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3 Unique Ways Your Current Donors Can Help You Acquire New Donors with Social Media

 Imagine there is a new, hit show on TV. You’ve vaguely heard about it, but you haven’t seen it yet and you’re not sure if you will.

One day, you’re in line at the bank and the person in front of you is raving about how talented the leading actress is. You make a note in your head to watch the show, but you don’t add it to your DVR quite yet. The next afternoon, your friend won’t stop talking about the show at lunch. Now you just have to check it out.

Smarter Nonprofit Networking: Building a Professional Network That Works for You

“You are not ever a genius all by yourself. Your ideas are a function of the people you are connected with…” – Carol Dweck, Author, Mindset

Your professional network is your greatest asset no matter what stage you are in your nonprofit career, whether you are an emerging leader or an acknowledged thought leader in your industry or somewhere in between. When you intentionally build your professional network in the right way, you create a circle of individuals who are all rooting for your success and happy to help you. An effective professional network can be a valuable asset to your nonprofit’s goals if you are leveraging your network in service your organization’s mission.

I like to balance two different approaches to professional networking, strategic and serendipitous. The strategic approach encourages you to analyze your network, find alignment for making connections, and have purpose-driven meetings. The serendipitous approach is a more casual encounter, walking or coffee meetings, or doing favors for contacts that don’t seem to have the capacity to help you now. If you deploy these two approaches, you will be able to make connections that can help you solve problems, learn, move forward on a professional or organizational goal, or what ever it is need you need to succeed.

Many times we don’t value serendipity because we don’t see an immediate ROI. As Kathyrn Minshew, CEO of the Daily Muse, notes in her HBR post, “Never Say No To Networking” it is hard to make the time to get out of the office when you are working long days.

“Always say yes to invitations, even if it’s not clear what you’ll get out of the meeting. I’m not arguing for long, pointless, unstructured conversations with everyone you meet. But many of my most fruitful relationships have resulted from a meeting or call in which I was not entirely sure what would or would not come of the conversation. You could call it making your own luck, by increasing the odds of making the right connection. Because you can’t assume that you know much about someone you don’t know very well. You may know their occupation, industry, and job title — but you don’t know what they may be an expert in, and you certainly don’t know who they know.”

I’ve found that scheduling walking meetings is a great way to get to know people and you get some exercise into your day! (I did a webinar on this topic for Guidestar in February, listen and view the slides here.)

In “Managing Yourself: A Smarter Way To Network” by Rob Cross and Robert J. Thomas, they offer a more nuanced way to network based on the old adage, “It isn’t what you know, it’s who you know.” It isn’t about having a lot of connections or only connecting with influential people. Before they offer up their framework, they ask, “Are you networking impaired?” Professional networking gone wrong includes a mismanagement of structure, relationships, and behavior.

But what really matters is structure: Core connections must bridge smaller, more-diverse kinds of groups and cross hierarchical, organizational, functional, and geographic lines. Core relationships should result in more learning, less bias in decision making, and greater personal growth and balance. The people in your inner circle should also model positive behaviors, because if those around you are enthusiastic, authentic, and generous, you will be, too.

The authors have analyzed many professionals professional networks and found that high performers have the following types of people in their core network or inner circle:

  1. People who offer them new information or expertise, who share best practices; and contacts in other industries
  2. People who are influential and who provide mentoring, sense-making, political support, and resources
  3. People who provide developmental feedback, challenge their decisions, and push them to be better.

How do you create the inner circle of your network? The article offers these four steps:

  1. Analyze:Identify the people in your network and what you get out of interacting with them
  2. De-Layer: Make some hard decisions to back away from redundant and energy-sapping relationships
  3. Diversify: Build your network out with the right kind of people: energizers who will help you achieve your goals
  4. Capitalize: Make sure you’re using your contacts as effectively as you can

There are many techniques to analyze or visualize our professional networks and I’ve identified a methods in this post that include analyzing your contacts via social media. These techniques are both high tech and low tech, as simple as using sticky notes. When doing the analysis, you want to look at diversity. Harold Jarche, a thought leader in networked leadership, suggests you also reflect on this question: Who are the people with you have most frequently communicated with in order to get your work done? List them and do an analysis based on:

– Age

– Organization

– Gender

– Hierarchical Position

– Area of Expertise

– Geographic Location

Then ask yourself: Is your professional learning network diverse enough? Diversity correlates with innovation? Are you getting new ideas from your network? If you find Twitter or LinkedIn boring, perhaps you are following wrong people. It is time to tune your network.

There is also research that suggests having an “open network” can lead to more career success than a closed network. A closed network is a network of people who already know each other – an industry network for example. In a closed network, it’s easier to get things done because you already share a common understanding and vocabulary and you know all the shorthand terms and unspoken rules. It’s comfortable because the group converges on the same ways of seeing the world that confirm your own. But if you create an open network — that is connections across multiple fields and perspectives – it is a better predictor of success.

In the HBR article, Cross suggests asking these two very important analysis questions: What benefits do your interactions with them provide? How energizing are those interactions? Having energizers in your network, people who are not self-interested or what Adam Grant describes as “Takers,” is important because it can help you be more successful. (Read GuideStar's review on Grant's book here.) Cross also suggests doing an analysis based on the benefits your connections provide. He suggest these categories:

– Information and learning

– Political support and influence

– Personal development

– Personal support and energy

– A sense of purpose or worth

– Work/life balance

It’s important to have people who provide each kind of benefit in your network. Categorizing your relationships will give you a clearer idea of whether your network is extending your abilities or keeping you stuck.

Once you’ve done this analysis, you can determine which connections to back away from. The article suggests avoiding people who steal your energy. The techniques for backing away might includereshaping your role to avoid them, devoting less time to them, working to change their behavior, or reframing your reactions so that you don’t dwell on the interactions.” You should also analyze if you have too many connections that provide one type of benefit versus another and then look at the all the diversity characteristics that Jarche recommends. Now that you have made space in your professional network, start to fill it with the right people. Michele Martin has created this terrific worksheet based on the HBR article that you can use to help make decisions. An even simpler way to approach is this to write down three organizational or professional goals and three people who can help you achieve them.

The last step is to make sure you capitalize on your network. Are you staying on contact? Are you providing value to your connections? Don’t fall in the trap of connect with them and forget them. Here is a list of tactics that expert professional networkers use to keep in touch.

How healthy and vibrant is your professional network? Do you have a strong core? Are you building your professional network to be diverse, energizing, and supportive? Are you balancing being strategic with serendipity?

Beth Kanter, author of

This blog was written by Beth Kanter and cross-posted onto the GreatNonprofits blog here. View the original here. GreatNonprofits is the leading platform for community-sourced stories and reviews about nonprofits

3 Tips for Matching Gifts Every Nonprofit Needs in 2016

Isn’t it hard to believe that 2015 is nearing its end? It seems like just yesterday we were all counting down to the new year and saying goodbye to 2014. Where does the time go?

How to Increase Your Social Media Reach by Incentivizing Your Supporters


Whether or not your nonprofit is already plugged in to social media—and if it's not, it should be—there is always room for growth in terms of your org's sphere of influence. How you go about achieving that growth can have varying degrees of impact on your resources.

5 Things I Bet You Didn’t Know About Facebook

We all know how popular Facebook continues to be, among all age groups and income levels. Pew Internet reported in January of this year that for the first time, more than half of all online adults 65 and older (56%) use Facebook. This represents 31% of all seniors.

In order to be successful on Facebook, you know that you need to be posting helpful and informative content, eye-catching and compelling visuals & photos as well as funny and entertaining videos. This is just Facebook 101.

In recent weeks there have been several announcements about features to the social network that you may not know about – features that could directly affect your marketing efforts.

So here are my 5 most recent things – some good, some bad, some both – that I bet you didn’t know about Facebook:

1) iPhone users have more control over their News Feed now.

On my birthday, July 9th, Facebook gave me a little birthday present – they announced that users are now going to be able to have more direct control over what they see in their News Feed.

This will have a HUGE impact on nonprofits and brands that use Facebook for marketing purposes. It may be a good thing, because previous iterations of the News Feed relied on Facebook’s mysterious algorithm EdgeRank to determine what showed up when you logged on.

Currently this update is only available to iPhone users. To activate it, go to the Facebook app on your phone, tab the “More” icon – in the lower-right corner of the News Feed. Then scroll to “News Feed Preferences” and select “Prioritize Who to See First.” Let me know what you think of this update in the comments!

2) Facebook controls the news. Literally.

Did you know that almost half of all Internet users in the U.S. use Facebook to find news about government and political issues?

In a study published last week, Pew Internet found that 63% of Facebook users say they use their accounts “to find and read articles.” Right now, EdgeRank (Facebook’s News Feed algorithm)determines the news content that you are most likely to read – and the more you click these same types of articles, or engage with these same sources, the more content you will see from those same Pages. Some people may like this, but it reduces the diversity and variety of news that you see in your News Feed, which in my opinion is a bit disconcerting.

Facebook also features a “Trending News” sidebar on the right of your screen where they post the most-shared news on the site at that moment. However, the Trending News sources tend to be stories by publishers using Facebook Instant (publishing directly inside Facebook). Publishers from all different walks of life and agendas are having issues with this filtering.

3) Native videos are the most popular content on Facebook.

You may have been told that photos or even links get the most reach and engagement – but the content that works best on Facebook is native videos. Native video just means a video directly uploaded to Facebook, rather than a link shared from YouTube, Vimeo, or another source.

Once you start uploading native videos, make sure your Page is using the Facebook Video tab. Within the Video tab, highlight a featured video that will be pinned to the top in an extra-large format! As an added bonus, this featured video can have text that includes hyperlinks and a dedicated comment stream. Mari Smith uses this kind of video feature for live webinars and Q&A sessions.

Facebook says that there has been an almost 400% increase in video published by Pages over the past year! So get with the program!

4) Just watching a video counts as an interaction.

Normally on Facebook, in order to count as “engagement”, a post must be liked, commented on, clicked on (if it’s a link) or shared. However, Facebook now recognizes that people may be watching videos passively but not actively liking or sharing them. In a recent blog post, they wrote:

For example, you may have found a video from a nonprofit you follow on Facebook to be really informative and you’re glad you saw it but it’s not something you felt inclined to like, comment on or share more broadly.

Interactions that they count and measure now include turning on the sound of the video and/or enlarging the video to full screen. Both of those actions, while somewhat passive, will indicate to Facebook that you are interested in that type of content, and they will use it to help determine future videos to display on your News Feed.

5) Soon you will be able to scroll and watch videos at the same time.

Feel like watching a video, but still want to scroll your News Feed at the same time? Facebook will soon be offering a feature that will let you pop out the video you are watching, so you can continue scrolling.

This is important for marketers because we will need to make our videos even MORE attention grabbing and enticing to Facebook users, to keep their attention!

In conclusion, Facebook looks like it is here to stay. While it is definitely not my favorite social network, it is vitally important to use it strategically to see results. Paying attention to the changes and the new features will help you stay ahead of your competition and make the best use of your time spent on the platform. Good luck!

How are you using Facebook for marketing? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

The preceding is a cross post by Julia Campbell, founder of J Campbell Social Marketing, a boutique digital marketing agency based in Beverly, MA. Julia received her degree in Journalism & Communications from Boston University and earned a Master in Public Administration from Old Dominion University as well as a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Tidewater Community College. A Beverly native, a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, a mother and a social media marketing specialist, Julia helps nonprofits connect with supporters by effectively harnessing the power and potential of online marketing and social media tools. Julia’s clients include small community-based nonprofits and large universities. She also offers one-on-one coaching sessions, group seminars and college courses. Her blog was named one of the Top 150 Nonprofit Blogs in the world and she is included in the Top 40 Digital Strategists in Marketing for 2014. Julia has been featured on Maximize Social Business,, MarketWatch, Alltop, Salon, Social Media Today, Forbes and Business 2 Community.

8 Social Insights That Drive Engagement (which you probably don’t know)

You have your email list. You have your phone numbers, zips, and addresses. Heck, you even know how many actions each person has taken, their last donation or purchase, and if they open emails. But there’s something incredibly valuable missing here.


The first thing anyone will tell you as you craft your social media presence is that you have to have content to share. From blogs, to photos, to videos, there’s really no end to the different types of content you’ll be encouraged to produce. We non-profiters are used to telling stories and creating content, but the internet is now so saturated that it can be hard to get heard above the noise. That’s why I want to challenge the notion that content is king.

Inefficiencies Still Plaguing NPOs in 2015

A couple years ago we tackled the topic of inefficiencies within nonprofits and its impact on your volunteer relationships. As time and technology have advanced, it seems appropriate to re-evaluate this important subject once again.

5 Ways to Get Your Nonprofit Stand Out From the Crowd

Social media is a powerful tool at nonprofits’ disposal, and more and more are taking it seriously and making use of its advantages. By using this tool effectively, you’ll be able to stand out from the crowd and create awareness for the impact you create. But in order to really get the most out of social media, you’ve got to catch the public’s eye and develop a robust and interactive audience that is continuously growing. The following five tips will give you the edge you need to stand out in the social nonprofit crowd:

How to Get Your Press Release Noticed

Securing media coverage for your nonprofit organization can be frustrating, especially when you take the time to send a press release and never hear anything back. But journalists are on a tight deadline and don’t have the time to respond to every pitch. In order to make your press release stand out, follow these three simple strategies: pitch a relevant story angle, write like a journalist, and add a personal touch.

1. The number one question newsroom editors ask before covering a story is, “Why should I care?”

To make your story matter it needs to have a timely angle or tie into a local/national trend. For example if you are promoting water conservation, lead in with a startling statistic about California’s drought or an upcoming event like Earth Day. Another strategy is to pitch a follow-up piece on a story the journalist has covered in the past. If the reporter did a story about overcrowding at an animal shelter, suggest they meet with your no-kill nonprofit about how to get more cats and dogs adopted.

2. It is also important to make the information in your release easy to find.

“Put the contact information right up top followed by a sentence or two summarizing what it’s about,” recommends Danny Willis with the Bay Area News Group. Business jargon or over-the-top statements are red flags for media professionals. The easier you make it for journalists to cover a story, the more likely your story will be picked up.

3. Finally: When you are ready to submit your release, send it to reporters or producers personally.

Journalists rely on a handful of interview contacts for most stories, so the goal is to get on their short list. Reporters are always looking for passionate experts locally, who are willing to be interviewed at a moment’s notice. Build relationships with journalists in your city and then follow-up with them personally after sending a press release. If a media organization does reach out, never turn down an interview request because as the old adage goes “any publicity is good publicity”.

For other ideas about how to get press coverage, visit GreatNonprofits’ Social Media and Marketing Kit here.

The preceding is a cross-post by Brittany Freitas from the GreatNonprofits Blog. Brittany is a media professional, with 5+ years of experience producing and reporting local television news. You can reach her at