September 12, 2012

How to use social media to reel in big fish donors


Image by Canolais on Flickr

Techniques to lay the groundwork before approaching prospects

Guest post by Geri Stengel
Ventureneer

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, foundations, NGOs.

Many nonprofits already use social media, including mobile, to raise money among individual donors. Small donations add up, as Mark Hanis found. His first Facebook campaign raised $250,000 in 2005 for Genocide Intervention Network, now known as Endgenocide.org.

But few nonprofits use social media to build relationships with potential big fish donors. Yup, you can target and build these important relationships by engaging with them through LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. The relationship starts online, but the “ask” happens offline, perhaps on the phone, but most likely face to face.

Building these relationships is hard work, but the benefits are enormous. Effective social media outreach takes at least 25 hours of staff time per week, according to the Ditch Digital Dabbling research report. Hanis has tips for those willing to undertake the task, based on his experience as head of the Genocide Intervention Network:

1Identify prospects using annual reports and gala invites from nonprofits working in that sector, which are among Hanis’ favorite methods. The Foundation Center also recommends reading press releases from nonprofits announcing donors as well as newspapers, magazines, etc. They also recommend using database such as WealthEngine or DonorSearch. The Foundation Center subscribes to DonorSearch so you can use this for free from their library.

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August 29, 2012

How crowdsourcing can help your nonprofit

 

Best practices to help you leverage the power of the crowd

Guest post by Soha El Borno
Idealware 

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises, businesses, general public.

Crowdsourcing can help you harness the crowd to increase awareness, cultivate new volunteers, gather information and even get work done — all for a minimal investment. How can you put it to work for your nonprofit or organization?

Since the earliest days of the Internet, people have used it to solicit and organize groups of people to participate in projects in small ways. Called crowdsourcing, this process can be done in a number of ways and used for a variety of goals.

In an early example of the practice, nonprofits would post questions to a Usenet discussion board to seek answers from the community — for instance, asking how to write a particular policy, or for recommendations about recognizing and rewarding volunteers. That “open call” approach is what distinguishes crowdsourcing from outsourcing, in which you’d send a task to a specific person or organization for help.

Crowdsourcing can be done at an organizational or individual level, and nonprofits have used it for everything from marketing and fundraising to volunteerism and activism. It’s a great way to enlist help from a wider community knowledge base, and to engage people in your work.

In the last few years, the rise of social media and new technologies made it easier to reach and engage a broader audience. But how can your organization harness the power of the crowd to help achieve your mission? We asked nonprofit experts and professionals for crowdsourcing best practices and techniques that have worked for them.

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January 9, 2012

‘Giving 2.0’ chronicles changing face of charity


Image by Yodel Anecdotal on Flickr

JD LasicaThe world of charitable giving is undergoing its most radical transformation ever. As philanthropy has become democratized through the Internet and social media, Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen offers a timely, clear-eyed and inspiring assessment of the charitable landscape in her new book “Giving 2.0: Transform Your Giving and Our World” (Jossey-Bass).

Arrillaga-Andreessen brings an impressive set of credentials to the table: A philanthropist, educator and social innovator, she founded the SV2 Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund, directs the Arrillaga Foundation and is president of the Marc and Laura Andreessen Foundation. (You’ll remember her husband, Mark, from his pioneering work as co-founder of Netscape.)

In “Giving 2.0” the author sets out a personal, accessible account of her involvement in philanthropy as she challenges traditional assumptions about who can be – and should be – a philanthropist. In several chapters, she chronicles her own personal odyssey in the philanthropic world (“instead of establishing an organization designed to make money, I wanted to create one to give it away”) and offers accounts of people charting their own course in this new realm.

Technology, she writes, has brought charitable giving to an astonishing new place: “Through technology you can raise your hand for a cause, and get other people to raise their hands with you. You can create a spark of social consciousness and watch it catch fire across national, or even global, communities.”

I was particularly glad to see her single out the work of Jolkona, a nonprofit that is at the forefront of this wave of one-to-one philanthropy. (See my interview with Jolkona founder Adnan Mahmud.) She also gives a shoutout to Catchafire, a startup that matches professionally skilled volunteers with nonprofits and social enterprises. (See my interview with Catchafire’s Jane Slusser.) Continue reading

November 30, 2011

How to effectively use calls to action in nonprofit videos

Getting your supporters to take the next step when your video ends

This is part two of a three-part series on how nonprofits can create engaging multimedia stories that motivate supporters to take a desired action. Part two describes the use of call-to-action video overlays to boost ROI. Also see part one:

Creating compelling advocacy videos for nonprofits

Target audience: Nonprofits, NGOs, foundations, cause organizations, social enterprises, brands, businesses and their corporate social responsibility (CSR) divisions, video producers, Web publishers.

Lauren MajorWhile the audience for online video continues to grow, the advances in Web video technology are changing at a dizzying pace, making it hard for nonprofits to keep up. There are several good online video platforms and third-party apps available to convert views into actions. YouTube’s call-to-action video overlay, third-party video apps and customized video domains or microsites offer great options for boosting the return on investment of your nonprofit’s video program.

YouTube’s call-to-action video overlay

The effectiveness of your message is cut short if you don’t use a clickable call to action that takes visitors to your site or Twitter page to make a donation or to take another action.

Most nonprofit Web videos make mention of their organization’s URL either verbally or with graphics edited into the video. But the effectiveness of your message is cut short if you don’t include a clickable call to action that takes visitors to your website, Facebook Page or Twitter page to make a donation or to take another desired action.

YouTube’s nonprofit program offers two such call-to-action video apps that can be easily implemented: overlays and annotations.

If your nonprofit is not already part of the Google for nonprofits program, consider applying. The free program offers many benefits and can become a center for creating effective calls to action and engagement:

  • Free or discounted version of Google Apps for your organization
  • Premium branding capabilities and increased uploads on YouTube
  • The option to drive fundraising through a Google Checkout “Donate” button
  • The ability to add a call-to-action overlay on your videos to drive campaigns
  • The ability to post volunteering opportunities on the YouTube Video Volunteers platform
  • Free Adwords advertising

Examples of video calls to action — in action

Here are a few examples of how nonprofits have incorporated overlays and annotations to drive a specific course of action.

This Angry Kid Greenpeace video is heartfelt and does a great job delivering its message. Unfortunately, the creators stop short by simply offering engaged viewers the opportunity to visit their website at the end with no actionable link:

 

The Darius Goes West video takes it a step further and adds a call-to-action overlay to visit Darius’ Twitter page as part of the YouTube player:

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September 27, 2011

Techniques to add dazzle to your advocacy video

Matanya’s Hope tells stories of Kenyan schoolchildren through photos & video

Lauren MajorMultimedia storytelling can be an incredibly powerful tool for your organization to attract funders, motivate volunteers and demonstrate the power of your message.

Our friends at Matanya’s Hope asked us to create a visual story for their nonprofit by seamlessly blending photos and video footage that they have captured over the past several years with original interviews, music and graphics we developed.

Founded in 2005 by Illinois native Michelle Stark, Matanya’s Hope is a nonprofit dedicated to educating children in Kenya. Last summer I accompanied Michelle to Matanya Primary School and saw the destitution these children and their families face: severe poverty, hunger, lack of clothing. And I realized why Michelle is dedicating her life to this cause.

For nonprofits and other organizations looking to capture their stories through powerful imagery, here are some simple tips for creating professional-looking video:

  • Use “b-roll” (stills & video)
  • Incorporate stock music
  • Use narration or background sounds
How to incorporate b-roll

By using B-roll – still photographs and short video clips referencing what the interviewees are talking about – you can make the video much more interesting than by solely using “talking heads” (straight interviews of people talking without any additional footage). As we are hearing Michelle talking about the children with “no shoes and torn and tattered clothing,” the still photographs visually reinforce what the interviewee is saying. B-roll also allows us to edit the interviews without a noticeable cut (“jump-cut”) in the action or picture on screen.

Use background music to add texture

Background music was also selected to set the mood of the video. Royalty-free music can be purchased online from a number of stock music websites for a modest charge. One of my favorites is Triple Scoop Music. There are also a slew of free sites offering rights-cleared music, generally using Creative Commons — see Socialbrite’s Free Music Directory. Continue reading