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Vancouver ChangeCamp: how can government become more open and responsive?

Coat of arms of City of Vancouver
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Nonprofits have a strained relationship with government. It seems like we’re always yelling at them to open up their data. “Release the fisheries report!” “Publish the grizzly mortality counts!”

Wouldn’t it be great if nonprofits, community activists, policy wonks and government all got into a room and discussed our differences? What if government data defaulted to open, rather than closed?

Sounds kumbayah? Well, it isn’t. In fact, it happened last year. Community activists and nonprofits sat down with representatives from the provincial and municipal government (including Vancouver’s Mayor and BC’s Director of Citizen Engagement). And amazing things came from it, like:

Join me for Vancouver ChangeCamp 2010
When: Saturday, June 12. 8:30 – 5:00pm.
Where: W2 Storyeum, 151 Cordova W., Vancouver BC

Ticket are $20. RSVP at http://vanchangecamp.eventbrite.com/

What is Vancouver ChangeCamp?
Vancouver ChangeCamp is a participatory web-enabled face-to-face event that brings together citizens, technologists, designers, academics, social entrepreneurs, policy wonks, political players, change-makers and government employees to answer these questions:

  • How can we help government become more open and responsive?
  • How do we as citizens organize to get better outcomes ourselves?

ChangeCamp addresses the demand for a renewed relationship among citizens and government. We seek to create connections, knowledge, tools and policies that drive transparency, civic engagement and democratic empowerment.

The conference will be participant-driven, with the agenda created collaboratively at the start of the event, allowing participants to share their experiences and expertise.

When: Saturday, June 12. 8:30 – 5:00pm.
Where: W2 Storyeum, 151 Cordova W., Vancouver BC

Ticket are $20. RSVP at http://vanchangecamp.eventbrite.com/

Net Tuesday June: How to turn your party into an EVENT

RSVP now on Meetup or Facebook

NetSquared VancouverLast month Net Tuesday focused on event-based fundraising. But some of you were even more curious about the process of creating an event.

And so, because I’m here to help you scratch your itches, the June Net Tuesday will feature a how-to on creating successful local events.

Also featuring:

  • Helen Stortini, Growing Chefs, on her event fundraising software solution
  • Apps 4 Climate Action with David Hume, Executive Director, Citizen Engagement, Ministry of Citizen Services

Events are hard.

But they can also be a major part of an organization’s fundraising or engagement-building strategy.

Make the planning of your next event (or your first!) less hard by following these steps, courtesy of Marc Smith of Amuse Consulting:

How to turn your party into an EVENT!
  1. Create a mission statement for your event.
  2. What’s the buzz? What do you want people to say when they leave…?
  3. Venue, Venue, Venue. Choose the right venue based on tip #1 and #2.
  4. Know what your target audience is.
  5. Your event starts with the invitation and ends with a follow-up Thank you.
  6. Create layers of participation/entertainment.
  7. Be the Host! Have someone else run the logistics for you.
  8. Base your budget on a per person basis.
  9. Thank you gifts that are memorable, useful and have a life.
  10. Have fun! If you enjoy it, they will.

Marc Smith’s interactive presentation will take us through these steps as he guides us through the process of creating an event.

And I’ve already warned Marc that the Net Tuesday crowd is an inquisitive bunch, so don’t worry about interrupting him with questions!

Marc Smith’s Bio:
Founder and principal of Amuse Consulting, Marc Smith brings more than a decade of event planning experience to each event. Having worked for seven years at Capers Community Markets in Vancouver as Regional Demo and Special Event Coordinator, Marc planned a wide variety of sponsored and in-store events. He is a graduate (and valedictorian!) of Leadership Vancouver, and is a founding board member of the BC Ethics in Action Society. He is a board member of Just Singing Round Foundation and has volunteered for three years for Dining Out For Life for A Loving Spoonful. Marc’s full CV is available on Linkedin.com/amuseconsulting.

Net Tuesday event notes: Event-based fundraising

Yahoo!

Last week’s Net Tuesday event was everything I could have hoped for. It’s been almost a year since I took over Vancouver’s Net Tuesday meetup from Joe Solomon and I’m thrilled with the evolution of the event. There’s now a strong presence from local nonprofits every month, and because the events have become less technical we’re getting questions from people outside Vancouver’s Technorati.

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

As always it’s the folks who volunteer to be speakers that make Net Tuesday work. Mad props to Sarah Hall for sharing her fundraising wisdom, love to Rob from Mobio for the smooth introduction to their iPhone app, and most especially to everyone who came out. You ask good, hard questions and the presenters love how engaged you are.

Twitter:

The group decided that we’d all use the hashtag #ntvan because it’s short and clear. So if you’re commenting on Net Tuesday Vancouver on Twitter please append a “#ntvan” to your tweet.

And why should you bother using hashtags? Because you can do cool things like the automated event summary on http://hummingbird604.com/

So, what did we learn this month? That there’s clearly no clear answers when it comes to friends-asking-friends fundraising platforms. There’s a TON of tools and there’s no obvious winner among the bunch. Based on your particular needs you’ll have to do some laborious research to find what’s best for you.

But Sarah’s best practices for fundraising apply to ALL of the online fundraising platforms, so give her slides another look (see below).

Notes from the Canadian Cancer Society’s  Sarah Hall: (with annotations by Eli)

[slideshare id=2518828&doc=bbuc2009ifesevent360final-091117073408-phpapp01]

Facebook causes – stops working in Canada as of May 31, 2010
Give Meaning – Vancouver-based
Artez – Toronto-based
Blackbaud Sphere/Kintera – not cheap!
Convio / Get Active -also not cheap!
Democracy in Action – A nonprofit Company
Salesforce.com – free licenses to the to the core product for charitable nonprofits.
Raisin
Chip In – a widget for accepting Paypal donations. You don’t need to be a nonprofit
Pinc Giving – based in Delta, BC
Canada Helps –  if you’re a registered Canadian charity you’ve already got a page here. Includes giving pages that anyone can setup. (thanks Ben for the correction)
Paypal – love ’em, hate ’em… they’re ubiquitous and easy to use.
Gift Tool – Vancouver-based.
Civicrm.org – opensource software… the sandbox demo they offer is quite impressive.

Also recommended – checking out NTEN and Techsoup to read more.
And checking out Beth Kanter’s blog.

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Facebook Causes donations no longer accepted in Canada

Update: June 27

Causes offers some back-story on the situation:

CanadaHelps’ donation processor, Chase Payment Tech, contacted Causes and insisted that we drastically alter our security standards as they relate to the processing of donations.  We are working to find a way to meet these standards without adversely affecting users’ experience or undermining Causes’ ability to provide its donation platform to Canadian nonprofits for free.

So as of May 31 Causes will no longer accept donations for Canadian charities.

===================

Most of my lies are unintentional.

Like when I suggested at the last Net Tuesday that Facebook Causes was a good introductory way to experiment with friends-asking-friends donations. That particular lie was unintentional.

Causes on Facebook | HomeThankfully Darian Kovacs of Venus Marketing set me straight by letting Net Tuesday know that as of May 31 Causes and Canada Helps (who processes the donations for Causes) are splitting up. This isn’t going to affect the American charities on Facebook Causes, but it means you won’t be able to donate to your favorite Canadian charity on Facebook. Which would be a shame, because Causes’s Birthday feature actually works at raising money.

Damn. I hate it when Mom and Dad fight.

Anyone know the full story?

Here’s the message Canada Helps sent out:

Dear charity,

As of May 31st, 2010, Causes on Facebook will no longer support donations to Canadian charities. Charities and donors will be unable to fundraise using the Causes on Facebook application after this date.

While CanadaHelps has attempted to work with Causes for a different outcome, Causes on Facebook has chosen not to meet the security standards that are required to process credit cards and work with CanadaHelps in the Canadian market.

CanadaHelps puts the safety and security of your donors first. As part of our mandate as a charitable foundation, we provide charities with cost-effective online fundraising solutions that are safe, secure, and trustworthy. We thank you for your continued use of CanadaHelps. We continue to look for alternatives for charities and donors to use Facebook as a fundraising platform.

If you have questions or comments about the decision to stop supporting Canadian fundraising on Facebook, please direct them to Causes on Facebook at partner@causes.com, (510) 981-0790 or
http://apps.facebook.com/causes/about. If you have questions for CanadaHelps, please don’t hesitate to be in touch with our Director of Program Development, Zenia Wadhwani (zenia@canadahelps.org).

Sincerely,
Owen Charters
Executive Director

Causes sent this to Canadian charities on May 12, 2010

We are writing to let you know you that after May 31, 2010 it may no longer be possible for users to make donations to Canadian charities on the Causes platform.

Recently, CanadaHelps’ donation processor, Chase Payment Tech, contacted Causes and insisted that we drastically alter our security standards as they relate to the processing of donations.  We are working to find a way to meet these standards without adversely affecting users’ experience or undermining Causes’ ability to provide its donation platform to Canadian nonprofits for free.

We will keep you updated as these discussions progress.  Moreover, the Causes Team will continue to support your work and answer any questions you may have.  Whatever the outcome, all other cause functionality will remain operational after May.  Do not hesitate to reach out to us at support@causes.com.

Sincerely,

The Causes Team
support@causes.com

Causes sent this to Canadian charities on May 14, 2010

Dear THE DAVID SUZUKI FOUNDATION (Canada),
We are writing to let you know you that after May 31, 2010 it may no longer be possible for users to make donations to Canadian charities on the Causes platform.
Recently, CanadaHelps’ donation processor, Chase Payment Tech, contacted Causes and insisted that we drastically alter our security standards as they relate to the processing of donations.  We are working to find a way to meet these standards without adversely affecting users’ experience or undermining Causes’ ability to provide its donation platform to Canadian nonprofits for free.
We will keep you updated as these discussions progress.  Moreover, the Causes Team will continue to support your work and answer any questions you may have.  Whatever the outcome, all other cause functionality will remain operational after May.  Do not hesitate to reach out to us at support@causes.com.
Sincerely,
The Causes Team
support@causes.com
Our mailing address is:
Causes
2105 Martin Luther King Jr Way
Berkeley, CA 94704
Causes sent this to Canadian charities June 1, 2010

Last month, you should have received an email from Causes about our donation services in Canada. We regret to inform you that we have been unable to reach an agreement with our transaction-processing provider that would allow us to continue processing donations in Canada without introducing substantial fees. As a result, Causes has temporarily suspended donation collection for Canadian charities. We will continue to look for ways to re-open this functionality in the near future.

The good news is that while Canadian charities will not be able to collect donations on Causes, they will be able to use the other tools on the platform to build communities, spread awareness, and run advocacy campaigns. We very much value each of our Canadian partners and hope that Causes remains a core part of their online strategy.

We apologize for the inconvenience and welcome your feedback at support@causes.com

It has always been our goal to provide nonprofits and activists with online fundraising tools that are both easy to use and affordable. This vision will continue to guide our work and we look forward to helping you achieve your mission.
Sincerely,

The Causes Team
support@causes.com