Entries in Social Networking (307)


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.



Tools Galore: How To Track What Content Resonates With Your Audiences

Do you know what types of content or campaigns resonate with your audiences on your website, email list, and social media channels? Perhaps you have a hunch, but the only surefire way to know this info is to develop a tracking and measurement plan.

To help get you started, here is a list of some of my favorite measurement tools. This will help your organization improve your understanding of what your audience responds to.


  • FanPage Karma: This tool helps you analyze your organization's page and those of your competitors. It also produces reports that you can share with colleagues.
  • Twitter Ads Dashboard: Twitter has made its Ads Dashboard available for regular use beyond advertising tracking. There are several valuable reports available including:
    • Website conversions from Twitter, and tools to verify your website with Twitter;
    • Timeline Activity: The timeline activity dashboard complements the Promoted Tweet dashboard by showing you what's working, Tweet by Tweet, for both your regular and Promoted Tweets.
    • Follower Data: This has information about your followers’ interests, location, gender, among other insights;
  • TweetStats: Graph your stats by tweets per hour, tweets per month, tweet timeline, and reply stats.

  • Spout Social: This tool has easy to read social media reports.

  • Bit.ly: A URL shortner that also tracks how many times the link you shared was clicked on, what networks the link was shared on, and which social media users shared the link and who generated the most clicks on the link.

  • Wildfire Monitor: This is a great tool for historical comparisons of the growth of your organization's social media following vs. other organizations on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+.

  • Inspired Actions: I recommend this for engagement scores that identify your most engaging social media posts. Your organization can also use this tool to analyze your competitors in the space.

What are your favorite tools to track what content and campaigns resonate with your target audiences?


Are your constitutents still engaging on Facebook?

Earlier this year, Adobe released a Social Intelligence report based on consumer data from Adobe Social, Adobe Media Optimizer, and Adobe Analytics. While the data's comprised of both aggregated and anonymous data from retail, media and entertainment, and travel websites during 2013 - 2014, the data is also useful for nonprofits to examine. This report answered a question that has come up for many of us, are our constituents still engaging as frequently with us on social media?

The information from the study includes:

  • 260 billion Facebook ad impressions
  • 226 billion Facebook post impressions
  • 17 billion referred visits from social sites

Some key findings that might be useful to your nonprofit:

  • Friday may be the ideal day to release content on Facebook as 1/4 of videos played on FB occur on Fridays, and over 15% of FB post impressions happen on Fridays (FYI: Sunday's the least likely day to receive a comment on a post).
  • Facebook ad click through rates are up 160% year-over-year and are up 20% quarter-over-quarter.
  • Facebook ad impressions are up 40% year-over-year.
  • Facebook's cost per clicks have lowered considerably since end-of-year fundraising has ended. This will make ads much more affordable for your org.


Photos and videos have increased in popularity on Facebook. Engagement with video posts is up 25% year-over-year. Recently, Facebook implemented auto-play videos, and this exponentially increased the amount of videos being watched. Video plays are up 785% year-over-year after auto-play was incorporated.

Posts with images are still receiving the highest levels of engagement. Text posts, on the other hand, have declined in both shares and engagement. Stick a link in that text post, though, and there's been a 77% year-over-year increase in posts with links.

So to circle back around, the answer is yes. People are still very engaged on social networks, and Facebook is still playing a very prominent role in your constituents' lives.

Where are you seeing the most growth online?


5 Analytic Tools to Track Your Organization's Metrics

If your organization is struggling to find the right analytic tools to track your website traffic, social media presence, and how your reports, campaigns, or infographics perform across the web, check out this list of 5 helpful analytic tools. It won't fulfill all of your data analysis needs, but if you use some of these tools together, they will provide a decent baseline.

1. Google Analytics Report with Visually

Looking for a report that combines your Google Analytics stats in a visual format? This is a great tool, especially if you need to produce reports weekly and present them to senior leadership. https://create.visual.ly/graphic/google-analytics/

2. Simply Measured

This tool monitors your organization’s social media presence and gives you the ability to produce reports that can be exported to Excel, Powerpoint, and HTML. http://simplymeasured.com/

3. Link Tally

Do you have a big report or infographic that was recently released and are looking to track how much it was shared on social media? Check out Link Tally. Just enter the URL and it will count up how many times it was shared across the social sharing sites: Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and LinkedIn. Here's an example of the data Link Tally compiled for an infographic around voter supression my firm Rad Campaign designed and researched for Craig Newmark of craigslist and craigconnects. http://linktally.com/

4. Keyhole

Use this tool to track hashtags and data associated with them such as impressions, which users on Twitter had the most retweets, what domains mentioned the hashtag, etc. In the example below I searched for the hashtag #fundraising. http://keyhole.co/

 5. SocialMention

Looking for an alternative to Google Alerts? Check out SocialMention, which searches the web to identify mentions of a topic, hashtag or person. It also tracks sentiment, but since it’s based on an algorithm rather than an actual real person, take that data with a grain of salt. Case in point. As millions of viewers await the Game of Thrones Season 4 premiere, SocialMention says that the majority of the sentiment is neutral. There is very little positive sentiment. #OhReally http://www.socialmention.com/



Best #14NTC Panels and Parties to Check Out

Every year I look forward to one very special conference - the NTC conference organized by the awesome NTEN team. This years 14NTC conference is packed with incredible parties (including an 80s dance party that I'm co-hosting with Salsa), and the Care2 Impact Prize that recognizes individuals in the nonprofit sector who have made an outstanding impact on the field of online advocacy, online fundraising or both. Then there is the fantastic sessions discussing the best tools nonprofits should use to build websites and online campaigns focused on engagement and raising lots of money.

Here's a list of some of my favorite sessions and parties that will be happening during 14NTC. Feel free to leave your favorites in the comments below.

14NTC Sessions  

50 Shades of Social Media: Navigating Policies, Laws, and Ethics
Thursday, March 12th, 10:30 AM

This highly interactive session, will discuss real-world situations, explore using ethical frameworks to resolve social media conundrums, and integrating ethical considerations into your social media policies, training, and practices.

Small Nonprofits, Big Data: Leveraging Data to Optimize Your Digital, Media and Communications Activities
Thursday, March 14, 1:30PM

‘Big data’ has become a catch phrase. But in practical terms, how can small nonprofit organizations harness data and use it effectively? This session will describe sometimes painful, but often rewarding process to do a better job of collecting, analyzing and acting on data, for use in both strategic planning and evaluation.

Disrupting the Nonprofit Sector
Friday, March 13th, 10:30 AM

In the last 10 years, the nonprofit sector has grown more than 60% in the US to an estimated 1.5 million organizations. This translates into thousands of organizations with similar names and missions competing for advocacy, donor, and foundation support. See the problem? If we are going to truly solve the world’s toughest social problems and obtain the necessary resources to do it right, we need to examine how the nonprofit sector can evolve to create more innovative and efficient organizations. This involves disrupting the nonprofit sector as we know it today.

Start at the Start: Using Storyboards, Wireframes, and Mood Boards
Friday, March 13, 1:30PM

If you’re embarking on a website redesign for your nonprofit, this session will be useful as panelists will show you want kind of a creative design you will need to capture your vision and goals for the new website. Expect a lively discussion on how to use storyboards to plan animated functionality, how to use wireframes to create mobile-friendly designs, and how to use mood boards to help determine color, texture, and the overall look and feel of your online communications.

Community Engagement Reinvented: Online Fundraising and Engagement Strategies for the Modern Nonprofit
Saturday, March 15 10:30AM

The way organizations fundraise and engage their supporters has changed, and failure to adapt will have long-term consequences for the success of the mission. This sessions will explore strategies that successful, cutting-edge, organizations are using to engage supporters more powerfully and efficiently than ever before, and generating the revenue today that will sustain their work long into the future.

Shelving Legacy, Sparking Innovation. Building Effective Technology for Philanthropy.
Saturday, March 15th, 10:30AM

This session offers leaders, managers and program officers engaged in philanthropic initiatives a rare chance to hear and discuss building innovation and effective technology into philanthropy with other colleagues, facilitated by a experienced panel from the philanthropy, nonprofit, and technology sectors.

Social Media Superpower: Tapping Creativity to Mobilize your Community
Saturday, March 15 1:30 PM

Do you want to learn how organizations are leveraging their creative superpowers to win on social media? What separates the heroes from the zeroes and how can organizations cultivate their own social media superpowers? This is the session that has the answers to all of your questions.


14NTC Parties

NTC Beer: Wednesday, March 12th 7PM to 9PM

Celebrate the 6th annual #ntcbeer, the pre-conference party known for good refreshments and better conversation. Catch up with nptech friends old and new over a few brews or whatever. 

Where: The Black Squirrel, 2427 18th Street NW


501 Tech Club Happy Hour, Thursday, March 13 5PM to 7PM

This happy hour is an opportunity for 501 Tech Club organizers—you know who you are—to get together and swap ideas, stories about your local meetups, and jokes.

Where: Marriott Hotel Bar near hotel lobby

80s Dance Party: Friday, Friday, March 14 7PM to 10PM
Remember the days of synthpop, hair metal bands, and leg warmers? Salsa and Rad Campaign are bringing it back for one helluva of an 80's dance party! Join nonprofits and do-gooders for the best 14NTC progressive party. Dance the night away to 80's music by DJ Tea Jay, complimentary food, and drinks. Did we mention fun? How could it not be at a place called Club Heaven and Hell? It’s just a short walk from the NTC conference. Happy Hours and dancing start here!

Where: Heaven and Hell: (2327 18th St, NW)


What sessions and parties are you look looking forward to attending?


Is anonymity good or bad for social media?

New startups are launching every day, and it's a lot of work for the nonprofit community to weed through which platforms are useful, and which aren't the right fit. A new social platform, ChronicleMe (CMe) launched recently, and it's a free, anonymous social media platform. The creators of the platform state that "although paradoxical, we believe that anonymous social media will provide millions with deeper connections than ever before. In today‘s current social media platform, we have accepted that everything we post is tracked, scrutinized, and public. Not anymore."

Every post on ChronicleMe is anonymous, but when a user responds to an anonymous post, they'll have the opportunity to reveal their identity, or remain anonymous. If they reveal their identity, the person who posted will have the option to continue the conversation through private messaging.

CMe allows you to link to your Twitter account, and connect with your Facebook friend's CMe accounts, but you won't ever know who's who unless they expose themselves. You have to follow seven people until you'll begin seeing your friends posts to create real anonymity.

The concept of anonymity raises a few questions. What are the consequences of being anonymous, especially for nonprofit constituents? Will this allow for trolls to have more spaces to attack people around hot button issues? And is anything online ever truly anonymous? According to the Pew Research Center's Internet Project,  59% of internet users do not believe it is possible to be completely anonymous online. Anonymity is a potentially dangerous road, and can remove the person from behind the message.

What's interesting is that ChronicleMe has partnerships with two nonprofits: the GLBT National Help Center, which works with gay and lesbian teens, and RAINN, the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network. When CMe participants suggest that another user gets help, they're sent links to third party help groups. These can be very touchy subjects that are being talked about, and unfortunately trolls and predators thrive on anonymity.

On one hand I can understand why someone would want to be anonymous in discussing these highly sensitive issues, especially if it’s in the form of seeking advice, sharing very personal experiences, etc. However, I can’t shake the flip side of this, which is trolls and predators using platforms like this to hurt people.

What are your thoughts on social platforms that offer anonymity?


New Study Shows People Don’t Read Articles, they Retweet

Are you impressed every time a blog post by your organization gets a lot of retweets? How about all those social shares on Huffington Post and Mashable? How many times has your boss come to you and asked “why can’t we get those social share numbers?”  

 A new study by Chartbeat, which measures real-time traffic for some of the biggest websites like Upworthy, said their research shows that many people aren’t reading articles that they retweet.  

Josh Schwartz, Chartbeat’s lead data scientist said that “Facebook shares would reflect the same pattern.”  

Upworthy says they have found that web visitors who consume about 25% of an article are more likely to share it on social media than people who moved onto to something else.  They also found that people who read the entire article are even more likely to share it on social media.

"There is obviously a correlation between number of tweets and total volume of traffic that goes to an article," Schwartz says. "But just not a relationship between stories that are most heavily consumed and stories that are most heavily tweeted."

Over at Buzzfeed they found that social media shares occur by users who have spent 3.5 minutes on a page on a desktop computer, or over 2 minutes on a mobile device.

I’m not surprised by this data. There is just too much information to consume on the web these days so it’s impossible for people to read it all. Plus people tend to skim on the web, especially with the rise of mobile devices.

It’s alarming that so many people are sharing articles with friends, colleagues, and strangers when they barely read the articles. It’s even more disturbing when you factor in that Nielsen’s research shows that 92% of people trust recommendations from friends and family.  

What Should Your Organization Measure?

If social shares and pageviews shouldn’t be your main source of measurement what should you be measuring?

  1. Bounce rates and Time Spent on Website and Posts:  Are people staying on your website and looking at other pages? Or are they immediately bouncing off your website? When you share an article on social media, how long are people staying on that page to read the article, watch the video, etc.?
  2. Commenting: Are people commenting on the articles you share? And if so, which ones? What is the sentiment? Is it positive, neutral, or negative?
  3. Most Popular Articles Across Channels: What articles generated the most comments and traffic on your website and social media?