Posts in the Twitter Category at Socialbrite Social media for nonprofits Mon, 30 Jul 2018 21:35:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 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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3 Tips To Get the Most Out Of Conferences Thu, 01 Sep 2016 18:02:23 +0000 Continue reading ]]>

Photo courtesy of Mashable Social Good Summit

Post by Caroline Avakian

Fall conference season is getting underway, so I wanted to share a few helpful tips to help manage and maximize your time spent at a conference(s). You’ll be glad you set these in motion when you get back from your next event.

Start with the end in mind

1What are the top three things you want to get out of this conference? Is it meeting a particular attendee or speaker? Is it networking or gaining a better understanding of how to create a social media strategy for your nonprofit? The more specific you are, the more likely you are to walk out of that conference feeling satisfied and accomplished.

Use your business cards to their fullest potential

2In the flurry of meet and greets, it is likely you’ll get home and won’t remember half of who those cards are from. To remedy this, think of one actionable item for each person you meet. Then write it on their business card before you walk out of the room.

Lessons learned

3Take a minute and write down the three things you learned after each conference session attended. It will all seem like less of a blur once you get back home and you’ll be able to take action on the items that really stood out. A plus, is that you can also share these lessons with colleagues who are interested.


If you’re on Twitter, following the conference hashtag and live tweeting are great ways to stay up-to-date and participate in conference learnings and conversations. This is also a great way to make new connections and even network with other tweeting attendees.

Happy September!

What are some of your favorite conference-going tips?

3 Core Twitter Strategies That Will Never Die Mon, 04 Apr 2016 16:42:29 +0000 Continue reading ]]>


john-haydonTwitter followers will be more likely to retweet your content if they like, know, and trust you. But where do you start? How do you develop a strong network on Twitter?

One way to think about building a stronger network on Twitter is to focus on three core Twitter strategies: Search-Building, Raft-Building, and Klout-Building


1. Search-Building Twitter Strategies

An important part of any online strategy is search. How will people find you when they want to find you now? How will people discover you when they’re trying to solve a problem?

But how does Twitter help you get found – both on Twitter and Google?

To build your organization’s search profile with Twitter, pay particular attention to the prevalent keywords in each tweet.

  1. Use your focus keywords – especially when tweeting links to your website.
  2. Nurture relationships with key influencers who care about your cause (more on that below).
  3. Tweet hashtags that contain your keywords. Use to discover the top hashtags for your cause (as shown below).


2. Klout-Building Twitter Strategies

Although it’s not perfect, Klout is at least one number that quickly tells you if your influence is growing or shrinking. It can also show you who is influential among your network.

You can build Klout on Twitter in a number of different ways, but mostly by creating value for your followers:

  1. Share content that’s valuable. You can’t build Klout if you’re mostly sharing garbage.
  2. Connect with other influencers in your cause who have a high Klout score. Use the Klout extension to display Klout scores on (as shown below).
  3. Starting meaningful discussions by asking questions.
  4. Mention users with high Klout scores in your Tweets.


3. Raft-Building Twitter Strategies

Imagine you’re whitewater rafting with a bunch of friend who each have their own rafts. The water is initially calm, but eventually you come to a place in the river where the rapids are much more intense. Being smart, you reach out and grab your friends’ rafts pull them close to you. You tie them all together with a rope, creating one huge raft that will never flip over!

One of the best uses of Twitter is to build a strong community of mutually supportive advocates. For example, peer organizations working towards the same outcome. Together you can accomplish more than each of you can separately.

Start building rafts with these tactics:

  1. Organize key relevant users into Twitter lists. For example, bloggers, advocates, etc.
  2. Retweet the most relevant and engaging tweets (lots-o-retweets) from key users on these lists.
  3. Ask yourself: Besides retweeting, how else can I support their Twitter agendas?
  4. Consider joining or hosting a Twitter chat that benefits the group.

What do you think?

What’s your best Twitter strategy? Post it in the comments below.

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(VIDEO) Leveraging Periscope App for Social Good Mon, 27 Jul 2015 13:22:28 +0000 Continue reading ]]>

Caroline Avakian Headshot finalAs a follow-up to my post on Periscope for Nonprofits: A Quick Guide & Review, I gave a video interview last week with Stephen Shattuck from Bloomerang. The interview covers how nonprofits can leverage Periscope – Twiiter’s new live streaming mobile app – to better reach and communicate with their supporters and donors.

I’ve been getting so many questions, and there’s been so much interest in this new app from the nonprofit community, that I thought posting this video Q and A would be an additional way to get the Persicope basics down, as well as some best practices and ideas on how your nonprofit can put Periscope to work.

Is your nonprofit using Periscope? Let me know in the comments! I’m doing a series of early case studies on Periscope for Nonprofts, and would love to feature how your nonprofit is leveraging Periscope for social or environmental good.

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Nonprofit Case Study: Periscope for Nonprofits Fri, 10 Jul 2015 13:11:31 +0000 Continue reading ]]>

Case study series - gift of lfe

Caroline Avakian Headshot finalAs a follow-up to my Periscope for Nonprofits Quick Guide, I wanted to focus on real Nonprofit Periscopers, and how they’re using this new tool for social good.

Today, I’m featuring Jennifer Tislerics, the Special Events & Partnerships Coordinator for Gift of Life Michigan. Gift of Life Michigan coordinates organ and tissue donations from deceased donors for the state. Jennifer also handles social media, youth outreach, faith-based programs, workplace outreach, and more.

As a refresher, Periscope is a three month-old, free mobile app that allows any user to live stream from wherever they are. Jennifer bravely responded to our call out for ‘Nonprofit Periscopers’ and she had a lot of great advice to offer in our Q & A.

1) What made you want to try out Periscope? Was it a strategic move as part of a larger social strategy, or did you want to experiment with the app first to see if it would work for your nonprofit?

jennifer TislericsI saw the Michigan Secretary of State staff using Periscope at a press conference during National Donate Life Month in April. (In Michigan our Secretary of State oversees the DMV, and helps coordinate the state’s organ donor registry.) It seemed like an easy way to engage a broader audience in an event. I watched a few other broadcasts on the iPad and was intrigued by the possibilities to engage distant supporters in real-time. I decided to experiment with it a bit, to see how it might benefit our organization and cause.

2) What event did you use Periscope for?

In late April I used Periscope at a kick-off breakfast event for an annual walk/run event. I plan to use it again at the actual walk/run in late July.

3) What was the experience like? Did you get good feedback from users? Take us through your steps.

It was a rough start, actually. One of the biggest lessons I learned is to use a tripod and get up close to the action – do not carry the iPad around or video from the back of the room. At least not at a seated event – I will probably move around some at the walk/run event. I accidentally stopped the video early (bad finger placement holding the iPad), so had to start fresh with a new video, which our Twitter followers may not have found. Actually, I did a few shorter-than-intended videos. The ones with the most audience traffic had short but interesting titles, which made our video stand out from the crowd.

4) What was engagement like?

Not nearly as many people watched the videos as I had hoped, but it was early on a work-day morning. It was fun to see people in the real-life audience following on Periscope, too, and sending us hearts and positive comments!

5) What did you learn? Any tips to share?

Practice first! Practice on-site. Make sure you’ve got a solid internet connection. Use a tripod. Prepare a few people to talk to you on video beforehand. Promote it in advance so people know to follow you on Twitter to get the link (and any new links you may create after accidentally cutting the video short).

6) What worked and what didn’t? What would you like to see improved?

I wish we could “add on” or continue a previous video, rather than having to create a new one if we accidentally stop the first video. It’s tough typing in a new title in a hurry, trying to rush and get online again. In general, I think Periscope viewers prefer interactive videos rather than “broadcasts” of speeches, although when we video’d a Michigan Supreme Court Justice speaking that got some audience attention!

7) Would you use Periscope again?

Definitely! I plan to at our walk/run on July 25 in Detroit.

8) Did you download the broadcast?

No, I didn’t feel I got a high enough quality video to make that worthwhile. This time.

9) Do you see yourself adding it to your social media strategy?

Yes, if these first few experiences prove successful, or at least promising, we will incorporate it into our strategy.

10) Anything else you want to tell me that I didn’t ask?

Follow @giftoflifemich on Twitter the morning of Saturday, July 25 to get links to our Periscope video(s) and send me feedback! I’m always open to suggestions for improvement.

We will definitely do that, Jennifer, and we’ll send you tons of Periscope hearts for all the great work you are doing at Gift of Life Michigan! Thank you for sharing your Periscope experience with us.


Photo courtesy of Gift of Life Michigan

PS – I will be featuring nonprofits and NGOs using Periscope on this blog, so please let me know in the comments below of any npos you know that are using Periscope to engage their supporters.


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Periscope for Nonprofits: A Quick Guide & Review Thu, 02 Jul 2015 12:35:49 +0000 Continue reading ]]>

FINAL Periscope-798x310

Caroline Avakian Headshot finalLive streaming has been thrust into the limelight recently with the release of Periscope — a free mobile app that allows any user to live stream from wherever they are. The whole concept of Periscope is to virtually place you somewhere in the world you would never be if it weren’t for the app.

Even as a nonprofit techie, I tend to look at new apps and platforms with a bit of skepticism because I don’t always think nonprofits should jump on the bandwagon of the next new shiny app that promises a lot and underperforms. That said, I do feel it’s important to keep updated on new tools, make an educated decision on whether it’s right for your nonprofit, and have a strong reason either way as to why or why not your nonprofit is using that social tool. I’ve noticed that having a well prepared answer at the ready is especially handy at board meetings when conversations start to drift to why your npo isn’t leveraging a certain social platform.

So when Periscope came along, I did what I normally do — I downloaded it to my smart phone and started playing with the app and paying attention to how others were maximizing its potential. I quickly realized Periscope could be a powerful broadcasting tool for nonprofits.

But how do you know if it’s right for your nonprofit and if it is, how do use it effectively?

Periscope Demo Pic

THE GOOD (and what you need to know to get started):

  • Periscope is a free downloadable mobile app that works with either iPhone or Android
  • It’s Twitter owned, so you can sign up using your existing Twitter account and have instant access to all of your Twitter followers.
  • You can share live broadcasts with your Twitter/Periscope following and the app sends a notification to your followers that you’re streaming live.
  • There’s a very small learning curve on this app. I found it very simple to set up my account and start streaming.
  • When you’re watching a live stream, tap on the screen to give the broadcaster hearts. On Periscope, hearts act as applause or ‘likes’ to show the broadcaster you like what you’re seeing. Visually, the hearts float up the right-hand side of your screen when you’re streaming. Hearts also measure popularity on Periscope.
  • There is a chat function that lets you interact with your audience, and them with you. In shoty, viewers can comment on your livestream. It’s really great for Q and A’s and commentary in real time. You also have the ability to turn comments off.
  • Once your broadcast is over, your analytics come on the screen and show you number of views, retention rate, duration of video, and number of hearts received. So great for data-driven organizations!
  • When you end your broadcast, you can save the video to your camera roll and share it or watch it later.
  • The lock button allows you to live stream a video for only certain people to watch. If you want to live stream an event for only your team or small supporter group to see, you can choose which people will be able to see your broadcast.


  • It just launched in March 2015, so it is still a little buggy.
  • Your livestream is only available for 24 hours before it disappears on Periscope, so make sure to download it if it’s a video you want to keep.
  • Periscope shoots only in vertical mode, not landscape, which has now become intuitive for anyone shooting any type of video on their smart phones. Lets hope that changes soon.
  • Periscope needs better immediate control over trolls, spammers, and innapropriate comments during a live broadcast. As it is now, you have go to the user’s profile and then press the block button. This is too complicated when you’re in the process of broadcasting live. If Periscope doesn’t find a better remedy for this soon, it is going to be a dealbreaker for many, many nonprofit users.
  • It forces you to begin your broadcast with only the option to shoot outward facing. So, if you’d like to begin your broadcast by speaking directly to camera, you can’t. You have to start outward facing, then double tap the screen to switch it inward facing. We should have the option to start a broadcast using whichever view we prefer.
  • The ability to comment is limited to the first 200 people viewing the broadcast. Viewers can tap hearts but not comment if they are late to the broadcast and the livestream has over 200 viewers.


1) Live streaming from “the field”

If the connectivity is there, we just opened up a great way for communications and program officers to broadcast field visits abroad and beneficiary interviews (when appropriate). The same goes for local nonprofits who really have the capacity to live stream important “mission moments” that might otherwise go unshared.

2) Q and A’s

Periscope offers a great new way to connect with your supporters by having the ability to conduct livestream Q and A’s with your program participants, executive director, program director, celebrity ambassadors, and others. The chat function allows Periscope users to ask questions or post commentary as you’re live streaming, so it’s exceptionally interactive and fast. Think about Periscoping in a series, like doing a series of fun ‘Meet the Staff’  Q & A’s, or designating a portion of your weekly staff meeting to a Periscope Program Update and short Q and A afterwards. That’s a great way to let your supporters know ahead of time what you’ll be doing and what to expect.

3) Events Broadcasting

Periscope is a great way to let your supporters in on events that they’re interested in but can’t attend. That $500/plate gala dinner can now be accessible via Periscope. How great would it be to have a staff correspondent at your next gala, benefit, fundraiser or conference that’s in charge of showing viewers around and chatting with honorees and guests? It’s a fantastic way to share these exclusive events with your community.

Attending a rally, friendraiser, or other on site event for your nonprofit – bring your supporters along with a live stream on Periscope.

Another way to break the fourth wall, is to do an office tour led by your staff and interns. Showing the inner workings of your organization and the people behind the status updates has been shown to increase engagement and trust for nonprofits.

4) Crowdsourcing

If you’re looking to get some quick feedback on a new project, logo, initiative or maybe just some input on what your supporters like and would like to see more of, Periscope is a great tool to survey a clearly social media savvy focus group.

5) Announcements

Have an announcement to make? Did you just receive a big grant from USAID or added an awesome new hire to your team? Expanding your work to a new country? Added a new program? Did you host a contest and want to announce the winner? You can use Periscope to go live with your big news and involve your community in the excitement.

Nonprofit Best Practices for using Periscope:

  • Be prepared BEFORE you click the “Start Broadcast” button. Given it’s an amateur live broadcast you do get some leeway, but try to be as steady with the shots and as well-prepared as possible. You don’t have to script the broadcast but remember that you’re telling a story. So what is the story you want to tell? Why have you asked people to come and watch this broadcast? What value does it have? What’s in it for them? Make sure you can answer these questions. Also, provide some guidance to your viewers as to what type of questions or feedback you’re looking for. Viewers may be hesitant to use the comments on Periscope, so make it ok by prompting them. Any good story has a beginning, middle and end to it, so it’s a really good idea to create a bullet list of what you want to happen during each stage of the broadcast, to ensure everyone on your team is on the same page. Above all, remember, all good media production rules still apply.
  • Title your live stream broadcast well. Tell us what it’s about in a concise way.
  • Be wise about using your hashtags to promote your live stream. Hashtaging allows people to find your stream via Twitter when searching that topic.
  • To reach as wide an audience as possible, share the broadcast and location on Twitter. You’ll be able to reach far more viewers, and having the video present on Twitter gives it a much longer shelf life.
  • Use the top third of your mobile screen, as  the comment function will block the view of the lower part of your broadcast.

Final Thoughts:

I think Periscope is one of the latest platforms to come along that has the greatest potential for nonprofits. Live streaming can take engagement to a whole new level and if the bandwidth is there, give nonprofits and global NGO’s the ability to share the on-the-ground work that is being done. Perisope has the potential of upping the levels of engagement, transparency and trust. From another perspective, I wonder how many nonprofits will be comfortable with the risk inherent in livestreaming? While we’re seeing so many nonprofits using social media wisely and experimenting, most nonprofits still want to have tight control and management over any content they produce. As we have seen in the past, nonprofit teams that are more comfortable with risk and social sharing will help pave the way for other organizations who will wait until the app is less new and seemingly less risky. Ultimately, lack of complete content control and the inability to quickly seed out inappropriate comments, will present the biggest barriers for a nonprofit’s use of Periscope.

Lastly, from a citizen reporting and journalism perspective, Periscope is and will continue to be a real game changer. I believe we’ll be seeing much more ‘Periscoping’ in parts of the world seeing political and social unrest — giving us unprecedented access into areas otherwise unseen by most.

I will be featuring nonprofits and NGOs using Periscope on this blog, so please let me know in the comments below of any npos you know that are using Periscope to engage their supporters.

*Blog post updated on 7/5/15.

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25 Nonprofit Twitter tips from the pros Mon, 01 Jun 2015 15:11:57 +0000 Continue reading ]]>



  1. Try to include an image in your tweets. Twitter is like looking out the window of a fast moving train. If you insert insert a “billboard” (photo or graphic image) tweet, people will notice it.-  Noland Hoshino
  2. Always, always check your links!–  Jenn Johnson
  3. For every self serving post you tweet…engage with one of your constituents. Michael Dougherty
  4. Don’t let your tweets devolve to mere “press releases.” Experiment with your nonprofit’s voice so that you can be interesting to those who choose to follow you.-  Marc A. Pitman
  5. Write specific thank you messages to your supporters along with their twitter handles during online fundraising efforts. More likely than not they’ll retweet you and expand your campaign’s reach.-  Mark Hallman

  1. Schedule 15 mins in the morning, afternoon and evening to spend time on Twitter actively engaging with others content, not just promoting our own. Be visual; use properly sized images to grab attention and experiment with 30 second videos, such as interviews with staff, donors and volunteers — or a trailer for a longer video linking to your website. And create Twitter Lists to more easily manage organizational partners, staff Twitter accounts, influencers, press and others related to your work to make it easier to cut through the noise and focus on those you most want to engage with. –  Chris Tuttle
  2. Spend 15-30 minutes, twice a day (with a timer; gets you focused). Segment, balance out your tweets, respond to everyone. Finally, empower your supporters to engage on Twitter on your behalf by including pre-written tweets in your emails. – Pamela Grow
  3. I love Twitter for media relations. Follow all the reporters and producers as individuals, in addition to the official accounts, for your target media, put them in a list and check it frequently to see if they are working on stories related to your work. Pass on good news tips to them too, not just from your org, but from your field in general. Kivi Leroux Miller
  4. Master hashtags. Tweets with hashtags usually get more engagement. Use tools such as Twitonomy, Ritetag and to research relevant tags for your audience and combine them in smart ways. Monitor your key hashtags to help you find new people and engage in relevant conversations. And hashtags aren’t just for Twitter – think event signage, emails, advertisements. – Kerri Karvetski 
  5. Always, always research hashtags before you use them – something that may seem benign may be used by people with whom you shouldn’t associate your brand. – Nora Brathol
  6. Really think through hashtags you create for a campaign – how might it be coopted? And will that be ok? – Gurukarm Kaur Khalsa
  7. Segment those you follow into lists. Put those you follow you care most about interacting with, keeping up with, and cultivating into lists so that you can focus on those relationships and their news. Import those lists into your Twitter app (Tweetdeck, Hootsuite), and judiciously cultivate and interact with your list using the app. It makes Twitter manageable, fun, and easy to use! Debra Askanase
  8. Segment prospects into columns so you can stalk them! Joe Waters
  9. When tweeting your content, experiment with sharing it more than once, each time with a different approach. Variations include: share just the headline, write a tweet in an alternate engaging format (e.g. ask a question, quote a juicy bit), add an image, try a new hashtag, share at a different time of day or on the weekend, or add ICYMI (in case you missed it). – Lauren Girardin
  10. Don’t be so quick to jump onto trends and memes — they usually *aren’t* the right way to engage your community. If you would roll your eyes at your meme tweet if it came from another org, don’t post it. – Jenna Sauber
  11. Welcome your new Twitter followers and thank people for tweeting and really respond to people. – Beth Kanter
  12. Craft a balanced mix of tweets totally from you, about other’s content with your spin and links to others’ content. And don’t be afraid to throw in an occasional wildcard when you feel like it — good to have a personality even if EVERYONE doesn’t like it. Some always will! – Nancy E. Schwartz
  13. Find and participate in Twitter Chats in your segment or related segments. It is a great way for you to connect with people that might have an interest in what you do. And related to that, use a personal touch, let people know who they are talking with from the organization’s account. – Kami Watson Huyse
  14. Respond to everyone – EVERYONE. In a timely manner. For us it’s 24 hours. Set up monitoring for those that tweet their donation and thank every person. Don’t just respond to people who tag you – monitor convos about your brand throughout the twitter sphere. For example, many people call us the “American Humane Society”. So we monitor that phrase and engage accordingly. – Carie Lewis Carlson
  15. Find your audience by looking through your followers’ lists including those they put you on. Follow the breadcrumbs. Oh and take part in Twitter chats. – Maddie Grant
  16. Make your tweets short enough so RTs can add a comment to make it more meaningful to their Followers. Short and sweet is the key!David Krumlauf
  17. Optimize your bio with keywords and use a scheduling tool like Hootsuite to pre-schedule content so you can focus on real-time engagement. – Melanie Mathos
  18. Learn about your followers, what they like and do so you can create content that is relevant to them. – Janet Fouts
  19. Look at your new followers a few times a day. Often very influential people will follow, but rarely to they say “hello” when they do. – Mark Horvath
  20. Don’t waste time engaging with users who don’t have strong networks. Use Klout score to prioritize influencers. Use the Klout filter in Hootsuite, and the Klout browser extension which displays Klout scores when using – John Haydon

What else would you add?

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How social media platforms are responding to the Nepal earthquake, and how you can help Tue, 28 Apr 2015 16:26:23 +0000 Continue reading ]]>


FBNepal-798x310 2Caroline-120x80

By Caroline Avakian / Photo above courtesy of Facebook

It was just a few hours after I found out about the devastating Nepal earthquake that I noticed an alert on my Facebook feed that I hadn’t seen before. My colleague who works in Nepal had been marked “Safe” in Facebook’s new “Safety Check” feature, that instantly let me know how many of my Facebook friends were in the “affected area”, how many had been “marked safe”, and also allowed me to mark myself safe in the event I was in the “affected area”.


The Safety Check feature was quickly followed up by a “Donate” feature, so if you log into Facebook today, you’ll notice a message at the top of your news feed that lets you donate to International Medical Corpsa humanitarian organization Facebook has partnered with to provide emergency aid. Facebook is also providing matching funds of up to two million to provide immediate and ongoing relief. The IMCs emergency response teams are operating mobile medical units in Nepal, India and Bangladesh, to deliver critically needed medical care and medicines to the regions hardest-hit by the earthquake. They’re distributing hygiene kits, water purification tablets and other supplies to the most devastated areas.


Additionally,Twitter is helping to raise funds through UNICEF and Apple is asking iTunes users to donate money to the American Red Cross via its iTunes store. The appeal from Apple allows donations from $5 to $200, with 100% of the funds donated being passed anonymously to the Red Cross.

Similarly to Facebook, Google is now providing satellite imagery to aid in the recovery, and has launched a Person Finder to help people know whether or not people are safe who might have been in the earthquake affected areas.

The Person Finder tool is an online database that collates information from emergency responders, and allows individuals to post details about people who have been missing or are found. Additionally, is donating one million to the emergency response efforts and a gift-matching option will soon be available.


PM Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 12.09.30 PM

The organizations linked above are all doing excellent work in the affected regions, and for those of you who are interested in donating to locally-based organizations, Global Giving (seen in photo above), has compiled a vetted list of community-based organizations that are in the best position to provide long-term support for disaster victims. By funding the relief efforts of local organizations, donations to the Global Giving fund have the potential to build stronger disaster-response capacity, so that these organizations are better equipped to face future disasters. GlobalGiving promises to post reports about how funds have been used and will email these reports to donors and subscribers. A wonderful giving choice if you haven’t made a donation yet. Just click the photo above to go straight to that donate page.


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Initial reports for #GivingTuesday indicate astounding success! Mon, 08 Dec 2014 14:26:30 +0000 Continue reading ]]>

LinkedInPulse (1)

Black Friday sales were down 11% while #GivingTuesday had a banner year!

By Ritu Sharma

The final numbers are rolling in, and by all accounts the three-year-old day dedicated to giving known as #GivingTuesday, is proving once again that Black Friday and Cyber Monday aren’t the only spending days top of mind in our communities.

That the long weekend of frenzied indulgence and gluttony kicked off by Thanksgiving can be bookended with such generosity is heartening.

And the generosity is evident in the numbers. Here are the results from some of the day’s top campaigns:

Nonprofit leaders are humbled and overwhelmed by the results, which continue to be record-breaking: All this while U.S. Black Friday sales dropped 11.3% and Cyber Monday sales were up less than expected at only 8% (despite an increase in online sales), as noted by Mashable.

We reached out to leaders in our network to see their reactions on the success of #GivingTuesday and insights gained from this year’s giving day:

“#GivingTuesday 2014 saw a 36% increase in online giving compared to 2013 with Blackbaud processing more than $26.1m in online donations. There was a 15% increase in the number of nonprofits that received an online donation versus last year and overall transaction volume saw a 50% jump on a year over year basis. 17% of the forms were viewed on mobile platforms indicating the modern donor is increasingly mobile.” – Steven R. MacLaughlin, Director of Product Management at Blackbaud

“Network4Good processed slightly over $4.5 million across all our platforms which is 148% increase in donations over last year. We credit this increase in part to our dedicated efforts this year in enabling and supporting small and medium size nonprofit organizations who can’t participate at the same level as nonprofits with large marketing budgets. We provided extensive training, tools and resources to small and medium size nonprofits to enable them to participate in the annual day of giving.” – Jamie McDonald, Chief Giving Officer, Network for Good

“Each year for Razoo’s #GivingTuesday we try to improve the effectiveness of the prize structure to maximize nonprofit and donor engagement. Compared to last year’s results, with 30% more nonprofits participating, we experienced a 67% increase in the number of donors, a 62% increase in online donations and a 49% increase in the average number of visitors per hour, all contributing to a $1,775,511 day – a 56% increase over last year.” – Robert Lotinsky, Executive Director, Razoo Foundation

Crowdrise has been a really good, very effective partner in getting the word out for, and raising money for, a bunch of good orgs. The combined effort with #givingTuesday has been even more successful. I’ve got a really good team, and they let me know this is solidly in my wheelhouse, that’s how it started for me. – Craig Newmark, Founder of Craigslist and Craigconnects

“Nonprofits who raised money through Salsa on #GivingTuesday in both 2013 and 2014 saw an incredible increase of 47% year-over-year. Even though we have done a lot of education in the community and published data demonstrating that #GivingTuesday works and doesn’t share shift year-end dollars, we still are only seeing about 10% of Salsa client participating this year. We’d like to see that number and the overall #GivingTuesday movement continue to grow.” –Christine Schaefer, VP, Community, Product & Marketing for Salsa.

Henry Timms, executive director of the 92Y and founder of Giving Tuesday, told Mashable. “Around the world people came together for causes they care about. This is enabled by social media, but driven by compassion.”

Indeed, compassion is the motivator, but the democratization of philanthropy social media offers has expanded the reach of all nonprofits who understand that many small donations are as important as a few extraordinary gifts.

But not everyone is inspired.

Critics Seek “Perfect” Solutions

Tom Watson, president of CauseWired LLC, calls himself a “friendly skeptic” in thepiece he wrote for Forbes, but does admit he may have been “under-valuing one key factor: people are participating.” That fact is clear.

Peter Panepento, principal at Panepento Strategies, formerly with The Chronicle of Philanthropy and the Council on Foundations isn’t content to accept the success of #GivingTuesday without pushing for more.

He writes on LinkedIn:

“…GivingTuesday rewards the charities that already have the biggest networks, the most prominent corporate supporters and celebrity spokespeople, or the most clever attention-grabbing gimmick. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But it’s also not going to cure cancer, reduce hunger, or improve pre-K education.”

Actually, #GivingTuesday may ultimately do all of those things – who’s to say? – though not overnight. But that wasn’t what the day was designed for anyway. The idea, right from the #GivingTuesday website, was to create a global movement, a “day dedicated to giving back… to celebrate generosity and to give.”

And to that end the day has succeeded, and everyone who took to social media, opened their hearts, opened their wallets, and made the time to volunteer, to donate, and to CARE deserves to celebrate that success without having to ask, “Did I do enough?” Because if you did SOMETHING where before you did nothing, then the answer is yes.

#GivingTuesday is not strictly about money.

Then, there are those who are concerned about donor fatigue from being asked to donate repeatedly by hundreds of causes and bombarded on social channels. To them, I say, it hasn’t stopped people from celebrating Thanksgiving and over-indulging that day or stopped people from spending on things they really don’t need. GivingTuesday as a day to celebrate giving and caring provides a balance to all that consumerism that we usually kick off our holidays with. It is an alternative way, though in our face, to bring back the spirit of caring and giving to the holidays. I’d personally rather be tired from giving and making a difference than getting obese or spending beyond my means.

Celebrating the Broader Impact

Beth Kanter notes, “GivingTuesday founder Henry Timms and Aaron Sherinian and the #GT early leaders approached it with a true network mindset. They did not wish to prescribe how nonprofits, individuals, companies, and others should participate – but they held the space, facilitated connections, and provided the platform for the network to participate in the way that was the right fit to celebrate the day. They offered us a buffet of options – and allowed us to pick and choose how to celebrate.”

In other words, there are other ways to be of service.

For example, we at Social Media for Nonprofits did not fundraise this year. We opted instead to participate by amplifying and supporting our partners in their efforts, rather than competing with them.

It was a thoughtful and deliberate decision on our part to use our resources in this way, lending our voice and perspective to several conversations that were taking place in the sector – including a Google Hangout on Air hosted by the #GivingTuesday folks on Growth of Philanthropy Through Digital Media, a community conversation with NTEN (Nonprofit Technology Enterprise Network), and conversations with leaders like Beth Kanter and more.

We gave our full-fledged marketing support to our network and all nonprofits that reached out to us by tweeting their campaigns, retweeting and posting on FB on their behalves.

We expect to launch our own campaign in the spring to provide an opportunity for our community of event attendees, blog post readers, speakers, sponsors, partners and more to participate and support us so we can continue to be a resource to the sector.

We have no doubt that in this way the spirit of #GivingTuesday will continue to reach us and others throughout the year. And we’re celebrating that.

How did you do, nonprofits? Was #GivingTuesday all you hoped for and more? What strategies worked or didn’t work? Share your success with us!


Ritu Sharma is the CEO of Social Media for Nonprofits, an organization committed to bringing social media education to nonprofits worldwide. She speaks frequently around the world on a variety of topics in the nonprofit and social media spheres with a passion for effecting social change through social technologies. She blogs at the Huffington Post on the intersection of social media, social change and leadership and at Social Media for Nonprofits. Follow Ritu at here LinkedIn or on Twitter at @ritusharma1

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9 tips for using Twitter to tap into #globaldev community Mon, 29 Sep 2014 13:01:02 +0000 Continue reading ]]>


Post by Gemma McNeil-Walsh

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises

gemma-mcneil-walsh-jpegIf you were to ask me what my most useful resource during a three-year undergraduate development studies degree has been, I think the answer might surprise you: Twitter. Although I initially joined Twitter so that I could join in on my housemates’ banter about cupcakes and Ryan Gosling (don’t judge), I quickly found Twitter to be an invaluable professional and career development resource. I decided to leave the Ryan Gosling banter to Facebook, the pictures of cupcakes to Instagram, and came to see Twitter as a ‘rolling online CV’.

Through Twitter I have been approached and invited to a coffee meeting to discuss a new business venture; I’ve been recruited for freelance work at a national newspaper; and I’ve been sent a film that I went on to screen at my university. My housemate (also a development student) even connected to a journalist at the Guardian through Twitter, and was interviewed for an article that was published on the website. While I am by no means a social media expert, I thought I would share here some top tips on getting the most out of the Twittersphere.

1. Get your profile right

It needs to include the serious stuff (such as your current degree or place of work etc.), but don’t forget to make yourself sound human (put in one of your other interests or a quirky fact about yourself). See examples here.

2. Don’t just retweet

It’s important to inject some of your own voice into your Twitter feed, so don’t just rely on retweets or on tweeting out links or article headlines (although obviously do that too) – aim for something like 70% pure retweets, 30% tweets that you have either written yourself or altered.

3. Live-tweet

For me, the best way to interact with people or to gain followers has been to live-tweet from events, conferences, talks and panel discussions. Jump on the event hashtag, tweet some of the best things the speaker is saying, and make sure to interact with other people who are tweeting from the event.

4. Research hashtags

Make sure you only use hashtags that you know other people are already using. Don’t go making up bespoke hashtags à la Instagram (#yolo #internlife #unayyy). Before using a hashtag, click on its feed to make sure it’s active – basically, you want to make sure it’s worth using some of your precious 140 characters on. Talking of hashtags, the Guardian Global Development Professionals Network (@GuardianGDP) tweet out a daily hashtag (#hashtagoftheday), which is always worth checking out. Another important point is to limit how many you use – more than five hashtags significantly decreases the likelihood of someone interacting (clicking on, favouriting or sharing) with your tweet.

5. Watch what you tweet

If you imagine your Twitter page as a rolling online CV, you automatically become more aware of what you allow on to your feed. There’s nothing wrong with Tweeting comments of a more personal nature (it makes you a more interesting person), but being too controversial or offensive is only going to draw attention to your feed for the wrong reasons.

6. Follow academics

This one is probably a little biased given that I am technically still a student, but there are some academics who are very active on Twitter and who are well worth following (try Laura Hammond and Chris Blattman for example). Of course, make sure to tailor this to your own area of interest so that the issues they are talking about, or the research they point you to, is relevant.

7. Get favoriting!

Twitter can often be an overwhelming space of information, so the ‘favourite’ button is a really useful tool. Use it to bookmark anything that you see that may be of interest or of use, but which you want to come back to later. When I’m writing essays or preparing for exams, I often stock up on these resources and then go back through them to find what might be most relevant.

8. Don’t be afraid to engage

Twitter is much like the real world – people like to interact, and they like to know your reactions and opinions on things! They also love a good complement. So if you’ve read, or seen something that you liked – post it on Twitter and say what you liked about it (making sure to mention the original source). Even if people don’t get back to you on it, they’ll likely appreciate you for making the effort to Tweet about it. Similarly if people post questions, or shout-outs, on Twitter – reply to them (but only with something useful). That’s how my housemate got interviewed by the Guardian, and how I ended up contributing to this blog!

9. It’s another skill to add to the CV

Many entry-level jobs in development organisations are likely to be in PR or communications positions, and if you can showcase that you are an active user of Twitter you are automatically in a stronger position. If you think that your Twitter feed is a good reflection of you both as a person and as a potential employee (or let’s face it, intern), don’t be afraid to include the link on your CV. It will give people a unique insight into you – one that can’t be achieved on LinkedIn or on a two-page Word document.

If all of this seems like a lot of effort, I promise it tends to be worth it. For me, Twitter has been an equal playing field – despite being a lowly development undergraduate, Twitter has given me a platform to engage and interact with the development community and has brought my degree to life in a way that I don’t think other resources could have done. There are so many ways to get the most out of Twitter, and these 10 tips are just the beginning – please get in touch if you have more to add!

Quick links to get started on Twitter:

Development Intern’s list of good accounts to follow (including: academics, bloggers, development news sources, job opportunities & our writers)

WhyDev’s list of globaldev allstars

This originally appeared at DevelopmentIntern.

Gemma McNeil-Walsh is completing her undergraduate degree in development studies & economics at SOAS in London, and heading to the Oxford Internet Institute for her MSc in October. Interested in media, communication, Internet and ICTs on the African continent, she works in digital newspaper production, interns with SOAS Radio, and has spent the previous two summers working in Freetown, Sierra Leone on documentary and citizen journalism projects. Follow her on Twitter at @gemmcneil.

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