Month: May 2014

Can mobile giving help your small charity?

 

              We recently entered the world of mobile fundraising. Well more like we stuck our toe in the water than jumped in and splashed around. Recently our MarComm team suggested the idea of adding a text to give $5 option to one of our signature events. The barriers to entry were fairly low, by that I mean it didn’t cost a lot. I have been unsure whether this approach would work for our type of cause. I do tend to view our organization as a learning organization and felt like it was a good opportunity to learn how to make this type of option work for us. Our peer to peer fund raising initially did not produce game changing support for our charity but over five years the program has grown significantly making it a very viable fundraising strategy. Over five years we have learned better strategies to make this fundraising option effective. As well more of our supporters have become comfortable with raising funds for us this way and seeing it as a way to help our cause.

           Anyway back to why I was skeptical that mobile or a text to give program might work for our cause: when mobile giving was in its infancy, some of the disaster relief organizations had unbelievable success with the approach.  Many other charities jumped on board with dismal results. It appeared that to make mobile giving work you had to have a great deal of urgency to have success with fundraising.  I did come across a recent article in The NonProfit Times that made me think our decision to wade in, might have been the right one. The article refers to a study done by The mGive Foundation. The foundation’s Executive Director describes: “ None of the nine organizations studied are specifically focused on disaster relief but range from environmental and animal to health services.” Okay this caught my attention- charities not involved in disaster relief who were having success with mobile giving. The other thing that really caught my attention and likely a reason a small charity might consider mobile fundraising is a quote by the author: ‘Retention rates for mobile subscribers who opt-in to receive messages or donate via text are on average 80 percent (Hrywna, 2014)”. Personally I might have guessed that the retention rate might have been a lot lower.

          One of our considerations with mobile giving is that we may only capture a donor’s phone number through this type of giving. Only having a phone number makes it difficult to appropriately thank donors and to keep them informed what you are doing with donated money. Jenifer Snyder the Executive Director of the mGive Foundation actually views a mobile number as an advantage. In the article she is quoted as describing:” data and connection point is the mobile number, one of the only pathways that people typically will retain for seven years or more”. When you think of it this makes sense I have had the same mobile phone number for the last 9 years.  Snyder makes a suggestion that may help charities respond to the need to find ways to appropriately thank and keep donors informed.  She suggests:” … organizations can “cross-pollinate” channels, encouraging constituents to opt-in at the same time for using email and text. If an email gets bounced back, an organization can then target them with a text message, informing them that the email bounced back.”  The article does not reference the percentage of text donors who will if asked subsequently opt –in with their email or mailing address, but I guess the point is the charity does have one more avenue to ask donors for this information.

          I personally don’t mind getting the odd text from a company I deal with or a charity I support, however I am not sure I would want frequent text from these organizations. I think a charity should be very cognizant of how frequently they communicate with stakeholders on any particular communication channel. However a least one group that mGive works with had some fairly interesting results with more frequent text messaging. The article illustrates;” The number of messages sent each month by one mGive client directly affected their conversion rate. When sending one or two messages per month, 10 percent made a gift when prompted compared with 21 percent who responded when five to seven messages were sent. The five messages, however, weren’t sent to the entire list but specifically targeted parts of the list,”  Five to seven texts a month seems fairly high to me –however if you used this frequency and had a large percentage opt-out I suppose you would know how to adjust the frequency.

         Mobile giving does offer an alternative or perhaps another communications tool that a small charity should consider. Snyder emphasizes;”   “You’ve got to start taking this channel more seriously.  It’s really not that expensive…but its super effective with 85 percent of texts read within 15 minutes and a 90 percent open rate.” I would caution against viewing mobile fundraising as a silver bullet. For our own team we view it as one of the many ways we communicate with our stakeholders. We also expect over time it will become a more significant source of donations- but not overnight.  I think if this avenue of fundraising and communication takes longer than two years to develop as a significant source of support- I will not be too upset. However overall I would tend to agree with Snyder’s last quote in the article;” Mobile has to be a strategy, someone has to pay attention to that, whether it’s outsourced or done internally. The first year of a campaign is about building infrastructure and getting your following built, honing your message and tone while the biggest turnaround comes in year two.”

References

Hrywna, M (2014) Mobile Donors Stick Around; The Nonprofit Times May 12014 as retrieved from:

           http://www.thenonprofittimes.com/news-articles/mobile-donors-stick-around/

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More reasons NGO/NPO leaders should engage on social media

 

            I am always interested to hear what Zoe Amar has to say about charities and their use of social media. Today one of her articles was posted on the NCVO website titled Social Media for Leaders-What’s in it For You (link is below if you want to check it out). Being a little active on social media I would say that the points on Amar’s ring true. For example she describes reasons charity leaders (or other organizational leaders for that matter) might want to be active on social media are;” social media is a valuable way for you to develop relationships with key stakeholders, widen the reach of your charity’s work and talk directly to stakeholders”.  When you think about it a nonprofit leader spends a great deal of her/his time developing or maintain relationships with both users and stakeholders for their organization. Amar quotes an interesting finding in the post:” According to research by BA online, 8 out of 10 people are likely to trust an organization whose CEO and team use social media, while 93% of employees think ‘social CEOs’ are better equipped to handle a crisis.” There is something about putting yourself out there on social media that creates a transparency and accessibility that creates trust and credibility. Don’t get me wrong I am sure there are things you could post on social media that could destroy trust and credibility, but I am assuming most leaders are accustomed and seasoned in acting as a spokesperson for their organization. A decade ago it would have been hard for a nonprofit leader to be as accessible to constituents and stakeholders as social media channels allow you to be. The post describes that through social media a leader has the ability to widen the reach of your charities work, Amar suggests:” Your status as a CEO can be amplified by social media, highlighting the amazing work that your organization does.” Most charity leaders I know enjoy any opportunity or any channel that affords them the opportunity to talk about the great work their charity is doing. This has to, also fall; into the category of things leaders spend a lot of time doing- spreading the word about your cause and its outcomes.  If you are a charity leader and these rationales aren’t enough to convince you to start and IG or Twitter account with your name attached to it, Amar provides one more rationale. She quotes Julie Bentley (CEO for Girlguiding), she states:” It’s a platform that can offer you immediate access to what your audience is saying. Not only will this help you strengthen your relationships with the people who matter most to your charity, but it will keep you in touch with what’s happening on the ground.”

References

Amar, Z (2014) Social media for leaders – what’s in it for you? As retrieved from  

          http://blogs.ncvo.org.uk/2014/05/23/social-media-for-leaders-whats-in-it-for-you/

Can your nonprofits brand have a greater impact for your charity? Part 2

          To understand how an organizations brand can have a greater impact for a charity it is likely useful to understand the/a definition for “brand”. Kylander and Stone (2012) define brand as:” A brand is more than a visual identity: the name, logo, and graphic design used by an organization. A brand is a psychological construct held in the minds of all those aware of the branded product, person, organization, or movement. Brand management is the work of managing these psychological associations. In the for-profit world, marketing professionals talk of creating “a total brand experience.”  In the nonprofit world, executives talk more about their “global identity” and the “what and why” of their organizations. But the point in both cases is to take branding far beyond the logo.” Defined in this way it is not difficult to take the leap to what groups or individuals beyond donors alone who may have a “psychological construct” of what your organization is and what it does. It is also understandable that an organization may want to manage these psychological associations for volunteers or other NPO/NGOs who may collaborate with your organization.

             These authors quote Diane Fusilli, (a global brand consultant and former communications director at the Rockefeller Foundation) who suggests “A strong brand helps bring greater credibility and trust to a project quicker, and acts as a catalyst for people to want to come to the table.” In this description beyond providing financial supports or revenue your brand can be useful in getting people on-board or to become engaged. Kylander & Stone (2012) don’t stop at external constituents but illustrate brand as a factor in rallying internal stakeholders or constituents as well. They describe brand as having the power to make organizations more effective. For example:” When an organization’s employees and volunteers all embrace a common brand identity, it creates organizational cohesion, concentrates focus, and reinforces shared values.” The authors go on to elaborate:” Strong cohesion and high levels of trust contribute to greater organizational capacity and social impact. A cohesive organization is able to make more efficient and focused use of existing resources, and high external trust attracts additional talent, financing, and authority. This increase in organizational capacity enhances an organization’s social impact.”

          With the potential benefits to nonprofit organizations it is easy to imagine how important the role of your MarComm team (whether they are paid staff or volunteers) is in developing an brand that is understandable and embraced by not only your external stakeholders but also your internal stakeholders. In this case it seems very reasonable that the organization have a much broader definition of internal stakeholders. Board members, staff and volunteers are clearly internal stakeholders but when it comes to brand stakeholders  you should include social media followers. These followers can also become strong assets in sharing your brand, but will do so only if they embrace it as much as stakeholders who your organization may have traditionally viewed as closer to you. As mentioned in part 1 of this article not only should your followers embrace your brand but also your team must be willing and able to create content and collateral that makes it easier for these followers share your brand with their contacts and followers. This is a place that may feel very challenging for traditional marketers. Losing control of who is sharing your message and your brand –or if they are creating their own twist on your messaging. Kylander & Stone (2012) introduce the concept of Brand Democracy and how it can be utilized to share your brand –however inevitably your team will have less ability to control this sharing of your brand. They describe;” Brand democracy means that the organization trusts its members, staff, participants, and volunteers to communicate their own understanding of the organization’s core identity. Brand democracy largely eliminates the need to tightly control how the brand is presented and portrayed. The appetite for brand democracy among nonprofit leaders is largely a response to the growth of social media, which has made policing the brand nearly impossible.”

           It is likely that the notion of being able to control your brand is becoming less and less probable. Based on the psychological construct described earlier –likely we don’t really own our own brand anyway as it is largely based on how others perceive us. These authors quote Alexis Ettinger, (head of strategy and marketing at the University of Oxford’s Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship) in saying;”  “Given the rise of social media it would be insane to try to single-handedly control the brand.” Instead of trying to control your brand Kylander & Stone (2012) suggest:” Brand democracy requires a fundamental shift in the traditional approach to brand management. Organizations aspiring to brand democracy do not police their brands, trying to suppress unauthorized graphics or other representations of the organization, but strive instead to implement a participatory form of brand management. They provide resources, such as sample text and online templates that all staff can access and adapt to communicate the mission, strategy, work, and values of the organization.”  Reading this quote for the first time made me think about the Mario Andretti quote:” If everything seems under control, you’re just not going fast enough.”  If we feel like we have total control of our charities brand it is possible that we are not adapting quickly enough to how the internet, web-based technologies and social media are changing how our supporters will perceive and interact with our organization. The authors do recognize that for Brand Democracy to work, an organization does need a strong internal brand identity and organizational cohesion. Just to be clear the authors do not advocate abandoning all efforts to manage your brand. Kylander and Stone (2012) do caution;” Brand democracy is not brand anarchy. Organizations need to establish parameters for a brand, even if the space within these limits is large.”  Certainly some cautions should be applied and organizations should manage to the best of their ability how their brand is perceived. However some days it does feel like we should heed Andretti’s advice and go a little faster.

 

If you would like to read part 1 of this post:

https://mathiesonlarry.wordpress.com/2014/05/20/can-your-nonprofits-brand-have-a-greater-impact-for-your-charity-part-1/

 

 References

 Kylander,K.  & Stone, C. (2012) The Role of Brand in the Nonprofit Sector: Stanford Social Innovation

          Review; V34, Spring 2012, as retrieved from: 

           http://www.ssireview.org/articles/entry/the_role_of_brand_in_the_nonprofit_sector

Can your nonprofits brand have a greater impact for your charity? Part 1

         

          Having had some great marketing people on boards I have worked for, the importance of “brand” has always been discussed at board meetings or during strategic planning sessions. We have learned some great concepts and practices from the for- profit sector, but I have always wondered “shouldn’t a nonprofits brand be used in a different way? “Over the last few years as the use of social media has grown and become so pervasive it has struck me that how nonprofits manage their brand might actually be underutilizing the potential of their brand in terms of the impact it may have. For example Blake ( 2014) describes: ”…social media is revolutionizing the way we lead, the way we live and the way we connect with ourselves and others. It is changing the way we in the voluntary sector expect to achieve change and create the better world we seek. That makes it a big deal.”  With the power of social media platforms authors such as Levinson et. al. (2010) suggests that nonprofit organizations need to consider opportunities to take advantage of this ability to spread information quickly. These authors advise:” Give people the content they need to pass on your viral marketing. Provide assets for your audience to make their own videos, allow them to put their pictures in an e-card, anything that helps to put them into the storyline and send to their contacts (Levison et al.,2010, p.199). This sounds like really practical advice, but many of the marketing professionals that I have even worked with might quickly sound the alarms about losing control of the brand if you do this.

             Kylander and Stone (2012) have some very interesting perspectives on the role of brand for the nonprofit and how the paradigm may be changing . They explain:” . Although many nonprofits continue to take a narrow approach to brand management, using it as a tool for fundraising, a growing number are moving beyond that approach to explore the wider, strategic roles that brands can play: driving broad, long-term social goals, while strengthening internal identity, cohesion, and capacity (Kylander &, Stone, 2012). As leaders of nonprofits we think of brand in terms of its ability to support our fundraising efforts. These authors point out: “Brand managers in these pioneering organizations were focusing less on revenue generation and more on social impact and organizational cohesion. Indeed, some of the most interesting brand strategies are being developed in endowed, private foundations with no fundraising targets at all.”

           As nonprofit leaders we have a high awareness that we need to continuously raise revenue and find new sources of revenue to continue to deliver our mission. It seems reasonable that we would consider the for- profit sectors use of brand to maximize revenue as having a good fit with our own organizations. Kylander & Stone (2012) point out:” The models and terminology used in the nonprofit sector to understand brand remain those imported from the for-profit sector to boost name recognition and raise revenue. Nonprofit leaders need new models that allow their brands to contribute to sustaining their social impact, serving their mission, and staying true to their organization’s values and culture.” They go on to elaborate:” A decade ago, the dominant brand paradigm in the nonprofit sector focused on communications. Nonprofit executives believed that increased visibility, favorable positioning in relation to competitors and recognition among target audiences would translate into fundraising success. Branding was a tool for managing the external perceptions of an organization, a subject for the communications, fundraising, and marketing departments. In contrast, the emerging paradigm sees brand as having a broader and more strategic role in an organization’s core performance, as well as having an internal role in expressing an organization’s purposes, methods, and values. “.

           Having worked for nonprofit organizations for a few decades I wouldn’t completely disagree with the notion of making efforts to increase visibility having an impact on increasing fundraising revenue. I would say that I have seen this effect in action. However increasingly I wonder if our brand (s) can be leveraged to do more than just this. Can they be used to help us better deliver our mission and have this greater strategic role? I used to tell any of our volunteers and staff who would listen that regardless of our role or title we are all really on the fundraising team. I think now I would more accurately describe that we are all not only on the fundraising but also the marketing team. Our volunteers and our staff are really brand ambassadors. Today’s social media can make our volunteers and our staff ambassadors with a much broader reach. It would seem that Kylander & Stone (2012) would agree:” Increasingly, branding is a matter for the entire nonprofit executive team. At every step in an organization’s strategy and at each juncture in its theory of change, a strong brand is increasingly seen as critical in helping to build operational capacity, galvanize support, and maintain focus on the social mission.”

 

In part 2 of this article how to use your brand as a powerful tool beyond just increasing visibility for your charity

 

 

References

Blake,S (2014) Why social media is important for Chief Executives as retrieved from:

          http://simonablake.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/why-social-media-is-important-for-chief.html

 

 Kylander,K.  & Stone, C. (2012) The Role of Brand in the Nonprofit Sector: Stanford Social Innovation

          Review; V34, Spring 2012, as retrieved from:

          http://www.ssireview.org/articles/entry/the_role_of_brand_in_the_nonprofit_sector

Levinson, J.C, Adkins,F. & Forbes,C. (2010) Guerrilla Marketing for Nonprofits: 250 Tactics to Promote,

           Recruit, Motivate and Raise More Money: Irvine: Entrepreneur Press

Good Advice for Nonprofits comes in “Three’s”

 

     It seems like good advice for charities always comes in “three’s”. Or maybe it is that good blog posts always come with three main points. It may just be that I have a short attention span and can’t attend to more than three main points, but I did come across a couple of blog posts with some good advice.         

           Amanda Quraishi in her blog post Three Essential Ways Your Nonprofit Should Be Using Social Media – describes that there are three main ways every nonprofit should be using social media. She suggests: Informing & Storytelling, Organizing and Fundraising as these three ways.  So goes on to describe: “Building a case for support starts with telling the stories of the people you impact with your work.  It also means giving prospective supporters facts and information that is compelling enough to move them to act.  Social media can be a great way to share blog posts, info- graphics, and other data that people can immediately use and share online”. Posting content which is both compelling and easily shared makes it more likely that your charity will be able to take advantage of your followers networks or if you are lucky to have some viral “sharing” of your story.  When you consider your nonprofits social media you may not immediately think of organizing as a role that these channels may fill. However social media can be a great way to find volunteers or participants for your events. Additionally it can be a great way to thank your volunteers and supporters.  To this point Quraishi describes;” Not only that, but social media is a great way to share stories and photos, and to thank your volunteers publicly following your events.  This contributes to building community and lets your followers visualize your mission in action, keeping your organization at the top of their mind regardless of what else they are doing on their own profile.”

        For those of us who are charity leaders, raising funds can monopolize a good deal of your time each day. We cannot deliver our mission without generating revenue to cover costs. When deciding whether to start using social media or how much volunteer or staff time to devote to manage these platforms, leaders often want to consider how much money will be raised through or as a result of social media activity. Ironically how supportive these vehicles become in supporting your fundraising activities is related to how infrequently you use them as a fundraising tool. This may not seem intuitive however Quraishi explains;” Social media should not be used primarily as a fundraising tool.  (After all, it’s hard to be ‘social’ while constantly asking people for financial support.)  But that doesn’t mean social media can’t have a huge role in a successful fundraising program.    As long as your organization is consistently offering more than fundraising on its social channels, the occasional ask will be well received. “

            Shattuck (2014) has an interesting perspective on how to strike the right balance in using social media as a fundraising tool.  He describes what the brand marketers refer to as the rule of thirds. Shattuck illustrates;” This rule states that tweets, posts, and status updates should fall into one of three categories and be spread more or less evenly between each: 1/3 of posts should be about you or your brand, 1/3 of posts should be about your industry, with content from an outside source [&] 1/3 of your posts should be personal interactions.”

          Shattuck (2014) goes on to interpret how this rule can be applied to charities. For a nonprofit the “thirds” are:

1)      Appreciation

2)      Advocacy

3)      Appeals

Appreciation is pretty straight forward- use your social media to thank your supporters.  “A primary focus of your brand’s social media accounts should be donor appreciation. Historically, donors could only be acknowledged through offline means: a phone call, a thank-you letter, or recognition at a live event. Social media allows for high-impact, low-cost public recognition that, when deployed strategically, can create stickiness between your organization and its supporters while generating new exposure (Shattuck, 2014).”

         When speaking about Advocacy –he goes on to explain:” Every nonprofit has a mission and cause for which they advocate. Social media is an excellent outlet for sharing information that raises awareness and educates, outside of the context of fundraising.” Some nonprofit organizations primary purpose is advocacy and for these charities social media is a great tool. However most nonprofits can/should advocate for the cause they represent ( posting about their own organization and others doing similar work ) as well as advocating for the users of their service.

          Like Quraishi , Shattuck advises balance when it comes to using social media for fundraising. He suggests: “No one will deny that social media has been a game-changer for online fundraising. There’s no reason not to solicit donations directly from Twitter, Facebook, and the like, provided your appeals occur proportionately to other forms of content.”

           So to take this rule a step further if you plan to use your nonprofits social media to generate financial support for your charity, probably less than a third of your posts should be directed at asking for this support. At least two thirds of your posts should be created for the purpose of thanking and recognizing those who are currently helping you, or spent talking about what you are doing for your users and what their needs are.

 

References

Shattuck,S (2014) The “Three A’s” of Nonprofit Social Media Engagement; Hubspot as retrieved from:

          http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/nonprofit-three-as-social-media-ht

 

 Quraishi ,A. (2013) Three Essential Ways Your Nonprofit Should Be Using Social Media;  NP Engage

         website; as retrieved  from http://www.npengage.com/social-media/three-essential-ways-your-nonprofit-should-using-social-media/

Convince and Convert: How Nonprofits can use some great Marketing Ideas from the for profit sector

 

              “If you sell something you can create a customer for today, if you help someone you can create a customer for life” The is a quote from Jay Baer from this YouTube video :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YAgk7EMd9xM

Jay Baer is a leading blogger, author and speaker in areas such as content marketing and social media. If you want to check out some of his articles and videos you can go to his website:

http://www.convinceandconvert.com/

           If you watch the video above you will hear Baer talk about how being “helpful” with your marketing creates and develops relationships. Some of his examples in this video and others of companies who have used this type of approach, will not necessarily strike you at first as inherently the approach your own organizations marketing might be taking. However if you bear with the examples he is providing you will find yourself experiencing some “a-ha” discoveries and quickly come to appreciate how this approach is successful in the environment that we currently live in.

           I shared this video with a colleague of mine and she asked the question:” How do you apply this to the nonprofit sector?” Which is a really good question. If you work for a charity that is in the healthcare field you might be quicker to come up with some examples. For example if you work for Heart and Stroke, maybe you might create blog posts or articles on your website or newsletter about how to avoid having a stroke or how to improve your health after a stroke.  Essentially you create material which is “helpful” to your users and those who are close to your users.  With this content you are providing a service but you are also marketing your organization.

         One of the other parallels nonprofit organizations can draw from this approach is to consider Baer’s quote at the top of this post. Instead of “customer” replace this word with a stakeholder who helps your organization. So instead of “customer” insert “volunteer” or “donor”. Each of your volunteers and donors who help you is also meeting at least one of their own needs. For many of these supporters this need is as simple as they feel it is important to make a difference in their community, or it is important to give back. One way a charity can be “helpful” is creating content which illustrates specifically how much of a difference these volunteer hours create. Or illustrating what difference a $100 or a thousand dollar donation actually makes to the people you are serving.  In business there is great value in creating a customer for life instead of a one-time customer. To take the nonprofit example one step further, it is easy to imagine what difference a volunteer or a donor who helps you for life can make. If you looked at the organization I work for, and consider our supporters, we have a lot of people who will give us a donation or volunteer in some way in a given year. However if you look at the people who are really engaged in what we do it is amazing how this support can translate into benefits for children. If you looked into our records and pulled out all the donors who gave us 5 or more donations over the last five years you would find people who gave us gifts in the range of $25 to $100 each year, and you would find some donors who gave us some gifts in the $10,000 to $100,000 range. The interesting thing about this group of supporters is that people who have given us more than 5 gifts (some of these individuals may have given as many as 16-20 gifts in this time period) in the last five years works out to about 2% of all the people and companies who have given us a gift in this time period. However their gifts work out to about 20% of the gifts that we received during that time period.

          We need and appreciate the people who give us one donation, but not unlike business if you are able to create supporters who are supporters for life (or a least a very long time) it will have a transformative effect on the work you are able to do for the people your charity supports.

Best time for your charity to Post

 

              I find with my own posts I am always experimenting to try to figure out when the best time to post is.   I used to do a lot of posts after 7:30 PM because I had read once that a lot of people sit down with their tablets and phones after dinner and dishes are done for some well-deserved down time.  More recently if I put a blog post up I might tweet or post the link on LinkedIn at 12:30 in the morning as well as 7 to 8 Pm. This way I seem to get views from my followers in North America as well as followers in the UK and Australia. I tend to think of experimenting a bit with the timing of posts as a way to quasi scientifically figure out the best time to reach followers, but in reality this is probably just a lot of systematic guessing. I did find this interesting blog post by Shea Bennett that has some observations that are worth considering. Bennett posts an infographic from Fannit with some interesting facts and statistics. Personally and for our organization we don’t do a lot of posting on the weekend which seems to make sense for us.   The infographic would suggest that for Facebook this would make sense –they suggest this is the worst time to post on Facebook. However Twitter engagement goes up by 30% on the weekend- so maybe we should be more active on Twitter during the weekend.  The infographic points out that 80% of mobile users check their phone each morning, their advice is weekdays between 6am and 8am is a great time to post on FaceBook. They also go on to suggest that most people don’t check FaceBook while they are at work (probably because most employers would frown on this) so the best times to post are obviously before and after work. A suggestion that I suppose seems intuitive is if you ask for a Retweet on twitter you are more likely to get one. This makes a lot of sense but I have heard that this is really poor form on twitter. Not sure what I think of that recommendation-but if you give it a try, maybe ask for retweets sparingly. If you are posting on LinkedIn- the blog post suggests most people check their LinkedIn right before and right after work. So the best time to post on LinkedIn is 7-8:30 am and 5 to 6 Pm. A few of the nonprofit executives I know are not as keen on LinkedIn as they may be of other social media. LinkedIn doesn’t seem to be changing our fundraising world, but it sure has been a great tool to post our career postings on and to subsequently have a few of our staff team share the post.  Another interesting fact Business people are most active on social media on Tuesdays and Thursday –so you know what days to post on LinkedIn .

         Some interesting and useful tips in this article, however this is assuming that your charity is local and most of your followers are nearby. If you are a national charity or your follower base is more global you are going to need to do a little time zone math. As I mentioned above for myself this has meant doing some posting in the small hours of the morning Thank goodness for Hoot Suite and TweetDeck

 

References

Bennett, S (2013) The Best Times to Post on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and Pintrest:  All  

           Twitter: The unofficial resource, As retrieved from;

            http://www.mediabistro.com/alltwitter/social-best-times-post_b49546

Instagram 101 for charities

 

           Last summer I was at a conference. During a session on social media use in nonprofit organizations the presenter suggested that charities were most active on Facebook. This was likely true at some point but personally I am becoming a bigger fan of the potential of Instagram, or IG as its users call it. Nonprofit Tech for good (April, 2014) describes;” Owned by Facebook, Instagram is the largest mobile social network in the United States. With more than half its users outside the United States, Instagram is well-positioned to become more broadly used worldwide.” Personally I view IG as almost a hybrid of twitter and Facebook. You can post great images like you can on Facebook, but the feed has much more of a twitter feel to it. When I say a twitter feel to it, it feels somewhat less cluttered than a Facebook feed. An advantage for a nonprofit is that Instagram does not have a character limit like twitter so for some posts you can tell more of a story than twitter allows.

          Nonprofit Tech for good (April, 2014) goes on to explain why your charity may choose IG as one of your social media platforms of choice. They explain: “For cause awareness, Instagram is a highly engaged community. Your nonprofit will likely receive more Instagram likes than Facebook likes and Twitter retweets combined, and it’s a community that is very responsive to nonprofits and images and videos that foster social good.”

         If you have a minute the full post is worth a read. There is link below in the references to the full article. There are some helpful hints about things like using hash tags and how often to post. While you are at it Nonprofit Tech for Good (2014, February) also has a related post on ways charities can use Instagram for fundraising (reference and link also below). In true instagram type form the post is mostly images so it will only take you a moment to glance through. Instagram does have the capacity to allow organizations to tell their story and their users stories through both images and words. Here is something to consider my personal twitter account has about 10 followers for every one follower I have on Instagram. From time to time I have done peer to peer fundraising and I have used both my instagram and twitter to ask people to support this fundraisers. Even though my twitter account has a much broader reach, most donations come from people who follow me on instagram. Not a scientific analysis for sure but a trend worth considering. I think this is because Instagram appears to be a channel that is more effective in telling a story and developing closer relationships with followers. Instagram is certainly a platform that your charity should consider as part of your efforts to tell your organizations story.

References

Nonprofit Tech for Good (2014, April) Top 5 Instagram Best Practices for

           Nonprofits as retrieved from http://www.nptechforgood.com/2014/04/14/top-5-instagram-best-practices-for-nonprofits/

Nonprofit Tech for Good (2014, February) 6 Ways Nonprofits Can Use Instagram for Fundraising as  

         retrieved from: http://www.nptechforgood.com/2014/02/06/6-ways-nonprofits-can-use-instagram-for-fundraising/