Thursday, March 27, 2014

10 Must-Have Resources for Nonprofit Social Media +1 Bonus

Sometimes it's difficult to tell your organization's story in 140 characters or less. These resources will help you create engaging content that gets the job done.

Wordle: #ImpactInspired1. Nonprofit Tech for Good offers an unending stream of helpful information to keep you informed on the latest in the quickly changing field of social media.

2. The Wordle tool allows you to create word clouds that tell your organization's story.

3. Worldometers constantly tracks data about the world's population and what we're doing in real time. Need a quick statistic? Worldometers can help.

4. The Case Foundation offers free e-learning materials and videos to help nonprofits use social media effectively.

5. Buffer has a free version that allows you to schedule tweets and provides some data on your Twitter performance. Put this one on the must-have list.

6. TweetDeck is a free service that helps you watch Twitter for relevant content and people, so you can more easily connect with influencers and engage with people who are interested in what your organization does.

7. Use Social Mention to see who's interacting with your organization online, and how they feel about it.

8. TweetReach shows you how far your tweets are going, and how hard they're working for you.

9. Springpad is a web clip organizer that makes it super easy to create notebooks and collect content to share with your followers.

10. Social Media Examiner was founded by one of the greats of social media, and continues to provide accessible, helpful information on a daily basis. If you work in nonprofit social media at all, it's worth following.

11. HuTerra's free crowdfunding tools integrate with all major social media platforms and your own website, so you can provide a donation link wherever your fans meet you online.

What social media resource can you not live without? Please tell us in the comments.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Five Tips to Support Your Volunteer Fundraisers

Getting supporters to fundraise for your nonprofit is key to ongoing sustainability. It helps them feel like they are really helping the cause, and it helps your organization reach new supporters. Of course, the additional donation stream doesn't hurt!

In order for your volunteer fundraisers to be successful, they need resources from your organization. Here are a few tips to help you support your peer-to-peer fundraisers.

1. Provide them with digital assets like email templates, and fact sheets about your organization. Most people get writer's block when they try to write a fundraiser email. Have a couple that they can choose from, so all they have to do is personalize, and copy/paste it.

2. Think of them like mini-development directors. Teach them about your organization, so they are ready to answer tough questions like what's the organization's annual overhead. Just like your development director, volunteer fundraisers will have to answer questions, and need to be armed with information that shows how well your organization works to achieve its mission.

3. Touch base with them. Volunteer fundraisers often end up feeling like they are swimming alone in the fundraising ocean. Call them up and see how they're doing. This will give you the chance to support them emotionally and with resources. It will also give you an idea of who might be struggling to achieve their fundraising goals.

4. Follow up. If you want these folks to fundraise for you again, follow up with them a few weeks after the campaign ends. Ask for their input on what they liked and what could be done differently. Do they need more time to achieve their goals? More help with direct asks? More help with social media? Don't wait until their memory is fuzzy on the details to reach out and take advantage of this awesome feedback opportunity.

5. Thank them, and thank them again. Call them to thank them. Thank them publicly on your organization's Facebook page. Send them handwritten notes of gratitude. That's not an either/ or list- do all three to help them really feel appreciated. After all, you can't do it without them!  

Want help planning your next peer-to-peer fundraiser? Get your free planning guide now.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Five Reasons Your Nonprofit Needs a Full Time Social Media Manager

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Organizations of all sizes and types frequently wonder if hiring a full-time staff member to manage social media is worthwhile. For years, ROI of social media efforts has gone unmeasured, with CMOs and Executive Directors warily eyeing anybody who says social media takes a lot of time. Sure, social media can be a small part of your day if you're running a small clothing boutique. But if your organization needs to build a large following- and if you rely on donors, then it does- a full time social media manager can bring real value to the organization. Here are five simple reasons your nonprofit organization needs a social media manager (SMM) on staff.

1. Impact. Social media managers help increase impact by building online relationships with other organizations. More collaboration creates more good in the world.

2. Growth. By harnessing the power of social media to grow your supporter numbers, a good SMM will spread the word about what your organization does. This will grow your supporter base.

3. Crowdfunding. Your SMM can work with development to create online fundraisers that work.

4.  Analytics. A nonprofit social media manager can actually read data and find the ROI behind what she does- and behind many of the organization's other efforts.

5. Time. Too often we hear from other staff that they have been given the social media hat to wear, yet they know nothing about using social media for nonprofits. In order to really build a great online community of supporters, social media management takes time and resources. Hiring somebody who knows how to use that time and what resources provide the best results, frees other staff to do the jobs they were hired- and want- to do.

Share your other reasons that a social media manager is vital to your organization.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Has Your Nonprofit Volunteer Rate Declined?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recently released numbers indicating a significant decline in volunteer rates. Most alarming is the significant decline in volunteer rates among adults with bachelors degrees or higher- a core volunteer demographic.

At HuTerra, we believe that all volunteers are superheroes. We also work to help nonprofits tap into a younger generation of volunteers and donors. Tell us- has your nonprofit experienced a decline in volunteer numbers? Have you seen a shift in the average age of your volunteers?

Let's start a discussion- how can nonprofits work together to improve volunteer numbers?

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Nonprofits Behind Nonprofits

It takes a village to save the world

When most people think about nonprofits, they think of organizations that build homes, feed the hungry, dig wells and the like. Rarely do we ever consider the collaborative effort that goes into making that impact. Behind most nonprofits are other nonprofits, like Foundations, that make their impact by supporting the field work of others. Without these collaborative efforts, many charitable organizations wouldn't be able to do as much good as possible. 

Much of this behind-the-scenes work isn't "sexy". It doesn't make for great impact stories. Foundation workers are rarely in the field to snap photos of people receiving life-saving aid. Yet, they are critical to our communities. 

Organizations like the HuTerra Foundation provide services and financial support that help other charities do more for those they serve. These services range from free nonprofit technology, to training, to helping other organizations build their online presences. In many ways, they are invisible sponsors, touching the lives of millions by supporting the work of hundreds (or thousands!). Foundation work may not look "sexy" on the outside, but it's far from boring. Organizations like these create enormous impact by empowering others, and in some ways that is a very attractive story. 

Here at the HuTerra Foundation, we're proud to help other nonprofits do more good in the world, by providing free technology solutions, including a free online fundraising platform so Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin can get more food to more emergency pantries, free websites so Habitat for Humanity affiliates can better collaborate and provide more homes for more families, and social media support so animal welfare groups can save more lives. 

You can support HuTerra Foundation by following us on Facebook and Twitter. And hats off to all those who help others do more good in the world! Let's support each other to support more charitable efforts.   

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Get Your Volunteers Ready for Spring!

Time to get your busy bees excited about spring opportunities

The snow is starting to melt and that means spring volunteer opportunities are right around the corner. Don't wait until it's time to schedule work hours to start getting your volunteers excited to renew their service to your cause.

Call your volunteers and take a little time with each. Thank them for their previous service. Ask if they have any questions since you were last in touch. Make a personal connection, and find out how their lives are going. Then ask what their individual volunteer interests are for the coming season. The important thing is to LISTEN. Take notes so you know later who is interested and available for what. You'll need that list when it is time to schedule volunteer work hours.

This call isn't about signing them up. Thank them for their time and let them know that you look forward to seeing them soon. That way, when you call in a couple weeks, they are ready to engage and serve with your organization.

It's time to take a little time to make sure you're putting people first, over crossing off your to-do list.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Add These Five People to Improve Your Impact

Nonprofit boards provide vital feedback and guidance for your organization. But, most boards are not made up of the demographic that the organization serves. How can you be sure that you are providing the best service in the best possible manner?

An advisory panel provides insight into the lives and needs of the people you serve. Advisory panel members are volunteers, but it acts like more of a committee than a board. Advisory panel members do not have the same obligations as board members. Their role is simple: to provide insight and guidance on how to best provide your service, from the perspective of those who benefit.  

To get started, make a list of individuals who are already recipient advocates for your cause. Who do you take when you need to prove impact to a group of donors? Those individuals are the ones who will more than likely be glad to voice their opinions and offer insight. Look for about five of them and ask if they can commit one hour per month to have a meeting (by phone is fine) to help you improve your organization.

During the monthly meetings, review new activity and present upcoming initiatives. Ask the advisory panel for their opinions. The next step is the most important step: Listen to what they say. Ask them for more details if you need more clarity. Then, adjust your plans accordingly. Even small changes can lead to improved service, cost reduction, and more impact. If you use it properly, an advisory panel can be the biggest asset your organization has. 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

5 Signs Your Volunteers are Ready for Spring

Spring often heralds a renewed sense of involvement as volunteers gladly signup for fun outdoor events. Here are five signs your volunteers are ready for spring.

1. They're calling your volunteer coordinator just to chat.
2. They keep emailing you with fun event ideas.

3. They share their Google calendars with you, so you'll have their availability.

4. They put Want Ads in the local paper looking for volunteer opportunities.

5. They start their own fundraisers to support your mission.

And through it all, you still love them madly and can't wait to see them at your spring events.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Put Community-Centric Fundraising to Work for Your Nonprofit

Download the Ultimate Guide to Community-Centric Fundraising to plan your campaign today.

Community-centric fundraising is the practice of engaging supporters to fundraise for your organization. It turns your supporters into superheroes for your cause. The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team in Training program is the perfect example. All year long, hundreds of thousands of individuals spread awareness of the organization's work while bringing in millions of dollars.

But what do you do if your nonprofit doesn't have resources like the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society? 

You can still harness the power of community-centric fundraising! Be creative and find a fun way to engage your existing supporters in fundraising. It can be a photo contest ($1 = 1 vote), a digital race where people collect donations based on the miles they run on their own time (no big event planning necessary), or simply a contest to see who can raise the most.

Check out the Ultimate Guide to Community-Centric Fundraising. This free guide will walk you through designing your campaign. Remember, it's okay to start small! Just be creative and make sure it's fun for your supporters!

Get your free fundraiser planner here.