All posts by Nicole Wallace

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Nonprofits Are Excited—and Confused—About Cloud Computing

survey of nonprofits around the world finds both great interest and significant confusion about the potential of cloud computing.

Representatives of more than 10,500 charities from 88 countries answered questions about how their organizations use software located on the Internet rather than from a hard drive or local computer network. The survey was conducted by TechSoup Global, a nonprofit technology group.

The study found that most nonprofits already have some experience with cloud computin…

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Tweaking E-Mail for the Mobile Age

Ever since e-mail programs gave users the option of blocking images, many organizations have added short notes to the top of their messages—variations on “Trouble viewing this e-mail? Click here”—to direct recipients to online versions of the e-mails, images and all.

But while the notes make sense for people who read their e-mail on desktop computers, they can reduce the number of people who open the message when checking e-mail on mobile devices, says Holly Ross, executive director of the Nonpr…

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Y of N.Y. Uses Social Media to Collect Stories—and Donors

A story from the YMCA of Greater New York’s timeline project

To celebrate its 160th anniversary, the YMCA of Greater New York is offering free T-shirts to people willing to share their stories of how the Y has made a difference in their lives.

Within 48 hours of issuing the appeal by e-mail and social media, the organization received nearly 300 stories recounting childhood swimming lessons, triathlon training, exercise programs started after injuries, and long-ago summer camps.

The YMCA has or…

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Facebook Fans Increase by 70 Percent at Some Nonprofits

A new report delves into the Facebook activity of 37 large and medium-size nonprofits, including Earthjustice, Easter Seals, and Oxfam America. The organizations in the study had a median of 31,473 Facebook fans, which represented 103 fan-page users for every 1,000 people on their e-mail lists.

The report, which is a follow-up to the 2012 eNonprofit Benchmarks Study, was published by M+R Strategic Services, a fundraising consulting company, and the Nonprofit Technology Network.

In 2011, the  nu…

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Online Fundraising Increased 19% in 2011, Says New Report

The total that charities raised online jumped 19 percent in 2011 compared with the previous year, and the number of Internet gifts they received climbed 20 percent, according to a new study that analyzes online fundraising and advocacy at 44 national charities.

The 2012 eNonprofit Benchmarks Study was published by M+R Strategic Services, a fundraising consulting company, and the Nonprofit Technology Network.

The share of people who responded to e-mail fundraising appeals and advocacy requests dr…

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Nonprofits Need to Think More About Mobile

The growing number of people using their cellphones to go online is a compelling reason for nonprofits to think more about how they make mobile technology a key part of spreading their messages and operating their programs, Laura Quinn, executive director of Idealware, told participants at the Nonprofit Technology Conference here.

In a recent survey conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 10 percent of cellphone owners said that their phone was their primary means of  getting on…

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The Dangers of an Inactive E-Mail List

Inactive e-mail lists have always posed a challenge to fundraisers, but as spam filters get more sophisticated, the stakes are getting higher, Dan Atherton, a consultant at Chapman Cubine Adams + Hussey, told participants in San Francisco at the Nonprofit Technology Conference.

He said e-mail providers like Google, Hotmail, and Yahoo monitor how people interact with an organization’s e-mail communication, and if not enough supporters open the messages, the providers will stop delivering the mes…

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Balancing ‘Hard’ and ‘Soft’ Technology Costs

When making purchasing decisions on, profit technology managers need to think about both “hard costs,” such as the price of a new software program, and ”soft  costs,” the most important of which is staff time, Richard Wollenberger, director of information technology at the Parents as Teachers National Center, told participants at the Nonprofit Technology Conference, in San Francisco.

For example, when his organization recently bought a system that allows the technology department to push out up…

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The Polar Bear Revolution Will Be Televised


Every year an estimated 1,000 polar bears linger outside the small Canadian town of Churchill, Manitoba, waiting for the Hudson Bay to freeze over so they can start their annual migration. To give Internet viewers a window onto the Arctic scene, a Bozeman, Mont., nonprofit organization is streaming the action live.

Polar Bears International has placed high-definition cameras onto a lodge and a wildlife-viewing vehicle run by Frontiers North Adventures, an adventure-travel company that organizes…

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Children’s Museum Uses Smartphones to Educate Adults

Mother watches video on her smartphone

A mother watches a video she gained access to by scanning a QR code. Courtesy of Children's Museum of Richmond

If Karen S. Coltrane, chief executive of the Children’s Museum of Richmond, had her way, one of the museum’s education experts would accompany every family that walked in the door. But while she laughs at the thought that the Virginia museum would ever have that kind of money, Ms. Coltrane thinks she might have found the next best thing—with a decidedly lower price tag.

The museum has …