Do Good channels are up and running and available for nonprofit recruitment in Des Moines and Rochester.
These are our 12th and 13th public Do Good channels and both are connected to Gannett properties - The Des Moines Register and The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. Though the channels are available today the connect2cause widgets are not yet deployed at the partner sites - that'll happen during the week of 6/8. These are the first two of nine near-term Gannett launch markets with seven more immediately scheduled after these two. And many, many more to come after the first nine.
If you're a nonprofit and would like to learn more, join us for one of our webinars – Thursday, May 21 at 1:PM or Wednesday, May 27 at 2:30PM. Our webinars are fun, fast, and free and on them nonprofits learn how our Do Good channels can help them reach more people to get them engaged in their cause.
I've been invited to a meeting this Wednesday in Washington, DC with the First Lady - "The purpose of this meeting is to roll out the vision of service for the Administration for the summer and to learn about how your organization can be engaged."
Pretty nifty stuff.
With Do Good channels up in 10 local markets and at USA Today we have a pretty amazing network to help in the efforts for summer service engagement.
Volunteer Rate Ranking: 38th within the 50 large cities
Average Volunteer Rate: 25.4%
Volunteer Hours Ranking: 39th within the 50 large cities
Average Volunteer Hours per Resident: 30 hours
We're thrilled to be bringing Do Good channels to both cities.
If you're a nonprofit and want to learn more- join us for a webinar on Thursday, May 21st or Wednesday, May 28th. Our webinars are fun, fast, and free and you'll learn everything you need to know about Do Good channels and how they can help nonprofits reach more people.
Starting over the next week or so we're rolling out our second generation connect2cause widgets to our existing partners and this is a huge change for everyone. Huge.
Deploying the new widgets makes working with good2gether far easier for our media partners.
In most cases we'll have connect2cause widgets in more places at our partner sites.
The widgets -through 'widget math' - drive nonprofit aggregation (significantly). I'll explain that in a bit.
The new widgets allows us and our partners to respond to problems nearly instantly.
And, finally, we can begin optimizing the links in the widgets.
Incidentally, if you'd like to see an example of a 2nd gen widget, take a look at Sharing at USA Today.
So here's the back-story - this will help you understand why this is such a big change. To program the links in the connect2cause widgets this is what we have to do today:
Allison looks through the new events, volunteering opportunities, and in-kind donation needs in the local Do Good channel.
She takes the interesting stuff that she finds, grabs the URL for the item and writes a short title and drops both in a spreadsheet.
She has to do this for a bunch of items - we always try to have unique content in each connect2cause widget. With five widgets at, for instance, Boston.com, that means 15 items.
Then she sends the spreadsheet off to the newspaper partner.
They then need to update the widgets by hand to incorporate our recommendations and update the links. And this effort needs to be done by people who already have way, way too many items on their 'to do' list.
The result of this painful process? The widgets aren't updated, at most partners, nearly as often as they should be. And here's why that is bad - stale links don't work. If people see the same links in the widget over and over and over they stop clicking on them. Also, because it was such a pain to do the updates for our partners, we couldn't do any optimization. We would love to say, '…now try this phrase for the first three days for this volunteering opportunity and then try this one for the same item for the next three days and let's see if we get better click-through rates …' but given the bandwidth issues that couldn't happen.
So there we are - with great partners and great pieces of real estate for connect2cause widgets at our partners' sites that are, all too often, sitting fallow.
3. is the control for the widget within the channel console.
Now here's the new process:
Allison looks through the new events, volunteering opportunities, and in-kind donation needs in the Do Good channel.
She takes the interesting stuff that she finds, comes up with a clever tag line, and features it within the widget (each widget is controlled separately) using the 'c2c Section' functionality in our content management system.
The widget looks to the server three times per day - when it finds new links, bang, they're in the widget.
It's that easy. Easy for us. Easy for our media partners. Easy for our nonprofit partners.
For our media partners, once they've 'installed' the widgets, they're done. We do all the management. Fresh content all the time. We'll also begin optimizing stuff - what content drives click-thru's? What words work better? It's all easy to control and test. And we'll start to editorially control the widgets - it's heart month, earth day, volunteering week…all the widgets and the featured links marching in lockstep.
For our nonprofit partners, it's fantastic! Have an issue, an event, a volunteering opportunity that needs to be addressed right now? Let us know and we can 'push' it into the widget nearly instantly.
And widget math pulls in more content. What's widget math? If a newspaper partner has widgets in 5 sections and each widgets has, on average, 3 featured links and we plan on updating the widgets twice per week to start (Mondays & Thursdays) that means 5 sections X 3 links X 2 updates/week = 30 nonprofit engagement items featured per week. And 120 per month. And over 1,400 per year! At any given partner. That's widget math. We now have a calculus for our nonprofit partners - get your stuff in, keep it updated, we're going to be cycling through lots of nonprofit content quickly and as we've demonstrated, if you're featured in a widget, you'll get results.
And it turns out - some (Most? All?) of our partners will be putting the new widgets in more places. Among the first two existing partners converting are San Antonio and Chicago.
Widget math - 8 sections X 3 links X 2 updates/week = 48 nonprofit engagement items featured per week and over 190 per month and over 2,300 per year.
Easier and better for our media partners. Easier and better for our nonprofit partners. Easier and better for good2gether. And we'll be delivering better and more frequently updated links for all those Do Gooders in the world.
The new connect2cause widgets are a win for everyone.
So when we started hearing from nonprofits in the nine markets that we had scheduled to launch next that they needed more time to get their profiles, their events, their volunteering opportunities, their in-kind donation needs, and more into the Do Good channels, we wanted to give that time. So we're moving the launches for the following nine markets out a bit – from a few weeks to a month or more.
Everyone wants to take part in the launch of local Do Good channels and we want to give the time necessary so they can do it right.
But, if you're a go-getter in one of those markets, you still might want to get going today and not wait. Why?
Every day we're featuring nonprofits and their events, volunteering opportunities, and in-kind donation needs in the Sharing section at USA Today. We're looking for new nonprofit engagement every day and you could be featured. And who wouldn't want to be featured at USA Today? But we can only feature you and your nonprofit engagement if you've already joined.
If you're ready to get going today and want to take advantage of USA Today, then join now. It's free. It's easy. And it's simple - just type and enter your programs, events, volunteering opportunities, in-kind donation needs, and more and reach more people get them involved in your cause.
If you'd like to learn more, join us for one of our webinars - they're fun, fast, and free - and you'll learn everything you need to know about our Do Good channels and how they can help your nonprofit engage more people in your cause. Go to our events page to register for the webinar that fits your schedule.
And don't forget - help us spread the word! We need your help to tell other nonprofits - your members, your chapters - about this amazing opportunity. We'd be more than happy to get you an email template to use to get the word out.
Our idea is really simple, let's use the power of local media web sites to get more people involved in nonprofits. More people volunteering. More people attending events. More people engaged in the community. These are challenging economic times. It's more important than ever to find new ways to reach more people and to get them involved in your cause. Do Good channels represents an incredible opportunity - make sure you and your organization take advantage of it.
And if you're looking to do some good, visit one of our Do Good channels and find great nonprofits and help make real and important change in your local community:
We're in active launch mode for our latest Do Good channel - that'd be Do Good chichi…also known as Do Good Palm Beach. :-)
We're thrilled to welcome The Palm Beach Post to our Do Good network. The launch process has started: nonprofit outreach, connect2cause integration, and Do Good channel generation. They should be up in June. That's the amazing thing - we can launch a Do Good channel anywhere almost instantly.
Do Good Palm Beach will be our fourth channel in FL (our first state with four!):
The Palm Beach area is a great giving and volunteering market and it'll be wonderful to have Do Good Palm Beach up and running.
Palm Beach will be part of the next ten that go live. They'll be joining: Des Moines IA, Fort Myers FL, Indianapolis IN, Knoxville TN, Nashville TN, Rochester NY, Westchester County NY, Washington DC, and Wilmington DE.
In the not too distant future every community will have their own Do Good channel. And the cool thing is, nonprofits enter their stuff once, and they're discoverable in every single one of them - enter once, appear everywhere.
Go to Statesman.com – the web site of the Austin American Statesman. Click on Life. And what's right there in the middle of the page? The badge – Volunteer In Austin – that'll take you right to Do Good Austin.
We've build a simple, easy to use, network for cause engagement. That's completely and absolutely free for nonprofits.
A wonderfully simple content management system married to an incredibly powerful distribution network that delivers nonprofit content nonprofit engagement - virtually anywhere and everywhere. Making it discoverable in every Do Good channel. Discoverable through every connect2cause widget. Shareable on Facebook. MySpace. Twitter. And beyond.
And a big, big push for us in the second half of this year? Personal syndication widgets that will enable anyone to grab their favorite cause and put it anywhere. And syndication widgets delivering nonprofit engagement right back to the nonprofits own web site. The folks at the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center put the good2gether-powered Do Good badge (an early version of our syndication widget) on their blog. When you click on the badge (highlighted in yellow) it takes you right back to their profile in the Do Good channel.
Enter once. Appear everywhere. That's the ultimate power and appeal of what we're doing. It's the message that nonprofits love to hear.