Oh, the promo’d web you can weave

It’s September. I love the fall crispness and colours — my favourite season really. I know Winter is coming (a nod to fellow GRRM fans), but there is always a “newness” I find with each Fall. But for some nonprofits, Fall also means getting ready to gear up for December donor campaigns. Here are a few online and/or social media resources to get you thinking about your message, management, and web presence as you start to plan.

Tell stories: Grant writing, marketing, and social media experts are always talking about ways to reach out effectively to your audience. One key trick is tell stories, especially those that can show your impact they can relate to. Care2‘s blog “frogloop” recently wrote about a few applications/tools to help tell stories online with different elements like pictures, video, and slides. One of them also helps create better content across different social media platforms. 4 Tools to Help Any Nonprofit Tell Stories Online

E-mail newsletters: I’m a big fan of newsletters. I’ve just started getting into creating my own for my job. CharityVillage has posted this article called “Ten Tips to Get the Most out of Your Email Newsletters” that are great. They are not rocket science or even new, but it is a great list, and sometimes you just need to be reminded. And if you have not worked with newsletters before, this is an excellent list of things to help you start with a bang! There are a number of tools out there for creating e-mail newsletters, and I have come to loooove Mailchimp as it’s free for nonprofits, has great flexibility when it comes to design, and offers extensive reporting tools.

Online resources: David Venn blogs about Nonprofit Public Relations and recently published an e-book called 50 Online Resources for Managing Your Nonprofit. It is a list of resources organized by such categories as Nonprofit Management, Social Networks, Presentation & Publication, and Fundraising. It’s free if you subscribe to his newsletter. I liked the listing. I have heard of or used many of his suggestions, but there were quite a few I didn’t know about (like Bplans, wicked!)

Try out an online template: I haven’t looked at this myself, but Smart Brief on Social Media has created a customizable social media plan template. If you try it out, let me know how it works out for you.

And while you’re at it …CharityVillage has published a great article on Creating a Social Media Toolkit for your Nonprofit. I love the sample screenshots.

The Facebook: If you are thinking to create a Facebook page or build on the one you have now, here’s a list of 30 tips and tricks you can consider, thanks to the folks at HubSpot Blog and their Ultimate Facebook Marketing Cheat Sheet.

(Links updated November 2013)

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Are you Blogging? 21 “hot” topic ideas for you

Fresh Fundraising Newsletter

Fresh Fundraising Newsletter

I subscribe to a newsletter at freshfundraising.ca and in their latest issue, they’ve listed 21 “Hot Topic Blog Topics for Nonprofits.” Maybe some of them will inspire you! I think you’ll find some of these can be good for anything from regular newsletters to grant/fundraising letters and more. (November 2013: The site no longer exists.)

21 Hot Blog Topics for Nonprofits

1. Share your organization’s latest research.
2. Post educational information or “how to” tips. If you work for a health organization, you can provide healthful living tips. If you run an animal shelter, you can give readers advice on how to take care of their pets.
3. Discuss a problem in your community.
4. Tell readers about your programs, events and initiatives.
5. Comment on the latest local, national or international news in your sector.
6. Reformat your press releases into blog posts to highlight your organization’s latest news.
7. Profile a staff member, volunteer or member of your community. Share stories about their work and why they are involved with your organization.
8. Interview your executive director, another key employee or a board member about a hot topic.
9. Interview your sector’s leaders (e.g. activists, community leaders, authors or politicians) about one of your key issues.
10. Acknowledge individual donors by asking if you can profile them. The blog post can discuss their relationship to your organization and explain why they contribute.
11. Inspire readers with your success stories and case studies.
12. Accept guest posts from your constituents. Allow them to tell their stories.
13. If your organization is open about discussing controversial topics, you can rant about something. Just be prepared for negative backlash.
14. Post photos and write short captions under them.
15. Post videos of your latest projects, appeals and events.
16. Report about an event or conference you have attended. You can even blog live from the event.
17. Review something (e.g. a book, program or event).
18. Develop a resource list. If constituents regularly ask you for information on a specific topic, you can give them a list of online resources.
19. Link to a post on another blog and tell your readers why they should check it out.
20. If you’re active on Twitter, you can share your weekly “top tweets.” That way, your readers who don’t use Twitter can keep up with your latest news, and your readers who use Twitter will be compelled to follow you.
21. Mention your other social networks. For example, you can highlight discussions you are having with your community on Facebook and encourage readers to join the conversation.

If you still need ideas, ask your community what they want to read. They can provide you with insight into what topics are the most relevant to their concerns.

It’s 2010, do you know where your funding is?

The title is from a quote by Katya Andresen who wrote a handy document called “The 8 Online Fundraising Changes You Must Make in 2010” (PDF document), which is a free ebook from Network for Good. (The actual quote is “It’s 2010, do you know where online donations are?”) This document inspired me to post some other fundraising tools. We are well into 2010, but many of us are still coming up with that perfect fundraising plan that incorporates traditional fundraising and grantwriting as well as internet and mobile forms of communication.

Documents

Links to online articles

  • Gift acceptance issues: Dealing with difficult donors and restrictions, by Elisa Birnbaum (CharityVillage) “Fundraisers grapple with this issue all the time: they must raise enough funds to keep their organization running, but also must balance this against any perceived conflict of interest with regards to where those funds come from. This week, we talk to Rebecca Davies, director of fundraising at Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Canada to find out how that organization successfully implemented an aggressive corporate giving policy.” (Link updated November 2013)
  • Fundraising Q & A, by Cynthia J. Armour, CFRE (CharityVillage) “Each month, Cynthia J. Armour offers expert advice and feedback about the fundraising issues and challenges facing nonprofits. This month she expands on last month’s topic of how to grow your individual donor base, outlining where to find your donors.” (Link updated November 2013)

And don’t forget … FOLLOW-UP! It is essential. I just came across a fantastic article for writing those time-consuming grant/project reports. The article is certainly specific to grants and projects, but there are a few useful tips that could be applied to other kinds of follow-up, especially around impact and telling stories.