Don’t Miss Your Opportunity to Engage Your Audience

There’s a chance that your nonprofit organization may be a little hesitant to develop new media strategies and be involved in an online community. Delving into the world of social media can be a daunting task but it is so unbelievably necessary for your organization to grow. It is important to know that according to a report from the Pew Research Center, found in a post by Mark Milian of CNN, Internet users are far more likely to be active in volunteer organizations than non-internet users. This being said, as an organization, you need to take advantage of that!

In the previously mentioned post, Milian mentions that of the 2,300 web-users surveyed in the Pew Research Center report, 80 percent are actively involved in groups compared to 56 percent who are not web-users. The report stated that these active Internet users  feel a significantly larger amount of pride and accomplishment toward the organizations they are involved in. This sense of community created by the internet was an important factor in Charity: Water’s success as a nonprofit organization. Charity: Water is a nonprofit organization that works to supply drinkable water to developing countries. Milian states that because the charity began as such a small entity, it utilized the web’s cheap tools and large audience reach in order to expand. The charity credits social media such as Twitter and Facebook to their steady growth.

Blogger Jeremy Smith wrote a post in regards to the Pew Research Center report and states that a nonprofit organization leader simply cannot afford to overlook social media. He states that while the web-users mentioned in the report are more likely to be involved in groups, they also show more loyalty and commitment to the groups they participate in. Smith says that if your organization is not engaging in the same social media tools that your audiences are engaging in, then your organization is making a monster of a mistake.

If you are serious about the cause you are promoting as a nonprofit organization, you must take it upon yourself to reach your target audiences. These studies show that your audiences can be best reached by engaging with them through social media. If you’re not already utilizing social media tools to engage your audience, it is not too late to shift from being proactive to active.

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Posted by on March 23, 2011 in Uncategorized


Measuring Your Nonprofit’s Social Media Achievement

You’re probably wondering how you can track the success of your social media efforts. Because you are trying to turn constituents into donors, it is important that you determine which social medias will work best. There are many factors to take into account while determining whether or not a social media is beneficial to your organization. According to Anna Johnson in her article “5 Ways to Measure Social Media Success,”the main elements that must be tracked are:

  1. Social media views
  2. Fans and followers
  3. Likes, Retweets, and Shares
  4. Traffic
  5. Sales and conversions

Measuring Your Nonprofit Marketing” is a helpful blog post written by Howard Adam Levy. In this post he describes the five most important steps to take in order to effectively measure your social media use. The first important step is to establish goals that your organization aspires to achieve. Levy states that this could include increasing donations or simply improving your organization’s online visibility. Secondly, it is crucial to understand that your organization won’t be able to measure everything. Although you can’t measure everything, it is important to regularly analyze your dashboard, which is the third step of the process. Levy says that this helps you understand exactly what’s working for your organization. The fourth step of the process (and in my personal opinion the most important) is to act on what you have learned. Acting on what you have learned can greatly improve the quality of your organization. If a certain aspect of social media is working for your organization, take advantage of it. If a certain aspect of social media is not working for your organization, make some changes. The fifth and final step that Levy offers your nonprofit organization is to take advantage of the free monitoring tools whenever they are available. Use tools such as Google Analytics and Google Alerts to your full advantage.

An important aspect of measuring social media success that went unmentioned in Levy’s post is keyword search. Keyword searches are crucial  factors in increasing your online visibility and improving your online traffic. J.D. Lasica, in his blog post, “Keywords, Search Marketing and Data Mining,” provides useful information on what keyword marketing is, its sources, and what tools your organization can use to measure it as well as improve it.

By implementing all of these measurement ideas, you can further increase your nonprofit’s success. Monitoring, measuring and adjusting can take your organization far!

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Posted by on March 16, 2011 in Uncategorized


How to Use Social Media to Your Benefit

Now that you have seen specific cases where the use of social media has positively impacted a fellow nonprofit organization, you may be eager to create your own presence in social media. Simply being present online isn’t enough; effectively using social media is a dynamic process.

A large benefit of using social media in innovative ways is that it can increase your audience’s involvement. In her blog post,4 Tips on How Non-Profits Can Leverage Social Media,” Candace Tyler states that simply having Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare accounts aren’t enough and that the audience needs to be involved in your organization. Online marketing and fundraising is based around reaching out to your followers and winning them over and you can do this by showing your statistics, offering incentives, and giving them the opportunity to volunteer in unique ways.

Regardless of the size of your nonprofit organization, being active in the social media outlets can result in a tighter bond between your organization and your audience and can also increase your funds. In the blog post, “Five Quick Fundraising Tips for Nonprofits using Social Media,” Hector Herrera discusses ways in which a nonprofit organization can approach their audience in order to extract donations while still keeping your dignity in tact. He recommends using various social media tools that can accompany each other in your fundraising campaign; for example having a Facebook donation page and also using Twitter to promote your campaign. Two of the most important tips he offers are to post regularly and to create a recurring campaign. Posting regularly gets the your word out immediately and allows your audience to be updated on the details, which is important because everyone wants to be in-the-know. Creating a recurring campaign is essential because it allows for ongoing support from your audience.

Like Herrera, Nick Damoulakis also advocates the use of social media to share with your audience what your organization has up its sleeves. In his post “10 Marketing Strategies for Non-Profit Organizations (Part 1 of 3),” he stresses the importance of not only informing your audience but involving them. Damoulakis encourages you to utilize your supporters, who he describes as brand enthusiasts, in your nonprofit’s success. He says that the people who support you will reinforce your online presence because they will take it upon themselves to create blogs, podcasts, and videos that will promote your news and events.

Lastly, use social media to connect with other organizations. Developing relationships with people who you share common goals with can possibly lead to business partnerships and learning experiences!

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Posted by on February 23, 2011 in Uncategorized


The 1 Billion Hungry Project Spreads Like Wildfire

An organization’s message can spread like wildfire if they are using social media tactics correctly. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations tested these tactics in their 1 Billion Hungry campaign. This campaign was created in order to spread awareness about the 1 billion people in this world that go hungry each day.  The 1 Billion Hungry Project website states their overall objective as creating a global movement and inspiring people to blow their whistle on hunger; the organization wanted to encourage people to become angry about the issue present in today’s world so that they would take action against it.  In the blog “FAO: 1 billion hungry project,” Alessandro Sciortino states that their campaign, launched in May 2010, consisted of an online petition that would put pressure on politicians to act against world hunger and make that specific issue a priority. The FAO sought to obtain one million signatures for their petition.

According to Dir. Adriano Falconi in the article, “Dir. Adriano Falconi directed Oscar winner Jeremy Irons in a PSA for FAO out of McCann Erickson,” the campaign initially began with a broadcasting launch event and quickly spread through many other media sources. The campaign hit TV, print, merchandising, PR, events, the iPhone, and the Internet. He claims that every day there was an addition of a communication method. The 1 Billion Hungry Project launched its own website to exhibit their communication uses. While these included the methods previously listed, they also included YouTube, Facebook, Flickr, and Twitter. The communication that took place on these forms of social media allowed for the audience to pass the information along to their connections. This resulted in 350,000 YouTube views, 65,000 Facebook friends, and 4,000 Twitter followers.

Here is the video launched by the organization in order to inspire their audience to get mad about the 1 billion people who go hungry each day:

The petition reached 3,200,000 signatures and was presented to the representatives of the United Nations on November 30, 2010. The success of the online petition can be credited to the use of social media. The spread of this message through social media tools allowed for people to connect from different parts of the world in order to make a significant difference in the lives of those who go hungry every day.

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Posted by on February 16, 2011 in Uncategorized


American Red Cross’ Utilization of “Text to Donate” Campaign

Organizations are constantly affected by their surrounding environment. When a crisis occurs, it is vital for an organization to respond quickly and efficiently. This immediacy can be accomplished through the use of social media tools. The American Red Cross exemplifies the importance of this technique through their unique use of cellular devices in a campaign to raise money for those whose lives were altered by the earthquake in Haiti.

The American Red Cross did not wait to react to the devastating news of the earthquake. In her blog post, “Non profits: Time to Get Mobile,” Allyson Kapin states that the organization launched a “text to donate” campaign only three hours after the disaster occurred. This campaign allowed any individual to donate a maximum of $10 three separate times by simply texting HAITI to a specified number; the donation was then charged to their cell phone bill. In Alex Palmer’s blog post, “American Red Cross Raises Stakes on Mobile,” Brian Leamy states that he believes this method is the easiest and most straightforward way of donating because an individual doesn’t have to write a check or give out credit card information and everyone knows how to send a text message.

Allyson Kapin states that by the first full day of campaigning, American Red Cross had received around $800,000 worth of donations. By the second day, the mobile contributions totaled to $5 million. By the end of the campaign, around $35 million was raised all together.

In the American Red Cross’ blog post, “There is Hope for Haiti,” Gail McGovern describes that the donations received from this campaign went directly to emergency relief. Around 40 percent of American households contributed to the relief campaign and ultimately assisted in providing food for the people directly affected by the earthquake, drinkable water for thousands a day, tents and tarps, business loans and grants to help 220,000 acquire the means to get back on their feet, and a vaccination campaign immunizing nearly one million people against fatal diseases.

After the success of the campaign for Haiti relief funding, they continued to utilize this campaign technique. The American Red Cross launched another campaign on December 1, 2010, this time increasing the maximum donation amount to $25 instead of $10. This particular campaign was launched around the holidays and allowed individuals to make donations to aid in fund efforts for disaster response, assisting the military, and teaching first aid.

The American Red Cross wrote an article that stressed the importance of using social media to respond to emergencies. The “White Paper: The Case for Integrating Crisis Response with Social Media” describes how social media now goes hand-in-hand with crisis response. The paper also states that the public has grown dependent on social media as a means of sharing and gaining information about crises. Creating a response through a social media outlet is necessary because more and more people are turning to social media as their first choice in communicating about these crises. As a response and aid community, you must get ahead of the trend in order to be effective.

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Posted by on February 7, 2011 in Uncategorized


Tweets Can Make You Smile

Most organizations and corporations use Twitter as a means of providing a two-way conversation flow between themselves and their constituents. The nonprofit organization Operation Smile went beyond the basic uses of Twitter and engaged their audience in an innovative way by creating an event to help raise money to pay for surgeries for children with facial deformities.

They began their campaign by creating a Twitter page called 140 Smiles. Operation Smile informed their audiences that by donating a minimum of $240, they could pay for an entire cleft surgery for a young child and help improve the child’s quality of life. The grand prize for the group or individual that assisted in raising the most money was a trip to New Zealand.

Miriam Kagan followed this impressive campaign and wrote about it in her blog, “Twitter Fundraising: Operation Smile’s 140 Smiles Campaign,” Miriam applauds Operation Smile for targeting a social media involved audience in their brave endeavor. She explains that this campaign was a smart move because it made it easy for an individual or group to donate and it encouraged these individuals to advocate the cause to the people they are linked to. Miriam ultimately hopes that other organizations will follow Operation Smile’s lead and start to blend social media into their own fundraising campaigns.

In the video below, posted by RaganTV, the social media strategist for Operation Smile, Renee Alexander Hamilton, explains their Twitter fundraising event and provides advice for organizations who are thinking about taking a step towards implementing social media into their fundraising plans.

While the Twitter campaign was successful for Operation Smile, Renee Hamilton warns organizations that it may not be right for everyone. If Twitter or other social medias can advance your organization’s goals, Hamilton advises to go into it with little expectations and be content with the fact that if nothing else, you have been successful in increasing awareness of your organization.

One of the greatest benefits of this type of social media fundraising campaign is that the people who are truly interested will pass word about your cause to the people they are connected to. Social media campaigns like this one are great ways for viral marketing to emerge. The 140 Smiles campaign continues to this day and because of viral marketing it will continue to receive donations.

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Posted by on February 2, 2011 in Uncategorized


The Importance of Social Media in Nonprofit Organizations

The adoption of new social media tools and technologies is a crucial factor in the success of an organization. In today’s society, more and more people are beginning to use social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and blogs in order to connect with others. Because of the constant development and popularity of social media in our culture, one-way communication is becoming less and less effective as a marketing tool. In order to reach your constituents as an organization, you must delve into the world of social media and form a strong presence.

Seeing as your nonprofit organization’s success depends on the amount of people willing to put effort into the cause you are advocating, it would be in your best interest to take advantage of these resources and reach out to as many people as possible.

In the blog post, “Social Media’s Role in your Nonprofit’s Marketing Funnel,” Pamela Grow states that social media is the first step in becoming a more successful organization. She explains a process that ultimately results in transforming a regular constituent into a supporter of your cause through the use of social media. This transformation takes place by connecting with your audiences on a more personal level and creating a bond. A typical one-way communication technique attacks your targeted audience and bombards them with information. A two-way form of communication such as social media allows the transaction of ideas and opinions to take place, which leads to an audience’s understanding of your goals as well as growth of your organization as a whole.

Like Pamela Grow, John, from Social Media Dudes, dedicates a blog to pointing out 10 ways in which a nonprofit organization can prosper through the application of social media:

  1. Increased internet exposure
  2. No cost event promotion
  3. Complimentary blog or networking page
  4. Get in the news each day
  5. Raise awareness using social networking ads
  6. Focus on local donors
  7. Share your message with the world
  8. Make important connections
  9. Collaborating with other organizations
  10. Empower individuals to do something

In summary of his post, John flat out states that if you do not use social media as a nonprofit organization, you should anticipate quick demise.

For examples of how several different organizations effectively use social media to reach a broad audience and why they feel it is important to do so, check out the video below!

Ragan Reports: Non Profits and Social Media

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Posted by on January 27, 2011 in Uncategorized