Google upgrades its digital tools for nonprofits, 3/16/11

Google has announced the expansion of its pioneering charity program, Google for Non-Profits. The site has actually been up for some time now, but Wednesday [marked] a relaunch with several key additions to the suite of tools that already include AdWords, special YouTube privileges and Apps. The new site will streamline the application process for non-profits by creating just one form to access Google's suite of tools.  If a non-profit is approved (it must be a registered 501(c)(3) in the U.S.), it will gain access to Google's suite of non-profit tools: up to $10,000 a month in advertising in Google AdWords, free or discounted Google Apps, premium features on YouTube and mapping technologies through Google Earth.  Google is also launching three new additions to its umbrella of non-profit products geared towards providing ongoing support and IT help: a slew of instructional videos, a Make A Change section, and a Google for Non-Profits Marketplace.


Related: The value of YouTube's nonprofit program

Nonprofit Tech 2.0 blog, 3/14/11

A quick browse of nonprofits on YouTube reveals that the vast majority of nonprofits are not taking advantage of YouTube's Nonprofit Program. Available to most nonprofits in United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia, the program is free and only takes a few to minutes to apply. Once approved, which can take weeks and sometimes months (be forewarned), nonprofits are offered:

         Premium branding capabilities and increased uploading capacity

         The option to drive fundraising through a Google Checkout "Donate" button

         Listing on the Nonprofit channels and the Nonprofit videos pages

         Ability to add a call-to-action overlay on your videos to drive campaigns

The premium branding capabilities alone make it well worth your time and effort to apply. First impressions are very important online and non-branded YouTube channels pale in comparison to those nonprofits that utilize YouTube's Nonprofit Program features.


Google encourages the arts to experiment - quietly -- with digital

The Stage, 3/17/11

Arts organisations should be using digital technology to take risks on new projects that can "fail quietly", according to Google Europe's creative director Tom Uglow.  Uglow, who runs a 30-person creative studio responsible for projects such as the YouTube Symphony Orchestra, was speaking at the launch of the BBC and Arts Council England's Building Digital Capacity for the Arts project this month.  He described the digital age as "profoundly important" to the culture sector, and added that small experiments can be a "great way to learn and to be able to fail quietly". "The cost of that experimentation is still very, very low," he added.  Uglow highlighted a new application called 'When Should I Visit?,' which was developed out of a recent event held by the Royal Opera House, as an example of using a digital platform to engage people in the arts.  The application provides people with information of when theatres and galleries have quiet periods and tickets available. Uglow described a project likes this as "simple, quiet and quick" and one that can be dropped if it does not work. 


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Commentary: Marketing your arts project on a budget: To DIY or not to DIY?

Ciara Pressler, Fractured Atlas blog, 3/17/11

When you're producing on a budget... every artist's instinct is to do as much as possible themselves to keep costs down and the vision streamlined, but taking on duties that are unfamiliar can often hurt the project's success, from lack of expertise to draining valuable time and resources.  Many new producers (and playwrights and authors and artists) are unclear when it comes to marketing and publicity. So here are some questions to ask before deciding whether to outsource promotion: What are my project goals?  How much do you really have to sell?  Do I know who my target audience is and how to get information to them?  Do I have the time?  Do I have the money?

More marketing considerations: How did marketing and PR go for my last, most similar project?  How are projects with similar scopes doing their marketing and PR?  Does it make sense to brand this project now for future iterations?  How big and how loyal is my mailing list?  How many opens, clicks, and sales do I get from my promotional emails?  How many Facebook connections do I have?  Twitter followers?  How many people do my cast and creative team know, and will they actively promote to their connections?  Am I prepared to wear multiple hats with my creative team?  Am I well-acquainted with current graphic and web design standards?  Do I know how to leverage online tools like social media and search engines to get attention? If people their services for free, like graphic design, what happens if they miss my deadline or I don't like what they create?

More PR considerations: Do I know the protocol for interacting with press? Do I understand the structure and content of a press release? Is this project pressworthy? Do I have a current press contact list? Do I have an industry-experienced photographer? What makes this project different from any other? Does my board expect to see media coverage?


Commentary: Making it work - nonprofits and pro bono marketing services

Susie Bowie, Getting Attention guest blogger, 3/17/11

There's an unexpected stranger standing at the intersection between nonprofit organizations and creative agencies offering "free" website, advertising or marketing services.  He has many names, but is most commonly known as "Why did we say yes?," "We should have thought about this more" and "Man, this is a disaster."   I recently spoke with Patricia Courtois of Clarke Advertising and Public Relations (based in Sarasota, Florida), about how to make it all work from both sides of the fence:

For Nonprofits:  Just because a company or individual offers their services without a fee doesn't mean it's the best fit for your organization. Do your homework -- check references, find out what the agency might expect from your nonprofit in return. Understand you share the commitment. Pro bono creative still involves staff direction, availability and support from your nonprofit. Know that many times, agency staff work after-hours on your pro bono project. Respect that with flexibility and being super-organized so your meetings are efficient and productive.

For Creative Agencies:  Make sure your staff is fully committed to the cause. Is the nonprofit's mission a fit with your agency's mission? Is it something everyone is on board with? If not, your account executives may feel resentment about the use of their time.  Make sure there's skin in the game.  Creative services can be undervalued if there is no cost at all to the nonprofit.  It's a business contract, even if it's pro bono. Providing a full scope of work to be jointly signed is key to avoiding frustration and inconsistent expectations. 

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