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Better, Faster, Stronger: How nonprofits can better engage their members and the press through social media


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In a world of tight budgets, nonprofits need to know now -- more than ever -- how best to serve and engage with the people supporting them. Social media tools offer a no-brainer part of any membership …

In a world of tight budgets, nonprofits need to know now -- more than ever -- how best to serve and engage with the people supporting them. Social media tools offer a no-brainer part of any membership and fundraising strategy, but how can nonprofits optimize the resources they put into social media? Learn tips, tools, and strategies for success in the nonprofit realm of social networks, as well as how to use these tools to reach out to the media and reporters to get your message out there.

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  • Hello everyone! Thanks for your interest today in taking advantage of social media tools that can help you carry out your nonprofit’s goals. I hope to aim much of today’s discussion at strategy and tools for optimizing social networks for nonprofits, rather than a basic introduction to “What is this Twitter I’ve been hearing so much about?” I’ll try to leave plenty of time at the end of the presentation for more general questions, but if you need me to clarify a point I make or suggest another tip or tool related to my presentation, feel free to aim them at me in the Chat and I’ll do my best to address them as we go. I do find that social media is best accomplished with collective knowledge, so don’t be shy!
  • Can't expect people to always go to you. Join them where they are. 52% of online adults say they have two or more different profilesTraditional giving is down. Online giving in 2009: 63% vs 51% in 2008* “And while 20% say they are still undecided about the size of their gifts, they are increasingly attuned to social media efforts, like the one Whole Foods is kicking off. Some 25% say that what family and friends say on social media and in personal emails influences the charities they support.”
  • Trying to reach current/future donors? Volunteers? General support? Wider public? Reporters? Bloggers? (Surveymonkey or other survey/polling service) Compare demographics of members with other info about online users
  • People: Who and how many will contribute to various social media efforts? Staff? Volunteers? Communications? Time: Schedule it in just like any other project. Can be 15 min a day or a few hours a week. Creating a schedule and coordinating efforts across several social networks saves time. Don’t forget to sked time to listen and respond on networks, not just sending out one-way comm. Equipment: computers, cameras, video, mobile devices, software available and ready for what you want to accomplish
  • What are you trying to accomplish by being on social media? What will make it worth your time and effort? Efficiency: Are you out to reach as many people as you can using as few resources as possible. Gathering resources from members which you can use in other communications or fundraising efforts?
  • Unless you’re keeping track of key indicators of success, how will you know what’s worth spending your time and resources on? Referral traffic (google analytics) Especially for donations or volunteering?
  • See what people are saying about your nonprofit already – get feedback on efforts, priorities, approaches to fundraising/outreach. Don’t just use it to push everything and anything about your organization (2-way comm). Make yourself a resource in your subject area – water conservation, environmental toxics, climate policy, salmon recovery
  • With strategy in hand, it’s time to venture out onto the social networks you’ve identified as being the most useful for your org. I’m focusing on these four major networks, covering tips and tools you can use to optimize each for various nonprofit aims.
  • POLL ?: How many of your orgs already have a presence of some kind on Facebook? If you don’t already have a fan page on Facebook, create one and start posting relevant stories, events, news, video, etc. about both your nonprofit AND the issue that you’re working on. Respond to user comments when appropriate, thank them, ask questions, encourage discussion. Depending on how much time you have to devote looking for things to post each week, post anyway between 1-2/day to 3/week. People want to go where there’s a community and discussion going on. Encourage staff to contribute/respond as well.
  • Once you hit 10,000 fans with your page, you’ll be able to “authenticate” your page and see per-post analytics (# of impressions, feedback). To change the tab which shows by default on your Page, simply click the "Settings" button which appears below the blue Share button on your Wall tab. Then, adjust your settings appropriately.
  • Dominant video site on the webPoll ?: How many ppl already have a web presence on YouTube or another video sharing site?
  • POLL ?: How many orgs already on Flickr?
  • Tags, etc, make your photos easier to find for others
  • POLL ?: How many orgs already on twitter?
  • #ecomonday #charitytuesday #waterwednesday
  • Use Twitter Lists to organize groups of people and organizations you're following
  • Complement: Promote active social network accounts on homepage of your website. Promote YouTube videos you create on Facebook, Twitter. Don’t replace quality with quantity. Don’t communicate when you have nothing to say. Have fun!
  • Transcript

    • 1. Better, Faster, Stronger
      How nonprofits can better engage their members and the press through social media
      Ashley Braun, @ashleybraun
      February 11, 2010
    • 2. Agenda
      Why nonprofits should be engaging through social media
      Planning a social media strategy
      Executing the strategy (with tips and tools)
      Reaching out to the press through social media
      Bringing it all together
      General social media resources for nonprofits
    • 3. Why should nonprofits be using social media?
      47% of online adults do*
      72% of online 18-29 year olds do*
      73% of wired teens do*
      “25% [of online consumers] say that what family and friends say on social media and in personal emails influences the charities they support.”**
      Whole Foods’ cause-related Facebook application, "This is my year to ... ,“ which encourages users to support one of three nonprofits.
      * Pew Internet & American Life Project, Social Media & Young Adults Study 2010
      ** Convio Poll:
    • 4. Planning a social media strategy
      “What’s the use of running if you are not on the right road?” – German Proverb
      Know your audience
      Know your resources
      Know and prioritize your goals
      Set and measure metrics for success
      Listen, adjust, and respond
    • 5. Know your audience
      Who supports you already?
      Where do they hang out online?
      Who are you trying to reach?
      Where do they hang out online?
      How do you figure this out?
      Ask! E.g. Surveymonkey
      Demographics of current members
      Studies of demographics of online users E.g. Convio, Chronicle of Philanthropy,
    • 6. Know your resources (and limits)
      Ixographic via Flickr Creative Commons
      Judy Baxter via Flickr Creative Commons
    • 7. Know (and prioritize) your goals
      General public outreach?
      Donor development?
      Volunteer recruitment and engagement?
      Gathering and sharing stories from members?
      Communication with the media?
    • 8. Set and measure metrics for success
      Track number of fans/followers
      • What prompts large increases (or decreases)?
      Note comments and interactions on stories, videos, photos, retweets
      What creates the most active engagement?
      Referral traffic
      Who or what sites are sending people to your website?
      • Reach out to people or organizations when appropriate
    • Experiment!
      On, within, and outside of traditional social media sites
      Live chatsE.g. on #Twitter or
      Livestreaming video E.g.
      Mobile phones
      Embeddable widgets
      E.g. Sprout Builder
    • 9. Listen, adjust, and respond
      • Social networks are for dialogue
      • 10. People are talking about your organization and your work already -> tap into those conversations
      • 11. Listening tools:
      • 12. Take note of what works vs. what doesn't and adapt your strategy accordingly
      • 13. Invite member participation
      • 14. Acknowledge mistakes, celebrate victories, and send out thank-you's publicly
    • Executing your social media strategy
      Your nonprofit
    • 15. 73% of adults on social networks have a profile on Facebook
      • Active fan page
      • 16. The main way fans will interact with you is through your wall posts appearing in their news feed.
    • Tips:
      • Be creative and varied in what you post
      • 17. Calls to action, events, articles, updates, video, podcasts, facts, stats, questions, polls
      • 18. Give them an experience or content they can’t get elsewhere
      • 19. Create a schedule for posting
      • 20. Choose wisely the default tab shown when non-fans come to your page
      • 21. Secure a vanity URL for your Page
      • 22. Check for occasional updates to Fan Pages from Facebook
      Examples and Resources:
      How Charities Are #FindingTheGood With Facebook Pages:
      World Wildlife Fund:
    • 23. Tools:
      • Add Fan Box widget to your website
      • 24. 8 Essential Apps for Your Brand’s Facebook Page
      • 25. Link Facebook fan page to Twitter
    • 26.
      • 1 billion views each day
      • 27. Embeddable and easy to share
      • 28. Opportunity to share stories or showcase dedicated supporters
      Winning video entry for Cascade Harvest Coalition's Eat Local for Thanksgiving campaign
      Video contest hosted at
    • 29. Tips:
      • Apply to become an official Nonprofit YouTube channel
      • 30. Ability to sync with Google Checkout (donations!)
      • 31. Grouped with other nonprofits
      • 32. Recognition and promotion
      • 33. Encourage members to share their own videos with you
      • 34. Find particular aspects of your work best told through video
      • 35. Member testimonials
      • 36. Volunteer events
      • 37. Advocacy rallies
      • 38. Q&A with legislators
    • Tools:
      Video camera
      The Flip Camcorder $149
      • Free editing software
      • 39. FlipShare (with Flip Camcorder)
      • 40. iMovie on Macs
      • 3 billion images on Flickr
      • 41. Organize and share your work
      • 42. Visual storytelling
      • 43. Strong community element
      • 44. Member participation
      • 45. Creative Commons
    • Tips:
      • Utilize tags, titles, and descriptions
      • 46. Keep photos organized into sets and collections
      • 47. Map photos' locations
      • 48. Create an organizational group (if appropriate)
      • 49. Tap into existing Flickr groups
      • 50. Always give correct attribution to the photographer
      • 51. Respect the Creative Commons and add to it
      • 52. Get creative: Photo petitions (Amer. Heart Assn), visual calls to action (, contests, photo tours
      Tools and Resources:
      • Flickr slideshows are embeddable on websites or blogs
      • 53. Third-party photo apps
      • 54. E.g. iMapFlickr creates embeddable Google maps from your photo sets
      • 55. How nonprofits can get the most out of Flickr:
      • 56. The Great Flickr Tools Collection via Flickr Creative Commons
    • 57. Find and share lots of information, news, and links quickly with 6 million users
      Nonprofits can:
      • Raise money
      • 58. Spread awareness
      • 59. Build community
      If you printed all the tweets
    • 60. Tips:
      • Share useful information and create discussions around your issue
      • 61. Save time by researching, writing and scheduling tweets in advance
      • 62. Listen to conversations about your organization (@grist) and topic area (#climate)
      • 63. Create or join in Twitter discussions via #hashtags
      • Take the time to acknowledge and respond to your followers (real-time)
      • 64. Follow relevant topics via #hashtags and share the good stuff
      • 65. Retweet (RT) other Twitterers' good content (quid pro quo)
      • 66. Find influential and dedicated Twitterers about your issue
      • 67. Quality over quantity
      • 68. Don't spam
    • Tools:
      • Download a desktop Twitter application E.g. Tweetdeck, Twhirl, Tweetie
      • 69. Can link Twitter and Facebook Page updates
      • Auto-publish blog posts to Twitter with
      • 70. Twitter Lists
      • 71. Use URL shortener to track clicks on links (with web browser bookmarklet)
      • 72. Schedule tweets with
    • Reaching out to the media
      Target key media outlets (and journalists) from both traditional and nontraditional (like blogs) for your topic area
      Find them on Facebook, Twitter
      Build relationships
      Be a resource to them
      Customize your pitch to their outlet or beat
      Provide links aka make it easy
      Keep it interesting, creative
      Don’t be annoying
      Getting Good News Coverage: How to Persuade Journalists to Cover Your Cause (recorded discussion)
    • 73. Bringing it all together
      • Listen
      • 74. Let your strategies across social networks (and your nonprofit’s website) complement each other
      • 75. Invite participation
      • 76. Reciprocate
      • 77. Learn from your mistakes & from other nonprofits
      • 78. Give it time
      Social media is about the conversations and interactions that bring your members closer to your organization.
    • 79. Resources
      • General social media tech, developments, news:
      • 80. The Twitter Guide Book:
      • 81. The Facebook Guide Book:
      • 82. Nonprofit + social media blogger: Beth Kanter
      • 83. Social media resources for nonprofits:
      • 84. 7 Ways to Promote Your Offline Event Using Social Media:
      • 85. Chronicle of Philanthropy Live Discussions