Tag Archives: nonprofit social media

November at NCCF Means Giving Back

14 Nov

An Impressive Initiative

The Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation (NCCF), of Chautauqua, New York, has launched one of the most creative social media campaigns I’ve seen.  The foundation is a nonprofit group that distributes grants and scholarships to their community.  One of their initiatives, AmazingCounty.com is an online treasure hunt that allows users to solve clues and perform tasks to earn points, and each point is a chance to win a prize (daily, weekly, or special event).  There’s also a grand prize and runner-up prize at the end of each month.  Multiple sponsors make Amazing County possible, and all the prizes given out are donated.  The program allows community members to explore their local resources, while competing in activities such as puzzles, videos and activities.

The Ultimate Interactivity

Some of the tasks are as easy as posting discussions on Facebook.  Not only does this simplicity encourage users to participate, but it allows for interaction between the foundation and members of the community.

November marks the last full-scale online treasure hunt, and the theme, appropriately, is giving back and philanthropy.  People have been discussing how they plan to give back to their community on Facebook.

(Small) Room for Improvement

Amazing County is also on Twitter. I noticed there aren’t nearly as many followers here compared to their Facebook page (26 on Twitter compared to 521 on Facebook!), but on the surface the Twitter site looks like a great place to see opportunities to score points.  Looking a little deeper, one tweet tells users that they’ll receive 500 points for each person who joins that they invite.  Invite where?  To what?  Some of these tweets are a little confusing.  Overall, it seem like the Twitter page mostly directs users to the Facebook page to see challenges, which is why there probably aren’t as many followers.

Regardless of this minor detail, this is an awesome effort to connect the community virtually, and create a space where they can share knowledge and pride for their area, while having fun competing in the challenges and activities.  Hats off to you, NCCF.


More good stuff from Chad Norman

8 Nov

Remember one of my very first posts where I shared a video about 50 tactics for nonprofits trying to tackle social media?  It was a great video, and its sequel from Chad Norman is just as good.  Check out 50 (More) Social Media Tactics for Nonprofits:

View Video Here


With a site called TweetReach, you can see how far your tweets travel.  You can also create a branded page for your charity on Foursquare… actually, a ton of slides in this presentation are dedicated to Foursquare.  Check out the page for Wildlife Watch. Facebook is also mentioned frequently, but there are some other apps that Norman talks about that can be very useful for nonprofit groups.  This is a great resource for new, smaller campaigns to look for ideas.

Nonprofit Social Media: What’s at Stake

1 Nov

Reputations at risk

An article by Sanngeeta Haindl from Justmeans got me thinking about a topic I haven’t covered concerning social media: reputation.  Haindl wrote about a survey conducted in London in which

“A staggering 52 per cent were reluctant for their organisations to use social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, as they had concerns about reputational risk, which prevented many from making the most of the communications opportunities provided by social media trends.”

The main reason for distrust of social media within the various organizations was fear of negative comments in a public forum.  This may be a concern for many, since it’s easy to receive feedback that charities may not be happy with.  People now have the ability to express their opinion to a wide audience through social media, so the relationship between the organization and their supporters has shifted from a controlled line of communication and donation collection to a transparent, public conversation.  As discussed in the article, there’s not very much negative feedback toward non-profits, since public trust placed in charities is so high.  The problem is that these groups don’t always know how to listen and respond to the public conversation.

A look at what works

The article suggests that managers look at specific case studies to see the value of social media.  Some good examples can be found on Facebook and Twitter pages for LIVESTRONG, Hope for Haiti, or Campaign for Cancer Prevention.  These are groups that have grown their following base to thousands of people, and have run effective campaigns to spread awareness and raise money using social media.  They have realized the power of various networks and how they can help their respective causes.  Another benefit?  A new type of relationship between the charity and the supporter/donor.  Here’s an excellent quote from Haindl’s article:

“Previously, a charity’s relationship with a supporter would only begin when the person became a donor, yet now through social media trends a charity can begin its relationship with people well before the donor stage”

Advertising and charities

There’s a second component to this idea, and that’s the use of nonprofit advocacy by businesses.  Many companies are promoting charity projects (see Pepsi’s Refresh Project), or are sponsoring programs like Twollar’s (see my post).  While they’re making efforts to support good causes, the question of whether or not advertising starts disguising itself through advertising.  Let’s return to the Pepsi Refresh Project.  They’ve installed an application on Facebook  that allows users to discuss their ideas and try and gain votes for their projects.  While it’s a good use of Facebook, there’s advertising going on (note the main picture).  I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing.  Why not combine viral interest with advertising revenue?  It gets the word out, and the bottom line is Pepsi is still donating money to various charitable causes.  There’s definitely going to be some scrutiny though, and companies that do choose to team up with charities should expect to be put under a microscope concerning their advertising.

A New Way To Say Thanks

25 Oct

The currency of appreciation

Twollars is a concept that began in 2009 as a way to thank people.  The program, based in Spain, aims to harness the positive social energy on Twitter and give it a symbolic form that can be converted into hard money. Here’s how it works: people give Twollars as a thank-you gesture to anyone- friends, family, etc. and then the receiver donates the Twollar to a charity of choice.  Every Twitter user automatically has a page where they can tweet people to thank them with Twollars, and the page also displays their account balance and “generosity ranking.”  Every user has a starting balance of 50 Twollars.

Here’s what my page looks like:

My Twollars Page

These donated Twollars are converted into real dollars when partnering businesses and individuals “purchase” the Twollars in exchange for real money at a rate of $1 for 10 Twollars.  Often businesses give out Twollars to customers who purchase their products or support their brand as a thank-you note.

Here are the tips the site suggests for getting more Twollars:

  • Tweet good tweets :-) . Engage with, and help people by passing along useful tips. Be generous and give lots of Twollars away, and others may send you Twollars as well.
  • Ask people to send you Twollars – Tweet This! (be sure to replace it with your Twitter name)
  • Go to one of the websites that rewards its users and visitors by giving away Twollars. Since we have just launched this new service, there aren’t many
    sites in the Twollars programme yet. Over time we expect many to join. So, be sure to check back soon.
  • You can also purchase Twollars directly from a Charity. The exchange rate is at $1 for 10 Twollars.

Here’s an example

One charity on Twollars is called Miles The Bear (BearsOnPatrol) an organization that provides police officers with free teddy bears to use in situations that are traumatic for small children.  100 Twollars buys one teddy bear.  This is such an easy way to raise money, and the best part is anyone can help by simply logging onto Twitter and donating Twollars.  Even more amazing is the fact that users don’t really have to pay anything- it’s supporting businesses that are “purchasing” the Twollars from charities, so people that are tweeting their support aren’t even paying to do so.

Founder Eiso Kant explains why he started Twollars and how the project has developed (Interview with Robert Scoble of Scobleizer.Com):

Coffee costs and college priorities

14 Oct

How much do you spend on coffee each week?




I had an ‘ah-ha’ moment today after reading a great article on Socialize Your Cause, a  social media consulting team that promotes and advises on nonprofit fundraising.  The article considers the contributions that could be made to charity if a single cup of coffee was given up each week.  It displays possible weekly and annual costs of coffee, and the coordinating amount of money that could be donated.  It makes you wonder how much a place like Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks could raise by donating every cup of coffee purchased to a charity on any given day.

The chart looks like this:


weekly coffee costs



annual coffee costs

Considering priorities

It’s such a simple concept, and one that can be applied concerning college students.  Students are notorious for being broke, or at least complaining about being broke all the time.  Yet somehow they make it to the bar every weekend, followed by a pizza or a tray of wings (at least in my building) and somehow the girls are always wearing the latest fashions.  How does that work?  There’s some prioritizing going on here, as there should be, but maybe if students were advised on the statistics and could see the possible results of forgoing one or two weekly expenses, they might reconsider.  I’d argue that most students over 21 go to the bar at least once a week.  That’s a $5 cover fee (typically), plus the costs of drinks, which adds up.  People shell out anywhere from $5 – $50 in a single outing.  College students spend approximately %5.5 billion on alcohol each year.  Applying the same logic as used in the coffee study, students could potentially raise even more money by giving up one night at the bar and opting for another activity.

The pressing question

This raises the question ‘is it worth it’.  Are students willing to actually skip the bar or a night of partying to raise money for a charity, perhaps that they don’t really know or care about?  Well maybe not each week, but even


typical drink prices at a local campus bar


once a month could make a difference.  There’s other related options, too.  Bar nights are win-wins, since people get to go out and have fun while raising money for a good cause.  I’ve been trying to think of ways to raise money without imposing pressure on my peers.  But when you think about it in these terms, $3, $4, even $5 really isn’t that much compared to how much students spend on drinking, or on groceries, new clothes and coffee.  I like to think that even if they haven’t been to the school in Shanghai, or really grasp how much these kids need the help, they’d still donate or help me raise the money because they’re my friends and they care about my intentions.

These Groups Are Getting Creative, and Recognized For It

11 Oct

Social Good On Mashable

A google alert directed me to an article on Mashable’s Social Good page, a place


The Pedigree Post Project


I haven’t spent a lot of time looking at but definitely should have been.  It’s a great section of Mashable and there’s a lot of articles worth reading.  This particular story is about the nominees for the upcoming Mashable Awards in the area of Creative Social Good Campaigns.

Nine campaigns are described, and are complemented with videos or pictures.  There’s some big names such as Pepsi and Pedigree listed, but there’s also lesser- known organizations like To Mama With Love, and charity: water.  All were mentioned for their creative fundraising efforts.  Most of the programs utilized Facebook, Twitter and/or YouTube.

Some of the campaigns are creative, but it’s questionable if they’re raising money.  For example, the Bra Color Facebook Update concept isn’t bringing in the bucks, and to be honest, it got a little bit annoying last year when my entire Facebook newsfeed was bombarded with different colors.  It is however, getting people talking, and noticing, and that’s the most important thing when it comes to social media.


The Pepsi Refresh Project


The Pepsi Refresh Project really caught my attention.  Instead of spending huge amounts on Super Bowl commercials per usual, Pepsi orchestrated a social media giving program, spending $20 million to award grants to grassroot projects, and even more during the Gulf oil spill crisis.  People went to the site and voted on causes they supported and the causes that won the most votes were given grants.  Since January, more people have voted for causes than voted in the last presidential election, as reported by Mashable.  Here’s the video on the Project:

The Big Bucks

At first I was thinking Pepsi is obviously a huge company with tons of resources, so clearly they have no problem raising money.  But I took a look at the website and they’re actually doing a lot of good for any cause, not just big ones.  Anyone can submit an idea (they accept around 1000 monthly) and from there anyone can vote.  To submit an idea, you download the toolkit and submit your idea in one of the following categories: health, arts & culture, food & shelter, the planet, neighborhood or education.  Submissions open and close at different weeks throughout the month and then the voting opens.  Grants are awarded in $5,000, $25,000, $50,000 and $250,000 amounts.  You title and describe yourself and your project, jazz it up with multimedia, then review and submit.  There’s a list of dos and don’ts, and guidelines for posting descriptions.  It’s a great program, and there’s a lot of successful groups, but unfortunately it had to be a project within the U.S., so my project wouldn’t qualify.

What’s Next

After reading the articles and checking out the creativity a lot of groups are showing, I want to come up with something fun and unique to try for Project Revive.  I’ll keep you update on that front… in the meantime, any ideas?  Leave a comment!

Using Linked In for Nonprofits

30 Sep

I joined Linked In, the professional social media network, about a year ago, and have done little with my profile since then. I didn’t make any attempt to add connections or update my work experience and skills summary.  As I get closer to graduating in May and thus, begin the hunt for a job, I’ve decided I need to get my Linked In act together and make some progress (and connections).

While Linked In will be a powerful tool for my personal career advancement, I’m finding more and more nonprofit groups advocating the network for fundraising.  I first considered the idea after reading UConn journalism professor, Rick Hancock’s post about using Linked In for nonprofit organizations.  Connecting with people that are interested in working for the same causes (education, global service), or that are interested in fundraising in general may be an easy way to gain support.

There’s a great blog called Nonprofit Tech 2.0, that acts as a social media guide for non-profits. In one of their posts, I read about joining groups on Linked In as a way to gain support. I requested membership today with the MojaLink group, a network for nonprofits, and it’s education subgroup.  I also have the option to create a company page, but since my cause isn’t developed yet, and not quite at a professional level, I think I’ll just stick to advocating in my personal profile and joining in on forums for various groups.

This is something I hadn’t thought about when using Linked In.While I can use the tool for my own career advancement, I can simultaneously use it for my cause. I can post updates, and add applications, like the WordPress app that uploads my blog posts straight to my profile. The more contacts I make (that are interested in my fundraising efforts), the more exposure I can get.

Here’s a great webinar, (although it’s not free) by Heather Mansfield, owner of DIOSA Communications, that discusses how nonprofits can use social media and mobile technology.  The October 5th presentation is all about using Linked In and FourSquare for nonprofits, so tune in at 10 a.m. US/Pacific if this interests you.