Socialbrite Social media for nonprofits Wed, 31 Jan 2018 14:04:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 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.

john-haydonJohn Haydon delivers social web strategy solutions for “the quick, the smart, and the slightly manic.” Curious? Then connect up: Contact John by email, see his profile page, visit the John Haydon blog, follow him on Twitter and Google Plus or leave a comment.

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The 2018 Communications Trends to Watch Mon, 08 Jan 2018 15:43:08 +0000 Continue reading ]]>



As communications professionals, we need to be agile and forward-thinking to stay competitive. We’ve come to accept that the future is unpredictable—and that we need to prepare ourselves for the unexpected.

With technological advances, fake news and virtual reality, we started to see accelerated change in 2017. We can expect that 2018 is going to move even faster. So limber up, expand your periphery, and take a look at what I predict will be the trends to prepare for in the coming year.


Activist CEOs

I am happy to report that CEOs are coming out of their corner offices with important social messages. What a breath of fresh air to see Tim Cook and Elon Musk speak out against injustices, and hundreds of CEOs resign from Trump’s business advisory board in protest. This makes my activist heart glow.

The time is here: Customers and investors now insist that companies engender a social sense of purpose that goes beyond delivering profits to shareholders. It’s a popular trend, and one that resonates with a much wider audience. According to the Edelman Trust Barometer: “Three out of four general population respondents agree that a company can take actions that both increase profits and improve the social and economic conditions of the community where it operates.”

You’ll see growing corporate pressure in 2018. With it, keep your eyes open for CEOs taking public positions on social issues—stepping in where policymakers are failing. It will be the communicator’s job to advise these business leaders on how to build trust and confidence with their stakeholders.


Integrating communications with business functions

Throughout my career, communications has traditionally stood on its own as a service to other departments within a company or organization, which are often seen as “clients.” For example, a comms team will be called when a sales department needs to promote a specific product or a program manager wants to run a campaign for maternal health. Historically, communications has responded by providing the needed content and design to implement these initiatives. I’ve seen this slowly change over time. In 2018, we’ll see that paradigm shift dramatically.

Organizations and businesses are catching on that communications is most functional when integrated across the company—with marketing, sales, finance and programming. Look out for the consolidation of positions like “Digital Communications Manager” and “Financial Communications Account Executive.” Companies will create new positions like these to more closely associate people with the work they do. We’ll need to work closely with our colleagues in each department and understand their functions so we can effectively communicate and elevate their work internally and externally.



I’ve seen time and again how important it is to make data-informed decisions. But what is a data-informed decision?

Organizations need employees trained in data analysis, such as programming, visualization and statistics, to understand their audiences, cut costs, improve customer service and reach the right funders. Companies in the wireless, healthcare and software industries are using big data in this way, and nonprofits can similarly reap huge benefits from big data. The Foundation Center manages a grand database for nonprofits to find out what and where donors are funding, and how to use data to advance their missions.

As data becomes more integral to operations, communicators must work side-by-side with data analysts to simplify the language so everyone across the organization understands the meaning, and uses it to make better decisions, like personalizing content.

We also need to be honest about data. It doesn’t lie, but how it gets translated can skew meaning. And, if you’re measuring likes, clicks and shares, understand exactly why you are using those metrics. Will they help you get closer to your goals?


Augmented Reality

As a social do-gooder, I’m skeptical about our ability to control our technology impulses. Frankly, it gives me mild anxiety. But augmented reality (AR) is here to stay, with the promise of making our lives easier. According to International Data Corporation, “AR revenues will surge ahead [of virtual reality], hitting critical mass in healthcare delivery and product design and management-related use cases.”

AR has come a long way since being invented in 1968, and it will continue to evolve (check out the full history). Existing museum, decorating and travel apps are already creating convenient and fantastical experiences for the citizenry.

What does this mean for communicators? We need to think differently about how we create and deliver content, from a 2D reality to 3D, and using voice, face and object recognition. Think back to how we changed our approach to writing for websites when the Internet took off or how we learned to create for mobile. AR is going to be our next big content challenge.



“If a picture is worth a thousand words, video is worth a million.” – Miranda King, digital media strategist

I couldn’t agree more. Video has been the most shared form of digital content for years, and you can expect it to explode in 2018. Around the world, people collectively spend a billion hours a day on YouTube. In addition to the well-researched fact that people are drawn to video over text, video gets better search results: “Social media algorithms prefer video content because it generates higher engagement and more click-throughs than traditional static content,” according to Stern Strategy Group.

Virtual reality, raw footage, 360 video, and live streaming will boom in 2018 as people not only want to watch video, but be completely immersed in the experience. And as Facebook becomes more mobile and video metrics more available, there’s greater reason to invest in this medium.

As a communicator, you’ll want to figure out what types of video will be the most useful for your organization, and the right platforms to showcase them. Then decide how to shape your content into the most compelling video people will want to share.

Video will increasingly become a necessary communications tool. With strong communications direction, it’ll be exciting to see how video producers use new technologies to deliver fresh video experiences.

I’m exhilarated about what 2018 has in store for us communicators. It’s a new frontier to develop new skills and tell our organizations’ stories in new ways.


What are your communication trends predictions for 2018? Tweet me your ideas!

Jessica Scadron

Jessica Scadron founded Social Harmony, a social impact firm that provides communications strategy and implementation to organizations changing the world. Find her on LinkedIn, Twitter and email.



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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.

john-haydonJohn Haydon delivers social web strategy solutions for “the quick, the smart, and the slightly manic.” Curious? Then connect up: Contact John by email, see his profile page, visit the John Haydon blog, follow him on Twitter and Google Plus or leave a comment.

How to Attract & Keep Donors Using Text Messaging Tue, 17 Oct 2017 14:35:18 +0000 Continue reading ]]>


For many nonprofits, text messaging as a communications and fundraising tool can feel daunting. I’ve worked with nonprofits who grapple with understanding if text messaging is even right for them.

Below is a graphic shared with me by TextMagic that can help you better understand what an SMS campaign could look like and if it’s right for your nonprofit.

What do you think? Had your nonprofit worked on an SMS campaign? What were the results? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

attract_keep_donors_with_text_messagingCaroline Avakian, Socialbrite’s Managing Partner, is a global development communications strategist in the New York City area with a focus on strategic communications, innovation, PR, and content marketing. Caroline is also the founder of SourceRise, a digital platform connecting journalists to international NGO sources. Contact Caroline by email, see her profile page, visit her website, follow her on Twitter and Google Plus or leave a comment.

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5 Ingredients to Make Your Nonprofit-Corporate Partnership Succeed Mon, 11 Sep 2017 11:35:02 +0000 Continue reading ]]>

Diversity Staff Photo


A few days ago, I was strolling along the foggy coast in Northern California when I noticed a cormorant flying in “v” formation with a flock of pelicans. A week later, I saw a pelican flying with a flock of cormorants.

I’ve been watching these birds for years and never saw them co-mingle in a flight pattern. I always assumed the same types of birds fly together. It turns out these two species bond in the hunt for food because they can catch more if they work together.

It’s a great metaphor for a corporate-nonprofit partnership. Joining forces with organizations that have resources your organization doesn’t can yield exponential dividends.

As federal funding tightens and corporations take on a larger role in communities, these partnerships are becoming increasingly common — and successful.

“Whether it’s tackling the Muslim ban or protecting green spaces, nonprofits have products and services that many companies realize they need to create a healthy business environment, and to contribute to a world their stakeholders — employees, investors and customers — want to live in,” said Danielle Silber, director of strategic partnerships at American Civil Liberties Union.

Everyone Benefits

Are you with a nonprofit that wants to innovate but doesn’t have the financial cushion to take risks? Maybe you work for a company that wants to deliver services on a small scale to low-income neighborhoods, but don’t have the local understanding to do so.

Each entity has its strengths. A corporation has resources and connections, and a nonprofit has an intimate understanding of a community or issue area. Combined, the company can build a positive reputation showing its support for a cause, and the nonprofit can focus on advancing its mission.

For example, to help solve the problem of children missing school because they don’t have clean clothes to wear, Whirlpool created Whirlpool Care Counts™ — an initiative to install washers and dryers in schools to see how attendance rates are impacted when students have clean clothes. The pilot program was so successful, with 93 percent of participating students’ attendance increasing in the first year, that Whirlpool is partnering with Teach for America to reach more students across the country.


The Five Practices of Partnership

If you decide to embark on this kind of partnership, make sure you have senior management buy-in and ample resources to run it. Then, follow these five practices to increase your likelihood of success.


1. A shared vision: What is it that each of you are trying to accomplish? Companies often look to strengthen their brands with customers, shareholders and employees. A clearly articulated social mission helps them do that through their corporate social responsibility efforts. Nonprofits are laser-focused on their social missions such as alleviating poverty, curbing climate change, or providing healthcare, for example. Although companies and nonprofits have different reasons for partnering, both should agree on the partnership’s purpose and outcomes.

The issue the nonprofit is on a mission to solve will determine the perfect intersection for a company and nonprofit to work together. If a healthcare company wants to provide discounted services to low-income neighborhoods, the obvious partner for them is an organization whose mission is to do the same.

Look at Unilever’s partnership with Domestos and UNICEF to deliver clean, safe toilets to millions who don’t have them. In just three years, 6.2 million people received access, helping all three organizations meet their water, sanitation, hygiene and sales goals.



2. Define the partnership: Articulate the division of labor from the outset. Make sure each organization knows who is responsible for what, how decisions will be made, and which organization will lead the project. Appointing individuals will insure each side fulfills their commitments and keeps the train moving.

“Partnership terms are negotiated like any other contract,” said Cheryl Damian, senior vice president of Ketchum Social Purpose. “Not only does it drive accountability, it provides a clear understanding of roles and expectations. Many times it is during this process that organizations unearth hidden gems in terms of assets and expertise that can make the partnership more efficient and productive.”

3. Monitor and evaluate: Measuring progress is often the Achilles heel of any organization. Layer that with figuring out how to align metrics between disparate entities and the climb can seem steep.

Companies and nonprofits have different approaches to metrics. But measurement is critical to the success of the project in order to quickly build on what works, learn from what doesn’t, and keep momentum. A lexicon both partners can agree to, and realistically fulfill, will prevent mission stagnation.

In 2012, Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment (WB) created the We Can Be Heroes campaign to raise funds and awareness for the worst hunger crisis in the Horn of Africa since the ‘90s. Thirteen million people were displaced, and WB wanted to help. So they partnered with International Rescue Committee, MercyCorps, and Save the Children — three organizations equipped to deliver expedient aid to those devastated by the drought. All entities agreed that the best metrics for measuring the campaign’s success were how many people received aid and amount of funds raised. WB hit the two-year campaign goals within six months.


4. Communicate. Like a good marriage, your partnership requires nurturing to be fruitful. Don’t be shy about shaking out the rug if decision-making stalls or the partnership takes a wrong turn. Open dialogue will strengthen your collaboration and lead to better outcomes. So will establishing processes for communicating with your partner, and your internal team. Create a project work plan, schedule weekly check-in calls, and consider using technology like Slack or a project management tool like Teamwork to make collaboration easier.

And don’t forget to communicate partnership successes both internally and externally. Doing so will build excitement for the project throughout both organizations.


5. Flexibility: Remember, each organization has its own culture. Organizations evolve and grow — so must the partnership if you want to have a positive experience. Handle conflict when it arises, and be accommodating.


Creating a partnership can be challenging, but the effort is worth it for organizations and the communities they serve. It doesn’t have to be overwhelming if you take things step by step. If you’re considering a partnership, or are in the midst of one you’d like to reinvigorate, apply these five elements and you’re likely to cultivate strong results.


Jessica Scadron

Jessica Scadron is the founder of Social Harmony, a communications firm that provides strategy and implementation to organizations changing the world. Find her on LinkedIn, Twitter and email.

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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.John Haydon delivers social web strategy solutions for “the quick, the smart, and the slightly manic.” Curious? Then connect up: Contact John by email, see his profile page, visit the John Haydon blog, follow him on Twitter and Google Plus or leave a comment.

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 UnportedThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported.

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.

John Haydon delivers social web strategy solutions for “the quick, the smart, and the slightly manic.” Curious? Then connect up: Contact John by email, see his profile page, visit the John Haydon blog, follow him on Twitter and Google Plus or leave a comment.

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My Friday Edit: Restoring My Faith in Tech Fri, 09 Jun 2017 12:44:06 +0000 Continue reading ]]>
Santorini, Greece/ Courtesy of Shutterstock

Santorini, Greece/ Courtesy of Shutterstock

This week I was re-inspired by technology. It sometimes feels like we spend a lot of time criticizing or glorifying tech, and honestly neither of those descriptions seem or feel right most of the time. But Trickle Up, an international nonprofit, told me a story this week that reminded me of the basics of why technology applied wisely, in collaboration, and with great heart, can be the thing that transforms and improves so many aspects of people’s lives.

The story goes something like this: (via Trickle Up) 

As Lopamudra Manjhi unboxes her smartphone, a smile appears on her face. She delicately holds the phone in her hands, a little uncertain of what to do next.

Over the next couple of hours, she learns. Lopamudra then confidently demonstrates how to switch the phone on, make a call, take photos and videos, and keep it charged. In between, she also manages to take a selfie. “I can do so many things with it,” she says.
Lopamudra is among 1,800 participants in a pilot project, “Mobile Connections to Promote Women’s Economic Development” (M-POWERED), aimed at empowering women living in extreme poverty in eastern India with custom-designed mobile technology. With newfound access to information about weather predictions, market prices, and best practices in cultivation, women become more successful farmers and marketers, and are better equipped to meet their family’s basic needs.

Watch the video to see all of it in action:


Facebook is previewing new page templates for nonprofits. If you manage your nonprofit’s FB page, you might have received one or several notifications about it. Here’s a great post that explains it all.


How do you excel in a time when modern strategic communications is so rapidly evolving? This piece by The Communications Network talks us through this process: How to Build an Effective, Modern Communications Shop


Still looking for a Father’s Day gift? These fancy and soft socks from our friends at Conscious Step are a great option. I have a pair that I love and can tell you they definitely don’t stink – see what I did there? :) Through partnerships with three of the world’s most impactful organizations, their sock box supports the movement against illiteracy, supports solutions for the water crisis, and provides treatment for child malnutrition.


In case you missed it, earlier this week I wrote about The Hidden Magic of Conferences.


The title of this post made me laugh and the piece within is quite insightful.
How Many Times Can You Mail Your Donors Before They Rise Up and Kill You? Worth a read.


You’d Be a Better Communicator If You Weren’t So Afraid of Embarrassing Yourself is an interesting piece by the Science of Us that gives you some key takeaways, advice, and techniques applicable for anyone who has to give a presentation at work, or just wants to connect with their dinner date.


A thoughtful piece on how Diversity Without Inclusion Is Only Skin-deep, and can certainly be applied to nonprofit-landia, which can often pride itself on wanting and demanding diversity in the workplace, yet lacks the tools for proper integration and not just representation.


The 2017 Global Trend in Giving survey gives us a better understanding of how donors worldwide prefer to give and engage with nonprofits, NGOs, and charities worldwide. You can help out and take the survey here. They also shared their 2017 Global NGO Online Technology Report here.


Have a great weekend, everyone.

Caroline Avakian

SOCIALBRITE HEADSHOTCaroline Avakian, Socialbrite’s Managing Partner, is a global development communications strategist in the New York City area with a focus on strategic communications, innovation, PR, and content marketing. Caroline is also the founder of SourceRise, a digital platform connecting journalists to international NGO sources. Contact Caroline by email, see her profile page, visit her website, follow her on Twitter and Google Plus or leave a comment.

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The Hidden Magic of Conferences Mon, 05 Jun 2017 12:19:41 +0000 Continue reading ]]>

ntc crowd

Photo courtesy of JD Lasica/Nonprofit Technology Conference 2013


If you’re like me, you feel a little bit of dread right before you leave for a conference. All the work I’ve left behind, the accumulating emails and deadlines waiting for me when I get back, and leaving my family behind is never easy. Then there’s the dreaded conference fatigue. Also, trying to find conference session rooms in these maze-like hotels makes me feel like a lost child right before I enter a room where I’d like to feel empowered and oriented. Anyone else?


Between room disorientation, sessions, networking, processing of new information, socializing, and then getting back to your hotel late to catch up on work or emails – it’s a lot. So, it’s easy to lose sight of all the great things that are happening while you’re at a conference and the subconscious magic that can integrate into your thinking and work afterwards.

So what’s so magical about conferences? Below I’ve attempted to consolidate some of what happens at these events between the excitement, fatigue, session confusion, wonderful AHA! moments, and reunions with former colleagues and friends:


  • PROMOTES A LEARNING MINDSET – There’s something powerful about taking time out of a busy schedule to learn. Ask yourself what three things you want to get out of a conference before you go, and you’ll be setting yourself up for success.


  • CONNECTION – Conferences allow you to liaise, and form greater relationships with your peers. Ask yourself BEFORE you get there – who do I want to meet? Can I set up a time to connect with them before I even get there?


  • ELEVATED THINKING – Sessions often create conversations and introduce ideas that elevate your work and thinking around issues that pertain to your work, i.e. – women in tech, mentoring, and diversity. Ask yourself what themes interest you the most this year. What do you want to explore further? Choose sessions that make sense for what you’re there to do, but also make room for a at least a couple of sessions that are outside your comfort zone. You may be happily surprised.


  • SPACE – Conferences give you space and time away to integrate your current thinking with the introduction of new concepts. Jot down notes at sessions – less about of the actual content which you can likely retrieve from the instructor, but of the larger questions you may have about the session topic or how you can apply your learning once you leave the room.


  • INSPIRATION – Conferences are places to learn so much from others. This is also the time to dig below the surface. The time to ask bigger questions about important topics, your career, where the industry is going, and your place within it? Make sure you allow yourself the space to explore some of these ‘bigger’ questions. It will make the conference feel a lot more meaningful than just a bunch of sessions you attended over the course of three or four days. My favorite part of conferencing is the inspiration I take away from the work my peers are doing. It makes me want to go home and do better, and be better at what I do.


Did I miss anything else? Let me know in the comments!


 Caroline Avakian, Socialbrite’s Managing Partner, is a global development communications strategist in the New York City area with a focus on strategic communications, innovation, PR, and content marketing. Caroline is also the founder of SourceRise, a digital platform connecting journalists to international NGO sources. Contact Caroline by email, see her profile page, visit her website, follow her on Twitter and Google Plus or leave a comment.

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 UnportedThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported.

Your Donor Sweetheart + My Nonprofit Comms Edit Fri, 02 Jun 2017 13:18:14 +0000 Continue reading ]]>


Today is my 10 year wedding anniversary and it got me thinking about how we value and place importance on anniversaries. That the action of acknowledgement is important. It recognizes a significant commitment and bond. It communicates that through the years, I continue to choose you. Pretty big stuff.

It then got me thinking about how we, as nonprofit communicators and fundraisers, celebrate our donor anniversaries. Do we do it? Is it a choice we make to not do it, if we’re not doing it? And what would that anniversary “love letter” look like?

Here are some thoughts on how I might approach the messaging of that “love letter”:

  • Congratulations on your first donation anniversary! We know that first donation took some faith in us and we acknowledge and appreciate that.
  • Today’s anniversary date is important. On this day, we started a very important relationship. One we value tremendously.
  • Here are three ways in which your continued support of us has made lives better this year.
  • Your commitment to us through the years is never taken for granted, and we’re so happy you’re here with us today.

Do you know any organizations that send out great anniversary emails or outreach? Please let me know in the comments section below!


I manage a great learning and resource sharing Facebook Group called Nonprofit Communications Professionals. Come join us!


Still pouring through Mary Meeker’s essential 2017 Internet Trends report. HERE are the highlights.


Digital Credit: Can it really alleviate poverty? And how do we protect borrowers better?


Should Your Nonprofit Livestream Events? As more and more nonprofits dip their toes into livestreaming galas and other events, how do we decide what gets streamed and what doesn’t?


Why are so many of us in a rush to create new nonprofits and social enterprises and less resolute to collaborate or join forces with existing organizations doing the same or similar work? What can we do about this phenomenon and how can we be better together? This really thorough piece from SSIR tackles an issue we think about a lot.


These are pretty great and funny: 30 Creative Museum 404 Pages. From our friends at Hyperallergic.


Happy Friday!



Photo courtesy of Shutterstock/Mallorca, SpainCaroline Avakian, Socialbrite’s Managing Partner, is a global development communications strategist in the New York City area with a focus on strategic communications, innovation, PR, and content marketing. Caroline is also the founder of SourceRise, a digital platform connecting journalists to international NGO sources. Contact Caroline by email, see her profile page, visit her website, follow her on Twitter and Google Plus or leave a comment.

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 UnportedThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported.