April 25, 2012

Are you building an engaged community with content?

Image on BigStockPhoto by David523

Or, why your organization needs a content marketing strategy

Target audience: Nonprofits, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises, cause organizations, businesses, Web publishers, educators, journalists.

John HaydonYou understand that there’s more to engagement than simple small talk. You also understand that when folks are truly engaged, they tell their friends about the good work you’re doing, which is much more effective than if you told their friends.

So who’s doing a good job of creating an engaged community with content? Here are three examples:

1The American Cancer Society has created an entire community around achieving victory over cancer by talking about “creating a world with more birthdays.”

2Share Our Strength hopes to end childhood hunger by 2015. This mission is immediate, heartfelt and simply stated. Their people talk about the line they’ve drawn in the sand.

3Epic Change is talking about gratitude – not about their organization – and why you should donate.

Creating a content marketing strategy

Here are a few thoughts on creating a content marketing strategy. Please (and I do mean please) add your ideas in the comments.

  • Understand why they donate. The real reason. Not the one your board talks about.
  • Understand why they tell their friends. Maybe donating to your cause makes them look more altruistic?
  • Know what’s engaging the customers of your competition. Is there something they’re saying that’s not being heard?
  • Talk to your employees. Beyond the paycheck and benefits – what’s the real reason they show up every day at 8:30 am?

Continue reading

August 15, 2011

How to make volunteering fun and flexible

AARP foodbank volunteer


AARP’s Create the Good program provides volunteers with a variety of ways to give back

Guest post by Mimi Castaldi
Vice President for Volunteer Engagement, AARP

I like giving back to my community, but I hate getting locked down or doing things that I find boring. Helping others can be meaningful and fun and flexible. Millions of Americans, including those who already give back, want to do more, but a regular volunteer “slot” isn’t for them. It just doesn’t work in their lives.

That’s why AARP launched Create The Good, a resource for finding ways to get involved and help others on your schedule, whether you have 5 minutes, 5 hours or 5 days to spare.

Here’s how it works

  • Check out volunteer opportunities in or near your zip code. Create The Good features a searchable database of more than 200,000 volunteer opportunities — everything from reading to children and the visually impaired, welcoming home U.S. troops or helping at a soup kitchen and delivering hot meals, to visiting nursing home residents, walking dogs, gardening and even serving as a museum docent, along with much more.
  • Help a friend or neighbor cope with extreme heat, start a community garden, hold a used book sale, send books to the U.S. troops, prepare for an emergency, save money while shopping or improve their lives in other ways.
  • Find volunteers for your project. Not only can you search for activities in or near your zip code, but you can also look for other volunteers to help you with projects you organize.
  • Do good things on your own. We also offer more than 30 how-to guides and 10 videos to help you help others. These easy-to-use guides walk you through simple steps to help a friend or neighbor cope with extreme heat, start a community garden, hold a used book sale, send books to the U.S. troops, prepare for an emergency, save money while shopping or improve their lives in other ways. More than 20 guides are available in Spanish.
  • Tight on time? Check out our 5-minute ideas for giving back to your community in virtually no time at all: Easy things like giving up your seat on the bus so a family can sit together, sending a thank-you note to your local police or fire station or calling to check in on a neighbor.
  • Continue reading

April 14, 2011

LikeMinded: A new platform to connect leaders with ideas for local change

Guest post by Arthur Coddington
Craigslist Foundation

Over the past year, Craigslist Foundation has been working on LikeMinded, a new online tool for local change makers that launched Wednesday.

The idea is that people are doing great work in their local communities, but stories about their work frequently stay local or go untold. LikeMinded will collect stories of local innovations, success, and sometimes even failures and help information get where it needs to go, whether that is to other community activists, potential collaborators, or the media.

Last summer, Craigslist Foundation received a 3-year grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation’s Technology for Engagement Initiative to build and develop LikeMinded.

Who can use LikeMinded? Anyone who cares about their neighborhood or town. The service is free and no login is needed to discover local stories. LikeMinded was built especially for people who want to change something in their community but don’t know where to start. It’s also designed for leaders of successful community projects to get credit for their good work and inspire others. Craigslist Foundation has also been working with stakeholders in local communities (mayors, city managers, museums, libraries, communities of faith, local business, etc.) to spread their insights across the community and encourage greater collaboration. Continue reading

January 17, 2010

How to engage your blog’s community


This is part of the series 31 Day Challenge To Optimize Your Blog With Social Media.

Guest post by Danny Brown

There has been much written about what makes a good blog community. So I’m not going to talk about that today.

Instead, I’d like to offer some ideas on how you can best engage your blog community once you’ve started to grow one. The great news is, with social media it’s never been easier to really connect with your readers and visitors. And since I’m a big believer that even just one single regular reader or subscriber is a community, then even if you’re a new blogger this should help.

It doesn’t end with the comments

One of the most immediate ways for any blogger to engage his or her community is via the comments section. After all, this is where you should be spending the majority of your blogging time — yes, much more than the actual blog writing itself. Continue reading