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Non-Profits Link Up With New Media Platform

Most non-profits have two goals – to serve their communities and to raise enough money to stay afloat. Leaders can get so engrossed in these objectives that they forget to keep up with industry trends in the non-profit sector. But MobileCause, a software company that assists non-profits in raising money and engaging with the community through social and mobile channels, has created a platform to help. This month the Calabasas company launched Nonprofit Insider, a website that curates the latest non-profit industry news and trending topics from around the world. The site combs through thousands of industry-related articles, data and statistics in order to condense and summarize that information to identify growing trends among non-profit groups. “One of the things we find is that a lot of non-profits are really starved for information and are trying to learn what other people have done,” said Sean MacNeill, MobileCause chief executive. “It’s important to be able to share and communicate with our clients what’s going on around the world. It’s like the Business Insider for non-profits.” Nonprofit Insider is updated on a daily basis with new content from various news outlets. Common topics include successful fundraising campaigns, new fundraising strategies and fresh ways to engage with the community. To date, Nonprofit Insider has received about 45,000 visits and 1,500 people have signed up to receive the weekly newsletter via email and text message. The site pulls from social media platforms including Twitter and Facebook to note trending stories “liked” by non-profit leaders. The company then sifts through those articles and selects the ones it feels will best educate and benefit readers. MobileCause has opted to make Nonprofit Insider a free resource. The company’s chief source of revenue is a cloud-based fundraising software which allows clients to launch and manage mobile campaigns. “We look at it ourselves as a way of promoting the use of mobile and technology to fundraise, and any promotion of that is a promotion for MobileCause because that’s what we do,” MacNeill said. MobileCause, founded in 2005, has more than 100 non-profit clients worldwide, including United Way, Habitat for Humanity and OUR (Operation Underground Railroad). “Non-profits are typically very traditional in the way they engage people and fundraise. Out of $350 billion that was raised last year in the U.S., less than 10 percent was done online or via mobile,” said MacNeill. Bond in Burbank Nearly 200 people mingled with a James Bond look-alike at the Valley Community Healthcare “Casino Royal” fundraiser on May 20. The annual event raised $35,000, with tickets selling for $150 a seat. A silent auction featured a weekend in Malibu and a new Apple watch. “We’ve never done a fundraiser like this and it’s more than what we anticipated,” said Paula Wilson, president of Valley Community Healthcare, which provides services to lower-income residents in the San Fernando Valley. Though successful, the fundraiser held at the Calamigos Equestrian Center in Burbank was a little different from its predecessors. Instead of the usual gala, “Laughter is the Best Medicine,” that the health center normally hosts, this year it decided to change the theme. Men came in black tie and ladies strolled in wearing cocktail dresses, everyone gathered at the tables playing black jack, roulette and craps. “It seemed to garner a lot more enthusiastic participation and fun,” said Wilson. “It was a venue where people didn’t have to sit with the same nine people and talk and listen all night. People could mingle and laugh.” Animal Summer The Wildlife Learning Center is looking to take your young ones off your hands this summer. Every week through July 24 the non-profit animal shelter will be holding its summer camp for children ages 5 through 14. Founded in 1998, the Sylmar center rescues endangered animals and takes in unwanted and at risk animals from the community. Currently the organization houses 62 different species – which amounts to more than 200 animals within its 1-acre facility at 16027 Yarnell St. Some of the animals at the facility include bald eagles, a grey fox, 10 California desert tortoises and a large alligator. With 13 paid staff and 20 volunteers, the center cares for the animals’ dietary and medical needs, all of which averages approximately $2,000 per day, according to Paul Hahn, president and co-founder of the center. The organization is 95 percent self-sufficient and offers programs throughout the year to raise money for its operations, including tours, hosted birthday parties, educational lectures and school visits. Staff Reporter Champaign Williams can be reached at (818) 316-3121 or cwilliams@sfvbj.com.

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