September 30, 2011

12-step guide on how to live-tweet an event

live tweeting at TED
Twitter co-founder Evan Williams live-tweets on stage at the TED conference.

Learn how Twitter can help you make the most of your next conference

This is part of our series on how nonprofits can get the most out of Twitter and the first in a series of guest posts from content partner

Guest post by Susannah Vila

twitter-essentialsWhether you are hosting an event such as a fund-raiser or a conference, or you are signed up to attend one, Twitter can help you to expand the event’s reach, grow your organization’s audience and connect with potential collaborators or partners.

One effective technique is to take advantage of Twitter’s viral power during an event or conference — your own or someone else’s. Here’s a 12-step guide on how to live-tweet an event.

1Choose a hashtag or find the hashtag that the organizers have picked. It should be short so that plenty of characters are left for the content of your tweets. People generally put the hashtag at the end of every tweet about the event. This way, anyone following that stream will see your posts and identify you or your organization as part of that event.

Tip: You don’t need to be at an event to join in on the hashtag stream. Many people follow along from a livestream and use the hashtag to share their thoughts, or point out memorable insights, to those who are both attending the event or watching remotely.

Tip: Which tool will you be using to engage with the Twitter conversation during your event? TweetDeck on your laptop? Use TagDef to find out what a hashtag means.

2Pay attention. It may seem obvious, but the whole point of tweeting from a conference or other event is to choose the statements made by speakers (or people asking questions) that are the most interesting to your followers. Not everything said at a conference is worth repeating, so don’t bother with platitudes and instead just highlight those thoughts that come out of the live conversation that strike you as worth thinking more about or worth relaying to your audience.

Twitpic3Know your audience. When at an event, it’s never a bad idea to remind yourself of who your audience is and how this event fits with their interests. If they are following you because you or your organization focuses on one issue in particular, then they will probably be expecting your tweets to relate to that topic. When choosing which ideas and comments to bring into the Twitter conversation, check with yourself to ensure that your tweets will be relevant to your followers.

4Use attribution: A big part of tweeting from a conference or other event is about curating the most relevant and important points that speakers make and sharing them with your followers. If someone says something interesting, use a format like “[name] says [their statement].” Whenever you can, use the speaker’s Twitter handle to attribute a statement to them — this allows an interested follower to immediately see their bio, picture and website. If you can’t find the Twitter handle right away, just search Google for “their name” + “Twitter.” Make it as easy as possible for your followers to identify who’s speaking — you don’t want to run the risk of people taking a statement or idea out of context or simply getting confused by your tweets and unfollowing you. Continue reading

September 29, 2011

How charity: water leads the way in social fundraising

The 2011 September Campaign. Our 5-year-anniversary video from charity: water on Vimeo.


An interview with the nonprofit’s director of digital

Guest post by Beth Kanter

Ifirst came across Paull Young in September 2008 when he launched a birthday campaign as part of charity: water’s September campaign. Fast forward a couple of years, and Paull is following his passion for clean water around the world as the director of digital for charity:water.

charity: water continues to be an innovator in the area of online fundraising. Earlier this month, I stumbled upon their brilliant personalized thank you videos. It got me curious about the overall campaign strategy, how they measure success and learning more about what works. Paull agreed to share his insights in this interview.

Share the organization’s elevator speech.

charity: water provides clean and safe drinking water in the developing world. We direct 100% of money we raise to projects. Every September we launch the September Campaign, an online grassroots fundraising campaign targeting a specific issue. This year is our fifth anniversary, and we’re funding a drilling rig for our partner in Ethiopia that can provide access to clean and safe drinking water to 40,000 people a year. Continue reading

September 28, 2011

New rules: How to create a Facebook page from scratch


Video tutorial will step you through new changes to Facebook pages

Target audience: Nonprofits, NGOs, cause organizations, social enterprises, brands, social media managers, individuals.

John HaydonFacebook has just introduced a completely new process for creating a Facebook Page. It includes:

  • An idiot-proof three-step process
  • The ability to import images from a website
  • Scaled-down requirements for the info section

The video above shows you exactly how the new process works.

September 28, 2011

How social media is advancing social change

Mashable-new solutions
Still frame shot of Social Good Summit video by Epipheo Studios


Outtakes from Mashable’s Social Good Summit

Target audience: Nonprofits, NGOs, cause organizations, social enterprises, businesses, brands, foundations, educators, social media managers

Guest post by Jereme Bivins
Social Media Manager, The Foundation Center
Jereme BivinsThere was no shortage of optimism, technology, and inspiring panelists and speakers at the Social Good Summit sponsored by Mashable, the UN Foundation, Ericsson and the 92nd Street Y last week. Topics ranged from the future of media, with media mogul Ted Turner, to a thoughtful conversation on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, to the introduction of Skype for Education.

But no conference sponsored by Mashable would be complete without an analysis of the state of social media and the future of the online space for the social sector. Among the many lessons learned at the summit, some mantras echoed more resolute than others, particularly the increased emphasis governments, NGOs, nonprofits and individual activists are placing on social strategies to advance their missions.

“No longer is wealth and celebrity needed to achieve meaningful social change.”

According to Alec J. Ross, the Senior Advisor for Innovation to Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, social media has fueled the “devolution of power from hierarchies to citizens,” a point underscored by the ongoing Arab Spring. With access to mobile phones and social media, governments and citizens are more closely connected. Where once a government official would entertain an audience only with his country’s affluent elites, now wealth is no longer a prerequisite to power. Continue reading

September 27, 2011

Techniques to add dazzle to your advocacy video

Matanya’s Hope tells stories of Kenyan schoolchildren through photos & video

Lauren MajorMultimedia storytelling can be an incredibly powerful tool for your organization to attract funders, motivate volunteers and demonstrate the power of your message.

Our friends at Matanya’s Hope asked us to create a visual story for their nonprofit by seamlessly blending photos and video footage that they have captured over the past several years with original interviews, music and graphics we developed.

Founded in 2005 by Illinois native Michelle Stark, Matanya’s Hope is a nonprofit dedicated to educating children in Kenya. Last summer I accompanied Michelle to Matanya Primary School and saw the destitution these children and their families face: severe poverty, hunger, lack of clothing. And I realized why Michelle is dedicating her life to this cause.

For nonprofits and other organizations looking to capture their stories through powerful imagery, here are some simple tips for creating professional-looking video:

  • Use “b-roll” (stills & video)
  • Incorporate stock music
  • Use narration or background sounds
How to incorporate b-roll

By using B-roll – still photographs and short video clips referencing what the interviewees are talking about – you can make the video much more interesting than by solely using “talking heads” (straight interviews of people talking without any additional footage). As we are hearing Michelle talking about the children with “no shoes and torn and tattered clothing,” the still photographs visually reinforce what the interviewee is saying. B-roll also allows us to edit the interviews without a noticeable cut (“jump-cut”) in the action or picture on screen.

Use background music to add texture

Background music was also selected to set the mood of the video. Royalty-free music can be purchased online from a number of stock music websites for a modest charge. One of my favorites is Triple Scoop Music. There are also a slew of free sites offering rights-cleared music, generally using Creative Commons — see Socialbrite’s Free Music Directory. Continue reading

September 27, 2011

Facebook nuked the ‘Like’ button, now what?

like button
Image by Jan Kowalski on Bigstock

Target audience: Nonprofits, NGOs, cause organizations, social enterprises, brands, social media managers, individuals

John HaydonUp until last week, the only people who could comment on or like content on a Facebook Page were fans of that Page. Now, Facebook has eliminated that requirement, allowing anyone (fans and non-fans) the ability to engage with a Facebook Page.

The result of this change is that the importance of “liking” Pages has essentially been nuked – for both brands and for Facebook users.

Remain calm, here’s what it means

remain calm

Understandably, you are freaking out. But you’re also excited about this change!

You’re freaking out …

Because you’re worried about how to control conversations about your nonprofit. It’s like moderating Twitter without the ability to search. So you’re freaking out.

You’re also freaking out because maybe you were over-focused on accumulating fans in the first place. And were shocked to learn that getting a new fan doesn’t mean you’ve earned a spot in their news feed. So you’re freaking out.

But you’re excited …

Because this means that your Page updates could receive exponential attention. With the hurdle of “liking” a page removed, more people will engage with your Page stories!

You’re excited because for you it was always about engagement. It was never just a numbers game.

So what does this mean for Page administrators?

  • Be interesting. Because Pages are now more open, it’s even more important that you have a content strategy that keeps people interested.
  • Listen. Because conversations about your nonprofit are harder to monitor, it means taking another look at using tools like Social Mentionto keep track of what people are saying.
  • Evolve. Stop posting updates just to boost your Edgerank, and start creating deeper and broader discussions with Facebook users.

The good news

The good news is that the majority of communication and marketing professionals are too lazy and uninterested in having real discussions with their fans. So if you have a sincere commitment to do this, the competition will be few.

What do you think?