June 25, 2013

Engaging volunteers through social media

Volunteers

Content strategy basics for optimizing your volunteers’ contributions

Guest post by Robert Rosenthal
Vice President, Communications & Marketing, VolunteerMatch

robertrosenthalFrom designing volunteer opportunities, to recruiting new volunteers, to creating risk management policies, to screening volunteers, to recognizing great supporters, there are a lot of elements to successfully engaging volunteers with your organization. Not all of these elements easily translate to the social media realm.

However, there are two key areas of volunteer engagement – recruitment and recognition – that are such great matches for social media that it’s worth a second look no matter how your organization is structured.

Your big question is, why should you engage volunteers via social media? And another thing: How can you harness your content to work for you while doing so? Here’s my rationale for bringing together your social media and volunteer engagement strategies, and a few simple ideas for making it all work. Continue reading

October 30, 2012

How to recruit and manage volunteers

To get the most out of volunteers, start with plan

Target audience: Cause organizations, nonprofits, NGOs, volunteer centers, social enterprises.

Guest post by Susannah Vila

If you’ve completed some successful social actions, chances are you have an opportunity to bring some new people onto your campaign or into your program.

Begin recruiting volunteers, but remember how important it is to have a plan for managing them.

Assess your needs

1First, take some time to assess the needs of your organization and how you could use the help of volunteers. What type of support are you looking for?

Direct-service volunteers provide hands-on services such as general office support, serving as translators, helping with events and soliciting donations. Skilled pro-bono volunteers are individuals or company employees volunteering their professional skills like Web design, accounting and marketing. Continue reading

July 21, 2011

How to create a more social website

social media icons

 

Integrate social components into your site’s design and function

By Debra Askanase, Socialbrite
and Seth Giammanco, Minds On Design Lab

If you’re considering revamping your website to include social elements like the Facebook Like button, streaming from YouTube, or adding information from a social site through its API, it can be overwhelming to know where to begin. There are many ways to “get social,” and so many reasons for doing so. Primarily, it’s about creating a fundamentally engaging experience for the website visitor that brings them closer to your organization.

The process of considering how to get social starts with considering goals.

Why integrate social into your website?

Ask yourself: what do you want to accomplish for your organization using social media? Having a goal seeks to address why you might want to make your website social. By thinking first about the goals, you clear a path for the decisions around which tools you’ll use to get there.

There are five main reasons for integrating social media with your website:

  1. To build followers within the nonprofit’s social media spaces
  2. Create on-site engagement
  3. Develop a sense of community on the website
  4. Raise funds
  5. Create a call to action

In our review of many social websites, we noticed that some websites have at least two primary goals for placing social media on their website. Think about separating your goals into “priority” and “lesser priority.” Don’t be afraid to begin with one or two primary goals, while testing frequently at the outset to see whether or not your goals are being achieved. Gradually, you can add more social media integrations as your initial goals are achieved.

Categories of integration

Categories of integration address what you might do to meet your goals, and how you would do it. While reviewing websites, we specifically looked at the different types of social media that organizations were integrating into their websites. We categorized the (almost limitless) social media integration possibilities into six categories:

  1. Show
  2. Share
  3. Interact
  4. Co-create
  5. Authenticate
  6. Open source

Each category is exhibited by different tools, technology, and/or approaches. Here are some examples of categories and how they might be implemented within a website:

  1. Show – Recent Tweets, Likes, Comments
  2. Share – Like & Tweet Button, E-Card, Fwd to Friend
  3. Interact – FB Live Stream, Hashtag (Tweet Chat), Comments
  4. Co-Create – Shared Content: Mapping, Mosaic, Wiki, Links, Games
  5. Authenticate – FB Login, Twitter OAuth
  6. Open Source – API

Some of the items above are simple widgets and plug-and-play doodads that allow one to take a little snippet of code and incorporate it onto a Web page. With services like Disqus, even complicated features like comments can be added to a page in literally minutes.

On the other end of the spectrum, there are uses of technology to create unique “co-create” opportunities, if not open opportunities, where content can be made available through APIs and syndication for others to use. Check out the Brooklyn Museum’s API documentation for some pretty advanced tech sharing. Continue reading