Social Media Marketing

How I Found Out What Our Supporters Really Want to See on Our Facebook Page

Posted on January 26, 2012. Filed under: Social Media Marketing | Tags: , , , |

I like this article by Kate Antoniades, it is a really down-to-earth example of how she made the most of the feedback she was receiving from her supporters. This process took Kate a few months, but her insights can be implemented by you straight away.

Thanks for sharing, Kate!

Kathie van

How I Found Out What Our Supporters Really Want to See on Our Facebook PageKate Antoniades

Earlier this year, after a couple of years of keeping my Facebook and Twitter plans for Lollypop Farm in my head or scribbled on Post-its stuck to my monitor, I created a social media calendar in Google Docs. It’s become a very useful tool for planning ahead and for keeping track of what I’ve posted.

Soon after I started using the calendar, I began tracking the feedback rate for each Facebook post—the percentage that indicates the comments and “likes” per impression. (Each time a post appears in someone’s news feed, on the page itself, or in a page badge, Facebook calls that an impression.)

With about two months of data, I decided to use the feedback rate to find out exactly which posts made the greatest and least impact. Other factors, like the time of day or day of the week that something is posted, may affect feedback, but that was beyond the scope of what I wanted to examine.

I found that the majority of the 20 posts that fell below a .05% feedback rating could be placed into three categories: mentions of various events and classes (those that were unrelated to pet adoption), notices of holiday closings, and news of job and volunteer opportunities. We feel that these are important messages, but they don’t seem to grab the attention of our supporters as much as we’d like.

The 10 posts that topped a 0.75% feedback rating (ranging from 0.78% to 3.21%) were all one of two types. Many shared news of pets being adopted (either a single animal or many animals during a successful adoption event). Here’s one example of responses to an adopt-a-thon that found homes for a record number of cats and kittens:

The other posts that had a lot of impact—including the single most popular post of the two months I reviewed—were related to an online contest for animal shelters that awarded five platform dog beds. Our supporters got really excited about this contest because it offered them an easy way to help the dogs in our care. With just a couple of mouse clicks, they could vote and encourage their Facebook friends to vote, too.

We ended up winning the contest, and Facebook was certainly a major factor. These were some of our supporters’ reactions to the good news:

The conclusions I can draw from this close look at feedback rates aren’t earthshattering, but they serve as good reminders: Our supporters want to hear good news, specifically about pets being placed in new homes, and they want to know easy ways they can help.

Looking at these numbers has prompted me to share more of our “happy endings” and not let them fall through the cracks when I’m trying to encourage people to register for class Y or attend event Z.

The “easy ways to help” posts might be a little tougher to find—since the assistance we most often need involves adopting a pet, making a donation, or volunteering time—but perhaps I’ll suggest that our supporters search the web using GoodSearch or do their online shopping through iGive, both of which can send small sums of money our way.

Fortunately, I’ll get a good idea of how these posts are received—simply by checking the feedback rating.

Source: How I Found Out What Our Supporters Really Want to See on Our Facebook Page –
Author: Kate Antoniades, Communications and Social Media Coordinator at Lollypop Farm, the Humane Society of Greater Rochester

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Is social media helping you meet your mission? It can!

Posted on January 19, 2012. Filed under: Social Media Marketing | Tags: , , , , |

Amy Sample Ward has such a clear way of explaining how your social media data can be used in a strategic way. So many nonprofits become bamboozled with the data they have at their disposal and this article is a great example of how to break it down and apply it in a helpful manner.

Thank you Amy!

Kathie van

Is social media helping you meet your mission? It can!Is social media helping you meet your mission? It can!

Last week, I had the opportunity to run a webinar on Nonprofit Webinars. I had thought to myself that there wouldn’t be anyone registered because it wasn’t a very buzzy topic. I was presenting on the way we can identify metrics in social media that help us reach our mission and how to use those metrics strategically. No “make money on social media” or “top 5 Twitter tips”. I was so thrilled, then, to see a couple hundred registered! Thank you to everyone who participated and recognized the value in being strategic with our use of social media!

Strategic Data

I have done a few webinars and presentations about social media tracking and metrics and frequently used the phrase “actionable data.” After one of these presentations, a participant came up to me and pushed back a little on what I’d said, explaining that data was for evaluation and that seemed very passive. I responded that data, without action, isn’t worth our effort to track it. That’s what actionable means.

But then I realized, the reason people didn’t see action tied to their data was because they didn’t see how the data, or even the actions that data could indicate, were strategic. Data we don’t want to take action about is even worse. We need strategic data. And, as it turns out, that doesn’t just mean data from your programs and services, but from your social engagement, too.

Step 1: Linking Strategy to Goals

Most of us on this call probably have an elevator speech or even a few that we use to explain what it is we do as an organization, what our role in the organization is; maybe even why people would want to get involved or donate. That’s where we start. We can use that general or generic even mission statement to start putting our social media use into a strategic place.

If your organization has a strategic plan or even a Theory of Change, you are already equipped with even more deliberate language that can help you get started. Most strategic plans include program area or service area specifics and you can use those to help frame why you use social media.

Step 2: Linking Goals to Social

Now that we have identified some areas where social media fits with the overall purpose of the organization, we can start putting certain aspects of social engagement into goal areas. We want to be specific here about the why and less specific about the what. For example, our goals with social media should identify the influence or impact we want to make, but not necessarily say we will do it on facebook. You may, actually use facebook for part of your social media activity, but you want to form your goals so that they are impact-specific, and open to either multiple or changing platform use.

Step 3: Acting on Strategic Data

And the last part, identifying your metrics to track and really tracking it! When it comes to tracking, there are a few things I recommend:

  • Nothing is finished: if you’re tracking something and the number is the same every single week, that’s an indicator that you should see if you are able to influence that area; if you try and no matter what you do, that number is the same, maybe it isn’t the number you really need to track. Remember, you want this data to be actionable for you!
  • You may not have all the numbers you need: it might take you a couple weeks or months of tracking in this way to realize you really need some other numbers to really tell the full picture of your online impact. So, add them! Don’t feel that all your data has to start on the same day. It’s better than you realize it and add in the new metrics as you go, than never add them in for fear of consistency.
  • Let the numbers tell stories: use the data in your social media tracking to identify the larger stories of your organization’s work or impact. Look for patterns or activity that comes from other actions in the organization (do Facebook comments increase when a staff person attends an offline event? do website visits change depending on comments?), help identify opportunities for coordinated effort.
  • Share it back: Be sure that you don’t just track and store the data, but you report back out to the organization and even community. Be sure you share some of the highlights and trends back to your organization/staff and includes ways they can help influence your numbers and reach goals (do you see certain kinds of stories do better than others? let your staff know so they can keep their eyes out for you!). Don’t just share with your staff, but share back with your community!
  • Context is king: don’t just use social media data! Be sure you’re tracking what happens on your website, newsletter, and others actions like whether staff were mentioned in the news or on a blog, if staff attend or present at an event, etc. 

Get Started

You can use this template to get you started. Be sure to change the blue rows in the document to reflect your goals and align your various metrics underneath. Make a copy of the file for your own use (otherwise anyone on the web will see your data if you put it in my template), or download the file.


Slides & Video

You can review the slides below, or check out Nonprofit Webinars to watch the full recording!

Webinar: Strong Connections; Linking your strategy to goals to data

View more presentations from Amy Sample Ward

Source: Is social media helping you meet your mission? It can! –
Author:  Amy Sample Ward
Photo credit: Flickr myklroventine 

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Empower Others to Help

Posted on December 22, 2011. Filed under: Social Media Marketing, Storytelling | Tags: , , , , , |

Geoff Livingston’s article will resonate with clients who use video to tell their stories because one of the key concerns is ensuring the content is viewed by as many people as possible to increase awareness of the cause. By empowering others to assist the network is expanded beyond the organisation’s own membership and supporter base.

Take Geoff’s advice, empower your ambassadors and see how your level of awareness begins to spread!

Kathie van

Empower Others to HelpEmpower Others to Help

One of the biggest mistakes nonprofits and fundraisers make is going at it alone. Part of building effective communities in networked media is letting other people become a part of your effort and helping out. But to do that, you and/or your organization have to empower them.

Will another person be as effective as you or your development director? Maybe, but unlikely.

Will other persons collectively be more effective than you in social media-based fundraising? If you cultivate and empower your online ambassadors, this outcome is a real possibility.

To play off of Spock, the power of the many outweighs the power of few (or the one). Team-based fundraising can significantly extend an organization’s reach well beyond the house file. For the individual fundraiser, friend networks also go beyond your electronic address book.

How much work does it take? There’s no question that this is real relationship development and cultivation. But in comparison, the networks of 150 people are much more powerful than a single person’s large social media account–if they act on your behalf.

Cultivate Your Influencers

If you have core supporters and friends who are as passionate about your cause as you are, why wouldn’t you want them to advocate on your behalf.

These influencers aren’t usually the people with biggest blog or Twitter account. Rather, they are the people with the most passion and willingness to advocate for you. This is the heart of true word of mouth and grassroots marketing.

The work here becomes about providing the means, and making it easy for them. Provide easy access to logos, stories, updates, widgets and messages.

It’s about giving them the latitude to be them as they fundraise, and not over-controlling their outreach. They know best how to interact with their friends.

And it comes down to quid pro quo. People want to be recognized for their efforts. Acknowledge them. Give them shout outs. Help them out when it’s their turn. Let them know how their efforts are positively impacting your ability to fundraise. Even have friendly competitions among your ambassadors to make it fun, and reward them.

Source: Inspiring Gereosity – Empower Others to Help
Author: Geoff Livingston
Image: Mavik2007

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Making Facebook Groups Rock for Nonprofits

Posted on December 16, 2011. Filed under: Social Media Marketing | Tags: , , |

This article by Miriam Brosseau gives some fantastic ideas on how to invigorate your Facebook Group Page to get the group members to feel part of the group and contribute to the group.

Making Facebook Groups Rock for NonprofitsMaking Facebook Groups Rock for Nonprofits

Facebook groups have changed a lot in the past year or so, and they’re more powerful than ever. Here are some helpful hints to make your Facebook group a truly vibrant platform:

Maximizing group features for networking and engagement:

Tagging individuals in posts. This is an excellent means of publicly introducing two (or more) folks within your group. Include bragging rights – what makes these members unique? Give them a question to explore together, and encourage the dialogue. This means you have to know your group – who they are, what they’re up to, what they need, etc. Think:

How can I encourage others to use the group in the same way, not just as a means for marketing/broadcasting information?

How do I go from network weaver to empowering others to weave one another?

The power of pictures. Facebook is a “picture economy” (whereas Twitter is a “link economy”); pics are the most engaged content, the most in-demand. Pictures are great conversation starters. Tagging folks in pictures and asking them to tag themselves also increases engagement, puts a face to a name, and humanizes the process by bridging online and on-land worlds.

Questions and polling. Thoughtful, simple, directed questions can be a powerful engagement mechanism. Think about allowing others to add their own options to the poll – when is it appropriate, and when is it unnecessary or confusing. Expect to get answers both in the poll itself and in the comments, and run with both!

Group chat. Facebook groups mostly function asynchronously, but a synchronous activity now and again can really rally the troops. (Note: this feature does not function with groups of 250 members or more.) Consider the following:

  • What are the deeper conversations your group seems inclined to have?
  • Can you assign someone to host that conversation and empower them to lead the charge?

Docs. Docs are like super-simple wikis, and probably the most truly collaborative aspect of a Facebook group. Because they are collaboratively editable, they are great for anything that requires a teasing out a group voice – agendas, statements or announcements, etc.

  • Docs live in a designated place within your group and are therefore not as subject to the news feed, which is more timely. Docs are great for posting information that you plan to come back to again and again.
  • Conversations will naturally spring up in the comments section of your document. It’s important to manage the flow between what is being written in the doc and what’s happening in the comments.

Events. Creating a group event for actual in-person meetings makes a lot of sense, but there are other ways the events feature can be used – general publicity, announcements, calls to action, booking a time for a group chat, etc.

  • Events need not be restricted to members of the group. Use them when you want to introduce a broader audience to your group’s good work.
  • Bear in mind – events can be great, but tend to get lost in the new Facebook layout. Timing is key. Be conscious of who you are reminding of the event and how often. Remember you can also post the event’s unique link to the group or your personal profile page.
  • Finally, events, like docs, also have a comment stream attached. Monitor accordingly.

Other big ideas:

Have a goal for the group, or at least a project everyone can rally around. Give the group a sense of purpose.

No one person “owns” a Facebook group. It belongs equally to all the members and should be treated as such. (Think about using the Docs to build a group statement of values – decide as a community how you will use the group and treat one another while active in it.)

It’s easier to post than to reply. Engagement takes investment. Try setting aside a specific block of time every day or week to monitor and engage the group. Ask other members to do the same – spread the responsibility around and see what kind of ROE (return on engagement) you get.

No medium exists in a vacuum. Think about the relationships between what happens in the group, on Facebook in general, over email, on the phone, in person, at events, etc. To be truly effective, the online experience should be tied – topically, in culture, in voice, in attitude – to the experience(s) of the group in other spaces.

Groups don’t provide hard analytical data the way Pages do, so it’s up to you to gather both the qualitative and quantitative results. Consider asking:

  • Who’s posting most often? Who’s replying?
  • What topics are folks posting about? What topics are getting the most feedback and engagement?
  • What times of day are people posting?
  • Are members typically sharing links, photos, videos, event invitations?
  • What else can you learn about your members through their activity? What do they care about?

Source: Making Facebook Groups Rock for Nonprofits – Guest Post by Miriam Brosseau –

Photo by: Laughing Squid

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A Free Agent for Hunger: Pittsburgh Tote Bag Project

Posted on November 11, 2011. Filed under: Social Media Marketing | Tags: , , , , |

I love it how Beth Kanter finds out about the most inspiring stories, regardless of how big or small they are. This story about Sue Kerr is wonderful.

It just goes to show that even the smallest NFP can move mountains with social media savvy, whether it’s in-house or actioned by a free agent like Sue.

And, of course, if you are running your social media communications in-house, then CommsConsole can help you too!

A Free Agent for Hunger: Pittsburgh Tote Bag ProjectA Free Agent for Hunger: Pittsburgh Tote Bag Project

Many nonprofits, particularly smaller organizations, say their biggest challenge to using social media effectively is that they don’t have the time or staff. Those that have opened themselves up to using these tools and connecting with passionate people in their networks find abundance. Here’s one story about how one free agent, a social media savvy volunteer for a local food bank, saw a problem, reached out to her network, and helped solved in collaboration with the local nonprofit.

Sue Kerr has put her social media savvy to work to fight hunger in the Greater Pittsburgh area and save the environment. In 2009, she was live tweeting a food distribution event at the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank when she noticed a man leaving the food bank juggling a lot of thin plastic grocery bags filled with food donations. One bag split and a cabbage rolled out onto the sidewalk and he chased after it.

That’s where she got the idea that food banks should be using canvas tote bags to distribute foods and she tweeted her idea. To her surprise, the Pittsburgh Foundation was following her live tweets. Christopher Whitlatch from the Foundation responded to her tweet with that had a few bags they could donate. Not too long after that, the Pittsburgh Tote Bag Project was launched.

As Sue tells it, “Inspired, I began to reach out to my personal network on Twitter and Facebook and offline through word of mouth. It began informally with a few drives here and there over an 18 month period. I had lots of positive feedback. So, I contacted the Food Bank and proposed we collaborate. We spent some time sorting out the logistics and formally kicked-off on Earth Day.”

The Pittsburgh Tote Bag Project collects gently used tote bags for distribution to the region’s food pantries. They partner with the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank which coordinates distribution of the bags along with food. The Food Bank serves 11 counties and more than 120,000 people each month (about 1.9 million pounds of food) through a network of more than 300 pantries The project receives bags from a network of permanent drop-off spots, informal and formal tote bag drives (with or without food) and corporate donations of excess schwag.

Her partnership with the local food bank has been productive. Says Sue, “The Food Bank has been very supportive and encouraging to our project. They’ve provided logistical and staff support. Through the Food Bank staff, we’ve heard that the pantries love the idea and want as many bags as we can provide. The Pittsburgh Tote Bag Project has collected 5,000+ bags for local food pantries. Says Sue, “We estimate that our project has kept 15,000 disposable bags from being used. “

Sue has also collaborated on social media activities with the food bank. Says Sue, “Beyond tagging and shout outs on Twitter, we organized Pittsburgh’s first ever #blogmob (play on flash mob), inviting local foodie bloggers to come out to the Food Bank for a tour, a chance to observe a food distribution, and general discussion. We plan to repeat every September to honor Hunger Action Month.” Says Sue, “Our hope is to develop a model that can be replicated in other communities.” The project freely shares its lessons learned with other groups that want to run similar drives.

Has your organization discovered and worked with a free agent like Sue?

Source: A Free Agent for Hunger: Pittsburgh Tote Bag Project –

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Enabling Program Staff to Become Digital Editors

Posted on October 19, 2011. Filed under: Online Communications, Social Media Marketing | Tags: , , , , , |

In this article, Steve Heye summarises by saying: “If you read this and thought, wow, my organization just doesn’t have the time or resources to do this, my response would be that you will spend the time either way. You can spend it building this capacity or you can spend it managing the communication crisis, funelling content to that one author and continue missing opportunities.”

I think this is a very important point to make, so I have put it first to catch your attention.

He also makes a number of other salient points that resonate with me and touch on issues we’ve addressed in our Blogs over the past few weeks: 

Firstly, Steve recognises the importance of storytelling. Steve seems to make the assumption that this is just a normal part of non-profit communications, however, there are many non-profits that are not using storytelling. If your organisation is not telling its stories for whatever reason, you need to find a solution and work out a way to make sure your stories can be told. Storytelling is key to creating a connection between you and your supporters.

Steve also suggests that it is important for external communications to represent the voice and brand of the organisation. This is very important and training is certainly a key part of ensuring all of your digital editors know how to communicate as the brand. However, I firmly believe that internal communications are more effective than specific training at developing your staff’s an understanding of the organisations communications expectations.

It seems to me that Steve’s organisation is doing a fantastic job of communicating the organisation’s stories internally through publishing metrics, interpreting them and putting them into the context of people’s jobs. This is evidently giving staff a clear understanding of how the organisation wishes to communicate its stories in general. By applying your desired ‘tone’ to your internal communications you will be continually developing your staff’s understanding of your organisation’s expectations in terms of external communications. 

Finally, this article is focussed on empowering staff to tell their stories, however, Steve focusses on the communications benefits and there is little emphasis on the additional benefits from an HR perspective of investing in this type of training. In my blog a couple of weeks ago about Online Communications Solutions For Nonprofits And NGOs I touched on cross-training key staff, and from an HR point of view the uplift in the employees’ feeling of self-worth and commitment to the organisation is well worth the expense and effort required to begin this cultural change process.

In terms of removing barriers, CommsConsole is the perfect tool to assist with your online communications. And to manage your digital content, you can’t go past our digital streaming platform. And of course, the team is there to provide advice and assistance for your organisation.

Good Luck!

Kathie van


Enabling Program Staff to Become Digital Editors

Working for a large nonprofit focused on programs and services that have impact on peoples’ lives, we often find ourselves with great stories of inspiration to tell. The challenge is identifying ways for the staff, who are responsible for implementing programs of impact every day, to tell the organization’s stories.

This challenge is further complicated by the fact that while we want to empower our staff to share client stories, we also want to make sure that our external communications are shared in a single voice that represents the organization’s brand. In this article, we will explore how to manage these challenges from a technology standpoint, including publishing metrics, establishing structure, removing barriers and offering training.

First, let’s start with where we are today, and where we’re headed. The web has become social. This has radically changed the need for more stories and content. Think back 10-15 years. Only a few of our staff were really comfortable with computers. We had to rely on those staff for their technical knowledge. Today, it is a job requirement to have computer and software experience for a vast majority of our jobs. Content creation, storytelling specifically, is headed in the same direction.

The ability to write e-newsletters, post to the website, manage social media, or speak on behalf of the organization in so many different digital ways will soon be everyone’s job. The faster we equip all of our staff to tell our stories, the better off we will be. Content and stories can be so many different things like videos created by participants, photo blogs from maintenance staff, schedule updates from instructors, sharing lesson plans, etc.

We have been working through this cultural shift at the YMCA of Metro Chicago over the last few years. The Y serves children, families and communities through a network of 25 member centers, five resident camps and hundreds of extension sites in Chicago and its collar counties – with more than 4,000 full- and part-time employees. We want each of our employees to feel empowered to tell the stories of the work they do every day to change lives for the better.

We have tried numerous methods with varying results, but learn from it each time. As a result, we have seen a noticeable difference in the quality and quantity of content along with rising confidence in program staff. We have seen growth in metrics, attendance at trainings, increase in requests for access to tools, suggestions for improvement and a general shift in culture.

Gradual Culture Shift

Storytelling and content creation needs to involve a culture shift, not a project launch with a rapid start and defined stop. Below are the key elements to creating a culture shift to enable staff to become digital editors. This is not a complete list; you will need to adapt to your culture and organizational structure.

Elements to enable digital editors:

  • Publish metrics (recognition, competition, feedback)
  • Establish structure and accountability
  • Remove barriers
  • Regular training and resources
  • Enable individuals while managing the brand

It’s important to note that the type of content an organization wants to publish should be identified by its communications department, and the process for gathering that content (which is what I write about below) should be developed in collaboration between the communications and technology departments.

Publish Metrics

There are numerous articles out there with great information about creating metrics for your digital efforts. For starters, I would recommend “How to measure your nonprofit’s social media success” from Socialbrite and “What’s Your Nonprofit’s Social Media Measurement Strategy?” from Beth’s blog. But in my opinion, picking and creating the metrics doesn’t mean as much until you share them across your organization. How can you expect staff to see the importance of your digital efforts without seeing the impact and statistics?

But publishing numbers isn’t enough. You need to make a connection between the social media numbers and everyone’s job. Demonstrate how the digital efforts impact the organization, the goals and the mission. From there, have some fun with your metrics. By publishing the metrics publicly and breaking them up by program areas, departments, locations, or some sort of groups, you can create peer pressure. By providing some interpretation of the metrics, putting them into context, you can help people learn from them.

The metrics we use at the YMCA of Metro Chicago compare each of our locations against each other and compare to last month. We also set a goal for each metric (email open rate, web visits, Facebook likes, etc.) based on industry standards and other YMCA stats. The goals for these centers are adjusted based on the membership size. These are published openly to Executive staff, membership staff and all digital authors. As we publish our metrics we pull out an example of what one center did well to highlight the importance of engagement, not just a focus on numbers.

Establish structure and accountability

Define roles and guidelines and create a sense of accountability to establish clear expectations. This structure is key, but it needs to be realistic and designed to empower and encourage. Creating an author agreement, documenting escalation process, content templates, and content calendars can all help with this structure. At the YMCA of Metro Chicago we created a set of these resources that you can use as an example.

Accountability can also be managed in a more fun way by grouping authors in teams and using metrics to help them push each other.

Remove Barriers

Often, the technology used to create technology seems difficult or appears too technical for program staff to use. We surround our websites, social media, and other digital media with policies, levels of authority, procedures, expertise, and all sorts of mystery. Couple all of this complexity with numerous tools that are all foreign to program staff and you have a long list of barriers to success. Each organization needs to do an honest investigation into what staff see as barriers, and review the current process and tools.

At the YMCA of Metro Chicago our initial largest barrier was our website content management software, Adobe Contribute. The software was limited to being installed on one computer and was simple in functionality but not easy to understand. We migrated our website to Expression Engine and streamlined the content creation.

Our ongoing struggle is the number of places our staff manage content. We create flyers, class schedules, program guides, e-newsletters, emails and press releases, not to mention posting to our website and Facebook. As we have moved to new tools we look to allow reusing content, eliminating redundancy and spreading out the responsibility to the content originator.

Regular Trainings and Resources

Enabling authors will require regular training and access to resources, offered in digestible bites. This could include:

  • Monthly webinar on different topics
  • 1 page cheat sheets
  • Video recordings from trainings on a single topic
  • Peer sharing sessions
  • Integrate content training into all meetings
  • Send champions to conferences

Tip: don’t have time to create video trainings? Just record your webinars.

It is easy to overwhelm program staff with too much information. All of these trainings and resources should focus on single topics and build off of each other. Keep it clear and use examples.

If you don’t have the resources to create these, then be sure to leverage organizations like NTEN, TechSoup and Idealware, plus look to volunteers and your vendors for help.

This is a journey! Yeah, that is an overused phrase but sometimes you have to stick with what works. If you read this and thought, wow, my organization just doesn’t have the time or resources to do this, my response would be that you will spend the time either way. You can spend it building this capacity or you can spend it managing the communication crisis, funneling content to that one author and continue missing opportunities.

Author: Steve Heye is the Digital Content Services Manager at the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago. He is responsible for managing all aspects of the YMCA’s online presence including the web sites, intranet and social networking. Previously he was with the Technology Resource Group at YMCA of the USA for about ten years where he provided resources, conferences, and training that allows YMCAs nationwide to better leverage business systems and technology. He has a Bachelors degree in Finance from North Central College. You can keep up with Steve’s thoughts and tips regarding nonprofit technology issues on his blog.

Source: Enabling Program Staff to Become Digital Editors –

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Measuring the Return on Relationships

Posted on October 17, 2011. Filed under: Analytics, Online Communications, Social Media Marketing | Tags: , , , , , |

I really like the discussions that are occurring with regard to the difference between standard business ROI and measuring the ROI of social media engagement, particularly in terms of philanthropic and nonprofit organisations. This guest blog article written by Claire Diaz Oritz (nee Williams) and posted on Beth’s Blog gives a great insight into how nonprofits and NGOs need to think about social media and I think she is on the money with her model: Return on Investment = Reach, Outcome, Influence.

Kathie van 

Measuring the Return on RelationshipsMeasuring the Return on Relationships by Claire Diaz Ortiz (nee Williams)

Last week, I started a discussion on Social Edge entitled, Fundraising, It’s Not Always About the Money ( I explained that while researching my new book, Twitter for Good (, I took a long, hard look at fundraising on social media and came to a new, startling conclusion: it’s not about the money. As I asserted, the real ROI (return on investment) of fundraising on new media is the relationships.

Although I opened the discussion, I didn’t take it far enough, and too many of you came away with the same, burning question: How can we measure the ROI of relationships?

Measuring the ROI of a marketing campaign can be time-consuming, but it’s always straightforward. Measuring the ROI of a fundraising campaign is equally simple. We spent $1,200 to send out 500 pieces of mail in our direct mail campaign and we netted $4,500 in donations. Done. We spent $50,000 to host our annual fundraiser and we received $200,000 in donations. Understood.

But relationships? How can you possibly measure the intangible?

What was the value of my first meeting with the lovely Beth Kanter a few years ago at the old Twitter offices, where we chatted for far too long about the highs and lows of adoption (and, a little bit about nonprofits and social media)?

Who knows. But I’ve written some guest posts, so I guess she doesn’t hate me.

What is the value of the strong connection I’ve built with Amanda Rose ( from Twestival (almost exclusively virtual save the frantic annual “we’re in the same place let’s have lunch!” phone call) over the years?

Don’t ask me. But she gave me a book endorsement.

What is the value of Amy Neumann’s ( ongoing, selfless offers to provide support on anything non-profit related on Twitter?

Got me. As far as I know she’s never made a donation to the non-profit I started (, but I’m sure she’s told some folks about it.

When trying to promote our cause to the world, we yearn for relationships. And to some extent, we all have relationships like this, relationships that we are cultivating or have cultivated or hope to cultivate. We know we need them, we know we should spend time with them, but we’re not entirely clear on how much, or why, especially when it comes to fundraising.

Or are we?

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that we can quantify these relationships (to some extent). Yes, we can break down the real ROI of fundraising on social media.And here’s how.If you know me, you know I’m fan of uber simple acronyms and word games that help people remember and implement what I’m teaching. Heck I did create the pathetically obvious T.W.E.E.T model (Target, Write, Engage, Excel, Track) ( for excelling on Twitter, didn’t I?

And now I’m going to do it again.

How to Measure the ROI of Fundraising on Social Media:

Fundraising on social media is about relationships, and we can measure the ROI of those relationships by breaking down the return on investment into three parts.

Return on Investment = Reach, Outcome, Influence

  • Reach: A relationship you develop becomes more important the larger the reach is. If Susie P has 9 friends on Facebook, and Susie Q has 900, Susie P is probably your better bet. But remember, reach isn’t always about numbers. See Influence to better understand.
  • Outcome: Any relationship that yields tangible benefits is working. Did a three-hour dinner in London with an international aid worker bring you one quality application (the aid worker’s Facebook friend, no less) for an outstanding position at your non-profit you’ve been trying to fill? Did you have a blast at the dinner to boot? Even better.
  • Influence: Is a person popular, or do they actually have sway in your given area of interest? In one example I share in Twitter for Good, Scott Stratten’s @unmarketing ( Twitter following (then about 40K) clicked more times on the link he sent out of him singing than Ashton Kutcher’s million followers did. Why? Perhaps Ashton’s followers are more interested in watching Ashton sing. Likewise, if @ClaireD ( were to tweet about sports, no one would bat an eyelash. Targeted reach is what you’re after.

Specific case studies back up these three points. Born2Fly ( is an organization dedicated to banishing sex trafficking, and Diana Scimone of Born2Fly’s excellent guest post ( here on Beth’s blog (which was reproduced in Twitter for Good ( tells the story of learning from a fundraising campaign that didn’t meet expectations. Her take-away? Build relationships with bloggers to better promote the next fundraiser. REACH.

Fireside International (, a non-profit media company in Haiti, needed English language learning materials for a new school they were building. They reach out to Rosetta Stone, and scored $18,000 worth of materials. Query a hundred individuals or companies, and one hit may just come through. OUTCOME.

Global Citizen Year (, another organization featured in my book, is another. The key support they received from Nick Kristof convinced them of the power of Twitter to build relationships in order to garner support. INFLUENCE.

Measuring these specific points will bring you an ROI with all the shiny numbers you’ve been hoping for.

Ultimately, the success of fundraising on social media highlights what we have always known: to fundraise effectively (in the virtual or the brick-and-mortar world), you need relationships. Be smart about building them, cultivating them, and maximizing them.

Measure them as well. It doesn’t make you mean, it makes you smart.

Claire Diaz Ortiz (nee Williams) leads social innovation at Twitter and wrote Twitter for Good: Change the World One Tweet at a Time (  Want more from Claire Diaz Ortiz? Follow @ClaireD (, read her blog at, or download the first chapter of Twitter for Good for free here (

Source:  Beth’s Blog – Measuring the Return on Relationships –


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6 Tips to Get More People to Share Your Online Fundraising Campaign

Posted on October 7, 2011. Filed under: Social Media Marketing, Tips and Ideas | Tags: , , , |

John Haydon has put together some great pointers for your social media campaigns. I just want to add one side-note to point #5 – CommsConsole will help you pull together all of your social media, email and SMS marketing into one easy-to-use console.

Go get ’em!

Kathie van

6 Tips to Get More People to Share Your Online Fundraising Campaign

6 Tips to Get More People to Share Your Online Fundraising Campaign

One reason why social media is such a powerful tool is that it allows people to share content with just one or two mouse clicks.

Your supporters and online fundraisers are already sharing interesting content on Facebook. They’re retweeting @HelpAttack pledges. They’re sharing really cool YouTube video campaigns like Choose a Different Ending.

But even though sharing has gotten easier, actually getting people to share can feel like pulling teeth. And when you see other nonprofits getting thousands of views on YouTube with what seems like no effort, you feel like stabbing yourself in the eye.

So how do you get people to share your content? Here are six tips to keep in mind:

1. Accept That Social Media Is Not Email

It’s not about how many fans and followers you have, it’s all about vitality. Stop thinking about accumulating numbers and start thinking about nurturing the 1% who are already raving fans.

2. Understand The Powershift

If you’re thinking on some level (even subconsciously) that your job is to get people to do something, stop it. You can’t make people do anything. Facebook, blogs and Twitter has tipped the power balance in favor of the masses. Find the people using these tools who are already talking about your cause.

3. Respect The Blogger

Don’t hire an amateur do a mass copy-and-paste blogger outreach campaign. Instead, create a strategy that truly motivates them. Also, keep in mind that bloggers are in it for the long haul like you are. They are partners and should be treated as such.

4. Think About How You Share

Think about the last time you shared a video on YouTube. How did you share it? Did you email it, tweet it or post it on Facebook? More importantly, why did you share it? Was it funny? Did it make you think of a specific person?

There are many ways that people share. Understand what motivates them and make sure you’re set up to make it easy for them.

5. Give Them The Tools

Chances are you already have a growing number of supporters that talk you up at parties, on Twitter and on Facebook. If you don’t have a Facebook Page, get one. If you have a lot of supporters using Twitter, go there too. And make your fundraising platform is easy to share too.

6. Huddle up with your 1%

If you haven’t already, begin to identify who your core fundraisers are–your champions. Create a private venue using a Facebook Group so that you can deepen your connection with these folks. When it’s time to launch a tightly defined fundraising effort, they’ll be ready to go!

Source: 6 Tips to Get More People to Share Your Online Fundraising Campaign –

Author: John Haydon


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Top Global Development NGOs on Social Media

Posted on October 5, 2011. Filed under: Power of Video, Social Media Marketing, Tips and Ideas |

This Top 10 list of development-focused NGOs on social media published on gives the NGO and NFP community an indication of the level of following that can be generated through Facebook and Twitter, and it provides a benchmark on which other organisations can base their follower goals – bearing in mind that benchmarks do not represent the upper limit of possibility, and that Facebook and Twitter followers do not represent an organisation’s complete database of supporters.

Setting goals to acheive an appropriate level of followers on social media channels is an important step in defining your social media strategy, however the more important metric is the level of engagement these followers have with your organisation. A small and highly active group of followers will mobilize your campaigns much more effectively than a large and apathetic follower base. 

The key to motivating your followers to become actively involved in supporting your cause is to ensure the content you supply through your social media channels is engaging and personal. People like people, and are more likely to become involved with your organisation if you give your posts and tweets personality.

One of the most effetive ways to demonstrate the personal nature of your cause is through video. Video is highly emotive and can effectively communicate the needs of your organisation whilst showing the personal impact the issue you are fighting is having on the lives of your beneficiaries and their communities. Video can also portray the passion your organisation’s staff and supporters have in addressing the issue and resolve it.

You may be thinking: “Our organisation is too small and we don’t have the staff or expertise to produce videos” 

Well, think about this: if you were to see a highly-produced National Geographic-esque piece with audio overlay of someone in a studio enunciating journalistic commentary and Acadamy Award-winning aerial footage, would you be thinking every dollar you gave to the cause was going to address the issue or would you be suspicious of the cost of production…I know what I’d be thinking.

The fact is gritty, hand-held, wobbly, realistic footage with impromtu commentary gives the viewer a much more emotive perspective and as long as you do a bit of editing to make the story flow, your video will be a hit and you will have won the hearts of your viewers and strengthened your relationship with them.

Now take it one step further and monetise that video content. With our video streaming platform you can earn revenue every time someone clicks to view. Pitch your campaign and website around the fact that “by viewing this video you are part of the journey and part of the solution.” 

Implement an effective social media campaign around your video content, distribute your posts, articles, email communications and SMS campaigns through CommsConsole and you will be able to see exactly the impact your video is having on engaging your audience and driving your fundraising efforts.

And, if you do need assistance to strategise, implement or analyse your social media campaigns or need some professional help to edit your raw footage, contact us and we can get you sorted. 

Kathie van

Top Global Development NGOs on Social MediaGreenpeace-Facebook

Stunning photos. Viral videos. Compelling and heartwarming stories. A play of these elements define many of the social media channels by non-governmental organizations working in international development.

And the wise use and timing of social media assets have paid off for many of these NGOs. They’ve built new relationships, deepened the involvement of supporters in their work, and even prompted changes in the practices of some global brands.

NGOs, particularly humanitarian and advocacy groups, are by far the most popular aid organizations on social media. Based on our research, the top 10 development-focused NGOs on Twitter and Facebook have followers in the hundreds of thousands at least on either platform.

The most popular development-focused NGO on Facebook is Greenpeace International. Its Brazil chapter, meanwhile, has made it to our top 10 list for Twitter. WWF, ONE, the American Red Cross and charity: water are on both lists.

Here’s our complete ranking for the top 10 development-focused NGOs on Facebook and Twitter.

Top 10 Development-focused NGOs on Social Media 

Top 10 Development-focused NGOs on Social Media

In the coming days, we will hear from social media experts from some of the organizations on our ranking. They will share their strategies, best practices and advice on how to use social media to affect change and boost international development.

Read more:

Top 10 Global Development Groups on Social Media

Social Media for Literacy: Room to Read’s Success Story

Secrets to Social Media Megasuccess: Lessons from (RED)

Candid Images, Useful Information: The UN’s Social Media Plan

Source: Top Global Development NGOs on Social Media –

Author: Eliza Villarino

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7 Things Nonprofits Can Talk About on Facebook Besides Themselves

Posted on September 30, 2011. Filed under: Social Media Marketing, Tips and Ideas | Tags: , , , |

I came across this article the other day and thought it was a good one to share. There are some great ideas to get the creative juices flowing and to ensure your Facebook posts never get stale. There’s one extra point I’d like to add to the list: Tell a Story – share a heartfelt story of one of your supporters’, members’ or beneficiaries’ experiences with your organisation.

Happy posting…

Kathie van

7 Things Nonprofits Can Talk About on Facebook Besides Themselves

Non-profits on FacebookRecently I met with a client who was sensitive about what they posted on Facebook, because they not only had privacy issues to be concerned with of their constituents, but they didn’t think that the other things they do would be applicable to their fans on Facebook. In other words they didn’t think that their fans on Facebook cared about what their organization was doing other than fundraising.

But there are other things besides press opportunities and fundraising or awareness events that your fans are interested in learning more about. As I’ve talked about before, social media is about being social, so when you talk only about yourself or your organization, it gets old quickly. Spice it up. Here’s a list of 7 things a nonprofit can talk about on Facebook besides themselves:

  1. Industry news on your topic – Don’t just regurgitate the news for them, they can set up a Google e-alert for that, but rather, aggregate the news in a way that is engaging by asking them what they think. Don’t just post a link to a news article, read it and ask a question about their opinion.
  2. Newsletters – almost all e-newsletters have an option where you can view the newsletter online in a browser. Copy and paste that link into a Facebook post. See tomorrow’s post on how to do an effective engaging newsletter.
  3. Share pictures – Facebook folks love pictures and it’s the perfect place to showcase the people who make the organization run or people that you impact. Don’t take yourselves so seriously. It’s a social network so have some fun with it (i.e. Goofy Face Friday)
  4. Comment on current news – even if it’s not completely related to your organization, showing that there is a human behind the Facebook wall goes a long way with your constituents. And it goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway, always respond to comments to acknowledge that you hear them.Re-purpose content (photos/videos – not text) – I imagine that you probably have some great content out there of video or photos from past events, share them! You can have fun with it by calling it, “Friday from the Archives” or “Spring cleaning and look what we found…”
  5. Public opinion – ask your fans what they think about decisions you are struggling with internally. Trying to decide on what date to have something, throw up a poll.
  6. Trying to decide on a new template for your newsletter – throw them both up and ask them what they think. They want to help. People like to be heard.
  7. Be shameless – Facebook fans of nonprofit organizations like to help out online. They like to be given calls-to-action where they can make immediate impact. So, ask them to help spread the word to 2 or 3 people in their network. Maybe give away a $25 gift card to all of those who participated.Now you’ll notice that I didn’t list quotes. Quotes get a bad rap because they’ve been overused on Twitter and on individual’s Facebook fan pages. However, quotes are good every once in a while by a nonprofit, especially if they are something inspiring or hopeful. But don’t be putting quotes out there every day or too frequently to fill up space unless you are a religious organization.So there are definitely things you can talk about on Facebook that are not about you or that are more engaging than you just shouting out your update. Have you tried any of these techniques already? Do you have any others you’d like to add to the conversation? If so, post a comment below.

Source: 7 Things Nonprofits Can Talk About on Facebook BesidesThemselves –


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