Tag - beth kanter

Take Back the Pink Lessons Learned
Komen Kan Kiss My Mammogram
Blackbaud Research on Online Giving
Launch Day for The Networked Nonprofit!
Networked Nonprofits in Action
Discount for the Personal Democracy Forum
Conversational Case Study for America's Giving Challenge
Donations as a Measure of Civic Engagement

Take Back the Pink Lessons Learned

Two weeks ago, the Associated Press reported that the Susan G. Komen Foundation had decided to de-fund breast health screenings at Planned Parenthood affiliates. Unless you’ve been on a faraway island, you’re probably aware of this!

I jumped into the scrum by creating an online fundraising effort called Komen Kan Kiss My Mammogram. It was quickly apparent that there was a critical mass of  people who were equally galvanized to advocate on behalf of Planned Parenthood. Of course, we weren’t alone, the web exploded in anger towards Komen and soon it was a huge story in the mainstream media. The fury was aided by Komen ineptitude, which will surely become a Harvard Business School case study in arrogance and tone deafness.

In discussions on Facebook and Twitter, I was delighted to find a critical mass of friends who wanted to participate in advocating for funding for Planned Parenthood to take the place of the Komen dollars. In full transparency, I felt , and I haven’t confirmed this with the others, that this was a perfect opportunity not only to express our outrage but to practice working side-to-side in a very fast moving environment, using a variety of social media platforms (including Beth’s fun experiment with pinterest) and testing out an idea that was developed in real-time on Facebook we called hashtag jumping. That’s how we came to launch the hashtag #takebackthepink on Super Bowl Sunday to enable thousands of people to share their outrage about Komen (even after they capitulated and will allow Planned Parenthood affiliates to re-apply for funding) and co-opt the Komen tag #supercure.

Personal Note: My favorite moment of the last two weeks was when Tom Watson suggested a hashtag jump and everyone said GREAT! followed by, “So….what’s a hashtag jump?” Our willingness to literally jump in and create something new, test it, see what worked and what didn’t, is what made this effort so exciting and energizing for me and I think others.

Over time, a group of folks became key actors in this short-lived drama. They included Beth Kanter (of course!), Stephanie Rudat, Amy Sample Ward, Lucy Bernholz, Tom Watson, and Lisa Colton. Many, many others were involved, I hope I haven’t offended anyone but just mentioning these folks.

Again, in the spirit of practicing what we preach, we wrote a reflection report on the experience of developing the #takebackthepink Super Bowl Sunday hashtag jump. The full report has a description of the process, immediate results, and lessons learned. Feel free to read it here.

Here are our lessons learned to date (I think we’ll have some more as this effort marinates a bit):

  1. We could not plan for an event like this, however as individuals who are  unencumbered by organizational rules or policies, and that we have our own large networks of people to bring to an effort, and that we are comfortable working in a dynamic, flat, environment, we reacted very quickly and nimbly to events as they unfolded and provided avenues for action for other people angry at Komen. A core group of the organizers are fluent with a variety of social media platforms including Twitter, Pinterest (a fun opportunity to take it out for a social change spin, thought Beth!) and Facebook, plus Stephanie’s graphic design expertise. As one participant recalls, “There was an immediate sense of relatedness amongst the group conjoined by leaders.  We all saw something in the uproar and possibility for ourselves and those we care about.”
  2. #takebackthepink was a particularly resonant phrase with our group because it represented the opportunity to begin to separate Komen from the color pink. As Lucy would tweet later, “Pink is a color not an org.” A fundamental part of our effort was to reestablish the primacy of women’s health over the branding concerns of a single organization. We believe we created an opportunity for a large number of people to participate in this process, and the momentum to continue the discussion moving forward.
  3. There were two moments of tension during the week between a centralized approach and a network approach. The first time, the effort split in two; with one group focused on fundraising and another on advocacy and awareness. The second, a faction chose to opt out of the Super Bowl effort. Both times it was brought up that it was no longer about recouping money to PP (as that was already achieved in the first 48 hours) but was about redirecting people’s emotional responses, keeping people connected to causes and organizations even if they weren’t Komen, and demonstrating the importance of knowing what the orgs do that you support.
  4. There was a flow of people in and out of the effort depending on their interest and availability. A public thread rather than the private email thread would have been more in keeping with our interest in and value of transparency. We chose the email vehicle believing that the element of surprise would be important to our efforts. It turned out not to be the case.
  5. Finding the messaging middle ground in a fast changing environment was very challenging. Take Back the Pink was seen by some as Komen bashing and by others as “too nice.” We did our best to find a positive place for Super Bowl Sunday: there are a lot of organizations and way to support breast health, here are options in addition to Komen. It was harder to communicate than, “Screw Komen, fund Planned Parenthood” and it’s unclear how successful we were in explaining the shift and making the message clear.
  6. We could have done a better job of looking for other hashtags in real-time and piggy-backed on them in order to weave together different conversations.
  7. We developed and shone a spotlight on nonprofits and transparency, an unusual element to a discussion of pro-choice and women’s health issues.
  8. Defining success in a very fluid situation was also very challenging. If fifty people retweeted with our hashtag was that success? Five hundred people? Five thousand people? An interesting model to use for comparison is Occupy Wall Street. Rather than using numeric outputs as goals, perhaps our effort, simply being and spreading, was successful. We are still wrestling with this question, although perhaps one answer is that if a single person learned about a new resource or organization that was success. Having the single largest media event of the year on the immediate horizon made for a great leverage point.
  9. It would have been great to have advocacy organizations sign on as participants and partners in this event, however, when we did bump up against organizations they were unable to move fast enough with their approval processes to fully participate. This will continue to hamper the ability of organizations to work with “free agents” like us who need to meet an opportunity like this with speed, agility and a lack of concern for traditional message controls. Perhaps organizations can more fully participate in the next phase of development of the Facebook page.
  10. This group is open to continuing the Facebook page and the conversation about general breast health and the array of organizations and resources available to women.  Clearly, there is a void in the digital space for being a resource to those who want to learn, contribute, volunteer, receive services but don’t know of all of the options or how to vet. Our capacity is stretched, though, we all participated in this effort as volunteers.

For me, the most resonant lessons were, 1) difficulty of free agents like us working with organizations – the rhythms, interests, pace and risk levels are totally different and very difficult to reconcile, and 2) defining success. The “whats” are always easier to measure than the “so whats” but this effort, I felt, was particularly difficult to measure for change. There is no question we gave a lot of people something to do to express their outrage and anger, great, but what difference did it make? I don’t know the answer but am open to suggestions!

I am enormously grateful to my old and new friends who participated in this effort. It was great fun, I don’t mean the issue was fun, it was deadly serious, but the process of working and creating together, moving quickly without fear or restrictions, was GREAT fun, and I appreciate their willingness to play, their patience in explaining something that whizzed past me (Amy Sample Ward!), their spirit of adventure, and openness to reflecting and learning.

I’d love to hear what others thing of this effort, our report, and similar efforts. Thanks!


Komen Kan Kiss My Mammogram

When news broke late Monday that Susan G. Komen defunded breast exams by Planned Parenthood affiliates I was stunned. Here is a good news story about what happened.

What? Is it possible that the two titans of women’s health were now at odds with one another.

My reaction was to start a conversation among friends like Amy Sample Ward, Tom Watson and Beth about what we could do to support Planned Parenthood. It’s a great thread that keeps growing. A theme developed that the best way to send a loud message to Komen about how displeased we are with their decision was to fund Planned Parenthood. I set up a Cause on Facebook called: Komen Kan Kiss My Mammogram. Of course, people can give directly to Planned Parenthood, (my mother did yesterday) the Cause allows folks to see it in action, it becomes more social, and hopefully we’ll help identify new, younger donors to Planned Parenthood.

And then the real fun began, with friends sharing with friends on Twitter and Facebook. What could be more fun than when a friend like Lisa Colton writes on my wall, “Thanks for being the glue turning energy into a social movement. Who better to start a “kiss my mammogram” campaign??!!” A few hours after the Cause was up hundreds of people had already given several thousand dollars to Planned Parenthood!

Beth, always leading the way, created a Pinterest site to share pictures, all of which link back to the Cause.  Here’s one of the pictures:

Credo Action

Credo Action

5 likes  1 comment  7 repins

Deanna Zandt set up this terrific Tumblr blog of women telling their personal stories of the ways that Planned Parenthood has helped them over the years. Here’s my favorite:

I owe my life to Planned Parenthood

A former stay-at-home wife, I was recently divorced, returning to college, and without health insurance or a job. Planned Parenthood was my only healthcare option, and I owe my life to them. During their care, they detected an agressive strain of quickly spreading cancer. After I underwent treatment my doctor confessed to me that she was scared at how close I came to losing my life. (So glad she decided to tell me that bit after it was all over :). I owe my life to you, Planned Parenthood.

Kivi Leroux Miller has a terrific analysis of Komen’s disastrous communications effort – or, at first, their non effort.

All of these efforts are sharable and social, we are including new people in the conversation and giving people who are outraged about Komen an opportunity to express themselves and be heard.

This is just the first chapter, this effort will continue to grow and change this week. It’s easy to imagine a Valentines Day effort asking men to give to Planned Parenthood to say they love their girlfriends/wives/lovers/mothers, can’t you?

More on the way soon!



Blackbaud Research on Online Giving

I had great fun last week keynoting Blackbaud’s annual North America conference in DC. Here is the video of the keynote that I did in person and Beth did virtually. Here is the video of our presentation:

I was very pleased by the response from the attendees, but it’s not what stuck with me for the day. I attended a presentation later in the day by Blackbaud. Chuck Longfield, the company’s head of research gave a presentation on the state of fundraising on land and on line that the company gathers from it’s 24,000 nonprofit users (quite a data set!) Here is a link to the findings they were reporting on. I asked Chuck if he was seeing any trends in the behavior of donors whose entry point is online. Do they give less over time? Do they give once and never again? Are the size of their donations less than the ones given by donors who begin through an in person event or through direct mail?

Chuck said it’s too early to tell the trends in this area. But he did share a very, very interesting data point.  He said that donors who come through traditional means like direct mail, who then transition to online giving, give more over time! Chuck said it’s as if giving easier online just makes people give more. This is fascinating and surely gives an incentive to organizations to try to transition their donors to online giving as soon as possible. I discussed with Chuck my interest in understanding donors who come in through social media and he agreed its a key research area in the near future.



Launch Day for The Networked Nonprofit!

Launch day for The Networked Nonprofit is here at last! This is the day writers think about when slogging through yet another revision of chapter 5 or 8 or 3. Just one more time through, you think, and someday far off in the future someone out there will actually read it. And today’s that day!

The Networked Nonprofit is for senior nonprofit executives struggling to understand the seismic shifts in the landscape that have occurred over the past few years. The shift has been driven in large part by the advent of social media, but not entirely. The ongoing ineffectiveness of stand alone organizations each trying to trump other organizations as the most effective problem solver, or best homeless shelter in the city, or most innovative after school program, and the scarcity thinking that drives this way of thinking has finally worn out its welcome. The bottom line is that complex social problems, and they’re all complex by definition, outpace the capacity of any single individual or organization to solve them.

Our book outlines a very different way of working, one focused on abundance and networked thinking. Nonprofit organizations need to work as networks – not at them or with them – but actually to remake themselves as social networks. The book provides a framework for understanding how to make this transition with lots of stories of other organizations like the American Red Cross, Planned Parenthood and the Humane Society of the US that have begun to turn themselves inside out.

The Networked Nonprofit is also aimed at the Millennials within those organizations who are frustrated and need help convincing senior staff and boards of the need to change the way they operate.

We are delighted with the early reviews that are coming in like this one from our colleague Lucy Bernholz who writes the Philanthropy 2173 blog:

Kanter and Fine live and act like the very types of organizations they explicate in the book. As leaders and learners they connect, share, give credit, invite, discuss, rehearse, improve and introduce. They try things out in public – the book was written collaboratively across different time zones, drafted and shared in countless speeches, slide decks, workshops and twitter feeds.

And they’ve done their homework. The Networked Nonprofit has a dozen examples for every idea it offers – from big organizations and small, digital native enterprises and transformed “old line” institutions, freelance activists and professionals of every stripe.

Please join us today for our  virtual book launch party. Join us today,  June 21st from 1-2 PM PST/4-5 PM EST for the launch of  The Networked Nonprofit published by Jossey-Bass.   Follow it on Twitter (#netnon) and/or Ustream (http://www.ustream.tv/channel/networked-nonprofit).   We have over 600 people who have signed up to join us!

Here’s the launch party schedule.  Feel free to pop in for five minutes or spend the hour with us.   We’ll be talking about different themes from the book and answer your questions.   We’ll cover:


(1)  What is it like to co-wrote a book?   We have different styles of thinking, writing, and working.  Plus we live on different coasts.  We’ll talk about how we managed our collaboration.


(2)  Why we wrote the book!  What was the initial inspiration, what we discovered in our research, and how we arrived at the framework for the Networked Nonprofit.


(3)  The Networked Nonprofit Framework.   We believe that Networked Nonprofits first have to be, before they can do. We share a 12 step framework in the book.    We’ll discuss these three important themes from the “being” side.   We’ll take your questions.

  • Creating a social culture at your nonprofit
  • Becoming more transparent, less of a fortress
  • Simplicity, letting go, focusing on what you do best and network the rest


We’ll take your questions via email and Twitter.

One last thought about today. Writing a book is a very hard thing to do and writing one with someone else is even harder. It requires negotiation and patience, but in the end it is better than what one person could have done alone – at least that was the case with this book. My sincere thanks to my co-author Beth Kanter for working with me on this effort, putting up with my endless need to find just one more adjective. Your boundless energy and enthusiasm for this topic is infectious and I am so much smarter as a result of our collaborations.


Networked Nonprofits in Action

Beth and I had the great pleasure of joining with our friends at Care2 for a webinar on The Networked Nonprofit. Nearly 800 people joined in as we outlined a few of the major concepts in the book.

What I enjoyed most about the webinar wasn’t talking but listening to Danielle Brigida of the National Wildlife Federation and Marc Sirkin of Autism Speaks tell us about how their organizations are working as Networked Nonprofits. In Danielle’s case it is about helping her organization break out of their physical and mental fortress that too often keeps organizations at a distance from their communities. She does an amazing job of listening using social media tools. Marc’s organization is newer and the walls are lower, the moat shallower. He still spends a majority of his time building relationships with and growing his network. Marc is doing an amazing job of measuring the results of his community building efforts.

What they’re learning about engaging with communities using social media and the internal politics is really important as we are all trying to better figure out what it means when organizations are stretched beyond their immediate boundaries.

Allyson Kapin of Care2 (and WomenWhoTech a group that I LOVE) has a terrific, comprehensive write up the session here.

Here is the slidedeck from yesterday’s presentation:

<div style=”width:425px” id=”__ss_4531760″><strong style=”display:block;margin:12px 0 4px”><a href=”http://www.slideshare.net/womenwhotech/networked-nonprofit-care2-webinar” title=”Networked Nonprofit: Care2 Webinar”>Networked Nonprofit: Care2 Webinar</a></strong><object id=”__sse4531760″ width=”425″ height=”355″><param name=”movie” value=”http://static.slidesharecdn.com/swf/ssplayer2.swf?doc=car2networkfinweb-100617212727-phpapp02&stripped_title=networked-nonprofit-care2-webinar” /><param name=”allowFullScreen” value=”true”/><param name=”allowScriptAccess” value=”always”/><embed name=”__sse4531760″ src=”http://static.slidesharecdn.com/swf/ssplayer2.swf?doc=car2networkfinweb-100617212727-phpapp02&stripped_title=networked-nonprofit-care2-webinar” type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” allowscriptaccess=”always” allowfullscreen=”true” width=”425″ height=”355″></embed></object><div style=”padding:5px 0 12px”>View more <a href=”http://www.slideshare.net/”>presentations</a> from <a href=”http://www.slideshare.net/womenwhotech”>womenwhotech</a>.</div></div>

PS:  Monday is The Networked Nonprofit Launch Day! Please join us for our virtual book launch party! Join Allison Fine and me on June 21st at 1-2 PM PST/4-5 PM EST for the launch of The Networked Nonprofit published by Jossey-Bass/Wiley.


Discount for the Personal Democracy Forum

One of my favorite events of the year is the Personal Democracy Forum (PDF) (full disclosure: I have had myriad business ties to PDF and am now engaged as a consultant with them.)

I consider PDF to be my home base for learning about what’s new and hot in the social media, politics and civics space. This year’s conference is shaping up to be awesome and Beth and I have the honor of talking about our book, The Networked Nonprofit, on Friday morning.

This year’s agenda includes:

-An in-depth look at how the internet fosters freedom and democracy, with speakers from all sides of that debate: Jimmy Wales, Julian Assange, Daniel Ellsberg, Evgeny Morozov, Ory Okolloh, Ethan Zuckerman, Cheryl Contee, Newt Gingrich, John Perry Barlow and Clay Shirky.

-Shop talk from online innovators from both sides of the aisle, including Markos Moulitsas, Arianna Huffington, Jane Hamsher, Mindy Finn, Rob Willington, Todd Herman, Natalie Foster, Stephanie Taylor, Dan Cantor, Eli Pariser and Ryan Gravatt.

-Visions of the networked future from thinkers like Howard Rheingold, Tim O’Reilly, Aneesh Chopra, Nick Bilton, Bernard Avishai, Craig Newmark, Esther Dyson, Anil Dash, Jen Pahlka, Bryan Sivak and Susan Crawford.

And as an added incentive, Micah Sifry, co-founder of PDF, is offering readers of this blog a $100 discount on their registration!  To save $100 on registration, go here:

https://personaldemocracy.com/product/pdf_2010_early_registration and use the following code: AFINE

Let me know if you’re coming, I’ve love to say hi there!


Conversational Case Study for America's Giving Challenge

I’m cooking up some fun with Beth and the Case Foundation again. We are engaged in the evaluation of the second America’s Giving Challenge contest that the foundation sponsored last year. We did a survey and we wanted to do some in depth case studies to better understand the experiences of some of the winners. But rather than do it behind closed doors we decided to do it networked style!

So, here’s the lowdown. Beth has posted the first of what we’re calling a Conversational Case Study on the foundation’s blog.  This first one is about Darius Goes West – they’re a small nonprofit that did a great job of using videos and personal appeals to activate their network to become a winner in the Challenge.  Read their story, it’s really fun and exciting. But their story also raises a couple of interesting questions that Beth outlines in the case study:

  • Whether you’re participating in an online contest or implementing a fundraising campaign using social networks, you’ve got to engage your fans and make it easy for them to share your organization’s story with pride and joy. What techniques are you using?
  • How have you used social media to personalize your interactions with potential supporters?
  • If you are with a small organization, how have you used social media successfully without a big marketing budget?
  • How can we put to rest the assumption that large organizations have an automatic advantage using social media?

We’d love to hear your thoughts. Please comment on that post or share your insights on a tweet using the hashtag #agc2.

We’ll be posting two more Conversational Case Studies in the next two weeks.  Thanks for participating!


Donations as a Measure of Civic Engagement

I saw a tweet this morning from Allison Jones from a presentation the amazing Kim Klein was giving in Detroit. The tweet read, “Kim Klein: more people donate $$ than vote or volunteer via @new_org”

I began to wonder whether we’ve been missing an opportunity to use donations as a measure of civic engagement. On land volunteerism and voting are traditional measures of local civic engagement. They are proxy’s for local social capital and stickiness. Here is a typical article on the connection between voting and local social capital and a blog post on volunteerism and social capital. But you won’t find articles or posts on donations and social capital.

The assumption is that writing a check is too passive to be considered engagement. In the same way that some folks think that clicking to raise awareness of an issue, such as clicking to support breast cancer, is too small, light, passive to be considered by some to be true participation.

I reject both of these arguments. I think any time someone does something for a cause, no matter how light, it is an opening and an opportunity for developing a stronger relationship with them.

Beth has illustrated this relationship in a diagram called The Ladder of Engagement:

The more interesting question than whether or not donations equal engagement is how nonprofits are being successful stepping people up this ladder of engagement. We wrestle with this a bit in our book The Networked Nonprofit. More to come on this in the weeks and months ahead!


Copyright © 2019 Allison Fine