Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

Using Twitter for fundraising: Lessons learned from Beers for Canada

in: Case studies, Communicate, Standing out

[Update: Beth Kanter has re-posted this piece over on her blog; she’s had some great guest posters keeping things moving over there while she makes the move from Boston to San Francisco. If you’re looking for other resources on social networking and nonprofits, there’s no place better than Beth’s.]

Visible GovernmentLast week, we helped out our friends at Visible Government with their Beers for Canada campaign. In the end, the campaign raised just over $1,000 in two days; donations will help open government data to citizens and promote transparency in public offices.  We learned a lot about what did and didn’t work, and in the interests of transparency, we thought we’d share some of the lessons we learned along the way (and see if we can collect some ideas for next time.)

How it worked

Beers for Canada donation pageA week before Canada Day (July 1) we built and tested a simple site that encouraged donors to “buy their country a beer” — basically making a donation. We told a few key bloggers and Twitter personalities about it beforehand; then, on June 30, we started talking about it online. We continued to mention it, and amplified what others were saying, until midday on July 2.

From the outset, this was a short-term campaign built around a single day. We did this to give it urgency and purpose. We chose to start talking on June 30 because so many people were out the office (and away from their computers) on the holiday itself. But it’s important to realize the differences between a short-term campaign (minimal upfront work, strong word of mouth, modest goals, and real-time virality through Twitter) and a longer one. The timeframe also meant that most blog coverage only hit on July 1st (and thanks to all the bloggers who covered us!)

What worked? What didn’t? What would we have changed? Here’s a quick list.

Read more…

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

What makes you unfollow someone? Six things stand out.

in: Communicate

winescowl.pngSocial networking for business is a two-edged sword: You have to keep track of many followers, but automating the process thwarts efforts to remain genuine. And yet we don’t spend enough time analyzing unfollow behavior. Here are the results of some informal surveys over the past few weeks.

How many people can we really follow?

How many people can we follow? Take a look at this excellent study by Huberman, Romero, and Wu. It shows that there’s an underlying hidden network of friends, and that the remaining follower/followee relationships are really just social courtesy.

If humans can normally handle around 150 social relationships then, as JP Rangaswami observes, tools like Twitter help push this limit up to perhaps 600 people.

Read more…

Tuesday, May 20th, 2008

DNS parking 2.0: 10 other places you should register your name

in: Communicate, Standing out, Startups

It’s not enough to register your .com, .org, and .net any more.  Here are some places we’ve been camping out recently, reserving names and keywords before someone else does.

Unlike the domain name world, where ICANN can regulate egregious violations of copyright, it’s unclear how naming disputes will be resolved by many of these sites. So it’s the first-come-first-served Wild West of the nineties

  • Twitter: RSS for people. If you don’t own the Twitter ID, someone else will.
  • Drop.io: A place for your stuff, with your name. URLs use the format drop.io/myname.
  • Facebook: Groups in Facebook have names, and you should own yours.
  • Myspace: Despite Facebook’s buzz, Myspace still has lots of users. Get a page.
  • Paypal: If you’re taking payments, then people will be more comfortable if they’re paying someone with the same name.
  • Eventbrite: Running an event? You should probably use the name of your event before it’s taken.
  • Pownce: The other Twitter.
  • Digg and Reddit: If you’re going to comment on things and be a part of the community, go grab those.
  • Slideshare: If you’re going to post presentations using this service, you may want the name to go with them.

I’m off to register some names.