President’s Message

The Age of the Smart Phone

Mobile phones are quickly becoming the main interaction point between donors and nonprofit organizations. Who knew so many people would use smartphones? Certainly not the founders of Blackberry. They discounted the rise of the smartphone in the general population 5 years ago. It’s now estimated that their global market share will soon approach a new low of .03%.

That’s enough to focus every nonprofit in Canada and elsewhere on smart phones and engagement. In our groundbreaking study of Next Gen donors in Canada last year, it was found that already, 24% of Gen Y donors make smart phones the main way they interact with charities and 19% of Gen X donors make smart phones the main way they interact with charities.

Take a look at the case study of the Ontario Lung Association  and see how responsive design helped get the word out – and make engagement more successful.

It’s time for all charities to invest in, and properly leverage, smartphones. This isn’t a bandwagon. If you’re not convinced, just look at Blackberry.

posted on Jun 02 No comments yet


An Interactive AND Fully Responsive Microsite: BreathingAsOne.ca

LISTEN TO THAT WHEEZING SOUND. That huffing, puffing, hacking, and crackling is the sound of a country literally gasping for air. Over 2.4 million of us have lung disease, a sobering number that threatens to soar by 50% over the next 30 years.  

In an effort to tackle this issue, the Ontario Lung Association (OLA) has launched a major campaign to raise awareness around lung disease. They first developed offline material that was distributed to local organizations, researchers, hospitals and internal stakeholders in an effort to start the conversation about collaborating to research issues related to lungs.

Following best practices, the campaign is multichannel. OLA worked with hjc to develop a completely responsive campaign microsite with the same look and feel as the offline material. Enter, Breathing As One.

With this site, they’ll be able to reach a greater number of people within their defined audience than they would if they only used one channel. Not only have they taken a key offline element online, the microsite is entirely responsive. It’s pretty impressive, especially when you consider that it’s interactive.

Having a responsive site is more important than ever and will continue to be as more and people use smartphones or tablets. 

BreathingAsOne.ca launched in April at a conference, and was well received at OLA’s exhibitor booth. OLA provided iPads and tablets so that people could experience the microsite and explore it on-site.

As it is, the microsite functions as an information hub and acquisition tool where people can sign up for updates.

Alisha Ecker, Strategic Partnership Manager at OLA, said, “[BreathingAsOne.ca] was a key conversation starter with many potential partners and major donors and will continue to be a driver as we roll out our campaign strategy.

In Phase 2, OLA will work with hjc to build on the initial campaign to reach current and prospective donors. This phase will include additional content pages and opportunities for people to donate to fund this ever-important research.

posted on Jun 02 No comments yet


Your New Benchmarking Tool: Blackbaud Index-Canada

How does your non-profit compare to other organizations in the Canadian charitable sector? If you’re not sure how you measure up, you’re in luck!

Blackbaud recently released a new index in Canada that lets non-profits benchmark their fundraising efforts within their own vertical and across the larger sector.

Compare your fundraising performance with the Blackbaud Index-Canada.

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posted on Apr 30 2 comments


President’s Message

Our American fundraising colleagues have been lucky the past three years. They’ve had the Blackbaud Index, which tracks charitable giving through hundreds of their clients, and is updated on a monthly basis. It’s been invaluable to non-profit leaders as they look for solid, reliable information to guide their fundraising plans.

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posted on Apr 30 1 comment so far


Personalism versus Professionalism: What doesn’t make us better fundraisers

From 1988 until 1996, I was hospitalized over 60 times with life-threatening, agonizingly painful ulcers.

Through that period, I spent over 137 days in the hospital. I sat in my hospital bed, trying my best to get back on my feet, to meet everything life was throwing at me and be a colleague and friend who still had the energy to be nice, to pay attention to others, and collapse in on my own struggles.

All of that chronic illness culminated in the emergency removal of my large intestine. They constructed a new one from a portion of my small intestine.

Did all of this make me a stronger person? Possibly.

Did it make me someone who is open to the struggles of others? Possibly.

But should I say it makes me a better fundraiser? Probably not.

Why am I telling you this?

We live in an age of emotional projection, where our personal narratives play out in real time through social media. Whatever we experience in our lives is immediately nestled into a public narrative. It’s passed out as a parable in the belief that it can inform our professional practice in fundraising.

I believe these experiences are not as useful as we think they might be for us as professionals.

Does a neurosurgeon talk about her struggles with alcoholism as a tool to make her surgical skills more expert? I don’t think so.

It’s only practice that makes perfect in our profession. It’s learning from failure and success. It’s looking at the numbers. It’s working with people. It’s understanding human nature in a professional sense.

Our personal narratives can help us understand how to identify stories that might be useful to use in fundraising. Our own stories make us better able to see the value of a story that encapsulates the mission and mandate of a non-profit organization.

But does my 137 days of pain in a hospital offer up a professional advantage? No.

It might make me a better person having come through it all with a positive attitude, but not a better fundraiser. Those are two separate things.

Our personal experience makes us more empathetic. But fundraising is still a mechanical, repetitive process. We have to practice over and over to become a better fundraiser.

posted on Apr 11 No comments yet

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