Pimp My Non Profit panel at SXSW 2008

Pimp My Non Profit photo

Our panel on Monday night went fabulously, and thanks to all who contributed and made this the most widely attended non-profit panel at SXSW! Special thanks to Ed and Katie for taking a chance on including a newbie like me, and for picking great pimp gear for us to wear, and to Rachel, Agent Handy, and Beth for being an awesome crew to “pimp” with.

Although I still have a lot of blogging to catch up on, the nasty cold/flu that I picked up in Austin is encumbering my efforts a bit. However, I did want to make sure that my notes (see below) and slides were available online in case folks had any follow-up questions (and I am happy to answer those via email too). I promise that write-ups from panels and more formulated thoughts will follow soon (and hopefully before I make it to NTEN next week!).

Preparing to Pimp: Seducing internal stakeholders for success in online fundraising

To have success with an online media campaign, organizations should consider the following factors before committing to a technology

  1. Buy-In: by staff members and senior management - those who know technology and those who don’t!

This ensures proper funding, internal ownership, and the diffusion of the technology across the organization. Make sure to keep your IT team involved every step of the way so they can support you and the technology and help you manage resources.

  1. Technical Resources: Either in-house or contracted.

Know how you will be able to make changes to the technology and who will be providing tech support to your team. Software needs to be updated periodically, a graphic may need to be altered, and someone will need to be available to troubleshoot any issues that arise.

  1. Human Resources and Interest in the technology/campaign.

This goes back to buy-in. If your staff isn’t interested in the type of technology you’re using (or familiar with how to use it), it’s unlikely they’ll come up with new content to keep it looking fresh, or that they’ll truly own it, be creative with it, and run with it!

  1. Time: Supporting media and developing content doesn’t happen in a vacuum.

People in non-profits wear a lot of hats and hold multiple responsibilities. This role can’t be ancillary to someone’s job, it must be made a priority by their managers and if possible, written into their job description.

  1. Access: To broadband and/or any internet connection for both contributors and your audience.

When using these types of technologies in developing countries, fast connections are limited. This inhibits the types of technology that can be used regularly, such as video or audio. Even access to the internet (to post a blog post or upload a picture) may be hard to find.

  1. Proximity: To constituents/participants contributing to your campaign/web media

A lot of technology training can be handled remotely, but organizations/universities may have better success with their blogging projects if they have had face-to-face contact with their contributors. This creates a sense of community and ownership over the software. This isn’t necessary, but definitely can help.

  1. Replicable: If staff leaves, is there a contingency plan? Can others take over?

Do others have the same interest/ stake in the success of the technology? Do they have the skill-set to take-over? Is their institutional redundancy? Can they keep the momentum going?

  1. Empowerment: Can owners be successful with the technology?

Are the implementers truly owners of the software, and can they share their excitement for and champion its potential both within and outside the organization?

  1. Capacity: The choice of technology should be realistic, based on the above factors.

You can design the coolest online campaign in the world, but if you don’t have the funds to keep it going, or the human resources to maintain it, or the content to keep it new and exciting, you might be better of with something more simple and easier to maintain.

Success isn’t directly proportional to the type of technology you employ, but rather the creativity and enthusiasm drummed up by your team and the campaign you devise.

1 Response to “Pimp My Non Profit panel at SXSW 2008”


  1. 1 Kerry Lannert

    Awesome picture, ladies! Glad the panel went smoothly.

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