Practical Advice for Modern Fundraisers

To tweet or not to tweet that is the question.

 

Unfortunately, the answer to this conundrum is the same as it is for FACEBOOK - you just have to do it. But you can do it in a thoughtful manner.

 

First you have to create a TWITTER account.

Twitter allows you to create an account in your organization’s name, but you still need to attach a person to the account. This is where you can use your official email and persona.

Before creating a twitter a count, you should know the difference between @ and #. These are the most important symbols on TWITTER. The @ symbol defines the user i.e. @thoughfulappro is my twitter handle. Handles have a 15 character limit. Your handle should be reminiscent of your organization's name. The Greatest Art Center might use @TGAC or the North Country Jack Russell Rescue Society could @rescueajackNC.

 

 

The #hashtag is used to categorize your message. It is used in searches in Twitter - more on that later. 

 

Your goal is to create a @handle as clearly associated with your organization as possible.TWITTER helps by telling you if your preferred handle is available. If you need signoff from a supervisor, I recommend getting permission to use any of three or four handles. That way, if you cannot get your first choice, you already have an approved backup. You can also just search TWITTER to see if the handle you want is taken. The name that appears under the small photo can be your official persona or your organization's name.

twitter4 5 1

The name that appears under the small photo can be your organization's name or a person's name. It all depends on the type of Twitter feed you are looking to promote. If you are creating a personal blog, then I recommend using your name. On the other hand, if you are creating one for an organization you should use the organization's name. But this is twitter so there are character limits. You can only use 20 characters. So using the organization names above, you might use GreatestArtsCenter or JRRescueNorthCountry.

 Here is an image of my Thoughtful Appro TWITTER account from a few weeks ago.

Note how your information is presented Since this is my blog the username is my name. On the previous example the username was the organization's name.

 This is how Wikipedia describes # or hashtagUntitled

The HASHTAG #

The # symbol called a hashtag, is used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet. Twitter users created it as a way to categorize messages. Now the #hashtag symbol has become ubiquitous throughout social media. You can even do a google search on a #hashtag. 

A #hashtag comes before a phrase or name like #givingtuesday, #thebieberforever, or #lovemylife. When you hear that something is "TRENDING" it usually means that a ton of people are using a specific #hashtag in their Tweets.

There must be millions of hashtags in use. Your goal should be to create one or two that represent your organization and or a specific event at your organization.

Our art center might be #TGACShowsOff. You would use that hashtag in all of your twitter post and even Facebook Page post. You should encourage your followers and friends to use the #hashtag when tweeting about your organization. You can also use it on all of your printed material, as well.  

Here is an example of what #givingtuesday - a popular #hashtag looked like a few weeks ago.

Some # hashtags rules of thumb
Remember, if you Tweet with a #hashtag, anyone who does a search for that #hashtag may find your Tweet.

Don't #use #more #hashtags than you need. It is rather spammy and very unthoughtful. As a rule of thumb, I never use more than two #Hashtags in a tweet.  Make sure the #hashtag is relevant to your tweet. Never use a trending #hashtag just because it is trending.

You can also use your TWITTER account to follow news events without following anything by creating a search using a # hashtag.  #nepal   #brucejenner

 

Twitter being a micro-blogging site you have a very limited number of characters for your message - 140 to be exact. To give you an idea of how short that really is this famous sentence –

 

The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog

That sentence is made up of 26 characters but 34 Twitter characters because spaces count. In fact, everything counts. Which brings me to @handle and #hashtag.  

If you want to refer to or reference a specific person or organization, you can use their @Handle. That way not only will the @person see your tweet in their stream, their followers will see it as well.  But the thoughtful when you use this approach it is a bit rude and unthoughtful to force your tweet onto someone else's followers. Be sure your tweet is relevant.

Now it is time to start Tweeting and following people and organizations that you are interested in knowing more about.

Why not start by tweeting about this blog? Something like  - 

 

Have you read @thouhgtfulAppro blog. No better time than now? Just remember #thoughtfulFYI  http://ow.ly/MYlLD

Let's see if we can make it trend!

 

 

I have been asked numerous times since my last post what I meant when I recommended that you create an "official email and persona" to use for social media. Almost all social media platforms require that there be a real live human connected to the account. Or at least an individual persona connected to the account.  In fact, most are designed with the idea that the blog, post or tweet is from a specific person. Below is a chart showing the requirement of some social media platforms.

 

Social Media Platform

Requires Personal Account

Unique Username or Handle

Tied to

Email

 

FACEBOOK PERSONAL PROFILE

 

FACEBOOK PAGE

 

 

TWITTER

 

 

LINKEDIN

 

LINKEDIN ORGANIZATION PAGE

 

 

 

YOUTUBE

 

 

TUMBLR

 

 

BLOGGER

 

 

 

 

 

 

The industry average for a fundraiser staying at a single organization is 18 to 24 months. So I recommend that the highest-ranking person at the organization be the official persona.

Also, it is a good idea to create a single email to use for all your social media platforms. Something like This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (Mike’s normal email is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) are good choices for your social media email. I do not recommend info@, socialmedia@, or website@. Remember you will need to create the email first and make sure you have access to it before you begin setting up your social media platforms. 

 

NOTE: Be sure to keep a written record of your usernames, email and password using a grid like the one above. I keep this in a document file on a shared drive one that other staff can access. 

While preparing to teach an intro class at NYU on social media by non-profits.  I realized the myriad of ways pundits recommend using social media.  So I decided to peel back all the layers of “Best Practices” and focus on the simple mechanical acts that are required to have a social media presence. 

Let us start by looking at suggestion number four from my last post.

SUGGESTION 4. Do not start something you cannot finish. Be realistic about which social media platforms you can keep updated. You should post a new Facebook page post at least once a week!  Timely posting is integral to a successful social media presence. (Read the full post here)

That is why I recommend that every organization have a FACEBOOK PAGE - one that they control.  Remember an individual does not have to work for or even be associated with your organization to create a FACEBOOK PAGE in your organization’s name. So if you don’t already have a page, search FACEBOOK to see if someone has already created one in your organization’s name. If they have, your best bet is to contact them and ask –beg- them to deactivate it.  They can do this on the settings tab on the front of the page. Then create a new page that you control.

FACEBOOK PERSONAL PROFILE, FACEBOOK GROUP, and FACEBOOK PAGE

•    FACEBOOK PERSONAL PROFILE

A resource page filled with your personal information, pictures of kittens, and invitations to play odd games.

 

creatingAfacebookpersonalpage2

 

 

  • FACEBOOK GROUP

An assortment of “Friends” who have something in common like schools, pottery making, and kitten videos. These are all connected to your organization through a Personal Page.

  

group3

 

 

  • FACEBOOK PAGE

These pages promote an organization, a person or an interest.  As previously noted, only a person with a FACEBOOK PERSONAL PROFILE can create a FACEBOOK PAGE.

  

facebookPage

 

Your FACEBOOK PAGE:

•    Choose carefully the person who sets up the page. They will be tied forever to the page so not the summer intern, the temporary receptionist or anyone who you are considering letting go.

•    Choose a senior staff person as the main administrator and then add the people who will do the work as additional administrators.

•    Remember each administrator’s friends will be the first ones to see your page and the administrator will be encouraged to send LIKE request to their FRIENDS. Facebook is a bit sneaky about getting you to do this so read everything carefully before agreeing to anything.

•    Consider having your CEO or Founder create an “official” personal profile that they (you) only use for the organization.

•    DO NOT try to make a FACEBOOK PERSONAL PROFILE do the job of a FACEBOOK PAGE!

                         THE CITY ARTS CENTER is not a person and Facebook will close down your page.

The goal is to generate content for your FACEBOOK PAGE that drives traffic back to your site.  If you write about it on FACEBOOK it should be on your website! Suggestion # 3 from my last post covers how to do this.

Here is an example of a FACEBOOK PAGE post I might use to promote my blog.

 While preparing to teach an intro class at NYU on social media by non-profits.  I realized the myriad of ways pundits (myself included) recommend using social media.  So I decided to peel back all the layers of “Best Practices” and focus on the simple mechanical acts that are required to have a social media presence. To read the full post click here.

See how I used the text of the blog post as a FACEBOOK PAGE post but mainly as a tease for the full blog entry.

What it all boils down to is what I said in the beginning only start what you can keep up and the best way to do that is to cross purpose as much of your text as possible. Like I did above. FACEBOOK is not your end game – your main website is.  So focus on driving traffic where you really want it. 

This video walk you through how to set-up a FACEBOOK PROFILE PAGE.

Next time we will be looking at setting up Twitter.

 

5 Tips for a Thoughtful and Successful Social Media Presence

I struggled to write this post because there are so many different ways to treat Social Media in the non-profit world and most are not very thoughtful.  As I discussed in the social media section of The Thoughtful Approach's website, non-profits have latched on to the idea that they must have a presence on social media. But many do so without thoughtfully planning out what it will take to create a social media presence.  A presence on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, et. al., that  is worth the effort.

Development and Marketing offices go to great lengths to increase their LIKES and Followers but to what end?  Now don’t get me wrong. I want this blog to be LIKED, and I want Followers.  I have asked my readers to do both of those things.  I seed Facebook and Twitter every time I publish a new post.  That is a far cry from hoping to get  your social media contacts will make a donation. 

How do you get the people who visit your FACEBOOK PAGE to visit the donor page on your website? Or do you use a program that allows people to give directly from FACEBOOK? Do you tweet out a link to your donor page or use a tweet for dollars program?  Both are options but then you have three online financial streams to reconcile each month. You do reconcile every month – right?

Since it is safe to a say that social media sites are here to stay. The question is how do you set them up and use them to your organization's advantage, not Mark Zuckerberg’s. He is, after all, the only one who makes money off of all those LIKES.

First and foremost, think of your Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin sites as auxiliary to your main website.  Don’t make the mistake of allowing any of these programs to become your default online presence. I have seen this happen, and it can cause messaging problems for the organization.  Here are my FIVE top suggestions for managing your social media presence.

Suggestion 1.

Add a sign-up button to your Facebook Page that allows people to give you at a minimum their Email Address, First Name, and Zip Code.The fields you use will depend on your personal preferences. Remember that the more data you request the fewer responses you will receive.   Facebook Page buttons are simple to make by following Facebook's instructions on APP and Widget creation under Settings. My sign-up button updates my CRM. I am using MailChimp, but most CRM's have the ability to integrate in this way.  You should use the same CRM to collect prospect data on your social media sites and on your website.   

Suggestion 2.

Add a CONTACT US tab to your page. This is easily done through the settings functions in Facebook.  I recommend having it go to the contact page on your website. That way you do not have to keep two places updated, and you are driving traffic to your site.

facebook2 18post

Suggestion 3.

All roads should lead back to your main website. Build the content on your site and then push it out to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, et.al. Here is an example of how this post will be pushed out via eblast, Facebook post, and tweet.  Notice the hyperlink. It sends you to the full blog on the website.

TWEET

Is your social media presence worth the effort? Learn 5 steps to having a thoughtful presence. #NCYAFP  http://scan.me/n5p24z9

and/or

Non-profits go to great lengths to increase their LIKES and Followers but to what end? #ThoughtfulApproach  http://scan.me/n5p24z9

      Include a graphic in your Tweet. Tweets with graphics get more views and retweets than those without graphics. Even a stock graphic like the one below will work

               .SocialMediaImage small

Because of the nature of Twitter I usually send at least two tweets for every post. The first one when the post is published, the second a few days later. In between are regular posts that play off the whole site.

FACEBOOK PAGE POST

I struggled to write this post because there are so many different ways to treat social media in the non-profit world and most are not very thoughtful.  As I discussed in the social media section of The Thoughtful Approach's website, non-profits have latched on to the idea that they must have a presence on social media. But many do so without thoughtfully planning out what it will take to create a social media presence.  A presence on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, et. al., that  is worth the effort.  Is yours worth the effort click to find out - http://scan.me/n5p24z9

 

EBLAST TEXT

I struggled to write this post because there are so many different ways to treat social media in the non-profit world and most are not very thoughtful.  As I discussed in the social media section of The Thoughtful Approach website, non-profits have latched on to the idea that they must have a presence on social media. But many do so without thoughtfully planning out what it will take to create a social media presence.  A presence on FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn, et. al., that  is worth the effort.

Development and Marketing offices go to great lengths to increase their LIKES and Followers but to what end? Now don’t get me wrong. I want this blog to be LIKED, and I want Followers.  I have asked my readers to do both of those things.  I seed Facebook and Twitter every time I publish a new post.  That is a far cry from hoping that your social media contacts will make a donation.

How do you get the people who visit your Facebook Page to visit the donor page on your website? READ THE FULL BLOG HERE.

Suggestion 4.

Do not start something you cannot finish. Be realistic about which social media platforms you can keep updated. You should post a new blog entry on a regular schedule  (once a week or twice a month), Facebook page post at least once a week and three or four tweets a week.  Many social media experts recommend as many as seven or eight tweets a DAY!  Timely posting is integral to a successful social media presence.

Suggestion 5.

Learn to use integration and aggregator to schedule your posts and tweets. Both Twitter and Facebook have built in APPs and Widgets to allow you to cross-post. The other way achieve cross posting to use an aggregator.  I use Hootsuite, but there are others that work as well. A future post will look at different aggregators.

These five suggestions are starting points for you to explore ways to integrate your web presence and your social media presence.  Making it easy for people who LIKE and FOLLOW your organization to learn more about your cause and possibly make a gift. That is the ultimate goal of all of your effort - right. 

Short Thoughtful Post

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