November 26, 2009

Tweetsgiving: Bring your grateful heart

JD LasicaYou may have heard of Tweetsgiving, the 48-hour event created by nonprofit Epic Change that encourages participants to express our thanks using online tools and at live events. Launched last year, this year’s event ends in a few hours but has already made an impact.

The video above shows how EpicChange, with a recent grant from IdeaBlob, has been making a difference at the primary school in Tanzania where last year’s TweetsGiving classroom was built. (If you’re up early on Thanksgiving, see if there’s a live stream about the event on Ustream.)

What am I thankful for? Thousands of things. A few of them:

Family and friends



Traveling Geeks

• Heroes, like Mama Lucy Continue reading

November 18, 2009

eduFire expands its tech curriculum

Learn about social media, PHP & WordPress on the Web

Guest post by Katrina Heppler

We met up with Jon Bischke, founder of eduFire, in San Francisco to learn about the launch of eduFire’s new Tech Channel, an online video learning platform that provides live, interactive video classes in social media, PHP, WordPress and other tech areas.

In this video interview, Jon describes the new Tech Channel’s offerings and tells us how eduFire is using social media throughout the company’s platform. Continue after the jump for a full transcript of the conversation. Continue reading

November 18, 2009

Giving to charity goes local


Beth KanterLately I’ve been noticing a social media spin on making charitable donations in your community, region or state.  

Here are three recent examples.

I Live Here, I Give Here

I Live HereThe site I Live Here, I Give Here is designed to draw attention to giving to local nonprofits in Austin, Texas. According to the site:

“Austin is no doubt a caring community. But we don’t act on our values by giving more to charitable organizations. National studies consistently find that Austinites give far less to charitable causes than people in other cities. In fact, Austin is ranked 48th out of the 50 largest cities in the nation in per capita giving.”

The mission of the I Live Here, I Give Here campaign is to change that. The partners are a mix of local foundations and corporations. The site lists local nonprofits and links to a donation page.


GiveMNGiveMN is a new online resource that hopes to encourage more Minnesotans to give and help create a stronger nonprofit community for Minnesota. It is designed for both individuals and organizations. Individuals can browse the site and find local nonprofits and make a donation online. Or, if they want, they can launch their own fundraiser for an organization. For nonprofits, GiveMN offers simple, secure tools to achieve their goals. The site is powered by Razoo, a giving platform. Continue reading

November 18, 2009

Do you have a conversation strategy?

A couple talking under a huge mural two men

John HaydonWhen most businesses and non-profits start using social media, they start with small talk with their communities. They politely reply to tweets, express appreciation to donors, respond as quickly as possible to customer support issues, and generally try to add value to their network.

But all too often, they fail to move beyond the small talk and create meaningful discussions that their communities are dying to have.

Then, after a few months pass, they express some level of disillusionment about the value of social media for their business, and eventually retreat to passive monitoring and pleasant tweeting with current fans. Meanwhile, the board members wonder why being nice wasn’t enough.

Engaged conversations

My clients are often surprised when I first ask them: “So, what are you going to talk about with your customers?”

They’ve spent resources building up their profiles and blogs and have spent a few weeks tweeting and replying to comments. But when I ask this question, they get a little confused. “Well, we’re responding to comments and answering questions that folks have on Twitter. We think we’re being responsive and engaged. Aren’t we?”

It’s more than small talk. I’m seeing organizations starting to understand that there’s more to engagement than simply talking. And that when folks are truly engaged, the community blows the bugle, not the company.

The American Cancer society has a great conversation strategy. They’ve created an entire community around achieving victory over cancer by talking about “creating a world with more birthdays.” These conversations are both engaging and meaningful because they touch on a basic desire we all have: To celebrate a happy life.

Share Our Strength has one of the most passionate communities I’ve met. They care profoundly about the stake that they’ve planted deeply in the ground: End childhood hunger by 2015. This mission is immediate, heartfelt and simply stated. It’s the prime point of their conversation strategy. Continue reading

November 18, 2009

TweetsGiving: Ways to show your gratitude

TweetsGivingLogoAmy Sample WardThere are just six days to go before TweetsGiving! Next week, participants will share what they are grateful for through Twitter and other online media and attend gratitude parties around the world.

People will donate to a shared cause in honor of that for which they are most grateful. Funds raised will go to support the work of Mama Lucy Kampton (@MamaLucy), a change maker who has transformed her community in Arusha, Tanzania, through her school, Shepherd’s Junior.

Learn more and show your gratitude!

Scheduled for Nov. 24–26 (Tuesday to Thursday), the 48-hour event created by Epic Change will encourage participants to express their thanks using online tools and at live events. In honor of the people and things that make them grateful, guests will be invited to give to a common cause at events held across the globe.

Why TweetsGiving?

Last year, funds from TweetsGiving helped build a classroom in Tanzania. This year, the Epic Change team is working on building a technology lab there.  Continue reading

November 18, 2009

Fundraising with social media — the right way

Wildlife Direct harnesses social networks to ‘secure a future for wildlife’

Beth KanterLast week I wrote about a pair of surveys that looked at social media and nonprofits. One came to the conclusion that social media was a waste of time; the other talked about strategic implications on how to be successful.

If you want to be successful using social media in your fundraising strategy, remember:

    Paula Kahumbu of WildlifeDirect

    Paula Kahumbu of WildlifeDirect

  • Build your network before you need it. Don’t have your first interaction be a request for money
  • Focus on engagement and relationship building all the time. You don’t have to be doing it at hyper level at the time, but remember relationship building doesn’t have an on and off switch.
  • Story telling is important – as much as can creatively tell a compelling story, the more success you will have.
  • Should be part of a multi-channel effort — they all work together. What’s important is figuring out the right amount of time to invest in particular channels.
  • Focus on the outcomes and keep reporting on the work you are doing.

Last year, I made a prediction about social media as part of the fundraising mix and I still feel strongly about it:

I believe social media will become as ubiquitous to development offices as is the phone, direct mail, and email. In the next decades, we’ll see rapid adoption of social media for many nonprofit purposes, including fundraising and as gen y’s come into their own as donors. Some of the new tools now being launched to create a single profile that can be used across social networks will as analysts predict make social networks like air. We’re still in the early stages of social media as in the early days of the web and online fundraising, so, we are in the “it’s hype, and not going to last” phase. We’re still in transition and the transition will take many years, but I believe fundraising with social media tools will not just be a niche source of income or novelty.

Peter Dietz, founder of Social Actions, pulled out his crystal ball last year and wrote: “individuals will come to your organization with the expectation of being full partners in your work, not just dollar wells to be tapped when cash is needed. Donations will be a consequence of meaningful engagement, not a measurement of it.”

So, when nonprofits use the best practices around meaningful engagement they see results. Last month at PopTech, I heard Paula Kahumbu, a PopTech Fellow, talk about her organization’s work and use of social media. Continue reading