Using the Whole Whale - A Nonprofit Podcast

Global Food Crisis & Google Analytics Cliff (news)

April 12, 2022

War In Ukraine Continues To Increase Likelihood Of Global Food Crisis 

According to reporting from The New York Times, the war in Ukraine continues to threaten global food, agriculture, and other vital infrastructure. Farmers in Ukraine are reporting that granaries, farms, and other agriculture-related infrastructure are being destroyed by the Russians, all but halting Ukraine’s ability to export food staples. The World Food Programme chief warns that a global food crisis may turn out to be “beyond anything we’ve seen since World War II.” Nonprofits across the globe should prepare for higher food prices and the second-order effects of a global food crisis, a rare moment where global food markets are being impacted by supply and demand as opposed to external factors affecting access.

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Google Analytics Updates Require Immediate Attention From Nonprofits Running GA, Google Ads

Google Analytics’ Universal Analytics, the industry-standard web analytics reporting platform and tracking infrastructure is being phased out in favor of the new GA4. In an update, Google announced that starting July 1st, 2023, all Universal Google Analytics accounts will stop pulling in new data from websites. The phasing out of UA is years in the making, but the hard switch will require nonprofits to both export and download historic data as well as migrate over to the new code. Recipients of the Google Ad grant are at risk of losing access unless they migrate accordingly. Read more about the upcoming update here.

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Summary

Transcript

[00:00:00] This week on a nonprofit news feed brought to you by Holwell a digital social impact agency. We're talking about the continued issues coming from the war in Ukraine, specifically around global food and crisis that could be coming. And some Google analytics updates that that might be annoying to you.

[00:00:20] And in general, we're going to be trying to as always bring it back to why this matters for you at your social impact organization. So Nick, how's it going?

[00:00:29] It's going?

[00:00:29] good, George, how are you?

[00:00:30] You know keeping up with the news, keeping up with the work it's, it's been busy here at whole. Well, you know, we just came back from our staff retreat, not too long ago. I, I feel like I'm caught up, but it's tough when you take a little, a little break from the normal.

[00:00:46] It is tough agency. Life keeps us busy, but we're back at it again today with the nonprofit newsfeed. And as you alluded to our first story continues to be about the second and third order effects of the war in Ukraine in particular, the increasing likelihood of a global food crisis. So again, from record reporting from the New York times, the word Ukraine continues.

[00:01:11] Threatened global food, agriculture and other vital infrastructure farmers are having their greeneries and farm equipment destroyed and lots of other. Facilities and infrastructure in Ukraine and Russia are now offline from the global food markets, the world food program, chief warns that a global food crisis may turn out to be beyond anything we've seen since world war two.

[00:01:37] Now the nonprofit take on this is that nonprofits are going to see higher food prices. They're going to see higher gas prices from sanctions, as well as just strains on gas and oil production. And this is a rare moment where global food markets are being impacted by supply and demand as to pose to the more typical factors that we see.

[00:02:01] George. I know we want to take this back to nonprofits. If you're and a nonprofit based in America, small, maybe you have a couple staff on your payroll. Why is this important to those organizations?

[00:02:13] One, you should be preparing for what the bottom line costs will start to become, especially if you're serving people. In harder to reach areas, working with the world food program, organizing and food. And it's probably already on your radar to be honest, right? We're not telling you anything new. The second thing you should be doing is beginning to fundraise and communicate around this pending can task trophy before, before you're in the moment.

[00:02:40] Cause as we know you need the resources now to prepare for later, you need to plant the seeds in the spring to get them in the fall in the same way. I think. That even though you're hearing it here and even in your circles, maybe this is something that is very clearly going to happen. The truth is I'm not seeing it nearly as much in sort of search trends and information, and in general and, and carry it around because you know, a future impending crisis just doesn't get to the front of the paper, the same way that the media disaster and impacts and refugees have, but there is something there's something large coming.

[00:03:19] And I think that's an opportunity for your organization to begin that narrative now, to educate first, right, with information, educate your audience about what you see coming from where you sit and what your projected. To then follow up with a preemptive campaign to prepare for what I think we're clearly seeing is going to be a global food crisis and searches for famine sutures searches for food crisis, I anticipate will be going up, but right now there are surprisingly flat.

[00:03:50] Absolutely. Great analysis and George, something that we tell our clients is the best time to prepare for breaking news. Is ahead of time and there are ways to do it. We can see things coming, whether it's big political moments in elections, or whether it's this slow burning news story that we will likely see ramp up in the future.

[00:04:13] There are things you can do now to prepare for it. And the beneficiaries of many organizations this may be directly affected. And there's lots of different things you can do to prepare for that from the communications and marketing angle to. How you serve communities for example, but I think that's a great analysis. All right. I can take us into our next story. And this is a frustrating one, George one that hits close to home based on my current job description, but Google analytics. Is requiring immediate attention from nonprofits over the next year. The takeaway vests is Google analytics. For those who are unfamiliar is the industry standard web analytics reporting platform.

[00:05:01] It's a reporting code. It's a tracking infrastructure. It's a whole system for understanding how people are interacting with your website. Google has been slowly rolling out the updated version of this platform. That's currently called a universal analytics. They are upgrading it to what is being dubbed GA for this has been happening for two years now in molasses level, slow motion.

[00:05:29] But just last week, they put out a press statement saying that all universal analytics accounts. So all that historic data, all those accounts, all of universal analytics is going away your data, unless you export and download it going away. That's it's over with. And quite frankly, it's Google anticipating changes in the data privacy and regulatory environment.

[00:05:56] But what this means for nonprofits is that you both need to download and store that historic data. And as soon as possible, get the new GA for up and running. So you can start that data collection so that when. Universal analytics goes away. You already have a little bit of runway with historic data to make that transition.

[00:06:19] What am I missing, George?

[00:06:20] Yeah. I feel like this is a scared, straight program of people panicking, but you're right. What we should note is that you have until July. 2023, July 1st, 20, 23 may seem like over a year away. However, your point about the data continuity stands. If you want to be looking at this time next year, year over year information, you have to make sure that GA for the new instance, GA four is installed, set up and tracking the things that matter to you now.

[00:06:49] So you have that overlap. They given a year. Which is, you know, which is great, but they are very serious about this hard cliff and enlarge part because of some of those data, privacy laws and rules that are out there. This may be frustrating. This may be annoying. The other side of this is that if you do nothing, so you're listening to this right now, you park it away.

[00:07:08] Like, ah, you know, I'll get to it later. Like one you're gonna be frustrated because you don't have the data year over year that you would probably want for reporting a number two. Is that this could risk your Google ad grant come next year, past July, if you do not have a fully operational and working GA for instance, your analytics tied to, of course your Google ad grant and many times for, for application, maybe they change the rules.

[00:07:35] Maybe they change this or app, but this is something that you can't really stick your head in the sand in. And it's something that is, you know, a little bit of work now. And then in terms of the export, you can wait until next year and whole whale will be working. On a lot of different solutions to make it super easy for you to click, click export and at least view some assemblance of historical data as a result of that.

[00:07:57] And we're going to create something that is a DIY that people can run with on their own. Later, later this year and into next year, as we get a handle on the real nuance of this, but we bring it up now because it's one of those like not urgent but important. Not urgent, but important things that you should be paying attention to.

[00:08:17] Right.

[00:08:17] Yeah George, I like the messaging on that. I will also add that if you happen to be listening to this podcast on your unfamiliar with Google analytics, I promise you that your market. Name and your web development team or web developer or vendor, someone who works on your website is familiar. So figure out who that person is, contact them and start thinking about a game plan for acknowledging the shift and George, as you alluded to, we will also be putting out more information and resources in the coming months and year. All right. I can take us into our next story within our summary. And this comes from the nonprofit times@thenonprofittimes.com and the title of the story is libertarians are giving locally, not nationally. And the headline is that 70% of households and Florida. The report making charitable. Charitable donations during 2021 with an average donation of a thousand dollars, but the majority of their giving is focused on nonprofits within the state.

[00:09:26] So I think in some ways this is something of a counter narrative to some of the threads we've been pulling about national trends in giving and tent pole, giving Bowman's and giving during political seasons. The data here as reported by the nonprofit time shows that. Local giving is still driving the fundraising landscape and a lot of places in this case with specialty.

[00:09:51] Yeah reminder that the giving locally still is very much in play. And if you're a local organization thinking about how your. Framing that ask and saying to make sure that that while there are national interests and where our attention is absolutely being pulled to moments of crisis in Ukraine and beyond that, there is still much of a, an appeal when you come back to local, local impact and local dollars putting to work the top three areas, which was interesting for the average donation amounts in the areas where religion basic needs and health You know, I'd be curious, you know, tried to look for other state by state comparisons, but it's interesting to at least look at one example of Florida in this case.

[00:10:34] Absolutely. Yes. I can take us into our next story. And this comes from us news and world report, and the title is inflation hits, non-profits services and ability to fundraise. We have been covering inflation and the downstream effects on nonprofit organizations before, but this is yet another article highlighting the problem with higher prices for nonprofits that quite frankly have very thin margins to operate within and at Highland.

[00:11:04] A nonprofit out of Cincinnati, I believe that has been looking for a refrigeration truck to help transport food through its various programs. And they've simply not been able to either afford a new truck or a Ford, a used truck. Of course, the. The automobile manufacturing and auto OBL market in general has seen prices shoot through the roof in the past couple of years with supply chain disruptions.

[00:11:32] But just another reminder that this is something that's affecting non-profits, it's not going away. Although recent inflation numbers today, Very high. I think the number was over 8% year over year. A couple of signs in there that the rate of growth of inflation might be slowing. So some cautious optimism that it's not going to go up much higher, but let alone we're still at record high inflation numbers.

[00:12:01] So it's something to keep in mind for small organizations which are on the front lines of these prices.

[00:12:07] organizations specifically working around housing and food insecurity are, are feeling this a quote from Kelly Kuehn, the CEO, Michigan nonprofit association had this quote that's that's something, any non-profit is experiencing now trying to keep up with requests for higher salaries and wages. Added that passion for the mission.

[00:12:27] Won't keep non-profit workers from seeking wages elsewhere. There's a lot of strain on human capital for nonprofits. I think that tension is only going to increase as this year continues and basic cost of living. Salaries just to keep up with the rate of inflation is going to become more and more difficult as, as these compounding factors play in.

[00:12:52] And of course the people serving the most vulnerable if they're hit so too, are they they're stable.

[00:12:57] Absolutely. All right, George, I'll take us into our next story. And we always look for opportunities to talk about cybersecurity because it's so important and

[00:13:06] Actually I want to jump backward. I really, I want to make this more practical. So I had this thought really quickly, right? We're talking about inflation. We talked about it a number of times. Here's here's the take, if you messaging, I think you can use this as a potential narrative to say. While other organizations can raise their prices.

[00:13:23] When you click the buy something online, when you buy that cup of coffee and buy that next gallon of gas, that just goes up or down, like they control those prices. We can't turn to our stakeholders. We can't tell somebody that this, you know, this food that we're giving you this week cost this much more.

[00:13:40] We serve the community in public good, but we're having a hard time keeping up right now with the cost of living. As we all know. But that work sort of can be put in juxtaposition with what for-profit companies can be doing. And we're seeing, and there's a little bit of angst about they're raising their prices, making more expensive for us, guess who can't raise their prices, our service to each other, our service in housing or service to food insecure.

[00:14:02] So maybe that is an opportunity to bring in some narrative as it's it's clearly on people's mind about inflation, but bring it into something that's maybe.

[00:14:11] Absolutely. You know, to your point, I think inflation will be an extremely salient political messaging. Angle you're going into November. So everyone's going to be talking about it's it's it's it's the economy stupid, right? That's that's going to be the angle. So you might as well play off of it, right?

[00:14:30] Like that's a tangible narrative. People are hearing about all the time and yeah. Being able to. You know, narrate how that's affecting you, I think can really humanize your organization to potential donors and people within, within your.

[00:14:48] And the way I think you pulled that is not on a macro hand-wringing level. It is on the micro pick up a canopies. Here's our warehouse. Here's this can of peas. It is going to take us an extra fill in the blank gas, fill in the blank cost to get it from here to there, we solve the last mile. That's what nonprofits are doing.

[00:15:08] The last mile of we have the resources. We just have to get them to the people that need it. And that cost of driving of applying and getting it there is what's going up. So find those micro stories to pull out. And I think that'll help, especially Nick. You're right. We're going to hear that word used a lot.

[00:15:28] It's going to trend in searches and pieces and you can get, you know, news articles written, but he's going to do it on the micro. How much does it cost to get that canopies this year versus last year versus two years ago, to where it needed to go.

[00:15:40] Absolutely. That's the way to do it. Bring it home, make it local. Into, into terms people can understand. I absolutely agree. All right. I can take us into our next story. And this comes from local CBS affiliate channel five K P I X San Francisco bay area. And the article is about a scam, San Francisco, nonprofit falling victim to the costliest form of cyber crime.

[00:16:08] And again, this type of cyber crime continues to be business, email compromise. We've heard about flashy ransomware attacks. Nope. Standard email phishing is still the most lucrative. And I think the number in here from the FBI was that in the U S in 2021, approximately $2.4 billion were stolen. Representing a 33% increase from 2021.

[00:16:36] It comes to just basic email, phishing scams. That's an absurd amount of money for a very low tech way. You know, stealing monthly. And the story here focuses on a nonprofit, a nonprofit account accounting executive, who was the target of phishing emails that actually the hackers were able to insert themselves into an email chain and essentially siphon off money.

[00:17:04] And after running the case to the ground and traveling to the bank and involving the FBI and the police who apparently couldn't do anything, apparently now the secret service is investigating that's beside the point. The point is phishing scams are not going away. They're increasing in frequency, they're increasing in their potency and their ability to extract money out of hardworking Americans.

[00:17:27] And non-profits what you need to do to stay safe is a couple of. Two factor, authenticate everything. Make sure you anything involving monthly is extremely secure should not be happening over email. Lots of little things that you can do just to kind of secure your organization. George, are there any other takeaways or any other tips you have for nonprofits?

[00:17:54] We have a cybersecurity course, our friends over at round table. Technologies have constant updates about this, but here's the point. I want you to understand how simple this was. If you have a CFO, if you have a chief financial, whatever, if you even have a bookkeeper and I can hack their email by simply saying, Hey, can you send me your password?

[00:18:14] Oh, I'm the admin. I'm running an it update. Can you send me this really quickly? And I had send it from something that looks pretty confident. They're busy. Oh, that sure. Here you go. I've been meaning to run this up at. Yeah, no problem. We'll get. If I can get that email password and I can just hack one person on a financial thread in your organization, all it was was this person went into the email.

[00:18:34] Client, looked through, found a conversation about who was sending what wires to grants. So they did a search for wire instructions, and then they went and just popped into that thread. Replied. Actually, we just had an update on this wire information. Can you change the routing information to this boom gone?

[00:18:50] Like that. So I want you to think about how vulnerable that system is because I'm have high confidence that I could do that for a good percentage of folks. If you gave me a target, I don't want that to sink in for a second. As you consider what you know, oh, the lock our files up. No, no, no, no, no, no.

[00:19:08] They're going to do a deep phishing attack and they're going to take your money. It's now hopefully becoming. Part of your, your regular diet of insuring against the, in doing, you know, we don't have the time to go through the amount of things that you should be doing, but there are some basic things that will stop 95% of those types of attacks.

[00:19:27] I feel like this is a scared straight program now.

[00:19:29] We deliver hard trues on this podcast. Sometimes the truth hurts.

[00:19:34] All right. Do we have good news? Do we have a, a field feel better?

[00:19:38] George, I got a great one for us. Our feel-good story of the day comes from local CBS affiliate channel 13, w J Z so many letters. CVS out of Baltimore. And this is about Baltimore city partnering with local nonprofit Kaboom exclamation point to ensure that children have access to play space equity at schools and underserved communities.

[00:20:05] The nonprofit organization, Kaboom has raised over $250 million to build play spaces and playgrounds for kids in the Baltimore area and over 25 places. And. I think this is really awesome because we like, you know, I'm in New York city, you're in California. We both grew up in cities. It's so important to have those spaces at the benefits of that art immense.

[00:20:30] So it was awesome to see a nonprofit stepping up here and making our cities a better place for our children.

[00:20:37] I have so much respect for Kaboom. They have been in the game for a very long time. And their model of working with tri-sector partnerships, meaning nonprofit for profit and government is excellent. Their funding models are brilliant. Sometimes they, you know, they work very often with those communities to build those play spaces.

[00:20:56] And by the way, you know, just speaking as a parent, like public place spaces, just have. A, just a bastion of sanity of health for, for my kids. I know because, you know, during the pandemic you're locked into four, four walls and maybe no backyard. And I gotta tell you it's it meant the world to have even any access to play spaces.

[00:21:18] And so this work more important than ever loved to see Kaboom continuing on. And by the way, take a look at their models. There's a lot of smart things going on at Kaboom.

[00:21:27] All right. That's what we have for you, Nick. Thanks as always appreciate your help. Synthesizing all of this news.

[00:21:34] Thanks. George, I'll talk to you next week.

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