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193 posts categorized "Social Media"

[Infographic] 'Nonprofits Online: The 2014 M+R Benchmarks Study'

April 10, 2014

M+R, a D.C.-based consulting firm, in partnership with NTEN, have released the 2014 M+R Benchmarks Study. Now in its eighth year, the study of fifty-three of the country's leading nonprofits found that even though response rates for nonprofit email solicitations continued to slide in 2013, online giving was up and social media audiences and Web site traffic continued to climb.

The Benchmarks Study always offers an interesting snapshot of the sector, and judging from the infographic below, this year's edition is no exception:

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[Infographic] 10 Years in Social Media

March 29, 2014

We had three good candidates to choose from for this week's infographic: one from the Kauffman Foundation that explores the reasons behind lower business startup rates among women and proposes actions that would help to realize the promise of female entrepreneurs; a second, from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, that illustrates the critical role of forests to a healthy planet; and the one below.

We know what you're thinking -- the thought occurred to us, too. But, hey, bet you didn't know that, on the day he died, John D. Rockefeller -- who never tweeted or posted an update to Facebook -- was worth more than six times what Mark Zuckerberg is worth today.

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Weekend Link Roundup (March 22-23, 2014)

March 23, 2014

Spring_flowersOur weekly roundup of new and noteworthy items from and about the nonprofit sector....

Advocacy

"[A]ctivist and advocacy organizations have increasingly come to look and act an awful lot like multinational corporations," and that's not a development we should applaud, write Genevieve LeBaron and Peter Dauvergne on openDemocracy's Transformation blog. It's not just the corporatization of NGOs and questions of money that make LeBaron and Dauvergne uneasy. "What’s more disturbing," they write,

is how corporatization is transforming what activists and NGOs now think is "realistic" and "possible" to change in the world.

Increasingly, NGOs are dividing advocacy into projects with concrete and easily-measurable outcomes in order to demonstrate "returns on donations." Needing to pay salaries, rent and electricity bills, NGOs have centralized their management structures and moved away from tactics that might threaten firms or governments or donors.

Advocacy for far-reaching change in world politics is increasingly off the table: radically-reorienting international organizations, redistributing global income, reining in multinational corporations beyond voluntary codes of conduct, reversing unfair terms-of-trade, protecting workers, and pushing for a different economic order that is based around sharing and an end to growth....

Data

On the Markets for Good blog, Greta Knutzen chats with Lee Sherman, co-founder and chief content officer at Visual.ly, about data vizualization and its value to the social sector.

International Affairs/Development

Humansophere blogger Tom Paulson has a nice Q&A with development economist Willam Easterly, whose newest book, The Tyranny of Experts: Economists, Dictators, and the Forgotten Rights of the Poor, argues that "the 'technocratic' and apolitical approach favored by the aid and development community (including the World Bank) has served to keep the poor oppressed because it ignores one of the primary drivers of poverty – the poor's lack of individual rights, of economic and political freedoms."

Are unconditional cash transfers to poor people in developing countries as effective as some claim? The team at GiveDirectly, a site that is pioneering the concept, responds to the Mulago Foundation's Kevin Starr and Laura Hattendorf, who recently suggested in the Stanford Social Innovation Review that such transfers may turn out to be "more of a 1-year reprieve from deprivation than a cost-effective, lasting 'solution to poverty'."

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Weekend Link Roundup (March 1-2, 2014)

March 02, 2014

Ukraine_protestorOur weekly roundup of new and noteworthy posts from and about the nonprofit sector....

Big Data

In the Washington Post, Brian Fung reports that more than a dozen civil rights organizations, including the NAACP and the National Council of La Raza, "are backing a set of principles targeting the widespread use of data in law enforcement, hiring and commerce."

With the advent of big data, are "we to assume that government and business will be 'upended', 'revolutionized', 'disrupted' or some other exciting verb but [that] nonprofits and civil society will remain unchanged?" asks Lucy Bernholz on her Philanthropy 2173 blog. Not likely, says Bernholz. "On the contrary, the implications of networked digital data for both addressing our shared social problems and changing how we voluntarily act, how we associate with each other as independent citizens, how we organize for change or protest, are profound. Isn't it time for a real discussion of privacy, association, and autonomy -- about civil society -- in a networked data age?"

Education

Guest blogging on Education Week's Living in Dialogue blog, Paul Horton, who teaches history at the University of Chicago Lab School, argues that "the lack of process is precisely why Common Core needs to be abandoned, especially by public service and teacher unions."

Health

In a post on the Forbes site, Geoffrey Kabat, an epidemiologist with an interest in lifestyle and environmental exposures as factors in chronic disease, suggests that reports that we may "finally be seeing the beginnings of a reversal in the upward trend in obesity" -- a conclusion based on one statistic from a study conducted by researchers at National Center for Health Statistics (part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) -- belies a more sobering reality: there was no change in obesity either in children and adolescents or in adults over the ten-year study period.

Innovation

Innovation in social change works is great, writes Dr. Robert Ross in a special supplement to the Stanford Social Innovation Review, but it's not everything. "In fact," adds Ross, "when it comes to addressing today’s urgent social problems, from education and public health to civil and human rights, innovation is overrated."

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Most Popular PhilanTopic Posts (February 2014)

March 01, 2014

Tragedy in Syria. Civil strife in Ukraine and Venezuela. Not enough snow in Sochi and more than enough pretty much everywhere else. The Fab Four at fifty and other reminders of boomer mortality. Here at PND, February 2014 was best summed up by a colleague who dubbed it "the longest short month ever." It was also the busiest month ever for PhilanTopic, as readers flocked to Laura Callanan's four-part series on social sector leadership and found lots of other things to like as well. Here, then, are the six or seven most popular posts on PhilanTopic for the month that just wouldn't end....

What did you read/watch/listen to in February that made you think, surprised you, or caused you to scratch your head? Share your finds in the comments section....

[infographic] The Psychology of Social Sharing

February 15, 2014

"I share, you share, we all share because...we...care."

Okay,it's not exactly the stuff of indie film legend -- although it does express something important about this particular moment in time. Sharing is in. Sharing is cool. We share, therefore we are. But, as this infographic from business analytics shop StatPro illustrates, we do it for different reasons -- and in different ways.

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Most Popular PhilanTopic Posts (January 2014)

February 01, 2014

Yes, it's been cold, but look on the bright side: There are only twenty-eight days in February. While you're waiting for warmer temps to arrive, why not pour yourself a cup of something warm and join us as we revisit the most popular posts here on PhilanTopic in January:

What have you been reading/watching/listening to? Feel free to share your favorites in the comments section below....

[Infographic] 2014 Nonprofit Communication Trends

January 25, 2014

This week's infographic, which first appeared on Kivi Leroux Miller's Nonprofit Communications Marketing blog and is based on responses from more than twenty-one hundred nonprofit professionals to Leroux Miller's annual communications trends survey, is packed with interesting (and sometimes surprising) findings.

Who would have guessed, for instance, that engaging one's community (49 percent) and building general brand awareness (40 percent) would be mentioned by nonprofit communicators as higher priorities in 2014 than retaining current donors (30 percent)? Or that e-newsletters continue to be the most popular vehicle for communicating with one's supporters, ahead of both email and direct mail appeals? Or that Facebook is still viewed, by a large margin, as the most important social media site for nonprofits?

But don't take our word for it:

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The Power of Digital Fundraising

January 18, 2014

(Charise Flynn is the chief operating officer at Dwolla, a payment network that allows any business, organization, or person to send, request, and accept money. Dwolla reduces transaction costs and offers free tools, making it a popular option among a new generation of nonprofits.)

Digital_fundraisingA few clicks on a screen brings up a familiar face — your sister, two thousand miles away, ready with her weekly update. With a few taps on your smartphone, a taxi pulls up and speeds you to your favorite restaurant to meet your spouse. Another few taps, and you deposit a little extra in your babysitter's account after she agrees to stay late with the kids.

Smartphones, instant access to information and entertainment, and a host of digital technologies are changing the way consumers think, feel, and act. This poses unique challenges and opportunities for many industries, including the nonprofit sector.

According to a recent survey by the Nonprofit Finance Fund, 42 percent of nonprofits say they lack the right mix of financial resources to thrive and be effective over the next three years. It's a finding which strongly suggests that nonprofits need to rethink the way they raise funds.

Let's face it: the Internet is everywhere and with all the connectedness comes new, affordable opportunities for nonprofits to expand their reach, reduce the friction associated with fundraising, and collect more donations from more people.

Spontaneous Donations and Social Media

Everything about direct mail and sending a donation to a nonprofit via paper check screams friction — and the steadily falling number of checks cut, from 37.8 billion in 2002 to 18.3 billion in 2012, illustrates the point.

But if paper checks are an analog technology whose time has just about gone, the Internet is enabling nonprofits to reach new donors and provide them with a quicker, safer, and more pleasant donation experience. For instance, a Donor Perspectives white paper from Blackbaud recently noted that 80 percent of survey respondents make "one-off" donations online, underscoring one of the most important aspects of digital technology — its ability to reach people "in the moment."

Did you see President Obama's video on Vine thanking the Batkid for "saving" Gotham City? A growing number of businesses and influencers are using Instagram and Vine to market their products and services, and nonprofits can learn from those efforts – showcasing inspiring photos and videos that illustrate your organization's impact can be a powerful way to move followers to action. In addition to the traditional social media tools, nonprofits should also look into new platforms such as Thunderclap, which uses crowdsourcing to amplify a nonprofit's message and make sure it reaches the right audience.

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The Value Add of Engagement

January 15, 2014

(Jay Ruderman is the president of the Ruderman Family Foundation. You can engage with him on Twitter and/or follow the foundation to learn more about inclusion. A version of this post appears on our sister GrantCraft blog.)

Headshot_Jay-RudermanThere are over 500,000,000 users on Twitter – and I am one of them.

As president of a family foundation, I spend my day managing the foundation's operations and staff, working with partners in the philanthropic and organizational world, and searching for new, innovative projects to invest in. Our foundation advocates for and advances the full inclusion of people with disabilities into the Jewish community. Our focus is on creating lasting change and I work tirelessly in pursuit of creating a fair and flourishing community.

I speak at conferences, conduct interviews with journalists, meet with legislators, and do whatever is necessary to push the issue of inclusion onto the agenda. Like you, I have a very full schedule filled with meetings, phone calls, site visits, and still more meetings.

And then I started tweeting.

Most of my philanthropic friends and foundation colleagues do not use social media, for a variety of reasons. I myself was unsure of how effective Twitter could be in helping to change the status quo. But I embarked on this experiment six months ago to see if I could build community around the issues the foundation advocates for. I understood that it takes time to build an audience and find one's voice online. Change does not happen overnight.

Of utmost importance was having a Twitter strategy in place. I knew in advance whom the influencers I wanted to engage were, how to connect with them, and what type of content to push out. Certainly I had much to learn:  how to engage, how to effectively use the platform, when and how to post, and how to conduct conversations. I have learned through trial and error and the early results are encouraging – there has been a definite increase in the number of conversations I participate in, retweets, and mentions. (Notice I didn't mention number of followers – that's not a metric I'm using to measure success.) Additionally, my tweeting has brought increased exposure for our foundation's official account, and we have seen a marked upswing in traffic to our blog.

So far, so good.

People ask me why I tweet – especially those who think Twitter is where people post about their morning coffee! I see Twitter as an integral tool to furthering our mission. Here's why:

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Weekend Link Roundup (January11-12, 2014)

January 12, 2014

Calendar01_JanuaryOur weekly roundup of new and noteworthy posts from and about the nonprofit sector.

Communications/Marketing

Kivi Leroux Miller has a nice infographic on her Nonprofit Communications Blog illustrating key findings from her 2014 Nonprofit Communications Trend Report.

Interesting post on the Open Democracy blog by Janey Stephenson, an activist and filmmaker, about the language of activism and how word choices subtly shape the way activists position themselves with respct to contentious social issues.

Data

The Markets for Good team has announced the launch of its first reader-proposed theme, "Beyond Data Silos," which was suggested by Andrew Means, founder of Data Analysts For Social Good. Means frames the conversation, which is open to contributions from all comers, thusly:

[W]hether they hold grain or information, silos are stores of value. Recognizing that, and without parsing this metaphor to death, we can ask new questions. Chief among them is how to get the most value from data that lies in different parts of an organization and from data that could be shared for greater good between organizations. Also, how can we ensure faster communication of key information across an organization, across the sector?

Looking forward to reading what others have to say about these and related questions over the next three weeks or so.

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Weekend Link Roundup (December 28-29, 2013)

December 29, 2013

New_year_2014_shutterstockOur final roundup for the year of new and noteworthy posts from and about the nonprofit sector. See you in 2014!

Giving

In a Q&A on the Harvard Business Review blog, Michael Norton, an associate professor at Harvard Business School and co-author of Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending, suggests that the way corporations and individuals approach charitable giving is starting to change -- for better and worse.

Higher Education

On the Inside Higher Ed blog, Dan Greenstein, director of postsecondary success at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, argues that "higher education is at a tipping point, and that it will soon look nothing like it does today, except perhaps at a few ivy-covered, well-endowed institutions." Lots of pushback in the comments section.

Impact/Effectiveness

Tracy Palandjian, co-founder and CEO of Social Finance US, and Jane Hughes, director of Knowledge Management at the organization, have an excellent piece on the Stanford Social Innovation Review blog that looks at three possible future scenarios for the social impact bond market. They are:

  1. Boom-Bubble-Bust
  2. SIBs Are the Wave of the Future — and They Always Will Be
  3. A Successful Market for Social Outcomes

Palandjian and Hughes then examine some of the factors that will determine which scenario plays out. If you're at all interested in the impact investing space, this is a must-read.

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[Infographic] What’s Trending With Foundations and Social Media

December 14, 2013

This week's infographic comes courtesy of our talented Foundation Center and Glasspockets colleagues. Based on a January 2013 survey of more than five thousand large independent, family, corporate, and community foundations in the U.S., it illustrates the response of over eleven hundred foundations to the question: Does your foundation use social media to advance its mission?

There's a lot of info to review here, and we know you'll want to spend some time with it. So, we'll just leave you with five tips (included at the bottom) designed to jump-start your foundation's social media efforts:

  1. Follow your grantees and other foundations.
  2. Cross-promote your social media presence on you Web site, and make sure your site's URL is listed on each of your social media properties.
  3. Don't just talk at your followers, talk with them.
  4. Ask thoughtful questions.
  5. Be transparent. Share stories from your grantees. tell people about your impact.

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Weekend Link Roundup (November 16-17, 2013)

November 17, 2013

Headshot_JFK_portrait_looking_upWe're getting ready to launch a new PND site, so this week's roundup of new and noteworthy posts from and about the sector is a little shorter than usual....

Climate Change

What's the link between global warming and killer tropical storms like Typhoon Haiyan -- quite possibly the strongest storm ever recorded upon landfall? It's not clear, writes Bryan Walsh in TIME magazine, but we shouldn't discount the possibility that such a link exists -- or that stronger, if not necessarily more frequent, tropical cyclones will be a feature of the twenty-first century because of "the warming we've already baked into the system...."

Disaster Response

On the GiveWell blog, Holden Karnofsky shares GiveWell's advice vis-a-vis disaster relief giving:

  1. Give cash, not clothes (or other goods).
  2. Support an organization that will help or get out of the way.
  3. Give proactively, not reactively.
  4. Allow your funds to be used where most needed – even if that means they’re not used during this disaster.
  5. Give to organizations that are transparent and accountable.
  6. Think about less-publicized suffering.

Evaluation

Good post by Tom Kelly, vice president of knowledge, evaluation and learning at the Hawaii Community Foundation, about foundations moving "to embrace and promote 'learning' as an alternative to evaluation." The problem with that, writes Kelly, is that "evaluation must be about learning and accountability. We must be accountable not only to the results we intend and promise to communities but...also learn in an accountable way." 

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[Toolkit] 'The Art of Listening: Social Media Toolkit for Nonprofits'

October 12, 2013

Cover_art_of_listening_greenliningInstead of our usual Saturday infographic, we're changing things up a little this week and highlighting a different kind of resource. The Art of Listening: Social Media Toolkit for Nonprofits (32 pages, PDF), a new publication from the Greenlining Institute in Berkeley, California, offers a variety of helpful tips and best practices for nonprofits that have yet to take the social media plunge or are looking to get more bang for their social media buck.

The guide is organized into seven sections, each with its own tips:

  1. How to Listen
  2. How to Communicate on Social Media
  3. How to Build an Audience and Following
  4. How to Manage Social Media Accounts
  5. How to Generate Consistent and Engaging Content
  6. How to Develop an Organizational Social Media Policy
  7. How to Measure Effectiveness

Nonprofits new to social media will want to start with the How to Listen section, which includes advice about how they can use tools like Twitter Search, Netvibes, and Facebook Graph Search to identify buzz terms/trending topics in each program/issue area they plan to communicate about. The How to Manage Your Social Media Accounts section name-checks useful apps such as Hootsuite, Seesmic, and Tweetdeck. And the How to Develop a Social Media Policy section offers a handful of tips and tools, including a "negative feedback" matrix from Idealware, that even seasoned social media managers will appreciate.

So, whether your organization is confused about what it should be doing to maximize its social media efforts or just getting started, The Art of Listening is well worth a look. To download a copy, click here.

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