Digital Community Building For Nonprofits


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Cody Damon, President, MediaCause
Twitter Handle: @CodyDamon

Community Building: How it works and why it's important. Learn practical tips for making the most of the 4 essential tools for building strong communities. We will explore the practical and the integrated strategy around building an engaged group of supporters around your organization's mission.

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  • Thank you Ritu.It is a pleasure to be here this morning among some friends and familiar faces, but also some new folks I haven't had the chance to meet yet. I’m hanging around all day, so please come say hi.We are going to dive right in, because we have a lot to cover. I am happy Ritu gave me the morning slot – because that means everyone is properly caffeinated – including myself.
  • We’re going to talk about digital communitybuilding, how it works and why it’s important. We’ll also give a brief overview as well as some practical tips for making the most of the 4 essential tools for building strong communities (Google Ad Grants, Email, Social Networks, and website). Hopefully we’ll give the marketing folks in the room a few ideas to take back to the office while giving the executive directors and development folks a new way to think about growing your organizations through this concept of digital community building. But first let’s start at the very beginning as I’m sure some of wondering… What is digital community building?
  • We hear these words “community” and “community building” a lot in the nonprofit world.Sometimesit’s in relation to the communities that nonprofits serve, like a local Boy’s & Girl’s Club. Sometimes it’s used in relation to capacity building. And for those of us that work in the social media or online marketing space it’s often used to describe our nonprofits presence on social networks likes Facebook, Twitter, or Google+. But what do I mean when I say Community? READ DEFINITIONBefore we tie digital community back to growing your nonprofit, let’s take another quick poll…
  • For most nonprofits it should be D. Big nonprofits that have huge brand awareness – The American Red Cross, ASPCA, etc., They are able to get donations from the first interaction, because individuals already know who they are and what they do. There is already a relationship. But for the rest of us, it means we need to build those relationships first, so that people get to know our organizations and why our mission should be so important to them. With that in mind, let’s start with what we hope is a different way to think about online marketing for your nonprofit…
  • We get RFPs all the time for fundraising campaigns. While we love the business, the fact of the matter is that you see extremely low conversion rates when you ask people to donate with in seconds of meeting them, which is the exact equivalent to buying ads on Facebook, Google, or banner ads around the web or even TV that directs to a donation page. There are a few exceptions to this, like disaster relief, but by and large ad campaigns are expensive and rarely give you a positive return on investment…Let’s take a closer look at the financial argument for community building versus advertising…
  • Any organization can buy ads on the major ad networks like Google and Facebook, where $1 CPC are achievable. It can also be much higher than that but we’ll use $1 to be very conservative. If we were to assume a 5% conversion rate, which is to say that 5% of the people that land on your site take the action that you want, which is very very generous. This could be below 1% depending on the ask and your website, but let’s assume 5% to be on the optimistic side. We’re talking about spending $100 to reach 100 people and $20 - $50 to drive an important action whether it be sign a petition or donate for a matching drive.If you had to do this each and every time your organization ran a big campaign, it’s would be really really expensive. So what’s the alternative… A Viral Button – I’m actually still looking for it, so if anyone has any leads on that let me know.The next best thing is building strong communities.
  • So this is in reference to a Malcolm Gladwell piece in The New Yorker called “Small Change: Why the revolution will not be tweeted.”He made the argument that social media makes it easier for activists to express themselves and harder for that expression to have any impact. But in Egypt, Gladwell seemed to be wrong. Of course, social media didn’t cause the overthrow of a regime. It didn’t cause 100,000s of protester to take to the streets, but it did help this happen so much faster. It did help the collective power of all those tweets, youtube videos, facebook posts, etc, have an impact. To the point that each individual didn’t feel like they were alone and that they had collective power, because they understood there was a community of like-minded individuals out there ready to take action. Now, not every organization is trying to overthrow an oppressive regime. There are many injustices in the world and worthy causes that people are passionate about and want to support. With 24/7 internet connectivity between computers and smart phones, many nonprofits can tap into this power of community to further your missions. So now that we covered the importance of community building let’s dive into the HOW. We’re are always happy to share our secrets.
  • OK, so who wants to know the biggest secret to building valuable digital community?
  • That’s probably something everyone has heard before.But it’s important to point out one big difference. The communities goals are more important than yours. Well hold on now.. We’ve been talking about how valuable these communities are, how they are going to help with cheaper, more effective marketing? How they are going to help grow my organization? Doesn’t it seem a little backwards that what the community wants is more important that what your organization wants?Don’t worry, this is still all about your nonprofit but it’s probably a different approach that what you’re doing today. If you go back to the definition of community building – it was a group of individuals and/or organizations that support your organizations MISSION – not necessarily your organization (yet). This is the big shift that I am asking you to consider: Changing your communication model from being organization centric to being support centric.With that in mind let’s take a look at the work flow of community building as a new approach to marketing…
  • Read slideThe last part is where you can begin to get a little selfish. Of course its ok to ask for help: Donations, volunteers, fundraisers but you at least need to be aware of how much your asking from the communities opposed to how much you’re giving. So what does this mean for all of the individual tools and channels, and where do they fit into this process.
  • Let’s start with our end goal.We’ll work backwards and make sure we have all the pieces in place to be successful.We need to be driving great engagement. You want sharing. You want community member talking to one another. You want to empower people to take important actions on there own. This doesn’t happen by constantly asking people to do things or making them feel like the “follow” you. Remember this is us changing from an organization-centric approach to a supporter-centric approach.An active Community of supporters, driving our organizations goals. Who wouldn’t want this? It’s 100% attainable if you let go of the idea that this is YOUR community. Wouldn’t you still want to have this group on your side even if you were the shepard rather than the owner?So how do we get to this point? Let’s work backwards. You need to have great engagement. You want participation, right? You want sharing, and community members talking to one an other, you want to empower people to take important actions on their own. That doesn’t come by constantly asking people to do things or making them feel like they “follow” you. It comes by making them feel like it’s their community.And here are the channels that play a role in this engagement. It’s important to point out that in an ideal world, you have multiple touch points with your supporters. You want everyone from your email list to like you on Facebook and vice versa as well as reading your longer more opinionated takes from your blog. These are your main content streams.Now lets take one more step back. You want to introduce your community to as many people as possible once you know you’ve made it easy and compelling for people to join these communities. There are lots of ways to grow your communities but here are a few of the most cost effective tools that we recommend.
  • Remember its about giving your supporters (or potentially) supporters what they want.So we send folks to pages that accomplish this quickly and effectively.
  • When it comes to building community– the one job your community manager has is this. Engagement. And what I mean by engagement is getting your community members to like, comment, and share on Facebook, and retweet and reply on Twitter. On email, engagement is measured by your open rate, clicks and forwards, and on your blog: number of subscriptions, comments, and shares.If you can successfully get your audience to take any of these actions, you’re building your nonprofit’s digital community.For any of you who currently manage social media, email, or the blog for your nonprofit, you know that engaging your audience is much easier said than done. Here are some ways we have found effective in engaging our clients’ communities.
  • The research is out there. Jonah Berger who has written extensively on the subject of “why things catch on”. His data found that high arousal emotions, such as excitement and anger, as well as awe, amusement, and humor, all drive people to spread the word. These emotions fire people up, and make people want to share. So when it comes to writing for your social media, blog, and email, it’s important to keep high arousal emotions in mind. Instead of making people sad, make them angry. Instead of making people happy, make them excited. By leveraging high arousal emotions on social media, you’ll increase engagement with your community.
  • Another way to engage your community is share content that achieves your community’s goals. Here’s a post we shared for our client Futures Without Violence. The community behind Futures Without Violence has a common goal – to end violence. So, we created a graphic with warning signs if your teenage daughter is in a violent relationship. FWV has less than 40,000 fans, but this post reached nearly 90,000 people organically. The reason being, FWV’s audience resonated with this post, it spoke to their goal as a community, wanting to stop violence, and therefore they liked, commented, and shared it with their networks.
  • Another way to increase engagement is to share your nonprofit’s progress and victories. Here’s a post we shared for our client Water4. This is a quick update about their progress in eradicating the world water crisis. Water4 has less than 2,500 fans but this post reached 14,336 organically.Celebrating your progress and victories is an easy way to engage your community.
  • Another way to increase engagement – specifically on social media - is to ask your audience to participate. Here, Cornell Lab encourages participation through weekly bird quizzes. Cornell Lab knows that its audience is made up of bird lovers, who enjoy identifying birds. So, every week Cornell Lab share a photo of a bird and ask the community to identify it. They then share the correct answer the next day. Their engagement on their Facebook page is a whopping a 50% because they understand their audience’s interests and gave them an opportunity to participate.So, encourage your community to participate by giving them an opportunity to shine.
  • The number of people sharing stories about your page. These stories include liking your Page, posting to your Page's timeline, liking, commenting on or sharing We’re just now starting to get LTV results because we’re in year 2
  • Today we’ve presented how to grow and strengthen your community using your website, email, and social media. Our belief at Media Cause is that an engaged community can help you achieve your organizational goals. To wrap it up, we’d like to share a quick case study of how an engaged community helped Cornell achieve its organizational goals, which was fundraising.Like many organizations Cornell Lab had an end of year fundraiser. So, fundraising was Cornell Lab’s organizational goal.To help them achieve their goal, we launched three Facebook ad campaigns that encouraged people to donate. For the first campaign, we took Cornell Lab’s email list and imported it into Facebook. We served an ad to these email subscribers to encourage them to donate. The ad reached 31k people, and 5 people donated.For the 2nd campaign, we launched ads that served only to Cornell’s Facebook fans. The ads reached over 46k fans, and 9 people donated. But then it was here in the 3rd ad campaign that we saw the importance of community building come into play. For the third campaign we served ads to people who are both on Cornell’s email list and a Facebook fan. The reach of course was smaller – these are people that are subscribed to both Cornell’s email and Facebook. But while reach was much smaller, only 24,000 – the number of donors doubled.The more channels someone subscribed to – in this case – email and social media – the more he or she is likely to donate. So whether your organizational goal is fundraising, attending an event, signing a petition, getting volunteers, the more engaged your community is, the easier it will be to achieve your goals.
  • Digital Community Building For Nonprofits

    1. 1. | | @mediacause DIGITAL COMMUNITY BUILDING FOR NONPROFITS Cody Damon @codydamon
    2. 2. Digital Community Building 1. Community Building 101 2. Community Building Tools • Google Ad Grants • Email List • Social Networks • Website/Blog
    3. 3. What Is Digital Community Building? A group of individuals and/or organizations that support your organizations mission. Supporters have actively subscribed to one or more of your organizations digital channels.
    4. 4. Quick Poll A. 1 B. 2 C.3 D.More than 3 E. Don’t Know How many interactions does your nonprofit typically have with donors before asking them to give?
    5. 5. How Not To Do Community Building You don’t ask for a donation within the 1 minute of meeting someone. Why do so many nonprofit do that online?
    6. 6. Community Building Vs Advertising Advertising is expensive $1 Cost per Click 5% Conversion Rate 1 X 100 X .05 = 5 $100 to reach 100 people $20 to drive 1 important action
    7. 7. The Power of Community | | @mediacause The Revolution Will Be Tweeted
    8. 8. Want to know the secret to successful community building?
    9. 9. Review and prioritize your GOALS before starting The COMMUNITIES’ GOALS are more important than yours. But don’t forget…
    10. 10. How It Works 1. Get permission to continue the conversation 2. Connect on issues the community cares about 3. Share content that informs and inspires 4. Celebrate wins and progress together 5. Ask for participation
    11. 11. Community Building In Action Meet New Supporters : Grow Communit y Engagement: Focus On Community Goals Active Community of Supporters -- Driving Org Goals RSS (blog) Social Content Email & Newslett er Google Ad Grants Shared Content & Social Ads Blo g (seo )
    12. 12. Community Building & Essential Tools 1. Community Building 101 2. Community Building Tools • Google Ad Grants • Email List • Social Networks • Website/Blog
    13. 13. Program Overview  $10,000/mo free ad credit on  $2 max cost per click  Ads shown below paid ads  1000’s of new potential supporters on your website each month Sign up IMMEDIATELY at Google Ad Grants
    14. 14. Your #1 Goal is Donations, but…
    15. 15. Email List Building with Google Ads
    16. 16. Homepage Vs. Targeted Landing Page Conversion Rate = 12.59% 1,000 + email address / mo
    17. 17. Case Study: Cornell Lab – Inbound Google “screech owl” and land on the species account May receive direct mail Begin receiving monthly eNews and email solicitations Learn more about the Lab through triggered emails See offer to download owl sounds in exchange for email address Donate/Join for the first time via email or direct mail
    18. 18. Community Building With Email Tips: • Don’t forget to thanks and welcome supporters • Remember to focus on the communities’ goals • Over 50% of emails in 2013 were open on a mobile phone (use responsive templates & mobile friendly donation tools)
    19. 19. The secret to building community: ENGAGEMENT Facebook: likes, comments, and shares Twitter: retweets and replies Email: open rate, clicks, forwards Blog: subscriptions, comments, and shares Community Building With Social Media
    20. 20. Tip #1. Leverage High-Arousal Emotions Physiologically high arousal emotions fire people up. They drive people to action and spread the word: • Awe • Excitement • Anger • Amusement • HumorLearn more:
    21. 21. Tip #2. Share Content That Achieves Community’s Goals Futures Without Violence Audience size 37,579 Post reach 89,984
    22. 22. Tip #3. Share Progress & Victories Water4 Audience size 2,435 Post reach 14,336
    23. 23. Tip #4. Encourage Participation Cornell Lab’s weekly quizzes help maintain its audience engagement
    24. 24. Community Building With Blogging Our Goal: Become the industry leader. Community Goal: Become educated and protect children. Research: Identified 50 keywords that would boost Thorn’s organic search results. Execution: Created keyword driven content calendar. Results: After 1st month, 24% of all traffic was from blogs. After 3rd month blog posts had been shared over 500 times on Facebook and 200 times on Twitter
    25. 25. Community Building With Blogging Tips: • Focus on your communities’ goals • Do your SEO keyword research • Use titles that draw readers in • Make it easy to subscribe, share, and comment
    26. 26. Case Study: Cornell Lab - 2013 Results • Year over Year Facebook • Likes increased 78% (171,037) • Engaged Users Increased 52% (102,706) • PTAT* Increased 67% (50,208) • Increased our email file by 56% to 522k • Increased unique users to website by 31% (2.5mm) • Doubled online fundraising over prior year ($537K to $1.1mm) • 60% of first-time donors are coming from online • Average “sales” cycle – 78 days from lead to donor
    27. 27. Case Study: Cornell Lab Fundraiser Email Subscribers: Reach – 31,043 Donors – 5 Facebook Fans: Reach – 46,533 Donors – 9 BOTH: Reach – 24,160 Donors – 19
    28. 28. Thank You! Learn More: Email: Questions?