So you want to get into online advocacy?

It starts with the action!  An engaging action, one that is shareable and appealing to not only your audience, but also friends of your supporters, is the first step in launching your effective online advocacy strategy. 

Once you have created your action:

  • Don’t just rely on email.  Yes, send it to your email list, but also post your action on social media, use “self-serve” channels like the DailyKos, and see if bloggers will display it on their sites.
  • Segment your supporters and target your emails.  Avoid the unsubscribes and worse, the dreaded MARK AS SPAM, by sending your emails to active supporters and those who would be interested in taking your action.
  • Use paid acquisition to get your action in front of an audience.
  • Think about working with another group or organization to amplify the action.

Bottom line, just creating an awesome action is not enough.  Get the full scoop on effective online advocacy from this white paper by PowerThru Consulting and Care2.


Study: Nonprofits Score an "F" in Online Fundraising Scorecard

Dunham and Company released an Online Fundraising Scorecard that looked at 151 nonprofits online fundraising activities. The report either gave a big "F" or a mediocre rating to most of the nonprofits in the report. Out of 151 nonprofits, only 24 of them scored 76% or above. 

The study looked at the flow of donation pages on each of the nonprofits websites as well as email appeals, follow up emails, etc. Here are some of the key findings. 

  • 65% required users to go through three or more pages to actually donate. Forcing users to go through multiple steps is one of the fastest ways to lose donors. 
  • 84% of donation pages were not opimized for mobile, which made it hard for mobile users to complete a donation. 
  • 63% offered no action opportunities on their thank you page or emails.
  • 37% of organizations did not engage in any communications with new subscribers within the first 30 days. How welcoming!
  • 79% did not personalize emails with with a name like "Hi Allyson."

The report is troubling because the nonprofit community has been doing online fundraising for years and there are established best practices for optimizing conversions. Here are some tips that I'm re-sharing from another Frogloop blog post from 2010 that are still the gold standard. 

Eight Online Fundraising Strategies You Can Do Right Now

1. Create Killer Landing Pages

Tell people what you want them to do quickly. Be clear how their donation will make a difference. One tactic that has been successful for the nonprofit CARE is to provide their donors with two simple pie charts that illustrate how funds raised are allocated below the credit card donation form.

Also give people several options to contribute money – one time giving, monthly giving, etc.

2. Welcome People
Many organizations have a welcome series to introduce new donors to their email list. This is a great strategy that your organization should consider adapting. If your nonprofits, does not have time to do this right now, just be sure you send them at least one email welcoming them to your community and the different ways that they can get involved. Try to communicate with your list at the very least once a month.  

3. Cut The Wonk
You nonprofit will raise more money by telling compelling stories that resonate with real people. Donors are human beings (not ATM machines) and they need to feel connected to your organization and to your story. Save your press releases for the media, and your “talking points” for policy makers.

4. Build A Great List
You need invested people on your list to fundraise. There are two main ways nonprofits can build lists:

  • Organic Cultivation: via your own website, events, social networking sites, direct mail, etc.

  • Paid Acquisition: Online acquisition (like Care2) Google Ad Words, email appends, chaperoned emails, etc.

5. Cross Promote

The best way to reach your donors is to connect with them wherever they are – which means everywhere. Make sure you cross promote your fundraising campaigns across multiple channels such as your website, email appeals, social networks, direct mail, telemarketing, etc. Also be sure that the content is edited for each channel since each one has its own unique tone and voice.

6. Segment
As I mentioned in Five Fundraising Tips to Add to your Checklist, querying and segmenting your online membership may not be a ton of fun, but it’s vital to the success of your online fundraising program. You need this information to tailor appeals to different segments of your list. Why would you send members of your list who have never donated to your organization the same exact appeal to members who have donated $250 3x in the past 12 months? These two audiences are connected to your nonprofit very differently and therefore should receive different appeals that match their level of engagement.

7. Close The Loop
Don’t forget to thank your donors and tell them if you met your goals. This simple strategy has proven to help build better relationships with donors. Also make sure you include any compelling stories, successes, or photos so donors feel that their donation made a difference.

8. Measure The Results
There are myriad amounts of ways your nonprofit can measure the success of your online fundraising campaigns. Here are a few key ones:

  • Open Rates: What percentage of people opened up an online fundraising appeal.
  • Unique Web Visits: How many unique visits to the landing page.
  • Conversions: What percentage of people who clicked on the donate link, donated money.
  • Click-Through Rates: How many people clicked on a donation link.

Tricks and Tips to Use #Ello (With Screenshots)

Last week I joined Ello, a new social network that is ad-free and allows users to opt out of some data collection and tracking. Last week, Ello said that there were 31K invite requests per hour. Why is Ello sparking so much interest? Ello had great timing. Facebook and Twitter have been hit with different pockets of frustrated users.  For example, in September Facebook implemented a new policy that stated all user profiles had to have their real identity. This presented many issues for the transgender community, mental health providers who don’t want to publish this information, victims of stalking and abuse, etc.

Nonprofits have also become concerned about Facebook’s ever-changing secret algorithm and the pay to play presence it’s been building to strongly encourage all pages (including nonprofits) to start advertising if they want their FB Likers to see their content. Many nonprofits simply can’t afford to do this. But it’s not just FB that nonprofits are concerned about. Twitter has been experimenting with secret algorithms too and testing to see if popular content should be filtered to the top of users Twitter feeds. Pay to play could be way for Twitter to monetize.

Combine all of the above with the public’s concern over online privacy, and voila you have the perfect timing for a new social network that promises it will remain ad-free, cares about your online privacy and gives users the ability to opt out of some tracking, and has an impressive manifesto many people can get behind. 

I’ve have been on Ello via @womenwhotech for a few days and here’s what I have learned. It’s feels like a combination of Twitter (say hello and share what you are up to), Tumblr (longer form posts, photos, gifs), and Google+ (a bucket for friends and a bucket for noise).  It’s still in beta and run by a small team so it’s glitchy and the UX needs improvement. This is to be expected. Nonetheless, when people first join Ello they have found it frustrating to figure out how to do basic things like reply to comments.  So here are some tips and tricks to get you started (with screenshots).


Setting Up Your Profile

The round circle you see next to your @username will be your profile image. If you are looking to “brand yourself” then be sure this is a photo or image people will recognize. The image I use on Ellow below is the same one I use on Twitter with the @womenwhotech user name. The recommended size is 340 by 340. Note: See screenshot below where I use the red arrow to point to the profile image.


You will also notice a gray background where you can drag and drop or insert a large header/background image. The recommended size is 1800 by 1013. Note, in my screenshot below I have already uploaded a photo I shot of Georgetown University as my header/background.

Note: For both of these images, if you don’t upload the exact sizes I mentioned above, it can crop in weird places that you may find acceptable or not. You will need to play around with it, particularly if you are working with a logo. This came particularly frustrating when I started an Ello account for our web agency @RadCampaign so we could share fun photos and musings related to open source and philanthropy. When I uploaded our logo for the profile image it did not crop right at multiple sizes even 340 by 340. It still does not look perfect but I can live with it.


User Settings and Data Permissions

This was not the most intuitive to find at first. To locate these settings, ook for the small gray gear icon to the right of the black smiley face. In the screenshot below, I used a red arrow to point to the gear, which is also part of a set of 3 icons and the hamburger menu that serves as a toogle toolbar. Once you find the gray gear icon, click on it. It will bring you to your “profile” settings page.  Here you can input your bio info. 

Below the bio section you can change your notifications settings and data tracking settings. When you first sign up to Ello everything is set to YES. In the notifications section you have several options to make your profile viewable to people outside of the Ello network, allow other users to comment on your posts, and allow Ello to gather anonymous information about your visit, which they say helps make Ello better. Learn more. Note: See screenshot below.



How to De-Ello Your Inbox

If you have opted in to receive notifications, your email inbox will fill up fast. 

How to de-Ello your Gmail inbox via @dab

“Click on an email from Ello, click the More dropdown, select Filter messages like these, select Create filter with this search. Then select the last checkbox Categorize as: Social, and check the box Also apply filter to matching conversations.

You have now successfully moved your Ello notifications to your Gmail Social tab.”

If you are on a mac, drag an Ello email to your social tab. (Thanks for the tip @craftyreels).


Finding "Friends"

The "Discover" icon, which is the gray stick figure that is part of the 3 set of icons located to the right of the black smiley face is also supposed to land you on a page with the search tool. However, the search tool does not work at the moment. Note: See screenshot below using the red arrow that shows where the Discover tool is.


You have a few options to find people.

1. Use the Discover tool to find new and interesting people you have never met by scrolling through the list of users. I have done this and met some great people who have been sharing some content that really resonates with me.

2. Tell your community on other social networks like Facebook and Twitter what your username is on Ello with a link. Ask them what their user name and link is so you can follow them too.

3. Once you begin to connect with either new friends or old friends, scroll through their list of friends to either find more of your friends or meet new ones.


Posting Content

On Ello you can basically post a variety of content in the Omnibar that starts with a black rectangle bar that says “Say Ello.” Start typing away and the Omnibar instantly expands across the screen. Besides text, you can post photos, images like jpegs, animated gifs, Youtube, Vimeo, Soundcloud links, etc.

To Post Images: Beneath the gray Omnibar you will see two squares overlapping each other. Click that icon to upload images. Note: See screenshot below where the red arrow points to the square icon.

Formatting Content:  To bold or link content, select the text and a bar will popup with options to bold or hyperlink content. Note: See screenshot below.

Emoji Cheat Sheet: There are numerous and hysterical emjoi’s you can use on Ello.  Here’s a cheat sheet that @Scottbeale shared. 

When your content looks perfect, here's how you post it to your feed. Beneath the Omnibar, you will see a gray arrow located next to the gray X. Click the arrow and your content will post to your feed. Note: See screenshot below where I point to this.


Editing Content

If you posted content, but need to go back and edit it, no problem. First, go to your comment in your feed that you want to edit. Below the post you will see a few icons including the pencil icon. Click the pencil icon to edit your post. Note: See screenshot below where the red arrow points to the pencil icon.

Click the X (located next to the pencil tool) if you want to delete the post.


Commenting On A Post

Commenting on a post seems to be confusing people the most. It’s definitely been clunky at times. Here’s how it works. Underneath a users post you will see three gray dots. Click on those dots. A box will appear. This is where you enter a comment. It should auto-populate the username of the person you are replying to. Note: See screenshot below where the red arrow points to the three dots.


What Do The Numbers Underneath Each Of Your Posts Mean?

You will see three numbers underneath your post. The first number represents the timestamp - how many minutes/hours/days ago the post was published. The second number with the eye icon represents how many views the post received, and the third number with the three gray dots represents how many comments the post received. Note: See screenshot below with red outline around the three numbers.


Liking And Sharing On Ello:

Right now, you can’t like or re-share content automatically by other Ello users. You have to manually do this. I know it’s annoying, but remember Ello is in beta so they are still building out features. Here’s what I have been doing. Cut and paste the content that you want to share. Make sure you credit the Ello user whose content you are sharing. I have been using ReEllo via @username like you would do on Twitter as a RT. It was the first thing that came to mind when I wanted to share content by another Ello user. It seems Twitter has trained me. :) People are also using H/T for hat tip.

Another option is to click on the time stamp of the post that you want to share. This will give you a permalink. Frame the content you want to share and select the words you want to hyperlink using the permalink. Note: @ccarfi says this only works in the Omnibar and not comments on existing threads.

@Nicolelee on Ello posted on her Ello feed that she spoke with a couple of the co-founders who confirmed that there is a bookmarking feature in development. Here is what they said.

From Paul: Ello Beta has a bookmarking feature in development, which will allow Ello users to bookmark any post they like, with a separate feed so they can browse all the bookmarks they've ever made. This is a way to collect all the posts you like most of over time.

The working title for this feed is called the “Love” (as in, “I Love This”), but may be renamed by the time it is released — we’re just working on it now.

From Todd: This feature is evolving. We want to get it right. It will be two-way. This feature will be primarily focused on the person taking the action and secondarily on the person/entity receiving the attribution. We’re designing an experience less shallow and empty than the typical ‘like’ or ‘favorite’.”


How To See All of Your “Friends” Feeds

Click on the black smiley face.


How To Get Back To Your Own Feed

Go towards the top of the page and click on your profile image or username.


Keyboard Shortcuts

@teno found & shared they great keyboard shortcuts. On your/friends feed, with your Friends/Noise avatars in the left column, hit Shift+1 for a full screen of people. Use Shift+1 to toggle back and forth. You can drag people's avatars into the Friends/Noise boxes. (You can do this when your people are in the default column view also.) Hit the Right Arrow key from your /friends feed to hide your Friends list. This is a super clean view. Then it's nice to use Shift+5 to toggle a grid and list view of the feed. Use the Left Arrow to show your friends list again. If you're looking at your /friends feed, there's probably a bit of notification noise there ("Someone started following you"). Shift+0 will hide or show those.


Need more tips? Once you join Ello people will share all sorts of useful tips and we are al figuring this out together. Be sure and also check out their tips page here

Updated: October 1, 2014


Need-to-Know Data about Generational Characteristics

We're getting closer to year-end fundraising. As your plans are coming together, you will want to hone in on the experiences and needs of your target audiences.

When you are trying to cultivate donors and activists, and move them up the ladder of engagement, it's critical to understand your communities' demographics and not just what campaigns they have donated to in the past or what advocacy actions they have taken. While that is certainly important data to arm yourself with, you also need to understand what their cultural narrative looks like. By doing so, you'll gain insight into what their behaviors and habits might look like based on major events they have experienced during their lives. We're providing you with a cheat sheet, but use this as an opportunity to dig deeper into the  experiences of your specific audiences.

Here's a breakdown of demographics

For the Silent Generation/Traditionalists (people born before 1946):

For the Baby Boomers (people born between 1946 - 1964):

For Generation X / Busters (people born between 1965 - 1980):

For Generation Y / Millennials (people born between 1981 - 1994):

And, last but not least, Generation Z / Digital Natives (people born after 1994):








Are You Keeping Up With Social Media Trends?

We know that social media is discussed at every tech conference, in every workshop, and within nonprofit organizations, but no matter how much we talk about it, the trends are always shifting, changing, and growing.

It's important to keep up with the updates, and make sure you're utilizing social media the best you can for your organization. It's also critical to remember that what works for one organization may not be the right practices for you.

We took a look at the social media marketing trends for 2014 from Social Media Examiner, and found a really great infographic to go along with it.

Here are a few key points from the infographic that you should note:

  • Infographics and Internet memes are still performing well. If you're using these visuals, it's important to make sure that they're engaging, relevant to your area of expertise, and factchecked. Please do not cat memes just because you know they are popular. If they have no connection to your issue or your content, you will end up making your organization look silly.
  • More than half of the organizations surveyed revealed that original written content is the most important form of content for their business. Your organization should challenge staff to write fresh content that appeals to your target audiences. One way to do this is to develop a content strategy. Do you already have one in place? If so, is it working for you, or could you do something differently to make it even more successful? Could you train more staff to play an active role in contributing relevant content to your website and social media channels?
  • 90% of marketers regularly utilize Facebook advertising. It's accessible, it's affordable, and it can be targeted. Even if you don't have a large budget for social media or marketing, you can boost a Facebook post for as little as $5, and tailor it to target people with very specific interests in specific regions. And of course Care2, the social action network behind the Frogloop blog, has great list building opportunities that are cost effective

What trends do you wish you knew more about?

social media examiner marketing trends infographic


Strategies to Maximize your #GivingTuesday

With the holiday season inching closer and closer, your nonprofit might be looking to recharge your holiday giving campaigns. One option you may consider is to create a #GivingTuesday campaign for December 2nd to amp up your year-end fundraising. #GivingTuesday is a way for charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world will come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give. Last year #GivingTuesday raised more than $19.2M in online donations for participating nonprofits (according to this Blackbaud statistic).

Here are some tips to having a successful #GivingTuesday Campaign that requires some advanced planning:

1. Post #GivingTuesday promotion on your website or blog. Make sure your readers/supporters know that you are participating this year.

2. Send an email alert to your email list encouraging them to donate money to your organization on #GivingTuesday. Also ask them to get involved on social media and share it with their friends and colleagues who maybe interested in supporting your organization.

3. Once the event is over, share your successes with your supporters.


Use These Resources to Learn More:


Infographic: Data From America's Biggest Online Giving Challenge 

Last spring I learned about the 24-hour online Give Local America fundraising challenge. I was inspired by the idea because it provided a great way for local communities to come together and raise money to support local charities and causes. As I was watching the final hours of the campaign on May 6th, I was blown away to see that over $53M was raised in donations. It became the biggest giving day in US history.
Give Local America just released their final data from the successful giving day.


Some of the impressive data includes:

  • Total Donations: 306,098
  • Sector Raised the Most: Health and Human Services followed by Education
  • Region That Raised The Most: The South
  • Time Of Day Most Money Was Donated: 11AM CT
Check out the rest of the data below and be sure and mark your calendars for May 5, 2015 the next Give Local America online giving challenge.