November 18, 2011

First impressions of Google+ Pages for nonprofits

Google Plus pages

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A look at the significance of Google+ Pages for brands

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

Debra AskanaseGoogle+ launched Pages last week, a move many of us have been looking forward to since the launch of Google+ itself. Within days, stories of unintentional G+ personal posting, problems sharing admin oversight, and issues with merged profiles were shared on the web. However, during that same time frame, hundreds of nonprofit organizations worldwide created and launched Google+ brand pages.

Google+ Pages are little SEO beacon lights

Two nonprofit motivations are apparent. A primary motivation seems to be related to search engine optimization: Google is the largest search engine by far, and Google Pages will certainly benefit from Google’s search algorithm (see why). I wrote that Google’s+1 button will change search, and so will Google+ Pages. The second motivation seems to be that everyone wants to get in on Google+ Pages early enough to start figuring out the medium. And maybe get a head start.

Does using Google+ Pages makes sense for your nonprofit?

Strategy: Think strategically about what the conversation should be about on Google+, how you might use Google+ to meet your SMART goals, and how it will help your organization further its mission.

In her blog post, Beth Kanter suggests that nonprofits might want to think about strategic ways to use their Google+ Pages, such as for community cultivation or as a focus group. Are you a resource-driven organization? Make your page the “go-to” resource. Are you an advocacy organization? Engage with your G+ Page fans, find out why they are so passionate about your nonprofit or a cause, and move them to action. Are you a volunteer organization? Make this the place where people share volunteer opportunities and experiences. Have fun thinking about Google+ features, your own objectives, and how you can use those to meet your goals! Continue reading

November 17, 2011

How to use microsites to better tell your nonprofit’s story

Voice4Choice microsite
Microsite built for The Center for Reproductive Rights by SankyNet.

Microsites can be a powerful tool for online fundraising and marketing

Target audience: Nonprofits, NGOs, cause organizations, social enterprises, brands, foundations, educators, Web publishers, creative directors.

Guest post by Carla Chadwick
Creative director, SankyNet

carla_chadwickLet’s face it: Nonprofit websites often suffer from multiple personality disorder.

There’s the “program” side that wants to tell you all the amazing ways your programs help save homeless pets, feed the hungry, find cures, protect our children, or empower women. There’s the “events” side that must sell tickets. And don’t forget the “communications” side, whose press releases and news items help raise awareness. While often a complicated web of messaging, it’s a necessary evil when many departments must relay information using a single corporate website.

So as fundraisers, how can we tell the real story – expose the true heart of an organization – when our messaging is only one part of a huge multi-dimensional website? The answer is simple: Create a microsite that allows you to focus on a particular topic, present specific calls to action and, with the help of social media, reach large numbers of people much more quickly than a traditional website.

When done correctly, a microsite can be one of the most powerful storytelling tools available to fundraisers. But don’t take my word for it, here are some examples of wonderful and highly effective microsites.

3 examples of successful nonprofit microsites

Abolish Child Trafficking

ACT microsite

1Covenant House is the largest privately funded agency in the Americas providing food, shelter, crisis care and essential services to homeless and at-risk kids. In an effort to mobilize their existing activists and acquire new ones, Covenant House developed a microsite that digs deep into the issue of domestic child trafficking.

Through the stories of four young victims, the A.C.T. microsite raises awareness of a crisis that affects thousands of American kids each year and issues an urgent call to action. Clear, concise information, bold statistics and striking graphics help further engage the audience and dispel the misconception that human trafficking is a trend confined to foreign soil.

While the content makes a strong case for giving, the main goal of this campaign is to use the broad reach of Facebook, Twitter, email and free infographics to help raise awareness. There is a valuable lesson to be learned in this strategy. Microsites do not have to be used solely for fundraising. Even though microsites cost money to develop, there are times when building a solid warm-prospect list is a legitimate goal that deserves the investment. Continue reading

November 17, 2011

How nonprofits should be using data

 

Why embracing data should be an important part of your leadership strategy

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

Debra AskanaseI recently presented a workshop titled “Data Driven Leadership” at the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network/AGM annual conference along with colleagues Marc Baizman and Steve Backman. The question we addressed in the workshop was: What online data can help a leader make informed decisions around programming, advocacy and fundraising? Marc, Steve and I have expertise in Google Analytics, in understanding customer segmentation and databases, and in identifying social media metrics, respectively. Each of us thought about how the data from our respective areas of expertise could shed light on an answer. The hardest part was choosing what to eliminate from our presentation, as we only had one hour to cover this enormous topic!

Getting started with gathering data

We created a DIY worksheet for the session titled, “Make Your Data Work for You.” It offers sample questions to get you started thinking in the areas of marketing, programs and services, development, and volunteers and advocacy. For every sample question, it asks you to set the priority level, consider what data you’ll need to answer that question, and where you can find the answer. There are a lot of spaces for you to customize the worksheet to your needs. You can read and download the worksheet.

DIY-Data-worksheet

For every leader, thinking about the real organizational questions that the data could offer is the place to begin.

Below are summaries of our segments of the presentation, written individually by each of us. You can also view the SlideShare presentation above for the complete takeaways. Continue reading

November 16, 2011

How to create a Google Plus business page

Target audience: Nonprofits, NGOs, cause organizations, businesses, brands, social media managers, Web publishers, individuals.

John HaydonLast week Google released their business profile page, which includes many of the features that Google Plus profiles have. Creating a Google Plus page for your nonprofit or brand can increase the visibility of your organization.

Once you have a page, you will have a URL for it that you can include on all your other marketing collateral and in any communications your organization sends out. If you make the information on your Google Plus business profile available to everyone on the Web, then your page URL will also appear in Google searches, making it more likely that your organization will be discovered.

The video above walks you through the steps of creating a business page for your nonprofit. If you’re already using Google Plus, you can easily build a business page from within your existing profile. On the left-hand side of your profile page, under your avatar, there is a drop-down menu with the option to “manage your pages.” By selecting that option, you will get started in creating a new business page. Much like Facebook Pages, you can switch between two different identities on Google Plus — your personal profile page and the page for your nonprofit.

The video tutorial covers:

  • How to choose the right category for your business (the category options are much more robust than they are on Facebook, so this is an important aspect of your profile)
  • How to upload and feature multiple profile photos to represent your organization
  • How to select the settings for who sees the information on your business page
  • How to navigate within the Google Plus dashboard
  • How to add visual extras to your business profile
Will you create a Google Plus Page for your nonprofit?
November 15, 2011

How to use LinkedIn pages for your nonprofit

John HaydonNoland Hoshino, who created the LinkInLog from SMO Books, shares three ways you can use the new LinkedIn Company Pages to bring out the human side of your nonprofit. Recently, LinkedIn has made some changes that allow your nonprofit to have more of a presence on LinkedIn. In the video above, Noland talks about the ways nonprofits can optimize their Company Page and bring more attention to their cause.

For starters, if you don’t have a Company Page that represents your nonprofit, you should create one. One of the newer features that you can use your Company Page for is to send out a message to your followers as your nonprofit organization. Previously, you had to send the message out as an individual who worked at the nonprofit. This allows you to have more of an organizational voice on LinkedIn.

linkedinAnother way to strengthen your brand and build awareness for your organization is by encouraging your staff, members and volunteers to add the “Volunteer and Causes” field to their profile. Anyone on LinkedIn who indicates that they are involved with your nonprofit will also appear on your Company Page, which creates a greater sense of community around your cause. And, don’t forget about linking up your other social media accounts with your Company Page. By attaching your Twitter feed to your Page, you are providing your followers and people searching on LinkedIn with more ways of keeping up with your nonprofit.

In addition to these tips, Noland recently published the LinkedIn Log, a pocket-size guide book to help organizations get more out of LinkedIn.

Here are some of the topics you’ll find covered inside the LinkedIn Log:

  • An easy-to-follow guide to identify your LinkedIn goals
  • A simple action plan for building and connecting with your network
  • How to Optimize Your Professional Profile
  • How to Personalize Your Introductions
  • How to Utilize Your Network Connections

How are you using LinkedIn?

Related

Highlights of LinkedIn’s new program for nonprofits (Socialbrite)

Nonprofit strategies for getting more out of LinkedIn (Socialbrite)

8 simple ways to optimize your LinkedIn profile (Socialbrite)

Using Twitter & LinkedIn to promote your event (Socialbrite)

How to use LinkedIn to promote your blog (Socialbrite)

LinkedIn for Nonprofits

November 15, 2011

How socially responsible mobile tech is evolving

Rethinking socially responsible design in a mobile world

kiwanjaLast Monday was an exciting day for us when we picked up the prestigious 2011 Curry Stone Design Prize for FrontlineSMS. The Curry Stone Design Prize was created to champion designers as a force for social change. Now in its fourth year, the Prize recognizes innovators who address critical issues involving clean air, food and water, shelter, health care, energy, education, social justice or peace.

This award follows closely on the heels of the 2011 Pizzigati Prize, an honourable mention at the Buckminster Fuller Challenge and our National Geographic “Explorer” Award last summer. It goes without saying these are exciting times not just for FrontlineSMS but for our growing user base and the rapidly expanding team behind it. When I think back to the roots of our work in the spring of 2005, FrontlineSMS almost comes across as “the little piece of software that dared to dream big.”

You can watch our 5-minute Curry Stone Design Prize video, embedded above.

How socially responsible mobile technology is evolving

With the exception of the Pizzigati Prize – which specifically focuses on open source software for public good – our other recent awards are particularly revealing. Last summer we began something of a trend by being awarded things which weren’t traditionally won by socially focused mobile technology organizations.

Being named a 2010 National Geographic Emerging Explorer is a case in point, and last summer while I was in Washington DC collecting the prize I wrote down my thoughts in a blog post:

On reflection, it was a very bold move by the Selection Committee. Almost all of the other Emerging Explorers are either climbing, diving, scaling, digging or building, and what I do hardly fits into your typical adventurer job description. But in a way it does. As mobile technology continues its global advance, figuring out ways of applying the technology in socially and environmentally meaningful ways is a kind of 21st century exploring. The public reaction to the Award has been incredible, and once people see the connection they tend to think differently about tools like FrontlineSMS and their place in the world.

Continue reading