How to Mobilize Your Non-Profit Community


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  • In 1982, I was 10 years old. Growing up in an Orthodox Jewish division known as “Chabad Lubavitch”, I always knew that one day I would go out and help my fellow people somewhere in the world. Since the 1950’s, over 3,000 Chabad Emissaries have spread out around the world serving the Jewish population with spiritual outreach and guidance. My parents were among the first three emissaries and they were sent to Michigan.
  • In 1994, my husband Levi and I got married in New York. Our plans were to stay in New York to begin our first year of marriage to work for the Chabad headquarters in a non-stressful environment. We decieded that after a year we would move to Michigan to begin “Friendship Circle” for people suffering from addiction.
  • But three months into it…our apartment got invaded by cockroaches. We packed up the car immediately and left New York. Our destination was Michigan. When Levi and I moved to Michigan to begin our new “outreach” we went out of the box and started an outreach program that was the first of it’s kind…The Friendship Circle. Friendship Circle was the first of it’s kind for the Chabad Movement because FC gave us the opportunity to not only reach out for the social well being in the jewish population, but also the general population.
  • Within three monthes… Friendship Circle is social outreach. Need a friend? Are you isolated? No Cost Let’s go
  • Started from 8 volunteers and two families Started as respite for families Friend for someone with SN Turned out to be the “coolest thing” to do for your every-day teen. What started as a new out-of-the-box organization for Chabad worldwide This concept is now in 80 places around the world as independent 501c3’s, growing from a grassroots start like the Michigan branch.
  • In 2005, we built our 23,000 sq. ft. facility The only building of it’s kind in the entire world. We serve 3,000 families with special needs. We have 900 active volunteers enrolled. 450 teens that dedicate their time weekly to their special friend. 15 weekly programs such as martial arts, ballet, bowling, sports leagues, etc. 450 adult volunteers that volunteer every morning from 9am until 1pm in our village. We serve 155 local schools. Each school utilize our realistic indoor village for life skill training approx. 4-6 times per year. Circle is growing strong.
  • 15 years of Friendship Circle…Staff and volunteers connecting with their special friends. We WERE READY We had a community that was full of Passion, commitment and dedication.
  • Explain the contest- Sponsored by JP Morgan Chase. Public vote-a-thon housed on Facebook Each Facebook user had 20 votes (could only vote once per charity) Round 1: Three weeks long 500,000 competing non profits Budget under $10MM- Ours is $1.4MM Had to be in the Top 100- Seemed so attainable Top 100 charities win $25,000 and entrance into Round 2 No guidance on what we CAN do and CANNOT do Did not have a leader-board Spent HOURS researching where we stood Round 2: Each nonprofit submitted their “Big Idea” of what they would do with the $1MM One Week of voting- Just top 100 winners #1: Gets $1MM #2-6: $100,000 each
  • One day after Levi’s initial email Staff person posted…Same person “Liked It” Spelling errors Didn’t understand Facebook in Round 1 This is not our official Facebook page…thought we should start a separate one. This was a fan page with a very long title. In round 2 we realized we should move those “fans” onto our official Face Book page
  • We NEED to train our young adults with special needs. Our society NEEDS people with special needs to teach us a thing or two
  • Beth Kanter- “This contest is not good for non-profits” Small, localized nonprofits with minimal outreach capacity- not fair to them! $10MM and under is too vauge. Not competing on the same level due to outreach capacity.
  • Ashton Kutcher messaged some of his follower that this was “severe social disruption” when they asked him to tweet this for us. One celebrity fully endorsing a charity can either bring in or prevent thousands of votes.
  • How many fans they have Did not have a social media platform as they did.
  • Both invisible children and TWLOHA are in California. And both are well connected with celebrities.
  • Therefore in Round 1, we had to use “the old school way” Only had a total of 400 fans on Facebook and we had only posted 4 times. Turned to our internal community. Personal phone calls Message each “friend” individually Turned to our Friendship Circle community to motivate, educate and inspire people to VOTE
  • 3 week of practically 20 hour days. Working with our internal team of 5 We brought in 3 consultants (in our community, who were also supporters) and had nightly conference calls with all 8 people. Melissa Pierce, Pinny Gnweisch, Zalman Grossbaum
  • Identified our ambassadors. We have a community of passionate supporters.
  • Piston’s Freeze: 200 passionate supporters! All 200 became major ambassadors To get the vote out, they needed to be passionate about FC. 20,000 business cards with laffy taffy attached were distributed to our teen volunteers Every night at our programs: 30-50 volunteers took a backpack of business cards to give out to their schools. Setup our “war room”- Chocolate fountain, 25 computers and up to 50 volunteers came daily to update their status, message their friends and help us spread the word. Again, motivating and inspiring our community to reach out.
  • Create custom messaging for each influencer and their “beat.”
  • Using ALL connections, and during ALL our nightly conference calls…we identified our “influencers” We ensured we contacted many “social media gurus” to pass along our message to their large followings
  • After they tweeted- No conversion rate Barely any retweets
  • Twitter works when its quick! SM media people are quick but not deep. If you are not genuinely passionate…it won’t happen. A LONG process that people ONLY went through if they were passionate about Friendship Circle.
  • We had a company reach out to us for a pro-bono traditional media outreach Marx Layne- Robyn Gorell With their help and our “volunteer parents” help, they connected us to over 52 articles on tv, radio, web and print.
  • Not only did I fly out to be on the show, we had two bus loads of Friendship Circle Intl volunteers from Long Island, New Jersey and Connecticut Imagine how many votes came from THAT excitement: Once again, ground work.
  • We knew we had to “brand” our VoteFC campaign. We purchased We also commissioned one designer to carry the same colors, theme and font throughout every banner, web image and print material.
  • What we have learned…we MUST spoonfeed if we want people to vote
  • This is when we learn ANYTHING we do must be able to be shared easily
  • This website was used all through the campaign.
  • At the end of Round 1, we were in spot #85 out of 100. However, we were optimistic that we could be a Top 5 winner in Round 2. So we took a risk. We invested the Round 1 prize money of $25,000 into Round 2. When we were succeeding in Round 2, we invested another $5,000. We spent a total of $30,000 on our campaigning. As you can see, much of our campaign was web-based. Costs are incurred for developing a cohesive design, staging a Freeze in four areas around the country (Chicago, California, Long Island and Connecticut), printed material, etc. With this investment, we were able to net $95,000 but perhaps most importantly we were launched upon a new stage of international recognition. At the end of the day, this contest was an investment for the future of Friendship Circle.
  • Read off numbers on screen.
  • After the contest ended, we immediately realized we have a new platform for information sharing and that we must continue the momentum from the Chase campaign to build a strong social media platform. But we really didn’t know much of what we had. So I want to share a beautiful story that explains the power of networking
  • 12 year old’s bat mitzvah project at Friendship Circle. Her brother- Justin Jacobs of Come Play Detroit- Decided to donate the league fee’s to Friendship Circle. His cousin, Jordan Wolfe, decided to tag along with Justin to a recent event we had. Became inspired by our facility and presentation. Jordan Wolfe is a business consultant for Jewish Federation of Metro Detroit. Took us on pro-bono to help us develop a “strategic business plan.” His friend, Nikki, was introduced to Friendship Circle through a request to join Jordan at an FC event. As we got Nikki involved, Brandon & Taylor came along together with Identity PR who is the reason I am standing here right now.
  • Just received word recently that Facebook does not allow contests based on Fan pages. I assure you, we now acknowledge that we cannot do this.
  • Great platform to do the “Friendship Circle Thing” which is to create friendships, change societies view on children with special needs, to enable our community to become better people by interacting with kids with special needs.
  • New 2010 contest…14 Friendship Circle’s won $20,000 each If you combine all 14 Friendship Circles, they received just over 35,000 votes…TOTAL. And in speaking with these fellow directors, it was quite a struggle to reach those numbers. We needed almost 60,000 votes to win fourth place. Why? Chase Community Giving Round 1 was new. It was fresh, creative and it had never been done before. Round 2 was a repeat of something that had JUST occurred a few months earlier. Social Media users have a short attention span. This new public vote & promote method is old. It’s done. Must be creative and out of the box (like round 1) to succeed.
  • Chase’s idea was out of the box the first time around. Hence, the major publicity Then they did it again, and it wasn’t as popular because it was a repeat. Your own creative thinking! Example: Magnets.
  • Today I am here with Rabbi Yisrael Pinson. He is our social media guru at FC, you may know him on twitter and Facebook as @RecoveryRabbi. He is the director of our addiction and recovery division known as The Daniel B. Sobel Friendship House. He has been with us for 10 years. Yisrael was working 24/7 on the Chase Campaign as well. So if you have any questions, please feel to come up to either of us. And conveniently, because of our religious tradition, I only shake hands with women and he only shake hands with men. Therefore, between the two of us, we can cover the entire room (laugh). Lauren & Yisrael will go around passing out a little gift from Friendship Circle. Inside this backpack is an: official FC Magnet, press releases for our upcoming events, brochure for our upcoming Walk4Friendship event and one of our new “I Get It” bracelets, since now You Get It.
  • How to Mobilize Your Non-Profit Community

    1. 1. Bassie Shemtov Founder/Director Mobilizing Your Non-Profit Community
    2. 2. 19 82
    3. 3. 19 94
    4. 4. =
    5. 5. What is Friendship Circle ?
    6. 6. 1994 - 2005
    7. 7. Today .
    8. 8. 10 … 9 … 8 …
    9. 10. No Red Tape
    10. 13. Our Big Idea!
    11. 14. Negative Press Bad Press 
    12. 15. Severe Social Disruption 
    13. 16. 602 , 563
    14. 17. 279 , 460
    15. 18. How did you do that
    16. 19. Round 1: Old School
    17. 20. Round 2: Strategy
    18. 22. Chabad Chabad On Campus Jewish Community Special Needs Donors Teen Volunteers Adult Volunteers Schools Detroit Community Friendship Circle International Ambassadors
    19. 23. #1: Mobilize on the Ground
    20. 24. #2: Mobilize on the Web
    21. 25. Identify & Strike Influencers
    22. 27. FAIL
    23. 28. Twitter- Top 5
    24. 30. Total Followers: 2,112,014
    25. 31. <ul><li>Click on your favorite charities page </li></ul><ul><li>Click on “Vote Now.” </li></ul><ul><li>(Sneaky re-route to homepage of Chase Community Giving) </li></ul><ul><li>Click to become a fan of Chase Community Giving </li></ul><ul><li>Find your favorite charities page (again). </li></ul><ul><li>Click on &quot;Vote Now&quot; </li></ul>
    26. 32. Massive press outreach to outlets serving those interest groups 52 articles total
    27. 33. Friendship Circle on “ The Early Show” in NYC
    28. 34. B R A N D I N G
    29. 35. Spoon- feed
    30. 36. Maximize shareability
    31. 42. Proof !
    32. 43. it WORKED!
    33. 44.
    34. 46. Keep the Momentum Going!
    35. 47. Cammie --> Justin --> Jordan --> Nikki --> Brandon--> Taylor.
    36. 49.
    37. 50.
    38. 51.
    39. 52.
    40. 53. Our Social Media Platform … Pass it on.
    41. 55. There is no telling what will go “viral.” So forget about it. Do what you love . Be unique. And make sure it comes from something REAL.
    42. 56. <ul><li>Upcoming Events: </li></ul><ul><li>Freeze4Friendship Walk4Friendship </li></ul><ul><li>August 18 th @ 5pm September 5 th @ 12:30pm </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>To view this slideshow: </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
    43. 57. Questions ? Bassie Shemtov [email_address] (248) 788-7878