Target audience: Cause organizations, NGOs, nonprofits, foundations, social enterprises, political reformers, educators, journalists, general public.
Over the past three years, as regular readers know, Socialbrite has put together dozens of guides and compilations of resources and tools for social change advocates. See the bottom of this article for a few, and our Sharing Center is all about social tools for social change.
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To celebrate Internet at Liberty, a conference on protecting protecting freedom of expression on the Internet that Google is organizing in Washington, D.C., this week — and where Socialbrite is running the social media workshops — we’re launching a new section today:
The Social Advocacy Toolkit features new and updated informational guides, tool roundups and resources for global activists, social good advocates, political reformers, NGOs and anyone looking to use online tools for social change. It includes tactics for effective campaigns, guides to the best monitoring and metrics tools (many of them free), lists of enabling platforms and organizations and other resources to help galvanize your campaign.
Below is a new guide that we’ve put together to help social change activists with their advocacy efforts, which we’re adding to the toolkit. Check out the Social Advocacy Toolkit for much more.
10 tools for activists & social change advocates
Asana: A leap ahead for productive teamwork
1Asana is a work-collaboration software suite that came out of beta in April 2012. “We built this company to change the world,” said founder Dustin Moskovitz, one of the co-founders of Facebook. Asana offers a simple, word processor-like interface to give people working together on a task a central place to discuss the project, share files and keep track of to-dos in real time. It’s free for teams of fewer than 30 users.
2You might remember our recent article on PopVox, an online service that individuals and grassroots organizations can use to lobby members of Congress on behalf of a cause. CEO Marci Harris founded the nonpartisan service based on her knowledge of how Congressional staffers interact with the public. For a cause to be effective, it has to be made concrete on behalf of or against a specific bill. PopVox helps you do that.
“Protect Our Defenders,” winner of the DoGooder Nonprofit Video Award among small organizations.
At NTC, expert advice on best practices in telling your nonprofit’s story
Target audience: Nonprofits, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises, cause organizations, brands, businesses, Web publishers, educators, video producers, storytellers.
If there was one buzzword at last week’s Nonprofit Technology Conference, it was storytelling. On Wednesday Debra Askanse wrote about our Future of Storytelling panel. And there were at least two or three other sessions about nonprofit storytelling.
One of the most informative was the session “Sight, Sound, and Motion: Video Storytelling and Using Video for Advanced Messaging” put on by Michael Hoffman and Danny Alpert of See3 Communications, which works with nonprofit clients to create compelling video stories.
Michael and Danny offered these tips on how to make your visual story work — and I’ll second all of these recommendations, since I know a little about video production.
Choose one message
1Here’s one of the biggest shortcomings of far too many videos. Settle on a single message — not three, not two. One. You don’t need to cram your organization’s entire message into a single video. Be selective. The more messages you include, the more muddled it becomes. Marketing folks have lived by this rule for decades.
Decide who you’re trying to reach
2You’re creating your video for a reason, right? It’s not to communicate to your staff. Or even to the public. “There’s no such thing as the general public,” Michael said. Target your audience and speak to them. Frame the story in a way that touches and appeals to those people.
Decide what you want them to do
3After you grab people’s attention, what is your call to action? You want to gently but forcefully direct viewers to take a specific action on your behalf. “How realistic is the ask?” Michael said. He pointed to YouTube annotations (see our article How to effectively use calls to action in nonprofit videos) as a great, underutilized mechanism to make your call to action crystal clear — in text form that pops up during the video. “Every one of you should be using annotations in your video in some way.”
One video with a great call to action — Protect Our Defenders (shown at top, with screen grab immediately above) — won this year’s Nonprofit Video Award in the small organization category for best use of video for the social good. At the end of the 1:45 video you’ll see a way to take immediate action, transporting viewers to the petition page or letting them share it on Facebook or Twitter. (This gets a little technical: You add 15 to 20 seconds at the end of the video with these “buttons” hot-linked to your pages; only certain kinds of software can pull this off.) Continue reading →
Today my Socialbrite partner Shonali Burke and I are giving a presentation to NGOs (nongovernmental organizations) at the United Nations.
Back in November, an invitation flew into our laps from Amine Lamrabat of the Civil Society and Outreach Unit (CSOU), Division for Social Policy and Development (DSPD), Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA). By gosh, when it comes to acronyms, nobody beats the UN!
The department is focusing in the new year on marshalling resources to combat poverty — quite a challenge, considering up to 80 percent of the world’s 7 billion people live in poverty or near-poverty conditions. (See stats from the World Bank.) So we tailored our presentation to highlight the work of some international nonprofits that are making an impact, especially in the developing world (or Global South, as some call it), including:
• Send a Cow, a UK-based nonprofit that is helping African farmers create a sustainable ecosystem and a process of paying it forward. Farmers who are helped, with training on how to grow crops in harsh climates, agree to pass that knowledge on to other farmers — along with a first-born calf. Send a Cow helps African farmers grow enough food to feed their families, sell their produce, start small businesses and rise out of poverty. They do a nice job with their website, produce high-quality videos and are growing a fan base on Twitter and Facebook, though we couldn’t spot any online fundraising or mobile efforts.
• USA for UNHCR’s Blue Key campaign, which Shonali is overseeing, has built a nice community over the past year, with occasional tweet-a-thons to raise funds, $5 per key, and awareness about the plight of refugees.
Water, the Web and high storytelling & production values
Target audience: Nonprofits, NGOs, foundations, social enterprises, cause organizations, businesses and their corporate social responsibility (CSR) divisions, video producers, educators, journalists, general public.
This is part three of our three-part series on how nonprofits can create engaging multimedia stories that motivate supporters to take a desired action. Also see:
With more than 1.3 million Twitter followers, 210,000 Facebook likes, and an extremely accessible and interesting blog called the charity: water log, the organization charity: water has successfully tapped the social media well, so to speak. We wanted to feature charity: water here because it is a nonprofit leader in social media and also because it embodies what it means for an organization to embrace all things multimedia.
charity: water uses multimedia to express heartfelt, character-driven stories about people affected by the water crisis
Stunning visual storytelling is the key to charity: water’s remarkable social advocacy and online fundraising success. In just five years, charity: water has brought clean, safe drinking water to more than 2 million people in 19 developing countries.
Mo Scarpelli, charity: water’s multimedia producer, recently sat down with me and shared some secrets to their success. Some 70 percent of their contributions come from online donations and online fundraisers, so it’s no wonder the organization puts so much love into its digital efforts. Scarpelli noted that charity: water’s digital storytelling drives their success – it’s how they connects and keeps in touch with their supporters. It helps that their founder, Scott Harrison, is a photographer himself and loves storytelling.
Who do they reach?
charity: water uses multimedia to express heartfelt, character-driven stories about the water crisis and the projects their donors are helping to support. Scarpelli explained that given the wide selection of content available online, website visitors are likely to tune out if their visuals are not compelling and professional looking. Crafting stories in an interesting way that people can connect with has really paid off for the organization and the people it serves. Continue reading →
We’re kicking off our new series on how nonprofits can make the best use of Twitter with a roundup of organizations that showcase a strong voice in the community. Below are eight popular nonprofits on Twitter today as well as an overview of their varying styles and strategies.
These organizations are successfully using the following approaches. They:
Support other nonprofit Twitter users with Follow Friday.
Quote well-known and well-respected voices.
Write concise “teaser-style” tweets that link back to their main website.
Make ample use of hashtags or create their own.
Ask questions that engage their followers.
Use human interest stories.
Respond to tweets that mention their organization.
1With 1.3 million followers, charity: water is the first Twitter result when using the search term “nonprofit.” The organization’s focus is clear and so are their tweets, many of which focus on celebrating individual supporters, small donors and partners. Tweets feature a compelling teaser, which links back to their website.
The Gates Foundation
2The Gates Foundation makes ample use of hashtags and actively participates in “Follow Friday” (hashtag: #FF), a practice which builds a sense of community around their cause and can be seen as a type of online partnering. They utilize a “Photo of the Day” that links back to their site, a tactic which is also used by Charity Water. If anyone has ideas on properly using Twitter, it’s probably Bill Gates.
The Humane Society
3The Humane Society originated the popular hashtag #FelineFriday, which encourages people to post photos of their cats. The tag is so popular that I sent them a tweet asking if they had come up with the concept. They replied to me within two days, which means that they’ve also got a crack team checking on all their @replies — another big plus!