The Cottonwood Institute recently established a partnership with
GoodSearch.com and now you can help raise money for the Cottonwood
Institute by searching the Internet! You may have heard about this
website through friends, the NY Times, Oprah Magazine, or CNN. If you
use this website, which is powered by Yahoo, every time you search the
Internet, a donation will be made to the Cottonwood Institute!
You can get started now with 5 easy steps:
- Go to: http://www.goodsearch.com
- Under the section that says "Who Do You GoodSearch For," Type in
- Add GoodSearch to your browser by going to:
- Start searching the Internet and raise money for the Cottonwood
- Spread the word to your friends and colleagues!
The good feeling you get when you donate to your favorite charity could be your brain patting you on the back.
A team of psychologists and economists from the University of Oregon
has found that donating to charity activates a part of the brain
associated with pleasure.
The study, published in the journal Science, represents a major advance
in the fledgling field of neuroeconomics, which explores how the brain
affects the way people handle money.
Even low-income people give away part of their income, the study found.
“People feel good knowing that they’re a charitable giver,” wrote
William Harbaugh, an economics professor and one of the authors of the
Source: Greater New Orleans Foundation e-Newsletter, June 29, 2007
Representing the Cottonwood Institute, I just came back from attending Community Ventures 2006, a professional development conference supported by The Community Foundation Serving Boulder County. During a session called Profit or Non-Profit: The Same Business Protocols Prevail, with Ira Nottonson and Joseph and Kathleen Contrino, a question was raised about competition in the non-profit sector.
As the number of non-profits continues to grow, demographics and laws continue to change, and financial resources become more scarce, I think we will see a shake out in the non-profit sector. A friend of mine predicted that to survive in the non-profit sector, organizations will have to collaborate, consolidate, or vacate.
Question: As the non-profit sector matures and utilizes for-profit business techniques, how will competition positively or negatively affect your non-profit organization? What do you think about competition in the non-profit sector?
For those non-profiteers out there looking to harness technology to spread the word about their organization, I would highly recommend playing around with Google AdWords. The Cottonwood Institute has been test driving the program since early January 2006 and I have to say that we have been pleasantly pleased. To check out how it works, go to Google and type in Cottonwood Institute as your keyword search. Our AdWords ad "Teens Change the World" appears on the right column of your browser.
I really like Google AdWords because it is a way for a small, grassroots non-profit like the Cottonwood Institute to compete with larger, more established organizations in our field like Outward Bound and the National Outdoor Leadership School. I also like the program because we get to determine out budget and only pay when a student, parent, or interested donor clicks on our ad. We set the maximum we are willing to pay per month and if we exceed that limit, Google will automatically pull our ad. We get to enter as many keywords as we want that pertain to our organization so the people who click on our ad are highly qualified leads.
Question: If you are currently using Google AdWords to drive traffic to your website, what tips, best practices and advice would you give to someone interested in test driving this marketing tactic?
In November 2005, the Cottonwood Institute implemented a program to diversify our revenue stream called Affiliate Marketing. Affiliate marketing has been popular in the for-profit sector, but is it appropriate for your non-profit?
Affiliate marketing is a tactic used by merchants to drive traffic to their online businesses. To explain how this all works, we created the CI Store where we post affiliate merchant ads. When someone visits our store, clicks on an affiliate ad, and makes a purchase, the Cottonwood Institute is rewarded by receiving a commission or flat fee for that sale that we helped generate. All of the revenue we generate through our affiliate marketing program goes towards our General Scholarship Fund.
We wanted to develop partnerships with affiliates that would add value to the students who register for our courses. We developed a partnership with REI.com so students could purchase the gear they needed for their course, Orbitz.com so students outside of Colorado could make their travel arrangements, and Book Sense so students could buy the books they needed. To read more about the Cottonwood Institute’s affiliate marketing strategy, download a copy of a recent article that appeared in the Daily Camera in January 2006 by clicking here.
Question: Has your non-profit implemented an affiliate marketing program? If so, what has it made it successful or unsuccessful?