Friday Fiesta: conference, quakes and coffeeeeeeSubmitted Fri Aug 26 2011 13:45:56 GMT-0400 (EDT)
It's Friday and I actually drank coffee today. That's your warning.
Hey, we're doing that conference thing again. Sign up here for the November 1st Salsa Community Conference, and read about last year's version, courtesy of Ilyse. I'll be there, less caffeinated.
Our July Third Thursday on rapid response was so well-attended, the room was packed and we had to move out the video equipment. No streaming, sorry, but you can read Laurin's notes.
Thanks to Bill for his comments regarding tracking group counts over time.
There are some great recommendations for Anonymous donor tracking.
Some members discussed pasting content through iphones and tablets.
I get too excited about Salsa Scoop posts that are not written by my coworkers. Check out Drew Hudson's tips for bigger, better action buttons.
Thanks to those who checked on us post-quake. Living in Wisconsin, I found the news surreally entertaining, but I know several of the DC folks were pretty shook up (and I didn't just write that because I'm a geek about puns).
The League of Women Voters reminds us to celebrate the 91st anniversary of the 19th Amendment today. Yay! I love voting!
Transportation for America invites pictures of unsafe and poorly planned streets.
Forest Ethics says no to Tar Sands bananas.
Finally, my coworkers are boring me, and I'd really like some new ones. We're hiring, and you should apply.
Have a happy weekend! I'll be enjoying a bluegrass festival and maybe actually doing some laundry...
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Friday Fiesta: donation queries, Free-for-Alls and food on sticksSubmitted Fri Jul 15 2011 14:38:54 GMT-0400 (EDT)
Did you see Jason's Highlight post last week? I think these donation query conditions are pretty awesome.
Thanks to Shilpa for the feedback on recurring donation triggers.
Does anyone import Salsa donations into Salesforce? Let Ronna know how you do it.
Thanks for the tips on templates with a banner image.
Happy Birthday! NCADP is 35 years old this month!
toomuchonline.org, a project of the Institute for Policy Studies, focuses on income inequality.
Salsa Team Trivia
What's your favorite thing about county fairs?
This week's question was inspired by my weekend plans. In my county, we have two fairs, but the most official county fair is this weekend. My favorite thing: baked potatoes from the 4-H food stand and walking through all of the animal barns with a toddler. Something about the boy just makes chickens so much more fun!
- Allen, Senior Support Specialist: I think I like the small town atmosphere of a county fair. Usually, there's no organized parking, the people you pay are local folks helping out, and everyone is there to have a good time. The best part, however, is the stories that you'll hear. Just ask anyone about what they are doing or exhibiting, and you'll get a wonderful view of a completely different world.
- Jess, Support Specialist: Food on sticks.
- Perry, User Interface Engineer: I've never been to one, I don't think. Unless they have a Gravitron, in which case the Gravitron is my favorite thing.
Have a happy weekend!
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Friday Fiesta: fireworks, playgrounds, and the Summer of SalsaSubmitted Fri Jul 01 2011 14:31:36 GMT-0400 (EDT)
Last week's highlight featured the Events Waiting List trigger.
April shares what you can look forward to for this Summer of Salsa.
Google released a new security feature that you might want to pay attention to. Brett posted tips for making sure you handle this well.
Did you miss the Third Thursday (on the fourth Thursday)? That's okay, you can catch it here, as well as view Brett's presentation on spam and Alli's presentation on lolcats... I mean,
Will posted suggestions for floating forms here.
kaBOOM! helps build playgrounds - how cool is that?
A fond farewell to Mothers Acting Up and thanks for your work!
Salsa Team Trivia
What's your favorite Independence Day tradition?
This week's question was of course inspired by this coming weekend. My response? Lake Tomahawk, Wisconsin has a snowshoe baseball game every year. Yes, they wear snowshoes and play baseball in sawdust. My grandpa's an umpire every year, which of course, is super-thrilling if only because he's my grandpa!
- Anupama, New User Setup and Senior Project Manager: Making pizza with red and white stripes (tomatoes and cheese), and watching the parade go by on the street where my parents' house is. And sparklers!
- Nick, Support Specialist: My favorite tradition is using fireworks in ways they are not supposed to be used. However, this year I won't be able to since we currently have a Burn Ban in Texas.
- Shawn, Support Specialist: Other than sleeping in? Throwing something on the grill.
- Zak, Support Specialist: So I bought some giant fireworks from Pennsylvania about three or four years ago. Every Independence Day since then, I have planned to launch them off, but they are so huge and scary that I never actually do. It has become sort of a tradition at this point.
Have a happy weekend!
Friday Fiesta: animated GIFs, pesticides, and Salsa DadsSubmitted Fri Jun 17 2011 13:55:00 GMT-0400 (EDT)
This month's Third Thursday will be on the fourth Thursday, June 23. Yes, we can do that. Check out this post for all the details.
A couple of my coworkers are in Minnesota, enjoying Netroots Nation.
Embedding YouTube videos won't work on blasts, but Brett recommends trying out an animated GIF.
Thanks to Scott for some tips on Event attendee updates.
The Environmental Working Group's new dirty dozen list is out.
Pesticide Action Network wants Congress to stop listening to the pesticide industry.
Salsa Team Trivia
What is your favorite thing about being a dad?
This week's question was of course inspired by Father's Day weekend. Pictured above, Dave and his daughter. I asked some of our Salsa Dads for their thoughts:
- Allen, Salsa Support Specialist: The best thing about being a Dad is finding out, after your kids are adults, that you really didn't do that badly after all. We're all afraid that we may have messed up somewhere, or did something wrong, or failed to do something right. Then we find out that what we did was exactly right, and our kids are great folks to be around.
- Dave, VP of Services and Support: When my two-year-old says legitimately hilarious things, knowing she's being funny, and makes me laugh.
- J5, Software Developer: Teaching my four-year-old daughter to do multiplication on her fingers or with Legos.
- Sam, Director of Development: Having someone who is always happy to see you (Except at bathtime).
- Taylor, CFO: Walking into her room first thing in the morning and seeing her bright smile. No better way to start the day.
- Yonathan, Application Developer: Kids keeping me on my toes.
Have a happy weekend! I'll be enjoying a dairy festival, a renewable energy fair, and celebrating fathers!
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Friday Fiesta: Double Opt-ins, short forms, and Texas toastSubmitted Fri May 27 2011 16:00:12 GMT-0400 (EDT)
I've had a crazier week than usual, and I'm trapped in Texas while we adopt a daughter. Did I say trapped? Sorry, I might be holding a grudge for Jessica Simpson and the Bush family.
Configuring a Double Opt-in Signup Page? Make sure you check out our Weekly Highlight post for some tips.
Missing emails? You'll probably want to email support. We like to check out the specific details for your account.
Want to create a short signup form for your home page? We do have some sample source code for you.
Thanks to Bill for great feedback on scheduling exports of reports.
We do merge legislative names into action salutations automatically.
Women's Voices for the Environment is targeting SC Johnson with one of their actions.
Slow Food gathered nearly 33,000 signatures on their "Farmarazzi" petition. Check out this post to see their slideshow of results.
Salsa Team Trivia
What is your favorite thing about Texas?
This week's question was inspired by my trip to Houston. My favorite thing so far? This new being I'm fetching (photo above).
- Allen, Salsa Support Specialist: Being born here gives us a distinct outlook on life. And we all feel it. It's reinforced every day, and that distinctly Texan outlook continues despite changes in population, lifestyles and culture.
- Dave, VP of Services and Support: There is nothing good about Texas.[Dave is from Oklahoma.]
- Erin, HR Manager: My favorite thing about Texas is the caked-on eyeshadow. And it's always in shades of gold!
- Hilary, Manager of Services: [Senior Support Specialist] Chris Vaughn! That sounds creepy. So… they have their own toast.
Have a happy weekend!
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Friday Fiesta: release processes, Adwords, and favorite fruitsSubmitted Fri May 13 2011 13:13:00 GMT-0400 (EDT)
I'm sure you missed the Fiesta. Even if you didn't, please pretend so I can feel all special and Friday-like.
Jake's ditching Salsa's support team to lead our Training and Online Learning, and he's diving right in with our Third Thursday on May 19, at which we'll share more about our release process and some of our newest futures. Jake also used the words "nosh" and "victuals" in his blog post yesterday, so if you're strangely not interested in the presentation, enjoy the writing, anyways! Oh, also: farewell to Trina, former Manager of Training and Online Learning, thanks for existing, and best wishes for grad school. I'll try to get over these grudges as soon as possible.
Speaking of our release process, check out these notes from our most recent release.
Daniel has some questions about using Google Adwords with Salsa urls.
What is a sticky? Gooood question. You should let John know how you like to use them.
Have you targeted regulations.gov forms with Actions?
Thanks for the great feedback about donation trigger fields and testing donation pages.
Oh, and we're hiring. You totally want to work with me.
Kudos to the Sanctuary for Families, recognized as a finalist for the New York Times Nonprofit Excellence Awards.
The Center for Biological Diversity and Friends of the Earth joined the Campaign for Commercial-Free Childhood as official partners in their "Stop Selling Kids on Coal" campaign.
Daily Kos is sending a cake (and petition signatures) to Speaker John Boehner.
Salsa Team Trivia
What is your favorite kind of fruit?
This week's question was inspired by the regular Wednesday delivery of fruit that our offices receive. My favorite fruit? Pomegranate, perhaps because they're such a pain to actually enjoy.
- Scott, Senior Support Specialist: Apple. I can't help that my taste buds are boring.
- Shannon, Support Specialist: That's like asking a parent who's their favorite child. I'm kind of fruit obsessed (always have been), but I'll go with plums.
- Tyler, Sales Associate: I eat way too much grapefruit.
Have a happy weekend!
Remembering you're humanSubmitted Thu Mar 24 2011 13:38:42 GMT-0400 (EDT)
Susan Gordon, Non-Profit Coordinator with causes.com, gave a number of tips and examples for engaging supporters through social media more effectively last week at NTC.
She started by reminding us that online fundraising appeals should not be treated the same as direct mail campaigns. For one thing, it's really difficult to create communities through the mail. Even if I donate and get a thank you note, I'm not going to feel as connected to your larger community. The great thing about social media with regards to fundraising is that we can create online community and keep our supporters engaged, which means they'll be more likely to care about, connect with, and financially support a cause.
Fundraising isn't the only facet benefiting from social media, because social media activism is not just about bothering people to donate money. It's more about showing people how you're impacting the world, and, ideally, engaging more supporters in the conversation.
One common misconception, Gordon noted, is that we need a huge supporter list for our social networking to be effective. In fact, it can be just as, if not more beneficial to have a small group of truly dedicated super-activists. Some smaller nonprofits have even managed to recruit their staff and volunteers from their online communities.
The best ways to communicate with your online communities
Communicate regularly by asking and responding to questions from your supporters. If you have a fundraising appeal, set goals and follow up with how it went, even if you didn't reach your goal! It's always important to say thank you for the support you did receive.
Make sure your action or appeal is shareable (shareable is a weird word), something that your supporters can identify with, and that you have a clear idea of how you want your supporters to share your message.
To avoid fundraising asks that don't resonate, consider asking your community ahead of time what they're willing to support and interested in.
Focus on reach, not on relationships. Don't get too caught up in the number of supporters, but focus on their actual engagement and what they're doing for you and with you as part of your community. Instead of just looking at the number of Facebook "likes," consider also whether they'll take action if you ask them too.
Keep in mind that not all of your supporters are created equal. Not everyone who follows you is super-interested in what you do. Some have specific talents that they might want to share with your organization. Keep an eye out for your more valuable contacts and work on engaging them further.
Don't think of it as "Donate or bust." People are more complicated. If they didn't donate when you first asked, see if you can engage them with a survey or action. Remember that your contacts are actually human.
Along the same line, remember that you're a human, too! Reply to questions and comments with a personal voice and free yourself up to use more casual language. Not everything you post should have to go through your communications channel for approval.
Prodding an elephantSubmitted Mon Mar 21 2011 13:16:05 GMT-0400 (EDT)
NTEN's Nonprofit Technology Conference was the biggest ever this year with registration of 2008 individuals. Every session I attended was informative and engaging, inspiring ideas for change and new ways of thinking about nonprofit advocacy and Salsa's role in the conversation. Dan Heath's presentation on making change was a refreshing and entertaining example of llama.
The author of Switch and a columnist with Fast Company, Heath said that though change seems difficult, we still manage to jump into change often, whether getting married, having children, getting over polyester fashions or moving somewhere new. These sorts of changes usually inspire smiles, but we still think of "change" as a terrifying thing.
Heath offered ways to think of change that are less terrifying, breaking his process into smaller steps and inviting us to change how we approach making change. Explaining that we use two parts of our brains when committing to change, Heath outlined how the emotional part of our brain is like an elephant while the rational part of our brain is like a rider of the elephant. The rider really thinks he or she is in charge, but if the rider ever disagrees with the elephant… trouble.
Even if you convince a number of people logically to support your viewpoint, there is an elephant in the crowd that's perfectly comfortable with how things worked yesterday. "You deserve ice cream. Check your email again. Call your ex." are the things we hear from our emotional brain. Probably don't listen to the elephant in these instances, but the elephant also gives us the feelings of "Wouldn't it be cool if…" "Let's move. Let's make a decision," and is the fuel for action and change.
Therefore, we have to make sure that the emotional part of our brain is ready and willing for change. To make this easier, Heath suggested three steps: Direct the rider, Motivate the elephant, and Shape the path.
Direct the rider
If you want to figure out how to make change in your organization or in the world, there's probably a problem to solve. Instead of focusing on all the little or big issues that need to be overcome to actually solve the problem, start by looking at what's working. Focusing on what's already working and how to do more of that enables you to work towards solving the problem without getting sidetracked by all the other problems that would have been roadblocks otherwise.
Motivate the elephant
For people to believe things, they often need to see the problems. Change starts with feeling, not with analyzing. Eliciting pity through pictures of starving children is an effective way to inspire feeling, except it has a side-effect because people can't take too much of it and start to ignore you. Eliciting guilt by sending a nickel by direct mail and asking your contacts to return it also abuses social norms for reciprocity.
You would never see a Nike ad that says "a lot of people in the world are slow and athletic," so why can't we be selling hope and success as well? The reason we do this work is because we believe there's a difference to be made. Instead of using the negatives to elicit feeling, focus on what's possible. Before and after pictures of how people have benefited from a homes for the homeless program inspired a strong emotional response with only images. Show your supporters what's possible and how they can help make more of the good.
Shape the path
It's easier to change a situation than it is to change a person. People aren't necessarily intentionally being defiant, but if we're used to the way things have always been done and something new isn't as easy, we're going to resist the new. Therefore, every tweak that you can make to your process matters. From giving clearer directions, providing simpler forms, it's important to "shape the path for a better view."
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Friday Fiesta: conferences, Geek Lab, and cookiesSubmitted Fri Mar 04 2011 16:10:00 GMT-0500 (EST)
I have the hiccups. It's a little annoying, but I'll probably survive. Speaking of annoying and surviving, I'm both loving and hating Wisconsin passionately this week...
A couple conferences are coming up - SXSW and NTEN - and Salsa Staff will be there.
If you use Designation codes for your donation pages and don't want to have to manually type all of your options in, Chris V posted some instructions on adding a drop-down for Designation to your donation pages.
Will's working on search engine optimization and could use your help.
Scott thought he'd clarify how cookies work for us.
Thanks to Bill for his response on Shara's question about contacting legislative committees through actions.
Thanks to Anne for her feedback on date format.
Thanks to Sue for her detailed feedback on Salsa issues.
We're having another Geek Lab for our next Third Thursday event on March 17. We last had live support with our Geek Lab at our conference last summer, and we found it quite fun.
In the Salsa Sphere
All right, I might reach for alliteration too frequently, but a few great causes through Salsa pages caught my eye this week. (If you'd like me to highlight yours at any point, feel free to let me know!)
Feminist Majority and Ms. Magazine are requesting your reports of gender pricing gaps.
The New Organizing Institute posts great tips on organizing - sign up to receive more.
Standing on the Side of Love encourages Arizonans to contact their Governor.
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Friday Fiesta: template security, sharing thoughts, and
Submitted Fri Feb 25 2011 16:35:02 GMT-0500 (EST)