September 26, 2011

8 nonprofit Twitter superstars

Twitter superstar
Photo by Karola Riegler Photography on Flickr

Experiment with the approaches below to see which works best for you

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

This is the first in our new series of articles on how nonprofits can get the most out of Twitter.

By Kyria Abrahams
Socialbrite staff

kyria-abrahamsWe’re kicking off our new series on how nonprofits can make the best use of Twitter with a roundup of organizations that showcase a strong voice in the community. Below are eight popular nonprofits on Twitter today as well as an overview of their varying styles and strategies.

These organizations are successfully using the following approaches. They:

twitter-essentials

  • Support other nonprofit Twitter users with Follow Friday.
  • Retweet others.
  • Quote well-known and well-respected voices.
  • Write concise “teaser-style” tweets that link back to their main website.
  • Make ample use of hashtags or create their own.
  • Ask questions that engage their followers.
  • Use human interest stories.
  • Respond to tweets that mention their organization.

charity: water

1With 1.3 million followers, charity: water is the first Twitter result when using the search term “nonprofit.” The organization’s focus is clear and so are their tweets, many of which focus on celebrating individual supporters, small donors and partners. Tweets feature a compelling teaser, which links back to their website.

Sample Tweet from Charity Water

The Gates Foundation

2The Gates Foundation makes ample use of hashtags and actively participates in “Follow Friday” (hashtag: #FF), a practice which builds a sense of community around their cause and can be seen as a type of online partnering. They utilize a “Photo of the Day” that links back to their site, a tactic which is also used by Charity Water. If anyone has ideas on properly using Twitter, it’s probably Bill Gates.

Sample Tweet for Gates Foundation

The Humane Society

3The Humane Society originated the popular hashtag #FelineFriday, which encourages people to post photos of their cats. The tag is so popular that I sent them a tweet asking if they had come up with the concept. They replied to me within two days, which means that they’ve also got a crack team checking on all their @replies — another big plus!

 Sample Tweet from Humane Society Continue reading

September 26, 2011

7 ways Facebook’s Subscribe button can be a nonprofit game-changer

Facebook subscribers

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

John HaydonUp until now there has been no way for the leaders within your nonprofit to join discussions about your cause on Facebook, unless they were willing to compromise their privacy. But now with the Subscribe Button, Facebook users can opt in to their public updates without being a friend.

Multiply the No. of organizational touch points on Facebook

1The Facebook experience is essentially a personal one. If given the choice, your fans would rather connect with the people they already know and respect in your organization.

One way to give them what they want is to select a handful of these respected employees to be spokespeople for your cause on Facebook. Once you’ve selected these folks, you can add them as featured admins on your Facebook Page displayed in the left-hand sidebar (see below).
admin panel

You could also create a custom tab called “Our People” with a two-sentence bio for each spokesperson and a link to their Profile.

Enhance relationships with your Facebook fans

2One way to think about the strategy mentioned in #2 is to remember that your brand is ultimately your people. They’re your brand at events, and on the telephone. So why wouldn’t they be your brand on Facebook?

By putting multiple spokespeople on the Facebook front lines, you’re giving your supporters more human ways to connect with your organization. Quantity and quality.

Segment communication channels

3It gets really interesting if you have leaders within specific focus areas. For example, UNICEF might promote spokespeople based on the countries they serve. This way, a donor who consistently supports the organization in Ghana can subscribe to updates from that UNICEF spokesperson. Continue reading

September 23, 2011

Facebook changes will help you change the world

texas

 

Causes, with 140 million+ users, takes it to the next level

Guest post by Joe Green
Co-founder, Causes

On Thursday Facebook announced two of the biggest product changes in its history. First, Facebook is making it easier for people to share the action they take on Causes and get their friends involved in real time. Second, Facebook is launching Timeline, which will allow people to curate all of the information on their profiles to better share the moments in life that matter most.

Because taking action and then sharing it with friends is the core of what people do on Causes, we think that these changes will have profoundly positive effects on people trying to help the world by using Causes.

Causes was founded with the mission of empowering anyone to change the world. Our model is based upon the belief that everyone has the power to have an outsize impact on the world by banding together with other like-minded individuals, taking direct action, and inspiring their friends and their friends’ friends to join in. In short, we provide the grassroots with organizing tools for creating large-scale collective action.

We could not have launched Causes without Facebook Platform, providing real identity and real friends. Facebook Platform was created so that experiences that are inherently social in our offline lives could be brought online as an authentic expression of who we are; Facebook did this best in revolutionizing photo sharing.

Altruism is one of the most fundamentally social impulses, and doing things for others without expecting anything in return is core to what makes us human. This is why from the day Facebook Platform launched in 2007, Causes has been honored to be one of the most popular applications, with over 140 million users.

Timeline + new Causes profiles = a townsquare of giving

One of the most popular features we included in the launch of Causes was the ability for Facebook users to feature their favorite Causes on their profile. With Facebook updates over time, those featured boxes were removed, leading to the greatest user uproar in our history. Our users’ reactions demonstrated that people feel that their causes represent an integral part of their identity, and that we need to make it as easy as possible for them to express that.

Since then, we have worked with Facebook to once again empower our users to make their causes a core part of their Facebook profile, which is now an even more expressive and powerful tool called “Timeline.” Your timeline will include “reports” that roll up all of a user’s activity through a given application in a comprehensive report of what he or she has done. This change, combined with our newly re-launched Causes profiles, provides people a central public place to organize and promote all of their giving.

Until now, Facebook profiles have been dominated by recent information, such as a friend’s posts on your wall, or relatively static information, such as your hometown), but Timeline now offers an important middle ground for people to feature and curate lower frequency, but highly meaningful information that changes and builds over time.

My mom, for example, can join the Arts in Education cause, which supports her favorite nonprofit, choose it to be her featured cause, recruit friends to join it, and donate. Currently, all of these actions can be published to my mom’s friends in real time, but there is not a good way for her to showcase this cause and the work she has done to support it on her profile, which ideally should be the most complete representation of who she is. The reality is that my mom’s involvement with the Arts cause may be less frequent than playing a game on Facebook, but she may care more deeply about the Arts organization and its mission.

Frequency and recency don’t necessarily correlate with quality or “coreness” with respect to her personal identity. Facebook’s willingness to tackle this issue and give people the power to curate their timeline to feature depth of attachment and not pure frequency of engagement is exciting for developers like Causes that power deeply meaningful social experiences.

Facebook turns your profile into a life scrapbook

From the day Facebook launched in 2004, the profile was the most critical page on the site. People used to navigate the site by surfing friends’ profiles, and used their own profile as their navigational starting point. The profile mostly contained a list of interests, actively curated by the profile owner. Only with the addition of the news feed in 2006 did attention shift away from profile and toward recent activity. This shift certainly allowed Facebook to capture what someone was doing in the moment, but that information did not represent the whole of the person.

Now Facebook is making your profile into a more holistic timeline, or scrapbook, of your life. This will enable a new class of applications focused on helping people express themselves to emerge and revolutionize existing industries and experiences. We are grateful at Causes to be in a position to lead this sea change in the way people give and get involved in social change and will continue build a platform that empowers anyone to make a difference by taking action with their friends.

Look out for new ways to integrate Causes into your online identity and check out this piece in TechCrunch for a first look at the Facebook Timeline.

Joe Green is co-founder and president of Causes.
September 23, 2011

How to activate Facebook’s new subscribe button

subscribed-not friends

 

And what it means for your nonprofit

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

John HaydonWith all of the amazing features that Facebook Pages have, the one thing that they’ve always lacked is the ability to create that personal connection that Facebook users like.

This all changed last week when Facebook released a new feature on Facebook profiles called the Subscribe button. This feature allows people in your organization to publish content on their personal Profiles that anyone can subscribe to without compromising any privacy.

What this ultimately means for your organization is creating a deeper, more personal experience around your nonprofit on Facebook. (Ted shares a few examples on the frogloop blog.)

In the image at top, you can see that I have subscribed to Jesse’s public updates, but I am not his friend.

How will this affect my current friends on Facebook?

This won’t change how you and your friends connect on Facebook. They’ve always been able to see your updates (and vice versa), so you won’t have to “subscribe” to each other (see image below).

friends-automatic subscribe

You can choose to filter what types of updates you see from both friends and non-friends you’ve subscribed to (important events, photos, comments and likes, status updates). The filtering options include life events, status updates, photos and more (see below). Continue reading

September 22, 2011

How to make cause marketing video that doesn’t suck

 

10 tips you need to know before picking up that camera

Target audience: Nonprofits, NGOs, cause organizations, social enterprises, brands, educators, video producers, Web publishers, storytellers, individuals.

Guest post by Steve Stockman
Writer/director/producer, Custom Productions, Inc.

Stockman headshot Videos are made out of passion you have for your cause — the people you are helping, the changes that need to be made, the story that has to be told. They’re a powerful cause marketing tool. But no matter how good your cause is, one truth stands between you and successful communication: Nobody watches bad video. A poorly done video — one that bores people to the point of clicking away — gives you no chance to inspire, to inform, ask for donations, or share your passion. And if nobody watches, you might as well not bother.

The good news: stories about people, struggle, challenges and passion are entertaining — as long as you know how not to push your audience away with a lame video. Turns out that with a little bit of awareness, planning and practice, you too can make video that doesn’t suck.

Here are 10 things you need to know:

1The audience comes first. What kind of experience is your video providing for the audience? If it isn’t going to take them on a fun or emotional ride, maybe your project should be a memo instead. Give the audience a good time and they’ll love you. And vice versa.

2Video shines at communicating motion and emotion. Facts and figures? Not so much. It’s a human thing — as animals, we’re wired to pay attention to things that move (Food! Danger!) and the communications of the tribe (Is he going to hit me? Does she want sex?). If what you have to say is best said with charts and lists, it may just not be good video material.

3A good video can be summed up in a single sentence. That sentence should consist of a noun, a verb and a result. “Our executive director” is not a video. “Our executive director confronts congresspeople on the street to ask about Global Warming” is.

4Think in shots. You won’t see a lot of long, rambling shots on TV. That’s because a video needs detail and action to hold our attention. Don’t run your camera non-stop. Instead, find something interesting. Aim. Shoot. And, when it stops being interesting, stop shooting and point somewhere else. Your short shots will add up to a shorter, more professional video. Continue reading

September 21, 2011

10 tips for a successful fundraising event

 

How to wow your supporters at your next event gathering

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, NGOs, event organizers, fundraising professionals, social media managers.

This is Part 8 and the final installment of our series on social fundraising. See below for other articles in this series.

Guest post by George Wooden
Founder & CEO, BW Unlimited

With so many fundraising campaigns taking place online these days, nonprofits have fewer chances to interact with their supporters face to face. And while fundraising events may no longer be the most important component of your organization’s fundraising strategy, it’s still a good idea to host an event for your supporters and take the opportunity to interact with your community.

Here are 10 key pointers to help you make your next fundraising event an extraordinary one.

1Pick the right venue. Your guests should be treated to a wonderful venue with an expert staff. As your guests enter your event, even in the parking lot, the appearance of the venue is vitally important to their overall experience.

2Plan as if you are a guest. When planning your event, examine it during the planning stages from the perspective of a guest and not as the organizer. This includes meal selection, items for your Live and Silent action (if applicable), as well as presentation length.

3Plan to plan.  Well before your event, meet with your event committee and discuss all aspects of the event. Go over your event time line over and over so that everyone is familiar with the flow. Ensure that everyone understands their duties and what they are responsible for.

4Meal should match the ticket price.  When reviewing meal choices for your guests, do not pick what you like or what is economical, pick the meal that your guests will truly enjoy. A fantastic meal is the cornerstone of a great event; a bad meal will ruin their experience. Continue reading