not gone unnoticed at the major nptech software companies, either. PayPal has added digital currencies and wallets to its lineup for merchants and more is on the way. Even Microsoft is accepting Bitcoin! Software providers who want to keep their customers are looking for creative ways to integrate more payment options into their solutions. As they do, more charities will have more ways to connect with donors within existing toolsets.

At the 2015 Nonprofit Technology Conference, we are going to take this discussion to the next level with an expanded panel of experts to talk about how payments innovations are changing the way organizations engage with their constituents. David J Neff will join NTEN veteran, Jason Shim from Pathways to Education Canada, as well as pros Alissa Ruehl from Blackbaud and Robin Dupont from PayPal in a panel you won’t want to miss!  

See you in at #15NTC

NTC15 Session #1048:
Cryptocurrency that Cares: A primer on how digital currencies and payments innovations can help your organization

 Follow along on Twitter with #15NTCmerchant on Wed, Mar 4 1:30pm – 3pm CT

4 Results from Crowdsource Experiment at #12NTC: Nerd, Geek and Gear Herding

This article originally appeared on the SageWords.net blog.

4 Results from Crowdsource Experiment at #12NTC: Nerd, Geek and Gear Herding

By Grant Howe and Stacy Dyer

At the 2012 Nonprofit Technology Conference (#12NTC) in San Francisco, California, we led a session called Nerd, Geek, and Gear Herding 2.0. Building on last year’s session, we were pleased that this year we had the opportunity to introduce the “crowdsourcing” experiment to collectively solve our nonprofit technology problems.

#1: Bridge Communication Gaps
Our first “crowdsourced” dilemma asked how to deal with a strong technologist who is working towards the right goals, but struggles with communication style. The importance of resolving the communications issues vs. insulating the technologist from communications was discussed. Solutions included bridging communication style gaps with coaching and buffering systems. Appropriately timed conversations can provide focus–sometimes geeks don’t like to be interrupted!

#2: Managing Without Authority
Second, we talked tips for managing without authority, such as project managing a cross functional team and getting buy-in from executives or board leadership. Here the crowd agreed you need to offer solutions, not just bring problems. Also, face-to-face communication is better than email to build trust.

#3: When It Ain’t Broke
Third, we talked about some of the implication to being “too good” at your job. When the server hardly ever crashes (because you’ve moved your IT infrastructure to the cloud), how do you get buy-in for incremental improvements? The key is to leverage technology and technical personnel as trainers and thought leaders within your organization. Raise the visibility of high-tech projects and people.

#4: Newbies Welcome
Finally, the “crowd” offered tips for making valuable, newly hired technical staff feel welcome. Tips included having all the resources they need (eg, desk, email, paperwork) ready to go. A welcome sign, snacks and a drinking cup as a gift was discussed as a high impact / low cost way to make them comfortable.  Invite the new employee to a welcome lunch with staff they will need to work with on a regular basis. Have them pass out treats as way to introduce them to other staff around the office.

Overall, our first “crowdsource” was a great success! If you have other tips or suggestions, please add them to the comments here! Thanks again for another great conference and we look forward to continuing our “experiment” again next year!

Grant Howe and Stacy Dyer presenting at 2012 Nonprofit Technology Conference in San Fransisco

12NTC: Not just for geeks

San Fran at night

San Fransisco hosted the 2012 NTC – Nonprofit Technology Conference

I just got back from #12NTC, the 2012 Nonprofit Technology Conference. As always, it’s an explosion of nptechie geekdom and one of the best parties events I attend all year.

And while I may be a self-proclaimed geek, NTC is not just for geeks anymore! This year’s audience boasted wide variety of folks involved in all levels of nonprofit management, social entrepreneurship, and community organizing. The refreshing diversity of social media influencers, philanthropists, and social responsibility leaders created a unique community of vibrant energy motivated to find a way to “make it work” and do good.

Where AFP is a decidedly more mature organization of fundraising professionals, NTEN’s network of younger, more tech-savvy nonprofit leaders offers a perspective on the future of nonprofit management. As a product marketer, it’s a great opportunity for me to spot new trends — like using mobile technology to engage constituents; moving tech solutions to the cloud; or for the fashion conscience, donning patterned leggings with a vintage dress. (Vanessa R., I’m looking at you!)

If you weren’t able to make it to #12NTC this year, no worries! One of the best things about having a tech-savvy audience is that NTEN is able to leverage the power of their attendees to crowdsource session notes. Check out the full list of Google docs here with session notes from everything from online community engagement to data analysis to nerd-herding!

And, of course, watch this blog for my learnings and key takeaways from #12NTC over the coming months!

Product Marketing Manager, geek, and proud NTEN member




3 Personas You Have to Meet

Maybe you already know them. They certainly already know you. They are your constituents, your supporters, and donors. Want to know who they are? Keep reading…

As a product marketer, I am very familiar with the concept of using personas to help me understand my audience. At Innogive 2012 in San Fransisco, Jeff Dunlap of MobileCause, described the three key personas who interact with causes online.

First, there is the internet artist. He actually doesn’t really care about your cause. What he wants is to impress his friends. He is motivated by the number of retweets and likes he gets in social media. So he makes up something clever–like make up a t-shirt that says, “F**K CANCER.” You can’t say that, but he can! He is, in effect, a “free agent” as Beth Kanter describes in her concept of a Networked Nonprofit.

Next, the curator picks it up. She likes to put things into collections that are easy to browse. She pins that “F**K CANCER” t-shirt in Pintrest, where it gets picked up by Martha-Stewart-types everywhere, and creates a flurry! She doesn’t really care about your cause either, but loves it when her “pin” get shared around.

Now meet mobile grandma. She loves using her smartphone to share mobile photos on Facebook. She posts a picture of her niece wearing the infamous t-shirt. That post gets picked up by another mobile grandma in Denmark, who translates the t-shirt into 3 different languages (in effect, another internet artist) and the cycle starts again.

As you can see, these personas have the power to give your cause a huge boost, even though they may not actually donate cash (or buy the t-shirt) themselves. By understanding what motivates these personas, you can create (or, at least, not squash) opportunities to go viral!

So You Wanna Be a Mobile Superhero?

Ok, so there was a lot of talk about the Justice League at Innogive 2012.

Justice League

I’m more of an Avengers fan, myself, but maybe that’s just because I’ve always liked Stark’s toys.


Kayta Anderson, shared these 5 forgotten questions we need to answer before you can be we can become superheroes in mobile fundraising!

1) Who is it for anyway?

Know your audience. She says that when at least 5% of traffic to your website is from mobile browsers (you are using Google Analytics to track this, right?) However, there was some discussion that if you don’t have a mobile site, you won’t get mobile traffic.

2) What will it do for them?

We download apps to make our lives easier. Unless the app provides a something sought after by your audience, they won’t download it. Don’t build an app for apps sake. Provide value to drive behavior.

3) What do you have?

Time, resources, money, staff. And not just staff to run it, but who in your organization will get behind the project? They have to be willing to take risks.

4) Where does it fit in?

Mobile is another channel in your multichannel communications strategy. You need to align your messages and strategy across all your channels.

5) What will it do for you?

ROI vs ROE. Traditionally, managers focus on return on investment. Instead focus on return on engagement, which measures things like new supporters, brand exposure, added convenience for supporters, improved advocacy results.


SXSW and NTC wrapups

As you have read here, I attended the South by Southwest interactive festival in Austin, Texas, March 11 – 16, 2011. Immediately following, I went to the Nonprofit Technology Conference in Washington DC, March 17 – 19, 2011.

There was so much brain-filling information and best practices shared that it is too much for one post. Therefore, I will be posting wrap-ups and summaries from several of the sessions I attended here on this blog over the coming weeks.

Watch for lots of nerdy, techie, geeky, nptech goodness coming at you soon!