How Mobile Marketing is Changing the Way We Raise Funds

How Mobile Marketing is Changing the Way We Raise Funds

How Mobile Marketing is Changing the Way We Raise Funds

A guest post by Sophorn Chhay 

We now live in a world where social rules and smartphones have changed access across the globe. What a pleasure to host this guest post by Sophorn Chhay. Sophorn shows us how mobile marketing is changing the way we raise funds!

It’s hard to believe that some charitable organizations still depend on cans by grocery store cash registers and bell-ringing volunteers to reach their fundraising goals.

While it’s true that every penny counts, no one carries pennies anymore.

See the problem?!

These old-school strategies worked because they hinged on one central, rather smart, idea: go where the people are. The problem is that those people don’t keep their money with them anymore, and they don’t have time to search their pockets on street corners or sit in front of the television waiting for the 800 number to flash on the screen.

We’ve gone digital, and nonprofits need to keep pace or risk losing the funding they need to help the cause nearest and dearest to their hearts.

Enter mobile marketing, perfect for finding people where they already are (even if that’s always changing), and find their spare change – or thousands ear-marked for groups just like yours – at the same time.

How Mobile Marketing is Changing the Way We Raise Funds

  • The Mobile Web

Some 80 percent of internet users now own a smartphone, so it’s no surprise that almost as many (72 percent, to be exact) say that they want mobile-friendly websites. These websites are designed to be viewed on mobile devices and feature responsive design so that the website adapts to whatever device it’s viewed on.

You can create a mobile-dedicated site at a separate URL (such as m.yournonprofit.org in addition to www.yournonprofit.org) or update/create your primary site to suit both audiences.

As you develop your online presence, a slick and fast-loading mobile website becomes more and more important. When people are in the mood to give, you want them to be able to do so without stress or interruption.

  • Text-Based Donations

A lot of nonprofits have already launched email campaigns, but did you know that email only has a 20 percent open rate? Contrast that with text messages, which have an almost unbelievable open rate of 98 percent. Send a text to potential donors and it’s almost guaranteed that they’ll read it. What better what to get your message out? You can also use automated messaging to streamline the process. Enlist the considerable talents of a company like Textpedite and you can:

  • Launch a text-to-join campaign that allows potential donors to subscribe to your text-based newsletter simply by texting a keyword to a unique short code
  • Remind subscribers about an upcoming fundraising gala or promote the needs of other non-profits
  • Send bulk messages that let your entire network know when you’re ready to launch your app or when you need ASAP donations to combat a funding crisis
  • Set up an auto-responder to welcome new subscribers or thank donors for their contributions

And that’s just for starters!

  • Mobile Apps

Creating a mobile app is one of the best ways you can jumpstart your mobile strategy. Of the three hours the average smartphone user spends on their device each day, 89 percent of that time is spent on mobile apps. The key is to create an app that serves your purposes while also somehow captivating the interest of your audience.

The Red Cross’s Blood Donor app doesn’t just ask for blood donations, it helps the user find a blood, schedule an appointment, and even hooks them up with rewards from popular retailers. Charity Miles appeals to people who love to walk, run, and bike; every mile they log through the app turns into money that can be applied to the charity of their choice.

If you want your nonprofit to succeed, you have to incorporate marketing into your overall strategic planning, and mobile marketing needs to be at the forefront of your game plan. What’s your take on mobile marketing for nonprofits?

What’s Next?

How do you ensure that your donors are getting the best mobile experience possible when interacting with your organization? Make sure to share them with us in the comments below. I would love to read them.

Author Biography

Sophorn Chhay is the marketing guy at  Trumpia, a mobile content delivery service that allows users to customize their one-to-one marketing efforts by interconnecting and optimizing all digital platforms. As an innovator in two-way SMS/MMS marketing, Trumpia’s mission is to empower brands and public figures with interactive access to their audiences, reaching targeted affinity groups in a personal way. Trumpia delivers world-class content such as video, ticketing, polling, products sales, contests, and giveaways.

Follow Sophorn on Twitter(@Trumpia), LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+

 

Add Twitter to your Nonprofit MarComm Toolbox!

Add #Twitter to your #NPO MarComm Toolbox!

Add #Twitter to your #NPO MarComm Toolbox!

“Of all the social channels, for a nonprofit, Twitter may be the most effective in terms of the biggest return for limited time and resources. Through consistent tweets that inspire and inform you reinforce your mission to your network of followers. The bonus is if you get it right your followers will share to their followers’, amplifying and extending your work.”  Toby Bloomberg @TobyDiva

Add Twitter to your Nonprofit MarComm Toolbox! Twitter is a must have tool for listening and monitoring. It successfully engages others in your stories, inspires action and builds effective awareness and fundraising campaigns.

Here’re my favorite ways to add Twitter to your Nonprofit MarComm Toolbox:

  • Fundraising via Twitter:

Fundraising Coach Marc A. Pitman @marcapitman suggests Twitter is an amazing way to engage donors and potential donors. Maintaining relationships is one of the hardest things that a fundraiser must do. And, Twitter helps us do that!

  1. You get to meet people all over the world that might be interested in your cause.
  2. You get to hear what people are really thinking about a wide variety of issues.
  3. You can follow other fundraisers and get great real-time advice.
  4. You can even promote traffic to your website or those of your friends.
  • Twitter and #GivingTuesday:

New York’s 92 Street Y (@92Y) in partnerships including the United Nations Foundation (@unfoundation) incorporated Twitter into its 2013 #GivingTuesday (@GivingTues). The Dec. 13th event produced a 90% increase in online giving compared to 2012. There were 269,000 Tweets with the #GivingTuesday hashtag on December 3, an average of 186 times per minute!

  • Matching Fund Drive with Promoted Tweets:

The Red Cross (@RedCross) partnered with Craigslist founder Craig Newmark (@craignewmark) to launch a Promoted Tweets matching fund drive for the holiday season. Both organizations used Promoted Tweets to ask Twitter users to respond with their idea of the “perfect gift,” & used the hashtag #PerfectGift with a link to the donation website. Newmark matched each @reply or Retweet with a $1 donation, up to $10,000.

  • Micro-funding via Twitter:

Janet Fouts (@jfouts) saw a post on Twitter that drew her to click on the link and then follow through with a donation almost immediately. It was from Small Can be Big, a group which works with local shelters to identify people in need and then posts their stories on-line seeking donations to help. The Tweet was a day old and by the time she got to the site they had raised the needed capital. She browsed around to learn more and made a couple of small donations right then and there.

  • Crisis Management with Twitter:

The power of Twitter’s real-time platform to inform and connect is never more evident than in the face of a natural disaster or humanitarian crisis. Over the past few years, organizations, government agencies, news outlets and individuals use Twitter to provide information and relief in times of need.

  1. On the ground
  2. Be an eyewitness
  3. Be a lifeline
  4. Become a conduit for critical information
  • Twitter and Media Relations

According to the 2015 Cision Social Journalism Study only 6% of PR pros only post press releases on the wires.

Journalists are very active on Twitter. Most journalists see Twitter as an extension of their own reporting these days and 75% say that they use Twitter to build their own brand. So Twitter is a marvelous opportunity to connect and discover what they’re writing about or looking for. How do journalists use twitter?

  1. Story Creation
  2. Finding Sources
  3. Self promotion

 Add Twitter to your nonprofit MarComm toolbox extra resources:

  1. 10 Twitter Tips for Nonprofits
  2. 6 Creative Ways to Use Twitter for your nonprofit marketing campaigns 
  3. How to get more people to your events with social media
  4. 10 Twitter Best Practices for Nonprofits 
  5. Top 10 nonprofit hastags to spark social good 
  6. Best Twitter Practices for Media
  7.  Twitter Nonprofits (@Nonprofits) highlights great uses of Twitter in the nonprofit community.
  8. Create a Digital Ripple to Promote Your Special Events

We’d love to hear from you! Do you have any Twitter favorites to add to your nonprofit MarComm toolbox?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Want donors to stay engaged? Thank them!

Show your appreciation with a timely, sincere thank you letter

Want donors to stay engaged? Thank them with a timely, sincere thank you letter.

Want donors to stay engaged? Thank them!

Sounds like a no-brainer, doesn’t it?

Well, it’s unfortunate how many nonprofits don’t thank their donors.

Of course we thank them. After all, many of our donations are done online and we have our system send a receipt/thank you note.

Is this really thanking your donor? Does this create engagement?

I suggest not. Want donors to stay engaged? Thank them!

I don’t believe that the lapse is intentional. But, those thank you notes are extremely important. Here are some meaningful ways to rectify the situation and ensure that your donors stay engaged:

Donor acquisition is extremely important. Yet 3 of 4 donors leave and never come back. Frank Barry, director of digital marketing at Blackbaud and blogger at npENGAGE, wrote a very interesting blog post One thing most nonprofits stink at (donor retention) and how you can change it interviewed fundraising experts from across the industry to share 12 super simple (but effective) ways to engage and retain donors. I was thrilled when I saw how many spoke to the importance of heartfelt thank you notes.

These 12 Ways to Thank Donors will keep them from saying goodbye offer a good guide for using thank you notes to keep your donors engaged:

  1. Offer donors a next step in your thank you note.
  2. Thank your donors for being them.
  3. Send a handwritten note.
  4. Treat each donation as the beginning of a meaningful friendship.
  5. Don’t ask for more money — yet.
  6. Keep it simple and emotional, not filled with jargon.
  7. Make your donor feel something positive in your thank you letter.
  8. Avoid careless errors – double check your grammar and spelling.
  9. Send your thank you letter as fast as possible.
  10. Make the letter relevant.
  11. Give the donor credit, not you.
  12. Follow up later.

Writing thoughtful timely thank you letters is hard work. But, it’s worth it!

Thank you for all you do for your community. And, thank you for following my blog.

I’d love to hear from you with suggestions for keeping donors engaged!

 

Fight Prejudice with art, a website and Facebook

Share The Vision Through Art

“Diversity should enrich our lives. When we accept others, it elevates the human experience.” Embracing Differences Founder Charlotte Wilen

 

Embracing Differences is a nonprofit that engages metro Atlanta in a dialogue about ending prejudice and discrimination. The organization uses art to educate and promote a community where all people share a mutual respect for others without prejudice, hate or fear.

Their signature project “Students Draw The Line…Against Prejudice” was created to serve as a powerful weapon to help fight the battle against intolerance. The event, which takes place this November, involves students through high school submitting works of art, which are exhibited and displayed to the general public.

Using Art, a website and Facebook to Fight Prejudice

My team and I were tasked with finding a way to reach the community with Embracing Differences message and to encourage metro Atlanta to view an outdoor exhibit of the winning art.

First step was to update the Embracing Differences website

  • Start with a complete analysis of the website’s look, feel and content
  • The website was basic and was not very appealing. But, the organization was not in a position to develop a new website
  • Since Embracing Differences is focused on artwork, it was important to create visual integrity that resonated with their message
  • Visible link to donate was added to the navigation bar
  • Used 24Fundraiser for electronic fundraising. The fundraising header uses the logo for the signature event.
  • When we discovered that the site did not have the bandwidth to hold a lot of hi-res photos, we created a Press Center off-site that is linked to the Press Center icon.
  • An Application form to formally register for the competition along with an Application Packet gave teachers a chance to register for the competition and a teacher’s webinar without leaving the site.

Embracing Differences Facebook page –

  • Design Facebook page so it resonates with the same look and feel and theme of the website
  • Create hash-tags and use throughout posts
  • Post teacher training webinar Share the Vision through art
  • Update Facebook with relevant visuals and content daily
  • Encourage people to share posts with their networks
  • Create a People’s Choice contest to drive likes and interest in signature event
  • Used an app that allowed posting all 55 entries in categories.
  • Created a graphic in the Facebook header that leads people to Vote

Be sure and Like the Embracing Differences Facebook page and vote on your choice in Elementary, Middle and High School! Not going to the opening event? Come back to the Embracing Differences Facebook page after November 1st and see the judges and People’s Choice winners.

After the opening event, Students Draw the Line Against Prejudice hosts an outdoor exhibit of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners in each school category. The banner-sized art pieces will tell a story.

Some of the work will show struggles in the face of prejudice. And some will focus on positive experiences that diversity can create.

Would love to hear what you think after you view the artwork on Facebook!

 

 

Create a Digital Ripple to Promote your Special Event

 

 

Creating a Digital Ripple

Creating a Digital Ripple

 

“Hey,” my friend Bobby said. “We’re honoring Ambassador Stuart Eizenstat with a special performance by Broadway Diva Tovah Feldshuh. Are you interested in spearheading the marketing?”

“Silly question, I’d love to!”

My commitment to special events is well known. I encourage all nonprofits to integrate special events into their development plans. Seen this way events are part of a holistic development effort that integrates into everything you do as an organization to raise money. And, it is strategic – the events are focused on the mission. At each level of your giving paradigm you will find distinct events for distinct goals.

Promoting Stu, Long Overdue: A Salute to Ambassador Stuart Eizenstat

Stu, Long Overdue was an exciting yet challenging event to promote. Ambassador Eizenstat has a long active relationship with the presenting organization, Ahavath Achim Synagogue. The Eizenstat Family Memorial Lecture is a gift to the synagogue and the community at large, and features high profile speakers from the United States and Israel.

Members of the congregation were the primary marketing target for this special event fundraiser. On the other hand, Tovah Feldshuh, a well-known Broadway star opened opportunities to outreach to the whole community, especially those interested in seeing a special performance of her award winning one-woman cabaret Tovah: Out of Her Mind!

To start we developed a press release, fact sheet and visuals that integrated messages for those interested in attending the event to honor Eizenstat and people who would attend to see Tovah Feldshuh up front and personal.

We identified the paths to promote the event, which included traditional and new media elements.

This included:

  • Stu, Long Overdue page on the synagogue’s website. The website did not have enough bandwidth to create a Press Center. The print quality JPEG files and documents were housed off-site.
  • Foundation press release, fact sheet, flyers and posters, which we housed in the Press Center.
  • Personalized direct mail
  • Email blasts
  • Placements on all the relevant event calendars within the metro area
  • Identified organizational partners to help distribute html email and flyers to their constituents
  • Geographically our target market was in metro Atlanta. We chose the Atlanta Daybook. I love using the Atlanta Daybook for local news releases. They have direct reach into the newsrooms, corporate headquarters and nonprofits in my target market.
  • Personal outreach through twitter and email to press and bloggers
  • Creation of Stu, Long Overdue Facebook page
  • Event hashtag #Stulongoverdue

The Daybook helped create the event’s digital ripple through their distribution channels.  A digital ripple provides actionable insights into how campaign strategies and tactics worked.

Insights from Stu Long Overdue, A Salute to Ambassador Stuart Eizenstat Story Traction Report:

  • The total digital impressions from each placement ranged from 8,385 to 17,593, which was the last placement 4 days before the event.
  • Total campaign digital impressions – 54,176 
  • Average time on the page ranged from 3:34 to 8:51
  • Twitter Daybook Followers – 7,724. When a placement had just 2 re-tweets, the reach increased to 8,965
  • Facebook – 528
  • Google+ – 299

We saw increased activity on the event website including donations and ticket purchases related to Daybook placements, blog posts and off and on-line articles.

Why else are these metrics important?

We live in an age of metrics. These benchmarks are necessary to ensure that the nonprofit is spending its resources properly and that they are accountable and transparent.

I feel it is particularly important when it comes to special events and promotional initiatives since both are always under attack for not having and/or meeting measurable goals.

And, the story lives! The digital ripple created by this event will continue to raise awareness, inspire to purchase tickets to other events and even foster donations. It also established the organization as a knowledge center.

Three interesting posts that discuss ways to incorporate social media in your special events:

  1. 15 Ways to Bring Social Media to Events
  2. 18 Ways to Use Social Media for Events 
  3. Special Events Social Media

If you’re interested in a more thorough post on the importance of metrics for nonprofits, please let me know!

 

 

Emotions Rule in Nonprofit Marketing Communications!

lizard self

 

“Communications are all about the mind…and only about the mind. Keep that in mind.” Tom Ahern, How to Write Fundraising Materials That Raise More Money

Never did I think my study of psychology  & neuroscience, albeit to a lesser degree, would have such an impact on my work in marketing communications. Was I wrong!

I promise not to go too deep into the realms of neuroscience. But, bear with me. Understanding that the brain is the seat of emotions and that emotions “rule” when it comes to making a decision has huge implications for the nonprofit communicator.

In The Emotional Brain, Ken Barnett states that emotions invariably are formed in certain parts of the brain, in which the consciousness that we term the mind resides. From the mind these emotions– fear, anger, stress, elation, anxiety, love and all the rest – can gush out anywhere and everywhere, controlled or otherwise, productively or destructively, far more powerful and irresistible than logic.

Neuroscientist Antoine Bechara declared in 2006 that the “popular notion … that logical, rational calculation forms the basis of sound decisions … [is] wrong and [has] no scientific basis….”

Ironically this is something that direct mail marketers have known for quite a while!

Everyone is affected by emotional triggers. The key is to discover which emotional triggers create the action that you’re looking for in your marketing communications. My personal bias is that the main action you strive for is support for your nonprofit’s mission.

Group triggers to lead to action. Couple negative triggers – anger, sadness, fear with positive triggers – caring joy and hope. Create what Tom Ahern calls emotional twin sets. Match a catalyzing trigger, most often negative to introduce the problem with a calming trigger, which is positive and offers a solution if the reader takes action.

Don’t forget, as neurologist Donald Calne, author of Within Reason: Rationality and Human Behavior shows — reason leads to thinking, while emotion leads to action.

Of course this isn’t the whole picture. Interested in more applicable insights into the use of emotions and nonprofit marketing communications? I strongly suggest:

Communication is everything in marketing. If you can’t get your messages out to your audience and create the desired actions, your nonprofit will shrivel and die. Marketing communications is about understanding the needs of your audiences and finding the best way to speak with them.

Don’t forget, people develop trust with organizations that they are emotionally connected to. So, telling a story about how you change the lives of real people who come into contact with your organization is critical.

One last plug for neuroscience — our brain is hardwired to learn from and respond to stories! So the fastest and easiest way for your audience to understand and get involved with what your organization is doing is through stories.

By the way, curious about the photo on this post? That’s my lizard. She/it sits on a shelf in my office watching me work – or not!  I saw the lizard when we took a trip to Santa Fe New Mexico and I had to have it. After reading Seth Godin’s fascinating book Linchpin, I think I know why!

Any thoughts or contributions you want to make to the effects of emotional triggers on nonprofit marketing communications? I’d love to hear them.

Do you really – really know your audience?

AB_CMW_Post

 “Getting to know your supporters, volunteers, clients and other participants in your mission is easy, if you build that listening and learning into your everyday work.”  Kivi Leroux Miller

There’s no question that knowing your audience is the 1st rule of nonprofit marketing. The idea of building a beautiful marketing campaign that isn’t specific to your nonprofit’s audience just doesn’t cut it!

Just last week I joined a dynamic conversation on LinkedIn’s Nonprofit Marketing Group. It would have to be considering that two of the voices in the conversation were Dennis Fischman, chief communicator at Communicate! Consulting and Brian Brown, principal of Narrator, a social fundraising consultancy that helps nonprofits raise money with their online presence..

Brian started the conversation by posting “There are lots of tips about email technicalities, but I don’t see much literature that challenges nonprofits to think about the different psychological strategies involved in email vs. direct mail. Have you tried any of these strategies? Any best practices?”

And, that lead to his blog post 6 ways to improve your email numbers. I was intrigued, especially when I realized that although he was speaking about email vs. direct mail, he was really speaking about truly knowing your audiences (or at least I thought so!).

Brian identifies four stages to nonprofit and campaign communications:

  1. Stage 1 is about infrastructure (we have a Facebook page).
  2. Stage 2 is about developing content to send out via that infrastructure (posting regularly, sending emails).
  3. The third and fourth stages are about refining your content, refining your audience, getting more interactive, and building a two-way relationship that reinforces and empowers your audiences’ identity relative to you.

Unfortunately there appears to be consensus that most nonprofits do not get past the first two stages. As both Brian and Dennis noted, it takes commitment and work to really know your audience.

So here are my suggestions to gain that knowledge. If any of this sounds familiar to my readers, it’s because these are the foundation questions that I use when applying the POST MethodAs with all communications initiatives, people, your audiences come first.

  • Who must you reach to meet your communication objective?
  • Why this target group? Are they clients, volunteers, donors, sponsors and/or prospects?
  • What attracted people to your organization in the first place?
  •  Is this a target group identified in your organization’s communications plan?
  • What do they know or believe about your organization or issue?
  • What type of content is important to them?
  • What will resonate with them?
  • What key points do you want to make with your audience to develop conversations & actions?
  • What new & traditional media tools are they currently using?
  • What are they talking about in relation to your brand/goals/issues/competitors?
  • What additional research do you need to do to learn about your target audience’s behavior or understanding/perceptions about your organization or issues?

I like to think of gaining this knowledge as a journey. It won’t be completed in a day. You’ll discover new insights by looking, listening, and being sensitive to clues along your path.

I know it sounds overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to. It does, however, take commitment and work.

If you’re interested in getting a copy of my POST Template, just let me hear from you – deborah@creative-si.com.

What it takes to be a nonprofit marketer

multitask

 

Look inside the heads of great marketers like Seth Godin & Steve Jobs and you’ll be surprised by the number of skills these guys and gals have that might not necessarily be tied to marketing. You’ll see things like interview skills, giving good feedback, and even kissing butt. Sujan Patel, Single Grain 

Wow, I thought. Maybe this is why I see myself as driven!

The DNA in a marketer includes a relentless desire to get better and better at what she does. She is always trying to improve and to help her team members improve also.

So, I’ve developed a short list of what I feel it takes to be a superstar nonprofit marketer.

1.  A hunger for knowledge about great marketing and lessons from great marketers:

2.  Be open to learn from great marketing campaigns:

3.  Great writer in multi-mediums – annual reports, web, online newsletters, press releases, SM, etc:

4. Prolific content generator across mediums – written, video, audio, & photo:

5.  Marketing generalists – new & traditional media:

6.  Proactive communicator & connector – A marketer understands that the more people you know the more opportunities, ideas and help you will have. So you need to spend a good chunk of your time connecting with people, be it on social media, at conferences, networking meets and even lunches.

7.  A committed leader – As a nonprofit marketer most likely you will work with a team to accomplish your goals. A great marketer is a great leader, always recruiting and encouraging her team to accomplish goals from start to finish.

8.  Driven by metrics:

9.  Donor-Centric Focused – The truly great nonprofit marketer obsesses about her donors & other stakeholders: her needs, wants, desires, dreams and problems. Every marketing conversation begins with the “customer”—and how she will benefit.

10.  Be a Decision Maker – You have access to a ton of information. But, you’ll never have enough. Or, as I do sometimes, you may get paralyzed by information overload. Analyze the data, make a decision and then learn from your mistakes. A true decision maker doesn’t let fear stop her from moving forward.

Most importantly you must love what you do and celebrate that you are making a difference in the world!

Any suggestions to add to the list? We’d love to hear from you!

 

The Rise of Social Media Press Releases

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The Rise of the Social Media Press Release

Yesterday I visited a Facebook group in which I’m a member. I was somewhat taken aback when I read a post that started –

“Social media has forever changed how nonprofits and journalists distribute and consume news stories, yet the format of press releases has not evolved at all. Almost every communication medium out there has been impacted by the rise of social and mobile media, but not press releases.” (11 Tips for Making Nonprofit Press Releases Social and Shareable)

Well, I know I’ve been creating and posting social media releases (SMR) and releases that are Search Engine Optimized (SEO) since 2009 when I managed The Eizenstat Family Memorial Lecture featuring Al Gore.

And, I’m far from the first!

Then I remembered the post The Definitive Guide to Social Media Releases by Brian Solis, written February 11, 2008.

The blog covers a lot of information about the creation of SMR and the evolution of press release wires and includes a description of what an SMR should include:

  • Headline
  • Intro paragraph, rich with key words, relevance and context (summary)
  • Supporting facts
  • Quote
  • Embeddable Video (The new VNR)
  • Embeddable Audio
  • Embeddable Images
  • RSS for the organization’s news
  • RSS for product/services info
  • Post in “insert social network of choice”
  • Blog this (links to blogging platforms)
  • Share on Twitter, Tumblr, etc.
  • Bookmarks
  • Relevant links
  • Digg, Reddit, and other relevant news aggregators and communities
  • Comments – Maybe also include a link to a hosted network on Ning or even a discussion forum
  • Contact: hcard, vcard, Linked, Facebook

I use a national or local release distribution service, depending on the scope of the release. All have templates in which you input your press release and include ways to ensure that they are SEO and SMR.

I love using the Atlanta Daybook for local news releases. They have direct reach into the newsrooms, corporate headquarters and nonprofits in my target market.

Once the release is posted I encourage members of the organization to share with their organizational partners and personal networks.

I also send my releases pasted to the face of a personalized email. When I do this I:

  • Keep everything flush left, including the header, sub-head, organization’s logo and contact information
  • Follow the classic pyramid with the most relevant information in the 1st paragraph
  • Ensure that the subject line has all the relevant information & piques interest in the release
  • Use keywords in the header and subhead
  • Hyperlink the name of the organization, project and/or event to the organization’s website in the 1st paragraph
  • Use a relevant quote in the third paragraph
  • Link details of relevant information back to the organization’s website
  • Provide a link to usable JPEG files housed in the website press room
  • Add a link to the website in the boilerplate
  • Add contact info to the bottom of the release
  • Post the release in the organization’s press room, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter feed, blog and whatever social media platforms they use.

Is there room for improvement? Absolutely! Read through the suggestions in 11 Tips for Making Nonprofit Press Releases Social and Shareable and see which suggestions will work with your organization. Also checkout Marketwire’s Tips for Entering Your Nonprofit into the Social Media Environment and PRWeb’s Nonprofit News Release Services. You’ll find good information and some excellent examples of nonprofit social media releases.

Remember, no matter how social and shareable your release is, be sure that the information is relevant and worthy of distribution and creating positive conversations between your organization and your target markets. And, don’t forget that to have ‘real’ people follow up and respond to queries from the media and bloggers.

Any other suggestions? We’d love to hear from you!

How Nonprofits Can Embrace Social Media to Attract and Engage the Next Generation

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A Guest Post from Richard McMunn, Founder how2become.com

“Although fundraising is the ultimate concern for most nonprofits and charities, the first step to fundraising is awareness and effective communication.”

Social media has pervaded the realm of interaction and communication in such a way, that words like YouTube, Twitter and Facebook have become part of our everyday lives. We now live in a world where social media can enable revolutions, YouTube can turn people into global celebrities overnight, and everyone and their gran has a Facebook account.

Social media has changed the face of networking, communication and advertising and increasingly, non-profits and charities are beginning to use these tools to effectively engage people. Let’s look at some ways in which third sector organizations can use social media tools to appeal to a more media savvy generation that use social media as an intrinsic part of their social lives.  

Understanding the Nature of the Beast

Social media can help non-profits on a variety of levels. Firstly, social media tools are communications platforms, and very dynamic and interactive ones at that. The first way in which non-profits can leverage the power of social media is to communicate their cause and their work to a large audience. Although fundraising is the ultimate concern for most non-profits and charities, the first step to fundraising is awareness and effective communication.

Different social media sites have different strengths. To give you an example, YouTube is predominantly an audio visual platform, and could be used to promote such content, and engage people in that way. The content and presentation can be designed to suit a specific audience.

For instance, as a non-profit we can aim to engage with a younger audience by targeted communication through videos, and other media. Facebook can be used to build a campaign, connect to people and connect people with each other, and to spread a message quickly.

Investing in Existing Supporters

Many organizations simply look at social media as a platform for incessant advertising and marketing. But we live in the age of increasing information overload, and it is becoming more and more difficult to get people’s attention. The fact is that impersonal advertising messages are far less effective than endorsement from someone you know and trust.

The beauty of social media lies in the fact that it allows people the power of reach. People who already support a charity or a particular cause and believe in it, have the power to create more awareness and help gain more support. As such, existing supporters of non-profits can play a pivotal role in fundraising and networking in this environment dominated by social media. Social media allows them to share their convictions and views with their own networks and give the cause the kind of impetus that was near impossible before.

In order to leverage the real power of social media, nonprofits must recognize this potential and invest in their existing supporters by providing them with essential tools and material to communicate the right message.

 Keeping Up-to-date with Changing Trends

Younger people have grown up with the internet as an integral part of their lives. Statistical research on social media usage in 2012 shows that over 95% of 18 – 24’s in the UK have a Facebook account; over 89% of the same age group actively use YouTube, with other social media sites like Twitter and Foursquare in close tow. It is possible to find detailed statistics of different platforms, users and demographics. To use social media sites successfully, it is important to understand the audience, and to use the right platform for engagement.

 Statistics also show that non-profits have increasingly begun to use social media for communication and engagement. In fact, the last year saw many charities and nonprofit organizations, both large and small, use social media for communication and fundraising campaigns. As the volume of advertising and communication on social media sites increases, non-profits will need to stay up-to-date with evolving trends in communication in order to optimize the contemporary media tools at their disposal.

Editor’s note: Richard McMunn, is the founder and director of the UK’s leading career website how2become.com.