Socialbrite Social media for nonprofits Thu, 12 Sep 2019 18:15:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Socialbrite 32 32 How to attract the best volunteers for your nonprofit Thu, 12 Sep 2019 08:30:55 +0000 Every nonprofit organization knows how much volunteers can help advance your mission. Here are nine tips to help nonprofits attract and retain the best volunteers for their cause.

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Melissa MauroEvery nonprofit organization knows how much volunteers can help advance your mission. But attracting qualified volunteers can be a daunting task. The last thing you want to do is bring aboard eager but untrained volunteers whose involvement is more trouble than it’s worth. That’s a lose-lose proposition.

To take advantage of the grassroots energy for your cause and put it to good use, I put together this guide to help any organization looking to attract the best volunteers for your cause in nine simple steps.

Write a solid volunteer job description

1The first step is straightforward. Write the job description for a volunteer role just like you might craft any other job description for your team members. It’s important to attract recruits whose goals align with yours and who’ll be satisfied with the role they play. Include as many details as possible so the person can see whether she’d be a good fit.

When I did so on behalf of one of my nonprofit clients, I also focused on the key skills the volunteers needed to have. You don’t want someone whose skill set doesn’t meet the requirements of the position. Consult with department heads to determine where a volunteer would have the most positive impact.

Plan the onboarding process

2It’s also a good idea to consider creating a volunteer handbook. I didn’t make one myself at the beginning but then learned that it could actually be very useful. This will, however, depend on the resources available to you.

Alternatively, there is the option of creating a formal in-person training program. The point in any of the paths to take is to get the recruits on board with what the organization is about and what cause it’s working toward.

Identify the best recruitment method

3Determining the recruitment method is no less important. There are a variety of such methods, so it was crucial for me to know who I want to recruit and what they will be doing in order to understand how I will be doing it.

After I completed step one and two, I had a general idea of which recruitment methods wouldn’t work for me. In my case, I knew that I needed younger people to volunteer for me, so I decided to use social media to spread the word about my organization and the cause we were working for. The target audience influences the recruitment method.

Use your social networks

4Before I started actively looking for volunteers with the help of the job description I created, I first decided to check if there was anyone in my social network who would be interested. And I was right because there were, indeed, people who gladly volunteered for some positions I was looking to fill.

Sometimes, the best candidates could be very close and we just don’t pay enough attention to realize that. I asked my colleagues, friends, and even family members. Then, I asked my current volunteers, clients and individuals who were affected by the problem I was trying to solve.

Not all volunteers are alike, so make sure you’re targeting the ones who have the best fit for your nonprofit’s needs. (Photo by Daniel Thornton / CC-BY)

Target the right volunteers

5Once I filled in some roles after asking around, I started looking for volunteers directly. I first looked in schools and universities as they are usually full of enthusiastic young people. I got in touch with the Student Service departments of such institutions in my area.

I also asked some local businesses, clubs and community groups. I found some volunteers at these places, too, as there are always many companies looking for opportunities. Company volunteering is a very popular practice.

Offer opportunities online

6While my first two methods of looking for volunteers were effective, I still wanted to find even more potential candidates. This is why I decided to look online and offer opportunities there. But unlike the first two methods, this one had its own advantages.

Looking for volunteers online can help find the professionals who can’t be found by simply asking around. Most employees in serious companies don’t have enough time for volunteering, so reaching them online is a better approach than doing so in person.

Explore small-scale volunteering

7Small-scale volunteering or micro-volunteering is based on the concept of people being able to volunteer for smaller periods of time to perform fewer tasks. This idea of micro-volunteering has gained popularity in recent years, so it’s worth trying out.

The aim of micro-volunteering is to make the whole process of volunteering easier. People are given a series of small tasks that they can complete at any time and places the way the volunteers themselves want to.

Nonprofit organizations get many opportunities from micro-volunteering as the tasks they offer can range from spreading a petition to collecting rubbish in the local park. It doesn’t take too much time and doesn’t place as much of a demand on the volunteers or the organization.

Set out the expectations for the position

8To make the volunteers in my organization happy, I clearly communicated my expectations to them. Sharing the expectations about the project you are working on is essential for the volunteers to feel like they are valued and to understand the cause they’re working on behalf of.

Every nonprofit has its own expectations and predictions about what will be the result of its actions and campaigns. These concepts about the future must always be shared with the volunteers so there is a clear aim in their heads.

Make it enjoyable & monitor their performance

9The secret ingredient to making the volunteering enjoyable is to make it fun and pay attention to your recruits. It’s important to get down to business in the right moments. However, joking around and enjoying the job is also a part of the process.

It’s crucial for the volunteers to be happy about working with the nonprofit. This will make them come back to help in the future. Returning volunteers are just as important as new recruits because they can teach the latter ones all they must know.

Final thoughts

It’s not that hard to attract volunteers for a good cause as long as there is some value to offer in return. This method worked for me and I am sure it will work for others who encountered the same challenges while looking for volunteers for their nonprofit organization.

Melissa Mauro is a freelance writer who is currently working for the company The Word Point in the translation department. She wants to find new platforms for professional growth and thinks that nonprofits rock!

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8 top nonprofit online campaigns that rocked social media Thu, 15 Aug 2019 08:06:43 +0000 Socialbrite looks at eight outstanding examples of nonprofits that have run social media campaigns that moved the needle to further their cause.

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first world problems

How these nonprofits cracked the code with engaging campaigns that turned followers into donors

Post by Zoe Allen

zoe allenSocial media is proving to be the future of nonprofit outreach. No other platform offers the same huge global reach for promoting awareness of important issues that too often elude the public’s attention.

Some nonprofits are doing a stellar job in creating social media campaigns that are engaging, inspiring – and effective. Below are some outstanding examples of nonprofits that have run social media campaigns that moved the needle to further their cause.

Here are eight top cause campaigns to be inspired by … and to learn lessons from.

Make-A-Wish’s YouTube Channel

1The Make-A-Wish Foundation has become a household name in recent years with its unique goal of fulfilling the wishes of ill and vulnerable children, from visiting Disneyland to meeting celebrities. They have their solid social media presence to thank for their success, too.

Make-A-Wish is all about personal stories and experiences, which makes compelling content that people really want to know about. It’s also a major driver of converting supporters to donors. The organization uses YouTube videos to show the world these interesting stories, driving support for their cause. As a result of their inspiring content, they have grown into a household brand and can help thousands of children fulfill their wishes.

Explore Make-A-Wish’s YouTube channel.

This video by WATERisLIFE has garnered more than 7 million views.

WATERisLIFE: #firstworldproblems

2Here’s a great example of how you can use hashtags, images or ideas that are already popular across social media to further your nonprofit.

The best campaigns make fundraising fun and engage supporters in an interesting way

WATERisLIFE used the already viral hashtag #firstworldproblems to undergird an emotion-laden video. In the video, people in dire, life-threatening situations, such as having no access to clean water, repeat common “first world problems.” It highlighted the privilege of the hashtag users and the power to use social media to do true good.

The organization ensured that this popular hashtag, even after its campaign had ended, would continue to remind people that they could help others. In addition to using this hashtag, their First World Problems Anthems video was also shared and viewed thousands of times.


Project Life Jacket

3Project Life Jacket used a unique visual idea to catch their supporters’ attention. Three Swiss organizations (The Voice of Thousands, Borderfree and Schwizerchruz) interview nine refuges who had travelled across the Mediterranean, then beautifully illustrated their stories on used life jackets that had washed up on beaches.

The campaign reminded supporters that each refugee was a person with a past and a story — and more than their refugee status. When supporters understood the refugees’ stories, their empathetic response turned into action. Like Make-A-Wish, the approach shows how well supporters react to personal stories on social media and the power of visual content on these platforms.

Take a look at the Facebook page for Project Life Jacket.

big tobacco be like

truth: #BigTobaccoBeLike

4This campaign shows the power of social media for spreading awareness of important issues, rather than just for increasing donations. Using a popular Internet phrase (“be like”), truth aimed to show the issues with social smoking and dispel the myth that smoking was acceptable if it was irregular. It explained how even if you only smoke at parties, you are still supporting companies that profit off fueling illness and addiction.

Social media has the power to destroy myths and spread the truth.

truth also leveraged the power of YouTube influencers, working with popular faces to produce videos that played off the kind of short-form content that propelled the popularity of the now defunct platform Vine. They leveraged humorous content along with the millions-strong audiences of these famous faces.

Like WATERisLIFE’s campaign, truth showed that using the trends and audience that is already out there is very important in social media marketing. Take a look at truth’s Twitter page, which has 126,000 followers.


WaterAid: #giveashit

5WaterAid’s campaign aimed to make a serious issue more fun. They asked popular figures to personalize and share a poop emoji and created a free app so anyone could create a personalized poop emoji. It aimed to add a more lighthearted tone to raise awareness about a serious issue that affects millions of people’s lives worldwide.

This campaign shows the importance of creativity and participation to engage your supporters and encourage donations. If something is fun, humorous or interesting, people are much more likely to share it, spreading the reach of your message and growing your donor base.

Read more about the campaign or download the app.


World Wildlife Fund: #endangeredemoji

6After World Wildlife Fund discovered that 17 endangered animals had popular corresponding emojis, it sought to translate the popularity of the emojis into donations. WWF encouraged supporters to retweet an image on Twitter, which in turn signed them up to donate 10 pence (about 14 cents) every time they posted one of the endangered emojis.

Like WaterAid’s campaign, it shows how powerful the use of emojis can be to engage supporters. Again, this project harnessed innovation and creativity to make engaging with a nonprofit more interesting for their donors.

Visit WWF’s Twitter page, or read more on the WWF website.


National Trust: #NTchallenge

7National Trust taps into the passion of its supporters and their beautiful photography to spread the word about its beautiful sites. They regularly run weekly challenges urging supporters to upload images, tagged to #NTchallenge, that revolve around a theme, such as “places that transport you back in time.” They repost the images on their profiles and choose winners for each category.

Like many of the other campaigns here, the #NTchallenge aims to make spreading awareness about their cause fun and interesting for their supporters. By showing how beautiful these places are, they can encourage more visitors, earning more donations, which can then be spent on the upkeep of their sites.

National Trust leveraged the beauty of imagery on Instagram for this project — see their profile. Again, this shows how important it is to use the individual strengths of each platform.

ice bucket challenge

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

8One of the most successful social media fundraising projects of all time, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge had thousands of participants, gained national press coverage and raised millions for the ALS Association.

Once again, this project focused on making fundraising fun, and engaging supporters in an interesting way. This challenge, spread across multiple social media platforms, dared supporters to throw a bucket of iced water over their heads and share the video online. As well as spreading awareness, the participants would then donate to the ALS Association and encourage friends to repeat the challenge and do the same. The prospect of humorous videos from friends allowed the campaign to spread quickly.

Read more on the ALS Association website.

Wrapping up

These campaigns show the importance of establishing a recognizable brand for your campaign. Try using hashtags to do this and to allow the campaign to spread quickly.

The list also shows the genius of using features already available or using a trend or hashtag that is already popular – such as in WaterIsLife’s #firstworldproblems campaign. You should also make sure you’re tapping into the possibilities of multiple channels with their different content types and audiences.

If you want to know more about social media for nonprofits, you can read our Ultimate Guide to Social Media for Nonprofits.

Ice Bucket Challenge photo by tenz1225 on Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)
Zoe Allen is a content creator and writer for Twenti, a digital marketing consultancy for nonprofits based in London.

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Video storytelling to amplify the impact of your organization Mon, 12 Aug 2019 04:36:31 +0000 By using the best attributes of both professional video and user-generated video, nonprofits can create a hybrid approach to creating video content with the service Storyvine.

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A screenshot from Storyvine, the guided video service.
A screenshot from Storyvine, the guided video service.

A scaled solution for nonprofits looking to create video content

By Kyle Shannon

Kyle ShannonStories are the lifeblood of social organizations. To a large degree, your ability to tell stories is directly proportional to your ability to succeed and grow. While charts and graphs of success are important, the stories of people you impact is the best proof there is.

Video is an increasingly powerful and in-demand way to share these stories, and yet a major challenge remains. How do you increase your ability to produce video content without dramatically increasing your budget?

If you want to create video, you effectively have two major options. There’s professional video, which is typically high quality but is limited in its scalability. It can be expensive, slow and logistically complicated.
On the other side of the coin is user-generated video, which seems great in theory. It’s authentic, often engaging and you can have as much as you want, since there are now billions of devices with high-quality cameras. The problem? User-generated video is completely out of your control, and the storytelling quality is unpredictable at best.

There is another option. Think of it as professional user-generated video. By using the best attributes of both professional video and user-generated video, you can create a hybrid approach to creating video content. Storyvine is a Guided Video platform that is designed to live in the space between the two worlds of Pro and User-Gen video, and will be discussed here, but there are numerous tools that can assist in the activities that must be managed to effectively scale video storytelling.

Here are two examples of Pro-UGC Video created using the Storyvine platform. The first video is from the National Association of Public Charter Schools:

Here is a grassroots presidential campaign video created with Storyvine:

Content strategy is key

Regardless of which tool(s) you use to create and manage your video content, it’s critical to understand that “more video” is not a strategy — video is simply a tool. Your content strategy should emerge organically from your goals as an organization. What are you trying to accomplish? What are your major initiatives? How are you measuring success? Who are your stakeholders and what do they need to feel taken care of and connected to the organization?

Answers to these questions will lead naturally to important content strategy questions. Who’s stories do we want to capture? Why will they share them with us? Who are the audiences for these stories? What are the communications initiatives we have in place that this video content could augment? And finally, whose job is it to create, capture, curate and connect these stories with relevant audiences?

Now you’re ready for the 4 C’s of creating video content in a scalable, sustainable way:

  • Create
  • Capture
  • Curate
  • Connect

Here’s a 3-minute video on how to create a video on Storyvine.

Step 1: Create the story program

Once you understand the kind of stories you want to capture, you can design everything from the kinds of question you want people to answer, to the visual design and branding of the videos that will be produced, to the communications you will share with your constituents to let them know their voice is important and might be reaching out.

By asking the right questions and eliciting a series of answers, you end up creating content that is consistent and well-structured. Here are some questions you might ask to get things rolling:

Intro: Share your name, location and why you got involved.

Q1: What was you most impactful experience with the program?

Q2: How has being involved with the program changed your outlook about it?

Q3: Give a shout-out to someone you engaged with who made a difference.

With Storyvine, we create a story template that consists of a VideoGuide (the coaching prompts) and a visual Storyboard of what the final video will look like. The video segments are captured via an iOS or Android mobile app that prompts the user what to say in a step-by-step capture process. The videos themselves are then “automagically” edited into a fully branded video within minutes.

Outside of Storyvine, you can use this same structured approach to improve the quality and consistency of your video content.

Step 2: Capture the video content

Because smart phones and tablets are so ubiquitous and contain high-quality cameras, you can capture content at events by having your team members capture the raw assets of answers to the prompting questions you created, or even have people film the clips selfie-style. There are a number of techniques to get the people you want to film to increase your ability to capture the stories you want.

Friends and close colleagues

With video, most people have a basic fear of looking silly. No one wants to go first. That said, once people see that others have done it and realize it’s socially safe, they’re much more willing to participate. So leverage the relationships you have with your friends, colleagues and even superfans whom you can cajole into getting the ball rolling. You can then show off their videos as examples for others to follow.


Even though events can be noisy and chaotic, they are also often high concentrations of people who’s stories you want to capture. With a little bit of pre-planning, your team at the event (or even volunteers who can be trained at the beginning of the event) can “wrangle” participants at the event and capture more content than you can imagine.

Here’s a good example that was captured an education-centered event:

A lot of Storyvine clients use events as the launchpad for creating their first video content.


We’ve had good success with clients creating “Video Challenges” where Person A films her story and then “calls out” Person B to film his. It works. So do friendly competitions for most creative stories.

Deadlines & assignments

Let people know they have one week to capture their content, and follow up with them one day before the deadline. Also, let Sally know that it’s her job to film two people this week, and hold her to it.

Build it into a process

This is by far the most effective approach. Let’s say you want people in your org to film testimonial videos. Build the video capture task right into the process, like so:

  • 1. Sign person in.
  • 2. Make sure person is taken care of.
  • 3. Sign person out.
  • 4. Ask if he or she will give us a testimonial.
  • 5. If yes, film him or her.

Another variation on this theme is something like “It’s Thought Leadership Thursday”… make the creation of content an event.

Step 3: Curate the stories

If you successfully increase the quantity of video content, you now have a new challenge on your hands. Namely, who is looking at what was created and what are the criteria to determine which videos should be shared far and wide.

Our experience has been that when you use a tool like Storyvine to increase the number of videos, not every video will be perfect — and that’s OK. We see a normal bell curve of quality with the videos that come into the system. If 10 videos are created, one might not be usable, most are fine to really good, and one or two are terrific, maybe brilliant.

The highest-quality stories can even be elevated and leveraged into other kinds of content, like compilation videos of the best soundbites for a website or gala presentation.

Here are two examples of compilations created from the structured approach to capturing content as I just described. Age of Agility is a four-minute short from America Succeeds:

I Stand with PP is a 75-second short that shows the power of Planned Parenthood:

Step 4: Connect the stories to relevant audiences

The final step is relatively straightforward. In a world with as many digital channels as we have today, there are increasing number of options where you might share your newly created video content. Short videos might be used as “snackable” social content on Twitter or Instagram. Videos longer than 60 seconds might live on your website or your YouTube channel. Business-focused social networks like LinkedIn are featuring more and more video, and it’s often longer-form video.

Especially when it comes to fundraising and development efforts, don’t be shy about sending a video link directly to a person whom you feel will relate to that story. “Here’s a story of one of our people I thought you might enjoy.” That kind of personal outreach and connection will go a long way to keeping donors engaged.

Experiment and see what works for your organization. Compelling video stories will drive social engagement, and when you find a kind of video that works, make more!

Kyle Shannon is the co-founder/CEO of Storyvine, a Guided Video platform and allows companies and organizations to create professional, authentic video content … at scale. You can find him on LinkedIn or on Twitter at @kyleshannon.

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How nonprofits can make the best use of YouTube Wed, 24 Jul 2019 19:15:05 +0000 Nonprofits need to be on YouTube to reach your target audiences. In this article, you’ll find out how to get ahead of the pack by implementing these step-by-step instructions and tips.

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In this video, representatives of Thrive DC tell how they’re using Google for Nonprofits to make an impact in the community.

Post by Jennifer Marr

Most nonprofits have a long history of relying on traditional media when they want to get the word out about a new initiative. While television, print publications and mailers remain a big part of the marketing game plan, nonprofits are realizing that their social media accounts are becoming increasingly important.

But it’s not all about just Facebook and Twitter.

Do you know what the second largest search engine after Google is? It’s not Bing or Duckduckgo or even Yahoo. It’s Google-owned YouTube. Nonprofits need to be on YouTube to reach your target audiences and move them to take action. In this article, you’ll find out how to get ahead of the pack.

Google and YouTube partner programs

As a nonprofit, you’re  in some luck when it comes to creating a YouTube channel. Alphabet, the parent company to both YouTube and Google, offers special nonprofit programs to help you achieve your goals.

These programs include Google for Nonprofits and the YouTube Nonprofit Program. They’ll help guide you through the process with the goal of building a long-term, stable subscriber base. Be warned, though, some of these programs are available based on region, so if you’re outside the U.S. they might not be available.

On channel and on video optimization

When putting together videos and your channel, you need to remember some basic optimization techniques. These are pretty simple, so let’s run down a quick list:

    1. Have titles that people will search for; especially questions
    2. Use appropriate tags and add a lot of tags
    3. Mention the main question or questions and  keywords as part of your video — the algorithm can convert audio to text
    4. Have a simple-to-understand and appropriate thumbnail image
    5. Write a good, detailed description, including these terms

    charity: water, part of the YouTube for Nonprofits program, created this video as part of its campaign around World Water Day in 2018.

    Quick tips to getting more subscribers

    The golden rules for building a following on YouTube are time, quality and most importantly consistency. Gaining subscribers and increasing engagement is not a given, but if you remember these three things plus the tips below, you can be successful. Here are some great tips on how you can gain subscribers:

    • Make your videos more personal. You’re a nonprofit, which means you’re part of a movement or cause. This can sometimes seem distant and unemotional to the user. Don’t let it be so. Engage on a personal level with your viewers. Make them feel valued. You’re not posting infomercials or television ads.
    • Host it yourself. Rather than using a professional voiceover artist, have someone from within the organization, preferably your executive director, president or marketing chief, hosting the videos themselves. This allows viewers to connect on a personal level with your brand and your cause.
    • Capitalize on trends and current events. As a nonprofit, you have to stay on topic and on brand, and you can’t get sidetracked by insignificant trends of the day or celebrity-driven news. But take a look at things like the trending topics on Twitter and stay on top of current events to see where you can hook into a topic that is top of mind for people.
    • Get feedback and improve. Creating YouTube videos is an ongoing, evolving process. Engage with your subscribers and commenters (the polite ones) and take constructive criticism to heart. Nobody is perfect out of the gate.
    • Post consistently. Grassroots activist Tim Pool, best known for livestreaming the Occupy Wall Street protests in 2011, posts three to five videos daily across three channels. As a result, he consistently gets a lot of views and high visibility in YouTube’s recommendation algorithm. Now, you probably don’t have the ability to go that far, but where possible post in a consistent manner, including at least once a week. The ideal would be every other day, or three times a week. Post at the same time as well so people know when to expect your content.
    • Consider live-streaming. Live-streaming is becoming increasingly popular, especially among younger people, so if you’re doing a live event that would generate interest by the public, it wouldn’t hurt to announce it on your channels in advance and to set up a YouTube Live account.
    • Let your viewers know they can subscribe. The YouTube community is actually divided on this one. Some will tell you to “like, comment and subscribe,” all of which help boost a video and a channel. Others grown on the practice. At the very least, it’s a good idea to have a visual reminder of a call to action at the end of the video or midway through.

    Connecting viewers to your site and cause

    The above list focuses on things you can do on your YouTube channel and in your videos to get more subscribers. However, you also have to think about your channel as part of a wider effort to increase engagement and participation. Think of it as part of a network. This can be divided into three areas: on channel, on site and in social media.

    On channel: Include links to your website and other social media in the description but also do so again in the comments, especially if you have a fundraising campaign you want people to contribute to.

    On site: Write quality blogs of more than 600 words, preferably double or triple that (yes, longer is better). A good post answers a question related to the topic of your video. Then embed the video into the blog post. You can easily embed YouTube videos in a blog, just hit the “share” symbol and you’ll find an embed option, copy the code and paste it into the html area (called “Text” in WordPress) of your blog service.

    In social media: Focus on the new video immediately upon its release by sharing it across your social media. Some social media platforms, like Instagram, will require you to re-format your videos, but it’s well worth the work to reach a wider audience. Re-share the video over the next few days. If it’s an evergreen topic, then you can re-share regularly in the future.

    Share the love to build a wider community

    YouTube is much like other parts of social media in that pure self-promotion does not go down well. Creators are part of a community, so be aware of YouTube viewers’ expectations. It’s good to get personal (see above) and to be part of the community and not turn your channel into a beg-athon. Champion other nonprofits, tag them on social media, give shoutouts, comment on their videos as your channel, and build the love.

    Do the same with individual creators as well, even those you might disagree with. It builds goodwill and engagement, plus in the future the influencer may be more willing to help you out pro bono.

    Now you have some tips on how to use YouTube as a nonprofit. It’s a great resource and should be part of your promotional arsenal and communications strategy.

    One last piece of advice: Just get started, get on with it, learn as you go and keep making content. Let us know how you’re doing in the comments below. Good luck!

    Jennifer Marr, a freelance writer with many years of experience in the marketing sector, is looking to expand her experience with the nonprofit sector and to help them grow.

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15 social media habits to boost your nonprofit’s marketing Mon, 22 Jul 2019 09:55:12 +0000 Before you jump into social media with your nonprofit, make sure you have a concrete plan on how to get the message across to your target audience. Here are 15 tips you might find useful.

The post 15 social media habits to boost your nonprofit’s marketing appeared first on Socialbrite.


Social media
Photo courtesy of Pixabay via Pexels

Post by Kimberly Grimms

Kimberly-GrimmsIf you’re working on behalf of a nonprofit, foundation, NGO, university or cause organization, you know that you don’t move the needle unless you have a marketing plan in place that propels people to take action on your organization’s behalf. And today a big part of your marketing toolset involves social media.

Because most people participate in at least one social media platform, nonprofits now have an easier and less expensive way to target and reach your stakeholders and constituents.

But before you jump in, make sure you have a concrete plan on how to get the message across to your target audience. If you’re planning to jump-start your social media presence for your organization, here are 15 tips you might find useful.

Set goals

1Before you start tweeting or Facebooking away, you need to identify your goals. What are you trying to achieve, and how do you measure success? If you’re trying to increase your organization’s engagement rate on Instagram, say, you should first set out a goal that’s specific (50 IG interactions), realistic (is it really possible?) and timely (in a month?). Once you establish a goal, you should track how you’re doing and adjust your processes to improve your results.  

Know your audience

2One of the most important steps in boosting your social media presence is knowing your audience. If you know who they are, you would know what their interests are and what type of content you need to share to reel them into your social media pages and your website. You’ll be better positioned to effectively engage them if you know what their proclivities are.

Know the platforms

3Knowing the audience gives you an idea what social media networks they spend time on. If, for example, your audience members are the “visual” types, you’re going to be more effective in engaging them through Pinterest or Instagram.


Photo courtesy of via Pexels

Be consistent with your content

4Post content regularly to build your social media presence. You don’t need to devote a full-time staffer to this, but your updates should be regular and not sporadic. Also, make sure your content is consistent with the services you offer so that your audience won’t get confused with what your organization is offering. Your social media team members need to be on message with your nonprofit’s mission and goals.

Create targeted content

5By “targeted content,” we mean posts that your target audience would find interesting. As the saying goes: content reigns supreme. That holds true with social media marketing as well. Make sure you’re not regurgitating boilerplate mission statements — you need to find human stories that represent what your organization is trying to achieve!

Repurpose top content

6Yes, recycling or repurposing content is not a bad idea — especially if the content garners a lot of attention the first time you posted it. If a blog or a video gets a lot of attention from one social media platform, you can use it to get more mileage in another platform that is not doing as well.

Make sure it’s not all about you

7As long as you stay consistent with your updates, you can increase your social media engagement if you share external posts that your audience might find useful or interesting. In other words, it shouldn’t be all about you. Post about your sector or interesting things happening in your world, not just about official organization business.

Influencing via influencers

8“Influencers” are experts or public figures who have large social media followings. Wooing them to promote your services would help in making your cause, fundraising appeal or big event known to a wider audience. Does anyone on your team know any figures with large followings? Ask them!

Photo courtesy of via Pexels

Engage your audience regularly

9Take time to reply to queries or solicit suggestions posted by the public to your Facebook page or other social media comment sections. Your followers should know that you spend time there and care about what they have to say.

Create a social media calendar

10There are lots of tools on the Internet that will help you manage your social media accounts more easily. (See Socialbrite’s Tools section.) This will also help in making sure you post updates on a regular basis.

Connect with other marketers

11Building relationships with other social media marketers can help foster a virtuous circle. This also makes it easier for you to get more ideas on how you can boost your social media presence.

Put more effort on visuals

12People are visual animals, which means that more people will likely check out your content if it looks great. So make sure to put more effort on the images you’re posting to attract your target audience.

Use hashtags

13Hashtags are a useful tool to make your content easier to find. This will also help with your branding. Did you now that Socialbrite has a free downloadable flyer on the subject?: 45 hashtags for social change (PDF).

Join communities

14Joining communities that are in the same niche as yours will make it easier for people to find your content, as communities usually allow their members to share posts on community walls. Also, you’ll be able to get the latest trends and news in communities.

Measure the results

15Last but crucially: Constantly check to see if you’re on track to achieving your goals. Are your efforts paying off or are they falling short? Only by measuring can you adjust course to be more in sync with what your audience wants and needs. The number of followers, likes, shares, comments, clicks and/or leads should be able to tell you if you’re achieving your goals or not.

There’s no denying social media is now a part of the modern landscape. Whether you work at or with a nonprofit, foundation, university, NGO or social enterprise, you should take advantage of this fact and use the free tools available to you. Over time, if used properly, social media can help advance your organization’s mission, and that’s the bottom line, isn’t it?

Kimberly Grimms is a new media strategist and author. Follow her on Twitter at @kimberlygrimms.

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10 mobile marketing mistakes nonprofits must avoid Thu, 16 May 2019 12:45:53 +0000 Are you a small nonprofit, or are you a marketer with a nonprofit client? Do you find it hard to hit the KPIs? We can’t blame you. Coming up with a proper marketing strategy for a nonprofit organization can be tricky because you’re not just selling a product, you’re also selling a cause.

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mobile marketing

Post by Aby League

Are you a small nonprofit, or perhaps you’re a marketer with a nonprofit client? Do you find it hard to hit the KPIs? We can’t blame you. Coming up with a proper marketing strategy for a nonprofit organization can be tricky because you’re not just selling a product, you’re also selling a cause.

But the rise of smartphones and mobile-focused marketing has made it easier for marketers — especially those working for nonprofits — to reach their audience. Whether or not you have a mobile strategy or are just developing one, you should be aware of these commonplace mobile marketing mistakes to avoid so that you can reach or even surpass your KPIs (key performance indicators).

Not having a sound mobile marketing strategy

There’s an old saying that goes, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” This applies to marketers who fail to come up with a sound mobile marketing strategy. With mobile marketing, there are tons of information at your disposal and, equally, a ton of ways to use the information you get. This can be used to gather more specific information such as the best time to send out marketing campaigns, custom content, and correctly targeting the intended audience for each nonprofit.

Sadly, a lot of nonprofit organizations take this information for granted and don’t maximize such resources, which leads to a failed campaign or strategy. It’s a notorious mobile marketing mistake that you should avoid.

For you to create a sound strategy, you need to create a solid marketing framework to build on. This can include a mobile-friendly website, creating customized content, and even go as far as using the analytics to come up with an effective schedule to send out campaigns. Or you could simply look at how Propelrr’s digital marketing works.

Failing to tailor content to your niche cause


You can post as many videos, images, quotes or as many emails you like, but if you don’t realize that not everyone can relate to the cause of your client’s nonprofit organization then you are doomed to fail.

As with any digital marketing framework, you need to segregate your audience into personas or categories that fit your client’s needs and niche. Knowing the who, what, when, and how of your audience will help you create personalized content and campaigns. This will also help your audience relate more, which then leads to a more successful call-to-action.

Not optimizing content for different kinds of mobile devices

By now, online marketers should know that the number of mobile device users has overtaken the number of desktop users. As such, Google has rolled out it’s mobile-first indexing, which sent web developers, designers, and even SEOs in a frenzy to adapt their websites and campaigns as fast as possible to get a jump on the competition.

Marketers aren’t exempted from Google’s new search algorithm. Their marketing material and email campaigns must comply with mobile-first indexing, not because it makes it easier to search. No, no. It’s actually due to the number of users who will view your campaigns through mobile devices. In this day and age, nobody wants to squint their eyes or go through the trouble of zooming in just to see the content. It’s either you will follow today’s standards or go home. Make sure your content works on various platforms.

Not all nonprofits need a mobile app


Photo courtesy of Rawpixels via

It’s no secret that gaining traffic for nonprofits is difficult even for seasoned marketers. What more if you want people to install and use a mobile app. Before you or someone suggests that your client’s nonprofit organization needs a mobile app, you might want to do a little research.

Your client might be spending money on an app that nobody will use. If that would be the case, then it would be wiser to invest in helping create a better, more optimized mobile website to increase the presence for your client on all mobile devices. But in case there are specific targets that can only be achieved through a mobile app, then invest in creating one that will increase the engagement with your nonprofit.

Failure to make use of the data

You cannot come up with a marketing framework that drives online success if you don’t use the data given to you. You can gather the information from practically every avenue your nonprofit client has such as social media analytics, website stats, and through email marketing. You can also do A-B testing with the data you get.

By digesting the information, you can easily find trends, see when your audience is most active, and figure out which marketing strategy works and doesn’t help your nonprofit client. It’s all about how much you can play with the information you gather.

Failure to include a call-to-action


Photo courtesy of Christina Morillo via

A lot of marketers — even those who work for nonprofits — fail to add a call-to-action because they hope the powerful message of their campaign materials will be enough sway people into supporting their respective causes

Unfortunately, you could have the best image or video in a marketing campaign, but without a call-to-action your audience will most likely leave after taking a look at the image or watching the video.

Even if you have a call-to-action, it should be placed precisely in such a way that it’s not intrusive or disrupts the user experience. Marketers can use a whole image as a link to a landing page or use the end of a video to help generate interest to click the link. A well-executed call-to-action can help your marketing framework drive online success.

Launching a marketing strategy without user retention in mind

Think of this: you’ve launched an awesome mobile marketing strategy to capture your audience’s attention. Now what? You can have all the goodies to get the audience behind your client’s nonprofit cause, but without a user retention strategy in mind you could be losing them as soon as they close the tab or email.

Keep your audience engaged by doing follow-ups, creating value in your mobile app marketing, keep your content updated, and provide great customer service. That way, your users keep coming back to your app or rally behind your client’s cause.

Marketing a nonprofit organization is a lot different compared to a business. That’s why knowing these mistakes will help you create a solid marketing strategy for your client with a nonprofit organization. After all, you’re not just selling a product; you’re also selling a cause.

Aby League writes on the subjects of marketing, technology and health. She lives in the Kansas City area. You can find her on Twitter at @abyleague.

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4 fundraising email blunders you should avoid Tue, 30 Apr 2019 14:57:15 +0000 For most nonprofits, the best ways to raise money online is with a fundraising email strategy (email revenue grew by 25% in 2015). Yes, your donation page is absolutely important in terms of converting donors, but email is the most effective way to send qualified prospects to your donation page. Email subscribers, by definition, have given you permission to […]

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John HaydonFor most nonprofits, the best ways to raise money online is with a fundraising email strategy (email revenue grew by 25% in 2015).

Yes, your donation page is absolutely important in terms of converting donors, but email is the most effective way to send qualified prospects to your donation page.

Email subscribers, by definition, have given you permission to tell them about your cause. Many times, they are waiting to be asked.

But are you asking effectively?

Here are four common fundraising email mistakes you should definitely avoid:

1. Blasting your list

All subscribers are not created equal.

When you blast your entire list with the same fundraising email, you risk alienating some of your most important supporters. For example, monthly donors and prospective donors should receive very different fundraising messages.

Tailoring your message for each audience will increase engagement and donations. This all starts, of course, with proper email segmentation.

2. Making it about you

Bragging about your nonprofit is not fundraising.

It’s easy to assume that people want to hear about your nonprofit since they joined your email list. But your nonprofit is simply an agent of change.

What supporters really want is to change the world in ways they care about. They want to be an active participant, not a sideliner.

Connect your donor to the impact by telling them what they did, not what your nonprofit did. Check out this example from ALS Worldwide:

3. Not welcoming new donors

Every time someone makes a donation, it’s the beginning of a relationship. You have to set the tone. You have to make a good first impression.

When someone gives, you should immediately thank them and reinforce the impact they just made. For example, check out this email from the Community Music Center of Boston:


4. Sending only one email

Email is very different from direct mail.

Direct mail is effective, quite frankly, because it sits around the house – on the kitchen counter, on the coffee table, in the bathroom. In other words, it creates a constant presence in the mind of the potential donor.

But email is very different. A single email is often deleted, ignored, or even unnoticed by potential donors. To create a constant presence about an appeal, you need to send multiple emails.

What else? What do you think?John Haydon delivers social web strategy solutions for “the quick, the smart, and the slightly manic.” Curious? Then visit the John Haydon blog, follow him on Twitter or leave a comment.

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How to write your best fundraising emails Mon, 25 Mar 2019 12:00:19 +0000 Whether face to face, by email, or with trained carrier pigeons, how you ask for donations makes or breaks your fundraising campaign (note: carrier pigeons are a guaranteed attention-getter). Your message, and how it makes your potential donor feel is mission-critical. If they feel nothing, they will give nothing.

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John HaydonWhether face to face, by email, or with trained carrier pigeons, how you ask for donations makes or breaks your fundraising campaign (note: carrier pigeons are a guaranteed attention-getter).

Your message, and how it makes your potential donor feel is mission-critical. If they feel nothing, they will give nothing.

But let’s face it, writing effective fundraising emails is not easy. But it can be done, if you follow a process to develop your own email messages. And if you’re patient.

8 steps to writing a good fundraising email

Here are eight steps you can follow to write or even rewrite fundraising emails for your next campaign:

STEP 1: Tell a good story

best fundraising emails - charitywater

A good story is the foundation of any effective fundraising appeal.

Begin your fundraising appeal with a story that pulls at the reader’s heartstrings. Talk about a real person who benefited from your work.

Make the donor the hero, not your organization.

For example, charity:water talks about a woman who fell down into a well with her baby. And she was stuck in the well for over 2 days! See? Doesn’t that grab your attention?

STEP 2: Make it about them

best fundraising emails - momsrising

Fundraising works best when it’s one to one, between to people who share a common passion.

E-mail is always one-to-one (no one gathers their friends around a computer to read their e-mails). View your fundraising email as a unique opportunity to develop a relationship with someone who wants to receive your emails, and is possibly open to making a donation.

Start by imagining a specific supporter that you’ve met a few times. Write your e-mail as if you’re writing a personal appeal this person.

Tell them why their support is invaluable. Connect their support to the outcome. Use their first name, And write the e-mail in second person narrative (use the word “you”instead of “we” or “I”).

STEP 3: Talk about the money

best fundraising emails - gristGain the trust of potential donors by being transparent about your funding gap (the gap between funds that cover admin costs, and what is needed to pay for specific programs). NPR are masters at this with their on-air fundraisers, which I’m sure you’ve heard.

Their asks usually go something like this: ”Sponsors and grants cover administrative costs, but we need your support to make sure programs like Science Friday continues to reach people like you”.

This approach communicates transparency and responsibility – making donors feel confident about how their dollars will be spent.

STEP 4: Tell them what their money will do

best fundraising emails - jane goodall$50 will not save all the chimpanzees. But it will help, and it is doable. Tell potential donors exactly how the money will be used, and what outcome will result from their $50. This approach helps donors connect the dots between their donation and the outcome they seek.

Another great example is from No Kid Hungry, In their “Build a Breakfast” campaign, they tell potential donors: “For just $40, you can connect a classroom of 20 children with a healthy school breakfast for an entire month”.

best fundraising emails - no kid hungryThis ask is very specific, immediate, and doable! This gives the donor a sense of realistic, personal impact.

STEP 5: Keep it short

No one has time read a long fundraising email. In fact, most people will just skim it first, then either delete it or keep reading. Here are four tips:

    1. Limit paragraphs to 2-3 sentences.
    2. Limit the overall email to 2-3 paragraphs.
    3. Break up the text with headlines.
    4. Enter your email copy into this readability tester.

STEP 6: Ask three times

best fundraising emails - su2cDon’t forget about the call to action! In fact, make sure you ask three times in your fundraising appeal. But don’t just repeat the same phrase over and over.

Ask different ways. For example, at the beginning of the e-mail you can say “you can make a difference”, linking to your donation page. In the second and third paragraph you can ask again: “Join others like yourself to make a difference”. Also, try asking once in between two paragraphs, in bold text.

STEP 7: Tell them they can say no

A good friend, who’s also fundraising consultant, told me her secret to success: People will often give bigger donations when they feel their personal free will is respected.

According to a recent fundraising study, giving people the choice of NOT donating almost doubles the likelihood that they will donate!

STEP 8: Don’t ask for money in the first email

No one likes to be asked to make a donation if they haven’t heard from you in a while. If that’s the case with your nonprofit, your first e-mail should encourage your potential donor to learn more about the campaign.

For example, charitywater often asks supporters to watch a video or read an article, before asking them to raise money.

Leading off with a powerful story says that you’re not all about asking for money, which helps builds trust. It also helps you connect with your potential donor on an emotional level – where fundraising happens.John Haydon delivers social web strategy solutions for “the quick, the smart, and the slightly manic.” Curious? Then visit the John Haydon blog, follow him on Twitter or leave a comment.

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Why organizations should tell more stories Mon, 25 Feb 2019 14:34:25 +0000 By Jessica Scadron Social Harmony Storytelling is an ancient practice that’s been passed down the generations, from before the written word to our current digitally driven platforms. How can this ancient practice serve nonprofits whose survival depends on the actions of others, whether they be funders or volunteers? For one, it puts a face on […]

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Child under the rain in Mali (photo by Riccardo Mayer).
Child under the rain in Mali (photo by Riccardo Mayer).

By Jessica Scadron
Social Harmony

Storytelling is an ancient practice that’s been passed down the generations, from before the written word to our current digitally driven platforms.

How can this ancient practice serve nonprofits whose survival depends on the actions of others, whether they be funders or volunteers? For one, it puts a face on the issue and shows that you’re talking about real humans. While data is important for showing reach and impact, studies tell us people don’t identify with numbers – they don’t donate, petition, volunteer, or sign up for a newsletter because they saw a big number. Human emotions – what drives people’s behaviors – are triggered by stories.

Numerous books and studies have come out over the years about the importance of telling stories. Wired for Story is a bible for many communicators charged with driving behavior change among constituents. The Storytelling Animal is another. As Bruce Wydick, author and economist, wrote, “…In the battle for hearts and minds of human beings, narrative will consistently outperform data in its ability to influence human thinking and motivate human action.”

Take this example: If you read about how a college success organization helped 3,000 students get into college you might have a positive thought, then move on. But if that statistic is coupled with a story about a young individual (let’s call her Jasmine) who survived multiple foster homes, poverty and abuse, and detailed how she overcame the odds with the help of the organization, you’re likely to pause. You may even consider volunteering or making a donation to support the organization’s mission of helping kids like Jasmine create better lives for themselves.

Stories trigger connection and humanity. Painting a clear picture of the effect an organization has, it becomes clear to potential supporters why it’s important to invest in that organization.

While many nonprofits know the importance of telling stories, many don’t have the time or staff to vet, collect, write and promote their stories. With the intent to make your life a little easier, here are a few steps that may help you tell the amazing stories of how you’re helping the people or cause you serve.

Step 1: Research your audiences’ motivations

Figure out what your priority audiences care about and use that to determine what stories to tell. If you’re trying to reach partners, zero in on what’s most important to them, like partnering with organizations that have skills they don’t. If you want to reach funders, they want to see impact and how their investments will help you reach more people.

Step 2: Choose your story

Once you figure out each audience’s motivating factor, find the best stories within your organization to support your claims. To reach partners, illustrate how your organization works with partners and has helped them meet their goals. If you want to secure funds for child health, tell the story of how a child’s life was changed because of your work.

Step 3: Create your story structure

Now that you have your story picked out, create an outline for how you’d like your story to flow. If you’d like to interview the story subject, craft interview questions that get to the heart of how your organization has helped that person.

Step 4: Write your story

It’s easier than it sounds. You don’t have to be a master writer. Remember that you have everything you need. You know better than anyone why you do what you do. Write the story through that lens.

As they say, “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” Don’t get too caught up in the editing process – it can last an eternity. Decide what’s good enough for your organization, and get those stories out there.

After you’ve had a chance to test these steps, I’d love to hear how the process is working for you! Message me: @jesscadron

Jessica Scadron founded Social Harmony, a social impact firm that provides communications strategy and implementation to organizations changing the world. Find her on LinkedInTwitter and email.

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5 ways to create a living nonprofit brand Tue, 12 Feb 2019 21:11:04 +0000 The post 5 ways to create a living nonprofit brand appeared first on Socialbrite.


Caroline AvakianWhen we think of nonprofit branding, what generally comes to mind for nonprofit professionals is a process, often conducted by an outside agency to work on improving an organization’s brand. Many of the products that can come out of that creative process are a new logo, a competitive analysis, branding/style guide, a new website, all assets that can really generate a lot of excitement for your nonprofit and help align your mission, goals, and communication.

But what happens after the branding agency has been paid and you have a spiffy new website, logo, and some persuasive new messaging? How do we get our staff and directors on board with messaging and concepts that have emerged from this creative process? What can we do in the day-to-day of our work and routines as an organization to integrate that new brand into our work and ensure that it aligns and supports our values every day?

Below are five ways that you can keep your nonprofit brand alive and thriving from the inside and out.


1Creative branding processes can be exciting and a bit controversial, causing apprehension on the side of some staff members and directors. Is it too different than what we had? Will it confuse program partners? Does it feel authentic? These are some of the questions that may arise along the way. That’s why it’s important to check in with them not only during the creative branding process but also afterward.

When the dust has settled and we’ve got our plans and new branding assets uploaded to the shared drive, how are they feeling about it now? Has anything changed now that we’re in the implementation stage?

You’ll have a better experience integrating your new messaging if your staff and directors are continually on board and feel confident moving forward with it. Does anyone feel uncomfortable proceeding and integrating any parts of the new branding or messaging? If so, why? Asking these questions is key to continual improvements on the living brand and also key to staff buy-in. It can also unearth a lot of useful information that can actually help you move forward.


2There has to be more than the distribution of a style guide and messaging points to really get staff to learn how they can integrate the new branding into their daily work. Consider having a communications training on the new branding guidelines.

Discuss what parts of programmatic and donor messaging need to change and what areas don’t.

How do we integrate our new messaging in a way that feels authentic for everyone?

What parts of our boilerplate and core messaging has changed now and can we all agree to move forward in the way we speak about the organization, so there is consistency across all departments in the nonprofit?

Messaging Toolkit

3While you may have a new style guide, logo, and messaging, perhaps it’s time to revise or create an internal messaging toolkit that will make it much easier for staff members to access the new messages when staff members are writing a grant proposal or program update. Ask program staff how they think they’ll need help integrating the new messaging into their existing work. Ask your fundraising folks what they think will change when they meet with new donors now? Have them write out a few scenarios and include them in the toolkit. In this way, people feel armed, included in the process, and confident that they have a tool to help them move forward.


4I know this seems like a no-brainer, and for many, it will be, but can all staff members and directors access the new branding and toolkit easily? Is the shared drive a safe place for all or is it a messy, terrifying document vortex? I joke but in all seriousness, make sure your new branding assets aren’t located in a shared drive, in a communications folder within an agency folder, within a branding folder. At least for now, give it a prominent place, front and center, maybe even a colorful tag so that we all know where to go to find it.


5I have “Feedback” on this list twice because once is never enough and I’ve found the internal continuous checking in of a nonprofit brand, is what makes the brand alive, hence a living brand. Like other alive things, it gets checked on periodically, we tweak as we go, we test, we ask questions if we feel something sounds clunky or isn’t getting the response we seek.

Have we asked our partners or trusted donors for feedback on the new brand yet – is it working for them? Outside checks with trusted partner organizations can lead to some great insights along the way.

Does it still feel core to who we are? If so, why? If not, why not?

Has your organization worked on “living the brand” and doing brand checkups periodically? If so, have you found value in it? Let me know in the comments!

Caroline Avakian, Socialbrite’s Managing Partner, is a global development communications strategist in the New York City area with a focus on strategic communications, technology, and innovation. Contact Caroline by email, see her profile page, visit her website, follow her on Twitter or leave a comment.

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