May 16, 2016

Using Virtual Reality for Social Change Work

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Caroline Avakian Headshot finalVirtual reality is a newer medium that has the potential to revolutionize the way many global development and human rights organizations communicate their work. It also presents an opportunity to virtually bring supporters, donors, and all others curious about the work being done on the ground, right to the communities and people they would otherwise not have access to.

The award-winning, “Clouds Over Sidra” a virtual reality film that was released in January of 2105, was one such film. It follows a twelve year-old girl named Sidra in the Za’atari camp in Jordan — currently home to an estimated 84,000 refugees from the Syrian civil war. The groundbreaking film shot for the United Nations using the Samsung Gear VR 360-degree platform, is the first ever film shot in virtual reality for the UN and is designed to support the UN’s campaign to highlight the plight of vulnerable communities, particularly refugees.

Since the success of “Clouds Over Sidra” there has been some buzz on how nonprofits and global development organizations might be able to leverage virtual reality to build awareness of their causes.

One such organization taking on virtual reality is Trickle Up. Trickle Up is a global poverty alleviation organization that works with the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people to help them achieve financial independence and social connection. I spoke with Tyler McClelland, Trickle Up’s Communications Officer, to learn more about what the learnings, challenges, and best practices were for them as a smaller organization, taking on VR for the first time.

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May 5, 2016

How to Build a Marketing Funnel Your Donors Will Love

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john-haydonFundraising is quite a different game then it was even just a few years ago. Mobile and social media has donors constantly distracted (and bombarded) with messages from friends, brands, and competing causes.

For nonprofit marketers this shift means embracing a donor-centric approach that moves from interruption to invitation.

For example, Human Rights Campaign often presents a fundraising ask only AFTER a supporter signs a petition. Their assumption (a correct one) is that people signing a petition are more likely to give.

After signing a recent petition supporters were encouraged to buy a t-shirt:

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April 4, 2016

3 Core Twitter Strategies That Will Never Die

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john-haydonTwitter followers will be more likely to retweet your content if they like, know, and trust you. But where do you start? How do you develop a strong network on Twitter?

One way to think about building a stronger network on Twitter is to focus on three core Twitter strategies: Search-Building, Raft-Building, and Klout-Building

 

1. Search-Building Twitter Strategies

An important part of any online strategy is search. How will people find you when they want to find you now? How will people discover you when they’re trying to solve a problem?

But how does Twitter help you get found – both on Twitter and Google?

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March 16, 2016

Should Your Nonprofit Use Snapchat?

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Snapchat is a mobile app that lets users share photos and videos that are deleted in 24 hours. Snapchat users share snaps (temporary videos and photos) privately with a few friends, or as stories with all their followers.

What people love about Snapchat

You might be wondering why someone would use a social network that deletes everything they share.

If you’re wondering this, you were probably born before the internet. You never had “that talk” with your parents about being safe online. And you never had to worry about a potential employer digging through your Facebook updates. Which is why millennials love Snapchat.

The best thing about Snapchat is that all posts are deleted by default. So snappers don’t need to worry about an everlasting online persona.

Snapchat explains:

Our default is delete. Conversations are ephemeral unlesssomeone chooses to save or screenshot them. And if they do,we do our best to make the sender aware. Just like a face-to-face conversation content stays impermanent unless someone goes out of their way to record it.

Snapchat by the numbers:

  • Launched in 2011
  • 100 million users
  • 6 billion video views every day
  • 86% of Snapchat’s users fall into the 13 – 37 age range
  • $100,000 is the minimum ad spend for brands.

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February 16, 2016

A Simple Facebook Checklist for Better Page Posts

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john-haydonIn a perfect world, all of your fans would see all of your posts in the news feed. But this is not a perfect world, and your Facebook posts are rarely seen by the people who’ve liked your Page.

Yes, it might seem unfair, but when you get right down to it, Facebook users are the ones telling the news feed algorithm what they want in their news feeds, not Facebook.

The bottom line is that posts that are relevant, useful, and / or entertaining get more Newsfeed exposure.

A Simple Facebook Checklist for Writing Better Page Posts

Here’s a simple Facebook checklist you can follow for improving your organization’s engagement and reach on Facebook:

 

1. Don’t ask for money, just yet

As with belly-to-belly fundraising, it’s never a good idea to have to ask for money the first time you meet someone. The same is true on Facebook.

Before you post anything on Facebook,  remember that it’s a friend network. People are there to connect with their friends, not brands or charities. In fact,“supporting my favorite nonprofit” isn’t even on the list:

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February 8, 2016

How to Double Online Giving in Six Months

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More and more nonprofit donations take place in today’s digital landscape, but how can causes ensure their online storefront is not only open for business, but optimized?

 

As I explored this critical issue in my new book, Nonprofit Fundraising 101, I interviewed Roderick Campbell, the CEO of nonprofit fundraising platform CommitChange. He shared a few takeaways from their efforts to maximize digital donations for Mercy House, a $3.8M nonprofit that has provided housing and support to California’s homeless since 1989.

 

This simple formula helped Mercy House double online giving in just six months, and I believe it can do the same for your nonprofit, too:

 

  1. Break it Down: CommitChange helped Mercy House break the donation process down into four steps: recurring versus one-time; amount; info; and payment. Instead of asking for the information all at once, they simplified the process, which is especially helpful for digital donors contributing on their mobile device. Another great example of what this looks like is charity: water, also profiled in the book.

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