Getting Started, time management

What Gives: Live Conversation with Beth Kanter and Mark Horvath at SXSWi

4 Comments 15 March 2010

Mark Horvath, me, Beth Kanter

I’m live blogging as Mark Horvath (better known on Twitter as @hardlynormal) interviews Beth Kanter for the Hardly Normal Cup of Coffee What Gives interview series at The Beacon Lounge. WhatGives is sponsoring the Hardly Normal interview series. I’ve taken the liberty of highlighting in orange what I think are the important concepts (and great quotes) of the interview. Here is the interview, live blogged:

Mark: Beth, you talked about crowdsourcing yesterday at your panel. Then, you mentioned that you raised money for Cambodia through crowdsourcing. Tell me more about this.

Beth: In fundraising, it’s all about people. People don’t write checks to buildings or programs, they give to other people. Alongside any kind of online fundraising, I went and solicited people at the party last night for the refresh Pepsi challenge as well. Three years ago there was a Boston meetup and I was raising money to send a kid to college in Cambodia, so I copied off some cards about the cause and handed them out. I met Chris Brogan, and he then tweeted the cause and the idea of giving $10 to help. Influence marketing is also important.

Mark: In the nonprofit world, we forget that one on one interactions really count. Every moment is really a VIP moment.

Beth: Your donors are not ATM machines (credit to Peter Dietz, who said that first). This is about long-term relationships. Your first interaction should be to get to know people.

Tweeted at 11:19 CMT March 16

Mark: I usually ask people – “how can I help you?”

Beth: Exactly! When I met you first, I was on a trip down the California coast and met you for coffee. My family wanted to go to Disneyland, but we hadn’t bought the tickets and were figuring that out. You offered us two complimentary tickets. I was really touched by that gesture.

Mark: In the spirit, Beth sent a package of target gift cards in $25 increments to help families transitioning from shelters to housing. (Ed. note: Mark handed these out to the families.)

Mark: A lot of nonprofits want to keep control. But a lot of nonprofits want to keep control and crowdsourcing is hard for those types of nonprofits.What are your “dos, don’ts, and recommendations” for nonprofits and crowdsourcing?

Beth: It’s about relationships. People will respond back because of the relationship. We are talking abou crowdsouring people’s knowledge to get the information and give it back out. You have to build the relationships first in order to make it work.

Mark: You give great tips for social media, such as: start small, have goals, measure. How can I measure? How much time will it take?

Beth: Yes, social media takes time, but it doesn’t take all day. Yes, I could stay on twitter all day, but I don’t. Social media is unbounded, so you have to time-box it. I borrow my kids’ “time out” timer and put it near the computer for when I get on Twitter. I set the timer for 10 minutes and then I’m off Twitter.

First, you have to understand the workflow, then know what you want to do and how you want to use the medium. At certain points of the day, I’m better suited to doing tasks and I know when to do what types of tasks. I block out time blocks for different tasks, and when I can do them best during the day.

Mark: You have to discipline yourself, figure out when you work best.

Beth: I had the Covey Planner before the iPhone and it helped me to think about what’s urgent, not important but urgent, etc. Also keep in mind the “Big Rocks” of the week – what has to get done in terms of big tasks. I plan work in blocks of 1 to 1.5 hours in order to get things achieved. The things that make me a “Tasmanian Devil,” (Mark’s term, originally) I keep to small time frames.

Mark: I feel like I have to return emails right away, respond right away, etc.

Beth: When you feel that you’re having this urge, jot it down on a piece of paper first. I’ve set up buckets of things where I put those pieces of paper and retrieve them later. I get such a volume of email, that if I let it stay in email, then I will feel crazy. I block out time to triage and process email. Stuff around projects, I cut and paste into Google sites for each project. So, when it’s time to open up a Google Site and work on a project, it’s all on the Google doc. I prefer to go out of email to Google Docs or Wikis quickly.

Mark: This is the conversation we’ve been trying to have forever! Thanks so much, Beth!

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Debra Askanase is an experienced digital engagement strategist, non-profit executive, and community organizer. She works with mission-driven organizations to develop digital strategies and campaigns that engage, create trust, and move stakeholders to action. Debra speaks at conferences worldwide on the intersection of technology, social media, and nonprofit organizations.

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