No matter what your role is in at your organization, you can be a leader by acting how you would like others to behave.
Look for ways to build collaboration and partnership between departments through regular interaction, not just during special projects. For example, try a ’lunch and learn’ where one department explains its work to others who may not be familiar with it. If possible, arrange to seat near those in other groups and go to to lunch with co-workers beyond your deparatment
Make sure management understands what you are doing; provide dashboards or other regular reports to clearly demonstrate impact of the digital/online team
There isn’t any ideal ‘structure’ that works for online success, but a culture of collaboration usually exists in organizations that do this well
‘The answer to every question is yes.’ Look for ways you can accommodate requests for online initiatives; explain what other priorities you’re already dealing with
Encourage everyone to contribute social media content, not just the communications folks
Other sessions I attended with some quick takeaways:
Fundraising: The Rise of Boomers and Digital (Jeff Regan, Merkle Inc; Helene Vallone, U.S. Fund for Unicef) – it’s not a choice between acquisition and retention, we must do both.
Mindful Engagement at Work and in Life (Aaron Pava, Civic Action) and Mindful or Mind Full Social Media: Techniques and Tricks to Focus in an Age of Distraction (Jana Byington-Smith, Mercy; Rob Cottingham, Social Signal and blogger/master trainer Beth Kanter) – both sessions provided an important reminder for us to manage our attention (not only our time) and to engage with our colleagues at the conference, not only with our phone/computer screens
The Three Faces of the Digital Manager: Lover, Fighter and Michael Jackson (Laura Brahm, Open Society Foundations; Danielle Brigida, National Wildlife Foundation; Jed Miller, Revenue Watch Institute; Yesenia Sotelo, SmartCause Digital) – develop relationships – your colleagues have to love you more than they hate change.
Project Management: Choosing the Right PM Tools and Approach for Disparate Projects (Peter Campbell, Legal Services Corporation) – try using PM tools similar to software your staff already uses, e.g. SmartSheet
Data Is From Mars, Nonprofits Are from Venus (Robert Weiner, Robert L. Weiner Consulting & Tracy Kronzak, Heller Consulting) – after people, data is your most important asset (via John Kenyon)
Keys to Post-Implementation Tech Success (Missy Longshore, Longshore Consulting) – training must be ongoing – it’s not a one-time thing. Using Poll Everywhere for online feedback kept attendees actively engaged.
Thanks to the Nten staff which had a particularly challenging job this year due to recent staff departures including long time Executive Director Holly Ross (we missed you Holly), but which pulled through admirably.
Here’s a brief preview of what we’ll be discussing:
What are common characteristics of nonprofits which succeed online?
In additional to structure, how important is organizational culture?
If you can’t restructure, what else can you do to improve the results of your online campaigns
How does the size of your nonprofit affect your digital results?
What steps can you take to break down silos and improve collaboration at your organization?
I’ve asked mjy speakers to keep their presentations brief so we can engage in an interactive conversation with each other and with the audience. If you’re planning to be at next month’s conference (which is always great), please attend my session.
Trying to sort out the most valuable data on the web has resulted in many of us becoming content curators – I offered some advice from Beth Kanter, who has consistently created great content through her blog and Facebook and Twitter channels.
More 2012 highlights next week and a look forward at 2013. Happy new year!
Does your nonprofit struggle to measure the impact of your work? Is the main reason you collect data to satisfy grant requirements? Do you have data but then not take the time to use it when making spending/budgeting or program decisions? According to The State of Nonprofit Data (an Nten Report prepared by Idealware), you’re not alone. This report is well worth your time. (Aso, see Beth Kanter’s take.)
And if you think Nten is just for techies, think again. Many of our ongoing webinars, reports and sessions at our annual Nonprofit Technology Conference are focused on fundraising and how to communicate effectively with your constituents. We also learn from from sharing each other’s successes and failures. And, by the way, you won’t find friendlier people than my colleagues in the Nten community.
Hope you will consider joining Nten. It’s's a great buy to learn from others’ success (and failures), build your network and to learn how to be more effective at your nonprofit.
I learned this week that my proposal for the 2013 Nonprofit Technology Conference has been accepted! My session will focus on how the structure of your organization affects the success of your online initiatives. For example:
do you need a separate group to handle online campaigns?
how well do departments collaborate on website changes, email blasts, etc.
Are your social media posts coordinated with other forms of online communication?
When measuring success, do you track results across channels?
Do you have a culture that encourages learning from failure?
At this session, I’ll be highlighting nonprofits that have done well online, especially those that have made specific changes in their organization structure to help make this happen. I’ll also discuss why other organizations have not done as well, and how we can learn from their experience. Would you like to share your experience on how you’ve succeeded online (or not) and participate in this panel discussion? If so, please let me know.
With Facebook’s latest algorithm update, it’s less likely that those who have liked your Facebook page will actually see your posts. Beth Kanter offers many great tips on how to respond. Maybe it’s wise to spend a bit more time on Twitter, which doesn’t restrict what tweets will appear to your followers.
This week has seen a dizzying array of new products: Windows 8, Wndows RT, Microsoft’s Surface tablet, the Ipad mini and a new full sized Ipad. As David Pogue points out, Microsoft tries to bridge the desktop/laptop and phone/tablet worlds, but the result is unsatisfying. If you’re happy with Windows 7, there’s no urgent reason to upgrade – there’s also a big learning curve with the new software. Here’s a comparison between Windows 8 and Windows RT. As far as tablets, I’m happy with my Google Nexus, which cost only $199 vs. $329 (and up) for the new Ipad mini.
I’ve been using Timely.is for scheduling my social media updates, but that product is going away in mid November. I’ve already switched to HootSuite, which I was already using for listening and responding to mentions / retweets; Buffer is also worth a look.
Sometimes even if you apply the right strategies to develop and implement online campaigns, you won’t get the desired results if your organization structure doesn’t support your efforts. At this session, I’ll bring together members of our community who have recognized this issue, and implemented structural changes at their nonprofit to improve internal collaboration and create a more conducive environment for online success.
At nonprofit conferences and events that many of us attend, we tend to hear much of the same advice. Yet when it comes to taking these ideas back to our organizations to implement, we can’t seem to make them work. At this session, I’ll review some of the major themes we’re all familiar with, e.g. mutlichannel fundraising, email segmentation, centralized CRM, and explore how we can overcome the obstacles to actually making substantive changes at our nonprofits.
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.
According to the recently released 2012 Nonprofit Social Network Benchmark Report, the nonprofits that have been most successful have a clear strategy for social media, management support and have dedicated social media staff. The average size of an organization’s Facebook (8,317) and Twitter (3,290) communities continues to grow yet few nonprofits are raising funds from social media. Download your free copy.
(To kick start fundraising results, it will be interesting to see if development departments start to play a larger part in managing social networks – currently it’s usually marketing / communication that’s in charge.)
If you decide to go outside your organization for social media help, ask these 7 questions to anyone you’re considering hiring. (My take – it’s always preferable to assign this work to a staff person who is more familiar with your nonprofit.) And here are 10 things you may be doing wrong with social media.
Have you noticed the larger photos on Facebook’s mobile application? Wonder where they got this idea (see new kid on the blockPinterest).
Blackbaud’s webinar series today included an important reminder that work on your website doesn’t stop after the redesign. Websites must continue to evolve and most importantly,.must always have fresh content to keep your constituents coming back. Need ideas? Here are 58 ways to create great content.