Note from Beth: I facilitated a panel about Mobile Integrated strategy at the Innogive Conference earlier this month and have shared the notes here. The panelists offered advice to nonprofits about integrating mobile into the nonprofit toolbox. My main takeaway was that nonprofits need to think differently about content. There are different media forms that mandate different types of content — and nonprofits must consider this as part of the online content strategy. People who reading content on their smartphones or tablets will not be consuming text heavy information – it has to brief text and visual or videos. What how to make that efficient? Michael’s guest post explains more:
A Better Way to Produce Reports Nonprofit Annual Reports, guest post by Michael Hoffman, See3 Communications
Treesaver is a new open source web platform for publishing that uses the new HTML5 standard to create narrative experiences—with text, pictures and video. Treesaver divides content into pages, automatically adjusting to the size of any screen. With Treesaver you can create content once and publish it everywhere.
It works on any device that has a web browser. The same design and the same code works on PCs, Macs and Linux desktop computers or Apple, Android, and Blackberry smart phones and tablets like iPad or Samsung Galaxy Tab. While many organizations are running to develop iPhone and Android apps, with a Treesaver dynamic publication, you skip the hassle and cost of making separate apps for every target device.
Treesaver is significant for nonprofits because it combines important trends – open source software, web standards and mobile applications. While Treesaver has been designed for media publishers by magazine design guru Roger Black, we at See3 believe it has real significance for nonprofits.
The Nonprofit Report
Many nonprofit organizations produce reports. These reports could be annual reports that sum up their work during the year or reports about subjects where the organization has expertise. The report is often an important piece of research designed to show leadership on an issue and attract the attention of the press and governments to affect social change.
For example, CREW –Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington just released a report about
how payday lenders have increased payments to lobbyists. Feeding America has a national hunger study. Amnesty International has a report about housing and water rights for the Roma community in Slovenia, among dozens of others. The Alliance for Biking and Walking has a benchmark report about the levels of biking and walking in the US. These reports, and others like them, represent a critical part of the work of social change organizations, think tanks and foundations.
The Death of the PDF
While reports such as foundation annual reports are still printed and mailed, today many reports are
found on websites in the form of a PDF.
What PDF’s do well is prepare a document for printing. But people are less and less likely to need
printing. They are more likely to want to read that report on their computer, their iPad – some
researchers suggest Apple could sell 25 million units in 2011 — or even their smart phone. The PDF is
actually a terrible way to put content on the web. Why are PDFs so bad? Let me count the ways:
- They are slow to load
- They are in a fixed size, no matter on which screen you are looking at them
- They aren’t built for mobile devices
- You can’t link to a specific page inside the document – if you want to share one page on Facebook the best you can do is link to the whole document, and when your friend clicks and realizes it’s a 30 page PDF they hate you.
Don’t Build That App
Nonprofit Executive Director: “We need an iPhone app. And an iPad app.”
Nonprofit Tech Person: “We do?”
Nonprofit Executive Director: “Yes. You see, I have an iPad now and it’s very cool and we should have
something on here.”
Nonprofit Tech Person: “OK, but you know it will cost around $30,000 to build an app for the iPhone.
And we might want to optimize it for the Ipad. Oh, and we should build an Android app as well, which
will be another $30,000. Not to mention Blackberry users and all these new tablet computers.”
Nonprofit Executive Director: “That’s a lot of money.”
Nonprofit Tech Person: “Yes it is. And there is another problem here also. Who’s going to download that
app or even know it’s there? And… social media has become a very important way for us to tell people
about our content, and you can’t send people to specific content inside an app. When they click on our
link on Facebook they will hit a wall asking them to download something, which almost no one will do.”
Conversations like this one are happening all over nonprofit executive offices these days. And
unfortunately, many of these organizations proceed to build their apps, spend their money, only to find
that no one is paying attention.
Treesaver offers nonprofits a way to publish content that is native to an iPhone or iPad without having
to develop anything different. The content will look great on the computer or on any device. And
because it’s open source, there are no license fees, just the work on design and content.
At See3, we think this is like the launch of Drupal or WordPress – two content management systems that
have become very popular with nonprofits. It’s a significant event and you should pay attention.
We tested out Treesaver by telling one of our own stories. Have a look here to see how it works. http://
Michael Hoffman is the CEO of See3 Communications. You can learn more about online video and the work of See3 at http://see3.net/