Robert Weiner

Blackbaud kills off Common Ground

Robert Weiner

I've been in numerous discussions recently where senior Blackbaud staff have said that clients will be given 5 - 7 years to migrate off any discontinued products. Yesterday the news was that Blackbaud had laid off 50 employees it acquired when it bought Convio in May. In what was said to be an unrelated development, they also announced the departure of Gene Austin, the former CEO of Convio.

Training on your new database

Robert Weiner

I discussed training at a high level on page 13 of this chapter from CASE's Handbook of Institutional Advancement. A question was posted to a listserve for nonprofit techies looking for tips on training staff on a new database. Here are some more detailed rules of thumb: 90% of training is forgotten within the first 2 weeks if it's not put to immediate use. Not everyone can train. It's an art.

Trending Sources

Important changes for GiftWorks users

Robert Weiner

There have been extensive discussions of this on TechSoup ( here and here ), and I hope that by now all GiftWorks clients know about this impending change. FrontStream, the current owner of GiftWorks, sent me the following notice this week: Hey there Robert, As in the past, we are preparing to upgrade FrontStream CRM (previously GiftWorks 2013) users to the newest version of CRM. This change is in-line with our transition to a subscription-based service.

Thoughts on the Blackbaud – Convio deal

Robert Weiner

During the NTEN call we discussed Tessitura , the performing arts fundraising and ticketing system as an example of a successful effort. Lots of people have already weighed in on Blackbaud’s purchase of Convio (two of my favorites: [link] and [link] ). Here my perspective. Disclosures: I have clients that use both companies’ products, as well as products from their competitors, open source products, and homegrown solutions. I don’t invest in these or other companies that I advise on.

What to Do When Technology Isn’t Your Problem

Robert Weiner

Come join us for a collaborative, interactive, therapeutic discussion at the NTC. Copyright P. Mueller [link]. Does it feel like you never find the right combination of technologies to just make things work?

LinkedIn Discussions Are Spam Magnets

Robert Weiner

I'm a member of several LinkedIn discussion groups, but my participation is lukewarm at best. One of the biggest problems is spam--the noise is drowning out the signal. There doesn't seem to be a way for moderators to review messages before they're posted or for participants to flag spam for review by moderators. As a result, one of the groups I belong to includes the following off-topic messages: Vacancy advertising on the UK's leading job boards from only £99.

Online Discussion Tomorrow: Getting Your Message Out

Robert Weiner

The Chronicle of Philanthropy has another online discussion coming up that may be useful for many nonprofit fundraisers and marketing pros. It’s a free discussion so if you’ve got the time, it could be a valuable session. Here are the details from their announcement: When: Wednesday, January 21, at 1 p.m. Eastern time. Where: Online at [link]. Cost: Free. read more.

Live Discussion Promoting Causes on Social Networks on June 2

Robert Weiner

The Chronicle of Philanthropy is holding another in its series of free online discussions on Tuesday, June 2 (tomorrow). The discussion will be archived, so even if you can’t attend, you can at least read the transcript. Here are the details: What: Promoting Causes on Online Social Networks. When: Tuesday, June 2, at 12:00 p.m. Eastern. Cost: Free. Where: Online. Questions are submitted via keyboard, and answers come the same way.

Online Discussion on June 23: Using Social Networks to Promote Good Causes

Robert Weiner

This Tuesday The Chronicle of Philanthropy will host another free online discussion about how nonprofits can use social media. The speakers include: Danielle Brigida , the social-media outreach coordinator at the National Wildlife Federation, in Washington, DC where she manages the organization’s voice on online networks such as Facebook, MySpace, Care2, Change.org, Digg, and StumbleUpon. Wendy Harman , the social-media manager at the American Red Cross, in Washington, DC.

Lame spam of the day: Raw spam merge text

Robert Weiner

Ahaa, its {nice|pleasant|good|fastidious} {discussion|conversation|dialogue} {regarding|concerning|about|on the topic of} this {article|post|piece of writing|paragraph} {here|at this place} at this {blog|weblog|webpage|website|web site}, I have read all that, so {now|at this time} me also commenting {here|at this place}.| Come on over and {talk over with|discuss with|seek advice from|visit|consult with} my {site|web site|website}.

Lame spam of the day: Fake BBC news stories

Robert Weiner

Clues that it's fake: I don't know the sender; the sender shows as Wendy Kauffman but the text says it came from Rich Webb; it went to an account that I only use for newsletters and discussion lists; and hovering over the URLs shows that they don't lead to a BBC site. Like most lame spam, this one lacks any formatting or graphics. The tricky part is that it's masquerading as a news story sent to me by a friend, and those typically lack formatting and graphics.

Blackbaud kills Common Ground: So What?

Robert Weiner

One of the discussions during NTEN’s community call about Blackbaud’s purchase of Convio was whether the nonprofit community should band together and build its own donor management system rather than being dependent on for-profit vendors. That discussion continued on my blog. According to the Foundation Center’s analysis of data from the National Center for Charitable Statistics, there are approximately 1.5 million nonprofits in the U.S.

Tales of faux donors scamming charities

Robert Weiner

The following is a compilation of online discussions of faux donors trying to scam colleges, schools, and nonprofits. In most cases it’s not clear what the scammers are trying to achieve. Maybe they’re just practical jokes. These tales were provided by Barbara Esteve at Cedar Crest College, Roylene Gallas at the Little City Foundation, Don Martin at St. Paul's School, Lori Redfearn at the California State University Chancellor’s Office, Stephen M.

Lame spam of the day: You are highly needed

Robert Weiner

Also, could you get back to me having visited the above website to enable us discuss in a more clarifying manner to the best of your understanding. Most of these 419 scam emails aren't worth glancing at, but the language in this one was too good to pass up. Including links to real news stories is a nice touch.

What’s a good donor database?

Robert Weiner

I've been enjoying the discussion in the Chronicle of Philanthropy's LinkedIn group in response to the question, " What's a good, affordable donor database program for a small non profit? " (you'll probably need to join the group to read the responses).

Lame spam of the day: Gaddafi’s money

Robert Weiner

You will take 40%, 60% will be for me and my partner.This business is confidential, and it should not be discussed with anyone. I loved the movie Three Kings , so I got a kick out of being asked to help smuggle Gaddafi's money out of Libya. Sender: SGT CHRIS BRAND (chrisbrrand@yahoo.com.ph). Subject: WAITING FOR YOU RESPONSE. Text: Helllo, My name is Sgt. Chris Brand; I am an American soldier with Swiss background, serving in the military with the army's 3rd infantry division.

Lame spams of the day: Robospam promoting Liberty Reserve investments

Robert Weiner

An gripping discussion is couturier account. The following blog comment spams were left on my site on 12/21 - 23 in response to my posts " Lame spam as blog comments " and " More lame spam as blog comments." For some reason I'm tickled by them, like how "worth reporting" mutates thesaurus-like into "couturier mention" and "riveting" becomes "intriguing," "newsworthy," etc. All are promoting an investment called a "Liberty Reserve" account.

Creating Strong Passwords

Robert Weiner

NTEN's blog discusses the details of the break-in and lessons we should learn from it. The recent theft of confidential documents from Twitter's Google Docs account points out the dangers of insecure passwords.

Doc 2

Taking Advantage of a Crisis

Robert Weiner

" Kevin Johnson of Retriever Development Counsel makes similar points in discussing why nonprofits should not cut back on their fundraising efforts now. Although some recent news stories have reported postive economic signs, the outlook for the nonprofit sector still looks bleak.

GivingUSA Reports a Drop in 2008 Giving

Robert Weiner

Check out this transcript of an online discussion the Chronicle of Philanthropy held to discuss the report and its implications on nonprofits and other recipients of charitable donations. The good news from the annual GivingUSA report (PDF) on U.S.

PDF 2

Cn U Raise $ Via Txt?

Robert Weiner

and the subsequent TechSoup discussion , I’m posting an analysis conducted by Sarah Grosvenor , the Assistant Director of Annual Giving at Willamette University , on the potential for mobile fundraising at the University.

Separating Personal and Professional Lives on Social Media

Robert Weiner

Andrew Heller discussed the risks of oversharing in his NTEN blog post Social Media and Privacy: Best Practices for Managing Your Personal and Professional Identities. Do you "friend" your co-workers, clients, or service recipients on Facebook? What about LinkedIn? Are your tweets appropriate for all audiences? His basic advice: "Be Prepared. Be mindful of your online presence. Think thrice before acting."

SF Fundraising Day 2010

Robert Weiner

We've programmed sessions on online fundraising with Madeline Stanionis, social media with Jeff Patrick, database selection with Eric Leland, and an open discussion session with me and Michael on whatever tech topics the attendees bring. San Francisco's Fundraising Day will be happening June 16 at the downtown Marriott. Once again I have the honor of co-chairing the Technology Track with Michael Stein.

Using Facebook Causes to Promote Your Nonprofit: October 13 Online

Robert Weiner

What: Another in The Chronicle of Philanthropy 's series of online discussions: How to Use Facebook Causes to Promote Your Nonprofit Group. When: Tuesday, October 13, at 12 noon, Eastern time. Where: [link]. How Much: Free. Description: read more.

Making the Case for Advancement Services

Robert Weiner

She had already found my post on the Ingredients of a High Performing Advancement Services Shop , my discussion summary, Top Issues Affecting Advancement Services (which led to an article in the October 2007 issue of CASE Currents called "Going Fourth: What every fundraiser should know about advancement services" by Jennifer Salopek), and the Advancement Services articles and presentations at SupportingAdvancement.com.

Podcast: How to Use Facebook to Attract Supporters and More

Robert Weiner

As we've noted previously, The Chronicle of Philanthropy has been running a series of online discussions on how nonprofits can use social media tools. In addition to these open discussions, the Chronicle has been conducting a series of recorded interviews. In the latest, Allison Fine interviews Joe Green, one of the creators of Facebook Causes, and Amy Eldridge, Executive Director of Love Without Boundaries. These podcasts are available at [link]. Topics to date include: read more.

Free Digital Storytelling Online Event

Robert Weiner

From September 30 to October 21, TechSoup will host a free Digital Storytelling online event including expert roundtable discussions, nonprofit case studies, online discussions, live chat, and a community challenge with a final screening awards ceremony in the virtual world of Second Life. Event Schedule: 9/30: Event Day 1 – TechSoup forums event discussions and expert webinars.

Transcript: Using Social Networks to Promote Good Causes

Robert Weiner

If you missed The Chronicle of Philanthropy's June 23 online discussion Using Social Networks to Promote Good Causes , the transcript is now available. The discussion featured: Danielle Brigida , the social-media outreach coordinator at the National Wildlife Federation, in Washington, DC where she manages the organization's voice on online networks such as Facebook, MySpace, Care2, Change.org, Digg, and StumbleUpon.

Donor Tracking vs. Business Intelligence

Robert Weiner

It discusses what Laura Quinn calls the "movement from merely tracking data to an emphasis on using it strategically to make business decisions." The Nonprofit Times recently published an article called Is It Donor Management Software Or Business Intelligence. " This vision of donor management software is nothing new. I've heard countless organizations describe their donor databases as "roach motels" or "data vaults" -- the data goes in but it doesn't come out.

July 21: How Can You Measure the Value of Social Networking?

Robert Weiner

The Chronicle of Philanthropy is holding another in its series of free online discussions on social networking. This time their guest will be social media guru Beth Kanter (you may know Beth from her eponymous Beth's Blog — and if you don't, you should). . What: What's the Payoff? How Charities Can Figure Out How Much Time and Money to Invest in Social Networking. When: Tuesday, July 21, at 12 noon, U.S. Eastern time. How Much: Free. Where: online at [link]. Description: read more.

TechSoup’s New Site Design

Robert Weiner

TechSoup , the nonprofit tech web site where I host a discussion forum, went live with a redesigned home page over the weekend. I love the new look, although it's only skin-deep. This is Phase 1 and only affects the home page--most links take you to pages on the old site, with a the old design and the old navigation.

Transcript: Promoting Causes on Online Social Networks

Robert Weiner

As I mentioned last week , the Chronicle of Philanthropy held a live online discussion about how nonprofits can use social networks to promote their organizations. On the panel, was Danielle Brigida, social-media-outreach coordinator at the National Wildlife Federation; marketing and communications consultant Nancy E. Schwartz; and Felicia Carr, director of online communications for the National Parks Conservation Association.

Advice for Consultants - Part 3

Robert Weiner

participation in online discussion groups. This is the third in a series of posts aimed at new consultants in the nonprofit sector. The previous posts are at Part 1 and Part 2. Make sure you have enough savings, loans, or other income to tide you over while you build your business. Figure out where you will work and what equipment you will need. What kinds of capital investments do you need to make to get started? Do you need a rented office or home office?

Using Prospect Research to Raise $1 Million

Robert Weiner

She discusses the strategy behind the research, the tools she used, how the list was narrowed to a group of top prospects, and the general approach to cultivating the foundations. Margaret King, President of the InfoRich Group, has published an article on how prospect research yielded $1 million in foundation funding for one of her clients.

So You Want to Be a Consultant? Part II

Robert Weiner

We started by listing everyone’s burning issues, then discussed as many as we could in-depth. Discussion: Ideas about telling the story about “what do I do as a consultant?&#. NPTechConsult is on the NTEN (look for great comments from Karen Nyhus) — it’s got great archives and interesting discussions. Today was the second session of my 2-part workshop for consultants and wanna-be consultants.

So You Want to Be a Consultant?

Robert Weiner

Jana Byington-Smith did a great job of capturing the discussion for the conference’s live blog. Things to ask for from the client: pre-assessment (Eric calls it a “jump-start assessment&# with a meeting with the client for a few hours, and he generates a report that says what he can or can’t do) and priority; organizational chart; proposal process; listen to discussions about roles of the client staff in the process.

The Quick ‘n Easy Guide to Online Advocacy

Robert Weiner

Case studies, security concerns as well as the advantages and disadvantages of various web services are discussed, with the aim of improving advocates ability to conduct online advocacy campaigns. Tactical Tech, based in the UK and India, has published The Quick ‘n Easy Guide to Online Advocacy to help advocates find "online services that are quick to use and easy to understand."

Inside the Mind of a Top Donor

Robert Weiner

The Chronicle of Philanthropy recently conducted an online discussion with Lorry I. Lokey, who has appeared on The Chronicle’s list of America’s top donors every year since 2000. Mr. Lokey responded to questions such as. What is the biggest mistake development officers make when first meeting a new prospect? How could a small institution with big aspirations engage donors with significant financial capability? What do you see as the ED’s role in working with major donors?

Favorite Free Software

Robert Weiner

Other products mentioned by participants in the discussion: John Elbare recommended: Wink -– Free program for creating flash movies out of screen shots: [link]. Joe Medina of Colby College asked members of the FUNDSVCS listserve about their favorite free software programs. Here are mine, minus obvious ones like Gmail and Firefox (note that many are only free for home use). Ad-Aware — Anti-spyware and malware tool for PCs: [link]. Avast! — Free anti-virus for home use: [link].

Getting Your Message Out

Robert Weiner

The Chronicle of Philanthropy held an online discussion on January 21, 2009 about how nonprofits can publicize their work. They described the agenda as: Now, more than ever before, it is important that (nonprofits) communicate effectively with supporters, the news media, and their communities about the challenges they face and the good work that they perform. What can your organization do to make sure these efforts are meaningful? Whom should you try to reach?