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GuideStar Blog

Paolina Milana

Recent Posts by Paolina Milana:

Tips for Entering Your Nonprofit into the Social Media Environment

Do you Tweet? What's your Facebook page got? Ever think of how to promote your nonprofit on YouTube? Follow any bloggers? What's an "influencer," and should you be, well, influenced? More important, are your target audiences socializing in cyberspace, not just for fun but for the purpose of deciding how and where to invest their time or financial resources?

Make no mistake, social media is changing the way we—from the individual to the corporation—are communicating. And the environment is rich with opportunities for nonprofit organizations to get noticed. The following tips will help you understand a bit more about this new medium and how it may benefit you and your goals.

10 Tips for Writing a Feature Press Release

The winter holidays represent the perfect season for charities to send out feature press releases. These releases offer you added opportunity for straight pickup by media outlets worldwide. Donors are thinking about their end-of-year giving, and news organizations are reporting on how to give to charity. Feature releases and even just engaging photos with smart captions give you a way to take advantage of this attention and get your message before new audiences. The following tips will help you adapt your message into a feature release.

Communicating 3.0 for Nonprofits: Succeeding in Your Messaging and in Maximizing Methods

Nobody ever said communicating was easy.

Taking a message and relaying it to an audience so that they not only understand it but act on it is an onerous task indeed. Especially for nonprofits, which often have to do so with limited resources. Adding to the challenge is the fact that in the Web 2.0 world, our jobs as communicators have changed dramatically. Social media, mobile devices, and the democratized Web have turned the ways in which we think about crafting messages and targeting audiences inside out.

The technology that powers much of today's communication, allowing us to blog, text, record, type, post, create, talk, and share, is at once enabling and disabling, exhilarating and overwhelming, connecting and disconnecting. We live in a world where presidential candidates use Twitter to announce their running mates and where nonprofit workers around the globe can document a human need their organization is serving by capturing video on their cell phones and uploading it to YouTube—faster than international news correspondents can feed footage to CNN.

But are increased speed, universality, and technological savvy making our jobs as communicators easier? Yes and no.

Similar to the Industrial Revolution of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, today's "Communication Revolution" offers new opportunities to promote your organization's messages and leverage the latest technologies to amplify those messages. What we need to do, however, is a bit of self-education.

Take, for example, the traditional press release. Most nonprofits are familiar with this standard 400-word communication piece, and it's still an efficient, effective way to reach and build positive relationships with media, consumers, and other stakeholders. But in today's Web 2.0 world, we need to make sure we blend the best of yesterday's traditional PR strategies and tactics with the latest not-so-traditional strategies, tactics, AND technologies. The ability to understand, integrate, and leverage them is key to your future success.

The old adage holds true: The more things change, the more they stay the same. When creating a press release, the fundamentals of good communication, adaptations of the simple rules we learn early in our careers, are as important as ever, and continue—with the power of new technologies—to further successful communication strategies.