Thursday, May 29, 2014

Free Tools for Creating Images to Use in Social Media

There is evidence that including images with tweets can boost retweets by 150%. That's a staggering amount of reach -- and awareness -- from one tweet. But images cost time and money that many nonprofits just don't have. Luckily, there are many resources available to help you create images in a jiffy...

1. Canva is a free online image creator that is easy to use, and offers premium images for just $1 each.

2. Cool Text allows you to create word art for free.
3. Create infographics for free, no expertise needed with 

Made with Chisel
4. Chisel allows you to put text on images to tell your nonprofit's story.

5. Your smartphone. Desperate for an image to go with a tweet? Snap a photo of the work going on in the office. Followers love seeing how you actually create good in the world!

Do you use free online image tools to create content for social media? If so, what's your favorite?

Monday, May 19, 2014

Don't Let Your Next Crowdfunding Campaign Fail

TechImpact recently published The 5 Reasons Nonprofit Crowdfunding Campaigns Fail. Topping the list is lack of planning. We couldn't agree more! In fact, the other four items on that list can really be addressed with better planning.

We find that many nonprofit crowdfunding campaigns are put together too hurriedly to work well.

Even then, most organizations manage to bring in a few hundred more in donations than were originally planned for. But imagine having the opportunity to take your time and plan a really great campaign that both drives donations and grows your support community!

Even if you are getting started with a campaign now, go ahead and start planning your next campaign. That way, you'll have time to think through all the details so the campaign runs smoothly and effectively when the time comes. Download our free crowdfunding planning guide to get started.

Friday, May 16, 2014

What's in a #HashTag?

Hashtags are those things you see around the internet that are used to categorize posts. Facebook and Twitter both use the standard # symbol to create hashtags, and Google+ uses a + before the tag (you know, because learning all the intricacies of social media isn't hard enough). The algorithms used by social networks to sort who sees what rely on hashtags, so it's a good idea to use them as much as possible, where appropriate.

HuTerra Foundation's #ImpactInspired
hashtag is used when we talk about
things that inspire people to give, volunteer,
and donate to the causes they care about. 
A couple notes about using hashtags:
  • Please don't go overboard. Not every post needs a hashtag.
  • Don't use too many in a single post. #It #gets #annoying #and #hard #to #read.
  • Stick to hashtags that are relevant to your topic or post. Using irrelevant hashtags is spammy and nobody will like it. 

Now that we have that all cleared up, let's consider how to create your own hashtag:
  • Get creative and be meaningful. You want your hashtag to reflect your organization in a way that resonates with a large audience and conveys something about what you do. 
  • Do your research. Be thorough in checking the internet for other uses of the hashtag. Avoid any that are already in use or that are too generic (unless you have a campaign planned around an existing hashtag, like Water is Life's ingenious use of the #FirstWorldProblems tag). 
  • Tap into your network and ask for feedback. Does the hashtag resonate? Can anybody think of any negative connotations that could be associated with it? We often don't see the other side of what we're trying to convey. Learn a lesson from McDonald's hashtag nightmare
  • Create posts that tell the story of what your hashtag means. Otherwise, you just have a hashtag that won't resonate a message because there is no message behind it. 
Have you created your own hashtag? Share it with us in the comments!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Three Tips for Talking about Social Media with Your Boss

It can be difficult to explain social media to the boss, especially when he or she doesn't use it. But when you've been charged with handling the social media for your nonprofit organization, conversations about it are necessary. Here are three tips to helping your boss understand social media:

1. Run the metrics and present them as pie charts. It's especially important to use Google Analytics to determine how your social media efforts drive traffic and donations to your website. Pie charts are a great way to make the information accessible. Plus, Google Analytics does it for you.

2. Draw the connection between social media and crowdfunding. Run a short crowdfunding campaign and then show your boss how that brought in donations that otherwise wouldn't have come in. Unexpected income = ROI for your social efforts.

Getting your boss online
will give your organization an advocate.
3. Offer to help them get online. The best way to get your boss on board with your social media Facebook account, and show the boss how to use it. Who knows? They might become your biggest online advocate.
efforts is to get them online. Offer to help him or her create a

Have you struggled to get your boss to understand your organization's social media efforts? What have you done to shed light on the confusing world of social media for crowdfunding?

Monday, May 12, 2014

Add free credit card processing to get more out of your fundraising event

The HuTerra Team running checkout at Prevea Runway for Life 2014

A good crowdfunding platform offers more than a way to accept online donations. Creating a special fundraiser to collect donations at fundraising events allows you to easily accept credit card payments for auctions, and add additional donations when supporters want to give more.

At the 2014 Prevea Runway for Life, Breast Cancer Family Foundation tapped into the ease of online giving to increase ticket sales, auction purchases, and additional donations. Because supporters weren't forced to rely on cash and checks, they were able to dig a little deeper and make additional donations to support the organization's cause. Because the HuTerra Foundation doesn't charge for our service, Breast Cancer Family Foundation was able to keep more of the money raised by the silent auction - over $14,000!

It's easy to add credit card processing to your fundraising event. Staff needs computers or tablets with internet access- most event venues offer free internet access. If not, a WiFi hotspot can do the trick for very little cost.

Before the event, create a fundraiser specific to the fundraising you'll be doing at the event. You can see an example of what Runway for Life (a 501c3) did here. During the event, assign staff to the checkout. They can enter donors' credit card information into the secure system, and donors will get email receipts. You can then download the donation details from the crowdfunding site, and not worry about keeping up with cash and checks.

Have a special need, or want some help? Contact us and we'll help you get set up. Helping your nonprofit is what we do!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Engage with Other Organizations to Boost Your Nonprofit's Social Media

Facebook continues to lower post reach as they encourage pages to pay for reach. While corporations moan and groan over that, it's often nonprofits that feel the pinch the most. There is no budget to pay for post reach, and without it, how to you continue to spread the word beyond a handful of established followers?

One trick is to engage with other organizations and their followers online. Have your page Like pages of other nonprofits in your area and in your field. Local businesses are also good to follow on Facebook.

You can see your page's newsfeed by clicking Home next to your page's name in the upper right corner of your page's Facebook profile. Scroll through, and look for posts that:

1. Would be of interest to your followers. Share these posts with a note that adds value and be sure to tag the original poster.

2. Are relevant to what you do. Comment on these posts as your page- but be sure to leave a comment that is relevant and useful to the existing discussion.

Engage with relevant, fun posts.
3. Offer an opportunity to humanize your organization. Sometimes you can find opportunities to
leave comments and engage in the discussion on a more personal level, even as your page. For example, if you work for an animal welfare organization, your page might leave a comment on another animal welfare organization's post that asks for photos of pets. Snap a pic of your own pet, and share it, maybe with a comment like "Georgia dog loves to help around the office! - Nicole". One important note- if you leave a more personal comment, sign your comment with your first name or initials. It shows the humanity behind the organization.

Getting your page to be an active participant on Facebook provides more value to followers and your organization alike. After all, you wouldn't just show up and say things in your personal status but never comment or Like your friends' posts. Why should an organization's page be any different?

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Who Should Your Organization Follow on Twitter?

There you are, doing the nonprofit job you trained for (possibly development) when your boss walks into your office, sits down, and tells you that they need you to start doing social media for your organization. It probably goes something like this:

Boss: "We want you to put us on Facebook and the Twitter."
You: "..."

So you start a Twitter account for the organization. There's a lot going on, and you're jumping right in, engaging followers and finding connections. But who should your organization's Twitter account follow? The bakery up the street? Some guy you used to know? Other nonprofits? How do you decide what accounts are worth spending your limited Twitter follow allowance on?

Start by defining the key words you need to search for. What does your organization do? For example, if you work for an emergency pantry, your key words might be: hunger, food, shelter, emergency, food aid. It's that easy. Now do a Twitter search for those key terms. You can ignore all the people saying "I'm hungry, got a pizza." You're looking for Twitter accounts that match the following descriptions:

1. Other nonprofit organizations that address the same need yours does.
2. Individuals who express interest in that need.
3. Businesses that give to causes like yours (ie. that bakery up the street might be a good one to follow if you run an emergency pantry).

Don't use up your initial 2000 follows on key term search results. Instead, lay the groundwork by following big players in those results. Read their account descriptions, look at how many they follow and how many followers they have. If they look great, go ahead and follow them. You can always unfollow later if necessary. Remember, these are the accounts you're most likely to end up interacting with on Twitter, so you want them to be relevant to your cause and provide the most social value possible.

As for that guy you used to know? Go ahead and follow him- if he can help your organization expand it's social media reach among people who care about helping your organization.