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Blogging

Video Games Dominate Live Online Content

Jamie Millard

Video games are on the rise as one of the fastest growing competitive sports. With a boom in live streaming capabilities over the last few years, and especially in the last year, huge new audiences of video game viewers are cropping up all over the internet. What does a huge video game audience look like? Here’s a quick stat to put this into perspective. The debut game of the NHL 2013 season had 2.8 million viewers. The 2012 season finals for “League of Legends,” a multiplayer online battle arena video game, had 8.2 million live viewers. Yeah.

If you’re thinking, “this would be a delicious market for advertisers,” then you’d be right. Twitch, the leading video platform and community for gamers with more than 23 million visitors per month, provides the ultimate experience for gamers to connect live with their audiences. Gamers are able to broadcast any and all games they play. Everything from retro classics like “The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past” to first person shooters like “Call of Duty Black Ops II” to eSports titles like “League of Legends” are streamed with in-window boxes showing the actual gamer playing live.

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The gamers streaming on Twitch have the tools and incentives necessary to build massive, dedicated followers—a dream for any advertiser. These gamers earn a share of the revenue generated from the videos they broadcast without having to do any heavy lifting—they just have to cash the check. Gamers are able to make some serious ca$h money and advertisers are able to reach a very targeted, engaged audience.

Here’s how:

  • Gamers can run commercial breaks during their streamed content or pre-roll video ads (and they control frequency). The channel owner shares all revenue with Twitch and the more live viewers, the more money collected.
  • Gamers can also offer subscriptions to their channels providing fans a premium experience that can include exclusive access to chat, special streams, and archives. The gamers also split this revenue with Twitch.

What does all this mean in reality? While writing this post, I logged onto Twitch to see who was currently live streaming. I found a dude playing some “Black Ops II.” He has 53,252 subscribers (that’s at $4.99 each). He has a total of 6,030,929 unique viewers and 4,063 live viewers. While yes, this is a professional gamer and not your average Joe, the numbers are staggering. I may or may not be rethinking my career path  .

Here are some of the games streamed on Twitch with their current live viewer tallies:

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The video game live content market has figured out how to not only build massive online audiences, but also how to seamlessly monetize by creating advertising and subscription methods supported and validated by their massive online audiences. Just imagine what this could start to look like in other markets…

This post was originally posted at Fast Horse

Breaking the nonprofit salary silence

Jamie Millard

nonprofit salary.jpg

This post was originally published on ynpntwincities.org

There is something taboo and mysterious about salaries. When I decided to do a salary survey of young nonprofit professionals, it was my hope to start breaking down walls of discomfort around talking about our salaries. I expected 10-20 responses and ended up getting over 100. If that’s not a sign that we’re ready to start talking about salaries, I don’t know what is.

It’s obvious from my survey, which is not scientific by any means, that there is a collective sense of feeling undervalued and underpaid throughout the sector—strongest in those with less than five years experience.

As I’m settling into the beginning phase of my career, I’m starting to notice a collective absence of discussion around salaries. I grew up in a household where family members openly discussed salaries, mortgages, bills, etc. Money wasn’t a sensitive topic, it was just a matter-of-fact issue. The lesson I learned from that upbringing? The more transparent and open we are about money, the less control and power money will have over us.

If we can remove the discomfort and hyper-sensitivity when discussing salaries, we might be able to start having meaningful conversations with our employers about salaries and benefits.

I don’t just mean conversations like, “I deserve more money because my friend makes this much.” I mean being able to sit down with your supervisor and talk candidly about the salary range for your position, what’s possible, and what you believe your skills are worth. If you don’t believe that your supervisor is your number one cheerleader and wants more than anything to cultivate and retain your talent, then you might as well begin looking for a new job anyway.

Ideas to help break the salary silence:

Don’t talk about salary in vague and meaningless terms. When we say things like, “I should be making waaay more at my job, I’m so underpaid,” we’re not constructively moving the conversation forward. Build relationships with peers and mentors who you can have meaningful conversations with. Instead, you could say something like, "It's frustrating that my starting salary was $36,000 and I haven't seen a yearly increase over 3%. I think it should be closer to 8% because x, y, and z." 

Make a salary pact with a friend. Whether we like it or not, it’s a fact that for most people talking about salaries is awkward. Try being upfront and candid with a friend or mentor that discussing salary is something you would be interested in. 

Discuss the full picture. I couldn’t agree more with the comment of one respondent: “I think it's pretty complicated to try to get a full picture of everyone's true compensation levels.” This is where there is a huge opportunity to have rich conversations with a group of friends. If you have a close peer mentor group and are all able to discuss the different aspects, values, and frustrations of your salary and benefit packages, think about how much you could learn and possibly bring back to your employer for a discussion. 

We have a lot to learn from each other. If we truly want to advance the salaries in our sector to retain the best talent, we must begin to remove power and fear from the salary equation.

Ok, let's talk numbers:

Thanks to Mark Egge, this blog now has really slick interactive data-visualization charts!

Here are the findings from my first ever, experimental, non-scientific, nonprofit salary survey!

Less than 5 years experience in the nonprofit sector:

Average salary is $36,915 (they think they should be making $43,772)

nonprofit salary survey 1.png

Are people with less than 5 years of experience in the nonprofit sector satisfied with their salaries?

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Are people with less than 5 years of experience in the nonprofit sector satisfied with their benefits?

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Between 5 and 10 years experience in the nonprofit sector:

Average salary $42,085 (they think they should be making $50,143)

nonprofit salary survey 4.png

Are people with between 5 and 10 years of experience in the nonprofit sector satisfied with their salaries?

nonprofit salary survey 5.png

Are people with between 5 and 10 years of experience in the nonprofit sector satisfied with their benefits?

nonprofit salary survey 6.png

Over 10 years experience in the nonprofit sector:

Average salary $55,125 (they think they should be making $65,421)

nonprofit salary survey 7.png

Are people with over 10 years of experience in the nonprofit sector satisfied with their salaries?

nonprofit salary survey 8.png

Are people with over 10 years of experience in the nonprofit sector satisfied with their benefits?

nonprofit salary survey 9.png

Download all the data:

There's a lot more information captured in my survey than represented in the above graphs. Here you can download a complete PDF or Excel spreadsheet. Have fun doing your own number crunching and making your own conclusions. And again, this survey is in no way meant to be comprehensive. A lot of factors go into determining someone's salary: subsector, being a male or female (harsh, but true), size of organization, etc. 

Other resources about salary: 

How can you use this data to start sparking your own discussions about salary and benefits?

photo credit

2012's Most Creative 'Give To The Max Day' Campaigns

Jamie Millard

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This post was originally published on fasthorseinc.com

It’s a good day to be a Minnesotan.

Give to the Max Day…keeping Minnesota nice since 2009.

Most Minnesotans know by the number of emails flooding their inboxes that yesterday was Give to the Max Day. And that’s exactly what happened — people gave to the max. More than 50,000 donors supported their favorite nonprofits and schools, donating a draw-dropping, record-smashing $16.3 million.

While it’s a fun and inspiring day that reminds everyone about the importance of philanthropy, my marketing mind can’t help but think, “Man, more than 4,000 nonprofits all asking for donations on one day. Ouch.” When you have that much noise in a space, it’s difficult to stand out — unless you get creative.

And that’s exactly what’s happening. More and more nonprofits are bringing a creative flare to their GTMD campaigns and it couldn’t be more welcomed.

I always have fun trolling the GTMD campaigns and this year I picked out five of my favorite, most creative, most refreshing strategies.

And remember, I’m only one person. I’m not capable of seeing everything on the internet and I only have so much space in my little blog post, so if you saw an innovative campaign yesterday, please (please!), let me know why you liked it in the comments.

College Possible
Never heard of a “Thank-You-Mob” before? Yeah, me neither — until yesterday. College Possible sent flash mobs of volunteers to surprise and thank donors at work, home, etc. after making a contribution. Talk about taking donor stewardship to a new level. Here’s a photo of my friend Lars Leafblad, who was surprised at work yesterday by a College Possible “Thank-You-Mob” after he made a donation to the organization.

gtmd1.jpg

Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
Not all missions are easy to instantly connect with (like when you see a cute kitten from an animal shelter nonprofit), but that doesn’t mean you can’t exploit cute kittens. The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (and trust me with a name like that you better get a little creative to stand out) communicated the importance of their mission through a medium all can understand: the cat video. Inspired by the winning video from this summer’s Internet Cat Video Film Festival, “Henri 2: Paw de Deux,” here is IATP’s  “Chiko, Le Chat Politique.”

Children’s Theater Company
GTMD lasts for 24 hours. So how do you keep an audience engaged and sustain a fundraising stream for 24 hours? How about by offering one-of-a-kind prizes each hour to a donor who contributed during the time period? Not only did the Children’s Theater Company come up with 24 interesting and unique prizes to reward and motivate their donors, but they also did a great job of showing their GTMD story through creative photos on their Facebook page.

gtmd2.jpg

Rainbow Rumpus
While GTMD is focused in Minnesota, a lot of the nonprofits participating serve national audiences. Rainbow Rumpus caught my eye for their intentional efforts to receive gifts from across the country with a goal to get folks from all fifty states to support their work. They updated an interactive map hourly showing the national gifts rolling in.

gtmd3.png

Springboard for the Arts
Known for having fun and being creative, it’s not surprising Springboard would make this list. However, one thing they did this year that I loved is not only did they have fun with GTMD, but they also brought their programs to the forefront (sometimes it’s tricky to do both and you get lost in the fun). Introducing Power Hours, Springboard highlighted four different program areas for four different times of the day—each with matching grants.

gtmd4.png

Skewed Visions (honorable mention)
You know the way to a lady’s heart? Meme parodies. Thanks Skewed Visions for keeping me entertained throughout the day with countless, hilarious GTMD inspired memes.

gtmd5.jpg

Thanks to all who participated and gave during the “Great Minnesota Give Together.” And don’t worry, if you’re feeling left out, there’s always GTMD13.

Myth Busting: Nonprofit executive salaries

Jamie Millard

This post was originally published on ynpntwincities.org

nonprofit executive salaries.jpg

Most young nonprofit professionals are not yet executive directors, but the policies and attitudes around nonprofit executive salaries already affect us. Negative perceptions and underpaid talent devalue our entire sector and make it an undesirable place to devote one’s career.

Recent data from the 2011 Daring to Lead report supports the sentiment that most executives are underpaid: the median nonprofit CEO salary falls between $50,000 and $75,000 a year, an average of 20–40 percent less than his or her foundation/government/business sector counterpart.

At the same time, there’s an unhealthy obsession outside the sector about nonprofit salaries. The Trust and Charitable Giving in Minnesota survey conducted by the Charities Review Council in 2007 reports that almost half of the Minnesotans surveyed believe nonprofit staff should make less than their for-profit counterparts. Media exposés often ask “how much is too much?” for a nonprofit executive director to make, focusing on rare cases of overpay. 

It’s time to bust the myth that paying for salary hurts a nonprofit’s potential to provide more services or detracts from important programs. Moving public perception requires each of us to step up when we hear these sentiments from strangers, friends, and family.

MYTH: “I don’t want my donations paying for nonprofit executives’ salaries.”

BUSTED: Yes, it’s important for a nonprofit to efficiently and effectively use funds to achieve its mission, but the most crucial aspect of that is hiring experienced, competent staff to oversee and implement the organization’s programs. Expecting a donation to be effective without going toward salary is naïve. While 65 percent of a donation might go toward a nonprofit’s programs, the other 35 percent going toward administration and fundraising is critical for an organization to best fulfill its mission and be sustainable.

MYTH: “Nonprofits should be run by volunteers after they retire from the for-profit sector.”

BUSTED: It’s surprisingly common to find individuals who believe execuitve directors should work for less than their for-profit counterparts—or even for free. These opinions are rooted in the misconception that nonprofits are not businesses worthy of paid staff. Leading a nonprofit isn’t a hobby. It’s a real job with real responsibilities, like managing a 10 million dollar operating budget and overseeing dozens or hundreds of staff. Nonprofits are important economic engines that require competent, experienced leaders with market-sensitive pay.

MYTH: “If a nonprofit CEO gets a big salary, then not as many needed services will be provided.”

BUSTED: Nonprofits produce a social return—a return that benefits our communities. Most wouldn’t blink an eye at a for-profit trying to hire the best CEO it can find, at the most competitive salary it can afford, in exchange for the CEO leading the company to increased profits. Why should a nonprofit be any different? Is the importance of social return and betterment of our communities less critical than monetary return? (Not to mention the realmonetary impact improved communities have on our society.) If a board of directors is able to hire the best executive director with aggressive compensation, and they produce an increase in financial and social profit for the organization, then it was well worth the investment. 

As my own executive director says, “We all benefit when good leaders are attracted to oversee nonprofits that improve the lives of individuals and the community.” Instances of overpay are bad, but underpay is the chronic condition holding the nonprofit sector back. By confronting these misconceptions head-on, young nonprofit professionals can strengthen the value and respect of our sector.

photo credit (dare you to buy this shirt)

Successfully networking as an introvert

Jamie Millard

Networking Introvert.jpg

(This was co-written by me and Chris Oien for the YNPN blog)
January 19, 2011

Networking is important. You know that, and we know that. It’s pretty much a given. But what do you do if just the thought of networking makes you want to crawl into a hole? We’ve both been there, because we are two of the roughly 25% of people who are introverts. 

When it came time for each of us to go to our first YNPN networking event, we debated whether or not to go, and eventually skipped outleaving a sick feeling in our stomachs. We later did get involved with YNPN; and when we met each other, we realized we had both bailed on the same event. While it had been a lonely experience, neither of us was alone in it, and knowing that was a huge relief. 

So in hopes of helping fellow introverts with their networking anxieties, we’re sharing the steps we took to overcome our own. 

Step 1: Research the group and key people.

The most effective treatment to resolve your networking anxiety is a heavy dose of preparation. That begins with knowing beforehand who is likely to be at the networking event. Most networking groups or conferences will have some sort of online presence where you can begin your research. For example, if you’re going to attend a YNPN event, you could research board members on the website, members in the directory, see who RSVPs to the Facebook event, or who is talking about the event on Twitter.

A good place to start is to find people you share something with. This can be people in your industry (arts, direct service, environmental, etc.) or people who do the same kind of work (marketing, fundraising, advocacy, etc.). Also, it is helpful to identify a “super connector” that makes sense for you to fold into your network.

Step 2: Connect on social media.

After you’ve completed your research and identified the people you want to connect with, it’s a good idea to reach out to them before an event. Social media has made this easier than ever, especially with young and tech-savvy groups. The top site to turn to is Twitter: Making connections to people you should know is part of its DNA. LinkedIn is also a great resource for connecting to new people on a professional level.

If you connect with members of a networking group and let them know you’re interested in joining, it’s a good bet they’ll be glad to talk to you. Whether you keep it to talking online or ask for an in-person meeting, when it’s event time you’ll be glad to know there are people involved who will recognize you and can introduce you to others.

Step 3: Know your talking points.

 You’ve researched people, you’ve connected with them on social media, and now you’re ready to dive into conversation, but not until you’ve properly prepared talking points. Talking points can be a combination of referencing the theme of the event and asking simple questions.

Themed networking events, like speed networking or an ugly sweater party, provide more structured activities and fun icebreakers to ease the flow of conversation. These types of networking events ensure that you’ll worry much less about being on the sideline while other people talk.

Whether or not your networking event has a theme, be ready with a list of questions to ask the people you meet. Keep your questions simple (e.g. How did you get involved with this networking group?), so you don’t forget them or get tripped up. Making certain to have questions ready ahead of time reduces anxiety and avoids those uncomfortable long pauses.

Step 4: Set specific goals.

 It’s important to leave a networking event feeling like a success. To do so, come with goals you’ve set for yourself beforehand (e.g. talk to a specific person, network with at least three people, etc.). Once you reach these goals, feel free to excuse yourself. If you go right after an awkward exchange or after you’ve sat in the corner alone for a while, you’re going to feel like a failure and this will strongly deter your motivation to attend future events. If you instead leave after ticking that last goal off your list, you’ll feel accomplished and encouraged to keep coming back.


Introverts will likely always have that initial networking anxiety, but by following these steps, you can learn to master it and become just as successful as the most outgoing extrovert. 

Fellow introverts: What are your best networking tips and tricks?
And for the extroverts: What do you do to help the introverts at networking events feel comfortable?

3 Reasons Why You Should Have A Personal Website

Jamie Millard

Personal Branding Website.jpg

(This post was written for the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network Blog)
December 1, 2010

Setting up a personal website is a simple power move that will put your personal brand into overdrive (or at least take it out of park).

Yes, “personal branding” seems like an overused, cliché buzzword being exploited in every workshop or conference session. Nevertheless, does personal branding actually matter? Yes. As young professionals, it matters even more. Personal branding defines and sets the pace of your career path early on.

But, I’m not here to convince you that personal branding is important, Rosetta Thurman, a leader in the young nonprofit professional community, already has a bank of information that will do that for me:

I’m here to tell you why setting up a personal website is a simple power move that will put your personal brand into overdrive (or at least take it out of park).

1. It makes life easier for your contacts.

The idea of making a personal website might seem a little vain at first. But websites aren’t only for tools! The truth is you probably already have an online personal brand. So why not make life easier for your contacts?

If you can just give them one simple link, yourname.com, not only will you get tech-savvy cool points, but also nothing will fall through the cracks. They’ll have your LinkedIn, email, Twitter, and hopefully a pretty good idea of what you’re all about in one, convenient place. 

2. It’s easy and affordable!

Making a nice, clean website is easier than ever.

  1. Register your domain name (yourname.com). Is your name not available? Get creative and think of something that still evokes your name, like Nicole Harrison did with SocialNicole.com.
  2. Choose a platform to create your website! Here are three easy options:

While there are many other platforms available, Squarespace is my favorite. It's extremely intuitive, so no worries if you’ve never touched web design before. It has built in hosting, a blogging platform, image galleries, website analytics, great tech support, and much more. You can try it for free, and if you like it, it’s only $12 a month (including hosting).

Don’t be scared. Take a stab at it.

3. It doesn't have to have bells and whistles.

Your website can be simple. I’d recommend for starters, just a few pages: About, Resume, Blog, Connect/Contact. Not ready to commit to the time suck of a blog? Totally understandable—static websites are fine too.

  • About: Give your audience a clear vision of who you are. Do you have a personal mission statement yet? If so, it’d go here. No? Go write one.
  • Resume: Just upload your resume or provide a simple work history synopsis.
  • Connect/Contact: Plop down all of your other online profiles (LinkedIn, Twitter, etc). Also, make sure to provide either an email link or a contact request form.

“I made it, but what the hell do I do with it?” Push your site! Now you only have one link to deal with instead of several, but no one knows that until you promote it. Include a link to your website on everything—email, Twitter bio, business cards, LinkedIn, etc.

A personal website can be simple. Don’t let it scare you. You can always develop it more as time moves on, but just start small for now. Remember, it’s easy for all the aspects of who you are to get lost in the social networking black hole. So simplify. Gather up all those aspects and create a virtual “home” for your personal brand. Your network will thank you and, more importantly, remember you.

Here are some examples of simple, personal websites: