Content marketing isn't just about articles or blog posts on your website.
It is really everywhere all the time. It is multichannel and multimedia, from YouTube to Pinterest.
But how is your nonprofit competing in this fast moving, explosive world of social media content?
Sure, some organizations are fortunate to have staff experts who can keep up with all of the newest and brightest ways to get the word out. But for most, it's still a struggle.
The answer is to just get started or to take the next step. You don't have to do everything at once, but you do need to be willing to experiment, even if it's a bit scary at first.
Julia Campbell's latest guest article, 9 Ways to Create Magical Content for Your Nonprofit on Social Media, is a menu of possibilities. Just pick one or two of her suggestions and start trying them out.
Here are some astonishing facts from Julia's article:
- 57% of people who watch a video made by a nonprofit go on to make a donation
- 56% of online supporters said that "compelling storytelling" is what motivated them to take action
You don't have to let your head explode, just your content.
Don't miss how to make your blog the center of your exploding, everywhere content. Check out 8 Easy Low Cost Ways to Rock Your Nonprofit Blog
Photo: Best Friends Animal Sanctuary's "pin" on Pinterest, just one of the charities that is all over that social network.
We saw an over-the-top bit of viral sharing over the weekend when Ellen DeGeneres tweeted a now infamous selfie of squirming celebrities trying to be part of a MOMENT. It was funny and something we could all relate to.
A lot of people (more than 3 million) rose to Ellen's challenge to make that selfie the most shared Tweet ever. That was the "call to action" of the year.
Samsung, a sponsor for the Oscars, decided to donate a pot of money to a couple of Ellen's favorite charities. You see she used a Samsung phone for the selfie, and the exposure for the company was priceless. Those fortunate charities are St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital and the Humane Society. They will receive $1.5 million each.
The same weekend, Special Olympics Chicago scored big time when Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon showed up for its Polar Plunge. Fallon talked about the event on his show before and after he went to Chicago. Plus the photo of him emerging from the freezing water of Lake Michigan got a ton of play.
There is BIG sharing like these examples, but going viral can also happen on a smaller scale. And that's what many charities manage pretty frequently.
Nonprofit Blog Carnival
Nonprofit executives: fundraising advice, tips, and exhortations - The Fundraising Coach. Marc Pitman honored Presidents Day by asking us to help our leaders to be better fundraisers. The response was terrific. For instance, don't miss "Would George Washington Applaud Your Fundraising Grit?" and "Seven Ways Nonprofit CEOs Can Integrate Matching Gifts Into A Development Strategy."
How Can We Disrupt the Nonprofit Sector? - That's the question for the March Carnival. Allyson Kapin of The RadCampaign tells us to speak up, act out, and just change things. She says, "If nonprofits are going to truly solve the world's toughest social issues and obtain the necessary resources to do it right, they need to examine how the sector can evolve to create more innovative and effective organizations."
Fundraising and More
Employee giving has become a force in philanthropy in recent years. The fact that Microsoft's employee giving grew from $88 million in 2009 to $113 million in 2013 is a good example.
Microsoft is unusually interested in helping their employees give back, but many companies are jumping on this fast moving train.
Why? Well, employees themselves. I'm guessing that Microsoft has a high number of Millennial employees, and that generation seems to be more interested in life/work balance and in creating social change. They are also innovative in their approaches to giving and volunteering, and show a fondness for companies that are socially responsible.
But, Microsoft also provides many opportunities for employees to be philanthropic. The company reflects many of the trends in employee engagement that are au courant now.
Can you not touch your phone for a few minutes to save a few lives?
That's the challenge for this year's UNICEF Tap Project. It's a small digital detox in exchange for clean water.
Here's how it works:
- Access the mobile app: Visit UNICEFTapProject.org on your smart phone.
- Unlock donations: For every ten minutes on the site, you can help UNICEF provide a day of clean water for a child in need.
- Help children: Once the cell phone is touched, the site calculates the time spent and how much you helped.
Here's why you should accept the challenge:
Around the world, 768 million people do not have safe, clean water to drink. More than 2.5 billion people live without a proper toilet. That's not only inconvenient -- it's lethal.
Every day, an estimated 1,600 children under five die from diseases linked to water, sanitation and hygiene. For just $1, UNICEF can provide one child with access to safe, clean water for 40 days.
If I don't pay, who does?
Giorgio Armani Fragrances and other donors will provide the funding equivalent of one day of clean water for a child. Once the cell phone is touched after activating the mobile web app, the site calculates the time spent and impact of the effort.
As you're waiting, not touching your phone, you'll get facts about water and record times set by other users in your state. Can you beat the best times?
Take the challenge. After all, isn't clean water worth a few minutes of abstinence from your favorite addiction? If you're hesitating, just think about the kids who go days without a glass of clean, safe water. Backing off of your phone for a few minutes is a piece of cake.
It seems a little strange to me that 86% of nonprofit professionals say they use social media for their organizational marketing, but only 47% say they use blogs.
In fact, blogs are in 9th place in terms of the most used marketing techniques. That's how I read the statistics from the 2014 Nonprofit Content Marketing Report.
It's strange, because blogging is such a good way to produce content that then can be reused on all the other channels, such as social media. A blog is really a content producing super engine. And once set in motion, it takes on a life of its own.
DonorsChoose Founder Charles Best On the Art of Asking for Money. DonorsChoose was named one of 2014's most innovative companies by Fast Company. In this article, Best reveals his secrets for fundraising. They range from providing a platform for doing good, asking personal questions, and being over-the-top enthusiastic about your cause.
Results may climb when you make it rhyme - FutureFundraisingNow. Jeff Brooks unearths some research about how rhyming can tap into donor generosity. Jeff says, "People remember and believe aphorisms like An apple a day keeps the doctor away or Haste makes waste much better than similar bits of folks wisdom that don't rhyme." Learn three ways to rhyme from this post.
Marketing Collateral Materials: Do Nonprofits Need Them? - Linda Lysakowski for Bloomerang. Does "collateral materials" seem old-fashioned to your social media ears? It shouldn't. Linda says there is plenty of reason to have both digital and printed materials for a whole bunch of reasons. Are you doing these?
Is Your Nonprofit's Website Driving Donors Away? - Emily Lonigro Boylan, LimeRed Studio for Network for Good. With all the advice for your website, this post is a relief. Emily asks three questions of you. If you fail them, she has some pretty easy fixes.
Executive Directors of nonprofits are usually diligent and creative people, but they often don't know the first thing about fundraising. They just don't get the value of a good lunch with a few good people, and may even think it a waste of time.
Line vs Staff - Does it make a difference?
Many nonprofit leaders, especially those in small nonprofits, come to their positions by way of the charity's programs.
Boards of Directors, many of whom are business people, sometimes look for the person who understands the guts of a nonprofit to lead it. They want to have someone in charge who knows how the programs operate, how to supervise programmatic people, or who are well versed in the issue or problem that the charity addresses.
I was intrigued by this list of top direct mailers among nonprofits, reported by DirectMarketing IQ. This list is based on the number of direct mail offers received by Who's Mailing What! for the year Oct '12 to Sept '13.
How many of these did you receive? Or even multiples. I counted five for my mailbox...organizations, not mailings. I figure I should multiply that five by at least three to find the actual number of mailings I received, although that could be higher, as some of these seem to show up monthly.
- Special Olympics International
- March of Dimes
- The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
- Republican National Committee
- Alzheimer's Association
- Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc.
- National Republican Congressional Committee
- American Diabetes Association
- Salvation Army
- National Republican Senatorial Committee
More About Direct Mail
- Tips for Writing a Direct Mail Letter
- Direct Mail's Deadly Sins
- How to Write an Effective Teaser for Your Direct Mail
Photo: Steve Wisbauer/Photodisc/Getty Images
Walden University released its 2013 Social Change Impact Report late last year. This is the third annual social change survey that Walden has commissioned. The survey, by Harris Interactive, was done online in the spring of 2013 and included more than 9,000 adults in countries around the world, from Brazil and Canada to China, Mexico and the U.S.
Walden University, based in Minneapolis, is a well-known online university, offering undergraduate and graduate degrees to students around the world. The university serves working professionals and emphasizes not only academics, but also how to make an impact on students' professions and communities.
The 2013 Social Change Impact survey found that wanting to create change starts early and is often ignited through educational experiences.
Nearly half of the social changers surveyed say they first engaged in positive social change activities between the ages of 5 and 17.
Much of that activity was through school, sometimes to fulfill a service requirement or as part of some other activity connected to their school that was voluntary.
The survey found a positive correlation between education and engagement in social change activities, with 70% of adults who attended high school taking on activities that made a difference and volunteer work while they were students.
Seventy-five percent of adults who went to college or university also engaged in volunteering or other social change activities while at college.
One reason people are drawn to social change activities while in school is that they simply have more opportunity to learn about social issues and to engage in organized activities around those issues.
Most of the adults in this survey (88%) agreed that if people knew more about causes, they would become more involved; while 83% agreed that lack of knowledge is the biggest barrier to getting involved in social change.
One interesting aspect of this survey is that the researchers identified profiles of social change agents by teasing out their motivations, interests and levels of involvement. Here are the six different types of social change agents they came up with: