I took a break from SXSW to have an early lunch at SaltLick. This famous BBQ place is about 30 minutes south of Austin and you may remember it from Top Chef. It was a nice detour out of town.
Once I got back downtown the Marketing for Non Profits meetup was starting. This was fantastic. There were representatives of St. Judes Children’s Research Hospital, Water.org, ACLU, ASPCA, and the Toronto International Film Festival. The session was an open forum for everyone to ask questions to the group and share successes. This highlights the exciting and collaborative nature of SXSW. We discussed the value of storytelling (a topic that has been interwoven through many conversations here) and best practices for fundraising. Some groups only ask for donations once per year and others have ongoing fundraising. The ASPCA says htey target their fundraising around specific events. Many agreed that testing and optimizing was key. St. Jude’s discussed their ongoing tweaking of landing pages to optimize conversions. They had success with twitter but not as much with Facebook. Some groups had success with video including YouTube.
One group that came to light was I Live Here, I Give Here. This group collectively developed fundraising for many non-profits in the Austin area. They were able to raise $2.8MM in 24 hours. Collaboration and sharing came up again through mention of this group and continued by Water.org who discussed the social sharing deployment. Essentially , you register on this site and it allows Water.org to push notifications to your wall. They built the software through crowdsourced collaborations and offer it for anyone to use via GitHub.
An investor I met at this tent directed me to the Startup America room. They were offering on-on-one training sessions with business and thought leaders and were giving out copies of their handbook for startups. The room was quite popular (the phone charging station and free drinks helped) and everyone I spoke with said they had a great experience with their one-on-one sessions.