Looking back on Mozilla Parks

8 07 2011

As David pointed out in his blog post about our parks program, we created some fundraising campaigns in 2010 and 2011 to help illustrate the need to protect the digital spaces we enjoy as well as the physical marvels of nature around the world. Inspired by the program created by Mozilla Japan for Firefox 3.5, Shiretoko, we realized we had a way to explain our mission in a way that a broader audience could understand.

We started in 2010 by partnering with the Madagascar Fauna Group, whose mission was to protect lemur habitats by discouraging deforestation and encouraging education on the island nation of Madagascar. We chose this group because Firefox 3.6 was code named Namoroka for a park in the north of Madagascar. The Mozilla community came together and raised almost $12,000.

The next parks project was for Thunderbird 3.0, which had been codenamed Lanikai after one of the world’s most beautiful beaches in Hawaii. For this campaign we partnered with Kupu, a local not-for-profit that meshes conservation of engandered sea birds with providing educational and career opportunities for at-risk youth. Again, the Mozilla community came through, raising more than $7,000 to help them use digital tecnology to support their mission.

Our last parks campaign in 2011 was with World Wildlife Fund. Firefox 4 was code named Tumucumaque for the world’s largest rainforest park in the north of Brazil. The park is bigger than belgium and the biodiversity of its ecosystem is like nowhere else on earth. This campaign was focused on raising funds to help the WWF protect this park in Brazil, protecing speices like the Jaguar. The Mozilla community raised over $13,000. We really do rock.  In addition to the fundraising campaign, Mozilla Japan created the Virtual Park demo, demonstrating the how we all create a diverse digital ecosystem with cool jungle graphics.

In all the campaigns we were able to use our considerable reach to help different not-for-profits around the world. Donations came in primarily from the US and Canada (the campaigns weren’t localized sadly), but people all over the world contributed to help these causes.

We also got some amazing feedback from our users on the program. Many people contacted us to thank us for doing good, happy to see Mozilla getting involved in conservation efforts. Even a gradeschool teacher in the United States used our lemur campaign to teach her students about Madagasar and the animals that live there.

As the program has been closed for now, you can check out an archive of all the old campaign pages here. A huge thank you to everyone who participated and donated.


Payment Processing Is Hard

17 04 2011

As we’ve been building the Join Mozilla program and updating our fundraising infrastructure over the last year we’ve encountered a lot of challenges. Mozilla is unique among fundraising organizations in a number of ways: we care a ton about privacy; we want everyone, everywhere to be able to participate, which means localization is important; and we want to make sure users have a good experience when they interact with us, be it through our browser or when they are kind enough to support us with a donation. These are our values and the things that help Mozilla stand apart from our peers.

As a charity, we accept money from individual donors all over the world. This means dealing with payment processors and credit card companies. At its most basic level it means doing in a way that works with those values above. More specifically, it means adhering to a payment standard called the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI as it’s known to its friends). It’s full of regulations that make sure that user credit card/payment data is handled securely. For example, if an organization wants to store or transmit credit card data over an API, it has to be PCI compliant. Why would we want to do that? PCI compliance involves a significant investment of money and staff. One-click payment processing is a start. Our previous donation experience involved a multi-click Homerian journey through PayPal. Nothing close to what’s considered a good user experience. This is why a lot of orgs look to third-party payment processing providers.

Another tool we need for looking after our donors is a CRM. Donors need to be thanked, get tax receipts and make it possible for us to maintain a relationship with them. We’re looking to have hundreds of thousands supporters of Mozilla, adding more each year. CRM software makes it possible for us to manage those relationships in a secure way.

As a bit of background, we tried to implement an open-source CRM and payment processing system in 2010. We consulted with its authors, got help from peers that use it and despite our best efforts, it failed. Amplifying the fail factor, this also took a really long time and caused a huge amount of delay. It was very frustrating for everyone involved who was trying hard to make this system work. We needed it to work as we weren’t even doing what gets taught in Fundraising 101. So we threw that system away and started over.

This time we decided to start working with a service provider. While there are a lot of fundraising platforms out there, we have a pretty specific set of needs: PCI compliance, multi-lingual support for localization and a willingness to meet our significant legal, data, privacy and security requirements.

When you look at that list of requirements, the list of options gets pretty short and in fact brought us to one specific company; Blue State Digital. They’ve met our requirements and they’re experienced with dealing with values-driven orgs. We’ve been working with them since September and it’s been a big improvement for us. We started accepting donations via the BSD system on November 12 and the increase in our conversion rates has been notable. For example, comparing December 2009 and 2010 there’s a 312% increase in donations (full disclosure, BSD wasn’t the only variable, as we also had a fundraising campaign in market, so that helped too). Having a system where we can track donations in real time, steward donors and run reports is like living in a new world in terms of donor management and reporting for restricted donations.

It’s not all sunshine and puppies mind you. Localization is hard with this system, requiring a lot of manual work instead of the process we use for the rest of Mozilla. It’s frustrating for localizers in particular, but we are working on it and are hoping to add more locales to the system with a steady cadence. If you’re interested in the particulars of the challenges join our forum or check out the wiki page.

We are also looking for other front-end options for the future of the program as there are many more features we want to add, like a store. But any provider we’re looking for will have to meet the criteria set out above.

As always, we’re looking for ways to do this better. If you know of any storefront solutions that might meet our needs, drop me a line or leave a comment. If you find any bugs with our donation pages or have an idea of how we can make this better, you can file them under the product – websites, component – donate.mozilla.org.

Help Mozilla Drumbeat support Universal Subtitles

3 05 2010

What if anyone, anywhere could easily subtitle videos online? Mozilla Drumbeat, Miro and the Participatory Culture Foundation are working to create an open subtitling standard that lets any video client find matching subtitles, as well as tools to make creating subtitles easy.

My husband is bilingual and does translation between English and Czech in his spare time. While showing me a trailer for an upcoming Czech movie, Kuky se vraci, on YouTube, a familiar scene in our home unfolded. He translated what he could as I watched.  He commented “I wish I could subtitle this, ’cause it’s so good.” It struck me then that just as there are hundreds of thousands of people creating amazing content for the web in their native languages, there are others who want to share that content outside of their culture.

I’ve been working on trying to articulate why this project is important for a while now and while the conversation with my husband shows how subtitles have the potential to bridge linguistic barriers, one of the Universal Subtitles developers passed on this video today that explains its potential far better than I ever could.

The project needs to raise $25,000 to get started. If you donate now, Mozilla Drumbeat will match your donation, dollar for dollar. If you’re spreading the word about Universal Subtitles, please send people to Mozilla.org for more information.

At the same time, the project is also looking for beta testers and coders who are interested in trying the subtitling interface and providing them with feedback. Want to make online video fun for everyone? Want to break down language barriers? Check out the Universal Subtitles blog for more details on how you can help.

Donations through AMO: Suggested Thank You text

16 04 2010

Are you one of the many Add-on authors directing your contributions to Mozilla Foundation? If so, thanks so much! Also, to make setting up your contribution module easier, we’ve put together this “thank you” text:

Thank you for your donation to the Mozilla Foundation. Your donation
will help Mozilla continue to develop open technologies and standards that help keep the internet open. Learn more about us at Mozilla.org

Thanks again to the Add-on authors who have opted to pass your contributions!

Namoroka Update

9 02 2010

We’re almost at the end of the Support Namoroka campaign and are tantalizingly close to our goal of $10,000 for the Madagascar Fauna Group, who support lemurs throughout Madagascar. (In fact, we’re at more than 80%!)

You can help us during this last week of the campaign. The best thing you can do to help us hit our goal is to donate.

If you’ve donated already, thank you! You can do us one more solid by spreading the word via Twitter, Identi.ca, Facebook, etc. If you’re short on creativity, you can just say this:

“Celebrate Firefox 3.6, Namoroka and help Mozilla support Malagasy lemurs! http://bit.ly/6lOsol”

You can also support the campaign with a parks affiliate button on your blog or website.

We’ve had some really amazing feedback from the Mozilla community and the public at large. Please help us hit our goal, celebrate Firefox 3.6 and help some adorable primates in Madagascar.

Contributing to the Mozilla Foundation via AMO

8 02 2010

A few add-on authors have asked about directing contributions for add-ons to the Mozilla Foundation. You definitely can! If you’re an add-on author and interested in directing your contributions to the Mozilla Foundation, it’s simple and easy to do. Just set the PayPal e-mail to accountingATmozilla.org and contributions to your add-on will be directed to the Mozilla Foundation PayPal account.

You can add the following text to your add-on description so that contributors know where their money is going:

“All contributions for this add-on go to the Mozilla Foundation. Mozilla promotes openness, innovation and participation on the Internet. Learn more at www.mozilla.org/foundation.”

If you have any questions about the Foundation or our activities, please contact us at donationsATmozilla.org or ping us in the #foundation IRC channel. Thanks to Nick and Shawn for this idea!

Save the web, save a lemur?

2 12 2009

At Mozilla we foster a healthy ecosystem of communities that promote the ability to freely access, modify and distribute software and creative works. These ecosystems create a digital commons; a shared space, shared resources or network of ideas, applications and products that are free to use.

Much like a park is a vital ecosystem for collaboration, recreation, conservation and commerce, the values of park ring very true within the open source software moment. Take a look back at Firefox release history and you’ll see that previous versions of have been named after parks like Gran Paradiso (Italy), Bon Echo (Canada) and Shiretoko (Japan). Mozilla community members in Japan were so honoured to have Firefox 3.5 code-named after their UNSECO world heritage site park, Shiretoko, that they created Discover Shiretoko to celebrate the park as an important part of their national heritage and to celebrate Firefox and its role in creating a better Internet.

There is a story here to be told about the history of Mozilla and of Firefox and at the same time, we have an opportunity to use the shared values we have with these parks to do some good.

The newest pre-release code name for Firefox is Namoroka, named for a park in the northwest section of Madagascar. Famous for its Karst topography (or Tsingy as it is described in Malagasy), Namoroka is full of caves, canyons and natural swimming pools. Namoroka is also home to eight species of lemur.

Since we’re very fond of things tailed and furry at Mozilla, we’ve decided to celebrate the release of Firefox 3.6 by raising money to protect lemurs in Namoroka park and throughout Madagascar.

As a nation Madagascar is struggling to improve the quality of life for its rapidly growing human population and at the same time is struggling to find a way to preserve the forests and wildlife that remains.

To help, Mozilla is teaming up with the Madagascar Fauna Group (MFG) to help Madagascar through this challenging time. The MFG has been working on conservation in Madagascar for more than 20 years, addressing the environmental and social issues that are leading to deforestation and the trapping of lemurs.

The money we raise for this project will be used to help the MFG improve its website and online fundraising activities, connecting them with like-minded contributors and donors around the world. This donation will also support conservation and education programs on the island. By enhancing their presence within the web ecosystem, we can help them protect the natural ecosystem of Madagascar.

Later this week we will be launching the donation page for this first of our parks projects. If you’re interested in getting involved in the parks project over all, David has started discussing some ideas on his blog. Please let us know what you think about it, and when the page launches next week, please pass the word on.