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The thing I tell people in my Board Development, Fundraising, Budgeting, and Marketing and Social Media workshops,  all of them, is,
“If you think you are running this show, you may as shut your organization down now.”  What runs your nonprofit are market conditions, changing needs of your clientele, changing board dynamics, how well your organization is moving toward your long term vision, or not.

The Founder or Executive Director often thinks, they are running the show.  They are not.  If they maintain that course, they are going to make a lot of people, ie. staff, donors, community, clientele, board members, very unhappy over time.

Beth Kanter’s latest social media blog post speaks to how to use social media to stop doing it all yourself.   As she so astutely points out, if you don’t think you have time to explore social media, you may be creating quite a crisis for yourself down the road.   And, why would you think YOU have to create your social media structure and campaign structure yourself anyway?  You’re not even qualified.

Get resourceful.  Create a task force.  Create an entire committee and give them a goal.  A great goal to give them would be a “We want to raise $25,000 via social media in the next (whatever time frame).   Get on it.”  goal.   And of course, you’d want to enroll and enlist people to that task force that would love playing that game.   Not you, the founder, who thinks social media is something your grandchild does when he should be, well, whatever you think he should be doing.   I mean how long does it take to create a good committee.  Well if you go to your existing board and lazily expect them to reorganize themselves into a new function, well, you’ll never get a social media program going.  If you give the matter just half an ounce of thought, you’ll realize,  we can create this committee and recruit some spectacular local talent, they get to know us, we get to know them.  Our board is educated as well left unburdened.  We have fresh dynamic energy flowing the the top layer of our organization for the duration of the project, win, win, win, win, win!  Don’t burden your board with yet another task.  Bring them a present and don’t let them turn the present down.   Think for a minute on what you want social networking to do for your organization and assign a team of fresh people to get it done.

Beth’s articles are always on the leading edge, relevant, related and implementable.  http://www.bethkanter.org/simplicity-netnon/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+bethblog+%28Beth%27s+Blog%29 Enjoy.

Using Social Media To Accomplish More With Less

I don’t have time for social media

Join me on Tuesday, July 14 at 1 PM EST/1o am PST for a webinar hosted by Networked for Good “Using Social Media to Accomplish More with Less.”    It’s free and three lucky participants will win a copy of the book.  I’ll be talking about some of themes in the book and sharing some tips for streamlining your social media use.

One of the most common questions I hear is when I do workshops is, “How much time does it take to do social media?”.  It is usually followed by an observation that the organization is so resourced and time strapped that they can’t invest time doing anything that doesn’t provide an immediate and maximized return.   So, they don’t go further with their social media.  A common mistake.

One of the thing that Networked Nonprofits have in common is simplicity.   It clarifies organizations and forces them to focus their energy on what they do best, while leveraging resources of their networks for the rest.   Simplicity powers more informal connections between people, blurs boundaries, and enables nonprofits to scale efforts better than a single organization could.

Embracing simplicity helps nonprofits move from scarcity lens to that of abundance and allows them to leverage their networks through social media.  Here’s a couple of examples:

The SFSPCA has connected with social media savvy volunteers that now create content and manage some of their social media channels such as the Litter Did You Know blog and YouTube Channel.

Los Angeles Universal Preschool Parent Ambassadors on Facebook

Los Angeles Universal Preschool mission is to make voluntary, high-quality preschool available to every 4-year-old in Los Angeles County, regardless of their family’s income.  They have a group of parent ambassadors who work on land to spread the word about high quality preschool.  This group also has a Facebook Fan Page where they provide the same role online.

Preschool California uses Twitter to connect with journalists.  They discovered that Tweets are more informal, less time consuming than email so journalists may be more likely to read.   Despite only having a few interactions with reporters, Preschool California still retweeted and commented on a number of articles, garnering responses from other advocates and interested Twitter users, which helped increase their issue exposure to a larger audience that focus on early childhood education and are using Twitter.

Using social media can help nonprofits find people and other organizations with good ideas an interest in working together.  This is the leverage that they need to stop doing everything alone while ensure that a lot is getting done in their networks.     These organizations and people are right there, in the network, on Facebook or Twitter, waiting to connect with and support your organization’s efforts.

How are you using social media to accomplish more with less?  Have a story?   Leave it in the comments below and win a free copy of the book or this nifty Networked Nonprofit t-shirt created by NTEN.

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It’s long and very, very chatty.  But check out Dennis Yu’s

7 Effective Facebook Advertising Techniques for Brands and Direct Marketers

ReadyTalk offers this free archived presentation on maximizing a Facebook Ad.  You may have to scroll down the page to find it.

http://www.readytalk.com/web-seminar-series/archived.php

These two links offer simple, important and easy fundraising tools to execute and manage.

One of  the easiest and most responsible things a fundraising nonprofit can do is set up the simplest of social media, brandbuilding, fundraising and community message and relationship tools.  You only need two or three good ones.  Beth Kanter is THE social media strategist for the countries biggest nonprofits, and smallest.

http://nonprofitorgs.wordpress.com/2009/10/14/five-essential-apps-for-your-nonprofits-facebook-page/

http://nonprofitorgs.wordpress.com/2009/09/01/five-most-common-mistakes-made-by-nonprofit-admins-on-facebook/

A standard set of fundraising programs are a Major Giving program, a Bequests and Planned Giving program, a Community Builder fundraising program (your Social Media structure is at the heart of this), an Organized Volunteer program, a Corporate Matching program.  Merchandise Sales, Community Events.

Some notes on effective Social Media Fundraising: http://blueskycollaborative.typepad.com/blog/2009/07/top-10-reasons-why-your-nonprofit-should-have-a-viral-fundraising-campaign.html

Some notes on developing any fundraising program: http://ecsg.alliance1.org/content/taking-your-planned-giving-program-idea-reality

Many organizations are wondering how to effectively use a blog.  The answer is,  There is more than one way.

Question number one really is, what do you want your readers to do after reading your blog?  Share the article?  Share about your company?  Refer a qualified client?  Buy something or donate?  Register for a class? Call a number for more information?  Call you to have a conversation?  Meet you at Denny’s for a free breakfast?  What?  That is the question.

The second question would be, “How?”   The following article provides several blog models from companies who have used blogs effectively for influence, commerce, news, reference and community building.

The Art of Blog

While Blogs get a bum wrap from the ignorati as being host to  useless, naval gazing monologues, it actually takes a lot to write an effective blog post.

The world’s top rated CEOs rank The Blog as the number one most important communication tool for industry influence and customer relations.   They ranked a business website sixth out of the seven listed options.   For high powered business, blogs come first.   Read more about blogging at To Blog or Nor To Blog a great article on the risks of risking your voice publicly.

Here are a few ways blogs are being used effectively.  The Art of Blog

Nonprofit News

Flickr

A retro photo from my era via Flickr

This week: Staffing

From The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Peter Panepento is hosting a LinkedIn discussion on staffing trends.  How do organizations retain their best talent and survive the remainder of this economic recovery?  Is that the real issue?  The Chronicle has posted a survey and would like to know how your organization is handling staffing concerns in the down economy.

Another discussion leads to a little fundraising tool that could be very effective for social savvy nonprofits.  The tool allows staff members and supporters to generate revenue for your cause with every web search they perform.  I used one of these for a charity recently and earned them a dollar in 24 hours.  I then updated my Firefox browser and the search tool disappeared.  I’m sure we’ll reconnect soon.

My new favorite nonprofit blog, Barbara Talisman’s Talisman Thinking Out Loud My favorite category on her blog is Engaging Volunteers. My favorite article, which may become increasingly important over the next 18 to 24 months, Interview Preparation, detailing best interview practices and practical considerations when interviewing with a nonprofit.

Follow Barbara Talisman @ BTalisman and at her website www.3talisman.com

Finally, a note from Jeff Bula’s Internet Marketing Blog: “Is Twitter Dysfunctional?”  I’ll  let you read his assessment for yourself.

Last week: Beth’s Blog

Beth’s Blog: How Nonprofits Can Effectively Use Twitter Hashtags – Leveraging Hashtags

So You Want to be a Philanthropy Consultant – 15 Things to Do Now & Considerations

Social Networking Tidbits

50 Ways to Get to Get Your Give On a blog article from Mashable published last year.   You could triple this list by now.  There is some good stuff here.

Facebook now has 200 Million ACTIVE users.  If you think that’s not a giving market ripe for the picking, I don’t know what to do for you.  Facebook, in true Millennium Values fashion, continues to add features and apps for charity fundraising.   People like to give and Facebook is adding ways to play.  New Charity Fundraising Apps from Facebook.

Featured Nonprofit Blog

An excerpt from Jeff’s latest post:

“The biggest roadblock to humanitarian work around the world is lack of local ownership. Throwing western aid at poor countries actually fosters that mentailty.

That’s why in our TCD model we don’t do ANYTHING in a village unless they have decided it needs done and have invested of themselves FIRST.”

This blog serves most obviously as an accountability record of the consistent and tangible progress this organization makes in restoring villages and communities that have been impacted by war, illness and famine.   This blog features stories from the field effectively keeping donors and volunteers educated, informed and up to date with program outcomes and upcoming projects.  It’s attractive and always accurate. Zero fluff here.

Tweaked My Heartstrings This Week

I fell in love with these and have to share them.  These just look like cookies you’d eat on a Summer afternoon.  Got to get that last little bit of summer in.   Banana Flip Cookies

Go Betty

There is a feeling in the nonprofit fundraising world that all the causes are looking for the same piece of funding pie, market share, volunteer pool.  The idea seems to be carrying into the online fundraising arena.  What is actually available, though, are new levels of engagement with people who you may never have had access to before and the opportunity to mobilize them on your behalf at unprecedented levels.

I stole this post from Beth’s Blog, the ‘go to’ resource for nonprofits using Social Media.   This copy below is a chunk from the original post.  It lists and describes the 5 stages of building a relationship with donors.  I wanted to share it.   It is edited for brevity, you can read the entire article here.


The Five Phases

Online movements are successful because they marry the right set of opportunities for engagement with a level of awareness and passion among the target audience.

Let’s review: Its not about the technology.

Strategic organizations must move through five phases of relationship building in order to establish a trusted relationship with a long term giver or supporter: 1) Listening, 2) Introduction, 3) Education, 4) Engagement, and finally 5) Mobilization

3199587450_539c5da185Listening: Before you launch any communications effort, it is necessary that the organization understand more thoroughly who the online audience is, what their interest and willingness to participate in your efforts might include and are driven by, and what will drive them to engage and take action around this issue.  The social rules now are continuously changing so stay plugged in.

Introduction: Organizations need to find ways to put issues in front of their target audience – to generate interest, prompt curiosity, and begin to build awareness.  Introduce key voices representing the organization and their work. Seed discussions about your issues by participating in existing  social networking and community conversations and sites where the target audience is likely to spend time.  Reach out to bloggers.   Encourage supporters to speak for your cause.  A strong introduction and increased attention fuel what follows.

134329985_d9259a07fdEducation: Cause administrators  often underestimate the complexity of their issues.  The result – low levels of participation and limited impact.  The solution – when issues are complex organizations need to spend significant time and energy educating. Engage your target audience, with response driven content, polls, public inquiries, live forums, interactive blog posts.  Regardless of  form, the results of target audience education and self education should be in place before any significant outreach effort has begun.  This allows, effective use of time and resources, invested audiences, accuracy of intent and participant ownership in the cause or endeavor.

Engagement: Engagement happens at the level of signing a petition or recruiting a friend  to empowered citizens creating and initiating new  actions to help grow and expand a campaign.  As awareness and understanding about the issue grows, it is possible to engage the audience more deeply, and to further expand the reach and impact of the campaign.  Until that happens, moving quickly to request action or financial commitment from your audience won’t work.   A single donation, particularly one resulting from a relationship to someone who is already part of your network, does not mean that your new supporter is interested in a relationship with your organization.  Organizations need to identify ways the target audience can engage and participate meaningfully and provide interactive tools and support to make that possible.

1795262311_0ba9429de1Mobilization: Finally, organizations will need to identify ways to activate and mobilize its audience,  beyond building a large list, sending emails to Congress, or signing a petition.   Those activities are not  sufficient to bring about the level of engagement that builds large sustainable action groups.   In fact, the very nature of Facebook Causes — and its ability to standardize and simplify the ways that audiences can get involved in issues online — now means that every group needs to find new and better ways to distinguish themselves and their work.

The challenge seems to be developing engaging strategies to  continuously engage and reengage those one time givers and clickers to come back for more.  Have participation centers, like blogs, microblogs, wikis, pages, and groups.  Offer subscribers and followers something in the way of video, education tools, events, tours, or benefit programs to keep donors participating.  Schedule your ask events as or at the culmination of a series of other events.   Make your cause their cause.   Your job is to empower your target market to actualize your policy and fundraising objectives.  They won’t do that if you’re not standing with them.  Get to know your audience and what is important to them so that they’ll know what’s important to you.