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Medium for Nonprofits – Three Questions to Consider

Medium for Nonprofits – Three Questions to Consider

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been asked by a few nonprofits about publishing on Medium. If you’re thinking about utilizing this platform, these questions and answers may help.

What is Medium?

Medium is an online platform and network that allows individual users, organizations, or companies to write and publish articles. Medium has a helpful synopsis of their platform and the benefits. It is built as a place for writers to easily create content and publish in a simple and visual editor. There is a network component as readers often leave comments or respond with a post. The company itself has a homepage that highlights content that is pertinent, interesting, and engaging.

Why should you use it?

It is a good fit for organizations that are looking to increase the number of written publications but haven’t yet started an internal blog. If volunteers or individuals on your team have an interest in writing content for your organization, Medium is a great way to begin that process.

If you have the ability to publish blog posts on your website, you may also want to consider using Medium. The network component of the platform can help you reach new audience members. Additionally, it may be easier for your readers to view content on Medium. If your blog isn’t visually appealing – especially for mobile and tablet users – you should consider trying Medium.

What types of things should you post?

Anything that you would write in a blog post. A story from an individual that your organization supported, an organizational opinion on a current event/topic, a letter from a board member, or highlights from a recent event. Try different styles and take advantage of the helpful analytics that let users know how many people are reading the whole post.

Below are a few articles from recent weeks that I’ve found interesting – including one published on Medium.

  1. Ross Jackson kicks off an ongoing Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Project in NPQ with a post about diversity in the nonprofit theater world.
  2. The always brilliant Yesenia Sotelo of SmartCause Digital shares the 10 stats you should be tracking on your website.  
  3. David Cohen of Adweek explains the latest Facebook news feed algorithm changes.
  4. Does your organization work with a YouTube creator? YouTube is rolling out donation cards for US creators.
  5. “C is for Convertible Debt! That’s good enough for me.” Sarah Kessler of Fast Company details Sesame Street’s partnership with venture capital firms.
  6. Finally, Alison Leiby shares a post on Medium about the response to a joke she made about women’s rights. It include this funny and sad quote, “If you want a tour of how hateful and negative humanity can be about women, just scroll through the replies to my original joke. It’s kind of like the It’s A Small World ride, but instead of different countries you just see different expressions of misogyny.”
Data and Narrative – Why the Balance is Important

Data and Narrative – Why the Balance is Important

While meeting with During a recent discussion about mission-driven and fundraising communication, someone mentioned, “You can’t share a narrative without stats and you can’t share stats without the narrative.” This sentiment is a nice reminder to start off the year. Nonprofits must strike a balance when communicating the quantifiable effect of their work and sharing the stories of success. Most readers will recognize that this is true, but may not stop to consider why this is important. For fundraising-related communication both of these aspects appeal to different individuals.

Some donors are most inspired when they feel the human connection and hear the first-hand experience of those that are benefitting from a program or organization. For this group, the data is nice, but doesn’t mean as much as a real story that shares experience and perspective.

Others approach giving from with a “Spock-like” viewpoint. The human emotion isn’t important; they want to ensure that their contribution is having a statistically relevant influence on the society around them. To them the human stories are nice, but aren’t the reason to give – as one individual’s experience is less pertinent than the broader reach and effects.

These two examples are endpoints. Most supporters are somewhere between them when assessing motivation for giving. Balancing narrative and data ensures that you’re reaching all of your audience and addresses other important factors. Sharing data that is definable and relevant to your work builds transparency and trust. Sharing stories reinforces to your audience that you’re invested and connected to the experience of those benefitting from your work.

As you work on communication in the New Year remember why this balance is critical. Below are a few links from the last week that may be helpful for you.

  1. It’s resolution time! Ashley Thompson of NPEngage shares five resolutions for fundraising.
  2. Twitter received a mixed response when a rumor was published that they’re considering changing the character limit from 140 to 10,000. Ash Read of Buffer shares thoughts and reflections.
  3. Jimmy Daly of Vero explains why your newsletter may not be working and provides advice on making it better.
  4. REJOICE. Internet Explorer 8, 9, and 10 will likely be killed next week. Owen Williams of The Next Web has the details.
  5. Forbes published their 30 under 30 of social entrepreneurs. It’s a great read if you want to be inspired and hopeful (or feel old).
  6. Your long read of the week – Will Oremus of Slate explains how Facebook builds their algorithm.

 

13 Nonprofits to Support at Year-end

13 Nonprofits to Support at Year-end

The end of the calendar year is a time for reflection and planning. For many, it is also an opportunity to make a tax-deductible contribution to a favorite nonprofit organizations.

Social Change Consulting has been fortunate to have worked with many amazing nonprofit organizations over the last few years. Below are a handful of organizations that I believe in and have enjoyed working with. While we’ve also worked with a few foundations and 501c4’s that do not have donation options, these are 13 nonprofits that I can recommend from first-hand experience.

Gender Spectrum

Click here to visit their website :: Click here to donate

Gender Spectrum helps to create gender sensitive and inclusive environments for all children and teens. We’ve been working with them for a few years and their entire team is incredibly dedicated to creating a world in which every child can live as their authentic self.

Jackson Orthopaedic Foundation (JOF)

Click here to visit their website :: Click here to donate

JOF is dedicated to improving the lives of people with musculoskeletal conditions through education, research and service. The organization is primarily volunteer driven – their team works around the clock to educate the public and health-care professionals.

Latinas Contra Cancer (LCC)

Click here to visit their website :: Click here to donate

LCC was founded to address the void in culturally and linguistically sensitive programs that meet the health care needs of Latinos around issues of cancer. We’ve worked with LCC on a few projects – they are passionate and always working to find the best ways to support their constituents.

Literacy for Environmental Justice (LEJ)

Click here to visit their website :: Click here to donate

LEJ promotes ecological health, environmental stewardship, and community development in Southeast San Francisco by creating urban greening, eco-literacy, community stewardship and workforce development opportunities. They have a small team that is doing awesome work that will have a long-term impact in Bayview/Hunters Point.

Orion Academy

Click here to visit their website :: Click here to donate

Orion Academy is a day school designed to provide a comprehensive program for high school students whose academic success is compromised by a neurocognitive disability. Orion was great to work with and dedicated to their students. After beginning our work with them, I learned that an extended family member had attended Orion and had a great experience.

Real Boy Documentary

Click here to visit their website :: Click here to donate

Real Boy is the coming-of-age story of Bennett Wallace, a transgender teenager on a journey to find his voice—as a musician, a friend, a son, and a man. We’ve been fortunate to work with filmmaker Shaleece Haas when working with Gender Spectrum. Shaleece is a joy to work with and a brilliant filmmaker. 

California Culture Change Coalition (CCCC)

Click here to visit their website :: Click here to donate

CCCC’s mission is to provide support and expertise to California’s nursing homes assisting them to become models for quality of care, quality of life and quality of work. This was an area/mission that I didn’t have much knowledge about at the outset of the project; there is an unbelievable need for their work.

California School-Based Health Alliance (CSBHA)

Click here to visit their website :: Click here to donate

CSBHA aims to improve the health and academic success of children and youth by advancing health services in schools. Their work throughout the state helps students maintain their health and success. They have a tremendous effect on a number of key outcomes throughout California and do this via an innovative and surprisingly small team.

Cotlands

Click here to visit their website :: Click here to donate

Cotlands is a non-profit early childhood development organisation in South Africa addressing the education and social crisis by establishing early learning playgroups and toy libraries in under-resourced communities to serve vulnerable children aged birth to six. We just began working with Cotlands and their ability to support children throughout South Africa is awe-inspiring.

Hopalong Animal Rescue

Click here to visit their website :: Click here to donate

Their mission is to eliminate the euthanasia of adoptable animals throughout Northern California. Since being founded in 1993, Hopalong has collectively saved over 24,000 animals, placing them in loving, permanent homes. We worked on a couple of projects with Hopalong. While we always enjoyed their staff and volunteers, we especially loved the meetings that included kittens and puppies cuddling on us.

Infant Development Association of California (IDA)

Click here to visit their website :: Click here to donate

IDA is a multidisciplinary organization of parents and professionals committed to ensuring optimal developmental outcomes for infants with special needs and their families. IDA was our first client and we worked with the Board for the North Chapter, who were passionate and devoted to infants and their families.

Mills College Children’s School (MCCS)

Click here to visit their website :: Click here to donate

MCCS is a model for excellence in child-centered education. The oldest laboratory school on the West Coast and part of the renowned School of Education at Mills, the Children’s School serves children from age 0–10 in three developmentally appropriate programs. We worked with the parent association and staff – their team is very committed to the children at their school and create a great learning environment for students and teachers.

Rushing to Yoga Foundation (RTY)

Click here to visit their website :: Click here to donate

RTY seeks to strengthen peace and compassion within higher education by providing the Integrative Inquiry curriculum, customized retreats and workshops for higher education faculty and administrators, keynotes and seminars for the general public, and personalized coaching for students, administrators, and faculty. RTY was one of our first projects and their team is incredibly thoughtful, passionate, and dedicated.

 

Six Lessons from #GivingTuesday Emails

Six Lessons from #GivingTuesday Emails

As you may imagine, I received a lot of #GivingTuesday emails. This year, I reviewed them all to highlight some things that I liked and recommendations on what to avoid. For email messages that I’m highlighting, I’ve included their name. For email messages that had some challenges, I’m omitting their name.

 

Time is not always on your side

One organization sent an email that was focused on the time left in the campaign. It included the text, “Only 5 hours left on #GivingTuesday. We can do this!  As of 7pm, our awesome supporters have raised nearly $5,000!”

This email does a good job of using time to build a sense of urgency. The challenge is the email arrived at 5:15pm. It was written with a central time zone audience in mind. Using the time left in a campaign isn’t recommended because it’s very challenging to control. You have to segment for time zone. If your data on audience location isn’t strong, you’ll send emails with the incorrect time to many recipients.

Sending emails with a reference to a specific time, also assumes that the emails will be delivered when they’re supposed to. #GivingTuesday and December 31 are very busy days for email delivery systems – Constant Contact, Convio/Blackbaud, Vertical Response, etc. While these companies prepare for the increase in volume, there can be issues. On December 31, 2014, Convio had systemwide delays that slowed down delivery of messages. I received an email from a national organization urging me to donate with just “six hours left in 2014”. Unfortunately, it was delivered at 4:30am on January 1.

 

Show your personality

If your email is coming from an individual (Executive Director, Board Member, volunteer), you should try and convey their personality in the message. The best example of that this year was a message from Serena Clayton at the California School-Based Health Alliance.

 

GT Image 2 - CSHA

This email made me laugh because it was personal and self-aware. Stating, ‘I know you’re getting a lot of messages today, but this is why you should support us’ was a personal and thoughtful choice.

 

Email length

One of the first messages I received was one of the messages with the most issues. The email was 470 words and did not have any images or much to break up the text. The email clocked in at 470 words, which was far too long. On a day like #GivingTuesday, your message shouldn’t be this lengthy as you’ll struggle to hold the reader’s attention.

 

Use matches creatively

An email from KQED shared:

GT Image 1 - KQED

This was an interesting approach and likely an A/B test. It can be difficult to find an appropriate way to share fundraising success with your audience. Sharing that you’ve already reached a goal, may make a potential donor think, “They’re doing just fine. I guess, I should donate elsewhere.” This email attempts to use the match to build a sense of urgency, while also making the reader feel like they’re one of many supporters. It’s possible that KQED used this section to do an A/B test for their audience. Would people be more willing to give if they thought they were part of something larger? Does knowing that you’re not the only supporter make you more willing to donate?

 

Read through your call to action and read it again

No one is perfect and when you’re rushing through an email, it’s easy to make mistakes. I certainly have. But, your call-to-action needs to be focused and perfect. One nonprofit sent an email with the following:

We hope that <Name of org> is chosen as your favorite nonprofit organization for #GivingTuesday today and you make a contribution for wilderness.

That isn’t a clear message and was the focus of their message. It was the emboldened link for recipients to click on to donate.

 

Don’t forget to link

Finally, the biggest issue that I saw this year was missed opportunities to link to appropriate content in email messages. One organization included text, in multiple emails they sent, that said, “Remember, donating isn’t the only way you can help us today—start your own fundraising page, re-share our messages on Facebook and Twitter…” They didn’t link to their Facebook or Twitter page in the text and those links were buried in the footer of the email. While focused the call-to-action and links on donating makes sense, if you’re sharing other ways to help – make it easy to get those pages.

Another organization discussed the importance of three key initiatives and why it was important to support them. But, the only links included in the email was to givingtuesday.org and to two organizations they’re partnering with. This may seem obvious, but when you’re asking for donor support – you have to provide links to your donate page. You should include multiple donation links in your message.

 

We hope this email review is helpful as you prepare future messages. If you’re looking for additional helpful information, we enjoyed the these links from the week:

  1. Let the 2016 previews begin! Jared Lindzon at Fast Company six ways that our workplaces will continue to change and evolve in the year ahead.
  2. Shana Masterson of Blackbaud shares information about the The Cash, Sweat & Tears Award, presented by the Peer-to-Peer Professional Forum, which honors the passion of your P2P volunteers and fundraisers.
  3. Burned out with all of your year-end writing? Two helpful articles were written this week. Sara Wolfson of M+R uses the smash musical Hamilton to provide year-end writing tips. Mary Cahalane provides advice on writing thank you letters when you’re feeling stuck.
  4. Finally, to end on a #GivingTuesday note, Joe Garecht of The Fundraising Authority explained why he thinks your nonprofit should avoid #GivingTuesday like the plague. The post is thought-provoking and written to be contrarian. I recommend the comment section where industry titans, John Haydon, Amy Sample Ward, and Beth Kanter wrote thoughtful responses that Garecht responded to.
Fundraiser Pages for Facebook – What Does It Mean?

Fundraiser Pages for Facebook – What Does It Mean?

This week Facebook announced the development of a new tool that will allow nonprofits to host fundraising activities and collect contributions directly on Facebook.

The new fundraiser pages are structured similarly to event pages. They allow users to contribute to a fundraiser, share the page with others, and will show progress toward fundraising goals. The program is being piloted by several national organizations in anticipation of a wider roll-out in early 2016.

What does this mean for the nonprofits and social enterprises? How will this impact ongoing work? Will it replace other fundraising website platforms? There are three key areas for organizations to think about.

Ladder of Engagement

For those that have a large Facebook audience this tool could provide an opportunity to move users up the ladder of engagement. If an individual likes an organization on Facebook, but isn’t actively engaged with the organization, it is less likely that they’ll be regular donors. Most organizations struggle to move social media users up a rung on the ladder of engagement. This is a great opportunity to do so.

Cost

Obviously, the cost of implementation is going to key for many nonprofits. Matt Petronzio of Mashable shares, “Facebook is not currently charging its partners for using the products, but it will eventually implement a fee that covers operating costs at some point in 2016. The goal is to break even, not make a profit, the company says, and Facebook says it will charge a fee that is on par or less than the industry standard.”

If Facebook charges a set-up fee, it may not be palatable for organizations that have limited budget for fundraising platforms or a small Facebook community. If Facebook uses a percentage of donation system – ideally give the donor an opportunity to cover the processing fee – it could be a game-changer for nonprofits and social enterprises. Many fundraising tools work very hard to integrate social media communication into their platforms. Facebook will be able to do this seamlessly and more effectively than any of them can.

Facebook Algorithm

How fundraisers pages are prioritized in Facebook’s algorithm is a key consideration. One of the potential advantages of this opportunity is that your fundraising campaign has the potential to reach a much larger percentage of your users than linking to a third-party fundraising link.

If the fundraiser page reaches the same limited audience that sharing a link to a third-party fundraising platform, the impact is limited. It will be interesting to see how this is prioritized in Facebook’s complicated algorithm.

Facebook’s announcement is exciting and has the potential to change the online fundraising marketplace. We’ll keep you up to date on new developments! Until then, enjoy these links from the week.

  1. There is a new Google+! Check out Google’s official blog to read what’s new and exciting.
  2. While Twitter’s decision to change from favorite to like was derided by some users, Drew Olanoff of Techcrunch reports that the change led to a 6% increase in likes.
  3. A Google Report shares that YouTube helps drive more donations to nonprofits. Heather Joslyn of the Chronicle of Philanthropy reviews the details.
  4. Christina Farr’s article on using technology to manage diabetes is a great read and includes a quote from Michael Chae – friend of SCC.
  5. Susan Carland found a unique way to deal with internet trolls. She donates $1 to UNICEF for every troll-y tweet that she receives. Kristen Brown of Fusion explains and shares examples of tweets.
  6. Finally, many in the nonprofit space have relied on Rick Cohen for their industry news and thoughtful commentary. Nonprofit Quarterly is one of my favorite places to catch up on news and Cohen’s writing was a large part of that. Cohen passed away this week. Our thoughts go out to his family and colleagues. The comments on this NPQ post share incredible stories and appreciation of his work.

Image for article: Facebook

Testing for Relevant Language

Testing for Relevant Language

Over the last week, we’ve been working on an extensive survey project. There are two versions of the survey that are segmented for different audiences. One segment is teenagers. During the testing of the survey, we asked a group of teens to independently review the survey. Their feedback was nearly identical.

In several areas of the survey, language was used that matches the word choices the organization uses in their publications. These are common words and phrases within their field. The teens shared that these are not words or phrases that they use to describe these concepts and identities. To them, the words were outdated, unnecessary, and confusing.

Some specific language is used internally within every nonprofit organization, and it may not always match external expectations or usage. When drafting key outbound communication pieces, it may be a good time to take a step back and ask yourself a few questions. Are we using internal language too often? Is this the language that our audience uses? Do we need to define any of these terms for this audience?

Imposing your internal language on your external audience will hurt the effectiveness of an email campaign or survey. If you have time and volunteers available, ask them for feedback on the what language is relevant to them. This extra step can help you get the results you need.

Below are a few links from the last week that I found relevant:

  1. Susan Raab of NPQ discusses the ongoing crowdfunding platforms wars.
  2. Facebook’s carousel ads are 10 times better than its regular ads. Garett Sloane of Digiday has the details.
  3. How are you counting your media hits? Aaron Eske from M+R shares a new and better way to track this.
  4. Keith Steele provides an interesting read on how drones can assist in habitat monitoring.
Custom Images for Nonprofit Facebook Posts

Custom Images for Nonprofit Facebook Posts

As you may have heard, Facebook announced the rollout of Reactions, their addition/replacement of the “Like” button. Another recent Facebook change also has a tremendous influence for how nonprofits communicate.

When you share a link, Facebook searches it for any images that are on the page. If an image is found, it includes the image as part of your Facebook post. You can remove it, but for many in the nonprofit field, it is often best to utilize the visual element in the post. Earlier this year Facebook added the option for an organizational page to upload their own image for a post. This is especially helpful for links to pages that don’t have any images or just have logos.

For example, if you link to an Eventbrite page that doesn’t have an image, the visual offering in Facebook will be the Eventbrite logo, like the image below.

 

Eventbrite logo

 

It is not very visually appealing for a Facebook post, so this is a great opportunity to add a custom image. Facebook recently adjusted this functionality for company/organization pages and made it much easier to choose the image or images that you can include in an update. Below is an example. You can check or uncheck the boxes for any of the three photos or you can add your own photo.

 

Diffferent Images

 

I reviewed data for one of our clients to evaluate if adding customized photos changed the reach and engagement for their posts. Our client has monthly volunteer events with two different partner organizations. For both monthly events, when we link to the volunteer sign-up page, the image associated with the update is part of the logo of the partner organization. This is what it looks like.

 

Just Logos

 

One image is a partial logo, one image is blank, and one is a logo of their organization. Over the last few months, we’ve been customizing the image with photos of volunteers participating in the activity. Below is an example.

 

Personal Photo

 

For one of the monthly events, the posts with a custom photo had a 51% increase in organic reach and five times the number clicks on the link to the volunteer activity. The difference was similar for another event with a smaller sample size. The posts with a custom photo had a 158% increase in organic reach and 2.3 times the number clicks on the link to the volunteer activity.

In this situation the data supports common sense. By using a more personal and dynamic visual image, there is greater engagement with the page. I’m exciting to continue to evaluate these changes and how they will help our this nonprofit.

Below are a few news items that can help you get through the day:

  1. A report from the Association of Fundraising Professionals and the Urban Institute finds that retaining donors is an increasing struggle for nonprofits.
  2. #Fundchat’s weekly chat covers Effective Altruism vs. Traditional Charity.
  3. The Daily Show used Google Ads in a very creative way – creating custom videos for specific searches about Trevor Noah. Stacey Rizen of UpRoxx shares the details and links
  4. I missed this link last week, but the clever folks at the M+R lab created the “If This, Then Totally That” tool.
Want Your Nonprofit to Grow? Give Away Your Legos.

Want Your Nonprofit to Grow? Give Away Your Legos.

We’ve recently been meeting with one of clients and discussing the challenges and opportunities that are associated with scaling. Niki shared this article focused on for-profit scaling (especially in the tech community) the content is relevant to any nonprofit that is trying to scale their operations.

“The best metaphor I have for scaling is building one of those huge, complex towers out of Legos,” she says. “At first, everyone’s excited. Scaling a team is a privilege. Being inside a company that’s a rocket ship is really cool. There are so many Legos! You could build anything. At the beginning, as you start to scale, everyone has so many Legos to choose from — they’re doing 10 jobs — and they’re all part of building something important.”

You have so many choices and things to build during this early phase that it’s easy to get overwhelmed. There’s too much work — too many Legos. You’re not sure you can do it all yourself. Soon, you decide you need help. So you start to add people. That’s when something funny happens on a personal level and to teams: People get nervous.

Even if your nonprofit isn’t a rocket ship, this is something that most people can relate to. Why do we get nervous? I’ve seen colleagues get defensive when an individual project is shifted to a group. I’ve also witnessed individuals become fiercely territorial when someone suggests that a job responsibility be given to a volunteer. And at points in my career, I’ve reacted that way myself.

These reactions are often based on fear. While some employees invariably fear losing their job, those working for small and mid-sized nonprofits (that are almost always challenged with budget constraints) are acutely aware of the possibility. If a major donor leaves the organization or an event under-performs, staff reductions will happen. The idea of giving away job responsibilities is frightening! It could be construed that your job may not be necessary. Yet, when an organization is looking to increase program offerings, it becomes imperative for individuals to focus on job responsibilities that will allow that growth to happen. As Molly Graham says, in the article “If you personally want to grow as fast as your company, you have to give away your job every couple months.”

Think of a project or task that absorbs 10-15% of your time each week. What would you do if you didn’t have that project any more? Is there someone on your team that could do it more effectively? Or might bring a new creative energy to it? If you want to grow, you need to give away your legos.

Catching up on links from the past couple of weeks – here are some articles I found interesting, enjoyable, or helpful.

  1. Some of you may have noticed that Twitter updated design for Tweet and Follow buttons – learn more about it here.
  2. Another new change on the social media landscape, Facebook added a donate button. There’s been some debate about its usage. Allyson Kapin explains why you should use it.
  3. The always inspirational Shana Masterson has a couple of great links. Shana investigates if event registration discounts are helpful. And discusses how to get the Ultimate Yes in P2P reg forms.
  4. Scott E Allenby shares five questions to help you uncover your customers’ (or donors’) personas.
  5. Last week Kickstarter become a public benefit corporation. Rick Cohen from NPQ explains what that means and why it’s important.
  6. Finally, if you’re looking for a laugh, Allison Gauss of Classy highlights five amusing marketing videos by nonprofits.

 

The Seven Different Types of Nonprofit Email Signatures

The Seven Different Types of Nonprofit Email Signatures

Over the last few weeks we’ve been working on a project taking place in 190+ locations throughout the United States and Canada. We’ve been communicating with staff in all of those locations. This has included a lot of email communication. While all of these folks work for the same organization, their email etiquette and style are wildly different. During those interactions, I’ve noticed a wide variety of email signatures.

Inspired by the silly article that previously inspired our prior blog post about meeting communication, I thought you might enjoy a snapshot of the different email signatures in the nonprofit world.

Activities Alex

The person who provides the entire organizational calendar and all upcoming activities in their email signature. You have a conference, a retreat, a planning meeting, two walks, and a gala coming up. Alex lets everyone know!

Inspirational Izzy

Do you have a quote in your email signature? You’re an Izzy. Extra points for Margaret Mead’s “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Title-ist Taylor

Taylor’s signature is dominated by multiple titles. One won’t do. Taylor wears a lot of hats and the email signature is an opportunity to share that information.

“Call me!” Casey

The person that lists their direct line, cell phone, and general office phone. They want to talk on the phone and are always available for “just a quick chat”! This week I encountered someone who also had a pager. Their pager was the fifth phone number in the email signature.

Avoiding Avery

The opposite of Pat. This the person who does not put a phone number in their email signature and goes out of their way to ensure that you do not find out their phone number. They send emails and do not want to interact outside of that medium.

Educated Emerson

Do you have several advanced degrees, certificates, and/or associate degrees? Do you list them all in your signature? You’re an Emerson. You worked hard. You got the diploma to prove it.

Comic Sans Sam

Sam loves Comic Sans. Sam doesn’t care about the haters. The signature is Comic Sans and it’s large! And often multiple colors.

Let us know if we missed anyone. If you want to read less silly nonprofit news, check out these links.

  1. Caryn Stein from Network for Good discusses research from the Money for Good 2015 research project.
  2. Looking for more analysis of research? Amy Butcher from NPQ reviews a Charities Aid Foundation report.  
  3. In case you missed Social Media for Nonprofit’s Twitter chat last week about #GivingTuesday check out their Storify.
  4. Finally, if you want to dip back into humorous content – Jeff Brooks from Future Fundraising Now asks if you’re more of a Batman or Yoda fundraiser.

Image source: Someecards

Four Tips to Freshen Your Content Creation

Four Tips to Freshen Your Content Creation

Investing the time in creating content can be difficult when work gets busy. Small and mid-sized nonprofit organizations face can additionally be challenged because multiple people are often share the responsibility of writing content.

If your content creation is in a rut, these four steps will help you get back on track.

Assume deadlines will be missed

If you are managing a team of employees that are helping to create content, there is only one safe assumption. There will be missed deadlines. Plan for it – have extra content scheduled or evergreen content available. Even with the best planning, deadlines, staff departures, and unplanned outages will impact your communication schedule.

Write every day

Writing every day will help you focus on what you need or should be writing. While you may not think you have time to write every day, even just 10 minutes helps. Building that habit will ensure you stay fresh. Even writing half of a blog post or a new fundraising appeal will help you build good writing habits.

Read

I’ll be the first to admit – this is one of the biggest challenges that I have. When I commit the time to reading – either books or interesting things on the internet – I’m more fresh and creative. It’s hard to not focus on your to do list and carve out the time for yourself. That time helps rejuvenate you creatively. Many content creators have shared the impact and importance that reading has on their of writing.

By Inspired by Curated Content

How many times have you read an article related to your work and thought, “That’s really interesting!” or “That’s really idiotic!”? Either way, save that article. Come back to and write a reflection piece. Can you praise the author and the piece? Did you think of something relevant to your own work that relates to the piece? Was it absolute garbage and could use a polite but strongly worded response? Allow yourself the space to be inspired by your peers.

If you’re looking for additional inspiration this week, enjoy these articles!

  1. Thinking about crowdsourcing? Tricia Mirchandani of CauseVox has five questions to consider first. My favorite – “Do you have a crowd?”
  2. Taylor Shanklin of NPEngage discusses the importance of mobile and shares four tips to o help your organization become more mobile-friendly.
  3. Worried about your Google Analytics? Shaun McKenna of Conversioner explains how to avoid data pollution.
  4. There has been an incredible amount of coverage and discussion of the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. The Chronicle of Philanthropy compiled a list of seven nonprofit stories.