Archive for February, 2012

Why You Must Give A Little To Get A Lot

Posted on February 28, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

I really like Tracy’s idea of getting to know your supporters to build a relationship, it’s such an important part of a long-term connection.

Thanks for sharing, Tracy!

Kathie van

Why You Must Give A Little To Get A Lot
Why you must give a little to get a lot
More often than not, nonprofits make the number one mistake of talking about themselves and tweeting or posting on Facebook about what they are up to, how they are in the news, and about events coming up. While it is true that your constituents do want to know what you are up to, they also want you to ask them what they are up to. People love to engage with brands of all kinds – including nonprofits.

Just like in a social networking event, you make small talk with people you don’t know and you get to know a little more about them. As you get to know them better they will volunteer information without you asking for it. For example, typically, a person you just met is not going to tell you that you have parsley in your teeth, but someone you know well will tell you without you having to ask.

Whether you are going for number of fans or fan engagement, you gotta give a little to get a little.

Increasing Engagement
– Ask a question that’s relevant and don’t take it personally that no one or few people respond just because you thought the question was a good one. You have to work on engagement. You can’t just throw a question out there and then expect massive engagement the first time. People need to know that there really is a person behind the profile and that you really do care about getting an answer to the question you threw out there. Show that you really want to have a conversation.

– For Facebook, encourage commenting by asking a question related to the post and encourage sharing by asking them to “Please Share:” before a given post. The more comments, the higher the EdgeRank of your post (Facebook’s algorithm for how posts appear in other’s news feeds). The more shares, the higher the EdgeRank and the longer it will stay relevant in people’s news feeds.

Getting More Followers:
– For Twitter, if you want more followers, you need to follow more people. Do a search on FollowerWonk to see who has your cause listed in their Twitter profile and then follow them. Once they see you tweet about something they are passionate about, they will follow you back. Since they are interested in your cause, they will more than likely amplify your messages.

– For Facebook, your best bet is giving a shout out to partners and even competitors within the industry by tagging them in your post. If you tag them in your post, then your post will show up on their Facebook wall (if they allow that). Remember you have to “Like” their page first before tagging them. Now of course, you can get more fans by giving something away as small as a $25 gift card. But keep in mind that although this will give you higher numbers, it won’t necessarily translate into quality fans that will donate or amplify your message.

Regardless of what you are going for, increasing engagement and following relevant people who are just as passionate about your cause as you are will pay off ten-fold in the long run. It’s better to have a small group of fans who are passionate than a large group of fans who are inactive. By just asking fans/followers what else they would want to see from you, will go a long way.

Source: Why You Must Give A Little To Get A Lot –
Author: Tracy Sestili 

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How To Use Facebook Metrics To Give Your Audience the Content They Want Most

Posted on February 23, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

This article by Beth Kanter is very informative and wil give you some great ideas on how to spice up your social media posts.

In terms of Social Media metrics and measuring the effectiveness of your posts, CommsConsole has very powerful reporting capabilities so you have all your reporting in one place. Plus, CommsConsole enables you to schedule your posts so you can experiment with timing, as Beth suggests below.

Thank you for the information, Beth!

Kathie van

How To Use Facebook Metrics To Give Your Audience the Content They Want MostAre you achieving your goals?

This post covers some simple techniques to give your fans the content they want most and inspire more engagement. Many times we’re on the hunt for the tips of what to do and when we find them, we just implement them. But how do you know if those tips are producing results? To get more impact, you need to do some measurement to help you continuously improve and get more ideas about what to try next. This posts offers some tips on how to use measurement to share content on Facebook that your fans really, really want. You’ll enjoy more visibility, more interaction, and more conversions.

I found this wonderful infographic that takes you through the process of setting goals, making them measurable, picking your metrics, and making decisions based on your data. What caught my eye was that last step of looking at your data and figuring out if you have met your goal. The infographic offers a yes/no decision tree that I think is an excellent analysis framework that can lead to improvement.

Facebook analytics programs like Insights, Edgerank Checker, and Simply Measured free reports give you tons of data points. I only look at these:

Content Analysis of Comments on post and shares

I look at these on a per post basis. I also pay attention to and test these variables: Time of Day, Day of Week, Content Type

Here’s some tips on providing powerful content for your Facebook channel that you can improve with measurement.

1. Timely, Relevant, and Quality Content: I have found that using the technique of ”news jacking” or piggy backing on breaking news that is relevant to your audience and giving it your spin, inspires more comments and shares. For example, when I shared this cartoon about PR disasters during the Komen’s flap, received a high number of shares and comments compared to other content post in the last month. I’ve learned by tracking my content against metrics that relevancy rules – and sharing relevant links with conversation starters produces interaction.

2. A Picture Can Inspire Many Shares or Comments: Again the visuals have to be relevant to your audience. I also know from tracking my metrics against content for years now that my Facebook audience responses to easily digestible practical information, especially tips expressed visually or relevant humor. For example, this post illustrating some simple privacy tips received a high number of post shares and comments. This post, testing the concept that babies and cute animal photos get shared more often, received a high number of likes and no shares.

3. Variety of Content Adds Spice To Your Page: Want to claim a space in your fans’ News Feeds? Vary the content you post. Facebook’s Edgerrank, the score that determines what content gets into users newsfeeds, rewards variety. Don’t just post links all the time. Make sure your posts vary and include photos, videos, polls, status updates, questions, and links. When I’m sketching out my editorial plan for the month, I column for “type” to make sure I don’t get stuck in a content type rut. I also look at the analytics for engagement by content type per post.

4. Consistency is Not the Hobgoblin of Small Minds: Research has shown that if you have a consistent posting schedule of high quality content that your audience wants, they will come to you. Dan Zarrella’s research suggests posting every other day is is optimal. This is a general rule of thumb that you should test and adapt for your audience. Watch for signs in your metrics that you’re posting too frequently. I use this rule: I don’t ever post content for the sake of posting content and if there is breaking news that I know from past data that my audience will love, I post more often.

Having a regular theme each week is also useful. I discovered this by doing a content analysis on comments. I posted this fun, but practical link to social media icons on a Friday. In the comments, someone shared it with their network calling it a “Fun Friday Geeky Share.” I started a regular post on Fridays to share a “Fun, Friday Geeky Share‘ which gets a high number of shares, likes, and comments.

5. Short and Sweet: Research shows that posts of 80 characters long perform well. But don’t be a slave to this rule. As Mari Smith points out in her post about encouraging more shares, now that Facebook increased the maximum update size from 420 characters to 5,000 characters, experiment with “mini-blog post” as long as the content is timely, relevant and helpful, you stand a greater chance of getting lots of shares.

6. Experiment With Timing: There are several research studies that look at averages for page likes and comments and have suggested that weekends and evenings are optimal times for posting – perhaps because there is less clutter in the newsfeed. My takeaway is to make sure that I am posting when my audience is there to engage, not when it is convenient for me. Again you need to test. When I experimented on posting on Saturday, I got the most ever shares on this post – but it is hard to say whether the timing was the critical factor or because it was a visual with practical information.

7. Include a call to action: share, like, comment: Many nonprofits have discovered that a simple, clear call to action to share some content results in their fans sharing content. Of course, the content itself has to be timely, high quality, and relevant.

8. Celebrate milestones, share good news: Audiences love to celebrate victories no matter how small. My Facebook Page recently welcomed its 10,000th Fan, so I posted an update to celebrate and thank everyone. It generated a higher number of likes than other posts.

9. Always be commenting: I had the pleasure of hearing Guy Kawasaki speak about his book “Enchantment” and one of his tips was “Always be commenting” was a big takeaway for me that I have tested and tested. It works. I always post content as my page administrator, but then I comment in the thread as an individual. I don’t have to respond in real-time to comments, but part of my work flow is to respond to comments in batches in two ten minute spurts a day. I use Nutshell Mail to make it manageable.

10. Repeat proven stuff: I don’t do cut and paste repeats. I look for themes that work and repeat those. If I repeat the same content, I try to do it slightly differently – like just a visual versus the link.The most important practice is the sense-making of comparing my content to metrics and getting ideas of what to test next.

What have you learned about what works best in using metrics to give your audience the content they want?

Source: How To Use Facebook Metrics To Give Your Audience the Content They Want Most –
Author: Beth Kanter

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How to make a magnificent mini-impression

Posted on February 21, 2012. Filed under: Storytelling | Tags: , , |

These insights and tips should help you to start formulating some attention-grabbing ideas for your storytelling videos. Good luck!

Thank you for sharing, Katya!

Kathie van Vugt

How to make a magnificent mini-impression

People decide very quickly whether something appeals to them – usually in a matter of seconds. If you work in communications, marketing or fundraising, it’s wise to remember to focus on that mini-impression formed in the first few instants of engagement.

You can be sure the Super Bowl advertisers knew that – heck, they were spending $116,667 a second to make a good impression. They didn’t always do a good job, but there is a lot to learn from their successes and failures.

In the Harvard Business Review blog this week, Ron Ashkenas shares reflections on the three things needed for the best possible mini-impression, drawing on lessons from the Super Bowl. He says to think about your favorite commercial and three things that might have made it great. Did it:

1. Capture attention. Which part of that commercial stays with you? What technique did the advertiser use to draw you in?

2. Convey a clear message. Consider the key message for the target audience. What did the company try to convey, and how did the advertiser use that to connect with viewers? How did they frame the message to make this point?

3. Differentiate. Think about what distinguishes your advertiser from the rest. How did the company use the commercial to portray its unique brand?

Now think about how this applies to your work. What attention-grabbing technique can you incorporate into your next important conversation? How can you ensure your audience walks away with your most critical takeaway? Are you making clear what sets you apart from others?

Good advice. You don’t have to have an insanely large marketing budget to master the mini-impression – you just need to remember these basics. In fact, if you have a small budget, these tenets are even more critical. You want to leave a big impression right away, every time you get the chance.

Source:  How to make a magnificent mini-impression –

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How To Track Everyone Who’s Anyone To You: Is A Single Database Right for Your Org?

Posted on February 16, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

For any organisation, having internal systems that streamline work processes for staff and assist in building relationships with clients is paramount. Poorly designed or implemented systems can not only cause opportunities to be lost, but may actually hinder growth and cause errors and data mis-management which can lead to duplication of work effort and mixed communications (or no communications) being sent to donors.

Frankly, nonprofits cannot afford to have staff duplicating work and high quality, consistent, relevant communications with donors is key to forging long-term relationships. So, for the nonprofit organisation, getting data management right should be viewed as a very high priority.

This excerpt provides a good background for nonprofits to assess their organisation’s stakeholder situation. It is an interesting read and I would highly recommend you apply these techniques to your own organisation and take a critical look at your current systems to see if they are doing what they need to do to help your organisation to communicate your various messages effectively.

Thanks for the advice, Laura!

Kathie van

How To Track Everyone Who’s Anyone To You: Is A Single Database Right for Your Org?

Since most organizations don’t track just one type of constituent, the idea of a single database for all of them—donors, volunteers, clients, email subscribers, advocates and everyone else—is something of a holy grail. The ability to easily see how all your constituents interact with your organization, and with each other, makes for an attractive, ideal vision of what a database should be.

In reality, a single constituent database usually means some sort of compromise. If your nonprofit tracks a wide variety of constituents but doesn’t need very deep functionality in any particular area, it’s feasible. But if you need to keep tabs on more complex data—like tracking stock gifts from donors, matching volunteers with volunteer opportunities based on interests and availability, and the case notes, histories and outcomes of the mental health services provided to clients—you’re not likely to find a single system to fill all your needs.

If there’s not much overlap between particular constituent groups (for example, your clients aren’t likely to be donors, and your donors aren’t likely to become clients), there may not be enough of an upside to a single database to make it worth your while. For many organizations, multiple systems can be a better fit.

But how do you determine which is the right solution for your nonprofit? We’ve designed a short exercise to help you decide.

Know Your Audience

The first step is to identify all the constituents you deal with on a day-to-day basis. These are the people you need to track. It’s likely you’ll have not just donors and clients, but volunteers, alumni, event attendees, partners, press contacts and other groups. Include them all.

In reality, a single database means some compromise.

Then, choose the constituent group that’s most important for your organization to track—we’ll call them your “Critical Constituent.” For most organizations, this will probably be either donors or clients. (If you have two or three key constituents, you can repeat the exercise for each, but choose one to start with.)

For each of the other constituent groups you identified, determine:

  • Their relationship to your Critical Constituent—how likely are people in one group to be in the other? Might they move between them?
  • The complexity of the data you need to track for them in addition to what you’re already tracking for Critical Constituents—the basics, like name, address and contact information, is probably the same for both, but there’s likely to be additional information.

Using donors as the Critical Constituent for our example, let’s compare them to volunteers as the other constituent group. Are volunteers likely to become donors, or vice versa? Might a volunteer also be a donor? Neither scenario is unusual for many organizations, so we could call these two constituents highly related. As we consider other constituent groups—press contacts, for example, or legislators—we’re likely to find far less overlap.

Next, let’s consider the complexity of the data we’ll need to track for volunteers that we don’t already track for donors. This might include the types of projects they’d like to help with, when they’re available, and their history volunteering with the organization. Because there are more than a few additional fields, this falls somewhere between medium- and high-complexity, depending on the specifics.

Once you’ve defined how complex and related each constituent is, plot your constituent groups on a chart for a look at your overall constituent picture.

You can read the complete article, including examples of mapping your constituent graphs, in the December Issue of NTEN:Change when you subscribe for free.

Source: How To Track Everyone Who’s Anyone To You: Is A Single Database Right for Your Org? – 
Author: By Laura Quinn, Idealware 

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4 Ways to Get Ready for the Tablet Revolution

Posted on February 14, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , |

This is a great article by Geoff Livingston demonstrating the importance of considering the future of online consumption – Tablets are on the rise and every nonprofit needs to ensure their website is Tablet friendly to ensure people who want to see what you’re up to can.

Thank you for the information, Geoff!

Kathie van
4 Ways to get ready for the tablet revolution
4 Ways to Get Ready for the Tablet Revolution

Low price tablets and e-readers are making a big impact online. Pew Internet reports that 29% of all Americans have either a tablet, an e-reader or both. So what does that mean for online fundraisers and changemakers?
Big jump in gadget ownership over the holidays
A recent Comscore study on mobile and tablet readers sheds some light. Tablets are turning American Internet users into content omnivores, with roughly 60% of respondents using tablets to read news and participate in social networks. 75% are using tablets to communicate via email. And here’s the ringer for fundraisers: almost half have completed a purchase using their tablet.
Share of Tablet Audience
As e-readers become more like tablets, and smartphones such as the Samsung Galaxy Nexus get larger, you can expect to see more communications and transactions occur through portable media. That means fundraisers and change makers need to embrace and develop tablet-friendly media now. Here are four changes to consider:

1) Get Friendly
The first and most obvious step is to make your web site friendly for portable devices. But keep in mind smartphone friendly is not tablet friendly. Basically, if your page is cluttered and doesn’t offer a touch-friendly user experience, it’s going to be hard to persuade people to act or donate for change on a tablet. Given how fragmented media consumption is becoming, you need to seize open opportunities, not lose them.

2) Get Brief
A limited screen with smaller fonts means less tolerance for text heavy reading. Focus on photo and video friendly content, punch up your font size, and shorten the length of your content. If you have heavy content, make it downloadable in a PDF that can be accessed later.

3) Get Simple
Next, you will want to streamline your calls to action so that people can actually do them on a tablet. Not only does the site need to be less cluttered, but your call-to-action needs to be achieved in one click and form. That’s all you have. Consider the time-frame you may have. A commercial break during a favorite TV program. Ten minutes at a coffee shop. Optimize your check out process as much as possible.

4) Get Appleized
Apple iPads dominate the tablet marketplace. Fifty eight percent of tablets bought globally are iPads. Which means a majority of tablets are not Flash friendly. You need to get rid of Flash on your site, or put in a redirect to a tablet friendly site.

These are just some tips to consider. For more, check out Search Engine Watch’s excellent article with ten tips.

Source: 4 Ways to Get Ready for the Tablet Revolution –
Author: Geoff Livingston 

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5 Ways to Leverage Psychology in Your Online Fundraising

Posted on February 10, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

It’s helpful to first understand people in order to design your outreach and fundraising efforts. John Haydon lists 5 tactics you can use to achieve just that.

5 Ways to Leverage Psychology in Your Online Fundraising5 Ways to Leverage Psychology in Your Online Fundraising

As social media platforms seem to keep changing at an exponential rate, there is one thing that you can count on to remain the same: they way people process information and make decisions.

People make decisions based on emotion and justify those decisions with reason.

As an example, let’s take the cool looking guy with the iPad at Starbucks (you know this guy). He’ll tell you that he bought his iPad because it helps him do his work faster, or that it’s easier to carry around to various clients. But the truth is that he bought it to look cool and/or fit in. Everyone from Apple to Don Draper knows that understanding psychology is essential for selling anything–offline and online.

You Are a Sales Person

It sounds very dirty, I know. But in your case, it’s less dirty because you’re changing the world! Here are a few ways you can leverage psychology to increase your online fundraising:

1. Tell them what the Jones’ Gave. One interesting study by the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University found that potential donors take action when they hear why their peers gave, and they gave more when they were told what dollar amount their peers gave. A donation page that talks about why other people like the organization, and how much they gave will maximize this effect.

2. Leverage the halo effect. A few years ago, researchers in Canada found that people make judgements about websites in just 1/20th of a second, basically a blink of an eye. This means that your site should load fast, and you should have a contemporary design, among other things.

3. Show them how far they have to go. One factor that determines whether people will take action on a goal or not is how attainable the goal is. Epic Change is a nonprofit that provides support and attention for women who are radically changing their local communities. During their Epic Thanks campaign last November, they showed what the achievement of each campaign milestone would provide for a middle school in Tanzania.

4. Use pictures. No one will ever read a thousand words on your donation page. But they will look at a picture. Pictures convey a tremendous amount of subconscious information that can influence a person to act.

5. Turn your stats into a story. You need to make your cause personal so that people take action. Start by understanding how to translate statistics into a compelling story. The average person doesn’t care about the concentration of E. coli in an aquifer, but they will do everything in their power to keep poop out of their tap water.

Source: 5 Ways to Leverage Psychology in Your Online Fundraising –
Author: John Haydon

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When Is One Million Fans on Facebook Worth More Than A Million Bucks?

Posted on February 7, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

What a great example! This article about the success HSUS is having and how they are acheiving that level of participation from Fans gives a really good insight into how other organisations can work towards their own social media engagement goals.

Well Done Carie, and thanks for letting Beth share your story!

Kathie van

When Is One Million Fans on Facebook Worth More Than A Million Bucks?When Is One Million Fans on Facebook Worth More Than A Million Bucks?
Image: HSUS Director of Emerging Media Carie Lewis Celebrates

Answer: When they are engaged and ready to take action for you!

Earlier this month. the Humane Society of United States reached 1 million fans on its Facebook Page. Says Carie Lewis, director of Emerging for the HSUS, “Although we prefer not to focus on numbers as a measurement of social media success, one million fans is a huge landmark that we are celebrated with our online community.” We know that animal welfare nonprofit rule on Facebook, but how did HSUS do this? Says Carie, “By listening to concerns of our fans, producing content that people want to share and making sure every post provides value to our fans and to the animals they care about.”
HSUS Facebook page
Facebook alone doesn’t do get an engaged crowd that takes action. As NTEN points out, the campaign include integrated tactics:

HSUS Infographic
Click to see full infographic

Like all rock star nonprofit social media mavens, Carie Lewis is a curator of social media metrics. She and her team build their integrated strategy around results metrics. Says Carie, “We look at three things: actions taken, donations made, and customer service wins. That’s also how our department has been able to obtain more resources to handle the volume we have.” They also have metrics for specific campaigns and Carie is very good at tracking tactics against data to improve and get better results.

Click to view video – “HSUS – 1 Million Facebook Fans

For this campaign, they wanted to create a celebration so that fans could engage and participate in the fun. They wanted to create a personalized experience that makes the fans feel like they are a part of something really great that’s why they created a video and an opportunity for their fans to share their photos of their pets and why they love them.

Some counting metrics they captured were: # likes, # photo submissions, # mobile submissions, # tab views, # video views, # shares

Says Carie, “We from our past experiences that we need to make it as easy and simple as possible for people to participate. And good news works best, people love to celebrate and feel a part of something.”

Further, Carie is a master of capturing data and reflecting on what works and what doesn’t – channel by channel. Take for example her very useful tips about how to activate Facebook Fans to share and take action.

What’s the secret to measuring integrated campaigns? Carie says that getting everyone on the same page is crucial. “We have a daily noon meeting where someone from each end of communications – website, email, social, PR, and video – gives a 1 minute account of what they are pushing out that day. We also have a weekly cross-sectional meeting that talks about longer term projects. About 2 months before we launched the campaign, I presented my plan to the cross-sectional meeting, and got everyone on the same page. That was key. There were things that I never would have thought about – photo disclaimer language, working around our CEO’s crazy schedule for taping the video, etc. And there were a lot of great ideas that were born that I never thought about, like creating an infographic about our Facebook fans. Make sure you know what resources you have at your disposal.

”Conversely, when they are helping a campaign promote their work using social media, they have a “menu” of social media tactics that we review with them, letting them know the options and use cases for each. As Carie notes, “This has really shown others that don’t work in social media everyday that a Facebook post on HSUS’ page isn’t always the best answer. Social media is no longer an afterthought in communications at HSUS.” Here’s an example of some of that template, notice they ask for a screen capture of the action and to record any feedback.

The biggest thing I’ve learned from measuring is to write down the metrics before you launch the campaign so you know what it will take. We actually have a measurement template that says “if you’re doing this, you should measure this.” For example, if you’re doing a Facebook event, you should measure # invited, # RSVPs (yes, no, maybe, not responded), # registrations sourced from Facebook, # wall posts.

Source: When Is One Million Fans on Facebook Worth More Than A Million Bucks? –
Author:  Beth Kanter

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