September 2, 2014

7 tips for your nonprofit communications plan

strategy-dammit-large
Photo by J.D. Lasica

How to maximize and follow through on your communications goals

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

John HaydonIf you’re like most nonprofit communicators, you have a list of specific quarterly or yearly goals. No doubt they include growing your e-mail list, acquiring new donors and increasing engagement on your Facebook updates.

But whatever your goals are, make sure they cover these seven tips below:

Continue reading

July 10, 2014

8 ways to make social media matter

apps

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

Post by Nancy Schwartz
Nonprofit Marketing Problem Solver & Coach at Getting Attention.org

nancy-schwartz

Pressure. You feel it. I feel it. Every nonprofit communicator and fundraiser out there feels it. Social media pressure, that is.

Whether the source of this anxiety (Am I keeping up? Do I have a billion Facebook likes or Twitter followers? Is my Instagram strategy driving action?) is your immediate boss, board chair, or colleague in programs, it’s there. The pressure to generate a social media miracle.

Breathe—There Is a Solution

You can boost marketing and fundraising impact, and you can deflate that pressure. Here’s how:

1.  Get to know your people. Research, via online survey or calls, where your current supporters are when it comes to social media.

Continue reading

May 27, 2014

Using POST to create a social media strategy

Strategy_bigstock
The POST method is an easy-to-remember framework for creating your strategy.

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

John HaydonThere seem to be countless tools available for social media marketers. Tools for managing social media, measuring it, and even for creating content that looks amazing!
Yes, technology can seem like a godsend.

But if you don’t have a solid strategy, you’re going to waste a lot of money on a lot of tools that promise a lot of results.

What does a social media strategy look like?

The POST method (People, Objectives, Strategy, Technology) was originally coined by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff in their book Groundswell (Harvard Business Review Press) is a proven framework for developing a social media strategy. Continue reading

August 20, 2009

5 steps to a successful social media strategy

Amy Sample WardSocial media, as many have said time and again, is only part of your campaigning, part of your fundraising, and part of your communications. It isn’t something that lives in its own department, nor does it have staff that are separate from the rest of the organization. Just as the content distributed and conversations participated in are integrated into many different aspects of your organization’s work, so should the knowledge, access and responsibility to participate be integrated across your staff.

These 5 steps are intended to help you create a successful social media strategy, but as you will see, they focus on your organization’s overall strategy!

1. Goals & objectives

Evaluate your goals and objectives, as an organization. You will not be able to identify tools and engagement methods for your organization online without knowing the bigger picture and without knowing it in concrete goals that will let you build and work towards them. Hildy Gottlieb’s Pollyanna Principles are a great place to start if you want to learn more about how you can evaluate and identify your organizational goals (and larger view) in a way to successfully design projects, programs and even partnerships for real impact.

For more resources on goals & objectives:

Continue reading

August 6, 2009

Online community building: Gardening vs. landscaping

Amy Sample WardMy latest post is up on the Stanford Social Innovation Review opinion blog. You can read the post and join the conversation on SSIR or below, where I’ve republished the full post.

My current job title includes the term “Community Builder” and I get asked nearly every day just what that means: How do you build community? Where is the community you want to build? How can I be a community builder online? Tips, secrets, ideas?! I want to take a break from all the hard work building community (does that get a wink?) to share some of what I believe is the core of successful community building (on or offline).

“Community building” is about a lot of things. Some people define it as organizing, especially around specific events, campaigns, legislation, or fundraising. Others see it as specifically applying to online community spaces, like a social networking site. I believe that community exists everywhere, really. That the Internet is a huge community of people looking to connect with others like them to form smaller, more specific communities. Those of us in positions to support those connections and collaborations are some of the luckiest people in the global network, acting as the email or Twitter post or blog reference that helps individuals make networked jumps to where they really want to be.

Gardening vs. landscaping

So, what’s the secret to successful community building? You guessed it: Be a great gardener and avoid the temptation to landscape. Here’s what that means:

  • A gardener only takes out the weeds; a landscaper takes out everything that isn’t part of the design. Think about the number of beautiful plants or trees that have sprung up in parks, your yard, or even out in nature that weren’t “intended” to be there but quickly grew to be a valuable part of the ecosystem.
  • A gardener isn’t afraid to mix things around; a landscaper plans and plots and plants.  Sometimes you can’t know ahead of time just which plants will respond well or want more sun or shade so you need to be flexible.
  • When a storm hits, a gardener can remain open to planting anew and rejuvenating others; a landscaper may just order more of the same. Sometimes it takes a storm to realize which plants just weren’t going to make it or which were able to stick it out.
  • When in doubt, a gardener will try more plants or kinds of plants and see which take root; a landscaper may default to less. What about the plants you had never used before to know about and how they took root, flowered, and bolted up right before your eyes?

Clearly, this is all very metaphorical here with the back yard options. It is, though, meant to paint a picture:

The Gardener creates an ecosystem open to change, available to new groups, and full of fresh opportunities to emerge naturally. The approach is focused on organic collaboration and growth for the entire community. The gardener is simply there to help, cultivate, and clear the weeds if/when they poke up.

The Landscaper creates an ecosystem that matches a preconceived design or pattern. The approach is focused on executing a preconceived environment, regardless of how natural or organic it may be for the larger area. The landscaper is there to ensure that everything stays just as planned.

Your community

How can you apply these ideas to your community building? The first question I always ask myself when considering a new tool or functionality online, a new project or campaign, or even new partnerships or members is: “Is this something the Community wants or something I want?” It doesn’t matter what I want, really. It matters what the Community wants. And how do you know if or what they are interested in? ASK! Be sure to always provide opportunities for your community members or those who come across your work to share their ideas about what they would like to see, how they’d like to connect with each other and how they would like to work with you. And when considering anything new, ask for feedback and share your ideas and plans ahead of time. You may be surprised, but your Community often has even better ideas than you!

What do you think? Do you have other ideas about successful community building? Have a great example or case study you want to share? Looking forward to more!

You can read the post and join the conversation on SSIR here.

July 31, 2009

Empowering youth with social media

Amy Sample WardRecently, Bebo hosted an all-day event for members of the No to Knives and Crime Coalition, as well as others working in the sector of positive youth engagement in London and beyond.  I want to share my slides and notes here for those who attended as well as for all those out there who didn’t.

My presentation (above) concentrated on a few case studies where certain technologies were the appropriate tools for engagement and aided work to connect, empower, and educate youth communities.

There are really just so many great examples for this topic.  If you are looking for more examples about social media and communications technologies applied to youth empowerment, here are some additional links/groups to check out:

Continue reading