Tuesday, November 15, 2011

One of the best on-line donation promotions I've seen

In Minnesota we have something every November called Give-to-the-Max day.  (Here is a link to Give-to-the-Max-Day).  (I think there are a few other places that have similar events.) While it gets a lot of donations, it also results in A LOT of donation request emails in the few days before GttMD.  So, nonprofits need to come up with creative ways to fight through the clutter to get to potential donors.  Here is the most creative on-line donation event I've seen (and it's from an organization in my n'hood)

    From:     The Playwrights' Center
    Subject:     Countdown to #NEWPLAY LIVE!

Join us online tomorrow, Nov. 16, for #NEWPLAY LIVE – a Playwrights’ Center project for Give to the Max Day! 
From 8:30 am - 10 pm (CST) tomorrow, nine talented Playwrights’ Center writers will tag-team to write a new play LIVE online. You will see every line, word, and keystroke as it’s written. But best of all, when you contribute to the Playwrights’ Center on GiveMN.org tomorrow – starting at midnight – you will also have the opportunity to contribute to the play! Depending on the level of your contribution, you can submit a word, prop, line of dialogue, a character and more – and then watch as the writers work your “play element” into the story – no matter how absurd. 
Log on tomorrow to have a whole lot of fun while supporting one of the best new play development organizations in the country. And help spread the word!

•  CLICK HERE to learn more about #NEWPLAY LIVE and watch the play unfold online.

•    CLICK HERE to visit our secure GiveMN.org fundraising page, where you can make your donation on Nov. 16 and receive the link to contribute your new play element!

And here is the 2nd best (another theater organization in my n'hood):

Hi Seward, I'd like give a little promotion for Bedlam Theatre's Give to the Max Day festivities.

As Bedlam's Development Associate, I will be placed in a cage for 24 hours of programming happening in the Bedlam Community Design Center in the Ivy Arts Building live video streamed from our website at Bedlamtheatre.org.

Additionally we will be going on a community bike ride to visit some of our friends in the Seward neighborhood going down the Franklin Avenue from around 11:00AM to noon with our livestream feed and hear about the great things they're doing. If you'd like to come with us on the bike ride, meet up with us at 9:45 at our address at 2712 E. 27th St. email wemakeit@bedlamtheatre.org let us know you're coming.

Come by and check out what's going on. We'd greatly appreciate your support.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The best "your order has been shipped" email EVER

Humor works!!! Below is the email I just received regarding two CDs I ordered on Sunday. (yes, I still get CDs--don't trust that new-fangled MP3 stuff.)

Thanks for your order with CD Baby!

(1) Pamyua: Caught In The Act
(1) Pamyua: Verses

  • Your CDs have been gently taken from our CD Baby shelves with sterilized contamination-free gloves and placed onto a satin pillow.
  • A team of 50 employees inspected your CDs and polished them to make sure they were in the best possible condition before mailing.
  • Our world-renowned packing specialist lit a local artisan candle and a hush fell over the crowd as he put your CDs into the finest gold-lined box that money can buy.
  • We all had a wonderful celebration afterwards and the whole party marched down the street to the post office where the entire town of Portland waved "Bon Voyage!" to your package, on its way to you, in our private CD Baby jet on this day, June 14, 2011.
We hope you had a wonderful time shopping at CD Baby. In commemoration, we have placed your picture on our wall as "Customer of the Year." We're all exhausted but can't wait for you to come back to CDBABY.COM!!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!
We miss you already. We'll be right here at http://cdbaby.com/, patiently awaiting your return.
CD Baby
The little store with the best new independent music.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Avoiding the database project from hell

I'm facilitating a session at the 2011 Minnesota Nonprofit Technology and Communications Conference titled " Avoiding the database project from hell." Here is a link to my summary handout:

My comments to a Net Neutrality hearing for the FCC

Late last summer I presented testimony below at a meeting on the Future of the Internet. It is still relevant. The meeting included two FCC Commissioners, US Senator Al Franken and Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Richie and Free Press CEO Josh Silver. You can find details of the meeting, including video from The UpTake in the Twin Cities Daily Planet here. Another good article, "Communities of color may have most to lose if net neutrality goes" was also in the Daily Planet.

Testimony of Sheldon Mains, August 19, 2010, South High School, Minneapolis, MN:
Commissioners, welcome to Minneapolis. My name is Sheldon Mains. Although I am the president of my neighborhood association in Minneapolis and chair of the board of the Twin Cities Media Alliance. I am here representing myself. I live in the Seward Neighborhood of Minneapolis.

My work with the Internet started in 1992 when I started working to establish an Internet service to meet the needs of nonprofit organizations in Minnesota. That service started operations in 1994 and provided email, web, FTP and gopher services to nonprofits and provided classes to help nonprofits and artists learn to use the Internet. The service had to shut down a few years latter because of pressure from local cable TV provider.

I’d like to tell a short story:

In January 2009 my neighborhood was the site of a triple murder at a store owned by Somali immigrants.

The next morning the “neighborhood leaders” (including myself) met to decide on a response. We had no good ideas. Then someone sent an email to our neighborhood discussion forum suggesting that we hold a vigil that night. The leaders’ response was: “Wow, what a great idea.” We got the word out through email, local blogs, Facebook, Twitter, local websites and face-to-face organizing. We ended up with over 800 people outside in 20 degree below zero weather. That vigil was one reason that the Somali community cooperated with the police. With that cooperation this crime was solved in less than a week.

The vigil would not have happened with an open Internet.
  • First, Our small community could not afford to pay for the “premium delivery service” some providers now want to charge.
  • Second, without home access, that one great idea would not have reached the people who could make it happen.
This raises a number of important issues:
  1. The FCC needs to reestablish its authority to regulate the corporations that sell Internet service at a healthy profit. Remember, the Internet was invented and developed using our tax dollars. The Internet is not the property of the large telecommunications firms; it is ours.
  2. We need to insure real competition: Most residential consumers have at most two choices for Internet service. This is not real competition. Even three or four competitors is not real competition. In economics terms its an "oligopoly"—not really any more meaningful competition than a monopoly. This so-called competition will not solve any problems that could be caused by not having strong net neutrality regulation.
  3. We need strong Net Neutrality regulations that apply to all of the Internet: Net Neutrality has to apply to the whole Internet, including networks that the industry may call by other names but serve the same function. Anything less than that will result in telecommunications companies under-investing in the Internet.
Finally, we do need to improve access. If more people had access in their homes—especially many of our immigrant neighbors who have to rely on a computer lab for access—that vigil would have been even more successful.

I urge the FCC to do its job—Protect the public interest.

Thank you