Entries in Social Networking (310)


Big News: Startup Challenge to Fund & Showcase Social Impact Ventures By Women

How do we disrupt the nonprofit sector? I’ve talked about the dire need for nonprofits to innovate over the years on Frogloop. Why? Because there are over 1.5 million nonprofits in the US that are working in similar issue areas and trying to address global warming, poverty, the gender pay gap, affordable healthcare, education, etc.

If we are going to truly solve these problems and bring about real change, organizations must change the way they do business and begin to think outside of the box. This means building programs or products that can scale. This means testing news ideas quickly, failing fast, and taking those lessons learned to continue to iterate on the program or product. A lot of organizations get excited about potential to innovate inside their organization, but don’t have the funders to back it. Women Who Tech wants to help change this. We’re launching a crowdfunding competition on March 25th called the Women Startup Challenge, in partnership with Craig Newmark of craigslist and craigconnects, to showcase and raise money for innovative women-led ventures (that includes nonprofits and social impact startups) that are committed to solving problems for people, businesses, and the planet. Care2 who runs this blog is a sponsor too.

Your Organization Can Win Up to Another $50,000

In addition to crowdfunding money for your venture, you could win the chance to pitch your startup beforea panel of judges, comprised of angel and VC investors who will award the winning pitch up to $50K in prize money (with no strings attached), plus additional prizes throughout the competition, including a consultation with a partner from 500 Startups and other Angel and VC investors, a profile article about your startup by Craig Newmark of craigslist and craigconnects on Huffington Post and highlighted by our partner Medium, startup-friendly services like in-kind services from lawyers, discounts to General Assembly classes, comp tickets to the Forward Web Tech Summit, and more.

To participate, you just need you to fill out a short application here on March 25th describing your venture. Women Who Tech will review your application and email you within 48 hours to let you know if you are approved to participate in the Challenge. Then, if you're approved, CrowdRise will build you a fundraising page in the Challenge and we'll also get you some next steps.

Who Can Apply?

  • A startup, social venture, or nonprofit that has a rapidly scalable business model.

  • Incorporates technology into the approach, which allows the company to rapidly scale in a manner that traditional small businesses cannot.

  • Fast growing with degrees of innovation.

  • The ability to change a product or service to meet target audience needs/demands.

Why a Women Startup Challenge?

Did you know that only 7% of women-led startups receive investor funding, despite that fact that women-led startups have 35% more return on investment than tech companies founded by men. The lack of funding for women-led startups is unacceptable, and we want to do our part to change it.

In addition, to the Women Startup Challenge, we are also hosting the Women Who Tech TeleSummit, where you will learn everything you need to know to build, scale, and fund your venture, featuring the most inspiring tech changemakers, disruptors, startup investors, and entrepreneurs such as Lisa Stone, CoFounder of BlogHer, Kimberly Longey, COO of Free Press, Shireen Mitchell of Digital Sistas, Susan Mernit of Hack the Hood, and more. This is an inclusive event where both women and men are encouraged to be a part of.


Wrap Up of Nonprofit Llama Drama

Did you catch the llamas on the loose yesterday? They were all the rage, and some nonprofits ran with it too.

If you missed it, let's quickly recap: Described as the "Bonnie and Clyde of llamas," two llamas broke out of an Arizona retirement home and instigated a high-speed llama chase across the state. The Twittersphere erupted, nonprofits spoke out, and the llamas were on everyone's radar.

The nonprofits who used the llamascade to their advantage tied the incident to their cause. It's critical to be flexible and able to curate content relevant to events in real-time, while making it relatable to your audience and in this case fun.

How did you your nonprofit use the llama drama to your advantage? And if you didn't jump on the bandwagon, how can you envision tailoring these types of events to your audience when they are quickly unfolding in realtime?


Infographic: 10 Things To Consider In Your Social Media Strategy 

Remember the early days of social media when you did not have to cut through all of the noise and things felt more like a community rather than a popularity contest? I can't begin to tell you know how many nonprofits I talk to these days who are just interested in vanity metrics - gaining followers and FB Likes rather than focusing their social media on building relationships with the closest people to you, your community and then the network, followed by the crowd. This is a key principle in the book Amy Sample Ward of NTEN and I wrote about in our book Social Change Anytime Everywhere.

I recently came across this infographic that broke down some interesting social media related data points, especially related to how we think about distinct networks on social media and how your biggest advocates tend to have the fewest followers. According to the infographic, Twitter has 6 distinct networks. Some of this clustering can also be applied to other networks like Facebook.

1) Polarized Crowd - This crowd tends to be divisive and is often quite political.

2) Tight Crowds - These people come together to share similar interests.

3) Brand Clusters - These focus on brands (including nonprofits), events, and trends.

4) Community Clusters - People who cluster together to discuss or rally around events.

5) Broadcast Networks - These focus on media outlets and famous people.

6) Support Networks - These focus on companies or services with customer support.

If your nonprofit is not thinking about engagement around similar clusters consider tweaking it. You will foster better conversations among your community and deepen supporter engagement for your organization. For example, your advocates are tight crowds that share similar interests (your organization mission being a core interest). Your nonprofit also serves as a support network for your advocates, volunteers, and donors. Think of your presence on social networks as part of your "suppporter care team." 

Be sure and also check out the rest of the infographic below that includes other good data such as how quickly people expect for you to respond to them on social media and the best time and day of the week to post.


Is the Humans of New York Community Every Nonprofit's Dream?

Good fundraising can make or break any nonprofit, but what makes truly good fundraising? One of the most important factors for success is a highly engaged community who is extremely passionate about your mission. Humans of New York (HONY) is an amazing example of how building an engaged community inspires people to rally together and raise money for an issue they are moved by.

Humans of New York is the project of Brandon Stanton, a photographer who brings the world daily doses of the beautiful, scary, infinite, and intimate realities of people across New York City, and occasionally, the world. On Facebook alone, HONY has close to 12M Likes. Each of HONY's posts receive 2K to 10K+ comments and shares.

A week ago, Stanton profiled a student from the Mott Hall Bridges Academy, a middle school in Brooklyn, with the highest crime rate in New York City.

The student gushed to Stanton about his principal:

When we get in trouble, she doesn't suspend us. She calls us to her office and explains to us how society was built down around us. And she tells us that each time somebody fails out of school, a new jail cell gets built. And one time she made every student stand up, one at a time, and she told each one of us that we matter.

Shortly after, the principal (Nadia Lopez) was profiled, and the story inspired an incredible crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo for her school, led by Stanton. To date, the campaign has raised over $1 million, which is $900,000 more than his original fundraising goal.

Originally the fundraising campaign was going to fund a 6th grade class trip to Harvard. Since many of the students have never left New York, she wanted them to know what it felt like to stand on the campus of one of the world's top schools, and know that they belonged.

The campaign immediately resonated with the HONY community and it took off.

Check out these stats:

  • It only took 45 minutes to raise the initial goal of $100,000.

  • The average donationto Humans of New York’s fundraiser for Mott Hall Bridges Academy is $27, much less than other for-good fundraisers.

  • Over $890,000 has been raised in 6 DAYS. As a comparison, HONY print sales have raised nearly $500,000 for charity, which is also a significant accomplishment.

After the campaign surpassed its fundraising goal, Stanton announced that all funds raised beyond $700,000 will be reserved for a scholarship fund available to the graduates of Mott Hall Bridges Academy.


It's an incredible fundraising story and demonstrates the real power of building an engaged community and the type of impact they can have in crowdfunding campaigns. But make no mistake, crowdfunding campaigns are not easy to pull off. Many don't reach their fundraising goals. If your nonprofit wants to test crowdfuding campaigns, you'll want to incorporate these 7 key crowdunding tips.

For HONY, the success did not happen overnight. It took years of building a community and engaging them in the simple everyday life of New Yorkers from all walks of life.

So how does HONY's crowdfunding campaign compare to other nonprofit crowdfunding campaigns? The average donation to the HONY crowdfunding campaign is about $27. That's significantly lower than the $88 average donation to nonprofit crowdfunding campaigns, according to Rad Campaign, my web agency's research on behalf of Craig Newmark, of craigconnects, where we looked at the effects of crowdfunding. You can see the dataset here in this infographic.

Over the course of our research, we spoke with prominent crowdfunding platforms such as Causes, Causevox, FirstGiving, StayClassy, Razoo. Other key findings were:

  • On average, more than 28% of crowdfunding donors will donate again.

  • Fundraisers who receive their first donation during the first 3 days of the campaign are more likely to hit their goal than those who don't.

  • Over $9,000 on average is raised on nonprofit campaign crowdfunding pages, significantly less than HONY.

What has inspired you the most about Humans of New York, and this incredible fundraiser?



Are Facebook Videos Dominating YouTube?

Let's flashback to 2013 when Facebook announced in a blog post that they'd start autoplaying videos:

Since September, we’ve been testing a way to make videos more engaging on Facebook, and as a result we’ve seen views, likes, shares and comments increase more than 10 percent. We’re beginning to test a similar video viewing format for advertisers. Marketers will be able to use this new format to tell their stories to a large number of people on Facebook in a short amount of time – with high-quality sight, sound and motion. This approach will continue to improve the quality of ads that you see in News Feed.

Recently, Socialbakers analyzed over 180,000 Facebook video posts across 20,000 Facebook pages owned by brands, media companies, celebrities, and entertainment companies, and found some pretty remarkable results that is worth nonprofits taking examining.

Here's some insight into what they found:

  • Facebook really is dominating YouTube. Brands posted 20,000 more videos on Facebook than they did on YouTube in December 2014.
  • Video engagement is skyrocketing on Facebook. In January 2014, Facebook was getting just over half of all video interactions. In December, Facebook videos received more than 80% of all video interactions.
  • Marketers are honing in on Facebook even more. Marketers are turnings to Facebook videos first, before other social networks, and nonprofits should take note. Natively uploaded videos are being found on Facebook more often. And, they're being watched more often.

Facebook also conducted their own research. They want brands (including nonprofits) to use Facebook to engage target audiences with videos. "We are seeing this shift to a visual language come to life on Facebook," Facebook reported. They're really pushing videos, and it's working.


A snapshot of their findings...

  • In just one year, the number of video posts per person has increased 75% globally and 94% in the US.
  • Every day, people upload more than 350 million photos on average to Facebook.
  • Facebook announced that, "with people creating, posting and interacting with more videos...the composition of the News Feed is changing." This is confirmed by the increase in video from people and brands in the News Feed. It's increased 3.6x year-over-year.
  • Since June 2014, Facebook has averaged more than 1 billion video views every day.
  • On average, more than 50% of people in the US who come back to Facebook each day watch at least one video per day.
  • Cisco Systems estimates that mobile video will increase 14-fold between 2013 and 2018.

With the huge increase in video production and consumption, Facebook appears to be the place for video. So if your nonprofit is producing short videos, it's definitely worth posting them to Facebook and testing audience response rates. Be sure and analyze what percentage of people on your FB page are watching the videos, sharing them, and commenting on them. Also analyze how you are promoting the video content. After you test a few videos on Facebook, you will have some good data to determine if a video strategy is something you should add to your social content strategy for 2015. 


New Study: Investing in Facebook is a Waste of Time

For the past few years, nonprofits have spent a lot of resources on building their Facebook page presence. Many social media strategists and the media told nonprofits and businesses that email was dying and that FREE social networks like Facebook would be king of communications. So it's now 2015 and guess what? Email is definitely not dead and in fact it raises a heck of a lot more money than any social media platform. In addition, the majority of nonprofits still haven't raised a dime on social media. So is Facebook still worth it? I think it depends on your goals with Facebook and if you have the funding to pay to play.

It's no secret that Facebook manipulates its algorithm to favor the content users see, but Facebook has changed its algorithm so much that Facebook pages now only reach 2% of their followers. That means 98% of the people who "Liked" your FB page don't see the content UNLESS your organization pays Facebook to boost a post, buy a Facebook ad, etc.

A study conducted by Forrester found that posts from top brands on Facebook and Twitter have an awful engagement rate. Only 0.07% of followers actually interact with those posts.

According to the New York Times, Facebook has aggressively promoted its advertising products (like pop up ads that appear on users’ mobile phones urging them to install a new app...Facebook Messanger, anyone?). In the third quarter alone, Facebook reported a 64% increase in advertising revenue to $2.96 billion and said ad prices rose 274% year over year, in part reflecting strong demand from advertisers.

Brian Boland, a Facebook Vice President who oversees marketing of ad products, said Facebook surveyed hundreds of thousands of users, who complained that they were bombarded with useless promotional posts in their news feeds. While some of those useless posts were paid ads, about 2/3 of them were posts from brand pages. To appease users, Facebook decided to downgrade their chances of showing up in the news feed.

“Facebook is basically saying that their algorithm will be the arbiter of what’s promotion and what’s not promotion,” Jordan Bitterman said, chief strategy officer for North America at Mindshare.

So, it's pretty much a gamble whether or not Facebook will decide if your content is going to perform well. Since nonprofits don't have money that grows on trees, it's worth it to invest in engagement where you know it will count. I would invest in increasing an organizations email list over investing in Facebook ads or boosting posts or spending money on promoted Tweets in Twitter. However, if your organization has the budget to do both, you could spend money on list growth and also spend a bit of money on testing important advocacy related posts on Facebook to see how they perform.

So the next time a social media strategist tells you that email is dead, you can now tell them that email certainly isn't dead. In fact, it's very much alive and well. "Your emails get delivered more than 90% of the time, while your Facebook posts get delivered 2% of the time," writes Nate Elliott, Vice President and Principal Analyst at Forrester. "If you have to choose between adding a subscriber to your email list or gaining a new Facebook fan, go for email every time."

Where will you invest your engagement in 2015?


Three Keys to Working with Crowds

Gathering crowds to help your cause is an essential part of working in a networked world. Crowds create capital, or “go-go juice,” that can include human connections, intelligence and expertise, resources like equipment and furniture, and, of course, money.

Ideas and ventures that would have been impossible when capital was scarce are now possible because of social media platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Creating capital is an essential part of what I call “Matterness,” the powerful force of mutual interest that happens when organizations and people work with one another rather than at one another.

Crowds can be difficult for organizations to work with because people in crowds aren’t trapped in databases or sitting quietly as an audience. People come and go as they please, not necessarily according to the wishes of organizations.  Here are the three essential steps for turning crowds into organizational go-go juice.

1. Understanding the Need

Successfully leading crowds takes clarity of purpose, intentionality, and some elbow grease. People need to be treated with dignity and respect, which means ensuring that their time and intelligence are respected and used well. By thinking clearly about why and how to engage crowds, organizations will turn some of these doers into donors, who are more invested in the organization and more likely to give over time.

2. Creating “No Fake” Zones

Crowd members want real, meaningful opportunities to help an organization. Fake requests like:  Send me money today, or my opponent will win and send your children to Russia for kindergarten!  do more harm than good. Fakery also include messages that look like they are from real people but are from black-hole email addresses like “no reply.” Social media are conversational vehicles. People are smart, they can see through artificial requests for help that are really just excuses to ask for donations and opportunities to capture contact information. Building trust with a crowd is essential to keeping people engaged longer.

3. Following and Leading. There are times when what an organization wants to get is different from what constituents want to give. When this happens it is smarter for an organization to become a follower rather than a leader. Organizations need to be on the lookout for crowds that form that can enhance their efforts — but beware, these crowds cannot be “owned” by organizations. Leaders need to focus on Matterness in these instances and find the sweet spot that exists between what crowds what to give and what an organization needs. It’s there, it just may take some conversations between the crowd and the organization for it to emerge.

*Allison Fine is the author of Matterness: What Fearless Leaders Know About the Power and Promise of Social Media. In addition, she is the author of the award-winning Momentum: Igniting Social Change in the Connected Age, and co-author of the bestselling The Networked Nonprofit. Her blog, A. Fine Blog, can be found at www.allisonfine.com