Critiquing Social Media Advice

Second in my series Inside the Professional Social Media Certificate Course at Sonoma State University. Visit http://www.sonoma.edu/exed/psm for information.

The world of social media advice is rife with bad science, link bait and self-serving "news”. The recent report from Princeton researchers showing how Facebook will lose users and comparing user adoption to the spread of infectious diseases, is one example that was then refuted by Facebook itself, among others – see this BBC article – Facebook Turns 10 but are its Days Numbered?

Some advice includes useful information, commentary and opinions but unfortunately there are many sources with information that may be less accurate. Knowing how to examine the information you find about social media is an important skill. Here are some things to consider and some leads on trusted sources.

Case In Point

In class recently we discussed this video about how Facebook’s business plan will backfire:

 

One of the points made in the video is about how Facebook filters posts so we don’t really see everything that our friends or others we follow are posting. We see a filtered view controlled by Facebook. Some students completely agreed with the assessment. Some shared that it made them angry or frustrated with Facebook. One student noticed that when she opened Facebook on her laptop, smartphone and tablet, all three feeds were different. Another talked about running into to a friend who said “I like seeing your posts” but then realized she never saw her friends posts. She likened this to sending physical mail “If I put something in the mailbox to another person I expect it to get there. This is like putting something in the mail and it never arrives”.

Hardly anyone questioned the presenter in the video, though someone mentioned he was “slick”. Instructor Merith Weisman pointed out that, as described in the video, he gets money from YouTube based on views and advertising sales. This might entice him to produce content that is more sensational than fact-based, more opinion than research, more fiction than fact. Or is it?

Consider the Source

Most publishers of information have a goal. Often times the goal is to get traffic to their site, so they can sell space to advertisers and make a profit on your attention. Sometimes the goal is less obvious, as was the case with a recent article on a worldwide “wine shortage” which turned out to have as its source an investment firm with a self-interest in getting people to invest in the wine industry. Sometimes it is self promotion or simply ego that makes people present information that is sensational or merely hype.

Examine the Content

Actively examining what you are consuming with a critical eye and reflect on the content. Is this a trusted source? What does the author have to loose or gain? Might the content be self serving? Where do I disagree with assertions?

Reflecting on what you just consumed is equally important – does the information make good sense to me? Do I follow the logic or do I see faulty logic? Can I really swallow that user adoption of a social media tool mimics how infectious diseases spread? It usually helps me to write down some main points or to imagine having to relay the information to someone else to see if it makes sense upon repetition.

Social Media Magnifying glass ePublicist(Flickr photo: ePublicist)

Trusted Sources

There are publishers who are widely regarded as providing accurate and unbiased information. Among these sources are The Pew Center’s Internet and American Life Project and McKinsey & Company. This article lists both the twenty five most popular mainstream and industry media sources for digital marketers.

But remember that popular doesn’t always mean useful, accurate or unbiased. Thinking critically about the content you consume about social media makes for a smart and savvy consumer.

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Inside the Professional Social Media Certificate Program

This week we welcomed the inaugural group of students to the Professional Social Media Certificate Program at Sonoma State University. The class sold out at 30 students and there is a waiting list for the fall session.

SSUPSMfaculty

I am part of an outstanding team of five instructors, pictured above. They are (left to right) Merith Weisman, MA, the Community Engagement & Social Media Coordinator at Sonoma State University who has brought the program to life; Pamela Van Halsema, MLIS, the Dean’s Coordinator and Strategist at Sonoma State University School of Education; myself John Kenyon; Emily Acosta Lewis, Assistant Professor of Communication Studies for The School of Arts and Humanities at Sonoma State University; and Kerry Rego of Kerry Rego Consulting, a prominent social media consultant, trainer and author.

Over the next twelve weeks, the course covers six modules –
1. The Power of Community, Introduction to Professional Social Media
2. Exploring Social Media: Essential Channels
3. Diving Deeper: Additional Channels, Visuals and Mobile
4. Social Media Strategy
5. Metrics and Measurement
6. Capstone Project

Sonoma SUI’m teaching the fifth module on metrics and measurement, but I plan to attend most weeks sessions and I’ll be sharing interesting discussions and questions as they come up.

The first class focused on introductions, administration, reviewing the course, sharing strategies for dealing with the overwhelm that social media can bring, discussions on the benefits of social media and the importance of listening. If your organization is looking to find where to start with social media, listening is usually the best place to start. Listen to conversations about your organization, your area of focus, your competitors and to respected people in your field, to understand what kinds of relevant conversations exist.

The students vary widely in their backgrounds and include former journalists, a newspaper section editor, a recruiter for a technology company, the vice presidents of marketing at a regional Sonoma county bank, the marketing directors from an architecture firm, a prominent regional entertainment venue and a small retail shoe store chain, current Sonoma State University undergraduates, a communications/pr firm director, a member association director, a youth scholarship program manger, an employee of the city of Santa Rosa, some other regional nonprofits and several launchers of new projects.

There will be some rich discussions and interesting ideas from this varied group which I look forward to sharing as we progress through the coming weeks. You can also follow the conversations on Twitter where the hashtag will be #SSUPSM.

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Lessons From Two Weeks Without Social Media

I learned a lot from taking time off of social media the first time I did it over the 2013 holidays. I took a two week break from all social media – posting, reading, tracking, all of it. The first few days I slipped a couple of times out of habit, but I soon caught myself and after that I was “clean”. I learned some lessons about how I view social media, how I use it and how important it is to my “success”.

Since then I have taken two-week breaks from social media twice a year and worked to expand my break to four weeks over the holidays. While I have experienced FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), I have never actually missed anything important or regretted taking a break. I use Facebook less and less as I do most social media apart from YouTube and LinkedIn.

While I think it is vital for nonprofits and professionals to be engaged with social media in ways appropriate to them, I think it is important to understand what is actually gained – or not – from our time spent on social networks.

1. Taking Time for Thoughtful Writing is Rewarding

Social media dimsum The Daring LibrarianUnlike posting or tweeting on social media where I’m trying to be concise, punchy and grab attention, writing longer, more thoughtful pieces provides a chance to organize my thoughts, express myself more accurately and delve deeper into the subject matter. Creating quick, short social media posts shifted my standard for how long it should take to write something. I often became frustrated by the fact that, no matter how much I try to finish a blog post quickly, it never seems to take less than two hours to write, edit, gather images, gather links, insert links, insert images, copy edit and then post it. By getting out of the “do it quick and concise” mindset and freeing up time I usually would spend on social media, I found myself much less frustrated. I now accept the fact that for me, two hours is how long it takes to produce a blog post. It is neither too long or too short, it is just what it is for me. I find the finished product more rewarding and I think it is more valuable in the long run.

2. I Didn’t Miss Much

I found that I missed no piece of information vital to my survival or happiness. All of the noise about what former classmates, colleagues and acquaintances did, saw, heard, ate or thought that day was actually not missed by me at all. It reminded me that my brain can only take in so much information before it gets overloaded, needs to pause, absorb, reflect and then clear out room for more. It reminds me of the metaphor about pouring water into a glass for someone to drink – you must stop and let them take a drink. I realize that I can unconsciously overload on information when I think I am just casually perusing social media feeds.

3. Influence Trackers are False Indicators of Success

Each one of us must define success for ourselves. Services like Klout and social media analytics serve up what they see as our social media “success” or lack thereof, but it is often quite misleading. I find influence is not a useful metric for me, nor is obsessing about how many freinds or followers or comments I get. I am not trying to influence people to think how I think or to necessarily share my opinions. At most, professionally, I try to share my experiences and hope others can benefit.

Comparing my “scores” to others is not a reflection of what real success looks like to me. It is so easy to compare yourself to folks with more everything and find yourself wanting, when in fact you are doing a great job and don’t need an algorithm to tell you otherwise.

Social media treadmill Intersection Consulting
4. Time for Reflection is More Valuable than Time Consuming Information

The treadmill of social media can be relentless. Making decision after decision and taking action after action without reflection leaves practically no room for improvement. I find my best insights, ideas and understanding comes in moments of quiet reflection. But in the always-on, constantly “might miss something” culture that social media fosters, time for reflection is made to feel like time wasted, when in fact it is the opposite. I know many folks who admit to using Facebook and other social media channels to procrastinate and otherwise waste time. Little useful information is gained, but the brain gets filled up from the input, making it hard for the information that is useful to get through. As Frank Lloyd Wright said of television, I find social media is often no more than “chewing gum for the eyes”. I realize I need to curb the amount of time consuming information and increase the time for reflecting on actions I have taken, decisions I need to make and things I have learned.

5. Tools Don’t Want You to Take a Break

Most popular social media tools like Facebook and Twitter get their money from our attention. If we pay less attention, they make less money, so naturally they don’t want us to stop paying attention, even if it is in our best interest. For example I found Facebook to be aggressive. After less than a week of not signing into my account, I began getting notices of “pending notifications” from Facebook. This notices continued until I signed back in. I find the tone almost scolding, playing into the whole “you may have missed something important” fear. While I may have missed some interesting things that folks in my network posted, there is a big difference between interesting and important. Did I actually miss something important? No I didn’t.

Reflections

Based on these lessons learned, I now consume less, write more, share less so I don’t add to just noise, reflect more, define success for myself and not let it be defined externally. I spend less time on social media, even setting up personal limits as to times of day and days per week I will engage with those networks.

I get very little actual consulting business through social media – most comes through referrals over email or word of mouth – so the actual income benefit from social media is quite small. I continue to put my efforts more into those activities that produce results I desire, whether that is related to income for my business or personal fulfillment.

I plan to spend more time on building relationships in person, either on the phone or face to face. I am very happy with the results of my social media vacations and highly recommend it to others who may feel overwhelmed, out of balance or simply over it.

 

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Seven Ways of Using Technology for Teaching Adults

I attended the Teacher Technology Showcase put on by the School of Education at Sonoma State University in the fall of 2013 (for info, see http://facebook.com/ssusoe and http://twitter.com/educationssu ). I learned so much from talking with teachers and students about different ways technology is being incorporated into learning. While aimed at K-12, I found seven things that I look forward to incorporating into future education sessions. Since I primarily teach nonprofit staff about technology, I found these especially useful and relevant:

1. The Exploded Classroom

Forget flipping the classroom, Northwest Prep Charter School explodes it by putting the student at the center of a project-based learning model, giving them self-paced assignments they follow and then post their resulting work in an online space. The student body gathers and works on projects individually and in teams, with all the teachers in the space to provide assistance, rather than the one teacher/one topic/one class model. Adopting this for adult learners could lead to wiping away the decades-old uninspired lecture model. http://www.northwestprep.org/

Northwest Prep Charter School

 

2. Technology Coaches

Some school districts who have the resources employee technology coaches to support teachers to integrate and experiment with technology in their learning models. What a great thing it would be if networks of nonprofits, funders or other organizations provided technology coaches not only to assist staff but to act as hubs for gathering and sharing stories. These come from a school in the town of Kentfield in Northern California. Academic tools list for Kentfield teachers:
https://sites.google.com/a/kentfieldschools.org/technology-resources-for-kentfield-teachers/Academic-Tools

3. Twitter for Transparency

I met an awesome first grade teacher, Mike, who uses twitter to share out what students are working on, discussions they are having, etc. not only to help parents keep up to date but for his principal and superintendent to know what he is doing in his class. A great way for nonprofit programs to share with stakeholders or other programs to spread excellent practices. Twitter teacher resources (also from the Kentfield school):
https://sites.google.com/a/kentfieldschools.org/technology-resources-for-kentfield-teachers/Academic-Tools/twitter

4. Stories of Excellence

Edutopia, already one of my favorite resources for educators, does research into schools and programs getting excellent results. They investigate and create video and other media to share these stories and help improve educational models. Relevant topic include High-Impact Professional Development and there Power of Collaborative Learning. http://www.edutopia.org/schools-that-work

Edutopia

 

5. Voicethread

From discussions about using blogging as a reflective practice to helping teacher trainers give voice to their stories, ( see http://voicethread.com/about/library/Language_from_Carla_Arena/ ) Voicethread provides a way to enhance discussions in collaborative learning environments. It provides a "virtual seminar table" for discussions of material. http://voicethread.com/

6. KQED Education’s Digital Tools

While I knew the KQED Education site was a great resource, I was exceited to learn about the Digital Tools section This part of the website provides helpful “how to’s” on topics from “How to Make a Zeega” to “How to Make a Meme” to “How to Make a Prezi”. Good stuff for any of us teaching about using technology tools. http://blogs.kqed.org/education/category/tools/

7. The Maker Mindset and Movement

Bringing tinkering into the educational space sparks creativity and imagination no matter what the age of the student. Taking things apart, understanding how they work, how things work together all of these can open up understanding in unique ways. From a low barrier to entry to being accessible to everyone to learning from failure and more, tinkering can be a powerful learning too. One makers video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VXgL6TiXJjs&feature=youtu.be. More resources: http://www.makered.org/

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Why AmazonSmile Doesn’t Turn My Frown Upside Down 🙁

The AmazonSmile program, where a small percentage of sales is given to a designated nonprofit, is a nice sentiment but will likely prove a net loss for most participating nonprofit organizations.

The sentiment is admirable – provide exposure to nonprofits on the popular shopping site and donate a portion of sales to worthy causes. Unfortunately, for years I have seen nonprofits waste time, energy and hope on similar online charity malls, where supporters must shop through a certain website that then gives portions of proceeds to participating organizations. My issues with them – and with AmazonSmile – are that they are not very generous, they only benefit nonprofits with a large supporter base and they usually have a negative overall ROI for organizations that participate.

How It Works

AmazonSmileI had been shopping on Amazon recently and did not notice anything about AmazonSmile until Beth Kanter mentioned it on Facebook. As you see, at smile.amazon.com you can choose a charity. That charity then gets a donation based on how much I spend while shopping.

$5 of every $1000

Through Amazon Smile, .5% of a shoppers total purchase is donated to a designated nonprofit. That means I would have to spend $1000 to generate a $5 donation. While I like to think I”m generous, I don’ t plan on spending anywhere near $1000 for gifts and no matter what I spend, the resulting donation amount is not as generous as I would like to see. Considering the amount of profit that the company makes on each purchase, .5% seems like less than a pittance.

Rather than an altruistic gesture, it comes off feeling more like the classic baiting technique used by retailers for years. Sales, “Buy one, get one free” or “Free gift with purchase” promotions all work on the principal that once they get you into their shopping environment with the bait, you will not just buy the sale item but will spend much more than the retailer loses through the promotion.

AmazonSmile DoSomethingDespite being positioned as a donation, since this is actually a purchase, donors don’t get the tax benefit. A read through the “About Amazon Smile” section reveals that “Donations are made by the AmazonSmile Foundation and are not tax deductible by you.“

Advantage: Goliath

In order for this promotion to generate any serious dollars, organizations need many supporters spending thousands of dollars. It is doubtful that any but the top nonprofit brands will be able to do this. Whether large in size or in name recognition like American Red Cross or DoSomething.org, the advantage will go to the larger and more well known brands rather than smaller, less well known nonprofits. I have nothing against the better known brands, I just see the Smile program as doing little to mitigate their advantages.

This is akin to the controversy over Popularity Contest Philanthropy that arose in 2010 around contests by Pepsi, Chase Community Giving and others.  See also this interesting study that mentions the costs vs. benefits of one such campaign.

AmazonSmile SebastopolI saw only large national brands like Nature Conservancy and charity:water on the main page, so I did a search for my small town in Northern California to see if any local agencies were listed. While local nonprofits came up in the search, it says Amazon will contact them to see if they want to participate.

Seems like a way to get customers to provide Amazon with an excuse to contact nonprofits to enlist the organizations help in promoting Amazon, with little return on their effort.

Negative ROI

Many charity malls have required that nonprofit staff spend considerable time setting up the system, marketing and promoting their participation. To be fair, the reports I have heard say that it is easy to sign up to participate in AmazonSmile. But the resources used to sign up is only part of the equation.

If an organization decides to promote their participation, time is spent in writing up and distributing the message. If on average a staff person spends 2 hours in setup, promotion and data management and if that person is paid $20 per hour, there is $40 in investment. Supporters would need to spend $8000 to generate the $40 donation needed to break even. I think there are other intangible costs as well including diluting the year-end fundraising message of the organization and the disappointment that comes with the realization that the effort did not pay for itself.

On a more global level, one could argue that using Amazon results in a net loss for the planet that is not offset by the donations generated. Greenpeace has criticized Amazon, among others, for “heavy use of coal-derived power for their massive data centers.” Using Amazon instead of shopping locally does not support your local small business community and likely results in your purchase having a larger carbon footprint because of the delivery. Convenient, yes, but conscientious? Not so much.

I agree that there is a public relations value to participating organizations in having Amazon reminding shoppers about those worthy nonprofits. I also think Amazon benefits by way of association much more than they pay out in donations.

Solutions

From my point of view, a more equitable way of helping nonprofits would be for Amazon to choose a group of charities – a mix of smaller and medium-sized organizations – to receive donations. They then would distribute 5% of their profits earned from November 15  – December 31st evenly among those organizations. Same net PR gain for Amazon but greater impact on organizations that may be less well-known. Even include some of the big names, as long as there is a more even playing field.

I would welcome having my theory of most organizations losing money be disproved. I look forward to hearing from participating organizations to see what their results have been in dollars gained vs. effort spent. I hope I’m wrong and it is a financial boon to most, but I doubt that will be the case for all but the largest, most well known organizations. Hence the frown :(.

Update 01/15: Even with my reservations about the program, I have continued to use Amazon Smile when I shop there. I do like that they continue to run the program year-round and not have it just running during the holiday.

I did hear from a nonprofit professional, Sandy Masuo of the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association, who agreed about the downsides, and shared what I think is an excellent point – “The nonprofit I work for recently signed onto this program, and I’m trying to figure out a way to make $5 on every $1,000 seem inspiring to the many middle class families who are (our) members :-/”.

Update 11/18: Amazon has made some reporting improvements to the program but is still not completely transparent as many people would like to see them. Foundations have ways to improve their transparency through programs like Glass Pockets.

As I imagine Amazon hoped, nonprofits who are desperate for adequate funding have slapped the Amazon (Smile) logo onto many of their websites, effectively giving Amazon free advertising, whether any donations come in or not. That free advertising, plus the fact that folks often spend more money when they think it will help a good cause, has made Amazon much more money than they have or will ever give back.

Amazon continues, in my opinion, to use nonprofits so they can increase their profits, not for any social good they are committed to promoting.

I remain hopeful that Amazon will find better ways to use their resources to intelligently support the nonprofits in our global community.

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What Can Google Teach Nonprofits About Direct Mail?

While Google is king of online advertising revenue, it still uses direct mail for a very good reason. Direct mail is still relevant and still gets results. GoogleMail1edited

I had several emails from Google over the summer about this special offer regarding a free ad credit if I spent money advertising my business through them online. I received my first piece of direct mail from Google in August. 

I received another in late September and then, below, you can see the post card I recently received reminding me of their offer of free ad credit if I spend $50. While I am a long time advocate of online giving and communications, print still plays an important role.

Customized

An important thing to notice is how the first piece is customized. It calls me by name, it mentions the town I live in twice. Nonprofits would do well to follow this example. The days of “Dear Friend, Thank you for your recent gift” are over. Addressing a donor in this old manner makes them feel like one of a large faceless group you are addressing, not an important contributor to your organization’s success. Through mail merges for print and data exports for emails, it is easy to change such generic greeting to one that is more personal, i.e., “Dear John, Thank you for gift of $250 on November 7th”. That helps the recipient feel that you are noticing the details of their support and acknowledging them in a specific way, not in a generic “one greeting fits all” way.

Print vs. Electronic

I’ve heard from some nonprofits that they have cut out their print newsletters in favor of electronic newsletters. I understand that moving to an e-newsletter saves money. For most organizations it costs around $2.00 to send a piece of direct mail and about 20 cents to send an email. However this decision does not incorporate the opinions of the recipients, who are the reason these communications exist in the first place.

A better practice is to encourage subscribers to a print newsletter to sign up for the electronic version – relentlessly. You must continuously ask, prod, cajole and entice subscribers in order to get them to move to a different channel. Even with this effort, you may end up with a group of folks that will not budge and that want your print newsletter. I recommend you respect that choice. You never know when a major donor may be among those who love your print newsletter, will never sign up for the e-newsletter and who you may lose as a supporter if they stop hearing from you via print.

Donations

Online giving continues to grow as a percentage of donations for almost all organizations (see the Network For Good Digital Giving Index). This is good news as more folks become comfortable with giving online, as it is a more cost effective way to accept donations. At the same time, for many organizations the majority of donations still come in through check. I assisted with the Monterey County Gives! project a few years ago and 70% of the donations for that community fundraising effort came in through check, despite a robust website and much encouragement to give online. This is the reality now, so those that are working on growing their individual donor base would do well to use both direct mail and email in their fundraising campaigns.

Google_pcard editedI am an online donor and I know how much more expensive it is for nonprofits to send me a direct mail piece. I especially hate when they send me address labels – who sends letters anymore? But when I ask the nonprofit staff, they report that when they send out those labels, they get a higher response rate and more donations than when they send out a request without them. Of course that has to do with the demographics and age of their donor base, but most money in this country is still given by folks over 60 who have used checks and traditional mail for most of their lives, so it is important to keep them in mind when deciding how to manage your print vs. electronic communications.

Take a tip from Google and ensure you have a coordinated effort across your print and electronic communications. The emails I get from Google about their special offer almost directly match the print pieces they send through the mail. Being coordinated across channels is the best way to ensure your message gets through and folks take the actions you desire.

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Beth Kanter and #TheBethEffect

Beth Kanter has been inspiring me for over a decade, so I am grateful to be hosting an event in her honor online and at the David & Lucile Packard Foundation offices on Tuesday October 29th.

NTC06BethMSteinJKI had heard about Beth's work for several years from nonprofit technology colleagues and seen her work online before meeting her in person at the 2004 Nonprofit Technology Conference in Philadelphia. I sat in on her training session and was captivated not only by her command of the material but her inviting, inclusive way of teaching. Like many people, most of my experiences with trainings had been the "sage on the stage" lecture that was never very entertaining or engaging. Beth's style has always been one that draws you in, invites you to participate actively in your learning and brings her good nature in as well.

NTC09KanterKenyonAt that same 2004 conference Beth gave my confidence a big boost. She attended the first session I had taught at a large national conference (prior to that most of my trainings were given in classrooms with no more than 30 folks from San Francisco Bay Area nonprofits, so this was a big step for me). I still remember after my session, Beth was one of the first folks to come up and she told me what a good job I had done. She especially appreciated my humor in answering some of the audience's questions and encouraged me to include more of that humor in my presentations. Coming from someone I respect and like so much, that encouragement went a long way to giving me confidence to continue focusing on being an educator. Not long after that I was asked to guest lecture at the University of San Francisco for their Masters of Nonprofit Administration degree program, where I later became adjunct faculty.

UKJKBethAbaI have worked with Beth in many ways over the years, co-designing and co-leading workshops, working on committees, writing and consulting. Every time we work together, I learn something that helps me to improve my teaching methods, my writing or my consulting approach. Beth is so generous with her time and materials – as evidenced by her 447 slide presentations available on SlideShare – that there are few people I meet in the nonprofit sector who have not heard of her.

JKBKWalkingDebriefOne of my favorite experiences with her was this year in Australia when we both taught Masterclass sessions before the Connecting Up conference. For the last segment of our classes, we brought the students together to share what they had learned with each other and had a walking debrief from the sessions along the beach boardwalk. So much fun – and educational!

I am grateful that the folks at the Packard Foundation will be honoring Beth next week for the work she has done both with their grantees and internally for the organization, showing the respect and love Beth has earned through her work there.

I hope you can join us for the online hangout and feel free to post reflections, insights or questions for Beth on Twitter using #TheBethEffect hashtag. See the event page and the details on the Google hangout page for more information.

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How Nonprofit Data Is Like Debt

During an online fundraising seminar I was presenting, we were on the topic of email addresses. I always advise folks to pay attention to their email “bounces” – when an email address is found to be bad and your email can’t be delivered. Your bulk email software reports it like this:

DCCKEmailResponse

One of the seminar attendees shared that she had a LOT of data issues in her donor database – duplicates, outdated contact information, etc. All of that data needed cleaning up before she could tackle the bounces in her email database. It was overwhelming, so she was not taking any action. That’s when it occurred to me that ignoring that data was like ignoring debt – it doesn’t get better it just gets worse!

Data issues, like debt, continue to pile up unless tackled head on.

Debt The Eyes of New YorkYou’re busy – and how important is that email bounce data anyway? Well, what if, hidden in that email bounce data is the email address of a major donor – or two? What if that person has not heard from you in weeks or months because they changed their email address and thought they told you? Or better yet, they setup an auto reply in their old email box, but your emails come from a “do not reply” address so that message never came back to you. New or casual email subscribers and online donors can take that as marked disinterest.

If you are not on top of your data you could be harming good relationships with your donors. Online fundraising continues to grow every year and at some point I believe it is destined to overtake giving via direct mail, so paying attention to email addresses is critical.

Your organization can get on top of tasks like reviewing email address bounces. This can be a good task for a volunteer or intern with a little basic training on running searches in your databases. The data on email bounces is pulled from your email system. In your donor or other databases, you then do a search for folks who bounced. First look for an alternative email address – someone may have gotten the new one and just didn’t remove the old one. For those that you don’t have alternative email address, consider creating a postcard you can mass mail to say “We are updating our records and would love to stay in touch – return this postcard, go online or call us today!”. After a month, for those you don’t hear from, you might even call folks whose phone numbers you have. If they say no or don’t return the card, that’s fine, people’s interests change.

Walk away andreasnilsson1976An excellent practice is to keep a spreadsheet with the names of folks that bounced and you did not hear from after the postcard and/or phone call. Review the list of major donors every year or 6 months and compare it to that list. If you find a major donor, you might want to dig around in other files or in your network to see if you have a secondary way to contact that person, saying that “I’d like to keep in touch, feel free to email or call me” and leave it at that.

Don’t let valuable email subscribers and donors walk away feeling forgotten. Mine that data, keep them engaged so they might give another day!

 

(Flickr photos TheEyeofNewYork; andreasnilsson1976)

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Nobody Owes Your Nonprofit Software

At a recent seminar, a member of the audience, a nonprofit staff member, was
visibly angry that "none of the discounted databases on TechSoup come with
free technical support". While I can understand how frustrating it is to
try to learn how to use the mostly non-intuitive database programs out there, I
was struck by the thinking behind that comment. To me, it is like being angry
that a car someone donated to you did not come with free gas and repairs for
life.

Bullshitfree marsmet481Like a car, a database (and most technology for that matter) needs regular
care and maintenance. It requires resources, both human and financial, to
maintain it in good working order. Like a garden, there is planning to ensure
you use your space well and get out of it what you need, weeding to remove
undesirable elements, watering and feeding to provide needed inputs, as well as
appropriate harvesting to glean what you need. All of those tasks require spending
money on human resources to carry them out. It may also require spending
resources on tools, education or consulting. The point is, if you have no
resources to put into managing a database, you will get very little out
of it that is of use.

Hug programmer deviantart 280dgMany software programmers out there donate hundreds if not thousands of
hours to make free and open source software, like CiviCRM, Drupal and many others.
Those folks could be making lots of money working for commercial operations but
instead make less money and contribute to the nonprofit community in some powerful
ways. Providing technology tools that work for nonprofits is a difficult job
that comes with very little tangible reward. As I've heard many well-respected
nonprofit software experts like Robert Weiner and Allen Gunn say, free software
is free like puppies. The puppy might be free initially, but the vet visits,
shots, medicines, food, time spent training and caring for the puppy are all
not free – just as it is with software.

So, if your organization does not have the resources to both acquire and
maintain your database, the problem is not with the software providers and
their lack of free resources. It is the responsibility of every nonprofit to
raise the proper funding to properly maintain the organization, and to me the
lifeblood of an organization is its data and the systems used to manage that
data.

As I have often said, "after people, data is your most important
resource". You'll get out of it what you put into it. If you don’t' have
the resources needed to do a good job of maintaining it in good order, then the
first order of business is raising more or reallocating funds. The more
realistic organizations are about the costs of technology and software, the
more appropriate they fund those tools, the happier they will be with their
tools and the more benefit they will derive from their use.

(Images Flickr: marsmet481, Deviantart: 280dg)

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The Arts and Mobile Marketing

Mobile Report Arts cover_SMI am honored to be featured in a new special report from Musical America Worldwide entittled "Mobile Marketing: The Arts In Motion".

The report includes wonderfully helpful information for performing arts organizations about engaging audiences via mobile, mobile options, vendors and – best of all – case studies of organizations using mobile.

Analytics and Texting

Two of the points I make in the report are about using analytics and being thoughtful about texting.

A review of your website metrics is helpful when building a mobile-friendly site. The analytics can tell you what pages are most popular among those accessing your website via mobile devices. This helps you make sure those pages are included in your website's mobile version.

Being thoughtful about texting is important because mobile is so personal that unwanted texts can feel like an invasion of privacy. Simple announcements, such as tickets going on sale, the release of a season's schedule or a "Save the Date" announcement for special events like fundraisers are some the more appropriate ways I've seen arts organizations using text.

Reports

The report is full of useful advice and examples that every arts organization should see. Thanks to Susan Elliott and Dina Gerdeman for incuding me. The Muscial America Special Reports page also has links to other good reports on fundraising, ticketing and other issues important to arts organizations.

You can read the report in sections online here or download the report here (pdf)

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Interactivity in Technology Training

Effective technology trainings need to be much more than listening to an expert speak, especially when the class runs for 6 hours. There is so much valuable knowledge and experience among the participants, it is important to promote ways to get them out of their seats and help them interact.

SharePairAURecently I presented a Masterclass in Technology Planning for the 2013 Connecting Up conference in Australia. I used several techniques to promote interaction among the participants. The classic is the "share pair" where you have two people pair up to share their thoughts. I like using an active share pair – not just turn to the person next to you and share – but get up, get your feet moving, meet someone new and share with them. I used this several times, once in the beginning when I asked folks to think about 1. What they needed to learn about for their organization and 2. What they personally wanted to learn about. I gave them a few minutes to think and jot down their answers, then had them stand up, find someone at a different table and share. It's wonderful to see the room erupt in conversation when you do this. This also helps folks think about what interests them, rather than just what their job requires, so it adds a nice personal slant to the days learning.

Later in the day, after talking about options for using the Cloud, I had folks share one new way their org might use the cloud. One of participants brought his laptop over to share with two folks how he had moved his infrastructure to the cloud, a wonderfully concrete example from a peer that really opened up their thinking.

MarchellaNameTagMy class was happening simultaneously with Beth Kanter's masterclass (she shares her insights in her Trainers Notebook post here). We used two ideas that Beth has been incorporating for some time in her trainings. The first was to give folks nametags and have them write a word or two about what they would be taking away from the class or and "aha" moment they had. Participant Marchelle McMath, shown here, is an example – she learned about the importance of prioritizing her many tech projects. We then had folks find someone from the other class and share what their name tag meant. We had folks do this three times with three different folks.

WalkingDebriefAUWe then were able to use the tags for a "walking debrief", where folks again found a new partner and we left the hotel, walked along the promenade next to the beach and as they walked they again shared what their takeaways were and heard from the other person what they had learned. It was a great way to cross-pollinate the learnings and for folks to find similarities around areas such as culture change, addressing resistance, and prioritizing. I heard some great conversations happening during the walk – and we had them switch partners half way through to get yet another perspective. Of course we then took a picture of us and our combined classes to share.
JKBKWalkingDebrief

So as you plan your next technology training session, think about ways to get participants moving and sharing their knowledge, their questions and even their struggles – it makes for a much richer experience than sitting and listening to a "sage on the stage".

 

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Training with Beth Kanter: Time for Reflection

KanterKenyonNetNon10Next week Beth Kanter and I are teaching simultaneous master class sessions prior to the Connecting Up conference in Australia, hers on social media and mine on technology planning. I'm very excited that we worked together to find a way to bring the classes together at the end of the day to cross-polinate the learnings from the day and give them some time to reflect.

It is so important to give folks you are teaching time to digest and reflect on the knowledge you are sharing. I know when I began to do a lot of education I felt that I had to spend the majority of the time sharing information – mostly talking with some discussion. What I have learned from Beth and other educators is how important it is to give students time to think about the information you are sharing and how they can apply it.

Exercises where they can apply what they just learned – even in a brief exercise – goes a lot further in helping them digest and really learn the information, which does not happen as well by them just listening and taking notes. By asking folks to share with each other what they have learned and what they plan to do with the information, it not only helps it stick for them, but provides others with reminders of the content and ideas about application.

Whenever you are building an education session, whether online or in person, try not to have just stream of information from you to the students and some discussion. Try to include activities where students can process and act on the information you give them, then time for reflection. I know when I am a student, time to work with the knowledge I'm gaining and reflect on ways to apply it makes the expereince much richer and more valuable.

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Nonprofits and the PICNIC error

PICNIC error – "Problem In Chair Not In Computer" is defined on Wikipedia as "slang in technical circles… that implies a lack of computer savvy on the part of a user". While critics of the term argue that the issue actually arises from systems not designed intuitively, there is another issue common in nonprofits that contributes to it as well – lack of technology training.

NTENITRptThe latest NTEN Nonprofit Technology Staffing and Investments Report includes data on this issue. Of the many interesting findings in the report, one is that responses "indicate
that nonprofits feel relatively
confident that they have the tools to
do their every-day work, but are less
confident about having enough
skilled staff or training to effectively
use their technology for their work."

Adequate training and support are key to getting more "bang" for your technology "buck". Staff wasting effort trying to create reports that could be done easily if they had the training are just one example I have run across many times in my nonprofit technology career.

This issue also relates to examining work processes. Why do 6 of the 8 staff in an organization need to enter data from a donation in 8 different places? Ususally because the organization has not stopped to look at their business processes. How many times have I heard "We've always done it this way" or "That was how the person before me taught me how to do it". Spending some time making sure you have the best process in place can free up time best spent elsewhere. Applying technology to a bad process usually results in a slightly faster bad process, not the significant increase in efficiency that creating intelligent processes can have.

Nonprofits have limited resources to spend on technology. Two of the best ways to improve your return on investment are:

1. Invest in regular technology training that helps you use the tools in efficient and effective ways

2. Examine business processes and do your best to eliminate inefficiencies

There are lots of resources for good training on nonprofit technology. Once you identify what the needs are, search through the offeriengs of NTEN, TechSoup Global, Idealware and the many other online (and local!) resources to help you make better use of your technology dollar. GIYF (Googling is Your Friend)!

So let's not be quick to blame the person in the chair for the error, when some training could go a long way to reducing those errors. Build those skills and everyone benefits.

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Online Data Privacy

Online data privacy is an issue for anyone who puts personal information online. This includes posts to Facebook, email, docs or anything stored in the cloud. Ever since I had the pleasure of doing a presentation about online engagement for the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse I have been more aware of the issues facing nonprofits when it comes to protecting their data online.

I very much like this report from the Electronic Frontier Foundation that rates various companies on how well they do protecting user privacy. If your nonprofit uses on of these services to store data, you should be aware of how much (or how little) that company does to protect your privacy.

EFF Online Data Protection

I urge nonprofits to protect their data in smart ways. If you have sensitive data or are working on poltical change, it might not be a good idea to store that information online. Always keep a backup of your online data in your hands in case the internet goes down, or in case the service provider goes down or out of business.

If you are looking for more information, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse has a nice section of resources about online privacy and Electronic Frontier Foundation has great information as well.

Go forth and stay safe online!

 

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Top Five Benefits of Having a Technology Plan

Whenever I began a new technology consulting project with a nonprofit, one of the first questions I ask is “Do you have a tech plan?” That’s because a good plan is the foundation of being strategic and successful with technology.

Here are five top benefits I have seen organizations reap from technology planning.

1. Effort CoordinationTechnology Planning Roadmap description

You wouldn’t send your staff out to execute on your mission without a plan, so why approach technology – which practically everyone uses in their job – without a plan? Like a lighthouse in a storm, a good plan helps you steer your efforts and helps you avoid the rocky shores of uncertainty.

2. Saving Resources

Technology can be expensive and confusing. Quick fixes and short-sighted “band-aids” lead to spending much more than is necessary. Without a plan that helps to keep your efforts focused, your organization is being inefficient in your use of resources spent managing technology.

3. Increased Effectiveness

By being thoughtful about how they use technology, I have seen organizations increase the number of people they serve by 20% with the same resources. Planning helps identify and reduce inefficiencies. When staff have the right tools for their job, they are more effective in everything they do.

Two paths and bike handles Flickr photo Alternatives by Daniel Oines

Flickr photo Alternatives by Daniel Oines

4. Better Decisions

Having a technology plan as a solid foundation leads to making more thoughtful, strategic decisions.  Every nonprofit I have worked with on creating a technology plan has seen an improvement not only in technology use but in data management. It often takes the form of reducing the data “noise” that staff and management deal with, focusing on what data is really useful. This in turn improves their ability to make sound decisions based on data.

5.  More Funding

A good plan connects your mission with your use of technology. For example, if a funder is interested in increasing the availability of mental health services in your community, you can show how funding your technology project will help achieve that goal. It also provides a basis for showing other funders what your technology costs are for projects they fund.

No matter what their age, experience or comfort level with technology, people from organizations of all sizes and types reap these benefits. They are often surprised when I tell them that they already know 80% of what they need to know to be effective in technology planning, because they know their organization’s culture, history, processes and environment.

Completing a technology planning process boost the results you get from your investments in technology. I guide organizations through a technology planning process that can – and often does – transform those organizations. After all, who doesn’t want to be more effective, efficient and better stewards of resources?

 

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Ten Nonprofit Technology “Commandments”


Systems IntegrationThe choices you make about technology can make or break your organization. The time for making guesses about your technology choices is over. There are two different paths our sector – and your organization specifically – can choose. One leads to effective technology use, the other does not. Let’s look at what actions organizations can take to use technology effectively. It actually has much more to do with your data than with technology tools.

For nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations, the most important asset in fulfilling their missions, besides their people, is their information. Data is important because organizations use it in everything they do from making a phone call or writing a letter to requesting funding. As the volume of available data grows, locating useful information becomes increasingly difficult. The advantage is going to those organizations who can collect, organize, process and act on that useful information. Working with large volumes of information intelligently requires technology tools that are appropriate for your needs. The increasing volume and importance of information makes Information Technology essential to helping good causes succeed.

What is ”using technology effectively”?

Technology is not an end in itself. Simply having a database, a network and a technology budget does not mean you are using technology effectively. Truly effective use of technology means something different for every organization – only you can say what it means for your organization. The activities detailed below make up a good part of the road to effective use of technology. On the road you will examine what you do, how and even why. You will identify and correct your mistakes and build on your successes.

This is a complex issue, so get help from an expert if there is not one in your organization. There is no substitute for a person who knows how technology tools are being used in nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations. Make sure you have a nonprofit-focused technologist included in all discussions about your data and tools. When someone understands what you want to accomplish and how you plan to accomplish it, they can then suggest tools to help you act faster or more effectively. In technology staff and consultants, our community has a wonderful resource to help them benefit from tools that use technology – take advantage of that.

Here are 10 truths for organizations who want to make effective use of technology tools.

 

After people, Data is Your Most Important Resource

Act accordingly in planning and allocating resources. For most organizations, staff salaries are the largest budget item. Is Data the second largest? Too infrequently.

Your Results Depend on Your Investment in Data

Dedicate staff time to collecting, maintaining and understanding it. Spend money on finding the right tools for you. The minimum spent on technology tools will get you the minimum impact.

Define and Know Your Data Needs and Uses

Define the data that your organization needs to fulfill its mission. Know where to get the data and specifically which pieces of data are important to you.

Seek out Data and Keep it Flowing

Actively seek out data that could help you succeed – include data on clients, funders, members, donors and employees. Make a concerted, ongoing effort to keep data flowing into your organization and to maintaining that data.

Define Your Needs in Detail BEFORE tool selection

Define and create the best system you can to hold and manipulate your data. DO NOT grab the first tool or software that looks good. Measure twice and cut once goes double – no triple – for technology. If you have tools, regularly review new options.

Honestly Look at Your Information Systems

Take an honest, detailed look at how your systems do – and do not – work. Look at human systems, data systems and communication systems. It is difficult for you to be objective about your organization’s problems, so get an independent opinion – and listen to it.

Maintain Commitment of Board and Staff

Get agreement from staff, management and the board to make an ongoing commitment of resources to improve operations.

Have an Ongoing Conversation about Data

Have an ongoing discussion in the organization about the best ways to use your data, and what you can learn from it. This can be between the ED and the Program manager, or it could be a six-member committee of staff from throughout the organization.

Keep in Touch with Other Organizations

Keep in regular contact with other organizations and the nonprofit technology community in order to keep up to date with tools and solutions. There is no substitute for advice from experience. Seek out organizations of a similar size and mission and share challenges. Don’t continue working in isolation or ignorance.

Knowledge Eases Fear – Gather and Share Knowledge

Identify and confront techno-phobia in all its forms. No matter if it’s the ED, the development director or the administrative assistant – you need everyone pulling in the same direction, not at opposite ends. If you are that person, remember that the cure for fear is knowledge – seek it out.

Since data is essential to the life and success of every nonprofit organization, and the best way to manage data is with tools that use technology, then information technology should be the second most important thing to every organization – and very funder!

 

This article was first written in 2003 for NTEN. It has had slight revisions to improve clarity, but even after all these years, I believe the ten ideas remain relevant.

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The Networked Nonprofit Consultant

CVNL On January 12th I will be presenting on the topic "Social Media for Consultants" to the Nonprofit Consultants Network at the Center for Volunteer and Nonprofit Management in San Rafael, CA (if you are a consultant to nonprofits in the SF Bay Area I strongly encourage you to check it out – CVNL's Peer Affinity Groups).

Networked Nonprofit As a huge fan of Beth Kanter and Allison Fine's The Networked Nonprofit book, it has been interesting to look through that lens and see how it applies to consultants. Consultants usually don't fundraise for themselves and they are are not trying to engage supporters in the way most nonprofits do. In my experience, as a consultant I focus on keeping my skills up to date, networking, finding prospects/clients and managing my reputation. I think that is true for most consultants.

So how do The Networked Nonprofit principles translate for consultants? Some of the things that resonated with me from the book are:

Sharing Ideas – prospective clients and colleagues need to know what I am thinking about, working on and what types of advice I give to have confidence in hiring/recommending me. The old model of consulting seemed to be to not give anything away without compensation, but I think it is important to give people a taste of my skills and knowledge for free.  Social media allows me to easily share tips and thoughts, both my own and those of others I admire (like Beth , Allison and many others).

Relationship Building as Core Responsibility – Everyone I come into contact with online is a potential referrer if not client or colleague. An important component of building relationships is acknowledging, appreciating and thanking people who mention me, quote me, thank me or give me props. It takes 15 seconds to say "Thank You!" I also try to be sure to share/retweet what others post if I think it is of value to those that follow me.

The Right Metrics – Just as tracking online metrics is important to a nonprofit, it is important for me as a consultant to track which channels and content work best for me. Looking back on my website stats for 2010, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are in the top ten of sites referring traffic. This also means seeing what Facebook posts get the most comments/likes and what tweets get retweeted the most.

Some of the other concepts they discuss also have relevance for consultants online presence, like "Listen First, Engage Second", "Content has a Social Life" and "Small Pilots – Learn, Reiterate".

Though consultants may have different aims online, may of the same excellent practices and habits that are effective for nonprofits work equally well for consultants.

 

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Ten Principles for Nonprofit Technology Professionals

In 2008 I led a discussion through an NTEN Affinity Group to craft a code of conduct that nonprofit technology providers could agree upon. This was based on work that Marc Osten had done to articulate a set of principles for the UK circuit rider movement with help from Beth Kanter and Michelle Murrain. 

As a follow-up, at the 2011 Nonprofit Technology Conference I facilitated a discussion about what might be done to find common ground among #nptech providers. While never officially adopted by NTEN or other organizations, they stand the test of time

We hope that these are principles that nonprofit technology service providers, consultants and vendors can all agree upon.

 

NonProfit Technology Professional’s Principles

We, as technology professionals serving nonprofit organizations, pledge to:

  1. Do no intentional harm to data or devices containing data 
  2. Appreciate, respect and adapt our approaches to an organization’s culture, mission, context and resources 
  3. Focus on solutions appropriate in both the short and long term
  4. Explain technology strategies and tools using clear, non-technical language
  5. Understand and communicate relevant excellent practices as well as legal and technical requirements related to our work
  6. Engage in continuous learning to maintain our skills and knowledge
  7. Regularly participate in – and share knowledge with – our nptech community
  8. Maintain ethical practices and declare any conflicts of interest
  9. Provide recommendations and not directives, communicating the reasoning behind recommendations, ensuring decisions are always the clients
  10. Be transparent about pricing for products, services and any project costs

 

Additional history:

On March 13 of 2008, the following message was sent out to all relevant nonprofit technology related listservs, online bulletin boards and affinity groups, showing the supporters of the initiative.

Dear Colleagues,

Imagine our U.S. community of nonprofit technology professionals – staff, consultants, vendors, support organizations and others – having a set of principles to guide our work and let other communities know us better.

Most groups of professionals have principals or codes of conduct that their members agree to abide by –  nonprofit technology professionals (NTPs) in the USA being a notable exception. We would like to facilitate our community generating and agreeing to a set of principles/ code of conduct. The UK Circuit Riders have already articulated and presented a set of principles appropriate for them, that many have signed on to follow. Now we think it’s our turn.

We are presenting a draft set of principles as a starting point for discussion. NTEN has agreed to host the discussion through an online affinity group. Over the next 90 days, we ask all of you to review the draft, comment, contribute and discuss (see process schedule below).

At the end of ninety days we will put all of the feedback and discussion together into a set of principles built by the community. We will then encourage all nonprofit technology professionals to sign on to the principles and abide by them.

We are looking for basic principles applicable to the broadest range of nonprofit technology professionals – staff, consultants, vendors, professors and others who identify with our community.

Sign up for the discussion forum where you can view the initial draft, read more about the why? and how?, comment and discuss.

We look forward to the conversation – including in-person discussion and input at NTC – and we will contact this list again when the final draft is ready.

We hope you will  join us in taking another step to professionalizing what we love to do,

Beth Kanter, John Kenyon, Michelle Murrain, Marc Osten

Process Supporters (organizations for identification purposes only):

Peter Campbell, Earthjustice & TechCafeteria

Teresa Crawford,  Director Advocacy and Leadership Center, Institute for Sustainable Communities

Jeff Forster, Robert Morris University, Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management

David Geilhufe, Philanthropy Program Manager at NetSuite

Dave Greenberg, CiviCRM

Mary Gross, Director of InfoTAP, a program of Nonprofit Management Solutions

Allen Gunn, Aspiration Tech

Cheryl Hanback, Web & Graphic Design

Phil Klein, Pen & Pixel

Eric Leland, Leland Design

Sheldon Mains, Nonprofit Tech Consultant

Ryan Ozimek, PICnet

Laura Quinn, Idealware

Jon Stahl, ONE/NW

Michael Stein, Internet & Media Strategist

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Most Popular Websites & Why Nonprofits Should Care

It's important for nonprofits to know which websites on the internet have the most traffic. It helps them understand where people are online so they can be sure they are participating on the most popular sites.

Alexacom I am a fan of Alexa.com®, the web information company that ranks websites with the most traffic by country and by category as well as providing data on audiences. While the data you collect on your stakeholders online behavior, through website, email and other analytics is the most important, the data about activity on the greater web helps steer your online strategy.

As sites decline in popularity (as MySpace® seems to be doing, though it still has a lot of traffic) nonprofits may want to think about putting less effort into those channels. This of course depends on your website traffic statistics – if MySpace® continues to be one of the top 20 referrers of traffic to your site you likely want to maintain your presence there. If not, you may want to reduce the resources you expend on maintaining a presence on that channel. I recommend you check out this ranking once a quarter, just to see what sites are rising/falling in popularity.

For example, Twitter has moved from #9 to #7 in the past month. YouTube is now the #2 search engine on the internet after Google and visitors average almost 20 minutes when they visit. Are you on YouTube? Getting familiar with Twitter? You likely should consider it.

Besides statistics by country, you can look at the statistics by category. Under the heading "Society" there are listings for Activism, Philanthropy, LGBT, Issues and more. Under Philanthropy, the top 6 sites are:

1. Care2.com

2. The Animal Rescue Site

3. Caring Bridge

4. The Hunger Site

5. Food and Agriculture Organization

6. Idealist

As of August, 2010, here are the top 20 sites with the most traffic in the United States. The links take you to the detail page on the Alexa.com site:

1.  Google

2.  Facebook

3.  Yahoo! 

4.  YouTube

5.  Amazon.com

6.  Wikipedia

7.  Twitter

8.  Craigslist.org

9.  eBay

10.  Windows Live

11.  Blogger.com

12.  MSN

13.  Myspace

14.  Go

15.  Bing

16.  AOL

17.  LinkedIn

18.  CNN Interactive

19.  ESPN

20  WordPress.com

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Creating a Social Media Plan for Your Nonprofit

CVNLM 4 Social Media can be time-consuming and confusing, so what is the best way to make effective use of your limited resources? Have a plan!

Join me on Wednesday March 31st in San Rafael, CA for my workshop Social Media 201 from 9am to noon. 

This workshop is presented in two parts – a theoretical and best practices piece followed by an interactive session where you will learn to build and implement your organization's social media plan.

PART 1: What Works? 
Learn how nonprofits are diving deeper into social media with specific examples of successful uses of social media tools. What combinations of strategy and tools produce results? Includes a review of several successful social media/person-to-person fundraising campaigns, including their results and lessons learned.

 Takeaways include:
• Six Strategic Goals for Implementing Social Media 
• Real World Approaches and their Results 
• Specific Examples from Nonprofits

PART 2: Creating and Implementing A Social Media Plan
Building on the examples from morning we will look into what is required to make these campaigns and strategies work. We will explore an example of an organizations social media plan that includes priorities, schedules and staffing. How do you decide what your priorities should be and where to spend your time effectively? Participants will be encouraged to discuss their ideas so they can benefit from feedback and suggestions. The last third of the session will be set aside for starting work on your own plan, so bring your questions and ideas.

Takeaways include:
• Elements of a Social Media Plan 
• Social Media plan example 
• Suggestions on your ideas/plans

This workshop is most appropriate for those with a basic understanding of social media who are ready to take those activities to the next level.

For more information and registration CLICK HERE.

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