The SVM Wire: Content with Value

Twitter Best Practices for Associations: A Software Advice Study

Twitter Best Practices for Associations: A Software Advice StudyEvery day, social media managers at corporations, organizations, and associations worldwide grapple with the challenge of engaging individuals via social platforms. In a recent study, Software Advice (an online resource for association management technology reviews) sought to gain insight into the problem by exploring the ways in which American professional and trade associations utilize Twitter to engage and maintain contact with their members. The resulting report offers some best practices that similar associations “can use to develop high-impact Twitter campaigns.” Using data from Guidestar and other publicly-available resources, the Software Advice team built a sample of associations that turn to Twitter as a [read more]

Data and Storytelling

Data and StorytellingIn a Harvard Business Review guest post, Walter Frick points out that data is not the answer to all of your business growth and development problems. If businesses focus too much on data, they can easily lose their audience and sacrifice impact. Instead, Frick explains, coupling data with effective storytelling can enable businesses to strike a chord with their audiences by appealing to the shared human experience. This short post might help give you a different perspective on the use of data and some insights into its effective [read more]

The Cost-Outcome Model for Nonprofits

The Cost-Outcome Model for NonprofitsWhen seeking funding, it can be difficult for a nonprofit to explain its cost-benefit analysis model. According to this post, non-profits can seek to remedy this measurement problem by using a strategy borrowed from the medical and finance sectors: cost per outcome. According to Perry Yeatman, the cost per outcome strategy can greatly benefit non-profits that are looking to save money and time. Although we applaud the approach, we at SVM have one issue with the cost-per-outcome model. Unless there is consensus and consistent benchmarks defining success toward the outcome goal, this approach is subjective and ends up unfairly favoring [read more]

Big Data For Social Innovation

Big Data For Social InnovationIn this fascinating article from the Stanford Social Innovation Review, Kevin Desouza and Kendra Smith deconstruct the world of big data, explaining how data sets are being used for marketing and product innovation but are not applied adequately to social innovation. Merck can predict the next Claritin sales spike through data analysis; Target can accurately assess the month a woman became pregnant by analyzing her shopping patterns and Internet usage. However, seldom is big data applied to tackle complex social issues, such as human trafficking or health care reimbursement. This article breaks down a few of the obstacles and offers [read more]

Microfinance and Social Impact: The Crowdfunding Trend

In this LinkedIn article, Kiva board members explore the world of crowdsourced small business ventures. Fueled by the difficulty of securing loans with large banks, more and more entrepreneurs have turned to crowdsourcing efforts like Kickstarter and IndieGogo (Kiva is among these ranks, maintaining a network of individuals and microfinance institutions to generate opportunity via small loans and startup capital). Highlighting case studies like the 73-year-old teacher in Kenya for whom crowdfunding supported his ceramic stove liner business, Julie Hanna and Reid Hoffman argue that, “while many traditional attempts to address poverty often set up recipients for a vicious cycle of dependency, crowdfunding platforms tie opportunity to innovation, accountability, and self reliance,” and provide support where it is arguably most likely to do good.

While crowdfunding has been around in various forms for hundreds of years, its contemporary foundations are often traced to 1997, when fan-based Internet campaigns helped fund a tour for a British rock band and the first film by writer/director Mark Tapio Kines. Today, most crowdfunding platforms fall into one of four categories: reward-based crowfunding options, like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, provide donors with rewards at various levels, often ranging from handwritten notes or certificates to more elaborate prizes like walk-on roles in films; equity crowdfunding enables potential donors to acquire shares and make longer-term commitments to crowdfunded endeavors (beginning this Sunday in Wisconsin, for example, small companies will legally be able to sell stocks on the Internet via crowdfunding sites); donation-based crowdfunding — like GoFundMe, used largely for personal campaigns that may not meet other platforms’ criteria — relies on donors’ interests in particular causes; and credit-based platforms like Lending Club and Kiva, the latter a nonprofit that works with volunteer networks, match applicants to pools of interested investors and/or microfinance institutions. Follow along with our #crowdfundingfacts hashtag on Twitter to learn more.

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The Entrepreneurship of Health Care

Guest blogging for the Harvard Business Review, representatives from Merck pharmaceuticals dive into emerging health care trends and the growing presence of start-ups and small entrepreneurial ventures in the health care landscape. The benchmarks associated with the Affordable Care Act have provided impetus for changes to the way both public and private health care institutions operate, as has the development of new data management techniques. Firms like Rock Health are making venture capital available to new breeds of care providers, including digital health companies. Our work here at Shared Value Media is in part driven by these shifts: programs like the EmblemHealth “Live Healthy” campaign demonstrate the need for new, progressive models that achieve both quantitative and qualitative community health goals. Read the original post here.


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In-Kind Giving and Making Corporate Philanthropy “Cool”

In the U.S. — and, now, internationally — Vans slip-ons have become synonymous with teenage life and skateboard culture. Over forty years after the firm’s establishment in 1966, Vans launched an in-kind giving program true to its roots in creative freedom and customization. Custom Culture, which grew from an art teacher’s attempts to better engage his students, now partners with Journeys, truth (an anti-tobacco-company campaign), and Americans for the Arts to support art in American high schools by providing shoes as canvases for nationwide art competitions. In his spotlight of this campaign, Forbes contributor Ryan Scott suggests that Custom Culture might serve as a model or example of the “underappreciated and underutilized” practice of in-kind giving. Indeed, in-kind giving represents a form of corporate philanthropy that can be comparatively easy to integrate and that presents immense opportunities for community involvement. And, as Scott contests, the payoff can be huge for firms “imaginative enough to creatively tailor an in-kind giving program to the exact personality of their corporate brands.” In this case, that payoff includes striking galleries of student work, funded art programs, and an even more robust reputation of “coolness” for the shoe company of our youths.

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Assessing Donor Satisfaction with Community Foundations

The Center for Effective Philanthropy recently released a report, “What Donors Value: How Community Foundations Can Increase Donor Satisfaction, Referrals, and Future Giving,” based on a survey of over 6,000 philanthropic funders. CEP’s report explores in-depth two key takeaways: (1) that donors happy with the status of their community foundations are, perhaps unsurprisingly, more likely to contribute funding and encourage others to contribute funding and (2) that “the strongest predictors of donor satisfaction are donors’ sense of the foundation’s level of responsiveness when they need assistance and donors’ perceptions of the foundation’s impact on the community.” Donors respond strongly to foundation engagement and community impact: the foundation that effectively promotes interaction between community groups and remains aware of community needs tends to be considered most favorably among donors and therefore becomes more likely to receive funding.

While the CEP’s findings might seem conceptually intuitive, the report’s case studies provide interesting insights into the ways in which foundations act upon the promises of responsiveness and community engagement. In the wake of September 2013 floods in Boulder, Colorado, for example, the Community Foundation Serving Boulder chose to take a personal approach that transcended a general partnership with the local United Way or Red Cross branch: according to foundation president Josie Heath, “They realized we were there to listen to them, to know what was happening, and to develop funds that were responsive to the needs that they had that weren’t as high level as FEMA or Red Cross but more in keeping with the culture of those communities.”

“What Donors Value” presents a detailed look at donor responses with regard to a number of criteria, including foundation administrative fees and investment strategies and staff reliability. Ultimately, the report concludes that “to thrive, community foundation boards and leaders must pay careful attention to the capacity of their organizations to be able to deliver excellent customer service while positioning themselves to have impact in their communities” — in short, they must treat their funders as respected clients and remain attentive to the individualized needs of local communities and their subsets. Also embedded in the report is a worksheet for foundation representatives to assess their own donor satisfaction and identify potential points of weakness.

Download the report here, or read an analysis on the report by Lori Larson, senior director of GuideStar DonorEdge and former employee of the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation.

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Digital Storytelling for Social Impact: Insights & Best Practices

The Rockefeller Foundation’s report on digital storytelling — embedded below for viewing as a slideshow — probes data on the shifting point of intersection of narrative and technology. As the report’s forward explains, the information being analyzed was collected from “interviews and roundtable discussions with thought leaders in entertainment media and news, brand strategy, technology, philanthropy, government, nonprofits, and business.” Perhaps most important is the assertion that no “one-size-fits-all” solution exists when it comes to media platforms: the individuals running social impact organizations have to decide how best to relay their messages and narratives using tools as varied as content management systems like WordPress and public audiovisual installations.

Download the report from the Rockefeller Foundation here


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