Archive for the ‘Social Media for Nonprofits’ Category

5 New Ideas for Fundraising

Friday, February 15th, 2013

volunteer screening

  1. Crowdsourcing: Sites like Crowdrise have made it easy to get the word out about your cause and connect with people who might want to support it. Create a project and Crowdrise will put it out there for a vote. Firstgiving helps organizations fundraise online.
  2. Storytelling: Help donors make a good decision. People want to connect to their causes, and there’s no better way to do that than to tell your story well. Create vignettes of the people you serve and how your organization improved their lives. Feature a board member, to describe how important members of your community are involved in volunteering at the management level. Elicit an emotion from a reader, and you’re more likely to elicit a donation as well.
  3. Get reviewed: Just as on Travel Advisor or Yelp, people want to check out charities before they give. So make sure you seek reviews from community leaders, supporters and volunteers. Then, share them through GuideStar, Philanthropedia and GreatNonprofits. Watch your credibility soar!
  4. Follow up: You’ll leave donors with a great impression if you follow up with them after they give. Let them know how you used the funds, and they’ll be more likely to give in the future, and tell their friends about how great your organization is.
  5. Give the opportunity to get involved: Donors, especially younger ones, want to be part of something bigger. They don’t want to just write a check. They want experiences, even if it’s just signing a petition or sharing your Facebook page with friends.

Nonprofit Managers: Don’t Neglect Your Blog!

Saturday, November 17th, 2012

backgound check, credit check, volunteer background checkWhen was the last time you updated your nonprofit’s blog? You may have started blogging a few years ago, diligently writing posts on a regular basis. But at some point, you just stopped. Is it too late to revive the blog? And is it necessary?

Blogs are still a valuable marketing tool. In fact, with all of the social media options available today: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumbler, Flickr, and more—your blog can become the hub of your social marketing efforts.

In addition, a blog helps you reach new supporters and donors, who may only find you through an Internet search. Fresh content is the best way to keep your website ranking high in search engine results. And blogging is the easiest way of keeping your content fresh.

Blogs, along with additional social media marketing, can raise awareness and position your organization as an expert in your field. Inspire trust by publishing articles, educating your audience and answering their questions.

So, maybe it’s time to reinvigorate your blog. Sharpen your pencil, dust off your keyboard; do whatever it takes to motivate yourself to start writing again. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time. The Internet is jammed with ideas for blog posts (of course, keep your content original) and a little time spent looking around could result in several weeks’ worth of blog post ideas.

And remember, if you simply don’t have the time to keep your blog updated, you can always ask a volunteer or staffer to handle it for you. There are also agencies and marketing freelancers who can help with writing, editing and marketing your blog.

Don’t forget to publicize your blog’s content through social media. Tweets, likes, repins and shares are very important in the marketing mix of today’s nonprofit organization.

Fresh Ideas For Recruiting Volunteers

Friday, August 17th, 2012

prescreening volunteers, volunteer background checkIf you’re a volunteer manager, recruiting new help is often a constant task. But it doesn’t have to be difficult. Today, there are more tools to get the word out about your organization and your volunteer needs than ever before.

Here are a few tips to attract new volunteers and energy to your non-profit:

  1. Ask! More than 50% of people who volunteer say they did it because someone asked them to. Think about all the people you know, and all of their friends, co-workers and family members. Hold personal conversations with community leaders, board members and business partners; let them know you’re looking for volunteers. Ask them to spread the word.
  2. Speaking of spreading the word, take full advantage of social media networks. You can reach many more people in your community (and beyond) through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Set up pages on each social network, and post frequently to increase your reach and create a community.
  3. Some people might be hesitant to commit to a volunteer gig. Take away their fear by offering a “free preview.” This gives volunteers a chance to check out your organization, as well as giving you the opportunity to assess their skills and attributes, so you can determine to which jobs they’re best suited.
  4. Visit community service organizations and business networking groups. They often invite local non-profit representatives to speak at their meetings. Use these opportunities to further spread the word about your cause, events and need for volunteers.
  5. Partner with local businesses. Many would jump on the chance to provide volunteers for a specific event or start an ongoing employee volunteer program—but are just waiting for the opportunity to present itself. Business owners are busy people. Help them out by going to them.

Facebook Aims to Increase Organ Donations

Friday, May 11th, 2012

volunteer screening, pre-screening volunteersOrgan donation centers across the country have seen a big spike in their numbers of volunteers lately. Why? Because Facebook made it easy.

Recently, Facebook partnered with the nonprofit group Donate Life America to start a new initiative that allows users to add their organ donor status to their profiles. And it goes one step further, by connecting interested parties to local registries to sign up online.

With 900 million members, this has the potential to be one of the largest volunteer organ donation campaigns ever. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder, said he was inspired by natural disasters like the March 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami, as well as by the social network’s ability to connect people.

He also credited his girlfriend, who is studying to become a pediatrician. Her experiences with sick children, many saved by organ donations, moved Zuckerberg to work with Donate Life America, a national organization for local groups that are working to increase the number of registered donors.

The organization says that nearly 114,000 people currently need lifesaving organ transplants. According to the U.S. Department of Health, more than 7,000 people die each year, awaiting them. In addition, thousands more need corneal transplants to restore their sight and help them live normal lives.

Only 43% of U.S. adults have signed up to be organ donors. People often think it’s a good idea, but never quite get around to taking the next step. But every day, millions of Facebook users log in and update their status. Updating their organ donation status has become just as easy. Plus, it opens people to the conversation about organ donation. And as any non-profit organization knows, awareness is half the battle when you’re looking for donors.

Using Facebook? Here’s How to Get More “Likes”

Friday, April 6th, 2012

volunteerscreeningblog, volunteer screeningThe more people “like” your nonprofit organization on Facebook, the more credibility you have. The more credibility you have, the more trust you can build. Plus, every update you post provides additional opportunities to stay in front of your fans and spread your message, ask for volunteers or promote events.

Sounds simple enough—but, how do you increase your Facebook “likes?” That’s pretty simple, too, if you follow a few tips.

Ask: A little too simple, perhaps, but you will gain new followers by simply asking for them. Post a “looking for new likes” message on  your organization’s page, and ask current fans to share it on their own timelines.

Give Away a Prize: Do you know local restaurants, cupcake shops, hardware stores or grocers that would be willing to provide gift certificates for a prize drawing? Promote their business and your cause by offering a gift card at different levels: for every 25 new likes, all your fans will be entered in a different drawing.

Partner Up: Think about the businesses that support your nonprofit, and how you can help each other gain more likes. For example, the business can offer to make a donation to your organization for every 25 or 50 new likes it receives, while you can promote the business on your Facebook page. Ask their fans to like your page, too.

Engage: Don’t just post and forget about your followers. Respond to their questions and comments. That’s what the “social” in social media is all about.

Tag, You’re It: You can tag businesses or individuals in your posts by using the @sign before their name. When you do, it alerts the person or company that they’ve been tagged. They may share your post, or “like” it, which puts it on their timeline—where your organization will now be seen by all of their fans. Depending on the company, a mention like this could be worth hundreds or thousands of impressions.

Follow these tips to increase your Facebook followers, boost your credibility and expand your reach—in just a few minutes of your time.

New App + Social Media = Spreading the Word About Volunteerism

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

volunteer screening, volunteer background checkA new iPhone app is not only helping spread the word about volunteerism, but also helping reward volunteers for their service. Developed in Vermont by Cabot Co-op and its partners, the app, called Reward Volunteers, encourages volunteers to tell others about their volunteer experiences on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks.

Volunteers can log their time in service, to earn rewards for themselves and money for the organizations they care about. The more hours logged, plus the more “likes” and comments collected on social networks, the better the chance to win cash and prizes, including a cruise.

This app is an example of how one non-profit thought a little differently, and created a fun, easy and effective way to engage with its volunteers. Since people post about everything in their lives on Facebook, why not leverage that activity to promote volunteerism and your organization’s mission?

It’s true that some volunteers are not motivated by what they might see as bragging about their volunteer activities. But when spreading the word about volunteerism, and sharing the causes they are passionate about can increase participation and support, it may be time to be less modest and more boastful.

How can you use this idea in your organization? Perhaps you have digital media companies in your area that would be willing to donate their time to develop a similar app for your volunteers. Partner with other non-profits and local businesses to encourage participation, increase awareness and volunteerism, and reward these hard-working people with nice prizes. With some initiative and outreach efforts, you’re sure to gain more volunteers and raise awareness for everyone.

Blogging Tips for Non-Profits

Friday, December 17th, 2010

volunteer screening, volunteer background checkKeeping your non-profit organization’s website current and fresh is easier than ever. Even if you don’t have an updatable content management system, you can still write blog posts about events, post photos of activities and fundraisers, and keep your supporters engaged by keeping them informed.

Your blog is like a baby. It cannot be neglected. It needs regular care and feeding. And yes, it takes work to raise it properly. But it’s worth the effort.

Here are some tips to make your NPO’s blog easier to update and more successful:

  1. Promote it. If you’re not already on Twitter and Facebook, what are you waiting for? Posting updates on Twitter and Facebook about your new blog posts instantly sends traffic there. And that’s why you’re writing your blog, correct?
  2. Feed it. Do not neglect the blog! It’s too easy to let it go—especially if you haven’t written a post lately. But blogs are very forgiving—like a good friend, you can pick up the conversation as if you haven’t really gone away.
  3. Focus on your audience. What information do they want to know? What news or photos will they be interested in? What have you learned recently that they might enjoy hearing about? Delivering good content is about figuring out what your audience wants and then giving it to them.
  4. Don’t do it alone. Do you have a volunteer who is a good writer? Or a marketing person? Ask them to guest blog for you. Or give a staffer a chance to be creative. As long as the writer is enthusiastic about your non-profit’s mission, you really can’t go wrong. And really, don’t you have other things to do?
  5. Mix text and visual content. Break up the long blocks of text with photos. Throw in a video now and then.
  6. Keep it newsy. Google your NPO’s category—not under the “web search,” but under the “news search.” You’ll find all kinds of news you can write about.
  7. Include keywords. The blog is about informing and engaging your audience, yes—but it’s also a great way to help them find you. Include the keywords that describe your organization or the topic of the post so that when someone Googles that word, your blog comes up in the results.

FourSquare for NonProfits

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

(Since it’s holiday time, you might want to read this to a well-known tune):
You know Twitter and Facebook and LinkedIn and YouTube,
Flickr and MySpace and Gowalla and HootSuite,
But do you know about a growing leader in social media that non-profits are starting to use more and more? It’s FourSquare.

If you’ve seen your tech-friendly friends “checking in” on Twitter and Facebook with their current location—even several times a day—they’re likely using FourSquare to do so. Why? They might be receiving perks for every time they do. Starbucks and other national chains allow users to compete for prizes for checking in the most and becoming the “mayor” of each location.

FourSquare is designed to make a smart phone a marketing tool by allowing users to promote businesses over social networks—just by checking in.

How can non-profits use FourSquare? You can have your supporters keep your name and mission in the social media stream and promote events and other causes, too. Just add the non-profit venue to FourSquare and it’s ready to go. Tips: make sure the name is spelled correctly and don’t use acronyms. You can even tag the listing with “nonprofit.”

Get supporters to chat about your nonprofit. They can add it to their To Do lists and accrue points and badges for every visit, plus their social friends and contacts can see each other’s lists, and your nonprofit gets great exposure.

Finally, get your supporters to check in at all of your public events: fundraisers, board meetings, exhibits, annual meetings. There is even a group check-in feature that can really make a cause go viral.

If you’re in charge of managing a non-profit’s marketing, events or volunteers, check out FourSquare and get multi-layered coverage and exposure!

4 Reasons to Keep Email in the Non-Profit Marketing Mix

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

volunteer screening, background screening for volunteersGood marketing can really help your nonprofit organization (NPO) stand out from the crowd. And standing out can mean the difference between bringing in donations and struggling.

Over the past year or so, many charity organizations have found new supporters, reached out to their communities, and signed up volunteers through social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. These are two fantastic ways to create a sense of community around your NPO, and to spread the word about events, accomplishments and needs.

But while Twitter and Facebook can reach far and wide, they are not the only ways NPO marketers should be engaging with their supporters and fans. Email is still a great communication tool that perhaps has been put aside in favor of the quick and easy updates on Facebook and Twitter.

4 Reasons to Keep Email in the Non-Profit Marketing Mix

  1. Email is more personal. When a supporter or volunteer receives a well-crafted email message, they pay attention. It’s important to find ways to create that one-on-one connection with your target audience. Email is also perceived as more professional than Facebook postings or Tweets.
  2. Email lasts. When a professionally-produced email message, like a newsletter or update, is your means of communication, it can easily be reproduced or archived on your website. A tweet is not forever. And some email recipients will keep your message around for awhile—you can’t say that about the fast-moving information stream of Facebook and Twitter.
  3. Email fosters two-way conversation. When a supporter opens the email and has a question, they can hit “reply” and start typing. They can keep their communication off the internet and private. Many of your volunteers and fans will appreciate such privacy.
  4. Email allows you to use and grow a valuable asset—your NPO’s email list. Why develop connections with people if you’re not going to leverage them? When people give you permission to send email by signing up on a list at an event, it’s because they actually want to hear from your nonprofit organization through email!

How Does your Non Profit Website Rank on Google?

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

How quickly are web searchers finding your Non Profit Organization (NPO)? What terms are they searching under? How does Google rank websites, anyway?

Every one has experienced the frustration of typing in a few key words and not finding the site we were hoping to find. Or, of typing in key words for our own organizations and seeing everyone’s site but ours on Google’s results page.

Google’s algorithms rank websites using all kinds of information; and while there are no magic bullets that will rocket your non profit organization’s site to the top of the rankings, there are easy ways to make it easier for Google’s spiders to find it (spiders are little robots sent out 24/7 to see what’s happening on the web and report back to Google).

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a way of modifying your site to make it more spider-friendly. There are thousands of theories and myths around SEO. There are also a bunch of generally-accepted principles that actually work.

Keywords are extremely important. Keywords are the phrases or single terms that searchers use to find a site. They can be broad or targeted; for example, “women’s services” is broad, while “domestic violence help for women” is more targeted. Type in a typical search for your organization and see how you rank. Add your region, city, or state to further narrow the search to your organization.

Keywords that your targeted audience will likely use to find your organization’s website should be included:

  • In title, keyword, and description tags your web developer can add;
  • In headlines and body copy throughout the site.

Content should be updated regularly. A good way to achieve this is to have a Content Management System (CMS) site. Most new websites are built on this type of platform, which allows site owners or administrators to make simple site changes, based on a template. No more asking your web designer or developer to make all of your changes!

Another way to achieve the goal of fresh content is to incorporate a news page and/or blog into your site. News, photos, and videos of events and other important matters will keep visitors interested and returning to your site. Updated content will also help your Google rankings.

Ask for backlinks, which are links on other sites to yours. The best backlinks include your keywords. For example, a partner agency, like United Way, might include a link to a “domestic violence prevention organization” using that phrase as the link text, rather than the name of the organization. All backlinks are helpful to website rankings, but this type of text link from a respected organization is extremely valuable. So, ask everyone you can to link to your site!

These are just a few easy ways you can help your non profit organization’s website improve its Google rankings. Try them, give the spiders a week or two to find the changes, and see how it ranks. Keep implementing the changes and you should see improvement!