Category Archives: Mondays with Marissa

A weekly feature in 2012 focusing on technology and non-profits.

Setting attainable social media goals for your non-profit


social media plan1If there is one thing non-profits know about, it is goals. There are goals within the mission. There are fundraising goals. There are membership goals. Today, we are going to talk about setting goals for social media. If you want your organizations social media campaigns to be a success, setting attainable social media goals is key.

Start with a Baseline

Just like anything, you have to see where you are before setting goals for where you want to go.

Measuring success in social media can be a tricky thing. There are many tools to help you define metrics that can be good indicators of interaction. For example, Facebook gives you Insights, which can tell you which posts were successful and which ones were not based on how many people saw them, shared them or liked them. Google Analytics can tell you about how many people visit your website and how long they stay engaged on your site. This type of data is helpful when you’re setting a baseline.

I would also encourage you to look at things outside of traditional metrics to help you define success. For example, how many posts were made in a specific platform can help you form a more complete picture of where your organization currently stands.

Keep in mind, there may not be an easy way to get data for all of the social media networks you use and that’s okay. However, gathering a baseline of data can help you measure success as your organization’s social media plan grows.

Look at Your Data

social media plan2Take a look and see if you can spot any patterns. Here are a few questions you should ask yourself:

  • Are there posts that are super successful?
  • Are there posts that just seem to tank?
  • Do photos do better than text updates?
  • Do posts made at the beginning of the day tend to do better than those posted later in the day or vice versa?
  • Which social media networks are the most active?
  • Which social media networks are the most dormant?
  • Are posts containing a call to action more successful than those without?
  • Do posts with links tend to get users more engaged than those without?

The list could go on and on, but the point is to take a look and see what’s working and what’s not.

Looking at your data is important in the beginning stages of goal setting, during measuring a goal and once the goal timeline has passed. Getting in the habit of collecting and looking at data early, will help you out along the way.

Talk to Your Staff

Social media is a powerful tool for nonprofits. Due to its very low cost, it gives organizations a much louder voice to reach new members of the community and keep up-to-date with those who have been there since the beginning.

While there may be just one person in charge of posting things on social media networks, it is important to get the whole agency together when forming social media goals. Take the time to meet with your staff and talk about how social media can help them reach their own departmental goals. For example, the membership team might like to use social media to run a membership drive during the month of October.

Talking with staff early can help you plan out a specific campaign. Because you’ve taken the time to look at where your organization stands now, you’ll be better able to shape these conversations into what will be most successful for your agency.

Set Goals

social media plan3After establishing a baseline and taking the time to look at what works and what doesn’t, you are ready to take on social media goal setting. The following are a few tips for writing and monitoring goals:

  • When writing goals, make sure they are SMART (e.g. specific, measurable, action oriented, realistic/relevant, and time bound).
  • Make sure you have ways to capture data throughout the goal’s timeline.
  • Discuss and adjust your posts with your team along the way.
  • If a goal isn’t met, it doesn’t mean that it failed completely. Take the time to examine what barriers kept it from succeeding. Maybe the goal wasn’t a great goal in the first place. This can be a lesson to learn in and of itself.

What type of social media goals does your organization set? How to you keep track of your data? What challenges do you face when it comes to setting and meeting social media goals? Let us know in the comment section!
Marissa sig

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Lessons to be learned from Applebee’s social media fiasco


applebees receiptThe news story might be a few weeks old, but the lessons to be learned from it are still valid. Let’s take a look at what non-profit organizations can learn from the Applebee’s Social Media Fiasco.

The story goes like this. A waitress waited on a table with a large party seated at it, and an 18% gratuity was automatically added to the bill. This is common practice when it comes to dining out at many restaurants. The patron, a pastor, wrote on the receipt, “I give God 10%, why should I give you 18%?” and scratched out the tip. The waitress’ friend found this insulting and comical. So, she took a photo and posted it to the social network, Reddit.

Her post, of course, received a lot of negative comments and took the internet by storm. As a result, the employee who posted the receipt to Reddit was fired.

The lesson comes in is how Applebee’s responded to the situation. Applebee’s decided to post the following on their Facebook page:

“We wish this situation hadn’t happened. Our Guests’ personal information – including their meal check – is private, and neither Applebee’s nor its franchisees have a right to share this information publicly. We value our Guests’ trust above all else. Our franchisee has apologized to the Guest and has taken disciplinary action with the Team Member for violating their Guest’s right to privacy.”

reactive_proactiveNowhere in this post, did Applebee’s address the concerns of the public that had been commenting on the post. Nowhere did they address the voices of numerous other customers who were taking sides with the server who attended to the pastor’s table. This post just added fuel to a fire that was already raging.

Furthermore, in an attempt to respond to each individual comment on Facebook, Applebee’s copy and pasted the same message over and over again. This again, did not help the situation. It just continued to make things worse.

Things happen, but in this day and age it is naïve to think that things happen without anyone watching.  This situation brings to light the need to:

  • have a person dedicated to watching what is said about your organization everywhere on the internet,
  • responding to things when they happen, and
  • realizing when a non-response is the best response.

People like to feel like they are being heard. While the message might be the same to each person who posts a comment, taking the time to individualize the message or change the wording a bit makes all the difference. Keep in mind, responding to everyone individually might not be the best move for your organization. Making one blanket, detailed statement that addresses the majority of concerns, might be all that is needed to stop bad word of mouth.

Non-profit agencies don’t always have the money or the time to have a person dedicated to being the social media eyes and ears of their organization. So, what can be done instead? At least set up a Google Alert that notifies you when your agency is mentioned on the internet. Then you can decide if a response is needed.

If you cannot afford to have a person dedicated to watching what is happening on the internet full time, someone in the PR department might be able to take on some social media responsibilities here and there. Remember, you do not have to be involved in all social media networks. Find the one that is right for you and control your message there. When things happen, think about your response in a strategic manner with your whole team before responding quickly just to respond.

It’s been said, that it’s not what happens that matters, it’s how you react to it. The same rings true in social media. When things happen, take into account how your response is going to be received and decide if it is needed at all.

Has your organization faced a social media fiasco? What did you learn? If you want to share your story, leave a comment below, we’d love to hear from you!
Marissa sig

How Storify can help non-profits raise awareness


storifyIf there is one thing Social Media is about, it’s sharing — sharing information, photos, videos, statistics. If it can be displayed on a screen, it can be shared. Sometimes, it can be hard to keep track of all of the items being shared on a single topic. That’s where Storify comes in. Today, we are going to look at how your non-profit agency can use Storify to share social media updates with the world.

What Is It?

Storify defines itself as:

“Storify helps making sense of what people post on social media. Our users curate the most important voices and turn them into stories.”

I like to think of Storify as a personalized social media newspaper. Every now and again, I’ll see a Storify link in my twitter feed. I will click it to find a collection of status updates, tweets, photos, and articles on a topic that was important to the user. As the recipient of the Storify story, I find it brings attention to articles or updates that I may have missed on a specific subject.

Why Use It?

Storify can be a great way to share with your social media followers updates on a certain topic. For example, let’s say your mission has to do with cancer research. Once a week, it might be nice to collect stories about the advancements in cancer research, put them all together in an easy to read format, and share it with others.

What I like is that Storify gives you a way to provide context to the articles to which you are linking. Many times the hardest job a non-profit organization has is educating the public about their mission. Storify provides an easy format to do just that.

Additionally, Storify is a great search engine for finding content on different subjects. Even if you don’t use Storify to share articles and updates with others, it can be used as a powerful search engine to find what people are saying about your organization and its work.

Furthermore, once you publish a story on Storify, the service will notify the people quoted in your story to let them know they are being featured in your story. This can help you raise awareness about your issue faster and facilitate networking connections through social media.

Finally, Storify offers complete flexibility when it comes to how you share your curated stories with others. You can share it as a link to various social media networks or embed it right onto you website. Storify provides you with the code to do it, which makes it as simple as copy and paste.

How to Use It

Signing up for an account is simple. Just go to Storify.com to get started.

The whole interface is drag and drop so it makes deciding where things go very simple. Use Storify to share news about upcoming events, issues important to your mission, or collect when your organization is mentioned elsewhere on the web to share with members of your team.

See how The Weather Channel used Storify to collect stories about the latest winter storm.

I would just like to note that I was not compensated in way to write this post. I just think that Storify is a powerful tool that non-profits could use to raise awareness.

What do you think? Is Storify a tool for your non-profit? Do you already use Storify? If so, what do you believe to be most impactful when using the service? Share answers to any of these questions below in the comments section. I’d love to hear from you!
Marissa sig

Creating a Social Media Policy for Your Nonprofit


We live in an age where information can be shared in less than a blink of an eye. Social media has made it possible to share photos, videos, and updates from anywhere. While this can be an exciting time and social networking can be fun, it is social-media-policy-examplesimportant to make sure there are guidelines in place for your nonprofit when it comes to participation in social media. Today we are going to take a look at questions to ask yourself when forming your social media policy for your organization.

There are two parts to forming a social media policy:

  1. Managing your organization’s social media presence
  2. Guidelines for employees’ personal use of social media and its reflection on your agency

When it comes to writing the first part of your social media policy, keep in mind the following questions:

  • Who on your staff is allowed to update social networks on behalf of your organization? Is it just one person? Is it a team of people? What skills should the person/people responsible for social media updates have?
  • In which social networks should your organization participate? Every network might not be right for your organization. Take some time to do some research and find out which networks are the most important in which to be involved. If your agency is already established on certain social media sites already reflect on if the community is active on this site and if it is worth maintaining. If in your agency doesn’t participate in a site is important to claim a log in on the network to so that no one else claims your organization’s voice on that network.
  • What type of updates are allowed? Nonprofit information can be highly sensitive. Deciding what information can and cannot be shared is critical. This includes deciding who can be included in photos and videos.
  • When can information be shared? Beyond what information can be shared, when it can be shared is also important to think about as well. For example, when can you announce an upcoming special event? Or announce a staff change?
  • What email should be used to set up accounts? You may want to consider creating a social@yourorganziation.org type email address to use by staff when creating new social media profiles for your organizations. This will maintain consistency even if the staff responsible for updating the network changes.
    SMpolicylines1
  • Do updates need to be approved before posting? If so, creating a content calendar might be helpful to help plan out updates to get approved.

When creating a social media personal use policy for your organizations staff, keep these questions in mind:

  • If an employee is listed as working for your organization anywhere online are there certain things about your organization that this employee can or cannot say? It is important for the employee to understand that they are a reflection on the organization and if they are caught saying certain things will there be consequences?
  • Are your employees allowed to use their own personal social media profiles on behalf of the organization and interact with supporters? If so, are there guidelines?
  • Can employees share photos from events or from within the office on their personal social media sites? If so, are there any restrictions?

These are just a few questions to keep in mind when forming a social media policy. As you can imagine it can be quite a project to undertake, but once you have one in place, your nonprofit’s social media presence can thrive under the guidelines you put in place. It is important to note that policies like this might have to be approved by a Board of Directors or overseen by an attorney. Also as a disclaimer, I am not an attorney, so please just take my questions as suggestions and a starting point when forming a social media policy. If you are looking for examples of social media policies, you can check out this site.

Have you put together a social media policy for your organization? What were some best practices you can share with DonorDreams readers? We’d love to hear from you in the comment section below!

Marissa sig

Facebook Graph Search will impact your non-profit social media strategy


graph search1Last week, Mark Zuckerburg and friends held a press conference announcing a new feature for Facebook. No one had any real idea of what it was going to be. Were they changing privacy setting again? Did they buy another social media network? Was Facebook finally going to make a Facebook phone? It turns out that none of those questions were the topic for the press conference and what they announced was a change in “Facebook Search” with something called Graph Search. Today, we are going to take a look at what Graph Search is and how it will impact the social media strategy of your nonprofit.

What is Graph Search?

Facebook has tons of information on every user. Just think about it. Not only does Facebook have your name, but it knows where you live, what school you attended, what music you listen to and even in some cases what toothpaste you prefer. What is Facebook going to do with all of this information? Make it searchable.

Graph Search will change how people use Facebook for searching for information. It has been said that Mark Zuckerburg wants people to use Facebook as their internet and never leave the page. Instituting Graph Search will make that possible.

Currently, if you try to use Facebook Search to find a name of a company or a person, it isn’t very helpful to you. It is easier to go use a search engine like Google to find the information you need.

With Graph Search you can search for topics such as – people who give to charity – and it will bring up a list of your friends or people who live in your area that give to charity. The search results will be based on who you know and where you are located. Because of this, it is important to note that two people could search for the same topic and get different results.

How Will Graph Search Impact Your Nonprofit’s Social Media Strategy?

graph search2Before answering that question, let’s think about how Facebook has changed in the past few months. At the end of 2012, Facebook began to limit the amount of times a post from your brand page (not your personal page) would show up in your supporters News Feed. To get around this, they introduced Sponsored Stories and Promoted Posts causing people to pay money to get their message across.

With the launch of Graph Search, the number of “likes” on your page and the amount of engagement will be more important than ever. These two metrics will determine where you show up in Graph Search search results. Because Facebook has shortened the visibility of a post by a page, your non-profit might want to start thinking about allocating some money for a promoted post every now and then. This can help expand the reach of your message outside of your current supporter base and help you in both the short-term and long-term.

What Can Nonprofits Do Now to Prepare for Graph Search?

Graph Search is still currently in beta, but there a few things that you can do to your Facebook page to make sure it is ready to go when Graph Search launches.

  • Create Engaging Content – Post frequently and use photos to create a community on Facebook where supporters want to comment on or like what is being posted.
  • Fill Out Your About Section – Make sure you have all of the information filled out in your Facebook profile. Don’t forget to include a location as this is one of the main data points for Graph Search.
  • Plan Ahead – Take some time to think about what this change in search will mean for your organization. How will you grow support with more “likes”? What content are you publishing and when? What posts are most successful? For more help on what posts people are responding to, check out your page’s Insights data.

It will be interesting to see how Graph Search pans out and what impact it will have in the land of search engines. I am interested to see how Facebook plans to monetize their search. People take what their friends have to say seriously.  So, a more personal search might be what non-profits need to gain more support.

Hopefully this post helped clear up what Graph Search is and helped you to start thinking about how it will impact your non-profit organization.

What do you think? Will Graph Search make an impact? How are you going to change your organization’s page to prepare for Graph Search Launch? Leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you.
Marissa sig

Setting your non-profit agency’s 2013 social media goals


new years resolutionsHappy 2013 DonorDreams readers! I hope the year has started off well for you. The beginning of new years are always a time of reflection for me. I like to look at what I did last year and see what I want to accomplish this year. This usually results in me making a number of lists that either get fully or partially completed by the end of the year. I thought, that in the first Mondays with Marissa post for 2013, we could sit down and look at how to do the same for your nonprofit agency’s social media strategy.

Whenever I take the time to look back on the year, I start by asking myself a bunch of questions about the year that just ended. When looking at social media, the same process can be helpful. Here’s a list of questions to ask about the social media success of your organization.

  • On which social networks did you have an account?
  • How many posts did you make on each network?
  • Which networks warranted the most engagement? This includes: likes, retweets, replies, comments, reblogs, ect.
  • What type of posts resulted in the most engagement? Were photos more successful than text? Did you experiment with videos? How did those work?
  • Which days were the most successful for encouraging engagement on each social media site? Are Tuesdays and Fridays your best Facebook days while Wednesdays and Thursdays are your best Twitter days? If you blog regularly, don’t forget to look back and see which days resulted in the most views and comments. Was there a pattern with the posts on those days?

Based on asking these questions, you can use the answers to help form your plan for 2013. These additional questions can help flush out the details.

  • Which social networks were least successful? Are they worth your attention this year?
  • Which social networks were were you not involved in last year? Would you like to try a new one?
  • Have you started a blog for your organization? If not, why? If so, do you have an email subscription service set up?
  • Based on your numbers from last year, what are your goals for 2013?

You may be wondering where you can get all of that data. Well,  Facebook Insights is a great place to start for Facebook. If you were using the application Think Up, you should have an archive of all of your numbers from last year. Twitter just made your history downloadable so that’s a place to start. Even if you aren’t able to get specific numbers as to which posts were the most successful thinking about your social media involvement in this way can help you set up some healthy goals for 2013.

I’d love to hear some of your social media goals in the comments below. Please take a moment to share what you’re most looking forward to accomplishing in the social media space in 2013?
Marissa sig

How Google Communities Can Help Your Nonprofit Bring People Together


Today was a hard day for me to decide what to write about. I originally was going to focus on how social media covered and reacted to the Sandy Hook Elementary Tragedy this weekend. While this is a sad moment in our history, there are many other outlets covering that information. I’d like to point you in the direction of our friends at about.com. They put together a nice collection of sites people can go to help. Instead, I decided to use today to talk about Google Communities, the newest feature to Google Plus, with hopes that it might help your nonprofit’s 2013 social media strategy.

Now, I know I talk a lot about Google here on DonorDreams. That’s because in my opinion they provide quality free services, individuals and small businesses can use to get their message out there and be productive. The newest addition to the Google toolbox is G+ Communities06b3a9436b7121a0b81e3a243747358f

When Google Plus first came out everyone flocked to it to see what it was. Then its popularity fizzled a bit as it did not actually kill Facebook as predicted by some. Recently however, I personally have been turning to Google Plus more and more for conversations about different topics over sharing personal updates with friends. G+ Communities does a great job setting up an environment for that to happen.

When you set up a Google Plus Community, you can decide if it is public or private. Besides naming your group, this is an important decision as it cannot be undone. Depending on the purpose, your nonprofit might want to create both a public and a private community. The public community can be used to share news about your nonprofit and discuss topics with the public that are related to your mission. The private community can be used to give employees or volunteers a place to get information about your nonprofit that others cannot see. Information posted in public communities is also indexed by Google Search and will show up in search results.

One thing I really like about Google Communities is that they can act as a forum. Posts can be posted in different topics to keep things organized. This is different than Facebook Groups where all information is put together in one large ever going stream that people have to scroll through to see what’s going on. If a person just wants to read up about special events associated with your nonprofit – they can with Google+ Communities.

In addition, Google Communities come with all of the other features of Google+, such as photo sharing, event invitations and Google Hangouts. In fact, last Friday, Google Plus just announced 24 new features to their product. I suggest you check them out.

One other important note about sharing information on Google. At the moment, they are not charging people to make sure that people see updates by people, businesses or nonprofits. While over at Facebook, news feeds aren’t receiving all of the information each page a person likes publishes. Getting involved with Google+ might be an over all social media strategy your agency might want to consider for 2013 just for this reason – more exposure without having to pay for it.

GooglePlus-512-Red

As with any online community your nonprofit sets up, it is important to assign someone to keep her eyes on what is going on in that online space. This person should be posting important updates and reading all of the comments left by community members. You want to create a safe space where people can share ideas and want to come back and visit. Because it is a community/forum space, it will require more direction and monitoring that a twitter feed.

I hope that this post served as a great introduction to Google Communities for you and your nonprofit. If you do not think that setting up a G+ Community is right for your organization, I encourage you to at least join some for yourself. Since they have launched I have joined quite a few and been happy with the level of conversation and the resources being shared out there.

What do you think? Are Google Communities a good fit for your agency? Do you use another community focused site already that you’d like to share with the group? Leave a message in comments! I’d love to discuss this further.

Marissa sig

Top Ten Mondays with Marissa Posts – Part Two


Happy Monday, DonorDreams Readers! Today we going to take a look at the second half of the Top Ten Mondays with Marissa posts as 2012 draws to a close. As we look back I will try to update you on the popular topics of the year.

#5 Choosing the Right Donor Database is like Buying a Car
The donor database is the heart of any development team. In this post I go through the process it takes to figure out the right database for the job. Since I wrote this post, the writers at idealware.org wrote an interesting article on the Ten Common Mistakes in Selecting a Donor Datebase which might also help your make your decision.

SOPA Resistance Day!

#4 How Can SOPA/PIPA Affect Nonprofits?
At the start of the year, two pieces of legislation threatened to change the internet as we know it. Both SOPA and PIPA would have limited an organizations visibility in search results as well as limit your ability to collect donations online if you were accused of infringing on copyrights.

Well, thankfully, these two bills did not pass and were never made into law. However censorship on the internet is still hot topic of conversation. Nonprofits need to be aware of what is going on when it comes to changes to the internet because it is such a helpful tool for getting much of your work done. Places you can stay up to date on the latest include: Ars Technica, This Week in Tech, and All Things Digital. Checking in on these sites from time to time can only help you know what’s next around the corner. And of course, we will update you here on DonorDreams if there are any big changes in the tech world.

Donations

#3 Can Your Nonprofit Raise $1,000,000 in 24 Hours Using a Crowdfunding Site?
In mid-February, a site named Kickstarter made waves when a video game developer raised over a million dollars in 24 short hours. This got me thinking about how nonprofits could do the same. I highlighted two microdonation sites, FirstGiving and Helpers Unite that provide a way for nonprofits to collect funds for specific projects.

Just this past month, Giving Tuesday started as a movement on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving to turn the nations attention to charitable giving instead of Christmas Shopping. With movements like this, along with the growth of Kickstarter, I can only see microdonations taking off in a big way. This is something to keep in mind when deciding your strategies for 2013.

#2 Some Insights on Facebook Pages Insights
Facebook has had a lot of changes throughout 2012. The timeline was introduced and Facebook Pages took off. Along with Pages, Facebook also allowed page owners to look behind the scenes to see what posts were the most popular with their followers by using a tool they call Facebook Insights. In my post I go through and explain how to read them and what to do with the information you gain from them.

Not much has changed with Facebook Insights itself, but the numbers reflected in Insights might look a bit different than they did at the start of the year. Recently, Facebook made changes to how posts show up in a viewer’s News Feed. This directly affects the success of a status update or photo posted by your organization. (I wrote about those changes here.) Facebook is going to continue to change so staying on top of those changes in 2013 is important to ensure your nonprofit is as visible as possible.

Obama taking donations via Square mobile payme...

#1 It’s Hip to be Square: Accepting Donations From Your Phone
I’m not surprised that this is the most popular Mondays with Marissa post of 2012. Accepting donations on your phone can come in handy – even the Obama campaign used Square on the campaign trail. This post outlines the pros and cons of using Square to accept donations.

Since writing this post Square has expanded its services to now include gift card management on phones. Also, PayPal came out with a competiative service that links to a users PayPal account. Google Wallet also has started to be seen in some places to take payments using a person’s phone instead of a credit card. I can only imagine that the way we pay for things will continue to change which will only change how nonprofits can collect money. For the time being, I still think that Square is a great option for many nonprofits.

Well everyone, that wraps it up. I still have a few more posts to write in 2012, but let me just say how much I have enjoyed covering stories in social media and technology for nonprofits. If you have any updates or comments on the topics listed above please leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

Marissa sig

Top Ten Mondays with Marissa Posts – Part One


It has been my pleasure to write for DonorDreams each Monday in 2012. A lot of exciting things have happened in the social media world and I have enjoyed discussing a variety of topics with you.  As the year comes to a close, I thought it would be a great idea to look back on some of the most popular “Mondays with Marissa” posts here on DonorDreams and see if there are any updates to share. Today, we are going to look at #10 – #6 on the most popular posts list.

google products#10 – Have You Googled Yourself Lately? You’d Be Amazed at What You Find
In this post, I talked about the importance of doing periodic searches on yourself and your organization on Google to see what comes up. It’s a good habit to get into so you can see what people see when they search for you. Remember that your goal is to make sure your site is the first search result that comes up. In the post, I also point out how to make sure Google has all of the information it needs to make this happen.

Beyond actually going to google.com and searching for your organization, you can set up a Google Alert that will email you whenever your organization is mentioned elsewhere on the internet. I find this useful to keep my eye on all corners of the cyberspace.

Besides looking yourself up on Google, I suggest searching for yourself and your organization on Bing and Yahoo as well. Not everyone uses Google as their search engine of choice.

tumblr#9 – How Nonprofits Can Use Tumblr
Tumblr is quickly growing into a force in the social media world. I think of it as a combination between Facebook and Twitter. In “How Nonprofits Can Use Tumblr,” I explain the best way you can use Tumblr for your agency and how to write a successful Tumblr post. The audience of Tumblr is a bit younger than those on other social networks. So, it might be the best way for you to gain supporters with the younger generation.

Since the writing of this post, I watched how the Obama campaign used Tumblr to share what supporters were writing about the election as it was happening. I also saw how Tumblr users raised funds for those effected by Hurricane Sandy.  The moral of the story? Don’t leave Tumblr out of your social media plan. It’s quickly picking up steam and becoming a source to find supporters.

google hangout#8 – How Can Nonprofit Organizations Use Google Hangouts Effectively?
To me, Google Hangouts are one of the most interesting things to come out of social media this year. Growing up, video chatting with someone on your computer seemed decades away, but today you can have a chat with multiple people at the same time using free software over the internet. It’s amazing if you stop to think about it. In this post, I highlight how non-profits can use Google Hangouts to hold meetings or broadcast special events over the internet.

I have seen Google Hangouts become home to many podcasts that I listen to as an alternative to using Skype to call guests. I have also seen game shows hosted using this platform. I suspect Google Hangouts is something that will just continue to grow into 2013, and I will be watching to see how it does.

komen1#7 – Lessons Learned from The Susan G. Komen Foundation’s Use of Social Media
When the Susan G. Komen Foundation decided to stop funding mammogram screenings for Planned Parenthood earlier this year, news feeds and timelines everywhere were filled with voices on the subject. Looking beyond the politic, what happened between these two organizations still provides vital lessons when it comes to how non-profits should use social media.

Months later . . . the Susan G. Komen Foundation is still recovering. As recent as September, the founder and CEO, Liz Thompson stepped down from the organization. The big take away is that what happens in social media can have a real impact on the structure of your organization.

google search#6 – How Google’s Recent Changes Affect You and Your Nonprofit Organization
At the start of 2012, Google started to shake things up when it comes to delivering search results. They introduced something known as “Search + Your World”. This changed how results show up when you search for something. If a person in your network “+1”’d something, it would show up before other search results. Also, Google made one large Terms of Service to umbrella all of their services where each product used to have on of their own.

There haven’t been many major changes since that time. Your real name is still used when you sign into your Google account. Most recently, this has spread to YouTube in an attempt to bring more continuity between Google products. The internet used to be a place for anonymity, and it is increasingly becoming more and more public. I predict this is a trend that we will see continue in 2013.

We’ve talked about a lot of things in “Mondays with Marissa” posts this year,  and this is just the first half of the list!  Do you have any updates on the topics shared above? Have you used the any of the products or services since I first wrote about them? I’d love to hear from you in comments. Stay tuned for Part Two!
Marissa sig

Five ways your non-profit can participate in #GivingTuesday


Last week I provided a few ideas about how non-profits can benefit from creating a donor drive modeled after Black Friday sales. This week I want to highlight a campaign that is taking off for the first time tomorrow (the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving) by name of  Giving Tuesday.

After standing in lines on Black Friday, running around to leftover sales on the weekend, and grabbing the best deals online (aka Cyber Monday), many corporations and non-profits want to turn the nation’s attention to the spirit of giving.

Let’s take a look at five things your nonprofit can do to get involved tomorrow.

  1. Make it easy to donate – If people catch wind that there is a movement called “Giving Tuesday” and cannot make a donation on your agency’s website, then you’re going to miss the boat. As Erik stated in his post a few months ago about end of the year giving strategies, Giving Tuesday could be beneficial to your organization meeting its year-end fundraising goals. So, make sure there is clear and easy directions about how to make a donation on your website. You can add a Donate Now button easily through PayPal.  If you don’t have time to make major changes to your site, at least put up a blog post or update that tells people where they can send their money.
  2. Link it up – Link to your website on every social media platform where you have a presence. Make sure to mention “Giving Tuesday” in your updates. People don’t want to go searching for where to go. Also, don’t forget to also send an email to your donors.
  3. Provide reasons to give – On a variety of social media sites, share photos of what your organization does with the money it receives (e.g. services, items purchased, your clients, events, facilities, etc). If you are looking to reach a goal for a certain fund or project, then Giving Tuesday is the perfect time to highlight those needs. You also want to mention something simple such as what a $20 donation can provide. Remember, crowdfunding sites such as Kickstarter have started a trend of microfunding and people are more apt to give to your organization if they can see results.
  4. Give updates – Throughout the day, give people updates on how things are going. There’s a reason why telethons go to the “total board” many times throughout the broadcast . . . it encourages people to give and creates a bandwagon effect.
  5. Thank people – Thank individuals who either “retweet” your tweets or “like” or “share” your photos on Facebook. Acknowledging those who participate in Giving Tuesday will only help the movement grow. So, even if all you do is spread the word tomorrow, next year your organizations could benefit even more.

I hope that these tips help and your organization gets involved in Giving Tuesday tomorrow.

Even if your organization hasn’t given any thought to Giving Tuesday until reading this post, getting involved by spreading the word can help lay the groundwork for next year. In all off your updates, make sure to include the hashtag #GivingTuesday. The organizers of the Giving Tuesday campaign are showing tweets with #GivingTuesday on their site in real-time. Think of the exposure your non-profit will receive.

What are your thoughts about Giving Tuesday? Is your organization planning on participating? If your agency does participate, please come back here and leave us a comment on how it went.

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