Thursday, May 24, 2012

A Google Search Change - Will Your Nonprofit Be Considered Relevant?

Google Search With Knowledge Graph Panel
Google has subtly changed its search results layout to include something called a Knowledge Graph.

When some search results are returned, a panel on the right of the page may display, providing what Google has determined is an appropriate bit of extra information related to the search terms.

In my example (left), I searched for Nitrous Oxide and Google returned links, images, videos, and - a panel on the right. This information, which is an encyclopedic sort of overview of nitrous oxide provided me with enough information that I didn't have to go to Wikipedia or even the site preview I get from my FireFox add-on.

What does this mean to your small non-profit?

Right now, not much. The launch is recent and only available to Google users searching in English. However, it wouldn't surprise me to find that one day, a nonprofit might find itself in one of those panels, if Google deems it relevant to the search. And if they decide to add actions to the information, people might be able to donate or volunteer on the spot. If and when these changes come about, do you think your small nonprofit will be relevant?

For more information about this change to Google search, please read this excellent article by Danny Sullivan at Search Engine Land.

Off-Topic: YouTube for Nonprofits

A Chronicle for Philanthropy Live Discussion (May 22, 2012). Describes how tools developed by YouTube for nonprofits can be used. Transcript can be seen here.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Is Your Small Nonprofit Uncomfortable? Good.

Like I expect many of you do, I get the NPQ's email newsletter. In the most recent, I found Leaning Into Discomfort : Social Sector Leadership in the 21st Century.

For me, the last two paragraphs really hit me because I often prod when I should pivot. And it's true that a desire to protect can make us play it safer and stay in the comfort zone. There may be times to do that, but those times probably aren't these times.

If you haven't read the article, please do. Then tell me what you think.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

To Mobile or Not To Mobile, Part 3

Image from
We've looked at what's involved with evolving your social communication by making your website either Mobile Friendly or Mobile Optimized in Parts 1 and 2 of this blog post. Now let's see if evolution is imminently required or can be put off for a while.

Smartphone Adoption Rates

Remember that Google/Ipsos report from Part I? Smartphones have penetrated the mobile phone market by nearly half in the U.K. and by 38% in the U.S. And smartphone use is increasing among those 45 and older, though more slowly than for the age group of 25-34, in which 68% own smartphones.

To me, this means that if the key group you address yourself to is over 45, you have some time yet to plan and allocate resources before you should have a mobile optimized site. However, if you're aiming at a younger audience, you should be talking to your board about getting busy budgeting for going mobile, maybe beginning with mobile friendly first, then moving to mobile optimized.

It's Inevitable

Whatever you do, please don't sidestep the issue. If you want to stay connected to your constituents and help them stay connected to you, a mobile optimized site will be needed.

And now, just to throw another monkey wrench into the mix, consider that if your small nonprofit is oriented towards people younger than 25, you may be completely missing the mark by not having a text presence. Kids today text hundreds of times a day and what they feel comfortable talking about may surprise you.

Take a look at this TED talk by Nancy Lublin of and think about the data at the beginning of the talk in terms of your not-for-profit. Knowing this information, can you think of a way to use the mobile phone to better serve your stakeholders?

Related Links:

Google/Ipsos Release Mobile...Statistics
GoMo: Go Mobile by Google
Infographic: Great Trends in Mobile
Internet on the Move: Why Mobile Matters
Mobile Apps for Development
Why We Shouldn't Make Separate Mobile Websites
Why your site should be "Mobile Friendly" or "Mobile Optimized"