Tag Archives: Twitter

Making The Most Of #GivingTuesday

Exactly one month from today – December 2nd – is #GivingTuesday. #GivingTuesday started in 2012 when a group of visionary nonprofit leaders at the 92Y and the UN Foundation had an idea: to take back the giving season after the shopping binge of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. From a couple hundred nonprofits in 2012, #GivingTuesday has grown into an international day of giving.  And it has been a boon to nonprofits that know what to do with the opportunity. Now is the time to learn how you can be making the most of #GivingTuesday.

You, and your nonprofit, have the ideal opening to remind donors that the season of giving should be more than flat screen TVs and UGG boots.

Here are 3 ways you can take advantage of the day:

  • Send out emails. Send one on Black Friday with a follow up on #GivingTuesday reminding everyone how their generosity can help you achieve X, Y & Z.
  • Have a phoneathon. A Tuesday night in December is a great night to call previous donors and ask them to consider another gift to your organization. Board members may be more willing to help since it is, in theory, the day to ask. And, if donors don’t want to give over the phone you still have plenty of time to follow up with a letter, an email to ensure an end-of-year gift.
  • Social media blast. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest – pick your favorite(s) and start sharing reasons why your organization should be on the top of the donor’s list for Giving Tuesday. You will be competing with a lot of other nonprofits on the same platforms using #GivingTuesday so be sure to give clear, concise reasons why they should support your organization.

The reasons to give to your nonprofit must still be compelling. If not, someone else will be profiting from your reminders that this is the season to give.

Social Media Quality vs Quantity

Every day when I open my email there is a Linked-In digest for the Non-Profit Marketing Group Members group.  For four months the top link has been to the comment, “Have a Facebook Page? Share it Here for Mutual ‘Likes’” There have been 400+ comments, most of them listing their nonprofit, commending the idea and agreeing to “like” the other organizations in a reciprocal exchange.

Most seem to be small organizations and from what I can tell, have completely missed the idea of “likes” on Facebook.  We all want additional people to “like” our organizations or follow us on twitter (@merskyjaffe) but the only way our organization will be successful is if our subscribers are appropriate for us.  People that support our ideals – emotionally, personally and financially.

Social media encourages us to look for quantity but in our heart of hearts, we all know that quality is what matters.

And if you need one more reason to consider quality lists, consider your statistics.  It is much harder to get higher click-through and response rates when a quarter of your list is irrelevant to your cause.

Encourage quality connections through your member lists, emails, brochures, signage, and other places people already look for you.  Mention your social media connections in meetings and events.  Work hard to evolve your lists but work smart.  It will mean more in the long run to have a large quantity of quality connections.

What Can Tweeting Do For Your Organization?

twitter birdTwittering is like hugging. Just because it’s hard to measure the return on investment doesn’t mean there isn’t value there. – Retweet from Tony Hsieh of Zappos

Twitter is, simply put, another way to keep in touch with the people who are interested in your organization.  The 140 characters may seem limiting at first, but twitters are efficient for both parties.  Here are 10 creative ways in which others are using twitter and other social media outlets for effective two-way communication–offering information while collecting contact data. The twitter username is available when appropriate.

At the end of the list, I have collected the golden nuggets we can gather from these examples and the organizations that have employed them.

  1. How much is a name worth to your organization? For LIVESTRONG and one of its donors, it is exactly $1/name.  The organization has put out a series of calls for action via twitter utilizing re-tweets (RT is the symbol you use prior to forwarding tweets to provide credit to the source).  In May, it was – if LIVESTRONG could collect 25,000 followers for its CEO within a certain time, the organization would get $25,000 from an unnamed donor. @livestrongCEO
  2. The prize in exchange for contact information.The La Jolla Playhouse in Los Angeles recently launched a new campaign titled “Your Life, Our Stage,” in which the company invited their followers to submit ideas for a play based on their own lives by uploading videos, photos, artwork and written descriptions via the social networking vendor Brickfish.  The winning entry will have a scene from his or her life story written by Doug Wright, the playwright who won the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award for “I Am My Own Wife.”
  3. A reason to check Twitter on the weekends. Imagine Church offers services sent to you one microblog at a time. @imaginechurch
  4. Famous People using their lists for good. Tony Robbins, the motivational guru, as of today, has 1,110,225 followers.  His tweets include uplifting thoughts, quotes and self-promotion.  One day in May, he re-tweeted a post about a friend whose daughter was in an ICU at a Hospital in Cincinnati.  As the hospital did not send the original tweet – there is no way to fully track results, but they did get 207% increase in the number of blood donations they received in the prior year.  Incidentally, Alyssa Milano re-tweeted the same item. @tonyrobbins
  5. liver4carole – Exactly what you would imagine, Carole was on the liver transplant list and these tweets were a way to distribute updates, keep in touch with an ever-growing population, accept donations and publicize an auction. @liver4carole
  6. Reminders to make an impact. Susan G. Komen for the Cure Advocacy Alliance includes live tweets from Capitol Hill with the intention to generate letters to senators, petition signatures, find new Facebook fans, and generate phone calls for their cause.
  7. Reminders that people want to read. The Brattle Theatre in Cambridge, MA is  the only remaining single-screen, repertory-programmed movie theatre in the country.  Every day brings some interesting screening but who can keep track of so many films?  They are now tweeting their daily schedule. @BrattleTheatre
  8. Make people smile. I have to admit that one of my personal favorites that encouraged me to start to twitter was @cookbook.  It is incredibly creative.  Tweets are recipes that you can work in 140 characters.  I am planning on trying the Caesar salad recipe soon.
  9. Know your target. Via twitter I learned that if I friended Woodland Trust (the leading woodland conservation charity) offers Nature Detectives.  Nature Detectives is a wildlife club and website for children run by the Woodland Trust but most importantly, each day they post new nature projects through a downloadable pdf.  On any given day you can teach your children to identify flowers, paint rock bugs or a butterfly mobile.
  10. User habits matter. A man named Bill wanted to promote a speaking series for Artists’ Circle in the Twin Cities.  To collect initial followers who may be interested in the organization he used Twello.com to find people interested in both Minnesota and Art.  He followed them knowing that the majority of people automatically reciprocate by agreeing to you.  The statistics that I have seen vary but they all seem to be above 95%.

What have I learned from this collection of organizations and there use of Twitter?
First, this is just the tip of the iceberg.  There is so much content being generated everyday; people do find creative ways to use any new technology.

Secondly – the value to a nonprofit is to have a group of people who are interested in your cause who have opted-in to hear from you.  Collect followers, and then decide whether you will use it to generate excitement, poll the supporters or provide timely updates on a project.

Thirdly, it will be an essential part of any organization’s marketing plan for years to come – more and more people are joining twitter and various social organizations everyday.  Right now, it may seem as if it is only a way to reach the young, the technologically savvy and the marketing specialists – but those groups can be incredibly impactful in their outreach for themselves, and potentially, your organization.

Don’t wait – start tweeting today.

MJA’s Nonprofit Social Media – The Overview

nonprofit social media networkIt seems that everyone is claiming they are experts in social media.   My credentials include Facebook for friends, Linked In for business contacts, I use Twitter @merskyjaffe – and I try to keep up-to-date through research and discussions. The more I have learned, the more I realized that whether or not I am an expert is irrelevant.

Are you going to hire Mersky, Jaffe & Associates because I call myself a social media guru (which I do not)?  No, you are going to engage us because you have faith that we will provide you with a range of expertise that can improve your nonprofit across the board.  Every capital campaign or annual fund improvement project starts with an assessment of your internal resources, systems to ensure best practices.  Marketing included.  And social media, when discussing nonprofits, is essentially a form of marketing.

Marketing is not a one-way process. A brochure and website are essential but stagnant for the increasingly technologically savvy.  Think of a blog, social media network or RSS feeds as a way to interact with the donor on a regular basis.  Sure, someone has to create content and updates, but you are also creating a reason for like-minded people to return to your organization again and again.

The mantra of marketing as it relates to development remains the same across all media – the more contact that individuals have with your organization, the more likely they will become and remain donors.

Taking on something like this can seem daunting.  But keep in mind, that no matter what you do – you are not going to do it all.  Unless you have the resources to focus one full-time individual on this, you will only scratch the surface.  So, be strategic in your choices and realistic in your expectations.

I can’t stress this last point enough.  This is a priority – but certainly not more so than thank you notes to donors or updating your website.  Incorporate the aspects that you can and move on.  Marketing requires focus, but as anyone who currently belongs to a social networking site will tell you – it can easily take up extra hours.  This is particularly a problem for those with personal accounts on these sites.  Set strict rules for staff.  For instance, ask that the site be updated at 5:30pm everyday. so that if someone gets caught up in a personal network – it won’t affect your efficacy as an organization.

If this article is too superficial for your needs, click here to email me for specific advice.

Even You Can Twitter: A Step-by-Step

Twitter Logo (c) twitter

You can love it or hate it but you can’t ignore it. It is not the be-all or end-all of communications, but it is an essential part of any nonprofit marketing and fundraising plans these days. The good news is that it is not that hard to understand. Here are step-by-step instructions on how to follow and be followed.

What is Twitter?
Twitter answers the question, “What are you doing?” It is similar to Facebook without the albums, quizzes, etc… It is short – fewer than 140 characters (including spaces) which means you want to be strategic in your conciseness. And don’t worry; it includes a backwards character counter.

Please see the accompanying article: “What Can Tweeting Do For Your Organization?” for the potential opportunities.

Now, here’s the meat (or tofu depending on your preference):

How do you tweet?

1. Go to tweeter.com and create an account. The instructions are easy enough for anyone to understand.
2. Once your account is created, it will offer to help you find people to follow. It will automatically give you the option to have twitter search through your address book if your book is on gmail, yahoo or aol, and find friends who are twittering.

Then, you will automatically be sent to a page that says, “Look who else is here. Start following them!” I’m not sure how people end up on the list, but it doesn’t seem to change significantly over time. Be aware that it selects everyone as a default so if you do not want to follow everyone on that list, you can deselect or use the “skip this step” option at the bottom.

Who should you follow? When you are considering a person, you will see an image on the left, a name in the middle and a description on the right. (Later, you can create your own brief description, so as you read through those whom you might follow, consider what you would like to say about your self.)

Select a few people to follow from twitter’s suggestions. This is not a life long commitment – you can “deselect a person(s) at any time. But this will give you an idea of what types of tweets people offer.

Also, as you listen to the radio, watch TV or if you are one of the few who still read a newspaper, you will realize that many famous people twitter. Your favorite NPR host, Stephen Colbert or that person who writes your favorite nonprofit newsletter – Resources: The MJA newsletter (who tweets @bullseye33). Well, maybe I’m not famous but I hope that you may be interested in what I have to say.

There is an obvious search button on the right if you want to look for anyone in particular.

Spend a week or two following others to see what kinds of things you like to hear about. Some people like to tweet about the bits and pieces of everyday life. Some people like to offer advice. I am not a daily tweeter. Not even always a weekly tweeter. But I like the opportunity to share something interesting or re-tweet to like-minded people. Then, start sending out your own tweets.

Mobile Devices:
I am not an expert, but I do know that if you will need to download additional software to your phone so that you can easily read your tweets. (going through safari and twitter.com on an iphone is too clunky. I use twitterific – the free version includes an ad at the top but as I am scrolling through the messages anyway – it doesn’t bother me. You can pay for an ad-free version if you choose to do so.

Certain signs that you will see:
RT = Re-tweet = the person read the tweet and wanted to forward it along. When you forward, you include the original tweeter’s name, i.e. RT@bullseye33 Mersky, Jaffe & Associates has a new downloadable article – get it for free now!

# = hash tags = words that can be added to your Twitter messages and begin with an “#” Then, when someone wants to search for something, they can do a search for nonprofit and anyone who has created a post with the tag #nonprofit will show up.

More questions? Send them to me by clicking here or following me at @merskyjaffe

Trends In Fundraising

Nonprofit Marketing Choices imageOnline fundraising, personal fundraising pages, email signatures, social networking sites, are just a few of the “new” methods for fundraising. But with each new invention, you must decide what you will invest in and what you will ignore. Sifting through the choices is not always an easy task but sticking to general rules of thumb can be.

Before you start a new method for attracting donors stop and look at the decision as you would any other major business decision.

1. How many hours do you estimate it will take you for set up?
2. What do you expect in return?
3. How long will it take to reap the return?
4. What will you not be doing in order to achieve this new goal?

As new technology pops up, your organization should be flexible enough to consider the possibilities while smart enough to avoid getting bogged down in every potential windfall.

Examine Everything On A Case-By-Case Basis

Take something like an email signature with a link to your site. It will take under a half an hour from start to finish including creating a template for the members of your organization and explaining how to use the signature. Realistically it will not, on its own, create many new donors, but it could get more people to visit your website. And learning more about your organization is a key step to gaining the investment in your organization that could translate into a donor relationship.

Now, what about utilizing a social networking application like Facebook? You want to meet your potential donors where they are, but until you fully understand an application, proceed with caution. You may have a staff member who says they can easily set up one of the new fundraising applications and even link to their page with their 300+ friends and would love to publicize the organization in this way. It sounds great – 300+ new people who will be sent major updates about your organization with little effort. And let’s face it, your staff member is probably on the site during the day anyway.

But, how are you going to control the message? Who is in charge of it? Is it public relations? Marketing? The development office? The executive director? Is this where you want them to dedicate their time and energy? If you are linking to staff-members pages, do you know whether everything on that page is appropriate to be connected to your organization? Does your employee understand the implications?

Our advice?
Unless you aim to be the most tech-savvy nonprofit, no one expects you to be ahead of the curve but every investor in your organization does expect you to be responsible for your image and, in turn, the donors’ image.

This is not to suggest that you should stay stagnant. New technology can help propel you into new places and in front of new donors. And that should be the goal of every organization that wants to secure a stronger future.