Tips and Ideas

7 Tips To Help You Focus In Age of Distraction: Are You Content Fried!

Posted on January 5, 2012. Filed under: Tips and Ideas, Using Technology | Tags: , , |

Beth Kanter provides some very valuable tips on how to manage your focus to cut through the overload of information out there and achieve what you need to each day.

Thanks for the advice Beth!

Kathie van Vugt irevenuestream.com

7 Tips To Help You Focus In Age of Distraction: Are You Content Fried!
Are You Content Fried!
Mindmap by Jane Genovese

This morning I learned a new word for information overload – “content fried” from a colleague at the Packard Foundation. It resonated. We have so much content in our professional lives. I’m talking about the stuff we consume daily to keep inform of our professional field. It comes speeding at us from our email boxes, social networks, kindles, and even paper and snail mail! We scan, we browse, we try to thoughtfully read the best stuff, and interact through online conversations.

Then there’s the whole other world of organizational content that you need to consume or create to get stuff done! Reading, reviewing, commenting, writing, and editing content.

For those of us who work on social media and networks, “content fried” is an occupational hazard. So, it is important for us to incorporate techniques in daily work life that reduce the chances of this happening.

I’m finding that my learning and online work is a fast forward, swimming in the stream experience. I can’t possibly read everything, but I am using content curation skills to pick out the best stuff to give more attention to. I find I can only do that work at certain times of the day or only for so long. The biggest difficulty I experience is the shifting from this forward flowing process of consuming, curating, and sense-making of content to learn versus to get something done. The latter requires a different type of attention and whole new set of information coping skills.

Howard Rheingold calls this process managing your attention or “Infoattention” and it is what he has been teaching in his courses. I’ve been trying to curate content that offers ideas, tips, and resources to get past that ugly feeling of “content fried.” He curated the above mindmap and when I shared this Google + , I discovered that nonprofit colleagues have the same struggle. I liked this map so much that I printed it out and keep at my desk.

I decided to spend a little bit time reflecting on the diagram and pull out some tips for re-learning focus:

1.) Manage Your Attention, Not Just Your Time: Don’t just create a to do list, lay it out on daily and weekly schedule, breaking down key tasks of the project to chunks. But consider the level of concentration and focus that each type of task or chunk requires – and schedule accordingly. For example, if I have to do some writing – that requires a higher level of attention for me than does scanning Twitter or reading and responding to email. I schedule my writing time during peak concentration hours in the day. (I’ve charted those – so I know when they occur). I also use a timer when I’m doing scanning my networks and time box those activities into 15-20 minute bursts.

2.) Visualize On Paper: Over the past 10 months, I’ve made a return to paper and markers and using mind maps or visualization techniques to reflect, plan my week or day. I use this as a pre-writing exercise as well as a reflection exercise. It’s why felt the need to dive into visual facilitation and thinking techniques as a way to cope with content fried.

3.) Establish Rituals: Rituals in your work life are valuable. The mindmap offers a lot of good suggestions for rituals – from decluttering your workspace to healthy habits like sleep and exercise.

4.) Reflection: Reflection doesn’t have to be a huge amount of time to be effective. I’m taking ten minutes every morning to practice some visual recording skills like drawing to create my “3 Most Important Things for Today List.” At the end of the day, I look at it, reflect on what I did – and plan for tomorrow. The advice is not to go online or check email until you get your three things done, but that is very hard for me – given so much of my work is online. What I do is try to avoid email first thing in the morning.

5.) Managing Email and Other Distractions: I’ve turned off notifications that pop up on my computer screen or send me a text message to my mobile phone.

6.) Managing Physical Space: When I see clutter in my physical work spaces, I try to take that as a sign that I need to hit a pause button. Usually it is because I’m doing too much.

7.) Just Say No: Maybe you are going to say no to social media for a day and go to meet with people, take a class, read a book, or talk a walk. When I’m feeling most overwhelmed, I take a break. Even if it is just to get up and walk around my desk.What are your tips to help you focus in an age of distraction? Are there tips not on the mind map? Have you read a helpful article or blog recently that helped get more focused?

Source: Beth’s Blog – 7 Tips To Help You Focus In Age of Distraction: Are You Content Fried!
Author: Beth Kanter 

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Finding Time for Social Media

Posted on January 3, 2012. Filed under: Tips and Ideas, Using Technology | Tags: , , |

This article cites a study that shows using 3rd party tools has been found to decrease engagement on social media by 70%, and you may be wondering why I would post an article that undermines our CommsConsole social media platform? Well, the answer is simple: anyone relying on a machine to do the work for you will undoubtedly miss opportunities to engage, however, that doesn’t mean you can’t employ the assistance of a communications console to help you manage your posts and communications.

It is important for organisations using social media communications to bear in mind that the very nature of social media is that it is social. Regardless of the systems you implement to manage your social media communications, in the end there needs to be human interaction and messages need to be tailored depending on the platform they are being communicated on and the audience you are communicating to.

CommsConsole not only allows you to manage all of your online communications, including social media, blogging, email campaigns and SMS communications, it also enables you to closely monitor the success of each communications piece by providing detailed analytics.

Kathie van Vugtirevenuestream.com

Finding Time for Social MediaFinding Time for Social Media

How do you find the time for social media? Whether you’ve been asked this question or asking it yourself, this post is for you. When looking at our goals and our resources, time – as we all know – is one of our most precious resources.

Managing Social Media

There are tools that can help you more efficiently use social media. However, be aware, that the use of 3rd party tools has been found to decrease engagement on social media by 70%. That said, there are three main tools that will help you get the most out of your social media use:

  1. To Listen… RSS Reader: If you follow a variety of online news sources and blogs, you can create your own online digital library. The most popular tools to use in doing this is creating an RSS reader. Google reader is an easy choice, however, some people also prefer iGoogle, Alltop or Netvibes to create their own custom experience.
  2. To Learn… Bookmarking: Not only can you create your own online library, you can also create your own online database of resources, articles and Web pages that you want to have for reference. Most tools let you tag and categorize your saved content based on your preferences and sorting needs. Some popular tools include Scoop.It, del.icio.us, and diigo.
  3. To Engage… Content Platform: To get the most out of social media, there will come a time where you will want/need your own publishing platform. Whether you create a blog or use your Facebook profile, having a way you can share your voice online will help make a difference. Some content platforms to possibly consider include Tumblr, Posterous or Twitter.


Time Management Tips and Tricks

Once you get in the groove, you’ll find that you’ll want to spend more time using social media than you might actually have. You can help manage this by avoiding the following actions:

  1. Limit the number of blog subscriptions you have. In your RSS reader, create a “must-read” folder where you place the feeds of the blogs you find most interesting and helpful. You can switch which blogs you have in this folder around as time goes on, but this way you have a “go-to” folder when you have time to catch up on some reading.
  2. Know you don’t have to read everything. Train your eyes to scan and organize content to help you do so.
  3. Be choosy. You don’t have to use every social media tool or channel–and you don’t have to join every online community. Choose which one(s) help you be the most effective with your time.
  4. Avoid the auto-message. It’ll be tempting, and you think it’ll save you time and energy. BUT, it could cost you more in the long run. At the very least, balance auto-messaging with real-time updates.
  5. Remember rule 6. The key to remembering rule six, is knowing that there isn’t one and that the best way to use social media is to do what works for you. This will include an element of learning–you don’t need to do it perfectly. And, you don’t have to do it all.

For more information, Beth Kanter recently shared “7 Tips to Help You Focus in an Age of Distraction” for those who are starting to feel information overload.

Consider Opportunity Costs

Perhaps a question to ask now, is not whether or not you have the time–but more along the lines of, “What do I lose if I don’t participate in or utilize social media?” You may miss out on opportunities to connect with individuals who share your mission, knowing about breaking news that impacts your work, identifying local partners and sponsors, and the ability to galvanize and empower advocates.

Source: Inpiring Generosity – Finding Time for Social Media
Author: socialbutterfly
Image Credit: Thomas Hawk

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Rock Stars of Nonprofit Thank You Notes

Posted on December 20, 2011. Filed under: Online Communications, Tips and Ideas | Tags: , , |

Kivi itemizes the key elements that make a great thank you note, and using this example of a real note is a brilliant way to show how these elements come together.

Thanks again for your insights, Kivi!

Rock Stars of Nonprofit Thank You Notes

I’m a nonprofit marketing geek, so I get really, super excited about things like awesome nonprofit thank you emails. That’s why you are here, right?

This week I received a thank you email from Stacey Monk of Epic Change. You may know Stacey and her organization as one of the shining examples of using Twitter for fundraising via campaigns like Tweetsgiving/Epic Thanks and To Mama with Love.

But you may not know her as an awesome nonprofit thank you note writer. Now you do.
Rock Stars of Nonprofit Thank You Notes
Stacey hits all the high notes in this email:

  • Personable
  • Positive
  • Results
  • Taking Us There
  • Credit to Donors
  • Building Anticipation for More Goodness to Come
  • A Great Photo
  • Reminder about Our Connection
  • Integration with Website and Social Media

. . . and does so in a short, very readable email.

Because I was so thrilled with this email, I asked Stacey to share a few thoughts on the results it produced.

She says the open rate was average, about 20% (which is solid, if you aren’t familiar with these metrics).

She reports that it also produced 100 Facebook likes on the linked blog post, which is “way north of normal – more than double, actually” and that “only 9 of those are from people with whom I personally am friends on Facebook” so it spread far from Stacey’s personal circle.

Stacey also received an email from someone who’d been forwarded the email from someone else who wrote:

“Hello Stacey,[Friend’s name] forwarded me the Epic Change email about Shepherds Junior 7th grade graduation. I loved it. Can you include me in on any emails re: Shepherds Junior? Thanks so much!”

She also got kudos for the email on Twitter, and here I am blogging about it.

Wonderful job, Stacey, and thanks for sharing such a great example!

Source: Kivi’s Nonprofit Communications Blog – Rock Stars of Nonprofit Thank You Notes
Author: KIVI LEROUX MILLER 

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A nifty little trick to compel people to action

Posted on November 4, 2011. Filed under: Tips and Ideas |

Again, Katya Andresen gives us a great little pearl of wisdom.  Thanks Katya!

A nifty little trick to compel people to action

If you get people to do something small to confirm their intention to do something, they are far more likely to take action later. A “pre-commit” is a powerful thing!

I recently covered a study that showed just asking people about their intentions to do something increases the probability they will take action later.

Now there’s another study (cited in Influence at Work) showing a variation on that theme – an approach that combines pre-commitment with social proof.

In the National Health Service in the UK, there’s a bad problem with people not showing up for their appointments. To call attention to the problem and try to change people’s behavior, many offices had signs showing the rate at which people miss appointments. This is a terrible idea, by the way, because it creates the social norm that people don’t show up. So people won’t give a thought to failing to keep their commitments.

The folks at Influence at Work sponsored a study that took a different approach. They got rid of those signs and instead of calling attention to who wasn’t taking action, they highlighted the people who showed up. The changed sign read that 95% of patients at (the name of the office) turn up for their appointments or call (insert phone number) if they have to cancel. This strategy (using social proof correctly) combined with another approach produced a 31.4% reduction in no-shows.

So what were the other actions? When people made their appointments, they were asked to either repeat or write down their appointment times. That small act of confirmation made a huge difference because people want to be consistent in their actions:

In one condition patients making their appointment were asked to verbally repeat the date and time for their next appointment before hanging up the phone. This simple and virtually costless change used the Principle of Consistency an led to an immediate reduction in no-shows by 6.7%

In a second condition, which again employed the Principle of Consistency, nurses and receptionists, when making the patient’s next appointment in person, instead of filling out the small white appointment card asked the patient to fill out this card themselves. This small change produced an 18% reduction in no-shows.

Pretty amazing.

So how does this apply to you?

If you’re trying to get people to take action (give, volunteer, be more healthy, attend a concert, etc.), first ask them to pledge to do it—and emphasize how many other people do it. It’s a nifty – and effective – approach.

Source: A nifty little trick to compel people to action – http://bit.ly/oNbnH5

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7 Tips for Better Fundraising Emails

Posted on October 10, 2011. Filed under: Online Communications, Tips and Ideas | Tags: , , , , , |

To me, Geoff Livingston sums up the necessary elements of a great fundraising email brilliantly. I shall say no more and leave you to read his wise advice…

Kathie van Vugtirevenuestream.com

7 Tips for Better Fundraising Emails 

7 Tips for Better Fundraising Emails 

Email marketing represents a critical component of online fundraising. In fact, in spite of the social era or perhaps because of it, more email is being generated. A growing minority of emails are read and responded to on mobile devices now. Contacting friends and supporters who may back your fundraiser via email cannot be overlooked.

For most nonprofits, email has been and remains the heart and soul of their online strategies. Even social media-heavy programs seek to engage more loyal supporters through email programs like newsletter, petitions, pledges, advocacy and more. The purpose is to build a house file.

So how can you make email work best for your campaign? Here are seven tips to consider. Please add yours, too!

1) Vet your list

Carpet bombing your entire rolodex and house file is not a great way to make potential investors feel good about receiving your email. If you are looking for support from friends, focus on creating a small list of people who will likely care about the effort. The email itself is an ask. If at all possible, a personal email to each fundraiser makes a big difference.

If you are a nonprofit, you will want a list that is opt-in, and not purchased wholesale. There are great solutions from companies like Care2 to develop email lists of customized, qualified parties who will opt-in to information from you. Spend the money to build a list, but don’t buy an existing one that is not directly associated with your cause.

2) Write a fantastic headline

There are many elements to consider in writing a great headline, but make no bones about it, this is essential. Only 15% of emails are even opened, according to Blackbaud. Creating pithy headlines that are active in tense, short in length, and clear in purpose are critical to success.

3) The first paragraph should tell all

Similarly, like any well written piece, the first paragraph should clearly communicate what the email is about, and what you are asking of the reader. Get to the point, as they say. This is no different than any other business letter or memo.

4) Short paragraphs work best

Be considerate of the medium, which can be hard on the eyes. In that vein, consider your paragraph lengths (electronic media works best with smaller paragraphs) and be liberal in your use of white space and subheads to break up the document. Generally speaking, a long email is hard to read, so the top-heavy approach with purpose clearly communicated at the beginning makes a difference.

5) Make sure to tell that story

Almost every fundraising best practice discussion suggests personalize stories that show why you care, are critical to fundraising success. If your email reads like a wooden ask, it will fall flat. Be sure to review for not only form, but content and that you’re telling your potential donors why you believe it matters so they can feel your conviction.

6) Simple, specific, direct call to action

You have to make your ask. So ask. But don’t be wishy-washy about it. Be specific and direct, and make sure people understand why they are donating. What is the actual benefit of their contribution? An example might be: “Please give your $50 to provide homeless children in Washington, DC an education today.”

7) Use links and HTML

While you are using email, it is still an electronic document. Use anchor links to let readers see your cause, view a picture, and go to your donation page. Almost every email client developed in the past decade has this feature. Use it!

Source: 7 Tips for Better Fundraising Emails – http://bit.ly/nJUsDT

Author: Geoff Livingston

 

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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 Vugtirevenuestream.com

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 – http://bit.ly/p88LDe

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 devex.com 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 Vugtirevenuestream.com

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 – http://bit.ly/qR8V2e

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 Vugtirevenuestream.com

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 – http://bit.ly/qYuAuN

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Three ways to make your mission come alive on a Monday morning

Posted on September 5, 2011. Filed under: Tips and Ideas | Tags: , |

This is great advice from Katya Andresen: Three ways to make your mission come alive on a Monday morning – http://bit.ly/q8HEUG

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6 Ways to Amplify Your On-Page SEO

Posted on August 18, 2011. Filed under: SEO - Search Engine Optimisation, Tips and Ideas | Tags: |

seo ebook cover page image resized 600We all know how important it is to rank in search engines to help your business get found. While off-page SEO is not something you can just do in one afternoon, we have some quick tricks to skyrocket your on-page SEO with only a few simple fixes to your web page. All you need to know is how to communicate with search engines to provide the information they need to make your pages rank higher. Follow these 6 tips, and you’ll be talking the talk in no time.

6 Ways to Instantly Improve On-Page SEO

1.Choose a great headline. There are two things that make a headline great. One is that it is attention-grabbing and entices viewers to visit your page. The other is that it contains the keyword or phrase you want to optimize the page for. This will help search engines rank your page as more relevant for certain search queries and will therefore make them more likely to display your page in the search results for those queries. Using other formatting such as sub-headlines and bolded text can also help search engines figure out what’s important on your page.

seo ebook headline image resized 600

Here, the headline is optimized for the keyword “internet marketing.” The sub-headline includes “marketing on the web,” and the bolded text uses the phrase “internet marketing strategy.” This structured keyword placement shows search engines that this page is highly relevant for search terms like “internet marketing.”

2. Keep the URL clean. We’ve all seen those messy URLs with endless strings of numbers, letters, and symbols. As long as you have the option, avoid those at all costs. Search engines look at your website’s URL as part of their attempts to understand your content and index your page. Choose a simple, organized URL that uses keywords to indicate the topic of your page and help your page rank higher for it.

seo ebook good URL image resized 600

3. Provide information about your images. Images are an excellent way to make your website more appealing to your visitors, and if you use them correctly, you can also make your website more appealing to search engines. There are two things you can do to provide information about images and photos to search engines. One is to give the image a relevant file name, such as how-to-use-facebook-ebook.jpg, instead of pic12345.jpg.

The other is to use alt tags, which are snippets of code that allow you to tag each image with a short piece of text. The file name and alt tag information for an image is stored in the HTML of the web page, so search engine bots pick up on it. Make sure to include keywords!

seo ebook alt text image resized 600

4. Choose keyword-rich title tags and meta descriptions. A ‘title tag’ is just a fancy term for the name of your page. It’s what shows up on the tab of your browser when you have the page open and also what is displayed as the headline (or blue link) when your page is listed in the search results. The cap is 75 characters, so choose carefully!

The meta description of your page is the short description that shows up beneath the title tag and URL in your listings on search results pages. These are limited to 150 characters, so again, make sure you include some keywords to help improve your rank.

seo ebook title tag image resized 600

5. Use header tags. These are another great tool for indicating to search engines which keywords and phrases are most important, since they allow you to create headlines of different sizes. So, for example, search engines know that text within an ‘h1’ tag is slightly more important than text in an ‘h2’ tag, and far more important than text in an ‘h6’ tag.

seo ebook header tag image resized 600

6. Do some internal linking. When creating content for your page, you can link to some of your other pages as well! This will not only help your visitors find more of your content, but you can also use the anchor text (the text you link on) to provide search engines with clues about the keywords for that page.

seo ebook internal links image resized 600

For example, here, the search engines will see that the link with the anchor text “launching a blog” must be relevant to keywords about blogging, and the link for “improved lead generation” must be relevant to keywords about lead generation.

Now you know how to talk the talk with search engines, so what are you waiting for? Get optimizing, and amp up that on-page SEO!

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