But with the advent of the 'Facebook Causes' article, people are starting to wonder whether social media is as good as you think it is. Can social media be used long term to raise donations?
The answer is in the question. I believe it does but the key is long term. Fundraising is long term, and each fundraising venture builds on its predecessor. Social media is a great way to put those connections in place to be able to solicit gifts later.
I currently have a poll up that asks How Many Times Per Week Should a Nonprofit Ask for Donations via Twitter/Facebook?
60% say that nonprofits should ask only once, with 30% saying two to five times per week. 10% believe no donations should be asked at all.
The question remains, how long should you wait for results? I believe that depends entirely on your organization and your goals for social media.
What do you think? Does social media have the potential to raise money for organizations or is it just for raising awareness? How many times do you ask your donors on Twitter/Facebook for donations?
Facebook Causes: Good or Bad?
3. For those who perhaps did not follow your tweets, explain a bit more what your experience was like in Darfur and why you were there.
It is always a compelling experience to touch down in a war zone. The extent of the trauma and the suffering is staggering, but I am always astounded by people's resilience and determination. You expect to meet people who have given up. Instead, you meet people who remind you every single day why we get up and do what we do at War Child.
4. Some of the Tweets seemed to indicate that you were very close to danger. How much of that was a concern for you?
Security is always a major concern in many of the countries in which we operate. You must be aware of the dangers and the risks. Sometimes that can be quite intimidating and almost paralyzing - you are always looking over your shoulder, always wondering what will be around the next corner - but it is better to have an acute awareness of the insecurity and take precautions than to be caught unaware. I was more concerned about my security on this particular assessment mission than I have been for a very long time. It reminded me of the experience of working in Somalia in the mid 90s. But security is a huge problem for Sudanese nationals as well. Anyone who is perceived to have either an income or access to valuables (e.g. a vehicle, a sat phone) is at risk.
5. What does War Child hope to gain from Twittering about events/trips like these?
It's not so much what we can gain but what value this type of first hand reporting brings to our network of supporters. The feedback I received suggests that people found it engaging and an eye opener and the increase in people following the journey means it must have been having some kind of positive effect! I think the fact that I could talk to a woman who has seen her family killed in front of her and 30 seconds later post her story, gave the people following it a much more visceral and immediate experience than they would have had reading a news report, for example. There is also something to be said for posting what you are experiencing it as you experience it. It's raw; unfiltered. Sometimes when you have a chance to think about it for a while you end up over-rationalizing or over-interpreting the experience and it loses some of its authenticity.
The success of this, in retrospect, was in its honesty and simplicity - there was neither the time, nor the space (at under 140 characters) to be lofty about any of it.
You may think your cause not as compelling as Darfur, but if you share your client stories in a interesting and engaging way, people will respond. Twitter is one way to do that. Remember that people give to people, not organizations or websites.
Do you share client stories on Twitter? Share your twitter username below and tell us why it works for you.
*UPDATE: You can follow Dr. Nutt at NuttsAtWarChild
Twitter Case Study: War Child Part One
Client Stories on the Web
Some sample tweets:
We wanted to give people a more direct connection with our programs and the experiences of the people we work with. It was an experiment, really. There was no guarantee that the technology would work. When I touched down in Darfur and checked my blackberry I couldn't believe I could still access Twitter. In fact, the only place it didn't work on the whole trip was Beirut airport on the way home! Twitter was one way though I could send but I couldn't see what response it was getting, which was frustrating. That's why we're doing a Live Chat
next week to give people a chance to have some of their questions answered.
2. Has War Child had success garnering donations from Twitter or do you use it primarily for awareness?
*UPDATE: You can follow Dr. Nutt at NuttsAtWarChild
Board members come in various shapes and sizes and it's important to address what potential issues they would have before your presentation. But pitching a web redesign can be tricky for a variety of reasons.
The board may be against the redesign because:
- They don't know what the website does for the organization
- They don't know the terminology
- They can't see the end results
- There are budget and time concerns
So how do you get your board on board so to speak?
1. Understand learning styles
I always see the big picture first, before the details fall into place. If you want to sell me something, sell me on the vision. For others, it's the complete opposite. They need to understand the mechanics of it; the nuts and bolts about how things would work.And hard statistics to back it up. When addressing the board, it's important to cover as many bases as possible.
2. Explain the need for a website
Although many nonprofits have websites, not everyone understands what it does and the potential it has. Explain succiently what your website can do in terms of retaining donors, gaining prospects and increasing awareness of your organization.
3. Avoid specific terminology
Once you don't understand something, it's very easy to shut down and avoid listening to the rest. Try to make your presentation as simple as possible, for all to understand. Even if you think everyone will know something, it's quite likely they may not.
4. Avoid design talk
When people think of web redesign, they instantly think of the design portion. Don't encourage design talk or you will get members arguing about colours and layout before you are even at that stage.
5. Be prepared
This of course is a given. Arm yourself with statistics, not only about websites in general, but your own website and how it's doing. Prepare arguments for as many possible scenarios as you can think of.
6. Lay out a plan
Make sure you have all the important questions answered. Is the redesign happening in house or are you using a consultant? How much time and money will it cost to perform these changes? What is the rough timeline for a project like this? Make sure you have a solid plan to present so they can't object.
Pitching to a board can be tricky, especially on an issue like web redesign, which everyone is not familar with. Try to be as clear and concise as possible and sell them on the benefits.
Has anyone else had successes or failures pitching web-related things to the board?
Share your thoughts below!
Some new features:
Along with the blog, I've included more information about myself and my services. By clicking on each of the buttons, you can read my bio, learn about my services and discover where to contact me if you are interested.
As well, on the right hand side I've added links to my Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts. Please come find me; I'm always up for a chat!
I hope you like the new design!
Twitter is about sparking dialogue and making connections. I fear that the more people who see it as a tool to post about nothing, the more people will forget what it's really about.
However, what's great about Twitter is that you can choose who to follow and who not to. You can still create dialogue with those who are interested.
So what do you think?
Does an influx of new people on Twitter please or annoy you?
It can be a struggle to stand out in the sea of glossiness. But sometimes it is forgotten that the content is as important, if not more than the packaging. Yes, good packaging is important but your message is more so.
Many of you have probably seen the video of Susan Boyle, a contestant on Britain's Got Talent who blew the judges and audience away with her performance. What was so special about her? She wasn't glossy at all. In fact she was an average, older woman who was subject to those laughing at her for her appearance before she opened her mouth.
But when she opened her mouth, they definitely stopped laughing.
Be inspired by this when it comes to your own content. Yes, packaging is important because it gets your donors' and prospects' feet in the door. But make sure your content is as passionate, inspiring and engaging as Susan Boyle was.
What you draft out in your brain is always better then what's on the page.
- An Organization Description
- What the Money Is Used For
- Client Story
- Call to Action
Am I missing anything? Sound off below!
Twitter is a great social media tool. But let's be honest, it's also a big distraction. Like constantly checking your email, Twitter can be compulsive. You just have to know what's happening all the time. But actually, you don't. It's important to use Twitter as a tool to help your organization grow and not just distract you from your other work.
So how can you manage your time on Twitter?
A few suggestions:
1. Get Tweetdeck
Tweetdeck is a Twitter application which I totally love. The best feature is it's grouping capabilities. You get to put who you follow in categories to make it easier. Currently, my categories include nonprofits, marketing, news, fun and more. Downsides to this feature include the very annoying tweeting noise you get when someone updates.
2. Don't follow everyone who follows you
You may think it is good ettiquette to follow everyone who follows you, but I disagree. Only follow someone if their posts have value for you. Otherwise, you will just be wading through the bad stuff to get to the good. And that is definitely a waste of your time. Don't be afraid to unfollow someone either if they don't live up to your expectations.
3. Don't read every tweet
When I first started on Twitter, I thought I had to read everything that was written. But now that I'm following 174 people I know that is completely unrealistic. Don't worry about what information has been lost, instead just read when you've got time.
4. Don't agonize over what to say
Twitter is supposed to be fast, fun and easy. I do believe as an organization you should stay on message at all times but don't plan out your tweets and stress about what to say. It should flow naturally.
5. Turn it off
When I'm writing for a client, my Tweetdeck is completely off. Distractions like this, especially if you are doing something creative, can throw you off entirely. Remember, you can always come back to it.
Use Twitter to engage in conversations, share news about your organization and increase brand awareness. But be smart about it.
Here are my top five:
1. Improve Your Donations Page
I've seen so many donations pages on nonprofit websites that are hard to navigate and down right confusing. If it's difficult to donate, then people won't go through with it. Having a clear and concise page will make it easier for people to donate.
2. Improve Your Thank You Process
It's important to examine your process with online donors and ensure it's up to snuff. Are you thanking them in a timely manner? Do they get an e-receipt or do you have to mail it to them? Making it quick and easy will encourage people to donate again.
3. Cross Promote Online Giving
Just having the page up there isn't going to magically bring in donors. Make sure your promote online giving in your brochures, direct mail campaigns and more.
4. Develop Email Campaigns
Email campaigns are a great way to improve your online giving. Even if it's just a short note to your donors telling them of an event or sharing program news. Linking back to your donations page will help improve your online giving.
5. Invest in Social Media
There's been a lot of buzz about social media and whether it works for nonprofits or not. I think there is potential in social media for nonprofits, but only if they use it to truly connect with their donors. Try raising online funds through Twitter or Facebook. This will improve your web presence and drive traffic to your site.
I doubt direct mail will ever go away, but as more and more people turn to online giving, it's important that you be prepared for them.
If you've noticed by the lack of content this week, I have been unavailable to post. I had a medical situation which occupied most of my time this week.
If you have a blog, this is going to happen to you occasionally. There are even going to be times where you don't feel like writing and you need to pull something out of the hat. Having backup content is a great way to do this.
One of the ways I do this is by writing several blog posts at once. I usually write them in groups of five. Then I'm prepared for the coming week.
This doesn't necessarily mean that you have to post them right away. If they are not topical, then they can last as long as you need them. Backup blog posts are great for a rainy day.
Keep Blogging and Happy Friday to All!
Read more here: http://notesfornonprofits.blogspot.com/2009/02/creating-blogging-strategy_05.html
I will be presenting a session on writing for the web.
You can get more information here: http://mycharityconnects.org/conference
Register now before it's sold out!
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