Non-Profits And Live Video

This month’s upcoming email newsletter is going to be all about live video. Click here to subscribe if you want to learn more!

As non-profits increasingly use video to tell their story (or have individuals try to tell another story as in the Planned Parenthood controversy), live video is going to play an increasingly important role.

Live videos have a couple things going for them:

  1. They are not expected to be highly edited or scripted, meaning production takes less time.
  2. They are transparent, as the people in live videos are not only off the cuff but responding to online or real life commenters as the comments are made.

Live Video For Donors

So I’ll admit it, I couldn’t find any non-profits using Periscope to solicit donations. There are certainly ideas out there of how it could work but no compelling example.

Sometimes though, innovation starts in the business world. And while you may be thinking that you could broadcast a live event or founder question and answer or someone/something your donations have helped, you may be thinking “Building goodwill makes sense, but where does the money come in?”



Since people are watching from their phone, they are also paying from their phone. Services like were the missing link for me to ‘get it’ in terms of how people can make actual money on Periscope. So why couldn’t someone, live watching you rescue a whale or give a child a pair of shoes, send you money while watching your non-profit doing real work in real time?

Live Video For Colleagues

It’s, of course, easy for non-profits to go right to the donors as a first audience. As a money grubbing capitalist (something I say mostly jokingly), it is certainly where my mind goes first!

But lots of non-profits work with other organizations or have an occasion to get colleagues together. It made me think of how the City of Vancouver, despite being large, can have citizens involved in it’s initiatives via live video on Periscope. They used Twitter to talk about it:


They used Instagram to talk about it:


And I’m sure they used other social media to talk about it. If you missed talking about it and wanted to, I dare say it was your fault. 🙂 So Periscope could be used to get all your colleagues in the ‘same room’ in a way that’s both easier for everyone.

Live Video For Who You Serve

As a non-profit, you also have a group of people who benefit from your work. And while we saved this important group for last, I am sure you can also see opportunities with educating those you serve about the work you’re doing with them so you can do it better.

The Mayo Clinic has a lot of informational videos (I missed the live #colonoscopy- ‘bum’mer). They get major points for educational content and hashtag usage.


Interestingly, they videotape their radio show as well, showing how you can have the same content be in multiple formats to ensure it reaches a large audience.

(In putting out these blog posts, I don’t want you to read this and think “Sigh, one more thing we have to do.” Instead, this is meant to inspire you to think “Oh, this would help us solve X issue” or “We’d do Y better with Periscope”.) Like everything online, Periscope is a tool in the giant hardware store that is the internet. And with that in mind, we’re working on a series of these posts about live video so stay tuned! In the meantime, are you brave enough for live video? Let us know!

This month’s latest email newsletter will be all about live video. Click here to subscribe to it!

Tech Thursday: Online Fundraising

In this week’s video, we discuss some things to keep in mind when you’re fundraising online, whether you’re doing a campaign for a specific date/event (i.e. you’re running a race for charity or are a pizza place that wants money for a new oven) or want your business to take payment on a continuous basis though a donation form. Things to keep in mind include “All or Nothing” campaigns vs. Flexible Funding, the amount that your fundraising company of choice will keep, and at what point your funds will be released to you (especially if this is money that you’re counting on).

In terms of ongoing money intake, we like to use Stripe because a) it integrates with just about any software, b) it has consistent processing fees, and c) it’s easy to use which encourages people to give money. It’s amazing how much more likely people are to donate money when they perceive it as easy.
We kept the video a bit shorter this week, since we spent most of the day yesterday moving into our new space (yay!), so please forgive our (ahem, Kassie’s) zombie-like mode.

Movember: Mo Money, Mo ‘Staches



Fundraising campaigns are everywhere you turn this time of year, and honestly, seeing all that goodwill makes my heart feel warm and fuzzy. One of the fuzzier campaigns being the recently popular Movember, where men spend the month cultivating ‘staches that range from cringeworthy to glorious (Ron Swanson, anyone?), but it doesn’t matter, because it’s for a good cause. I remember when guys were participating in “No Shave November,” which is a bit more flexible in terms of facial hair and grooming (more on the guidelines later), but this was more of a “let’s see how crazy my beard can get” than “let’s grow facial hair for charity” situation. The only thing better than a man with a beard? A man with a beard who cares about charity.


How did someone come up with this, anyway?

The Movember movement originated in a bar roughly eleven years ago. It started as a friendly mo growing competition (Aussies call mustaches “mo”s, because they have cool names for things) among friends, and was ultimately fueled by a few beers. These facial hair sprouting gents had kind souls, and decided to turn this competition into something that would benefit others. So, they chose some charities which they found relatable, and away they went. The original 30 members paid $10, and it’s been growing ever since(…get it?).
“By encouraging men (who the charity refers to as “Mo Bros”) to get involved, Movember aims to increase early cancer detection, diagnosis and effective treatments, and ultimately reduce the number of preventable deaths. Besides annual check-ups, the Movember Foundation encourages men to be aware of family history of cancer and to adopt a healthier lifestyle.” – The Movember Wiki Page

 So, you just grow a mustache?

Well, not quite. There are rules for partaking in Movember. At the beginning of the month, men start with a clean-shaven face, as rule #1 suggests. My favorite is #5: “Each Mo Bro must conduct himself like a true gentleman…” The rules are straightforward, much like the rest of the Movember marketing plan.

Why is it successful?

Movember isn’t just about who can grow the best mustache (though it’s definitely an incentive). The idea is that participation becomes a conversation starter. It raises awareness/increase funding for programs that aid prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental health issues. In the past, men haven’t exactly been encouraged to talk about their feelings or illnesses. There’s been a stigma attached to men expressing a certain sensitivity, which I personally find absurd, but it exists. The Movember project is cool because it encourages men to be open and involved with their health. Going back to its roots, Movember represents a conversation.
It’s also an inclusive conversation: women can participate, too. Even though the foundation raises money for male-related issues, it doesn’t mean that ladies have to be cut out of the conversation. Women can still show their support, regardless of their ability to flaunt a ‘stache. This approach allows the discussion to grow- if the goal is to increase awareness about certain topics, limiting the audience is going to limit growth.
Another way the foundation has spread the conversation is collaborating with some corporate sponsors, such as Adidas, College Humor, Discovery, Toms, Jameson Black Barrel, and The Prevention Institute. They have a free App available for iPhone and Android, sell t-shirts and hats on their store, or offer collaborative items (shoes from Toms, razors from Harry’s) on their online store, too. In other words, they’ve taken the time to make connections and partner with other organizations that have similar target audiences or missions.  This shows that they’re serious about their own mission and are willing to do the legwork to get some big names on board.
The Movember Foundation’s philosophy is simple: do something fun for a good cause. For “Results We Seek,” the foundation has written “Havin’ fun doin’ good.”  Now, there’s a mission I can get behind.

Tech Thursday: How to Fundraise Online

If you have a project or product that you’d like to get some additional funding for, the internet could be a great place to get started. One popular platform for fundraising online is GoFundMe, which you can use to pitch ideas and get donations from people online (that’s a huge audience!)- even for something as silly as potato salad.

As you might imagine, there are a lot of people trying to raise money out there. How can you increase your chances of being heard (and more importantly, getting people to donate)? First and foremost: is your idea compelling? Will people be interested enough to think, “Yes, that IS a great idea! Take my money!” Next, you want to make it personal. Don’t just throw a Powerpoint presentation online, put a face on the project! This not only shows dedication to your campaign, but assures people that they aren’t just giving their money to some sketchy, random dude in a basement.

Last, but not least, remember that you are FUNdraising. Okay, so that was corny…but showing people that you are fun and grateful for their contributions will go a long way.

Three Ways To Help Someone After A Tragedy: A Captain Nemo’s Case Study


Thursday morning, I woke up to the shocking news that one of my favorite businesses burned to the ground overnight.

Captain Nemos was a restaurant and bar in Bass Harbor. Run by the Cousin’s family who relocated here from Alaska and opened this place, it was an eclectic building that looked like a lighthouse and, from one of the daughters, the whole place was “build from stuff we found at the dump”.

Anyone who has ever been here has commented on the mismatched chairs, children’s artwork on the walls, and the feeling like you’re hanging out in your friend’s living room much more than a seedy bar. Ever since discovering it for myself in 2011, I have loved coming here with local and visiting friends.

Here are several bleh pictures I took with my iPhone in case you too would like to experience this place virtually:



Now Nemos could have just coasted along as a dive bar if they wanted I’m sure. But it didn’t. They regularly held fun and new events, like ugly sweater and toga parties, and created an outdoor seating area with a small bonfire area for chillier nights. They were trying new things while being true to who they are, something all businesses should try to do.

The family lived on the property too, meaning that the fire also took their primary residence.

This is all tragic but since then, people have stepped up to help. And this sense of community is really the reason I live here.

In less than 12 hours, each of the following events happened:

A website, with needed items, was established.
The vehicle in this case a Facebook group. Someone created a document in this group where people could add items and sign up to donate items. If you are more technical, you can set up a basic website with or (The one thing with Facebook is it can get chaotic so having the admin of the group be the coordinator might make the most sense!)

The great thing about this is everyone has stuff lying around but having an exact person who needs it can be really motivating to go through your stuff with a more close eye. Also in the days ahead in particular, having things like pots and pans and towels is going to help in the immediate aftermath.

An online fundraising campaign, to raise capital, was created.
In this case, a GoFundMe page was made to raise money and collect messages/well wishes.

Money is always needed but, until insurance is processed and losses are calculated, it can be hard to tell where to put the cash. So having a short term campaign to raise funds (and having that take a few weeks or months) is actually alright.

A real life event, for more immediate cash, has started to be planned.
Through the Facebook group, a hall has been rented, a local band has offered to play, and local businesses have offered items for an auction. This live event will allow more ‘offline’ people to participate in the effort and create more community awareness about the event. It’ll also give the family support since they’ll be able to see how much people care about them at the event.

And if your neighbor experiences a tragedy, you can do one (or all) of these things too. Really a combination of online and offline events, a combination of cash and item donations, and a collection of support (letters, emails, Facebook messages, phone calls, visits) will help people cope.

Because we’ll all have our turn needing help, which makes giving when we can even more important.

Proud to have been to Nemos.
Proud to be in a community that supports local families and businesses.
Proud that in this tragedy, we can all have some hope, love, and support for the Cousin family.


Two Kickstarter Projects: Ideas On How One Succeeded and One Did Not

Whether you are a business or non-profit, asking for money can be awkward. Non-profit organizations are used to relying on donors but for a long time, this world was not open to businesses.

Since websites like Kickstarter have been in existence, businesses and individuals (in addition to non-profits) have the ability to ask for money related to a specific project. But it can still be awkward.

Here are two campaigns from Kickstarter, one that raised its goal amount (and well past it) and one that did not. Let’s see if we can spot some differences:

Successful campaign: Get Speculative Fiction Book Published
Objective: Create an anthology of stories from people typically marginalized by traditional publishing.

Things I noticed:

  • Both people on the project were in the video talking about why it was important… and had some fun with it. 
  • They had goals and ‘reach’ goals. In other words, in terms of what would happen if they raised more than expected, it was pretty clear at each step what else would happen.
  • The incentives were pretty cool and included different formats of the publication. In other words, I could be near or far and support the cause… and get cool stuff.
  • Progress was regularly posted to the Kickstarter site so everyone knew what was going on.
  • They let people give anywhere from $1 to $1000. The majority of gifts were in the $25 range.
  • They have given to 25 other Kickstarter causes. In other words, they were in the community.
  • They were willing to let contributors participate with their campaign.
Hey look, I can see who they are and why they want to do this!

Hey look, I can see who they are and why they want to do this!

Unsuccessful campaign: Move Colonial Pizza Back To Spring Street
Objective: “Our project is simple in concept: We are hoping to return our pizzeria to Spring Street in Williamstown, MA. This has been a dream of ours for the last 15 years and would be considered a homecoming.We were part of the heart and soul of the town for over 25 years until a fire displaced us to a location on the outskirts of town. ”

Things I noticed:

  • The two minute video had no talking in it. Really? Not one person in the whole place could have gone on camera and talked about why this was important? Since I have three devices just on this desk capable to taking video, whenever I see someone not appear in a video I always think it’s not a lack of technology. If you’re asking for $27,000 the least you can do is ask in person I think.
  • In the slideshow, there is a photo of an employee with a blurred out middle finger. Classy.
  • The incentives for giving are kind of crappy. For example, the $120 level ensures I get $180 worth of pizza later. That’s not an excellent return. It’s not even a cool or novel return.
  • This isn’t really a ‘cool’ thing. It’s not like they are trying an innovative project or serving a new population. They are just moving. Kind of yawn.
  • The idea is kind of presented in a negative way. Like they are on the ‘outskirts’ of town (wonder how nearby businesses feel about that characterization) and just want to go home. I feel sorry for them but feeling sorry for someone doesn’t make me want to help them raise close to $30,000.
  • Aren’t they going to move anyway? Moving seems to be a big enough decision that financially, they are probably ready to do it. It’s like they just want to get free money from Kickstarter.
  • They have backed one cause: their own. Not a part of the Kickstarter community.
  • One update during the campaign. Backers need more than that.
Hey look it's a slideshow already saying what it says in the narrative of the site.

Hey look it’s a slideshow already saying what it says in the narrative of the site.

So from this admittedly very random and small sample, what can we say about how to make your project successful?

  • Transparency– Show who you are and why you want what you want.
  • Timely– Keep stakeholders up to date.
  • Cool– Offer to do something cool. Like the pizza people could have launched a community program (and used the extra generated money to move location)… or they could have just given away cooler prizes to backers.
  • Involved– Like any community, being involved with Kickstarter beyond your own interest helps. It also helps letting donors get involved.

So if you are planning a Kickstarter campaign, hopefully this is helpful!

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