John Haydon’s Articles at Socialbrite Social media for nonprofits Mon, 30 Jul 2018 21:35:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 This One Simple Habit Will Make You More Productive Thu, 15 Mar 2018 13:23:55 +0000 Continue reading ]]>


You have big goals you’d like to achieve.

But many of these goals have been on your list for the past few years.

If you’re so smart, why can’t you accomplish your goals?

You’re smart, passionate and hard-working. But some days, you realize you did nothing towards your important goals.

What does it really take to achieve your goals? If it’s not brains, passion, and hard work, what is it?

An 18-Minute habit for getting important things done


Check out “18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done” by Peter Bregman.

It’s a pragmatic and entertaining book that can help you focus on what’s truly important, by practicing a simple 18-minute habit:

  • STEP 1 (5 Minutes) Set Plan for Day. Before turning on your computer, write down a short list of things you will do towards your big goals. Schedule these into your calendar, with the most important items in the morning.
  • STEP 2 (1 minute every hour) Refocus. Set an alarm to ring every hour. When it rings, ask yourself if you spent the last hour working on the items you wrote down in step 1. Were you productive? If not, recommit to winning during the next hour. Repeat this exercise every hour until the end of the work day. (disclosure, I’ve found that an alrm going off every hour creates more stress than it’s worth, so I checkin and refocus every 3 hours).
  • STEP 3 (5 minutes) Review. And the end the day, take time to review how you did. How did you find your focus? Where did you get distracted? How can you be more productive tomorrow?

Imagine feeling more happy and productive!


Rituals like the one described above make big changes in our lives because they change how we go about changing.

If you practice this 18-minute habit, I mean actually do it, you’ll get more done AND feel happier and more productive at the end of each day.


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Facebook News Feed Overhaul – How Your Nonprofit Can Prepare Wed, 31 Jan 2018 14:03:53 +0000 Continue reading ]]>


Well, we all knew this day was coming.

Facebook has finally decided to pull the plug on almost all types of public content from pages.


Because Mark Zuckerberg wants to make a better Facebook. One with less clickbaitengagement bait, and hopefully less fake news.

The News Feed’s goal is shifting from “helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions.”

How is the News Feed changing?

To inspire meaningful conversations, the News Feed ranking will now prioritize:

  1. Posts from friends that spark back-and-forth conversations.
  2. Videos and news articles that spark back-and-forth discussion.
  3. Posts from friends and family over posts from Pages.
  4. Posts with longer comments over posts with shorter comments.

Facebook will continue to reduce click bait, engagement bait, and other types of passive content.

Less Buzzfeed quizzes and more posts from mom needing help with Facebook.

Why did Facebook make this change?

First of all, this change shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. Pages that don’t engage have had diminished exposure in the News Feed for years.

And I’ve been writing about it for years:

The bottom line is that without happy users, Facebook can’t sell ads. If your posts don’t inspire, Facebook won’t put them in the NewsFeed.

What does this Facebook News Feed change mean for your nonprofit?

First of all, don’t freak out.

Nonprofits have a clear advantage over consumer brands and businesses. People talk more about the causes they care about more than the clothes they wear.

All these changes to the News Feed require a shift in your nonprofit’s Facebook strategy.

Here are just a few recommendations:

  1. Stop posting passive content: Stop posting content that doesn’t engage. For example, links to your latest blog post, event announcements, or pics from your board retreat (yawn).
  2. Inspire meaningful conversations: Posts that ask followers to share their advice and recommendations will naturally spark more meaningful conversations than that link to your latest blog post. Keep in mind, your followers are waiting to share their own stories, their journey. For example, diabetes organizations should publish more posts that encourage followers to share their own diabetes experiences and tips.
  3. Focus more on Facebook Groups: Be helpful, put the members first, and create meaningful conversations between members. And if your Group is public, make sure it’s connected to your Facebook Page.
  4. Put your Page first: Make sure supporters who want to see your posts see them first in the News Feed. Especially core supporters who might worry about missing posts from your Page.
  5. Mix email and Facebook: If you have an email newsletter, you’re ahead of the game. On a regular basic, feature your most engaging post from the previous week. Invite subscribers to join the conversation by commenting on that specific post. Also a great way to grow your fanbase.
  6. Use Facebook Live to generate massive engagement: Facebook Live video is the #1 type of content on Facebook, getting 6X more reach and engagement than videos and pictures. During your live broadcast, get people commenting by asking for their tips, stories, advice. Read this post for more on getting started with Facebook Live.
  7. Invest in Facebook ads: If you don’t have a Facebook ad budget, you’re really not serious about Facebook. Start investing more in Facebook ads to give your most conversational posts more exposure.
  8. Create content designed to make your fans look awesome: People share content on Facebook, whether it’s a video from your Page or a blog post from your website, because they want to appear entertaining, informed, connected, etc. to their friends. Creating content that helps your supporters achieve this goal leads to more engagement and organic reach.
  9. Share news your people are already talking about. Create meaningful conversations around trending news your community might already be talking about. It’s much easier to join a conversation than it is to start one.

Facebook will always put friends and family first when it comes to the News Feed. The more you adopt the same mindset with your strategy, the more successful you’ll be with Facebook.


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How to Use Facebook Live to Raise Money For Your Nonprofit Tue, 02 Jan 2018 21:10:46 +0000 Continue reading ]]>


You already know that Facebook Live lets any nonprofit live-stream fundraising events, breaking news, impact stories, and more, directly from their Facebook Page.

But did you know that Facebook lets nonprofits add a donate button to their Facebook Live broadcast?

How to Use Facebook Live to Raise Money

If your nonprofit is based in the US, and your Facebook Page is verified, you can fundraise within a Facebook Live broadcast.

For example, in this screenshot from Facebook, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals adds the donate button feature to their Live broadcast.

Two things to remember about fundraising with Facebook Live:

  1. Your Page needs to be verified. This feature is still gradually rolling out on iOS to admins of verified Pages in the US.
  2. Your nonprofit must be approved to accept Facebook payments. You can apply here.

To add the donate button, click on more options at the bottom of the screen (“…”). Next, select your nonprofit from the options (as shown above).

Viewers can donate to your cause during the live broadcast, and supporters who missed the live broadcast can always donate from the broadcast recording.

But is just having a donate button enough? Of course not! Fundraising is about building trust, sharing stories of impact, and growing a community of supporters.

Here are a few pointers as you fold Facebook Live into your fundraising plans.

Use Facebook Live to tell donors about the impact THEY made

More often than not, donors hear about impact second-hand (through your newsletter, website, etc). Rarely do they get to witness, first-hand, the impact of their support.

Facebook Live is a super effective way to bring the impact to your supporters.

For example, Best Friends Animal Society introduces their cutest residents to supporters from all over the world. Without Facebook live (and other live broadcasting tools), supporters would have to travel all the way to Utah to witness, first-hand, BFAS’s impact.

How to Use Facebook Live to Raise Money For Your Nonprofit

Make donors the heroes

If you want your donors to give over and over again, you need to tell them the truth: that for your nonprofit, they are the true heroes.

Feature donor stories in your broadcast. Tell your viewers the impact that one donor made. Recognize and praise this donor sincerely. Viewers will no doubt want the same praise and recognition.

For example, Stand Up To Cancer broadcasted news about a high school raised money during a “Sports Day For Charity”.

How to Use Facebook Live to Raise Money For Your Nonprofit

Don’t ask people to “Donate”

This one sounds a bit unintuitive, but let’s face it, asking people to donate money to your nonprofit is a buzzkill.

The reason why is that the word “donate” doesn’t place the donor in the role of the hero.

Instead, ask viewers to make an impact that’s meaningful. For example, ask them to “Give clean water”, “Feed hungry children”, “Stop human trafficking, etc. Each of these asks is associated with a problem that donors ultimately want to solve.

Tell donors when you’re going live

Facebook live isn’t that exciting if no one shows up. Make sure your core supporters show up when you go live.

  • Post an update on your page the week before and the day before
  • Send an email to your email list
  • Share your broadcast date / time in your email newsletter
  • Tweet about it immediately before you go live
  • Facebook Live Tip #6: Make an outline for your broadcast

Call out commenters by name

The cool thing about Facebook live is that you can see comments as they’re posted real time during your broadcast. Engaging commenters real-time increases engagement even further, creating massive reach for your broadcast.

  • Call out commenters by name
  • Read their comment
  • Reply to their comment
  • Say thank you

Ask for action

As your broadcast reaches more users, your viewer count will increase. This is your captured audience. Seize the moment to ask for action!

  • Ask participants to follow
  • Ask supporters to support an issue
  • Ask supporters to sign a petition

Share the recording with your supporters

You’ve put a lot of time and effort into your first Facebook a live broadcast. Congratulations! Make sure this investment goes further by sharing it with your supporters.

  • Send a follow-up email to subscribers
  • Link to your recent broadcast in your newsletter
  • Reshare the broadcast on other social channels
  • Embed the broadcast in a blog post

Remember, if you have added the donate button to your broadcast, it will exist in the broadcast recording. As you continue to broadcast stories of impact, you’ll accumulate a whole series of fundraising videos on your Facebook Page.

Repurpose the recording

When you finish a live broadcast, save it to your mobile device. Then open the file in your favorite video editing software and create several videos to be used on other social networks.

Select key moments that are less than 60 seconds but still convey a powerful story. These short videos can be used on Instagram (which requires videos to be less than 1 minute), YouTube, Facebook, etc.

Get inspired by these creative ideas for Facebook Live

If you’re not sure what topics or events you should broadcast, check out this list of 35 Facebook Live ideas for museums, animal shelters, youth organizations, and more.


5 Simple Tips for a More Impressive Twitter Profile Wed, 23 Aug 2017 13:17:47 +0000 Continue reading ]]>


Is your Twitter profile follow-worthy? Or are you unknowingly turning people away, leaving them confused or unimpressed?

Your Twitter profile very is different from many other social profiles. On Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social networks, you have lots of space for your bio, links, and other elements.

Not so with Twitter:

  • Limited space: Twitter allows for one link, a small profile picture, and a very short bio. In this sense, your Twitter profile is like a business card. You have limited space to make a solid first impression.
  • Limited time: You also have just a few seconds to convince people to follow you (or not). Influencers with a large Twitter following are too busy to spend time deciding whether they should follow you or not.

With all this working against you, here are 5 simple ways you can spruce up your Twitter profile to make a better first impression:

1. Update your Twitter profile picture

It’s best to use a picture of something people can connect with. For example a person, animal, or a place.

An immediately recognizable logo is also good, for example Creative Commons:

Creative Commons Twitter Profile

Also, because profile pictures are so small, design one that uses contrast (colors and shapes) to stand out in Twitter feeds.

2. Update your Twitter profile bio

Most Twitter users regularly search Twitter using specific keywords. Search results include the top profiles that match that search, followed by top tweets.

Make sure your bio includes the most relevant keywords. For example, FightCRC ranks number one when users search for “colorectal cancer cure”:

Fight CRC Twitter Profile

3. Update your Twitter profile link

Make sure the link drives traffic to a web page on your site, and not just the homepage. For example, an upcoming event, or a welcome page that includes your top tweets.

My Twitter profile link sends visitors to an email subscription page.

4. Update your Twitter profile header

Use your Twitter header to tell a story about your cause, or highlight your current campaign. For example, HRC highlights the current TransBan

HRC Twitter Profile

You can create a beautiful Twitter header with

5. Pin your best Tweet to your Twitter profile

Make your profile even more attractive by pinning your best Tweets to the top to your profile. For example, this tweet from Vermont Public Radio with a large number comments:

Vermont Public Radio Twitter Profile

Make sure that you always review your pinned tweet, replacing it with one that’s more engaging, current, and relevant.

BONUS: Verify your Twitter profile

There may be other Twitter users talking about your cause that aren’t nonprofits, or aren’t even who they say they are.

But the blue checkmark (see below) on Twitter lets people know that your account is the real deal. It’s a stamp of instant credibility.

To verify your account, start here.

What next?

Check out these Twitter strategies that will never go out of style, and these pro tips from 25 experts.

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How to Manage Social Media During Summer Vacation Tue, 18 Jul 2017 16:58:58 +0000 Continue reading ]]>



If you’re like the participants in a recent Harvard study, you work during vacation. You may even skip vacation like the 35% who work over 50 hours a week.

The thing is, we’re not machines. We’re animals. And like most animals, we need to rest, unplug, and reset.

 But it might not be easy for you to take time off:

  • You might be the only person who can fix things that break while you’re away.
  • You might feel that working extra hours helps advance your career.
  • Or maybe you’re scared to lose your job.

Whatever the reason, here are a few tips to manage social media even if your vacation is short.

1. Supplement your content queue with recycled content

Don’t kill yourself creating original content to be published during your vacation. Instead, recycle some of your top-performing posts.Reposting content that received lots of engagement in the past is an easy way to keep fans engaged while you’re on vacation.If you’re not sure how to do this, check out “7 Steps to Recycling Your Best Facebook Content” to supplement your Facebook queue. The same strategy works for any social network.

2. Supplement your content queue with curated content

Content curation is another powerful time-saving strategy to manage social media during your vacation.Rather than creating every piece of content, you supplement your original content with curated content that still resonates with your community.If you’re not sure how to do this, check out “Content Curation: 3 Sources You’re Probably Overlooking” to supplement your content queue.

3. Take short but smart vacations

Taking even just a couple of days off can improve health and well-being, according to the Harvard study. And even 2-3 days off can feel like weeks off if you follow these vacation hacks:

  • Do something you’ve never done before: This will actually make your vacation seem longer.
  • Get up early: If you have to work during your vacation, knock off critical tasks early in the morning so you can enjoy the rest of the day unfettered with work distractions.
  • End your short vacation with a bang: You’ll remember the last thing you more than the things you did at the start of your vacation.
  • Make it last: Take lots of pictures and share your positive memories with friends. The memories of your vacation will be shaped by how you retell the experience.

4. Stay connected but set expectations

Ideally, you should completely unplug while you’re on vacation.But if you’re a manager, a director, or are simply a control freak, you probably can’t help but stay connected. If that’s the case, make sure you set expectations to better manage social media:

  • Set your email vacation reply: Clearly and briefly state in your vacation reply how long you’ll be gone, when you’ll return, and who they can contact while you’re away.
  • Make sure there’s Wi-Fi at your destination: This seems obvious, but some people I know (me) have gone on vacation without WIFI, only to receipt a wireless bill the size of a mortgage payment.
  • Set expectations with coworkers and family: Make sure co-workers understand your limits during vacation. And don’t forget to tell your family that you may have to take a work call during your time away.

5. Give this book as a gift to yourself

The Happy Healthy Nonprofit, by Beth Kanter and Aliza Sherman, addressed workplace health issues like no other book today.Here’s a Facebook live interview we did covering these topics:

  • What does technology wellness mean?
  • Why does happiness and health matter to nonprofits?
  • What are the best tips for practicing tech wellness?

Beth and Aliza are both huge advocates of unplugging to promote happiness, health, and increased productivity.

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4 Creative Summertime Fundraising Projects Mon, 15 May 2017 14:59:37 +0000 Continue reading ]]>



In June, everyone shifts into summertime mode. The kids are done with school. Summer camps and vacations are anticipated.And for many nonprofit marketers, work slows down or takes on a different pace.

How can you make the most of your summertime mode?Here are a few creative summertime fundraising projects to get you inspired:


Tip 1: Get Into The Summertime Spirit

Where is your audience during the summertime? How do conversations change during the summertime? For example, are your supporters sharing more vacation pictures?

Summertime Fundraising Projects - YSummerMatters

Consider these summertime themed campaigns:

  • Flip flop drive for the homeless
  • Pack a Summer picnic for underprivileged youth
  • YMCA Example: Send a kid to camp #YSummerMatters (shown above)
  • Take advantage of summertime selfies on Facebook and Instagram

Tip 2: Engage Core Supporters

Attention spans are limited in the summer. Focus on your core – your truly committed supporters. How can you make them feel valued and special?

Focus on those who give frequently:

  • Convert one-time donors to sustainers
  • Up the ante with current sustainers
  • Focus on donor appreciation

Tip 3: Pick a Summertime Cleanup Project

If you’re like most nonprofits, you’re busy. Sometimes important projects get put on hold. What’s the best way to finally focus on the things you’ve been putting off?

  • Clean up your data. For example, that data de-duping project you’ve been putting off.
  • Clean up your metrics. For example, set up Google Analytics for better reporting (goals are a must).
  • Tighten up your website. Take a look at your conversion pages and see how you can convert more supporters.

Tip 4: Get a Jump on September

Summer will be over in the blink of an eye. Once September rolls around, your immediate focus will be year-end fundraising! Use any downtime during the summer to prepare for year-end.

Plan your content calendar for September – December

  • Gather stories and write content
  • Create a content surplus
  • Schedule and queue up content

Bonus: Coffee

Attend my weekly Hump Day Coffee Breaks (sign up here for weekly invites). Coffee not included.

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How to Handle Haters on Social Media Without Getting Flustered Fri, 17 Mar 2017 13:56:47 +0000 Continue reading ]]>



Haters Back Off is one of my favorite recent Netflix shows. YouTube star Maranda Sings essentially plays herself – a terribly flawed individual hell-bent on fame and fortune, no matter what cost, in the age of YouTube. Two thumbs up.


On her way to becoming famous, Miranda has to deal with haters – online, in her family, and in her mind.

Haters gonna hate

So what is a hater? From the urban dictionary:

A person that simply cannot be happy for another person’s success. So rather than be happy they make a point of exposing a flaw in that person.

Hater example:

  • Susan: You know, Kevin from accounting is doing very well. He just bought a house in a very nice part of town.
  • Jane (hater): If he is doing so well why does he drive that ’89 Taurus?

How to Handle Haters on Social Media

As a nonprofit marketer, you are tasked with growing a community of dedicated supporters, while also creating a safe and respectful place for discussion.

As a community manager, you must have a plan for haters.

Here is my 5-phase plan for haters:

1. Have rules for haters

Set expectations for the community by stating clearly what’s ok and what’s not ok.

Your rules (aka social media commenting policy) should have three components:

  1. Set the tone – Encourage lively discussion and invite a variety of differing opinions.
  2. Set expectations – Clearly define the line that must not be crossed.
  3. Consequences – People who repeatedly cross the line will be banned from posting comments.

Here’s an excellent example of a social media comment policy from the CDC:

How to Handle Haters

A clear social media comment policy sets ground rules for your community while also helping moderators know when to delete comments or ban users.

2. Block hater comments

Protect your community from sticks and stones that haters like to throw.

Black, Jewish, LGBT, disability communities, etc. are all-too familiar with hate speech. Set up filters to block hateful or hurtful language from appearing in the first place!

For example, Facebook allows you to block hateful language in your Page settings:

How to Handle Haters

If one of these words is used in a post or comment, it will not appear on your Page.

3. Ban haters

Many haters are repeat offenders. They feel better about themselves by making your nonprofit the bad guy.

Your rules should include a clear policy for banning repeat offenders.

The Humane Society clearly states theirs on Facebook:

“If you repeatedly violate this policy, you will be removed from our page.”Click here to read the rest.
  • You can block haters on Twitter by selecting “Block” in the user actions on their profile.
  • You can ban haters on Facebook by selecting “Ban” after hiding their comment.

4. Let your community deal with haters

Trust your community to moderate themselves. They will often deal with haters in strict but respectful ways.

Their responses to haters can range from simply correcting a fact, or taking part in a lively discussion. When this happens, let your community take the lead.

How to Handle Haters

Your community is far more effective at changing minds (or at least defending your nonprofit) than you are.

5. Turn haters into lovers

Or at least likers.

Someone respectfully offering constructive criticism is not a hater. In many cases, they care as much as you do about the cause, but they have a different opinion.

If you shut down respectful criticism instead of engaging in constructive dialogue, you could turn those people into haters.Instead, use your wisdom to:

Instead, use your wisdom to:

  1. Take a breath and come from a positive position.
  2. Actively listen to those who respectfully disagree.
  3. Express appreciation for their comment.
  4. Seek to understand their position.
  5. Quickly take action to correct or resolve the issue, if needed.

Often, feeling heard is enough to win them over, even though they still might disagree with you.

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Top 5 Nonprofit Conferences for 2017 Thu, 19 Jan 2017 16:19:17 +0000 Continue reading ]]>


By John Haydon

john-haydonThere are so many amazing nonprofit conferences to choose from, many more than even just 3 years ago! So trying to figure out which conferences to attend can be daunting.

Here are 5 of the most notable, can’t-miss nonprofit conferences in 2017 (in no particular order).

1. Cause Camp

Cause Camp is a nonprofit conference by Nonprofit Hub, and I’ll be speaking there for the first time this year!

CauseCamp is March 27-28 in Lincoln, Nebraska, at Nebraska Innovation Campus.

Cause Camp will leave you inspired, enlightened and give you the action items you need to make a change in your organization immediately.

Topics covered:

  • Nonprofit Marketing
  • Storytelling
  • Fresh fundraising perspectives
  • Tangible problem-solving

Check us out on Facebook and Twitter or join the conversation with #CauseCamp17

2. Nonprofit Storytelling Conference

The Nonprofit Storytelling Conference will be in San Diego from November 9 11. This will be a game-changer for nonprofits seeking to tell better stories and raise more money.

In just two weeks, Kelly was able to increase the number first-time donors by 4X. Plus, she reactivated 40 lapsed donors and got 14 new monthly donors. Pretty solid results!

Details for the conference will soon be available on their website.

3. International Fundraising Conference

AFP International is hosting their 54th International Fundraising Conference April 30-May 2 in San Francisco, California. The content is all centered around changing the rules of the philanthropic and fundraising space.

There will be over 100 sessions over the 5-day conference covering:

  • Leadership
  • Relationship building
  • Securing the gift
  • Innovation

Check them out on Facebook and Twitter.



MCON is a fresh take at changing the world. It’s not a nonprofit conference per say, it’s a social change conference. The conference is for people who care about social change and want to turn their interest into action.

They’ve featured speakers including Matt Bellassai, Minka Kelly, and several higher-ups of benefit corporations – not to mention Cause Camp 2017 speaker, Derrick Feldmann.

Stay up to date with their Twitter and Facebook.

5. Nonprofit Technology Conference

The 2017 Nonprofit Technology Conference will be held from March 23rd through the 25th in Washington DC. Over these three days, there will be over hundreds of sessions and networking events as well as an exhibit hall containing the most up-to-date nonprofit products and services.

Sadly, I will not be able to attend this year because of a speaking conflict.

Stay up to date with the NTEN Twitter and Facebook.

Get out there and learn!

Getting out of the office and changing up your routines prevents burnout and contributes to your professional growth. Keep these conferences on your radar, and hopefully, I will see you in Lincoln for Cause Camp 2017!


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5 Creative Ways to Engage Supporters with Instagram Stories Tue, 11 Oct 2016 15:13:00 +0000 Continue reading ]]>


john-haydonInstagram Stories create an extra layer of visibility for your nonprofit – whenever you want that visibility.

Like Snapchat, Instagram Stories last for 24 hours. And like Snapchat, stories are told in a series of pictures and videos.

Users who’ve published Instagram Stories within the past 24 hours appear at the very top of the home screen:


What are the benefits of Instagram Stories from a communications perspective?

Let’s dig in!

Get on the marquee with Instagram Stories

When you publish a story your profile picture appears at the top of the home screen (as shown above), giving your brand extra visibility. Once your stories expire (after 24 hours), your brand will no longer appear in the marquee.

In other words, the simple act of publishing Instagram Stories creates more visibility your brand!

Content with an expiration date:

Before Snapchat, social media content was assumed to be permanent on the Internet. In fact, Facebook updates, Twitter tweets, and Instagram posts all have a unique URL called a permalink – a permanent link to a piece of content. No expiration date.

But with Instagram and Snapchat stories, social conversations can have a shelf-life. An expiration date helps you:

  • Create a sense of urgency: If your people are going to act, they have to act now. The story won’t be there tomorrow.
  • Get and keep their attention: The stories only last seconds, pay attention, or you will miss out.
  • Inject more “human” into your brand: People seek to engage with people, not brands. Brands are fiction, people are everything. Instagram Stories allow you show supporters the people behind your brand – immediate, transparent, and spontaneous.

5 Creative Examples of Nonprofit Instagram Stories

A few nonprofits have started using Instagram Stories in very creative ways. Here are five examples.

1. Do Something

Do Something engages users in a creative and fun mini-campaigns to grow and engage their mobile supporter base.


2. Stand Up To Cancer

Stand Up To Cancer invited Instagram followers to a live Q&A with Sharon Jones to discuss her new documentary.



PETA invited Instagram followers behind the scenes to film a new PSA about the dangers of leaving your dog in a hot car.


4. Pencils of Promise

Pencils of Promise invites followers to tap through a series of pictures that promote#BacktoSchool. Fun, interactive, and creative!


5. Monterey Bay Aquarium

Monterey Bay Aquarium entertains with cool facts and bad puns… Hovercraft!


What other creative Instagram Stories have you seen?

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3 Ways to Make a Lasting Impression with First-Time Donors Mon, 01 Aug 2016 15:24:19 +0000 Continue reading ]]>


john-haydonAccording to the Fundraising Effectiveness Project, most first-time donors never come back to make a second gift.

Nonprofits as a whole are losing 57% of their donors every single year. And 71% of first-time donors never return!1

Any fundraising professional will tell you that retaining existing donors costs less than acquiring new donors. The quickest and surest way to a positive net revenue is to focus on retention.

What makes donors stick around for the long haul?

The factors that influence donor retention have been well researched and documented. In his amazing book on Retention Fundraising, Roger Craver shares 7 reasons donors keep giving after that first gift:

  1. Donor perceives your organization to be effective in trying to achieve its mission.
  2. Donor knows what to expect from your organization with each interaction.
  3. The donor receives a timely thank you.
  4. Donor has opportunities to make her views known.
  5. The donor is given the feeling that she is part of an important cause.
  6. Donor feels her involvement is appreciated.
  7. Donor receives information showing who is being helped.

As you can see, the first experience a donor has with your nonprofit is key. Is their first impression glorious or lackluster?

The first donation is a test

First-time donors often want to see how you treat them before making a bigger gift. Will you merely send a tax receipt? Or will you surprise and delight them with a hand-written note?

Either way, the first experience is critical. Will they be part of the 71% and never come back? Or will they keep coming back for more?

Like this scene in Office Space, it’s up to you if you want to just to the bare minimum:

You can be like Joanna and do the bare minimum, or you can be like Brian and dazzle your donors.

3 Ways to Make a Lasting Impression with First-Time Donors

Here are three specific strategies to make a lasting impression with first-time donors:

1. Express heartfelt and sincere thanks

There’s a reason your mother pounded this into your head. Gratitude is the glue of all successful and happy relationships – including your relationship with donors.

Expressing gratitude makes your organization more relatable, and more human. And according to all the fundraising research, thanking donors also boosts retention.

A few key tips for thanking donors:

  • Thank quickly (within 48 hours) – According to fundraising master, Tom Ahern, hand-written thank you cards that are sent within 48 hours increase the likelihood of a second gift by 400%!
  • Say it better with video – Video conveys feelings more powerfully than pictures.
  • On the thank you page – Say thanks immediately on the thank you page.
  • In your welcome email series – Say thanks again in your donor welcome series. Make sure your welcome series includes:
    • A warm and friendly introduction
    • A summary of what to expect
    • A personalized message of thanks from the ED

2. Reinforce the impact THEY made

Donors don’t want to give money to nonprofits. They want to make an impact. They want to change the world.

Smart nonprofits embrace the humble role of agent:

  • Remove your org from the narrative. Again, it’s not about your nonprofit is, it’s about the donor.
  • Connect their gift to the outcome. Tell them how their donation will “give clean water”, “build a school”, “support local families”, etc. All of these call-to-actions put the donor in the role of protagonist.
  • Make them the hero – Don’t say “help our nonprofit feed hungry children.” Say “you can feed hungry children”.

3. Differentiate your org by going old school

According to Roger Craver, thank-you phone calls will boost first-year retention by 30%! Check out Pamela Grow’s tips for effective thank you phone calls.

Sending hand-written thank you notes also has a huge impact on retention. Yes, they take more time – but it’s time well spent.

How are you dazzling first-time donors?

Leave a comment with your brilliant idea.

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