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Quick hits from the Social Media for Nonprofits NYC conference

by Farra Trompeter

This summer, I had the pleasure of learning, teaching, sharing, and absorbing lots of great ideas at Social Media for Nonprofits, a conference series curated by Darian Rodriguez Heyman and Ritu Sharma and sponsored by NTEN. The conference made its New York debut, after passing through San Francisco and Washington, DC, where it similarly drew large crowds of eager nonprofit staffers, enthusiastic consultants, and yes, even a few services.

The NYC event’s program and speakers offered a good blend of the familiar and the new, and seemed to garner some rave reviews (if you can believe everything you read on Twitter). I presented some thoughts on multi-channel fundraising strategies (slides embedded below), walking through the year-end campaign Big Duck developed last year for the National Military Family Association. I did my best to stress the importance of starting with a big idea or story that lays out the problem/solution your campaign addresses; highlighting clear, compelling, and easy actions for your community; and then integrating that across various channels. Curious? Be sure to check out the ten steps we suggest in the slides.

Here were some of the takeaways that really resonated with me from the other speakers:

* Focus your social media efforts on a three-part blend of listening, joining, and creating real, engaging, and valuable content. Know what makes you different (and delicious!) and let that guide you. Take time to measure and analyze your impact. Try this handy metrics dashboard for starters.

~ Amy Sample Ward, NTEN; Social Media Done Right in 30 Minutes a Day (slides)

 * If you don’t have a good story or message to tell, using lots of social media tools won’t help. You should think of your website and email list as the skeleton/main body of your efforts. Then put on your Twitter earrings and your YouTube sweater.

~ Ami Dar, Idealist;  Hype and Hope on the web: what works, what doesn’t, and what can we all do together

* Start thinking about mobile and embrace it. Consider SMS, apps, QR codes and more. And be creative--one organization has a QR code on their business cards that links to a video of its founders explaining who the organization is and why it exists.

~ Andy Steggles, Higher Logic; Social Media on the Go: Crafting a Mobile Strategy (slides)

* The Causes application on Facebook lets you empower your supporters to raise money and engage their friends on your behalf. To be successful, do what you can to mirror your offline community-building efforts and share stories, photos/videos, and impact on a regular basis.

~ Matt Mahan, Causes;  The Secret Sauce of Fundraising: Facebook Causes (slides)

* Focus on being inspirational and the dollars will come. The key to success is making sure that your content (videos, blogs, information visualizations) is shareable. Every fundraising campaign is a mini ‘word-of-mouth’ movement.

~ Paull Young, charity:water; Social Media-Fueled Impact: A charity:water Case Study (slides)

* Ask the data what’s working. Gather the info, analyze it, then change how you act.

~ George Weiner, Do Something; What Does the Data Say? Turning Tweets into Action (slides)

* For a campaign to be successful, (whether fundraising or marketing) all channels and messaging must be aligned.

~ David Boyce, Fundly; How to Launch a Social Fundraising Campaign (slides)

* If you have a physical space, try using geo-location tools like Foursquare to build relationships with your community.

~Johannes Neuer, New York Public Library; GPS.org—Using Geo-Location Services to Promote Your Nonprofit (slides)

* Treat all donors like major donors. Also, when it comes to your message and social media, you have already lost control--and that’s okay, you never had it.

~ Alex Ohanian, Hipmunk; The Benevolent Web (slides)

* Measure your ROE: Return on Engagement to learn the true value of social media. It's less important to track the pure #s of fans and followers, and more to look at how they respond, share, and connect with you.

~ Debra Askanase, Community Organizer 2.0; Creating and Measuring Return on Engagement (slides)

Multi-Channel Fundraising: Strategies and Tools to Engage Donors through Integrated Campaigns

Farra Trompeter, Vice President at Big Duck, has more than 15 years of experience in communications and fundraising for nonprofit organizations. Farra’s expertise focuses on helping nonprofits use the internet (social media, websites, email, etc.) to increase visibility and connect with donors, activists, and other stakeholders.