Post more video. Video posts on Facebook receive 59% more engagement on average that any other kind of post. Take out that smartphone and document a day in the life of your organization in short, 10 second video clips.
Start a Facebook Group. Facebook Groups are organized around issues, topics, and identities rather than brands and organizations. Groups function as specific communities of people who interact directly with each other rather than through the middleman of a Page. Nonprofits can use Groups to create a forum for feedback, host discussions, and provide a select group of people with exclusive content.
Go live on Facebook. Use Facebook Live when you want to broadcast from events or activities and interact with your supporters in real time. You can field their questions, read their comments, and share powerful stories with your community as they unfold.
Share educational info. How To posts, Top 10 lists, educational graphics, and thought-provoking articles about the issue you are solving will help you increase trust and build your community on Facebook.
Explore Messenger Chatbots. Chatbots aren’t the future, they are being used daily on Facebook. Nonprofits are using chatbots to answer basic inquiries, to activate supporters around in-the-moment advocacy actions, and to build up email lists. Beth Kanter curates a great list of nonprofit chatbots: Nonprofits and Bots
Tweet more video. According to Twitter’s online video playbook, videos are 6x more likely to be retweeted than photos and 3x more likely to be retweeted than tweets with GIFs.
Research relevant hashtags. Use Twitter itself or a platform like Hashtags.org to find out what’s being used around your cause. You may think that #endfur is a great hashtag, but if everyone is using #stopfur, then you will missing a chance for exposure.
Share useful tips. Twitter is a great place to find and curate educational articles and information with your audience. Be The Match uses Twitter to dispel myths and misconceptions that people may have about donating bone marrow:
Join a TweetChat. Twitter chats exist on any and all topics and issues. I recommend being an active participant in several TweetChats before starting your own, which can be time-consuming to promote and maintain. Instead, explore and participate in other TweetChats around the issues that you are working on.
Use Twitter Lists to your advantage. You don’t have to officially follow a Twitter user to put them on one of your Lists! Lists can be public or private. They are a great way to turn off the Twitter feed firehose and display only the tweets that you want to see, grouped together. Creating such a list saves time and creates community because people will appreciate being added to your public lists.
Show your human face. If your Executive Director or other spokesperson is willing and able to set up and maintain a personal Instagram account, by all means, encourage this! People prefer to connect with people on social media, much more than brands and logos. Having a personalized presence can increase your reach on Instagram and create deeper connections with donors and supporters. For example, TOMS shoes and their founder and social entrepreneur Blake Mycoskie maintain separate Instagram accounts, showcasing different visual styles and points of view. International nonprofit Pencils of Promise and their founder Adam Braun also have separate, but complementary, Instagram accounts.
Tell stories. Instagram is one of the best platforms for visual storytelling. Feature staff, volunteers, donors, clients, community partners in your stories. Highlight one person or a very small group at a time and write a longer caption (2200 character max) to get more engagement.
Be real. For example, @doctorswithoutborders consistently shows the good, the bad, and the ugly in international development work, not afraid to share images that are often hard to look at but are breathtaking in scope;
Use Instagram Stories. Stories allows users to share many moments during their day in one cohesive story that disappears after 24 hours. Since they don’t stay permanently on your profile, they are perfect for in-the-moment happenings and events that need to be documented as they happen. The benefit of this type of content is that you can experiment and share video and photos with your followers that doesn’t fit the carefully cultivated visual style of your overall Instagram account.
Increase your followers with hashtags.Track Maven reported that posts with more than 11 hashtags get the most engagement. When choosing which hashtags to use on your particular photo, research what others use on similar posts, and what hashtags make the most sense for your nonprofit and your mission.
Add closed captions. 85% of social media videos are watched without sound. In addition, adding subtitles and closed captions make your videos accessible to a wider audience, and those with hearing impairments.
Create custom thumbnails for your videos. 90% of the most-watched videos have custom thumbnails. Use a graphic design tool like Canva.com or Adobe Spark to get free templates.
Remove ads. To remove advertisements that play before their videos, nonprofits need to register with YouTube for Nonprofits.
Add clickable links. Direct viewers to external websites with Link Anywhere cards, a special card type that lets you to link to any external URL. You can create call-to-action overlays for your videos, which appear as soon as the video begins to play. When users click on the overlay, they’re directed to your external website.
Publish your PowerPoint slide deck as a video. If you have a report, announcement, or a presentation that can be converted to PowerPoint, you can create a video file from the slide show and upload the video to YouTube.
Publish on LinkedIn. LinkedIn has a built in publishing platform where you can share long-form posts, blogs, announcements, videos, and more.
Share video. Video is not as widely shared on LinkedIn, so it’s still a big way to stand out and grab attention. You can share video inside your profile, in your published posts in LinkedIn Publisher, or in your status updates.
Make your Company Page pop. So many Company Pages on LinkedIn are bland and boring. Add colorful, emotive channel art to your Page and share stories that resonate.
Budget for Sponsored Updates. Sponsored updates allow you to show your posts to new audiences.The best part is LinkedIn’s robust audience targeting, which allows you to select who sees your posts by skills, job title, region, industry, and more.
Make yourself findable. Beyond your nonprofit’s official Company Page, it’s important on a professional networking site like LinkedIn that employees make themselves accessible and discoverable. Do this by including relevant keywords in your headline, adding your city, and inserting samples of your work into your profile.
Create Pinterest boards around your services. Think of animal advocates posting photos of pet care items and people happy with their pets.
Share helpful resources. These could be in the form of how-to videos from youTube or Vimeo, articles, news, infographics, white papers, webinars, podcasts – anything and everything that your audience would be interested in.
Collect impact stories and visuals of your work. After school programs could post photos of art projects, camps could share videos of outdoor activities. Agencies could pin pictures of beds, kitchens, clothing and other comforts.
Ask for support with a specific wishlist. Food banks could share photos of the items that they most need and want in each season.
Curate a vision board. Your vision board would represent the future that you seek to create: Domestic violence programs posting photos that represent happiness, safety and support.
Let me know what you would add – leave your ideas in the comments!
In a 3,200 word blog post, the Facebook founder and CEO declared that Facebook would shift its focus away from public posts to “a privacy-focused communications platform.”
This pivot was a long time coming.
Months and years of terrible headlines, data breaches, Russian election hacking, and more have resulted in Facebook earning the worst reputation on privacy of any major social media or technology company in the world.
So what does this shift to privacy look like in practice?
And what does it mean for nonprofit social media managers, who have built up communities on the site, and who attempt to connect with fans and followers every day?
3) Make a plan to interact more in Groups, or form a Group for your nonprofit.
One of the most notable features of the Facebook interface overhaul is that the new Groups tab is placed right smack in the top middle of the menu bar when you log in.
You now get updates from your Groups front and center as well as personalized recommendations for new Groups to join.
It’s clear that Facebook engineers want Groups extremely visible and they are going to start promoting them even in their other areas like Watch and Marketplace.
Facebook says that more than 400 million of its users “belong to a group that they find meaningful” and that 1.4 billion people are using at least one of the tens of millions of groups on Facebook each month (even if they don’t belong to the Group).
Your nonprofit Facebook Page can join and interact in Groups if you are not comfortable engaging as yourself.
(NOTE: This depends on the Group Settings – some Groups do not allow Pages to join.)
You can also start a Facebook Group for your audience. Remember that Groups are created around topics and interests, not brand identities.
Seen as a respite from the trolls of Twitter and the political fights of Facebook, Instagram has remained a relaxed, beautiful, carefully curated oasis.
2) In a landscape of stagnant social media platform growth and engagement, Instagram Stories (where the Donation Sticker lives) continue to be a marketing beacon of hope.
In the age of algorithms stealing our fans and followers, Instagram Stories continually experience growth in number of users, reach, and engagement.
3) Even if your nonprofit is not active on Instagram, it’s important for nonprofit fundraisers to understand social media fundraising trends in order to make educated, informed decisions for their organizations.
Facebook created the Instagram Donation Sticker because of their huge, demonstrated success with their platform’s Charitable Giving tools, which, as of November 2018, had raised over $1 billion for nonprofits on Facebook.
People are using these tools to give money to and raise money for causes they care about, and it’s important for nonprofits to understand how they work before writing them off completely.
How Does the Donation Sticker Work?
Nonprofits and individuals create an Instagram Story, add the Donation Sticker and start raising money.
For a nonprofit to be eligible to receive donations through the Donation Sticker they must:
There are two main ways that the Instagram Donate Sticker can be leveraged to drive donations.
Nonprofits can use it in their own Instagram Stories.
Open your Instagram account, create an Instagram Story, add the Donation Sticker, and start raising money.
I made a donation to Best Buddies when the sticker rolled out, and this is how it looked as a donor:
Best practices for raising money on Instagram (and on any platform, online or off):
Grab attention with colorful, eye-catching visuals.
Use data and statistics to shed light on the problem.
Share helpful, valuable information on the issue.
Describe where the money raised is going to go.
Share compelling stories of the people that are going to be impacted by the funds.
Individuals can add it to their Instagram Stories to raise money for the causes that they care about.
Miley Cyrus used the Instagram Donation Sticker to raise money for her charity, the Happy Hippie Foundation.
Encourage Supporters to Fundraise for You On Instagram
If you decide you want to pursue fundraising on Instagram for your nonprofit, share with your supporters that this is a fun, easy-to-use, secure new tool they can use to help you accomplish your mission.
The same strategies apply here as apply to getting people to raise money for you on Facebook.
1) Email supporters.
Instagram provides a helpful email template for you to adapt when spreading the word about this tool:
Hi [First Name],
We have some exciting news! As a supporter of [your org name] you can now use a sticker in Instagram Stories to fundraise for us. The Instagram donation sticker lets you tell the story of why you support us and fundraise.
This [month] we are asking our supporters to use the new Instagram Donation Sticker to help us raise money for [Insert description of specific program]. As a supporter of [your org name], you can help us raise awareness and fundraise for [impact made]. Every $[XX] raised is [impact created]. Create an Instagram Story, add a donation sticker and share with your friends.
For instructions on how to create an Instagram Story go here.
Nonprofit marketers from small to large organizations are leveraging social media platforms to grab attention, pique interest, and inspire curiosity in their programs and services.
However, many nonprofit social media campaigns fall flat, launch to crickets, and don’t get results for their organizations.
Some nonprofit social media managers blame the tools and the algorithms (that’s not YOU ), while instead they should be examining and analyzing their own campaign collateral to see what they can improve.
Based on my experience designing and implementing successful nonprofit social media campaigns, I have taken note that there are certain elements and characteristics of campaigns that work and inspire, vs. those that are stagnant and ineffective.
Create your own customized poop emoji with their graphics and share it with a statistic such as: Almost one in three people globally –2.3 billion – do not have a reliable toilet of their own.
The ring campaign from Plan International UK catches your eye and makes you read on.
It was designed to get people talking about the destructive and dangerous consequences of child marriage.
Nonprofits who want to grab eyeballs and get people to take action cannot be afraid to cause a little conversation and debate. If you are boring, you get ignored.
2) Incorporate peer pressure and competition.
Never underestimate the power of peer pressure and the spirit of friendly competition!
When a friend dumps a bucket of water over her head in a public forum, shares a video on social media, and specifically calls YOU out in front of all of your friends, you are going to feel pretty crappy if you don’t participate. (And the other friends involved won’t let you forget that you were challenged and tagged – trust me!)
Peer pressure means leveraging personal relationships to get people to ask their own networks to participate.
A stranger or a corporate representative asking me to take action on social media is not compelling and I won’t pay attention.
However, if it is someone I know and trust, doing something unexpected, and personally calling out other people that I know to follow suit, I am much more likely to stop scrolling.
DoSomething.org encourages teens and younger adults to create teams to complete five social change actions in five days to make the world better. Team members compete to score points by doing a new action every day.
3) Make the campaign VERY shareable.
When planning your social media campaign, think through the most shared types of content across the web.
Live video is #1, with on-demand video a close second, and photos and graphics after that.
Incorporate these types of eminently shareable content into your social media campaign to ensure maximum reach across social networks.
Embed share buttons on the campaign page on your website, include social sharing instructions in any email communications, leverage text, chatbots, any form of communication at your disposal to encourage people to share.
When you give people the tools to share and explicit instructions on how to do so, they are much more likely to follow through.
When people share their good deeds immediately, it makes them look and feel good.
Think about why people share content on social media in the first place – to showcase our values, our ethics, our worldview – to demonstrate what we stand for, and to look good to others.
4) Give absurdly easy instructions.
I’ve seen it all too often – social media campaigns that require me to do at least six different things to participate, to enter, to share it with my networks.
Don’t ask me to like, to share, to comment, to make a 5 minute video, and to call everyone in my contact list.
The more obstacles that you put in your audience’s way and the more actions you ask people to take will result in fewer conversions and much less engagement and action.
Ask these questions when planning your social media campaign:
Is this something that everyone can do?
Is this something that people of all ages will understand how to do?
Is this action easy to understand and easy to carry out on a mobile device?
Remember, if it’s a social media campaign, people are most likely accessing it from their smartphones.
5) The campaign relies on word of mouth.
Not to keep talking about it, but this is the key element that led to the success of the Ice Bucket Challenge.
People didn’t just complete the challenge, make a donation, and then go about their business.
They were required to pick one or more people to tag and challenge publicly – and asked the community to hold them accountable for completing the challenge, and nominating others, and so on.
It’s self-policing at its best!
No begging people to share, to tweet or to post – the word of mouth aspect is built directly into the challenge.
When someone is tagged, an even wider network discovers the challenge and learns about the cause. Brilliant!
How do you incorporate these elements into your nonprofit social media campaigns? Leave your thoughts in the comments!
This is up from just 35% in Pew Research Center’s first survey in 2011 of smartphone ownership.
Rather than lamenting our love of screens and mobile apps, innovative entrepreneurs are figuring out a way to make these powerful handheld computers work for the social sector.
Too often nonprofits want their donors, volunteers, and stakeholders to fit into a fundraising mold that they themselves created and perpetuate – writing checks, attempting to give via clunky websites, physical phone calls (does anyone do that anymore?), and the like.
While these traditional approaches are valuable and can yield great results, nonprofits do need to be thinking about OTHER kinds of stakeholders and prospects, and how they search for and acquire information about the causes they care about.
You know, those younger generations that we all covet and want to connect with?
(Caveat – Not only “young” people use smartphones and social media. Many Boomers and Gen X-ers are reliant on their smartphones for shopping, bank transactions, scheduling, and more.)
I came across two forward-thinking mobile app companies that are thinking strategically about they myriad of ways in which people are already using their devices – and they are fitting their business models into people’s existing behavior, rather than trying to change human nature.
Point app – Connecting would-be volunteers to local volunteer opportunities
As reported in the Columbus CEO magazine: Madison Mikhail Bush was sitting in her dorm room one evening, feeling frustrated.
“It was 11 p.m. and I knew that with my phone, I was able to order any type of food I wanted for delivery,” Bush says.
“But there was a soup kitchen down the street and I didn’t know how to help.”
She tried to call the soup kitchen on the phone several times, but found the process to be cumbersome, tedious, and just not worth her time.
Then she looked at her phone – the device where she made most of her purchasing decisions.
She thought, “What if there’s another way?”
What if signing up to volunteer at a local organization was just as simple and easy as ordering food, booking a flight, or making a purchase – using your smartphone?
So Bush designed the mobile app Point, which allows users to pick the causes they are interested in and indicate when they are available to volunteer, for example, mornings or weekends.
The app them finds local needs that fits those parameters.
In total, 30 nonprofits local to Columbus, Ohio and more than 1,000 individuals users are officially using Point.
Mille app – Tinder for charity
Rachel Klausner, Millie founder and CEO, wants younger people – specifically millennials – to become more PROACTIVE about giving.
“The way that millennials tend to give is through these random one-off, peer-to-peer asks,” she told Fast Company.
“It’s very reactive giving. And I was wondering, ‘Can we make people more proactive and thoughtful about giving?’”
Klausner then analyzed the different features of the popular mobile apps to which people were already addicted, to see what they had in common.
While nonprofits do not directly get the individuals contact information, Millieis building a messaging feature into the app for organizations to connect with their donors through the app.
Nonprofits also have the ability to add modules to their profile that highlight in-person activities like volunteering or events, and can target them around specific zip codes.
For users, the act of giving is fun, and there is a sense of urgency with gamification features such as countdown timers and comparing your giving history to your friends.
Donors pre-load their accounts with cash, and they can lend funds to friends.
What do you think about these mobile apps? Can you see your nonprofit organization using them, or would you use them as a donor or volunteer? Leave your thoughts in the comments!
Nonprofits, no matter their size or mission, are working to change hearts and minds around important issues every single day.
Whether you are trying to get new members for your performing arts center, to entice people to adopt dogs and cats, or to create advocacy actions around climate change – you are in the business of persuasion.
To persuade is “to move by argument, entreaty, or expostulation to a belief, position, or course of action.”
In his writings on how to become a great public speaker, the Greek philosopher Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) described three “modes of persuasion”.
These modes – Ethos, Pathos, and Logos – are the essential elements required to convince your audience of your viewpoint.
In order to collect, craft, and share stories that will move people from passive to passionate, let’s explore how Aristotle’s 3 modes of persuasion can be used to improve our nonprofit storytelling.
1) Ethos – The ethical nature
Ethos is the part of the story that establishes trust and credibility.
Think about the last time you attended an event with a speaker or a webinar. Before they speak, the host reads their bio and highlights some of their biggest accomplishments.
This is to establish “ethos” and prepare you to listen to what the speaker has to say.
Great branding also falls under ethos, as the brand is meant to elicit trust and authority.
When crafting your story, think about the questions that the audience may have:
Why should we listen to you?
Why should we believe what you are telling us?
Ethos in nonprofit storytelling can be created by:
Using language that is appropriate to the audience – no jargon or acronyms that they won’t understand.
Finding a compelling, authentic character to tell their story. Authenticity establishes credibility – this person has been through it. They know what they are talking about.
Brand reputation. Is your organization established and credible? Do you have integrity?
Humans of New York has established a brand that people trust and turn to for inspiration every day:
Logos is the part of the argument – or story – that appeals to logic and reason.
This makes the story make sense, and encourages us to pay attention because this is a problem that needs solving.
Questions to be asked when forming the Logo piece of the story:
Why is this issue important?
Why is this story vital to understanding this issue?
What is the problem?
Does the evidence support you?
Logos in nonprofit storytelling can be created by:
Interspersing facts and statistics within the story.
Using analogies to make the problem easier to grasp and understand.
Citing other authorities on the issue.
Sharing case studies backed up by data around the issue.
Facts, statistics, analogies, citing other authorities, social proof
In Hungry Kate: The Girl with the Belly Ache, The Community Foodbank of New Jersey highlights the problem inside the story: Kate is one of 400,000 kids who struggle with hunger in New Jersey.
Hungry Kate: The Girl with the Belly Ache - YouTube
3) Pathos – The emotional appeal
Ethos is important for establishing the credibility of the story, and Logos is vital to get us to understand that this is a problem we need to do something about.
However, no story can be truly effective without Pathos, the emotional appeal. We like to think that our rational side is in charge, but it rarely is.
We know that emotion is an essential element in getting people to take action.
We are saturated in story, we are saturated in messages competing for our attention.
Only stories that resonate at a deeply human, universal level, beyond a recounting of “things that happened”, are going to move people from passive to passionate.
One of my favorite nonprofit videos is Eunice’s Dream: A Poem from Kibera School for Girls.
Rather than pulling heartstrings and making me feel sad, it inspires me to help other amazing girls like Eunice accomplish their dreams:
Eunice's Dream: A Poem from Kibera School for Girls - YouTube
Effective storytelling involves a deep understanding of human emotions, motivations, and psychology in order to truly move an audience. People do what the heart tells them, and then they rationalize their decisions using logic and reason.
How can you use Ethos, Pathos, and Logos in your nonprofit storytelling?
On Thursday, I got together with the brilliant and charismatic Daphne Lagios, Courses Specialist at TechSoup and Maureen Wallbeoff, Nonprofit Digital Strategist and Technology Coach.
Our session focused on specific ways to design an online learning experience for your program or service, how to choose the best LMS (Learning Management System), how to design and create the content of the course, and how to become a stellar trainer.
The participants were tasked with writing down the titles and one sentence description of their future online course or experience, and they did a fantastic job!
For the collaborative notes and the session evaluation, click here.
**Tim Sarrantonio, Director of Strategic Partnerships at Neon One, coordinated a fabulous, small group dinner at Modern Times Brewing. Great conversation, delicious craft beer and vegan food was enjoyed by all, and we had a focused conversation (no phones!) around the provocative and important question: Are humans necessary for fundraising?
Watch the video below to get our thoughts and a recap of the dinner:
Did you attend #19NTC? What were your thoughts and impressions of the conference? Leave them in the comments!
You may be saying, “Oh, sure, Julia, you have to stick up for social media. That’s your JOB.” (Insert eye roll and cross arms, maybe stamp foot for good measure.)
Well, there’s a reason that it’s my job. I made up my job. No one created a job description for me when I started out. I happen to believe firmly in the power of digital tools to build movements. You can’t build a movement without attention, participation, and investment.
Social media – when done STRATEGICALLY and CORRECTLY – is the perfect way to do all three of those things.
Beyond the possibilities for marketing and fundraising, social media represent a total revolution in the very way in which humans interact and communicate with each other. You can vilify them all you want – and you certainly would be justified in doing so in some cases – but these platforms have entirely changed how we discover, share, and discuss information.
It’s funny to look back and see that in 2012 A recent Associated Press-CNBC poll showed that half of all Americans thought that Facebook is a “passing fad”. 2 billion people later, no matter if you love it or hate it, I think we can all agree it’s here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future.
Social media are not simply hot tech trends, shiny objects, or advertising platforms. The individual channels may come and go and the tactics and techniques will change, but the vision of a world connected is here to stay.
The main points I have to make:
There are some serious myths out there about social media. It seems to me that some people still think of social media as a fad, or a trend, or a shiny new tool. Guess what? It’s not. The younger generations don’t even remember a world without social media. A world without posting, sharing, tweeting. You may recoil in horror, and you may pine for “the good old days” (sometimes I do too, trust me), but they are gone. Dead and gone.
Social media is not a thing. It’s a complete revolution in the way that humans communicate. It’s not going away, in fact, it’s just getting more and more baked into our online daily life.
And it’s not just the young’uns either – Pew Internet found that baby boomers are the fastest demographic joining social media networks. Forbes reported that 82% of boomers who use the internet have at least one social media account, and they have an average of 4.6 social media accounts, with Facebook and LinkedIn as the leading platforms.
This isn’t about you. Pamela Grow said in today’s Grow Report newsletter: “Julia, there’s nothing more important than your donor data. Honoring it. Protecting it. OWNING it. Instagram is now accepting donations for nonprofits. Yawn. I don’t care and neither should you.”
I strongly disagree with this point of view. You don’t own or control your donor data in the first place. They can unsubscribe, delete your emails, not listen to you, ignore you, etc. They can leave you at ANY time. If you are lucky enough to have their permission to email them or contact them, treasure it. If you don’t have their permission, they wouldn’t be a good long-term prospect anyway!
It’s like the old adage in Sex and the City – “He’s just not that into you.” It’s hard for fundraisers to hear, but if a donor does not want to give you their email address, you should respect that, shake it off, and move on to those that DO want to hear from you.
It’s pointless to argue. Sure, you can ignore Facebook Fundraisers, or the Instagram donation sticker, or YouTube Giving Tools. They are here to stay, and people love using them. Have you heard of Twitch livestream fundraising? Over $40 million was raised on Twitch for nonprofits in 2018, and over $100 million in total has been raised for charity since the site launched in 2011.
This is about normalizing giving, and making it a part of our daily life.
This isn’t about us, or our donors. This is about normalizing giving, even small gifts. If giving is seen as cool, and trendy, and something that everyone is doing, this is only beneficial to all nonprofits. If we see our friends and family fundraising and donating to causes that they care about, then we are much more liking to seek out causes and participate in philanthropy.
Articles saying that social media fundraising is worthless completely miss the point. Our donors are using social media, no matter how much we wish they were not. If they decide they want to give on those platforms, they will – no matter how much we wish they would give on another platform that we control. Ignoring or scoffing at social media fundraising is done at the fundraisers’ peril.
I’m happy to debate this further! What are your views on social media fundraising?