Happy Valentine’s Day! Valentine’s Day is a big day for florists, jewelers, restaurants, candy makers, and nonprofit techies too! Here’s a few curated examples.
Nerdy Valentine’s from Scoop.It: The content curation platform, Scoop.it, came up with funny “nerdy” valentine’s for its content curation community.
Google’s Love Stories: Google has been sharing “doodles” – fun variations on its logo since 1998. It’s first Valentine’s Day logo appeared in 2000, looks quite primitive compared to today’s this American Life style animated and audio doodle. Visit the Doodle Museum to view the history of doodles.
Generosity Day: This got started in 2011 by Sasha Dichter, Scott Case, Ellen McGirt, and Katya Andresen. The idea was simple – don’t spend money, but perform an act of generosity for someone on Valentine’s Day. Here’s more.
#NPValentine: The Chronicle of Philanthropy is running a #NPvalentine hashtag love fest today. They also have a gallery of their favorite nonprofit Valentine’s Day wishes from nonprofits on Facebook. Here’s a few 140 character Valentine’s from nonprofits.
— Patterson Foundation (@ThePattersonFdn) February 14, 2014
Fundraising Yoda: One of my favorite nonprofit Twitter spoofs is sharing lots of love today – from donor love to “Fundraising Force Follow Friday”
Who is your supreme Valentine’s #FFFF for Fundraising Force Follow Friday? Choose wisely, friends. Align again for years, this day will not.
— Yoda, CFRJ (@FundraisingYoda) February 14, 2014
Nonprofit Valentine’s Day Campaigns: Looks like lots of nonprofits are using Valentine’s Day as the hook for a campaign – whether it be donor appreciation, fundraising, or raising awareness. The Humane Society and many animal welfare organization’s are using the hashtag #myfurryvalentine to encourage their supporters to share their valentine’s to their pets.
DoSomething on SnapChat: Teens love Snapchat and DoSomething.org is experimenting there. To encourage young people to sign up for Love Letters, a campaign that encourages teens to make Valentine’s Day cards for homebound seniors, they had people vote for the best Valentines.
Kerri Karvetski has many awesome pinboards that collect examples of Nonprofit Campaigns for different holidays. Here’s the 2014 Valentine’s Day Board.
Have a great Valentine’s Day!
Note from Beth: Many nonprofits do not have dedicated teams for social media and social media strategy and implementation is typically only a part of a someone’s job. With limited time, how should that resource be invested to for best results? Often, it can be choice of what channels to go deeper on and what channels to ignore. We know that the road to great results is paved with controlled experimentation, one hypothesis and test at a time. Using the scientific method for experiments can yield insights about how much time and effort – whether our effort has to reach perfection or not. Along with measuring against impact results, it is important to look at how much time has been invested. This informative post is based on a recent webinar presented by the Ad Council provides an overview of how to understand the return on your time investment.
How much effort are your social media channels really worth? By Sacha Evans
Nonprofits nowadays invest serious resources to keep pace with the latest social media trends. But in the race to remain current, we can sometimes forget to take a step back and ask ourselves a few basic questions:
How do we know if all our social media efforts are actually worth the investment?
- Are we actually making a difference?
- What are the right tools to help measure success?
- How can we most efficiently allocate our resources to maximize our social media’s effect?
Earlier this month, the Ad Council hosted a webinar on the topic of social media ROI with three great social media minds to help us navigate these and other thorny online issues.
- David Almacy, Senior Vice President at Edelman
- Larry Swiader, Senior Director of Digital Media at The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy
- Tammi Marcoullier, Lead Strategist at the GSA’s Center for Excellence in Digital Government Engagement & Outreach
And we took away some ideas that we thought many nonprofits and government agencies should consider. Here are our crib notes. Or, if you’d like to watch the entire presentation or download the presentation slides.
- Measure program success, not just analytics. Analytics are just one indicator of success. They must contribute to your final goal. If your goal is to get countries to pledge to wipe out poverty, then your social media clickthroughs are just a means to an end.
- According to David Almacy, the best five tools to measure social media ROI right now are:
- Some of these tools are free, some are paid, and some offer both free and paid versions. Always remember: you get what you pay for.
- With limited time and staff, it’s most important to focus your social media messaging on people who are persuadable or on your side. Don’t waste too much time on people who will never agree with you. Mobilize the people who already do.
- If money is an issue (isn’t it always?), take advantage of free software trials. Not only do they allow you to really size up competitors; they also tell you how you’d really use a tool on a daily basis.
- Avoid long contracts with social media-related software providers. The landscape is changing so quickly that there’s no guarantee a social measurement tool will remain relevant.
- If you need a specific metric for your reports, ask outside software providers to build a tool that can give it to you. Often developers look to their customers for software ideas. And if you asked for something smart, it could help attract other customers.
- The goal of all your social media impressions should be to create people who are in constant contact with you. As a result, Bedsider’s social media funnel path looks like this: Impressions > Engagement > Acquisitions.
- If you want to reach a broader social media audience, post about topics outside of your specific issue area. Look to attract crossover audiences who don’t only follow other organizations like you. Bedsider’s audience, for example, also follows Jimmy Fallon and Katy Perry, not only other groups that promote birth control.
- Your audience isn’t only using social media during the 9am – 5pm work day. And you shouldn’t be either. Twitter engagement rates for brands are actually higher on the weekend.
- Look for traffic from unexpected sources. According to this Mashable study, Pinterest actually drives more traffic to publishers than Twitter, LinkedIn and Reddit combined. Try out different networks, and then decide which one will do the most for you.
- If you purchase a paid Twitter account to publish promoted tweets, it will also provide enhanced analytics for regular posts. Kill both birds with one stone.
- Social media provides more than numbers; at its heart, it provides great stories. A social media post can affirm that other parts of your organization are working – that people are seeing your advertisements or internalizing your mission. Don’t only look at social media analytics. Read your social media stories. Then share them with your organization’s leadership.
- Sometimes there’s no getting around a staff increase: since 2010, the U.S. Federal Government has made digital communications a priority. Currently, there are more than 500 social media and IT professionals in the U.S. Government.
- Because social media requires an immediate response, a common script will pay great dividends.
- In a crisis, the most efficient thing you can train your community managers to do is to be active and be human. People want to know that you are listening.
- Don’t consider crowdsourcing a mere novelty. Use it to solve specific problems. (The U.S. Government is using this tactic through its website Challenge.gov).
- Share what you’ve learned. The U.S. Government does this through the following research-sharing websites: HowTo.gov/social-media Blog.HowTo.gov HowTo.gov/training
Sacha Evans is currently serves as a Media Relations Manager at the Ad Council. Previously she worked in communications at Orchestra of St. Luke’s, StoryCorps, NPR, and Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy.
The day before I set off for the Nonprofit Technology Conference in 2012, my boss back in Australia warned me: "Now, don't you go falling in love with San Francisco and not come back."
His warning was prescient. During those three days of scribbled notes, pun tweets, and laughs, I did fall in love with the US nonprofit community, with NTEN, and with a man who I'd move halfway across the world to marry.
Australia is a small place, and the nonprofit community is tiny. I was the only person at my organization, in fact the only one in the country, doing social media strategy for a gay and lesbian health organization. I would often feel isolated and lost with all this data, without the skills to make sense of it, nor anyone to ask for advice.
My #12NTC love affair started fittingly in my pants, when the Extra Action Marching Band took the stage to open the conference with a raucous explosion of noise and hip gyration. I knew instantly this would be an extraordinary few days.
NTC sessions on social media, Google Analytics, and video strategy opened my eyes. I met kindred spirits and made lasting connections with people from a whole range of organizations and interests who had come together to learn how to make the world a better place.
Then, I met Joe. We met on the #12NTC hashtag and were soon engaged in an enthusiastic pun war. A whirlwind set of dates followed, and I returned to Australia in love and with immigration paperwork bookmarked in my web browser. We got married in November last year and are shacked up in the Bay Area with our small garden and burgeoning collection of board games.
Without the scholarship, which was organized by Australia's ConnectingUp, I would not have made it to the NTC. My company just couldn't afford it.
But its was worth to me was so much more than the ticket price. The sessions were diverse, informative, and surprisingly entertaining. There really is something for everyone. NTEN does an incredible job of fitting in a huge program, while at the same time, making sure everyone feels at home, even for those of us who had come a long way and knew no one at the conference.
NTEN's then Executive Director Holly Ross summed it up in her love letter to conference alumni: "You guys are dangerous, but big change never happens without big risk."
Things I learned at NTC in 2012 were of immense benefit to my organization back home, and many of them I still use today in my work. Valentine's Day is the last day to lock in regular registration rates for this year's NTC, which is in Washington, D.C., March 13-15. I would encourage you to join us. You will surely learn a lot, probably have a great time, and hey - it might just change your life.
Lyndal Cairns works with nonprofits on communications and social media strategy. She is currently writing a public relations toolkit for independent filmmakers. Subscribe at LyndalCairns.wordpress.com to stay in the loop.
Note for Beth: Most of my work over the last twenty years in nonprofit technology has been focused on designing and facilitating capacity building projects, specifically training and peer learning projects that help participants successfully learn and apply skills using online technology, social media, networks, measurement, training design or other topic. You can expect to continue to see more blog posts from me on the topic of peer learning design and training techniques as I continue to do this work.
I’m working with the Knight Foundation to facilitate a peer learning exchange that will help their community foundation partners learn and spread best practices in planning and implementing Giving Days. Bahia Ramos wrote this post as part of a learning culmination process where we reflected on the design and what was learned as we moved into another round of giving days. The post was also published on the Knight Foundation blog here.
Going for Goal: Shared Knowledge Inspires Successful Giving Days
Guest Post By Bahia Ramos, director of community foundations at Knight Foundation
Last year, as Giving Days became increasingly popular, Knight Foundation looked for a way to help the community foundations organizing them make these online giving campaigns even more effective.
So Knight did two things: We published the Giving Day Playbook, a comprehensive guide on putting together a 24-hour online giving campaign, and we disseminated it widely to help the broader field.
We also wanted to go deeper with the foundations in the communities where Knight Foundation invests. To complement the Playbook, we organized a Peer Learning Exchange where participants could gather, share ideas and ask questions.
The network was a new way of learning and interacting with our Knight community foundation partners, and it worked well; the seven participating foundations with 2013 campaigns surpassed their goals, and participants said the sessions had a big influence on their work. So I thought I’d share some details on how the exchange worked, and some insights the group learned that helped them increase their impact.
As with any new group, many of the foundations were reluctant to make a commitment to participate in the exchange. Launching a Giving Day requires a certain amount of organizational capacity, and the addition of twice-a-month webinars seemed to add to the load. Organizer Beth Kanter shaped each call around a chapter of the Giving Day Playbook, and her expertise and enthusiasm helped to keep the group engaged throughout the year.
The calls, and the exchange, became both a fun and trusted space in which grantees could share experiences without fear of reprisal or judgment. In essence, the grantees didn’t feel pressured to just report “the good.” The campaigns were treated as works in progress.
In total, 19 organizations participated in 10 webinars. Beth facilitated the calls, but the community foundations drove the content, creating a true peer exchange.
In addition to the calls, we offered one-on-one support from both Beth and Dana Nelson of GiveMN. To meet people where they already are, we created a Facebook group and wiki site to share information.
The Facebook group in particular allowed for immediate interaction, and we saw participants share a range of things from their “thank you” videos for donors to a picture from an in-person Giving Day event, that helped thank people who gave.
What impact did all this have on communities?
The foundations learned several things that helped them surpass their goals. The first:
- Everyone loves a good prize: While Giving Days offer a variety of prizes to donors, the foundations realized it wasn’t the size of the prize that motivated people to give more, but it was the timing that mattered. And the group got creative when it came to offers. The Miami Foundation offered the 305 prize for the donor who gave at 3:05 p.m., a hat tip to one of the local area codes. Meanwhile, power hour prizes during Georgia Gives Day rewarded nonprofits that raised the most money during a designated hour; the prizes kept donors and nonprofits engaged throughout the day, and provided exclamation points for the event.
- Humor is important in the face of adversity: We all know that things don’t always go as planned; that’s true with any project. GiveMN suffered a technical blow during its Giving Day, which shut down its donation site for hours. It would have been easy to turn the lights off and walk away, but instead they employed Internet humor, and used great pictures to get them through the day. The humor provided a bit of levity to what could have been perceived as a disaster, and worked at keeping people interested in the day (GiveMN still managed to raise a record $17.1 million, once the dust settled).
- Find a Fund Way to Play: This year, a few community foundations experimented with using their pool of donor-advised funds and fundholders to contribute to the day. This gave an incentive for prospective donors to open new donor-advised fund accounts, adding to the foundation’s permanent assets. Donors appreciated having foundations making it easier for them to participate by handling the administrative tasks associated with giving.
In total, the communities in the Peer Learning Exchange raised $10,133,995 over the course of their campaigns, some nearly tripling their results from the previous year. This is the result of a lot of hard work on the part of the folks running the campaigns, all of whom were committed to making their Giving Days a success.
From our perspective, the Giving Day Playbook and the Peer Learning Exchange created a great opportunity for a neutral learning space for us and for grantees. Understanding Giving Days are still relatively new, we made the Playbook an evolving website that incorporates new tools and experiences along the way.
In fact, we’re conducting an evaluation this year on what’s working in Giving Day campaigns, and we’ll be updating the Playbook. If you’re planning a Giving Day in 2014, be sure to visit GivingDayPlaybook.org for the latest.
Bahia Ramos, director of community foundations at Knight Foundation