Publications & Products
March 2017
Volume 15 Issue 3

Research and News of Note

Report: NGOs Rely on Online Tools to Engage Donors

The First Steps in Any Crisis Communications Plan

Report: Online Giving Reached Record High in 2016

Practicing Inclusive Fundraising

Large Gifts Support Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Asia-Pacific

Social Media Event Coverage: Survival Guide for Small Teams

How Listening on Social Can Increase Your Institutional Value


Report: NGOs Rely on Online Tools to Engage Donors

An overwhelming majority of non-governmental organizations agree that social media is an effective tool for creating social change and growing organizations, according to the 2017 Global NGO Technology Report. The report focused on how non-governmental organizations worldwide use online technology to engage their donors.

The survey was conducted from Aug. 1, 2016, through Oct. 31, 2016. The primary goal of the survey was to provide an "updated set of benchmarks for success in online technology for NGO's by continent."

The following are results based upon the survey, collected from 4,908 NGOs from multiple continents.

Key findings:


• 78 percent of global NGOs have a mobile-compatible website.
• 67 percent accept online donations: the majority come through credit card payments and PayPal methods.
• 92 percent of NGOs have a Facebook page, 72 percent have a Twitter presence and 39 percent have an Instagram account.

• 71 percent of NGOs in Asia regularly send email updates to donors.
• 86 percent of Asian NGOs have Facebook pages, and large NGOs have an average following of 170,302.

Australia & Oceania
• 79 percent regularly send email updates to donors and supporters.
• 55 percent agree that social media is effective for online fundraising.
• 51 percent have used social media to report live, using Facebook (68 percent), Twitter (65 percent) or Instagram (23 percent).

• 98 percent of NGOs in Europe have a website.
• 44 percent regularly publish a blog.
• 61 percent accept online donations, mainly via credit card payments and PayPal.

North America
• 85 percent of American NGOs accept online donations through credit cards, PayPal and direct debit payments.
• 50 percent use social media to report live.
• 3 percent regularly send mobile text messages to donors and supporters.


The First Steps in Any Crisis Communications Plan

When do crises typically unfold on campus?

Emergencies can happen any time, of course. But too often, says CASE speaker Katie Halberg, crises seem to strike when staff members might be least prepared to tackle them—4:30 p.m. on a Friday, for instance, or when key staff members are on vacation.

Halberg, director of social engagement at Wright State University, once had a campus crisis unfold while she was taking her son to his birthday dinner. She found herself on the phone trying to track down someone on her Dayton, Ohio, campus to remove an unintentionally insensitive sign.

This is why clear, scalable social media crisis communication plans are critical, Halberg told attendees at CASE's Social Media and Community Conference this month in Los Angeles.

"Do you know who to call?" she said. "Don't wait until it's too late to make a plan."

The first step in a crisis plan is to analyze the threat, she explained. Halberg offered this checklist to help teams assess a situation. If the answer to any of these is "yes," take immediate action:

  • Is there an immediate threat?
  • Are officials unaware of it?
  • Is the crisis trigger still happening?
  • Is it not an isolated incident?
  • Is it not contained?
  • Is it illegal?
  • Is it visual (easily photographable or tweetable, for instance?)
  • Has it gone viral?

Once you assess the threat, that's when the next four stages of crisis plans begin: communication, containment, resolution and recovery.

In the communication phase, develop a statement and clearly explain what has happened, what's happening now and what will happen.

"Distribute information as quickly and calmly as possible," advised Halberg. Remember that transparency is the priority, and it's OK to say you don't have the answers yet or are working to find them, she said.

The next phase—containment—is about preventing escalation. On social media, respond to questions but avoid getting drawn into debates. Although it may be difficult, remain neutral and follow these ABCs of engaging with individuals online during and after the crisis:

  • AAcknowledge the comment.
  • BBe transparent with information.
  • CContact the appropriate department to confirm how to respond.

Halberg suggested adding a D to these ABCs: Do not delete negative comments.

"Let them vent, even if your [staff, trustees, etc.] may not like it," suggested Halberg. "What happens if you delete their comments? They'll repost and bring their friends."

Next, she said, engage in constructive conversations, give them appropriate contact information and move forward rather than dwelling on specific comments.


Report: Online Giving Reached Record High in 2016

A recent report shows that charitable giving in the United States increased 1 percent on a year-over-year basis, and total online giving reached a record high in 2016.

The 2016 Charitable Giving Report includes giving data from 6,845 nonprofits in the U.S., representing $23 billion in total fundraising. The report also includes online giving data from 5,210 nonprofits, which represent $2.6 billion.

Charitable giving to large organizations grew by 1 percent while medium organizations saw growth of 1.7 percent. Small nonprofits continued a flat growth in giving during the same time period at 2015.

In 2016, total online giving accounted for for nearly 7.2 percent of overall fundraising revenue. Of all online giving, 10 percent were gifts of $1,000 or more, and 41 percent of nonprofits received at least one online donation of $1,000 or more.

Other findings include:

  • In 2016, 17 percent of online transactions were made with a mobile device, a 21 percent year-over-year increase.
  • Giving to nonprofits in the arts and culture and K-12 education sectors grew the most. 
  • While giving to higher education grew 1.5 percent year-over-year overall, online giving to higher education grew by 12.3 percent.
  • 4.3 percent of all giving to higher education comes from online gifts.

The report is published by Blackbaud,


Practicing Inclusive Fundraising

Major gifts officers should consider their outreach and donor pools with diversity in mind, according to one fundraising expert and CASE faculty member.

"The college-going population is becoming increasingly more diverse but there are difficulties and challenges," said Jeff Jackanicz, vice president of institutional advancement of Mills College and faculty member at CASE's Major Gifts Strategies, Winter Session.

In his session, "Practicing Inclusive Fundraising," Jackanicz discussed how development shops should approach fundraising opportunities within diverse communities. When reaching out to alumni and potential donors, fundraisers and institutions must be aware of donors whose philanthropy may be consciously informed by race, gender equality, orientation, able-bodied status and a range of other identities.

"Affinity comes across in all kinds of different ways... what would it look like if we were intentional about who we reached out to?" said Jackanicz.

Relying on zip code data and peer reviews when fleshing out lists of prospective donors can leave out members of diverse groups when fundraising, Jackanicz said.

Fundraisers can increase their effectiveness by understanding their institution's identity and history as it pertains to alumni identity. Don't assume that all alumni had a default experience at your institution, he said.

Also, Jackanicz stressed that there is an intersection of identity between the fundraiser and donors. Be mindful of questions that you or your prospective donors may ask during a meeting and understand that their experience at your institution may vary greatly from the modern student, he said.

"Be aware of how you interact and how they perceive you," said Jackanicz. "Be aware of any implicit bias you might have and how this might impact your conversation."


Large Gifts Support Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Asia-Pacific

Recent gifts to Singapore and New Zealand universities will enhance business and entrepreneurship programs on campus, according to news reports.

The University of Auckland Business School received $2.6 million from donor and philanthropist and businessman Owen Glenn that aims to promote entrepreneur initiatives at the school with the development of a new innovation hub, reports the University of Auckland. The innovation hub will provide the space, tools, support and environment for students to test their ideas, according to the report.

A second gift of $30 million to the Singapore University of Technology and Design will bring a large lecture theater to the institution, honoring donor Albert Hong, RSP Architects Planners and Engineers chairman. This large lecture hall will serve as a "central meeting venue for discourse and knowledge exchange," according to SUTD.


Social Media Event Coverage: Survival Guide for Small Teams

Less may be more when it comes to covering campus events on social media.

Not every event needs to be live-tweeted, for instance, and quality posts matter more than quantity, agreed participants in CASE's most recent #casesmc Twitter chat. The topic: how to survive and thrive as a social media team of one.

Moderator Abby Meyer, web content/social media specialist at the University of Nebraska Medical center, said some events are better suited to live streaming than live tweeting.

"I live tweet when there'll be a lot of sharable quotes," she shared during the chat. "Otherwise, live stream. It's more visual."

Whether live streaming or tweeting, choose one or two social media outlets to post live; later, choose your best posts to recap the event on your other channels, participants suggested. Several chatters also advised setting reasonable coverage expectations.

"Four or five well-crafted tweets over an hour is better than a live stream of rushed messages," tweeted Melissa De Witte, digital communications manager at the University of California, Santa Cruz's Division of Social Sciences.

Beyond focusing on quality over quantity, here are other event coverage tips for small social media teams from chat participants.

  • Prepare as much as possible ahead of time. "Pre-write content [and] storyboard shots you want to get," tweeted Erin Hanaburgh, coordinator of enrollment management communications at D'Youville College. Ask for copies of speeches or remarks to plan for quotes and photos. Pre-write tweets as drafts and publish once you know the speaker has said it, suggested Meyer.
  • Capture user-generated content with a hashtag. Aggregate tweets at the event with a visual tool like Tint or Tagboard. Seeing others' tweets and photos can encourage participants to share.
  • Get the essential information first. Focus on key quotes or high-quality photos of important moments. See if someone you know at the event can help round out your coverage. "At the very least, enlist people who have phones with good cameras. You can curate content later if you don't trust them to post," suggested Katie Pozzuoli, owner of On Target Media & Communications. Take photos throughout the event, even if you don't plan to post immediately.
  • Look for partners to help draft messages, take photos or take over social channels. "If it's a big event or conference, I look for student groups with a natural alliance to partner with. Usually they are willing," tweeted De Witte.

Read the full chat recap


How Listening on Social Can Increase Your Institutional Value

Social listening involves more than just monitoring mentions, tags and likes on your institution's social media pages, according to one social media expert. If you aren't really listening to what students are saying on social media, you might be missing out on important social engagement.

"People talk about campuses all the time—much more than they actually talk to campuses," says Liz Gross, social media and market research strategist at Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation. "The key value in social listening is finding when people are talking about you, not to you, and using that to inform your communication strategies, find customer service opportunities, and be a part of the online conversation that is increasingly becoming such a trusted resource for people."

In a recent Currents article, Gross offers tips for enhancing your social listening operation, including taking a team approach to social listening and sharing your successes with staff to garner support.

Read more about these ways in "Cach the Conversation" in the March/April issue of Currents. Download the Currents app for access to the digital edition.