RE3.org – Using Social Media for Social Marketing Success

first_imgLet me introduce you to RE3.org, a North Carolina campaign to raise awareness about waste reduction and recycling. Launched in 2005, the RE3.org campaign targets high schoolers, college students and twenty-somethings via compelling social marketing strategies.Pay close attention, readers, to the thorough audience research campaign communicators implemented — working closely with collegiate recycling coordinators throughout the state to identify barriers to recycling perceived by twenty-somethings, and how they get their information and influences. Based on this research, the campaign has focused on social marketing techniques such as commitment, norms, incentives and prompts. Here’s how the RE3.org folks describe their social marketing strategy.Initially, the campaign used more traditional marketing channels, such as a Web site (yes, the Web can now be considered traditional), ads on cable, pre-movie ads, billboards, trucks and Mountain Dew cans (a favorite drink of the target audience).This year, the campaign has grown to incorporate some powerful social media techniques including:A BLOG! — Yes, the first time I’ve seen a social marketing campaign so effectively integrate a blog into its communications. Nice work. This blog is up-to-date (with posts three to five times/weekly), chatty, fun, interesting, and productive (used also as an informal idea motivator/workspace for RE3.org staff and supporters).Online WOM (word of mouth) marketing via YouTube (lots of catchy videos motivating recycling) and MySpace (sample Grandaddy Nature Anthem, it’s funny and memorable).Nice work, RE3.org. I know that much of its success comes from being so closely in touch with target audiences. It’s the only way to understand the needs, interests and habits of those you’re trying to reach.Source: http://www.gettingattention.org/my_weblog/2007/07/re3org-case-stu.htmlAbout the AuthorNancy E. Schwartz helps nonprofits succeed through effective marketing and communications. As President of Nancy Schwartz & Company (http://www.nancyschwartz.com/), Nancy and her team provide marketing planning and implementation services to organizations as varied as the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Center for Asian American Media, and Wake County (NC) Health Services.Subscribe to her free e-newsletter “Getting Attention”, (http://www.nancyschwartz.com/getting_attention.html) and read her blog at http://www.gettingattention.org/ for more insights, ideas and great tips on attracting the attention your organization deserves.NOTE: You’re welcome to “reprint” this article online as long as it remains complete and unaltered (including the copyright and “about the author” info at the end), and you send a copy of your reprint.last_img read more

What to Get Cousin Cal? A Good Card!

first_imgWhy buy a toxic Bob the Builder this holiday when you give the gift that not only does no harm – it does good.The Good Card is a gift card for charity – where the recipient gets to donate to their charity of choice. That includes ANY charity with registration in the US – up to 1.7 million. Customers, clients, employees, friends and family all have their favorite charities and now you can give them the perfect gift – a donation to their favorite charity via Network for Good’s secure giving system. That includes the charity fighting a disease that’s touched their family, their alma mater — or even your organization!And yes, I work for Network for Good, so this is product placement.How it Works§ At www.networkforgood.org/goodcard, you can buy a card to be mailed or choose an electronic gift card to be sent§ Your recipient receives the cards via mail or email (or you can send it to yourself if you want to give it in person!)§ The Good Card recipient comes to Network for Good’s website, chooses a charity and then enters the amount to donate using the code on their Good Card/email § Network for Good sends the charities the donation § Cost per card is $5. 100% of the card value goes direct to charity.last_img read more

The Future of Online Fundraising

first_imgI received an email from a college student asking if he could interview me about ePhilanthropy and the future of online fundraising.The questions gave me an opportunity to think creatively about the application of some web 2.0 concepts, such as tagging and feeds, and how they can improve our practices.His questions and my answers follow.> * How did Internet change the way nonprofits fundraise?Maybe a better question would be, “HAS the Internet changed the way nonprofits fundraise?” Because for a lot of organizations; it still hasn’t.There are certainly plenty of new tools, but most nonprofits (outside of universities and hospitals) are traditionally very slow to adopt new technologies. This is for a few reasons, including: budget, being “people focused,” lack of staff/resources, and budget (did I mention budget?).Still, for those organizations that are on the ball, technically speaking, it has broadened their tools for appeals. The most obvious direct items are “Donate Now” buttons and email. The less direct way is using the ‘net for promotion, communications, and visibility.Email can be used for a direct appeal, or for newsletters with indirect asks. But, again, limited budget and staff to implement these has kept most smaller and medium sized organizations from fully realizing the potential benefit of these tools.I mention budget a lot. Email is cheap to use, and scales cheaply, but can be costly to implement effectively (opt-in systems to avoid spamming, software or ASP’s beyond the basic MS Outlook, and the staff to actually manage lists and write the messages).> * Is traditional fundraising still part of the fundraising mix?Most definitely so. For the reasons listed above (slow implementation, budget, etc.), but also because of human nature.While online tools are fabulous for meeting new donors, and younger donors, there is nothing that can ever compare to the personal touch of the in-person ask.Even snail mail has a place, as it’s far easier to make an emotional connection with a photo you can hold in your hand than with an email that may or may not properly display images based on the user’s software settings and operating system.In the area of Foundation grants, the worlds are merging somewhat as more and more Foundations accept online applications. It is traditional fundraising in terms of the skills required for completing the applications, but they are adapted to the online world.For that matter, you could say that all online fundraising is just an adaptation of traditional methods. It’s the medium that has changed – or expanded – not the message or the appeal.> * The future of online fundraising?More effective integration of cause and effect using tags and feeds. For example, it’s entirely feasible for a news website to automatically match stories (IE: flood in India) to donation opportunities (IE: International Red Cross).They do this now, manually, with major disasters. But with proper use of tagging, RSS, etc., it’s entirely possible that even “minor” local stories (IE: car crash kills drunk driver) can automatically linked to local causes (IE: local United Way or MADD or AA chapter).What I’m saying is really, technology gives us the opportunities to be more pro-active and less passive in our efforts. Rather than waiting for a potential supporter to come to our web site or sign up for our email newsletter, we will be able to find them based on what they’re reading and hook directly into their online experience.> * Why are many nonprofit are still waiting with their online fundraising?Money, or the perception of no money. While many of these tools are low or even no cost (use of blogspot.com as a communications platform), they are loath to give even the impression that they are wasting resources.Example: An organization I know of that was given very nice, high quality office chairs from a defunct dot-com. They were not allowed to use them because it gave the impression that they were extravagant. Many nonprofits live in this poverty mind-set.Any assets must go to the clients. Anything that doesn’t directly benefit them is seen as a waste. What they don’t see is that a small investment in online tools will create a return that can be used for mission and services.> * What will make a website a good ePhilanthropy site?See “the future” question above. It’s the integration of information and ask. Don’t make the potential donor search for the means to give.Have the opportunity linked directly into the inspiration. This is the answer.Source: http://nonprofitconsultant.blogspot.com/2006/12/future-of-online-fundraising.htmllast_img read more

The No-Neck View of the World: Network for Good Heeds its Own Advice

first_imgHave you ever noticed how very young kids’ drawings usually don’t feature a person’s neck? Have you wondered why?My theory is that if you’re two or three years old and your perspective is pretty low to the ground, you don’t see people’s necks when you look up. You see a head sitting on arms.I can’t think of a better analogy for marketing. Marketing mandates that we look at the world through the eyes of our audience and communicate from that perspective. It can be hard to tear ourselves away from the comfort of our long-necked world view, but we must.Believe me; I know how difficult it is firsthand. I forgot the very marketing principles I tout all the time. The brilliant folks out at ASU (namely a brilliant person by the name of Gregory Neidert) pointed out that I had been violating all my own marketing principles on Network for Good’s web site. Where was the audience perspective? Wouldn’t people who come to the site want it to know if it was safe or reliable? Wouldn’t they want to know if other people trusted the site? And why wasn’t the “search for your favorite charity”-the reason most people come to our site-the most prominent thing on the page? Well, because I forgot to do as I say.Here is the way our site was, and how it is now. Since we started working completely from the audience perspective, conversion is up 30%. If you haven’t read it, get this book from those ASU folks.last_img read more

Writing Your Annual Report in 5 Easy Steps

first_imgTerrified at the prospect of writing your first nonprofit annual report? Relax! Follow these five basic steps and you’ll be on your way to creating an annual report that impresses your donors and other supporters.How to Write an Annual ReportDefine Your Accomplishments:What difference did you make? What has changed in your community or field as a result of your work over the last year? Take all of your activities over the last 12 months and convert them into three to five major accomplishments.Learn from twelve fantastic annual reports.Interview Your Supporters:Make a list of people who have great stories to tell about your accomplishments or who will share positive comments about your organization. Interview them and turn their words into personal profiles that help tell the story of your accomplishments and testimonial pull-quotes to sprinkle throughout your design.Raise more money with smarter donation pages, peer-to-peer campaigns, and donor management.Boil Down Your Financials:Even if you choose to include your full financial statements (and you don’t have to, as long as you tell people how to get them), you should still include some graphics like pie charts and a few paragraphs of text to explain in plain English where you get your funding and how you spend it.Compile Your Lists:Your annual reports should always include the list of your board of directors and your executive staff. Most organizations also print a list of financial supporters. Depending on how many donors you have and the range in gift size, you may want to set a minimum donation level for inclusion in the annual report.Put it All Together:If you have the resources to produce a full-color, 20-page publication with lots of great photography, that’s great. But a much shorter and more modest 4-page newsletter format can work just as well. You’ll find more resources and training on writing nonprofit annual reports at https://www.nonprofitmarketingguide.com/resources/nonprofit-annual-report-examples/About the Author: Kivi Leroux Miller provides training and personal coaching on all aspects of nonprofit marketing and communications to organizations big and small across the U.S. If you want to write newsletters and annual reports that your supporters will love or create websites and blogs that educate and inspire, visit www.NonprofitMarketingGuide.com, where you’ll find a free e-newsletter, articles, webinars, e-courses, and more.last_img read more

Start 2008 With $50,000 for Your Nonprofit

first_imgI’m excited to share the following news:PARADE and The Case Foundation today announced the America’s Giving Challenge to award $500,000 to charities in the U.S. and overseas. The program aims to show how anyone and everyone can have greater impact in their community and bring more support to the charities and causes they care about. Participants can choose to use a simple and fun Web 2.0 tool called a “charity badge” to promote their cause and help their charity get $50,000. Or they can simply give to a cause to help it qualify for a $1,000 award. The America’s Giving Challenge runs from 3:00 p.m. EST on December 13, 2007 through 3:00 p.m. EST on January 31, 2008. Go here to participate. There are two easy ways to participate:CHAMPION A CAUSE: Using fun and simple charity badges, individuals can get $50,000 for the cause they support. Eight Champions will be named based on the number of unique donations they have gathered for their charity through the Challenge. GIVE TO A CAUSE: Simply donate to a favorite charity through the Challenge donation partners — Network for Good’s Six Degrees site and GlobalGiving — and that charity could get $1,000. One hundred charities will each be awarded $1,000 based on the number of donations they receive through the Challenge. Who Can Participate?To “champion a cause,” you must be 13 years of age or older and a legal resident of the United States.To “give to a cause,” all you need is the means to process a donation through one of the Challenge’s two donation partners — Network for Good, typically for those giving to U.S.-based charities, or GlobalGiving, typically for those giving to international causes. Thanks to the Case Foundation and Parade for this wonderful support to charities – and to Wired Fundraisers.last_img read more

Thank you

first_imgBefore the year ends, I wanted to thank you. Thank you, readers, for all you have done to make the world a better place in 2007. I know from conversations with you from this blog just how much you have done – to end homelessness, clean up our environment, protect our lands, feed the hungry, shelter animals, comfort survivors of violence, stop the spread of HIV, and restore hope to the hopeless. Your commitment to your cause – and your effectiveness in promoting it – is a daily inspiration and a source of deep gratitude. I wish you all the best in your work in the New Year and always.last_img read more

10 Tips to Make your Nonprofit Website Search Engine Friendly

first_imgBing Webmaster ToolsIf you verify your site with Google & Bing (instructions are on the site, although the process does require some technical skill) you will also find valuable information about how well and how often your site is being examined by the search engines. Search Engine Watch 10. Content is King. Create great content and keep it up to date. Search engines love sites like blogs, which are regularly refreshed. At the end of the day, even a site that ranks well and gets lots of visitors is no good if the visitors don’t like what they see.Adapted from Kellysearch.com 8. Track your progress with web analytics.There are lots of free options to use and most likely your web hosting service or content management system already has some reports and tracking included. In addition to this, Google Analytics is easy to use and provides a wealth of information for free. Web analytics tell you how people interact with your site and where your web traffic is coming from. You can track the progress of any changes that you make to see if they are working. Imagine someone looking online for volunteer opportunities or services you provide. Would they find your organization? When you think about how to drive traffice to your nonprofit website, pay attention to how your site ranks in search engines like Google. Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the volume and quality of traffic to a website from search engines via “natural” (aka organic) search results. Here are 10 tips to make your nonprofit website search engine friendly:1. Keyword research is the first step for Search Engine Optimization (SEO).Take the time to figure out what words are used by the people you want to visit your site, and then use these words on the relevant pages. For example, if a potential supporter is searching for “animal shelters in Houston”, you want to make sure the relevant web page on your site contains the words “animal shelters in Houston”. Make sure you use these keywords in the first few words of your page title  because this is the most important bit of the page from a search engine’s perspective. You should do this for all the pages in your site, but remember: don’t just stuff the keywords in there; it still needs to make sense to humans!2. Get some good advice from SEO sources on the web. Unfortunately, not everyone knows as much as they say they do online and far too often SEO forums are full of bad advice so choose your sources well. We recommend:Matt Cutts 5. Get links from trusted, relevant sources. Links are like a vote for your page and you can’t rank well without them. Unfortunately, buying links or being indiscriminate in the places you link to and places you request links from, is not the way to raise the importance of your site. Think quality not quantity.Links must be relevant to the content matter of your site and they must be from high-quality websites. Use keywords in the links you have coming into your site. For example, ‘See our adoptable puppies in Houston‘ is a much better incoming link than ‘View our pets‘ 9. Tell the search engines where you are by submitting your site details to them. This doesn’t guarantee a better position in the results, but it certainly helps. Both Google and Bing have tools to submit a list of all the pages in your site:Google Webmaster Tools 6. Build a sitemap page to help the search engines discover every page in your site. Sitemaps list the pages in your site along with brief keyword-rich descriptions of the page. If you have too many pages on your site, create as many sitemaps as you need and make sure they’re linked together. 7. Don’t forget the technical stuff.There are lots of things that happen in the background that can cause problems with the way the search engines see your site. For example, if you use a cheap web hosting company, your nonprofit site might be on the same web server as a pornographic site that Google really doesn’t like – guilt by association. Also, does your website use techniques that search engines don’t like, like certain types of redirection? Just a few simple questions should be enough to recognize if your web design firm knows what they are talking about, such as:1) Does my site use 302 (bad) redirects or 301 (good) redirects?2) Should I be using meta description tags? Answer: Yes, but only to encourage searchers to click through to my site, not as SEO. 3. Build a website that is easy for the search engines to understand.Your website should make use of up to date technologies like Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) to minimize the amount of formatting in the HTML page code. Remove the formatting and you’re left with pure content – and search engines love that. 4. Make navigation easy.Build clear text links to all parts of your site. Search engines can’t follow image links or links embedded in animations like Flash, they like their navigation plain and simple – and so do many users. SEOmozCaution: There are also plenty of people out there who believe you can scam the search engines. We don’t. Stick to ethical SEO (i.e. don’t fill the page with hidden keywords) and you will be rewarded in the long term Search Engine Land last_img read more

Bring Your Nonprofit Newsletter from Snoring to Soaring

first_imgEmail newsletters are great tools for nonprofits because they are so much cheaper to produce and distribute than print newsletters. The only problem is that they can be deleted in an instant or trapped forever in spam filters. And even when they are opened, they are often too *yawn* boring to grab the readers’ attention and move them to action.Use these ten tips to increase the likelihood that your supporters will read your nonprofit email newsletter and act on what they see in it.1. Know your audience, ask what they want, and deliver it.Even though your newsletter readers may be incredibly generous individuals, it’s helpful to think of them as very self-centered, selfish people when they are reading your email newsletter. Here’s why: if the content isn’t immediately relevant and valuable to them as individual human beings, they’ll delete it in an instant. We know what’s in it for you, but what’s in it for them?As you write your newsletter articles, keep asking yourself these questions: How will this article make our readers feel? How will it make their lives easier or better? Does this article show our readers how important they are to us?2. Send frequently – if you have good content.How often should you send your email newsletter? In general, I recommend no more than once a week and no less than every six weeks. You want people to remember you and look forward to receiving your newsletter, but you don’t want to drive them crazy either. Your email schedule should be determined by how often you have great content to send.If you are providing on-target, valuable information each and every time (or darn close), your readers won’t feel bugged by frequent mailings. If you don’t have enough content for a newsletter every two months, you either don’t know your readers or aren’t thinking creatively about ways to talk about your work. Here’s a sweeping generalization: most nonprofits send e-newsletters too infrequently. If you aren’t sure whether to step up your publishing schedule or not, I’d say go for it. If your unsubscribe rate goes up, ask why people are leaving your list and if frequency is the problem, back off.3. Make it personal.People give to and support nonprofits for highly subjective reasons. Your supporters get something deeply personal out of their affiliation with your organization as a donor, volunteer, or advocate. So why would your response back to these passionate people be institutional, monolithic, and completely objective?Break out of the “The 501(c)(3) speaks to the masses” mode and make it more personal. I’m not suggesting that you turn your newsletter into a vehicle for personal rambling or try to elevate your executive director to cult status. But you should consider ways to make your newsletter sound as though it is written by one staff person speaking directly to one supporter. Do articles talk about the staff, donors, or volunteers involved in the work? Do the articles have bylines? Are the articles written in a conversational style, even if they aren’t bylined? Have you included some headshots or other people photos? If someone hits “reply” to the newsletter, will a real person see it and respond, or will the reader get an auto-reply about that email address not being checked?4. Make the next step as easy as possible.Once your supporters read your newsletter, what’s next? Do you have a call to action? Do you want them donate, volunteer, register, tell a friend, learn more, write a email, make a call or what? Include specific calls to action and links that make following through as simple as possible. Make it, as Katya Andresen says, a “filmable moment.” Could you film your supporters following through on your call to action? If it is clear and simple enough, your supporters should be able to easily visualize themselves and others doing it.5. Put an unmistakable name in the “From” field.For most nonprofits, this will be your organization’s name or a well-known campaign or initiative. Don’t use a staff person’s name unless at least 80% of the people on your mailing list will recognize it. If you decide to use a person’s name (it is more personal after all – see #3 above), I recommend including your acronym or other identifier after the name. This should not change from issue to issue; you want to build up reader recognition.6. Use a specific, benefit-laden “Subject” line.The busier your supporters are, the more likely they are to look at your email subject line and nothing else before deciding whether to read it or delete it. Pack your subject lines with details about what’s inside, emphasizing the benefits to the reader of taking a few extra seconds to see what’s in the body of the message. That’s a tall order for 50-60 characters, which is the rule of thumb for subject line length. Do your best and track which newsletters have the best open rates to see which subject lines seem to appeal most to your readers.Your subject line should change with every edition. Don’t waste space with dates, edition numbers, sender info, etc. The only exception would be if you have a very short, memorable, and meaningful newsletter title. You can put the title first, often in brackets like this: [E-News Title] Subject Line Specific to This Email’s Content. 7. Design a simple, clean newsletter that’s mostly text.People expect to read email, which means they are looking for words. They don’t expect the same visual stimulation that they do when they visit a web page. It’s much more important to say something timely, interesting, or valuable than it is to produce a newsletter that’s visually stunning. At the same time, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use a stylish design and photos. Just make sure that the text gets top billing and wraps cleanly around any graphic elements, especially since those items will appear as big red Xs to a big chunk of your readers. And don’t worry aboutneeding serious design or HTML skills to produce an email newsletter. All of the major email newsletter service providers offer many templates to pick from.8. Write and design for the preview pane.Most people don’t actually open each email message. Instead, they use the preview pane to view them. That means you’ve got a fairly small space in which to impress your reader enough to make them either scroll through your email or open it fully.Images near the top of your newsletter can hog that important space or waste it entirely if images are turned off in the email program. For example, if you want to use an image as your newsletter header, keep it “short” – say under 100 pixels high – so that it doesn’t fill up the whole preview pane. Be sure that you have plenty of compelling text near the top of the newsletter so that even if images are turned off, the reader still sees some interesting text. Also be sure to include ALT tags with all images. Never send an all-image email newsletter. You’ve seen those emails where the entire preview pane is filled with a big red-X box. They are trying to send you a pretty email by including all the text in a graphic. The problem is that many email programs don’t show images by default. Therefore, you see nothing but the box. I automatically delete emails like this.9. Appeal to skimmers: Use lots of headlines, subheadings, and short chunks of text.People scan and skim email before they read it. Short paragraphs and sentences are easier to skim. Descriptive headlines and subheads with active verbs and vivid nouns will grab your supporters’ attention and nudge them into actually reading the text. 10. Use an email newsletter service.If you have more than 20 people on your mailing list and you want that list to grow, you need to use an email newsletter service provider or ESP. Many online client database/fundraising service providers include email marketing in their packages. You can also use companies that specialize in email marketing, like Constant Contact. These providers can automate many functions that you shouldn’t be wasting time on, including managing subscribes, unsubscribes, and bounces. They also help you comply with the CAN-SPAM law; strongly encourage you to use best-practice, double opt-in procedures; give you the code for an email newsletter sign-up box for your website; and offer great tracking tools that are nearly impossible for you to implement on your own. The cost of using an email newsletter service is minimal and the benefits are huge.While these tips are solid advice that will work in most cases, what’s most important is what works for you and your supporters. Test what you do and make adjustments accordingly.last_img read more

8 Secrets of Effective Online Networking

first_imgIs your organization considering setting up a profile on a social networking site? Are you wondering what tasks are involved, how much time it will take, and how you might streamline your efforts? Maybe your organization has established a presence on MySpace and is now contemplating adding one to Facebook. Perhaps you are wondering how you can juggle multiple profiles and still have time left to do other work.As more and more organizations jump on the social networking bandwagon, people are seeking ways to make the time spent on these tools as efficient and fruitful as possible. I recently surveyed several nonprofit professionals and social networking mavens about their social networking habits. The tips below, taken from their responses, offer suggestions for effectively managing your profiles and contacts on social networking sites, finding people with relevant interests to your nonprofit or professional goals, working between multiple social networking sites, and getting the most out of social networking tools even if you’re not a Web designer or techie.1. Invest Time in Your NetworkWhile most online social networks cost nothing for your organization to join, keep in mind that creating a strong online presence on one can require an investment of up to two hours a day, especially in the beginning when you are learning how to use the site, setting up your profile, and making friends. If you’re unprepared to make this commitment, you may want to reconsider using these tools at your organization.If you don’t have someone on-staff who can help manage your social networks, you may want to seek outside help. Heather Mansfield, Community Manager at Change.org, suggests finding a social networking intern or an assistant who can spend a minimum of 10 hours per week managing your site or sites, noting that many organizations are seeking full-time staffers to do the job. “I am starting to see larger nonprofits creating full-time social networking positions for 40 hours a week,” she said.Keep in mind that there is a fair amount of trial and error with using social networking sites, and your organization may not see results right away. “There is a learning curve; don’t expect immediate results for at least three months, whatever your objectives may be,” advised Alex De Carvalho, Community Manager of multimedia social networking site Scrapblog. “Take the time to build your profile correctly and learn the ropes of what works and what doesn’t.” Nick Noakes, a director at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, stresses the value of this “no-guilt” exploration time. “It has brought me knowledge and contacts more than a lot of planned things I do,” he said.Some nonprofit professionals, like Beth Dunn of the Cape Cod Arts Foundation, use their after-work hours and their individual (rather than organizational) profiles as a low-risk way to try out new tools. “Keep following what others are doing, and test,” said social media expert Chris Brogan. “If you want, use a ‘dummy’ user account to make sure your experimenting doesn’t leave breadcrumbs that go nowhere for folks who legitimately want to engage with your organization.” He also suggests keeping track of your progress. “Don’t do random trial and error, [which] isn’t as effective as creating learning experiments that give you some information about how to improve your strategy.”2. Test the Waters with an Individual ProfileIf finding someone to be a dedicated or part-time social networker for your organization is unrealistic, you may want to consider testing the waters with an individual, rather than an organizational, profile. Whereas creating an organizational presence – such as a group, cause, or fan page – requires a bit more time and planning, setting up an individual profile is fairly simple.Think of your social networking profile as an online version of the professional networking you might do offline, like attending a conference or a reception. You can connect with peers or potential business contacts, while having the advantage of being able to see their connections – which are not always visible in, say, real life or through exchanging business cards.“My organization doesn’t have a presence on social networking sites yet, and the question of time investment goes to the heart of the fear of doing so – time suck,” said Susan Edwards, an employee at a Los Angeles museum. “I do a lot of social networking for myself, however, and am constantly trying to think of ways to feed it back into the institution in a meaningful way.”An individual profile can also be easier to unplug if early exploration proves unfruitful. You can always delete or make your personal account inactive, whereas it can sometimes be harder to delete a failed group.3. Establish a RoutineAs one veteran nonprofit social networker confessed, “If am not careful when I go to a social networking site, I am easily distracted. And I know I’m not at all unique.” If you don’t organize your time well, establish a disciplined work routine, or have some specific goals in mind when you visit a social networking site (and particularly if you are managing more than one), you will waste time moving from one site to another. Sus Nyrop, an e-learning consultant based in Denmark, recommends knowing when to log out of the site, and keeping your recreational “pokes” (instant messages to friends) to a minimum.Also, work on your own time. “Don’t feel like you need to keep your profile updated every minute or have to add people to your list of friends the moment they ask,” said Chris Heuer, a consultant and founder of the Social Media Club. “Unless your job responsibility is Online Community Manager, you don’t need to spend your entire work day on MySpace.” Most nonprofit online networkers agree on setting a regular schedule for updating content, ‘friending’ people, or finding new contacts with similar interests. Those who work on multiple networking sites may plan a maintenance schedule. “One good practice is to set aside a regular housekeeping date to clear out clutter from your profile,” said Nick Booth, a consultant and podcaster based in the United Kingdom, adding that for him, “Wednesday is MySpace day.”“I use my Outlook calendar to map out the week’s posts on my social networking blogs,” said HSUS’s Lewis. “That has me helped tremendously, not only with time management, but in looking at the bigger picture. It also helps me integrate my activities with everything else my department does (email, Web site, and print) that is so important.” However, don’t adhere to a schedule so religiously that you don’t leave room for some flexibility. Said Lewis, “When something big hits, I’ll go immediately to MySpace and blog about it, because that’s where our biggest network is. Next, I’ll tweak the content for Facebook and post there. Then I’ll go to Care2 and on to Gather.”4. Don’t Spread Yourself Too ThinAs this comparison chart from Compete.com demonstrates, there is considerable crossover among social network users, meaning it may not be necessary to maintain a profile or support a group on every single one. “Choose where you really want to develop your community and where you really want to interact with the people who matter the most to you and your organization,” said Heuer. “Spreading attention and energy across all the sites is nearly impossible for one person and you will end up with a diluted presence on each of them rather than a strong presence in one.” Bill Snyder, a nonprofit marketing consultant, advised, “Focus. It’s better to do one site well then to do many sites poorly.”Seb Chan, Manager of Web Services for the Powerhouse Museum in Australia, agrees. “I know there is a real attraction to having presences in multiple networks but I’ve found little real benefit in doing so unless there are significant real-world synergies.” Chan points to the example of Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, which worked with a live music event where the bands had a large MySpace fan base.When determining an online presence, don’t just choose the most popular sites, or the site that you think matches your demographic; take some time to find the people you are trying to reach and the conversations you are trying to join. “Go where your network is, and focus on those few places,” said Doug Haslam, a social media consultant for Topaz Partners.5. Share the WorkloadOf course, there may be times when it does make sense to have a presence on several sites. Once Google’s OpenSocial API is implemented, this will become easier because you will be able to access your contacts across networks or via a single hub. In the meantime, you can hire a full-time or part-time staffer to manage your social networks, or parcel out the work among your teammates.One advocate of this strategy is Chan, who advises identifying “persona managers” to manage each network. The advantage of choosing this route is that each persona retains a level of authenticity, individuality, and relevance that is hard to achieve if one person spreads herself across multiple networking sites. Chan notes that having someone who understands the features and interface of each social networking site, the culture of the community, and the appropriate style for communication can make your efforts a lot more effective. The persona managers might operate as a team to share knowledge about each initiative and evaluate each other’s progress using metrics. Each member would manage one network presence, but the group would meet regularly to check in and evaluate progress.Another way to share the workload while encouraging group participation is to focus efforts on a single network but divide up the administrative work of supporting various groups, causes, or fan pages. This way, one person is not responsible for managing every aspect of a single network.When recruiting participants, Ian Wilker, a social media consultant, suggests seeking out the same qualities you would look for in a face-to-face networker. “Find the people … who are incredibly effective at advancing your mission through real-world relationships with others,” he said. “Encourage them to bring online the same values and passion they exhibit in real life.”You can also involve more teammates by inviting staff members to use their personal profiles to represent the organization. Danielle Brigida of the National Wildlife Federation said, “I like to look at social networking as an ecosystem: when you have a number of people picking up different niches, the system is stronger and healthier. Most of the time, you are your best advocate. The more people involved from your organization, the greater the impact, and without a personal touch these social networks become bland very quickly.”Sharing the workload has other advantages as well. Said Cape Cod Arts Foundation’s Dunn, “Keeping the organization’s social network project tightly compartmentalized within just one person’s domain personalizes it too much – if it succeeds, you’re all geniuses, but if it fails, then it was just Your Bad Idea. If the board gives your organization the green light, the whole organization needs to get on board with it too.”6. Keep It Personal“People love having an actual person to connect to from an organization, and two-way communication is what makes social networks so successful,” said HSUS’s Lewis.Each organization has its own approach to adding to their list of contacts, or “friending,” on social networks. Well-known blogger and social media guru Robert Scoble accepts all friend requests, for example, while social media expert and author Shel Israel prefers to establish a connection first by sending potential contacts a private message. Other organizations approve friends based on their personal, professional, or organizational goals.Yet keep in mind that the goal is not necessarily to amass a large number of friends, but to build meaningful relationships. The task of approving people as friends shouldn’t be viewed a mechanical task of simply clicking a button to add them to your list. It is important to get to know the people in your community. What are their interests? Why did they befriend you or join your organization’s group? How can you engage them in a conversation about your organization?One way you can address this is by assigning the task of befriending others to one person at your organization. “We have a staff person who is spending a portion of his time managing our MySpace page – identifying, reviewing and accepting friends seems to take a good chunk of time,” said Eve Smith, Assistant Director of Interactive Marketing at Easter Seals. “You can’t really streamline that work and be an effective relationship builder.”Micah Sifry, Executive Editor of Personal Democracy Forum, observed of über-successful political blog DailyKos, “[It] started as one person’s blog, and that person, Markos Moulitsas, spent untold hours building his community. He once told me that in the early days, when he had maybe several hundred regular readers, he knew the names of every single one and would notice when someone hadn’t been on the site for a while, and when they returned, he’d greet them personally. It takes that level of leadership engagement to build a successful [social network] around activism.”7. Befriend People StrategicallySometimes, friends come to you, but other times, you’ll have to do your own outreach to add new friends to your contact list. This is a critical part of the workflow; to reap the benefits of using social networking tools, you need to build your network.That said, you want to avoid random or open-ended outreach, which can distract you and waste time. A strategic way to build your network is to use a “friend-of-a-friend” approach. “Build a small base from a network of supporters from people you know – maybe that’s staff, board members, past supporters – and ask them to invite people they think should be involved,” said Bill Snyder, a nonprofit marketing consultant. “In a sense, it’s getting supporters to do the leg work and be active supporters. It’s also the very definition of ‘social networking.’ This may happen, to some extent, on its own, but it will happen a lot faster if you contact your network and ask them to do this.”Also, take some time to explore different groups on the network site; search by keywords, and explore your friends’ friend lists. You may be surprised to find several existing groups interested in your cause or organization. “I look for groups that may already be set up by users interested in our mission. It saves me time,” said Darren Mullenix, director of operations for Samaritan’s Purse. Change.org’s Mansfield agrees. “Befriend individuals who have already befriended other nonprofits with similar missions.”Technology can also help in this arena. Use the Who Is This? Firefox add-on to search for people you find online on other social networks, sites, and search engines.Finally, be sure to give your current supporters opportunities to join your network by letting them know about your organization’s presence. Post a social networking badge on your Web site or prominently display your profile URL in your email newsletters.8. Use a Few Good Time SaversA variety of tools and tricks can help you streamline your social networking projects and manage your content.RSS and Mobile FeaturesUsing an RSS reader to read content can be a real time saver over logging on to an individual site, particularly if you are maintaining a presence on multiple networks. Some even allow you to do this on the go. “The sites that have mobile clients or mobile-optimized Web sites make it possible so I can scan updates and post while commuting,” said Eugene Chan, IT director for the Community Technology Foundation. “Facebook is especially good in this regard.”RSS can also be used to bring feeds from around the Web to your profile page. “The crucial thing is that the social networking profile must be good, up-to-date, and interesting,” said Simon Berry, Executive Director for RuralNet UK. “However, its maintenance has to fit in with everything else we do and mustn’t be a separate process stuck on the side. The ability to ‘pull in’ content from elsewhere using RSS is really important.”Cut Down or Manage Your BacnBacn – email alerts from social networking sites – is a new form of spam. One way to manage this potential nuisance is to set your preferences to block them entirely, or to switch off email alerts when someone friends you or posts to your profile. Besides, if you visit your profile daily, you may not need to receive the email alerts. If you prefer to manage your profile from your inbox, use a filter or rule to direct them into a folder so you can deal with Bacn in batches. If you do want to receive alerts, but not by email, some sites offer the option to receive them as text messages. The point is, have a system.“When I first started, every time a friend request or message notification arrived in my email box, I’d check it right away,” said Lewis. “It became unmanageable. Now, I set a specific time every day to approve friend requests and comments, and message back those that write us. By having a set time every day, I don’t allow it to consume my time and I get a lot more done.”Automate Profile Content from Blogs, Web Sites, and Other SourcesNot all of the content that appears on your social networking site needs to be created there; as mentioned before, many sites offer tools to allow you to pull in content from your Web site or blog, or from others around the Web. “Facebook allows you to pull in all your RSS feeds from other services,” said David Brazeal, a social media consultant. “When you update your blog, or your podcast, or your Twitter, it’s published to your Facebook profile, too.”Many nonprofits are taking advantage of RSS and blog-publishing applications, bookmarklets (tools on your browser that let you easily share links to your social networking profile), and open APIs that allow you to easily republish content from social bookmarking sites, blogs, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, and even Web sites. Be careful; discovering what technologies work well together still involves a bit of trial and error.When pulling in content from other sites, be mindful that sites have different cultures and respond to communication styles differently. Lewis, who works on multiple sites, said, “At first, it was a trial and error for all of these networks. I posted the same thing on every one of the networks. I monitored what kind of responses I got, as well as the tone of communication. Then I modified my messaging based on the responses I received. This is how I became familiar with the different crowds and learned how to speak to them more effectively.” Kristin Taylor, Social Media Strategist for PBS Interactive, said, “Every social network is different and every user is different – there are levels of privacy, rules of friending, and a certain expectation of transparency. Respect that and you’ll be fine.”Keep Up With Policies and New DevelopmentsNWF’s Brigida advises nonprofit staffers who work on social networking sites to keep an eye on changes in features or policies that speak to their specific needs. “Read the key blogs that track the social networking site you’re on, as well as the official company blog. In addition, monitor peer listservs, like NTEN lists (You can find a short list of social networking blogs and other resources on my Social Networking Resources Wiki.)About the Author:Beth Kanter is a trainer, blogger, and consultant who writes about social-media tools in the nonprofit sector. She additionally develops curricula, researches, and evaluates technology for nonprofits. You can learn more about her at bethkanter.org.Copyright © 2008 CompuMentor. This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License.Source: http://www.techsoup.org/learningcenter/internet/page8075.cfmlast_img read more

Google Grants for Nonprofits: Getting Started

first_imgHave you ever wondered how to get your nonprofit listed near the top of Google’s search results for a specific search term (for example, “breast cancer research foundation”)? Would you like to have your organization listed in the paid search results that run along the top and the sides of search pages? The answers to these questions is the domain of search engine marketing. Search engine marketing, or SEM, is a form of online marketing that seeks to promote websites by increasing their visibility in search engine result pages.While paid placement may seem cost prohibitive to nonprofits, there is a way to secure in-kind paid placement for your organization through the Google Grants program.If you’ve been recently awarded a Google Grant, Google has resources to help your organization make the most of AdWords, which include the following tips: Once your account is set up, treat it as another channel in your marketing plan fundraising strategy. Leverage your AdWords to promote your organization’s mission by regularly updating your keywords, ad copy and destination pages.If you would like to learn more about the program, visit the Google Grants page: http://www.google.com/grants/ Visit your account set-up and make changes or updates to your campaign at any time. Here are a few items we’d recommend you review right off the bat:* Keyword list: Make sure your organization name is included, as well as any relevant cause-related terms (e.g., breast cancer, childhood leukemia).* Ad text: Check to see how well the ads represent your mission and whether the destination URLs link to specific and highly-relevant pages on your site.* Ad Groups: It’s always a good idea to have your Ad Groups match the organization of your website (For example, if you accept donations, consider a ‘Donations’ Ad Group.)center_img Remember, all Grants accounts are capped automatically at $10K/month, and all keywords are capped at a $2 maximum cost-per-click (CPC). If you have any questions about the guidelines, please visit the policy page.last_img read more

Making Order Out of Chaos Part III: Exploring the Different Types of Databases

first_imgThere are three different kinds of databases, and the jargon about them can get quite confusing. Here is an overview of each type:Generic DatabasesThese databases are not designed specifically for fundraising. The two most common are Microsoft Access and FileMaker Pro. They start with a general program that can be built upon to manage any number of needs, from a small import/export company’s inventory list to a small nonprofit’s donor base. Once you purchase the database, you decide which elements to use and in what ways. You’re essentially building your own database to meet the needs of your organization.Generic databases are generally inexpensive, so small groups with modest budgets like to take this route. Building your own simple database in-house or with well-meaning volunteers may seem the ideal option.Can this program do what you need? Yes, but only if you build it that way.Many groups have found that the time and effort they put into designing and building a database program in Microsoft Access would have been better spent purchasing a low-cost program designed specifically for fundraising. Open Source SoftwareA newer trend in the development of fundraising software is free databases that, like Access and FileMaker, require the technical skills to customize them for your organization’s particular needs. They are more sophisticated in their functionality than Access and FileMaker, and some of them are designed to be integrated with other management systems.I don’t recommend going this route unless you’re able to allocate sufficient staff resources to developing and maintaining the program. If you have the capacity to work with Open Source options, they provide more flexibility than the packaged software programs described above. But they’re not a good choice for smaller, grassroots organizations with no dedicated IT staff.As you can see, with a great database, your nightmare can turn into a rosy dream of informative reports, targeted asks, and increased fundraising success. Dedicated Fundraising SoftwareThese databases are specifically designed for fundraising. When it comes to organizing donor information, many groups need the same types of functions, and these databases have prepackaged them for you. Fields, a wide variety of reports, thank-you letter merges, and more are already set up in these programs. Prices vary from $89- $3,000 to start. For more sophisticated programs, you can pay tens of thousands of dollars.Keep in mind that the purchase price is only one cost associated with setting up a fundraising database. Ongoing costs include technical support and training on the use of the software (and training time for new staff). There may also be server/network and multi-user costs. Some software companies charge very little for a basic system and then charge extra for additional functionality, such as event management capability.Within this category, you have another choice to make – purchasing software that you own and install on your own computer and/or network, or going with an online program where your data are hosted by the software company and you pay a monthly charge for the service.With online databases, there’s nothing to install on your computer or network. All of your data are maintained by the vendor online, and you have access to your information from anywhere. These services vary in expense (some are free) and in the kinds of services you receive. If you have 1,000 or more records, they can be expensive. However, over time, the overall cost might be lower than the cost of managing an in-house program. These databases do come with some risks. For example, how will you have access to your information if the provider’s server or your Internet connection is down? And what happens if the company goes out of business?center_img Source: This article was originally published in the Grassroots Fundraising Journal.About the author: Maria Petulla specializes in database management, direct mail, Special events, and major donor campaigns for New York City nonprofits. Reach her at maria@petulla-associates.com or (917) 698-9209.last_img read more

Live from the Social Enterprise Summit

first_imgI’m at the Social Enterprise Alliance Summit here in Boston, where I’m presenting this tomorrow. My favorite session today was by Jerr Boschee, who spoke about what makes a successful social enterprise. (For the jargon-averse, a social enterprise is an organization with a double bottom line – it yields both social and financial returns.) He spoke about the importance of focusing on the one thing you do well – and getting rid of the rest. I’m a huge advocate of this approach. (My version of this advice is here.) Jerr says focus yields a lot of good for everyone:1. Have a sharp focus: Be great at one thing. Contraction is good. Kill programs that aren’t core to what you do best. He calls this “organized abandonment.”2. What happens when you focus? Expanded impact. You get more profound penetration into your area of focus – and greater social impact. 3. You also get a revitalized culture. Clear focus yields happy, productive and united staff.4. Influence is also an important outcome. The more power you have, the more freedom you get to speak the truth and do what you need to do. I like his list. It is scary to focus. But like all things that require courage, it is powerful. Fuzziness and fear don’t make great organizations or significant social change. It’s not always about what you should do. It’s also about what you should not do.last_img read more

One of the best websites ever

first_imgWhen I was presenting yesterday, I met Sherri Sager, a savvy and inspiring government relations officer at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford. She turned me on to the hospital’s website for kids in response to my talk about the importance of an audience-centric approach online. It is a beautiful illustration of everything a website should do:1.) Engage with an audience from their perspective (this feels like Club Penguin, and that’s a good thing)2.) Establish trust and authenticity – check out the great videos of kids talking to kids: the right messages and the right messengers.3.) Provide something of value so it’s “sticky” – kids and parents will come back to this site over and over4.) Organize navigation according to the audience’s mindframe and interests – you can find all you need5.) Provide interactive components – kids can make their own avatars and participate6.) Show, don’t tell: use story and compelling messengers to get your point acrossI could go on and on. Bravo to the Children’s Hospital. Once again proving, it’s all about the audience, my friend.last_img read more

Help! My organization is boring!

first_imgOne of the most common questions that I receive from nonprofits is this:“Your marketing advice sounds very nice if you’re an organization that does exciting things, like saving children or planting trees or rescuing puppies. But how do you tell a story about a process-heavy organization? What if we’re about coalition building? Or legal processes? How can that be emotional or engaging?!”Or put more simply: “Help! People think my organization is boring!”I usually respond by applying the four questions or CRAM to reposition their cause in a new and interesting way to show it CAN be done — but this time, the Case Foundation has done the work for me very well. They took an extremely important but potentially dry topic – citizen engagement and civic participation (people meeting and talking) – and made it engaging and exciting. They did it with their Make It Your Own campaign, drawing on:1. Good story telling2. Dynamic messengers that make it feel personal3. A sense of urgency via competition4. Giving it some stakes – namely, potential money for their audiences’ causes5. Giving it marketing juiceHere’s the good storytelling:And here’s where you can see the messengers, the competition and the stakes. Feel free to vote. As for the marketing juice – in addition to doing their own work to promote the campaign, the foundation developed mini marketing kits for the cause advocates involved, so they could learn how to amplify their voices. I can hear you say, I don’t have a video budget or the Case Foundation behind me. But you don’t need big bucks to tell your story better on your home page or in an email. A simple photo of a person holding a sign with their dreams written upon it is not expensive, but it’s powerful – because it’s personal, it’s real, and it tells a story your mission statement can’t.What have you done to make process come alive? I’d love to hear.(Full disclosure: I know, like, and work with many folks at the Case Foundation, and they have funded Network for Good before. But I wouldn’t plug this campaign if I didn’t like it.)last_img read more

Why You Need the Wired Wealthy

first_imgA growing number of people are giving even bigger bucks online.  A new study, “The Wired Wealthy” by Convio, Sea Change Strategies and Edge Research, looks at these major online donors in depth.  Read the full study below, or just check out these key points from the study:Major and moderate donors are generous and onlineThe e-mail files surveyed represent one percent of the membership but 32 percent of the revenue for this sector80 percent of the wired wealthy made donations both online and offline72 percent say donating online is more efficient and helps charities reduce administrative costs51 percent said they prefer giving online and 46 percent said that five years from now they will be making a greater portion of their charitable gifts onlineMost charity Web sites are missing opportunities to fully engage wealthy wired with their organizationOnly 40 percent said that most charity Web sites made them feel personally connected to their cause or missionOnly 40 percent said that most charity Web sites are inspiring48 percent felt most charity Web sites are well-designedEmail shows signs of lost opportunities to connect with various donors74 percent said it was appropriate for the charity to send an email reminding them to renew an annual gift74 percent said that an email from the charity about how their donation was spent, and what happened as a result would make them more likely to give again65 percent said they always open and glance at emails from causes they supportThree distinct groups of donors emerged based on the extent to which the donor sees the Internet as a source of connection between themselves and the causesRelationship seekers (29%) – the group most likely to connect emotionally with organizations onlineAll business (30%) – not looking for a relationship or emotional connection, but a smooth and simple donation processCasual connectors (41%) occupy the middle ground, showing some interest in sustaining an online relationship, but also wanting a smooth and simple processNonprofits should create and provide options that let the wired wealthy customize their online experience with the cause, says the study.last_img read more

Nonprofit blog carnival: Your 25 pieces of best advice

first_imgFor the month of April, I’m hosting the nonprofit blog carnival. A carnival is a mix of contributions from bloggers and readers on a shared theme, and I chose the theme, “best advice.”I asked you the following question: What was the one, best piece of professional advice you ever got and why? How has it transformed your work? I also invited readers’ best single piece of advice for people who work at nonprofits. There was an incredible response. Here are your answers! 1. Don’t show your underwear. Sue Edison-Swift nails the metaphor! “When asked to create a unit brochure or report on the latest reorganization or when expected to communicate the inner workings of the central office, I find it helpful to note that the organization of an organization–its unit structure, its regional geography, its reporting hierarchy, its carefully crafted strategic plan–provides the foundation for getting things done. Another word for foundation is underwear, and while the support and structure of underwear is important, it’s best not to show your underwear in public. Communicating about the organization of the organization to insiders answers their who-what-when-where-how questions. Communicating about the organization of the organization to outsiders–AKA constituents, clients, volunteers, donors–does little to answer their questions: So what? Why should I care? How do I get what I need? What difference do you make? Organization = Foundation = Underwear. Keep it on the inside.”2. You have to ask to get the donation. Kirt Manecke, author of Smile, says, “The one best piece of professional advice I ever got was from my late Uncle Gene. My uncle, Gene Balogh, was a professional speaker and salesman who traveled across the country giving seminars teaching the construction industry how to sell. I work in sales and he always reminded me, “You have to ask for the sale.” When I became passionate about helping good causes raise funds, he’d say, ‘You have to ask for the donation.’” He notes, “Instead of thinking of what you’re doing as fundraising, think of it as helping people invest in what they care about. After all, if they were not interested, they wouldn’t be talking with you in the first place.”3. Get to know your donors on a deeper level. Pamela Grow of The Grow Report recounts a huge fundraising challenge and how it proved the importance of getting “into” the hearts and minds of donors. “Make it a point, whether through surveys, phone conversations, in-person meetings, email, intimate events, and social media, to figure out what makes them tick,” is her sound advice. “Translated simply: ‘getting’ donor-centricity is the groundwork for sustainable fundraising, period.”4. Don’t take it personally. Tanya Cothran of Spirit in Action tells us, ” Emotion can be my greatest enemy. When fundraising for our organization, saying the “ask” out loud is a daunting task for me. I usually know the person I was talking to quite well and it is hard to come right out and talk about money, even more so to ask for it. But most of the difficulty in asking is because my emotions are all tied up in the question. If someone says no to donating, are they saying no to me? Is it because of something I said? Probably not! Most likely, the reason someone says “no” has nothing to do with me personally, but because of their particular situation or because the work of our organization as a whole doesn’t fit their giving priorities.” Great counsel for fundraisers. (Jennifer R. Bosk emailed with the same thought.)5. Remember you get the board you build. Dani Robbins of Non Profit Evolution says in a refreshingly personal and honest post, “The best advice I ever got as a nonprofit CEO was “you will get the board you build.” Up until that day, which I will never forget, I thought that since I reported to the Board, I should stay out of it. Boy, was I wrong! In addition to giving up the power to influence who would become the future leaders of my organizations, and as such, my future bosses, I also passed on the chance to educate my board about their governance responsibilities. I failed to use my position to strengthen the board and through them to strengthen my agency. Up until that moment, I didn’t understand that building the board was my job.” She goes on to share how to do that.6. Connect with African American donors. Akira Barclay of Giving in LA explains how to do it: “Cultivating relationships with African-American donors requires strong and sustained institutional commitment. Particularly if your institution is overcoming a previous lack of commitment to actively pursue African-American donors the connection will not happen overnight. But those willing to make a long-term sincere effort will realize a healthy African-American donor base, the results of a history of relationships, trust and experience as an honest partner.”7. Be bold. Elaine Fogel of Totally Uncorked on Marketing says, “Strive to be a game changer. Be the change agent the organization needs. Don’t be afraid to make recommendations that can help the nonprofit move forward in ‘living’ its mission. Yes, do it gingerly. Do it gently, but as Nike says, Just Do it!”8. Be polite. Incredibly, Shari Ilsen of the VolunteerMatch blog had David Mamet as a high school instructor. He was full of wisdom on writing, but she tells a surprising story of his best advice: “He said, ‘If you take nothing else away from this class, remember this one thing forever.’ And then he wrote on the chalkboard in big, underlined letters: ‘Be polite!’” Shari recounts all the ways this has worked in her career.9. Ask for help. Cindi Phallen of Create Possibility says, “A brilliant mentor of mine once told me that the only competent people he ever saw fail, were the ones who didn’t ask for help. I was at the beginning of my career as a nonprofit leader, and thought I understood what he meant. But as the years went on, I realized how critical that point really is in the complex nonprofit world. I’m not talking about making a repair with duct tape and rubber bands. I am referring to the real stuff – like how to increase earned revenue, or suggestions for managing a difficult staff situation, or what are effective innovation strategies.”10. Be your authentic self. Jenifer Snyder, Executive Director of The mGive Foundation, has a strong post on why to avoid the pressure to be a certain kind of leader. She notes: “We live in a world now where conformity – gender or otherwise – is valued less and authenticity is prized more. Be authentic. Be yourself. The world awaits.”11. Effort makes the difference. Vanessa Chase of Philanthropy for All writes, “My wonderful dad, David Chase, told me that, “Good things rarely happen by accident,” back when I was in University. I’ve had this quote from him on a post note at every desk and in every planner I’ve owned for many years now. What I love about his words of wisdom is that they apply to so many situations in our lives and it reaffirms my belief that a solid work ethic will carry you through any tough situations; many of which have been while working as a fundraiser.”12. Work smart, not hard. Jeanette Russell of Salsa Labs advises, “Working smart, not hard, is not a statement about how many hours you should work, but rather how to get the best impact from your most important resource – your time. I can’t think of one nonprofit who has the time and staff to achieve their mission. Time for many groups, is actually more scarce than funding and must be used with the greatest respect.”13. Network. Empish Thomas of the Center for the Visually Impaired notes, “In today’s workforce, who you know is just as important as what you know. I feel that for people like me who are visually impaired, it is even more essential to network and build strong working relationships that can help lead to career success. Employment opportunities and career advancement for the blind and visually impaired are pretty low with only 30% of us working and I have been able to maintain my employment over the years primarily through my connections.”14. Write talking points. Joanne Fritz of About.com for Nonprofits notes talking points are typically thought of as soundbites for media, but taking the time to prepare your key messages is vital for many professional situations, including board meetings and job interviews! “Talking points. I never leave home (or office) without them,” she tells us. I totally agree.15. Just write. Jake Seliger of Grant Writing Confidential says, “Something can be edited. Write something.” As a writer I appreciate this advice: “Taking an infinite number of workshops is not going to make the blank page any easier. Having something, anything, on the blank page is better than having nothing.”16. Done is better than perfect. Tom Peterson of Thunderhead Works notes, “Not surprisingly, if we’re doing nothing because we’re not sure what to do, if we’re waiting for it to be perfect, our results will be nothing. People who make a difference, who find ways to tackle social problems, usually draw upon many years of struggling with an issue before they break through.”17. Know your purpose and care passionately. Claire Axelrad of Clairification says you should never go on autopilot and keep asking “why” – “If you’ve lost your passion, can’t get it back, or never had it, consider doing something different. You’re not doing yourself (or other people, or your community, or the planet) any favors if you’re merely phoning it in. Life’s too short. Do it differently, or do something else.”18. Know relationships are the key. Terri Holland says, “Yes, people is where it’s all it in the non profit fundraising pool. You MUST develop relationships with anyone and everyone. Do not discount anyone out of that pool of people… relationships are golden and having those relationships with donors, potential, past or present is where the pot of gold lies at the end of the fundraising rainbow.”19. Integrity matters most. Lori Halley of Wild Apricot asked her colleagues for advice and got many answers, including this one: “Never trade your integrity for a paycheck. You can get more money later, but you’ll never be able to buy your integrity back.” She shares more in her post.20. Volunteer. Greg Albright of the Right Hook Blog says, “The reality is volunteering is just as much for you, your career, and your business. As a long-time volunteer and volunteer recruiter, I can honestly say volunteering has done as much or more for my career, my business, and my quality of life, as it has for the organizations I have been involved with.”21. Finally, some readers shared some wisdom in emails. Beth Kling says do less, focus more. Paul Miller is on the same page: ““You will get pulled a thousand different ways working for a non-profit. As a development director, if anything you are asked to do does not further development efforts, don’t do it. Stay focused on development.” 22. Amy Kusek says someone once told her, “‘If you are not getting no 50% of the time, you are not asking enough.’ It has been helpful in so many ways including helping me not dwell on the “no” and to stay positive about getting back out to make an ask. It also helps you be gracious when you get a “no” which I think helps long term.” 23. Claudia Herrold emailed with good writing advice: “This is a piece of advice that is applicable to many communications channels, not just for blogging: write for your least engaged member, not your most engaged (we’re a statewide membership association of those engaged in philanthropy). Following this piece of advice means that I: stay away from use of jargon and acronyms; make sure to give background links and context; keep it short; and talk about what it means/how it applies to their work.”24. For those of you looking for a job in the environmental field, Lori Whalen lays out a list of ideas on her blog.25. Last but NOT least, Deacon Lesley-Ann Drake wrote me with a great closing piece of advice: “Start where you can start.” She says, “This was given to me by Bishop Frank Allen (retired) of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta. Without that simple statement I would probably still be wondering if I should step off the cliff into the non-profit world, or not. The problems of this world are enormous and we can choose to be overwhelmed and frozen, or we can take that first small step and do something.” Amen to that.Next month’s carnival is hosted by Erik Anderson at Donor Dreams blog. To participate, check out his announcement here. He is welcoming answers to the question, “If you could write an anonymous letter to a nonprofit board about something they do that drives you crazy, what would that letter look like and what suggested solutions would you include?” Should be a fun topic.last_img read more

Ignite Action with a Powerful Data Story

first_img———- A few metrics I like to see on a board dashboard are: On August 26 on the Nonprofit 911 Network for Good Webinar I’ll take you through a deeper dive into how to Change Your Data Story. The question then is: What actions do you want your staff, board and your community to take? As a master storyteller people often mistakenly think I only tell stories about people.The truth is, I find stories everywhere: In a glance between a client and staff, at board meetings, and even in financial data. The question is what to do with the stories you find, especially the stories in your data? Step 2: Once the board has determined the ways they will be of most value AND what they want to track, the role of staff is to create a dashboard to support their actions. Simple Board Activity Dashboard One of the best ways to use some of the data you have is to share it in a visual display that paints a clear picture AND gets people to take actions to change the data. That might mean taking action to increase your fundraising, retain loyal donors, maintain an ample cushion of cash on hand at all times or, well, you decide. A good place to start is to create a board activity dashboard based on the actions your board has decided will make a difference. Here are some simple steps to get you started: Participation in donor stewardship activities: story sharing, thank you calls, guests brought to events Step 1: At a retreat or during a board meeting, provide ample time for your board members to answer a few key questions. You can refer to this post 5 Questions Every Board Should Ask for some helpful questions. Creating the dashboards is the easy part. Deciding what to show on the dashboards is what takes time and focused conversation. Annual financial giving Join me to view samples of what your dashboards should look like and how best to use them to inspire action. I’ll share six of the most common mistakes when designing dashboards and some examples of what you can do differently. Step 4: Review dashboards regularly with time to discuss activity updates and what new actions must be taken next. A nationally recognized master storyteller and fundraising culture expert, Lori L. Jacobwith has coached thousands to raise nearly $300 million dollars from individual donors. And counting. Her proven strategies & tools teach nonprofits and their boards to share stories powerfully and easily. Lori holds a BA from the University of Minnesota, has additional training from Indiana University’s Fund Raising School and is a longtime member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Follow Lori on Twitter @LJacobwith or Facebook Whether you use a traditional bar graph or you use something different (Blue Avocado has an excellent example), your goal is to cause new actions that support your mission and your bottom line. Step 3: Make sure your dashboard shows both what has happened in the past AND what actions you want to cause in the future. Attendance at board & committee meetingslast_img read more

As “Functional Cure” Suggests Possibilities for HIV/AIDS Cure, New Findings Underscore Contribution of AIDS to Pregnancy-related Deaths

first_img ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on March 12, 2013March 21, 2017By: Sarah Blake, MHTF consultantClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Last week’s announcement that a baby girl born HIV-positive in Mississippi had been functionally cured of the disease drew the attention of media around the world. However, the implications of this case are still unknown: does it mean that we are on the verge of a revolution in HIV/AIDS treatment? Denise Naniche of the Barcelona Institute for Global Health explores some of the scientific questions that this news raised in a blog post on Health is Global (also published in Spanish on the Huffington Post). She writes:Since HIV establishes a reservoir of persistently infected cells in the earliest stages of infection, there is growing interest in the idea of early intensive antiretroviral treatment to limit the size of this reservoir and as such lead to a functional cure. Since babies are infected most often in the final phases of pregnancy or during labor, they present an ideal situation to prevent or limit the HIV reservoir. In a sense, the case of the Mississippi infant was an unplanned experiment since the infant started treatment early and stopped at 18 months. It opens possibilities for further research in controlled clinical trials for preventing the 1000 daily HIV infections still occurring in infants throughout the world.Meanwhile, in a study published online in the journal AIDS, Clara Calvert and Carine Ronsmans underscored the critical importance of services for HIV-positive pregnant women around the world. They estimated that “approximately 5% of pregnancy related deaths worldwide and 25% in sub-Saharan Africa are attributable to HIV,” and point out that HIV/AIDS is contributing to many of the high overall maternal mortality figures around the world, and called for a comprehensive response that integrates HIV/AIDS care with reproductive and maternal health services.Share this:last_img read more

Key Issues in Perinatal Mental Health

first_img ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on May 3, 2017January 2, 2018By: Sarah Hodin, Project Coordinator II, Women and Health Initiative, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public HealthClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Perinatal mental health refers to a woman’s mental health during pregnancy and the postpartum period. The vast majority of research on perinatal mental health examines non-psychotic common perinatal mental disorders (CPMDs), and the majority of studies focus specifically on anxiety and depression.Research from high-income countries has revealed that 7%-15% of women suffer from antepartum depression, and about 10% of women experience postpartum depression. Available evidence suggests that perinatal mental health issues are more common in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs): According to a 2011 systematic review, the average prevalence of prenatal CPMDs was 16% in LMICs and the average prevalence of postpartum CPMDs was 20%, but these figures were calculated based on limited data from relatively few countries. A more recent systematic review based on data from more countries reported an average prevalence of 25% for prenatal depression among women in LMICs, and an average prevalence of 19% for postpartum depression. Prevalence estimates vary widely and are likely low. Inadequate screening and referral systems often result in women with perinatal mental health issues going undiagnosed and untreated.A number of social determinants including socioeconomic status, race/ethnicity and a lack of social support influence a woman’s risk of experiencing perinatal mental health issues and the likelihood that she will seek and receive adequate treatment. Fear of stigma can also prevent women from seeking care. However, even if a woman seeks care, she may not have access to the services she needs. Providing high quality perinatal mental health services is particularly difficult in low-resource settings with limited health workforces.While the prevalence of suicide during pregnancy or postpartum in different contexts is unknown, perinatal mental health issues sometimes lead to self-harm—one of the leading causes of women’s deaths around the globe. Furthermore, perinatal mental health issues can continue after the immediate postpartum period, affecting not only the woman, but also her child. A systematic review of studies in LMICs found associations between perinatal mental health issues and preterm delivery, low birth weight, impaired postnatal infant growth, insecure infant-mother attachments and suboptimal breastfeeding practices.Additional efforts are needed to identify risk factors and develop culturally appropriate interventions to ensure that all women experiencing perinatal mental health issues are properly screened, diagnosed and treated.Access resources related to perinatal mental health>>Share this:last_img read more