Entries in Social Networking (299)


Infographic: 57% of American's Don't Trust Social Media 

If you knew that your donors and activists were very concerned about their privacy online, what would you do to better protect their personal data that you have stored in your databases? Well you better start thinking about it. Today, a new national poll was released that showed almost three-fourths of Americans worry about how much personal information is available online.

More than half of Americans also feel that they can't trust social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to keep their personal information, buying habits, and political beliefs confidential, according to the poll that my firm Rad Campaign, Lincoln Park Strategies, and Craig Newmark of craigconnects released.

According to the survey of 1007 people 18+, mistrust of websites and social media and concerns about privacy increase as people get older. People over 65 expressed the least trust in social media, and were most certain their data was being sold. It was this demographic who felt most strongly that privacy laws need to be strengthened.

As a nonprofit, it's critical that you're aware of these issues when collecting and using the data of your constituents.

The data from the poll shows very clearly that Americans feel manipulated and exposed by the websites they frequent. While that may not stop them from using Facebook and Twitter, or your website, for example, they are clearly calling for more safeguards around their personal data.

If you're collecting your audience's personal data, it's important that you're aware of how you're using it, the capacity in which you're using it, and clearly disclosing how the data is being used. It should not be buried in some legal jargon that real people can't understand.

Here are a few ways you can make sure you're respecting your constituents' privacy:

  • Fully disclose what you plan on doing with their data. How will it be used? Will any of the data be shared with 3rd parties?
  • Disclose what you will do to protect and secure their data.
  • Make sure you're honoring your Terms of Service, and make the language accessible to your audiences.

What else can you do to make sure that you're protecting your constituents data and respecting their online privacy?

Check out the full infographic, and survey data at www.onlineprivacydata.org.


How To Track Your Twitter Engagement

Nonprofits have been able to track gather important data about their audiences interactions with their website via Google Analytics. Facebook pages have also offered some insightful data on audience engagement. Twitter has been a bit late to the party, providing very limited data unless you invested in their ad platform. Just recently however Twitter rolled out their new Analytics platform, making it accessible to everyone. What will this mean for the nonprofit world, and will this change how we're communicating on Twitter?

Now people will be able to see what tweets are being seen by how many people, and how frequently their tweets are actually being clicked on, retweeted, or favorited.

If you haven't had a chance to look at the different analytic options, we'll give you a short rundown...

For your tweets, you can track:

  • overall impressions

  • engagements

  • engagement rate

  • link clicks

  • retweets

  • favorites

  • replies

For your followers, you can track:

  • growth

  • interest

  • geographical location

  • gender

  • the people your followers follow

While you're tracking your tweets and gauging what's resonating with your audiences, it's important to remember that vanity metrics aren't everything, and quite honestly, they shouldn't be your top priority. Your top priorities on Twitter should be about genuinely engaging your audience and moving them up the ladder of engagement. Social media isn't a broadcasting system, it's meant to be social, like a cocktail party.


Some people are concerned that Twitter is not what it used to be. This past January, Jenna Wortham said that social media "is fueled by our own increasing need for attention, validation, through likes, favorites, responses, interactions. It is a feedback loop that can’t be closed, at least not for now."

Do you think that the new analytics will only add fuel to the fire that we call validation?

Here are 3 ways that nonprofits can use the new analytics without giving into the vanity metrics:

  1. Don't obsess over every piece of data. Looks for overall trends.

  2. Use the analytics to determine what sort of content is resonating with your audience. What sort of content are you putting out to the Twittersphere that your audience really needs from you? Try to produce that sort of content once a day or a few days a week depending on your capacity.

  3. Use the analytics to supplement your realtime engagement, but don't get stuck in the numbers. Use the analytics to test how campaigns are running, or how hashtags perform, but then remember # 1.

What are your thoughts about Twitter's release of analytics to the public?



Can Online Campaigners Fight Online Harassment?

If you work in social media or online advocacy you are no stranger to trolls and online harassment. We at Rad Campaign along with Lincoln Park Strategies and Craig Newmark of craigconnects recently conducted a national online poll about the rise of online harassment. We found that almost 25% of people reported that were either harassed online or knew someone who had been harassed. Even more alarming was that this figure climbed to 47% for people under the age of 35.

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to talk with Ted Fickes at Mobilisation Labs about how harassment in the nonprofit campaigner world. We discussed how online campaigns are built around email lists, Facebook, Twitter, text messaging and phone calls and that we are reaching more people with less face to face interaction. However, is the nature of digital campaigning contributing to an environment that makes harassment possible?

I personally think the lack of face to face communications makes it easier for people to lash out and make threats against others, as people can hide behind their screens. It’s easy for someone to disconnect from the face on the other side of the screen, and cultivate a means of dehumanizing someone since they’re “only speaking to a screen.” This is also where the mob mentality comes in, which is more easily formed online than offline.

So how do we create safer campaign spaces online? I think the biggest piece to address is the cultural piece. Creating and sustaining a culture where people respect women and people of different faiths, political beliefs, gender identities, and sexual orientations, etc. is going to take a long time. There are a lot of awful stereotypes that have impacted our culture that need to be dismantled.

However, there are other things that we can explore that are more immediate steps. One of the things that I’m interested in talking with the panel about is what the online gaming community is doing. When League of Legends players faced online harassment, they had people from their own community voluntarily “police” the community to report and address the harassment. People were able to issue email warnings and ban users. When staff audited the community warnings and bans, they found that 80% of the reports were credible. They also focused on working with the game users who were censured or banned to get back into the game. Many said that they did not realize how offensive they were until another user pointed it out. Other online gaming communities have tested creating a code of conduct that people must agree to.

What other ideas do you have for nonprofit campaigners fighting online harassment?


Is Your Communication Style Engaging Constituents?

We're about halfway through 2014, and it's time to check in about where you are with your goals for the year. Have you accomplished any of your organization's goals yet? Have your communication goals changed? What are your priorities for the rest of the year?

In January, the Nonprofit Marketing Guide released the 2014 Nonprofit Communications Trend Report, alongside an infogrpahic to break the data into easily digestible chunks. 2,135 nonprofits responded to this online survey, and at the beginning of this year the top communicaton goals were (in order of priority):

  1. Acquiring new donors.
  2. Engaging the community.
  3. General brand awareness.
  4. Retaining current donors.

If your goals were similar, have you acquired new donors? If not, there's still time, but you'll need to come up with a strategic project roadmap. Remeber planning for year-end fundraising will be here before you know it.

Who is your target audience? How will you reach out to those new donors? Have you invested in an organic and paid recruitment strategy via social action networks like Care2.

Have you been engaging your community? Make sure you're talking with them and not at them when you are using social media. It's important to remember that social media is like a cocktail party. It's a place to be social not like a bot posting press releases. That is the fastest way to bore your community and have them NOT pay attention to you.

If you're acquiring new donors and engaging your community on social media, make sure your email communications tells your donors how their actions and support are generating impact even if it's incrementally like I discussed last week in my article Why Email Still Rules.

Nonprofits believe the six most important modes of communication are:

  1. The website
  2. Email marketing
  3. Social media (other than blogging)
  4. In-person events
  5. Press releases and media relations
  6. Print marketing

If these are your top avenues of communication, how are you tracking their success? It's important to track the success of your communication in an effort to effectively reach your audiences. What works for one audience may not work for another. It's important that you tailor your outreach to meet your constituents where they're at anytime, everywhere (for more on this, check out the book Social Change Anytime Everywhere I co-authored with Amy Sample Ward of NTEN).

Be sure and check out the full infographic below for more about nonprofit 2014 communication trends:



Why Email Still Rules!

Social media strategists (ok, not all) love to discount email in favor of, you guessed it - social media. They have deemed email a dying communications channel, which is absurd. Email lists and email marketing continue to grow, especially for the nonprofit sector where list size grew at least 14% in 2013, according to the 2014 eNonprofit Benchmark study.

Here’s just a few reasons why email still rules:

  • People who take action on advocacy campaigns via email are 7x more likely to donate money to your organization. 
  • You have the most control of how you engage your audience. For example, who sees and responds to your message is not based on some proprietary social network's secret algorithms and you are not forced to pay a premium to target segments.
  • There are good analytics for action, open, and click rates for email, so you can segment your list and move people up the ladder of engagement based on their level of commitment. With a good CRM you can capture a robust snapshot of your consituents - what are people taking action on, are these the same people signing up for lobby days or donating money? What specific issues are they interested in?
  • You can leverage your email list to drive further action on other platforms. For example, on Facebook, you can use Facebook Custom Audiences to target your email list members and further engage them on your advocacy campaigns. You can test targeting a range of advocates – the most engaged people or try to re-engage those who stopped taking action via email. But you need a strong email list to support that kind of targeted social engagement.
  • Email raises money. Outside of direct mail, email raises a lot more money than social media. Online giving increased 14% in 2013, mainly due to email communications. Monthly giving revenue grew 25% in 2013.
  • The majority of nonprofits aren’t raising a dime on social media. And the amount of nonprofits that have raised $100K or more on social media is only about .07%.

While email still rules, there are some issues that I’m concerned about, but I think we can tackle them with thoughtful strategy. Battle of the inboxes and social media noise is competing for our constituents' attention. This has had an impact on email response rates, which declined about 25% in the nonprofit sector in 2013. I think that another contributing factor to the decline of email response rates is that  people are getting bored with our messaging and they are not seeing enough impact. This means nonprofits need to spend more time and resources changing things up. Focus on developing messaging that really resonates with your supporters and their values.

What’s the best way to do this? Start by finding out the pain points that people have around the issues you are working on. What are the pain points people have with your organization? You will see common trends that you can address. Then begin testing different content to find out what connects with people more. Measure the response rates to see what worked and what clearly flopped. Many organizations are working on campaigns that will take years to win, so it’s critical to find creative and meaningful ways to keep constituents engaged and show them how their actions and support are generating impact even if it's incrementally.


3 Crowdfunding Challenges You Can't Miss

Last week on the Froglooop blog, we highlighted 7 helpful crowdfunding tips. Now it's time to take those tips and put them into practice to raise money for your organization. You can get started right away with three inspiring fundaising challenges launching this month.

Give Local America Challenge, May 6th

Over 7,000 nonprofits, plus celebrities like Kevin Bacon, are expected to participate in the one-day Give Local America charitable, online crowdfunding campaign on Tuesday, May 6th. The 24-hour campaign aims to motivate donors to contribute to their favorite causes.

Organizers hope to transform grassroots philanthropy in the United States by activating a record number of people, including many new donors, to support the hometown charities that make a profound difference in their communities. Be sure and also check out their information-packed infographic.


Give Out Day 2014, May 15th

Give OUT Day, which happens on May 15th, is a national initiative that will engage hundreds of organizations and mobilize thousands of people across the country to give in support of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) communities.

It’s a chance for LGBTQ groups, large and small, to work across the wide range of issues and activities that matter to the LGBTQ communities, ranging from sports to policy change, families to the arts.


Veterans Charity Challenge 2, May 22nd

The Veterans Charity Challenge 2 started by Craig Newmark of craigslist and craigconnects is an online fundraising competition where organizations that support America's Heroes, such as veterans, military families, police and firefighters, compete to raise the most money. The top teams will win cash prizes from craigconnects.

Everything launches on Thursday, May 22nd at 12:00pm ET and runs through Thursday, July 3rd at 11:59:59am ET.

  • The team that raises the most during the Challenge wins a $20,000 donation for their charity from craigconnects.
  • Second place gets $10,000.
  • Third gets $5000.

There will also be bonus challenges each week where charities can win extra donations for their cause ranging from $500 to $3000.


7 Crowdfunding Tips Demystified

Have you had a chance to check out the stellar infographic, Cracking the Crowdfunding Code, by the Rad Campaign? It concludes with seven traits of a successful nonprofit crowdfunding campaign.

We realize that there’s a lot to unpack, and it might even be intimidating -- your expertise lies in serving people, and all the marketing speak might as well be Greek to you. (Unless, of course, you are fluent in Greek…)

So we’re spelling out those tips for you below to help you raise as much as you can through a crowdfunding campaign of your own!

1. Tell engaging and personal stories to connect people to their fundraiser in an authentic way

Storytelling isn’t just a creative endeavor reserved only for artists, designers, musicians, and writers. Everyone has a story and anything can be used to tell stories -- advertising and marketing professionals do this well to sell products.

Your nonprofit should do likewise -- not necessarily to sell something, but to advocate for your cause. Erica Elmenhurst raised over $11,000 for WorldHelp’s Operation Baby Rescue. On her personal crowdfunding page, she shared her first-hand encounters with young children suffering malnutrition.

Her compelling experience made her a passionate spokesperson for the cause and inspired her friends and family to join her.

By sharing personal and engaging stories, the campaign becomes a bridge to people; fundraising becomes more than just a means to money, but a way to connect deeply with a mission. 

2. Set realistic fundraising goals

When we say “realistic,” we mean SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, timely. And what’s “SMART” for one organization might not look the same for another. One man raised over $8,000 in twenty-four hours (with plenty of help) for autism research.

As a novice fundraiser, his initial goal was a reasonable $2,000 -- what we’d call a stretch goal: within the realm of possibility. Raising $2,000 in a day wasn’t out of reach, but it wasn’t going to be a cakewalk either for an individual. 

3. Develop a plan to promote the fundraiser and rally their personal networks via multiple channels.

Successful crowdfunding isn’t like Field of Dreams; you have to do more than just build a fundraising site and expect people simply to come. You’ll have to coach your supporters to success.

Here’s how you can do it:

Guide - Show them how to set up their campaign page; without direction, good intentions lead nowhere. Author Daniel Pink illustrates the need for an “off ramp” to drive people to action. In this study, college students were divided into two groups, each comprised evenly of those least likely to contribute to a food drive and those most likely to donate to the drive. Members of one group each received a personalized letter with explicit, detailed directions on how to donate and a follow-up phone call to remind them; the other received only a generic letter about the food drive. Among the students deemed most likely to donate who were given little guidance, only 8% donated. However, among the students thought least likely to give but given specific directions, 25% contributed to the drive.  

Empower - Give your supporters-turned-fundraisers pre-made content: for their website; social media channels, namely statuses and tweets; an email they can send their friends & family

Coach - Walk them through the campaign: appraise them of the timeline, troubleshoot whenever necessary, and most importantly, remind them of the importance of their role.

4. Demonstrate impact

To play a character as well as possible, actors ask themselves, “What’s my motivation?” Your fundraisers and donors will ask the same; clearly show where the money will go. Why the need to convert currency to results?

As Wired Impact’s David Hartstein wrote for the Stanford Social Innovation Review:

"It’s far more difficult for me, as a donor, to grasp the benefit to my life of making a donation. The feelings associated with making a positive impact in the world are tough to weigh. Even more difficult is predicting the quantity of future warm feelings I’ll have as a result of making a donation today.

As a nonprofit trying to garner donations, it’s your job to make these vague positive feelings as concrete as possible, both immediately and on into the future."

Australian startup nonprofit One Girl understood this well and created donation tiers for their campaign, showing how much impact a certain amount would make: a $10 donation provide a girl a schoolbag, a $250 donation cover’s a student’s tuition for a year. Seeing this encouraged a number of donors to give the latter amount.

5. Keep their community updated on their fundraising progress through email and social media

Communication is key in crowdfunding; if you want engagement, you’ll have to engage by keeping everyone in the loop. We’ve observed that there are three kinds of effective communication during a successful campaign:

Updates on the campaign’s progress. Use social media for succinct, daily updates, and emails and blog posts for meatier, weekly updates. Don’t be afraid to share that the campaign is lagging behind -- it might help spur people to action.

Appreciation for participating in campaign. Thank fundraisers and donors en masse with emails and social media posts; this will happen towards and after the end of the campaign. Thank donors who made major contributions and fundraisers who exceeded expectations on a more personal level - an email just for them, a tweet or status highlighting them individually, a handwritten note, a phone call, or even a brief meeting over coffee.

Encouragement for fundraisers and for donors. This kind of communication happens during the campaign to cheer everyone; most likely halfway through then onward, this kind of communication will happen with increasing frequency. Some of the tweets above are an example of encouragement – notice that there are elements of updating to lend a sense of urgency.

6. Brand their fundraising page

Simply put, to brand something means to mark or to identify it. This means that your fundraisers’ campaign pages should be distinctive in the quality of their design.

Customize the template for the fundraisers’ page so that it blends in with your organization’s online presence. Notice the example from the first tip: the organization, WorldHelp, created a subdomain for their crowdfunding campaign (rescue.worldhelp.net), which integrates seamlessly with their main website (worldhelp.net). Erica’s campaign page matches the look of WorldHelp’s homepage: the logo, the color palette.

Studies show that better design & branding eventually leads to more donations.

7. Stand out by making it fun to grab people’s attention

Your core supporters will probably be the first to dive into crowdfunding – or any chance to promote your mission, really. Volunteer fundraising may be a labor of love, but the best campaigns will make it so effortless and enjoyable that it doesn’t even feel like work.

Some examples include:

You may find that the activity associated with the campaign is a bigger draw for some fundraisers and donors than the cause itself. It’s possible to attract donors or fundraisers who were less likely to donate because they’re into the novelty of the activity.

Wrapping it up

To summarize, a successful crowdfunding campaign hinges on clear and consistent communication with fundraisers and donors about the:

  •      Purpose of the campaign
  •      Intended impact of the campaign
  •      Timeline of the campaign
  •      Progress of the campaign
  •      Actual results of the campaign

A very successful crowdfunding campaign will not only meet your fundraising goals – it would exceed the goals and expand your supporter and donor base.

For a detailed guide on crowdfunding, download our introduction to crowdfunding ebook and planning a crowdfunding campaign ebook.


Sara Choe is a Customer Advocate for CauseVox. As a social-good jill-of-all-trades, she enjoys sharing stories of people making the world a better place to live.