Whether you’re observing Passover or Easter this week, here are some simple steps to make your holiday celebration a bit more meaningful:
Consider who you can invite to your celebrations who may not have family or friends to be with. Holidays can be very lonely to those who those who have lost loved ones or who are far away from the people they care about. Join my project to help seniors to connect more with others through technology.
Visits websites such as Exodus Conversations to learn about other faiths that you may not be familiar. Notice how while we observe holidays differently, we share many of the same beliefs
Use this week as an opportunity to reconnect with others who you haven’t spoken with in a while. (Phone is best, but even email or social media can help reestablish an old friendship.) Many of us get so wrapped up in work or other obligations that we forget to stay in touch with relatives and friends we rarely see in person.
Help others who are hungry year-round by donating to Mazon or volunteering for an organization like God’s Love We Deliver that helps to feed those with serious illnesses.
Have a great holiday, and it will be even nicer if you make it wonderful for others too.
One digital size won’t fit all. Training seniors on technology must be individualized based on their particular interests and the personal challenges they are facing.
Start with devices seniors are already familiar with, such as a ‘smart’ TV. It may not be necessary for them to use a traditional computer.
Digital skills may be needed to obtain some public services commonly needed by seniors. For example, considering the Post Office’s current challenges, soon it may not be an option to mail a traditional letter.
Make tech learning a social opportunity to interact with other seniors and to share knowledge.
Since we are living longer, designing improved interfaces and usability makes business sense for developers and hardware companies.
To address social isolation, blend online with offline, such as face-to-face activities (which seniors are already comfortable with).
Encourage those who care for seniors to also help with technology. Remember that many seniors will need to hear ideas many times before they stick – as it is for most of us.
Many seniors desperately seek more connection with family and friends. Show them how going online will make this easier – and ask family and friends to help .
Encourage seniors who are already tech savvy to teach other seniors; peer-to-peer sharing is invaluable.
Ask those who already provide digital training and support for ideas on what works (and what doesn’t) with any age.
This week I began teaching the rabbi of my synagogue how to use the web, e.g. searching for ideas on what to present in his next sermon. Since he is a very well read and learned man, I can already see his enthusiasm in discovering the unlimited resources available online. (I’m also helping him to update his computer equipment, which will make his experience much more enjoyable.)
For an example of wonderful programs to help seniors with technology in NYC, take a class with SeniorNet and visit the new Senior Planet Exploration Center sponsored by OATS (Older Adults Technology Services) which officially opened this week. I am also working with JASA to develop a training initiatives at senior centers in Brooklyn. Please contact me for join me in this important work.
This week, a friend of mine was invited for a group interview for a prospective job, but not simply to meet many staff members but where multiple candidates would be interviewed together. While this seemed unusual, my guess is that the organization wanted to find out how well she would work with others – not only whether she had the skills to do the job.
Also this week, See3 Communications and Darim Online announced plans to merge, as detailed here. Mergers aren’t that unusual, but I was intrigued by how Darim explained how it had consistently collaborated with other great nonprofit organizations such as Big Duck and Idealware to enable its supporters to succeed in digital communications before deciding to join with See3.
Most of us have been in the situation of having a job fail not because we couldn’t do it, but because we didn’t work well with the existing team. (This is why it’s so important to meet as many people as you can during the interview process.) For nonprofits, it’s equally important to work together with other organizations with compatible missions. After all, it’s really about serving our clients and furthering our cause; that’s why we’re in nonprofit.
While my friend’s ‘group interview’ is a bit unorthodox, I hope she uses it as an opportunity to show how well she can ‘play with others.’ And good luck to Darim & See3! I know people at both organizations and they’ve done great work for our community.
By now, you’re probably convinced that it’s a good idea to encourage constituents to follow your organization on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. You’ve also heard that it’s important to generate content that your audience will want to engage with and to share with others. You (hopefully) have a constituent relationship management (CRM) database where you maintain information about your supporters, which you then use to target your communications.
What is there’s a better way to use these systems together? At a webinar yesterday given by Common Knowledge, Small Act founder Casey Golden discussed how some of his clients are doing just that – integrating social media data into CRM to build a more complete profile of constituents. Clearly, supporters who are more ‘social’ are also more likely to spread the word about your cause and to promote your fundraising campaigns.
Especially if you’re planning to implement a new CRM, ask how social data can be tracked within. My take – this will eventually be as common as including a constituent’s email address, physical address and phone number. Including social data will provide you with an entirely new way to segment your audience so you can communicate differently with your ‘social’ supporters.
On Facebook, posts with photos attract many more likes and comments than posts with only a link.
In most nonprofits I’ve worked at, pictures are stored in many locations, some which are only accessible by a single staff member or department. Often the same photo is stored in multiple places because staff aren’t aware of the other storage areas. Or, only the Communications department is encouraged to photograph.
A simple tip - designate a central online location for organization photos, and encourage everyone (not just the communications department) to store pictures there. This will make it easier to quickly pull photos for Facebook or Twitter updates, website pages and blog posts. Encourge staff to take pictures wherever your organization is serving your audience – not just at formal events.
Today I received two email messages at work with photos, one with them attached to the email, the other with photos incorporated into the message. While it’s great to share visual images with your co-workers, it’s even better to show supporters the impact of your work. If photos work so well on Facebook, they will also work well on your other communication channels.
While I’ve actively used my Twitter feed to discuss ephilanthropy topics, many nonprofits struggle over whether content curation is something that will actually benefit the organization. But helping staff to develop a deep expertise in the nonprofit’s area of focus is very worthwhile, as is strengthening the overall communications strategy by sharing relevant content from inside and outside the organization.
Some additional takeaways from today’s webinar:
using tools like Scoop.It and Storify can help organize your efforts (I’ve been getting many of my ideas from emails, which is a good start but not the most efficient)
it’s important to add value to what you share, which you can’t do if you haven’t taken the time to read the page and add your own thoughts. This will really save time for those who are following you
Narrow your focus on what topics you are curating. Trying to cover too much will make your posts less useful.
Take the time to analyze what shares are generating the most retweets and clicks. This will tell you what your audience is most interested in
Learn to manage your attention. I attended a meeting recently where practically everyone spent most of their time checking their phone. Here are 7 tips to help you focus on what you’re doing now (check out the great infographic).
Content curation is a great way to increase your knowledge and help your nonprofit – and it doesn’t need to consume a large chunk of your time if you learn to do it right.
Consider what will happen if users don’t view your latest technical tricks (i.e. because of the browser or device they’re using) – will they still be able to get the data they need? See Progressive Enhancement.
On mobile, scrolling is OK but forcing viewers to constantly zoom in and out to view your content is not OK
The latest tools from Adobe are Edge and Muse – but they’re still in development (and be careful with Muse, which is simpler to use but more limiting in what you can do)
Noble Desktop will be rolling out a new website soon which will demonstrate many of the technologies mentioned above. Also check out their upcoming session on Mobile and Responsive Web Design. (I’ve attended their classes – they’re excellent.)
It’s official – Blackbaud has completed the acquisition of Convio. When these plans were announced in January, I was concerned, as I explained in this blog post. It wasn’t that long ago that Blackbaud acquired Kintera; now only one major vendor remains.
My wish list for the combined organization:
Blackbaud CEO Marc Chardon’s message mentions that integration between products such as the Raiser’s Edge and Luminate Online is high on the priority list. But let’s not stop there – most nonprofits use products from multiple vendors, and need help in integrating data between them. This requires a commitment to open APIs and in freely connecting to other platforms.
Blackbaud now has a dizzying array of software options, some which seem to duplicate each other. Help us understand what’s best for our organizations’ needs and then recommend the appropriate solution – even if it’s not a Blackbaud product.
Be respectful of the talented Convio staff and help them integrate into Blackbaud with a minimum of pain. Mergers are rarely easy.
Convio founder Vinay Bhagat chose not to move on to Blackbaud and left us with this inspiring message. Fortunately, most of Convio’s management has already been integrated into the new organization. Marc, as you have promised, show us how the combined company will help our nonprofits raise more money, engage our constituents and implement successful multi-channel campaigns.
84% of your Facebook fans don’t get your updates in their newsfeed. Facebook uses Edgerank to determine whether or not your content will appear. (Learn more about how Edgerank works here and here.)
Although you might have a beautiful Facebook Timeline page with a really nice cover photo, less than 5% of your fans will ever see it (they’ll only see your posts in their newsfeed)
Morning and evening posts are likely to get more attention than in the afternoon because this is when your fans are likely to be online
Check your Facebook Insights statistics to learn what your optimal posting frequency is, i.e. how often each day you should post).
Unlike Twitter, you should not shorten links on Facebook. By using the full URL, visitors will know to expect and are more likely to click through (Services such as Timely and Buffer are useful for spacing out posts throughout day, but they will automatically shorten URLs.).
Post pictures liberally – will get much more response than plain text links
Ask questions to encourage interaction, but make it easy to respond (use yes/no or true/false questions, then use ‘like’ for one option and ‘comment’ for the other)
Having a presence on Facebook is a must these days (many constituents will look there before they visit your website), but following John’s great tips will make it more likely that you’ll get the results you seek – to encourage your audience to be more involved with your organization.