July 13, 2015

WordPress Tags And Categories – The Ultimate Guide For Nonprofits

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john-haydonWhat exactly are WordPress tags and categories? What purpose should they serve for the reader? Should they each just be one word? How do tags and categories relate to each other? And what does all this mean for SEO?

What’s the Difference Between WordPress Tags And Categories?

Categories are like the aisles in a grocery store and tags are like the ingredients in the various different foods. Chinese chili sauce is only located in the ethnic foods aisles, but garlic (an ingredient) is found in the chips aisle, the frozen dinners aisle, and the vegetable aisle.

Tags (ingredients) link together all of your posts (food items) across your categories (aisles).

According to WordPress, tags “make it easier for people to find your content. Tags are similar to, but more specific than, categories.”

Categories and tags also influence how your blog posts rank in search engines.

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July 10, 2015

Nonprofit Case Study: Periscope for Nonprofits

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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.

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July 2, 2015

Periscope for Nonprofits: A Quick Guide & Review

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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?

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June 1, 2015

25 Nonprofit Twitter tips from the pros

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  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

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April 28, 2015

How social media platforms are responding to the Nepal earthquake, and how you can help

 

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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”.

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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.

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April 21, 2015

5 Communications Lessons Learned Working at an Anti-Poverty Nonprofit

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This post was originally published in the Huffington Post. Photo courtesy of Trickle Up.

By: Caroline Avakian

The United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are the world’s targets for addressing extreme poverty in its many dimensions. The MDGs target date expires this year, and as we collaboratively build out new goals for the next 15 years, it will be critical that nonprofit communicators in the global development sector build on what we’ve learned as well. So it got me thinking about what some of my lessons learned were after almost five years working at Trickle Up — an international organization that empowers people living on less than $1.25 a day to take the first steps out of poverty, providing them with resources to build sustainable livelihoods for a better quality of life.  Continue reading