Yesterday’s Social Good Conference was the final event of the Summer of Social Good, benefiting four nonprofit organizations which were featured at yesterday’s event: Livestrong, Humane Society, Oxfam America and WWF. The program offered many examples of how we can use online tools to further our missions, particularly social media.
Facebook’s Randi Zuckenberg suggested that to fully take advantage of Facebook’s latest capabilities such as their Insights Tool, nonprofits setup a page, not just a group. She also suggested creating videos to feature on the page. It’s not so important how many fans your page has rather how many of them are engaged with your cause. Read more at Wall Street Journal.
Global Giving and Causecast offered brief presentations to show many ways constituents can be encouraged to support causes beyond making direct donations.
What have been the most successful online fundraising campaigns: Twestival ($250,000), America’s Giving Challenge ($340,000) and Causes Birthday Wishes ($ 2 million in 6 months!).
Andy Ridley offered a stirring review of the success of the worldwide Earth Hour initiave, reminding us to ‘let people make their own messages’ to promote your cause.
Oxfam America extensively uses social media because “it’s the best way to reach supporters quickly” and “allows for instant response / feedback.” Bob Ferguson offered these suggestions on how to help Oxfam:
- follow us on Twitter and retweet our posts
- join our Facebook fan page and repost
- sign up for our e-advocacy list
- tell others about Oxfam
Humane Society has made a strong commitment to ephilanthropy and was an early adopter of social media. They have 25 (!) staff in online communications, 6 which focus on social media. Everyone in the organization “gets it” – their CEO is tech savvy and blogs regularly. They’ve raised over $400,000 in Facebook Causes (still doubt that this platform can be a significant contributor to fundraising revenue?). While brand monitoring “can be very time consuming,” Twitter offers the best way to keep in touch with what others are saying about your organization. Take advantage of tools such as Tweetdeck and Google Alerts.
WWF explained their social media strategy as a way to build community, not just do fundraising. They’ve also worked with MobileCommons to build a mobile subscriber list and were recently featured in the Facebook Gift Center. They’ve also built relationships using eBay Giving Works and SocialVibe.
LiveStrong described their recent Global Cancer Summit, which was promoted primarily in Facebook and Twitter, and attracted 4500 online attendees. Their goal: “make those online feel like they are at the Summit and are participating and learning.”
Beth Kanter has long offered a wonderful blog on social media; her in person presentation was equally stimulating. Beth suggested we use three R’s to connect with our constituents: relationship building (don’t just connect when asking for money), rewards and reciprocity. She also used her personal connection with Cambodian children to demonstrate the power of establishing an emotional connection with story telling. Read Beth’s comments on conference.
Drew Olanoff, recently diagnosed with cancer, offered a stirring description of how he’s created Blame Drew’s Cancer to promote Livestrong.
All for Good‘s Jonathan Greenblatt described how his organization is using open source to transform volunteerism and to engage all Americans in service.
My take aways from the day:
- Organizations like HumaneSociety are succeeding online because everyone in the nonprofit is involved, not just a ‘department’ which has been charged with the role of promoting and monitoring their online brand
- It’s important to support organizations that have charitable goals. My wife has a large shoes collection, but we’ve never known about Tom’s Shoes.
- While online connections are important, so are face to face conversations. Some attendees I tried to speak with at the conference seemed so involved with their computers / phones that I felt that any attempt to speak to them would not be welcome.
- We need to all find a way to make volunteering part of our lives. I’ve slipped a bit and will do my best to rectify this by year-end
- Use social media tools to engage with constituents, not just build a large list. The organizations profiled above have set a wonderful example of us to follow.
The end of the event featured a surprise ‘announcement': Mashable’ COO Adam Schwartz, who hosted the event, proposed marriage to Sharon Feder on stage. We all cheered and she said yes.