Redesigned site has a renewed focus on serving nonprofits’ needs
For the past several months we’ve been working behind the scenes on several design changes for Socialbrite that we’ve just unveiled.
We’ve been successful since our founding in May 2009 with becoming perhaps the Web’s leading knowledge hub about how to use social media for social causes and to advance nonprofits’ missions. Beyond our hundreds of tutorials and content-rich Sharing Center, check out our rankings in Google for these search terms: Continue reading →
Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises, businesses, educators, journalists, Web publishers.
I‘ve been bloging since May 2001. I don’t remember when I set up my first FeedBurner account, but it was probably not long after it opened in February 2004 — and well before Google bought it. FeedBurner provides custom RSS feeds and management tools to bloggers, podcasters and other web-based content publishers.
Back in the day, FeedBurner was the heaven-sent answer to setting up RSS feeds. Today, creating an RSS feed is still important, but every blogging platform worth its salt has RSS feeds baked in. Continue reading →
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:
Target audience: Nonprofits, NGOs, foundations, cause organizations, social enterprises, brands, businesses and their corporate social responsibility (CSR) divisions, video producers, Web publishers.
While 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:
Shonali Burke spoke at What’s Next DC on “Redefining PR in the 21st Century.”
Today we welcome two additional social media experts to join the Socialbrite team. Both bring outstanding credentials that will help Socialbrite expand its ability to share free content — tutorials, interviews, articles about tactics and strategy — while also offering their considerable talents to our network of experts who provide consulting services to nonprofits.
Let me tell you a bit about them — they’ve already made their mark in the nonprofit sector, and they now join a team that includes John Haydon, Sloane Berrent, Carla Schlemminger and Ken Banks.
Debra Askanase: Strategies that spur people to action
Debra Askanase, who also blogs at Community Organizer 2.0, provides social media consulting to nonprofits and businesses. Debra has worked for 20 years in nonprofit organizations in many positions, among them executive director, program director, fundraiser and community organizer. She holds a B.A. from Emory University and an M.B.A. in International Business from Bar Ilan University in Israel.
Debra will be taking on a top editorial position at Socialbrite and will be collaborating with us on client projects. In her consulting work, she’s passionate about working with nonprofits to create engagement strategies that move people to action. As a former community organizer, she believes that the best online strategies reflect community organizing principles: Be where your stakeholders hang out, nurture leaders, be transparent and inclusive, create integrated campaigns with your stakeholders not for them, and foster community. Debra has lived in the United States, Nicaragua, Vienna and Israel. Follow her on Twitter at @askdebra.
Shonali Burke: Community-building strategies
With small and large agency experience, as well as a stint as the ASPCA‘s Vice President of Media & Communications, Shonali Burke understands the challenges faced by small and large organizations alike when it comes to building community. Rather than dive straight into tactics, she works with clients to help them identify their strategic goals and builds their integrated communication plans based on measurable objectives. Her client roster includes/has included the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery and USA for UNHCR (the UN Refugee Agency).
How to convey a powerful message with videos & photos
Target audience: Nonprofits, social enterprises, NGOs, foundations, cause organizations, Web publishers, small businesses.
As regular readers know, I’ve been a longtime proponent of visual storytelling to advance the missions of nonprofits, cause organizations and businesses. (Heck, I co-founded Ourmedia.org before there was a YouTube.) People take action on behalf of a cause only when they feel an emotional connection, and yet nonprofits in particular are famously bad at telling their own stories.
What we tell people in our Socialbrite bootcamps and in our consulting work is this: Every nonprofit is now a media organization (the same goes for social enterprises and businesses). Never before have the tools of visual storytelling been so inexpensive, easy to use and accessible to the masses.
So why aren’t you taking advantage of visual storytelling yet? (Or are you? Tell us in the comments!)
There are dozens of ways to convey your story, and we’ve laid out lots of ways to get started — see the links at the bottom of this article.
Today we’d like to highlight a few best-of-breed examples of visual storytelling so that you can think about how to take a similar approach for your organization. At least one of the examples cited below should trigger an insight — an idea that resonates or an approach that you might consider using with your team or with a production partner.
Find people who encapsulate what your core objective is all about — and convey their stories with power, genuineness, passion and humility
Remember, it’s not about the tools or the technology. It’s about finding people who encapsulate what your core objective is all about — and conveying their stories with power, genuineness, passion and humility. Some can be elaborate productions, with narration, titling and musical score all working together. Others can be as simple as holding up a video-capable smartphone to capture a moment.
One you have a visual story, or several, that you can draw upon, you’ll be able to begin using it in your public outreach: on your website or blog, on your Facebook page, in your annual report, in your email newsletters. And don’t forget to enter contests like the DoGooder Awards, TechSoup Storytelling Challenge or CurrentTV’s just-ended The Current Cause, where $15,000 in prizes will be awarded.
Here are seven great examples of nonprofit storytelling:
And here were the 2010 winners. Observe how other organizations are telling their stories — which style did you like: earnest, funny, polished, grassroots?
2/ Digital stories using photos & narration
“Mountaintop Library Expands Horizons,” by Room to Read
digital storiesI’ve been involved in the digital storytelling movement since 2004. A vastly underutilized medium, digital storytelling uses photos, video, film or found materials, combined with voice-over narration, to convey powerful, evocative stories with a rich emotional dimension.
The first place winner, Mountaintop Library Expands Horizons, by Room to Read (embedded above), took advantage of visually stunning photos taken in Nepal and weaved together a simple 60-second story about the San Francisco nonprofit’s global literacy mission. Nicely done — with no video at all. This is something your organization can do on its own, no? Continue reading →
Thanks to everyone for your support this year! (Don’t forget to follow @Socialbrite on Twitter!) We’re now working with a number of nonprofits and educational outfits — TechSoup Global and Scholastic, to name two — and looking forward to helping others with their social media needs in the months ahead. Continue reading →