#OurWork: NYU Faculty Against the Sexton Plan Marketing Campaign

Social Marketing and Media Relations Campaign

Working under the aegis of the Nonprofit Marketing 360 collaborative, MKCREATIVE and LCG Communications embarked on an ambitious campaign to promote an online silent auction for a client. We used a combination of PR (LCG Communications) and social marketing (MKC). Our client, NYU Faculty Against the Sexton Plan, sought to raise funds to continue its fight in preventing New York University from embarking on a multi-billion dollar plan to redevelop parts of Greenwich Village in New York City.

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Facebook To Nonprofits: Pay to Play

If you thought Facebook was a no-cost way to reach out to potential supporters, brace yourself for a big disappointment. According to a Facebook sales presentation published by Ad Age, an organization that wants its posts to be seen by its fans had best buy advertising. Julia Campbell, blogger and social media marketing consultant, commented that Facebook marketers have been telling clients “that if you consistently post great photos, videos, questions and other interactive content, you can reach your fans. This is no longer enough.”

Bottom line: Posts that are not sponsored or promoted are currently seen by less than 15% of your followers. Facebook’s new policy will drive that down further.

Nonprofits to Facebook: Make Grants, Not Buttons

Meanwhile, the philanthropic side of Facebook’s brain offered nonprofits something new last month: the opportunity to place a “Donate” button on their Facebook pages, and a guarantee that nonprofits would receive 100% of these donations.

But after the initial reaction of jubilant hosannahs and waving palm fronds, nonprofit marketing experts took a harder look at the offer and found some issues. As Beth’s Blog sums them up, nonprofits would not get any information on the donors, making further followup and engagement impossible. In light of the pay-to-play policy, the marketing mavens say what nonprofits really need is not buttons but grants to offset advertising expenses  (along the lines of Google grantsl).

Now it’s your move: Several nonprofit marketing bloggers, led by Media Cause, have organized a petition drive urging Facebook to establish a grants program. It certainly can’t hurt to let Facebook know how the nonprofit sector feels.

Oy, Another Year. Who Knew?

Yes, it’s another year. When 2013 began last January, who could have anticipated that, a mere 12 months later, we would be doing this all over again? Not the news media, apparently, judging from the gusher of year-end reviews and new-year predictions filling our eyes and ears.

Can you stand one more? After thoroughly digesting the most important trends of our times, I confidently predict these developments in 2014:

  • 12 new studies will reveal that Facebook is useful for engaging supporters but lousy at raising money.
  • 11 newly launched social media sites will be greeted euphorically as definitely the next big thing.
  • 10 newly social media sites, after their enthusiastic debuts, will be bought out by Facebook or Google.
  • 9 governmental investigations will determine that Americans willingly share personal information with corporations but are shocked! shocked! that details of their private lives can be recorded by the NSA.
  • 8 blogs will observe that direct mail response is declining.
  • 7 blogs will observe that email direct response rates are declining even faster.
  • 6 research reports will discover that a majority of executive directors don’t trust their development directors and vice versa.
  • 5 golden rings!
  • etc. etc.

#PRESSRELEASE: The Knowledge Fountain Launches Online Learning Website (Live Instructors) Aimed at Nonprofits

The Knowledge Fountain LogoThe latest entry in the rapidly-evolving distance learning education market is a new online education service geared exclusively to people who work for nonprofit organizations. The Knowledge Fountain, which launched October 1, 2013, is offering a spectrum of courses online covering fundraising, communications, organizational development, social media, and productivity software.

The site pitches its product as “just in time” online learning for adults. “We’re delivering very practical information to employees of nonprofits who need it to do their jobs better,” explains co-founder Marco Kathuria.

Online seminars are delivered live, in installments of 60 to 75 minutes. The courses will also be available as archived video streams for students who register but miss the live class. “This way, if a situation comes up and you can’t attend the class on schedule, you still get the information,” Kathuria says.

Both Kathuria and co-founder Don Akchin have consulting practices serving nonprofit clients – Kathuria principally in video production and community media, and Akchin in communications strategy and implementation. The Knowledge Fountain, they say, fills a largely unmet need for a centralized online learning center in the nonprofit community.

“If you’re a nonprofit that needs help reaching your audience on Facebook, for example,“ Akchin says, “you once had three choices: classes aimed at for-profit businesses, a free webinar that attracts hundreds of attendees and stays very high level, or a semester-long college course that devotes about a week to social media. We’re filling the gap with solid information, specific to your need and specific to the world of nonprofits.”

Kathuria noted that The Knowledge Fountain faculty are both experienced practitioners and proven teachers. All online course designs are built on current research and best practices in online learning. “We’re only hiring instructors who have a proven track-record of working with small groups of students, either face-to-face or online,” he said “We’re maximizing personal interaction online,” says Akchin. “Classes are small, so there’s ample opportunity to ask questions.”

Another unique feature of The Knowledge Fountain is a private social network, “The Water Cooler,” whose members are limited to participants in The Knowledge Fountain classes. “Not only can you learn from the online course,” says Kathuria, “but you can learn from peers long after the class has ended. I think people in nonprofits will see that as an important added value.” Membership in the social network is included with class registration.

For more information about The Knowledge Fountain online learning center, visit the website at www.kfountain.com or email the co-founders. The Knowledge Fountain can also be found on YouTube and on Twitter at @TheKFountain.

 

#SOCIALMEDIA: Facebook Quietly Rolls Out ‘Gifts’ & Nonprofits Can Get Them Too

Message of a Facebook Gift
Didn’t Facebook develop Android integration?

Over this past spring Facebook has been expanding its Gifts service as a way to offer presents to family and friends. The service can be activated by clicking on the bowed gift box that appears on your organization’s News Feed or on the page of the person or nonprofit you want to give the gift to. Though the service is being touted as a way to connect to individuals and help them celebrate birthdays, milestones, promotions, etc., Facebook Gifts also offers opportunities to make donations to a small but growing number of nonprofits. How far will the service expand?

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Is Facebook Really Worth It When You’re Small?

Blogger Joanne Fritz gives voice to the question that is surely on the minds of every small nonprofit that lacks a 24-year-old social media whiz on staff. Her answer may not be comforting: social media is not going away. “We are at the same point we were some years ago when there was still considerable doubt about setting up websites,” she adds. Here are seven more reasons to be on Facebook.

#DEVELOPMENT: How Much Cash Is Required To Land A Donation?

Woman charts customer relationships
What does it cost?

How often do nonprofits reach out to donors potential and actual online, yet have no real sense of how successful the outreach was? Did the time and money spent developing a program or launching a campaign prove to be worth the support? Dan Norris, founder of the online-analytics service Informly offers a tool to help you make that call. He also recently posted his somewhat-scientific results on using his ‘Cost Per Acquisition‘ (CPA) calculator to see what kinds of costs he was incurring to get people engaged with his for-profit business. Let’s see how the costs to acquire customers or donors can prove strikingly steep.

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#FUNDRAISING: Causevox Improves Online Outreach & Fundraising To 2.0

Widgets to turn on or off
Easy-to-customize donation pages

We have often sung the praises of the online charity-site platform Causevox. And we do so again as the good folks at Causevox have released a significant series of upgrades and integrations in version 2.0. It moved out of beta last week, allowing any charity or nonprofit to take advantage of the expanding toolbox. This is how the programmers put it last week on the company blog:

We found out that the key to success for online fundraising this decade is easy customization, community engagement, and content marketing. Our existing platform couldn’t accommodate that vision, so we scrapped it and developed, from the ground up, a new and improved CauseVox.

CauseVox 2.0 is our first step to revolutionize online fundraising.

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#PHILANTHROPY: Zuckerberg’s Millions Suggest New Style Of Giving By Young

 

Mark Zuckerberg gives $500 million
Mark gives big again

Mark Zuckerberg always makes headlines, and few were as stunning as the ones he made in the fall of 2010 when he donated $100 million to the Newark, NJ school system − a system with which he has no personal connections whatsoever. His generosity was intended to help right the ship of one of the statistically worst school districts in the nation. But the shock of such a huge gift was met with as much skepticism as thanks, and within a year parents groups and the ACLU sued the city of Newark to open up its correspondence with the founder of Facebook so they could trace what launched the donation and what the city had been doing with the money.

Mayor Cory Booker and state officials continue to state that no email trail exists (a dangerous defense to mount in this day-and-age if untrue), and the money is being plowed back into the schools. Zuckerberg, though, has felt no qualms about giving other big gifts. Last fall he gave a stunning $500 million to the Silicon Valley Foundation. Two such gifts suggests a pattern, but what kind?

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Social Media Make Inroads in All Age Groups

Want to reach somebody under 30? The latest Pew Internet and American Life Project says 83% of them are using social media. While this may not shock you,  it may surprise you that two-thirds of all adult Internet users are partaking of social media – including 52% in ages 50-64 and nearly one-third of the age 55+ cohort. Facebook continues to be the 800-pound gorilla, with 67% of all users, followed by Twitter (16%), Pinterest (15%),Instagram (13%) and Tumblr (6%). The study also breaks out the demographics for each social medium’s users.

#SOCIALMEDIA: It’s OK To Say ‘No’ To Your Social Networks

Fatigue of keeping up with social networks
You know you want to…

We are often extolling the virtues of particular social-networking platforms or encouraging specific strategies to reach out to your audience(s) across these platforms. When moving through the ‘tubes’ of our social networks, it is easy to think that each post we prepare is the most important one ever and that if we don’t get to each post on our nonprofit’s wall we’ll be upsetting a potential volunteer or donor.

The fact is, you won’t upset anyone: followers of social networks can feel just as overwhelmed as the producers of content on social media. What can you do to unwind, and what might happen when you do?

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#SOCIALNETWORKS: Pew Research Keeps Us Up With Changing Faces of Internet

Hispanics use social media more than any other ethnic communityThe latest surveys carried out by the Pew Internet and American Life Project are tracking both the most popular online social-networking platforms and the kinds of people who are using them. We enjoy sharing such findings with our readers because the information the folks at the Pew Internet group can help nonprofits refine their online efforts for the many constituencies that these nonprofits want to reach. The latest study, The Demographics of Social Media Users — 2012, points to a few new developments we’d like to highlight this week.

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#HOWTO: Tweak Your Organization’s Facebook Site For Graph Search

Facebook's Graph Search
Help your supporters find your organization on Facebook

Last week we talked about what Facebook’s latest feature, Graph Search, is (Namely, a way to combine keywords, categories, and what friends are saying about them within Facebook) and it is not (Namely, a challenger to Google’s search algorithms across the internet). This week we want to help you and your organization make the most of the new feature by prepping the content you post on Facebook.

First and foremost (and this tweak applies to any images you post on your blog or website, much less your Facebook Timeline), tag your images and identify them. Such terms will show up in people’s searches (both Graph & Google). What else?

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#SOCIALNETWORK: Are You Prepped For Rollout Of Facebook Graph Search?

Mark Zuckerberg introduces latest features
Building the Facebook network

Facebook’s latest tool, Graph Search, was announced a couple of weeks ago and it is being rolled out through the Facebook0sphere through February. Though many wondered if Facebook were challenging Google, the fact is Facebook is trying to rejigger how you can access information within Facebook, not how you wend your way through the tubes of the internet.

Facebook’s own introduction emphasizes the concept that the billions of connected bits of information within people’s Facebook accounts can now be viewed along a graph of variables that the user asks for:

The main way we make the world more open and connected is by giving people the tools to map out their relationships with the people and things they care about. We call this map the graph …  There are already more than a billion people, more than 240 billion photos and more than a trillion connections. Today we’re announcing a new way to navigate these connections and make them more useful. We’re calling it Graph Search.

What does the Graph Search mean to the average user or nonprofit on Facebook?

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#PHILANTHROPY: #Sundance & A3 Foundation Extend Cooperation for Asian-American Artists

Asian American Artists Foundation
Shot from a film sponsored by the A3 Foundation

Though the Initial Public Offering of Facebook devolved into comic fodder last May, the fact remains that it made many people quite wealthy − especially those who had been working with Zuckerberg’s company from the early days. A number of those who cashed out their stocks and jobs at the social-network giant have since turned toward philanthropic efforts, and we would like to highlight one of those concerns that also is having a big impact on this week’s Sundance Film Festival in Utah.

The A3 Foundation was founded in 2012 by Philip Fung, Julia Lam, and Franklyn Chien, who were early Facebook employees, and who wanted to encourage both Asian-American artists (thus the ‘A3′) and those working on projects pertinent to the larger Asian-American community. According to their own site, “The A3 Fellows Program is the inaugural program for the foundation placing emerging artists with seasoned artists to learn and grow. The fellowship consists of $10,000-$20,000 in funding, as well as mentorship from more established artists, and the opportunity to build your skillset and network.” A large presence at the Sundance Festival is only the beginning of what they hope to accomplish.

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Social Media Strategy: Add Value

books
Photo credit: brody4

Social media hasn’t worked so well for many nonprofits – but that may be because those nonprofits still don’t grasp the First Law of Social Media: It’s Not About YOU. It’s about Facebook users and what you can do for them.

Perfect Case in Point: The Seattle Public Library uses its Facebook page to offer a self-selected group of avid readers its recommendations on what to read next. In other words, it gives them value – a reason to check out the Facebook site, engage with others at the site, and come back again and again.

What can you offer on Facebook that potential supporters would find valuable?

#HOWTO: Have A Film Screening As A Fundraising Opportunity

Tugg offers movies of your choiceWe at MKCREATIVEmedia wish you a joyous, healthy, and prosperous New Year!

As the year’s projects and fundraisers and festivals start rolling onto your computer’s calendar, you might be looking for an opportunity to host a one-off event that can bring much-wanted PR, good karma, and even some financial support. How about sponsoring a film screening? The chance for your nonprofit or charity to be a movie mogul, at least for a day, has been made possible by the social/cinema site Tugg. Though currently considered ‘beta,’ Tugg could make hosting a screening of a big-name movie, documentary, or short film so easy that you could host a few each season.

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#SOCIALNETWORKS: Questions & Answers Can Be Shared On Quora

Quora social Q&A siteThe Latin term ‘quorum’ (pl.pronoun: ‘of whom’) has almost no connection to what the term means in Anglo-American law, namely: “the minimum number of members of an assembly that must be present to make the proceedings of that meeting valid.” Without digging too deeply into the Oxford English Dictionary, the term evolved from Norman circuit courts in late-medieval England as the scribes noted the names ‘of whom’ appeared as witnesses of and jurors at trials. The term has been appropriated by the social-networking/question-posing site Quora. The site has been around since 2010, but it has really taken off in the last few months, and we wanted to introduce you to it before whenever the next apocalypse is due.

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#HOWTO: Keep Your Facebook Page Updated While Mobile This Holiday Season

Facebook with Santa Hat
Mobile Facebook for the new year.

As the Christmas Season approaches, most of us will be taking a bit of much-needed downtime from our nonprofits and charities. Many will also be traveling to see family as well. Unfortunately, the concerns of nonprofits and charities do not take holidays, and you might want to keep people updated via Facebook on what your organization is doing in the holiday season. Facebook has been striving to make inroads into the mobile market over the last number of months, and so we wanted to give you a few tips for getting access to your charity’s page via your mobile device. And even if you are stepping away from Facebook to spend more time with the egg nog, having mobile access to your account should be a resolution (and one of the easier ones to achieve) in the new year.

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#HOWTO: Setup New Facebook Pages & The Types Available For You

Consider the small print when creating an organization page on FacebookWith the adjustments and reworkings on Facebook over the last 6-odd months, it’s time to update our periodic series on Facebook pages − Next week we will continue with more information about the scuttlebutt around Promoted Posts.

Facebook updates its interface and algorithms periodically. Usually the public response splits fairly evenly into the “love it” and “this is the death of Facebook” camps. We’re not about to predict the death of Facebook, so we want to stay up with developments and help you and your nonprofit do the same. So let’s see what it takes to make a page.

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#HOWTO: Use Crowdbooster To Marshall Your Social Media Conversations

Crowdbooster social monitoring platform
Let this platform tame your Tweetstream and Timeline

Numerous social-networking monitoring sites are out there by now: Hootsuite, Sprout Social, Klout, Tinker… As programmers develop new tools, and social platforms like Facebook or (even!) MySpace evolve, the staff at a nonprofit can feel overwhelmed with the changes. What is important to remember in this fast-changing communications environment is that you are looking for tools that are beneficial to you and your organization − not (necessarily) the latest platform that is getting some buzz. One of the newer sites meant to aggregate metrics from your social networks is Crowdbooster, and we do believe it is worth a look because it helps your busy staff consider the near future of its social-media outreach as well as lay out the past trends.

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#SOCIALNETWORKS: How To Promote Facebook Posts & Why You Might Not Want To

From a personal blog's experment with Promotions
CecilyK on ‘MomCrunch’ blog says ‘No’

This past summer Facebook launched the opportunity to purchase ‘Promoted Posts’ that − for at least a $5 fee − would be promoted across the Facebookiverse. The more you paid, the more broadly the algorithms (aka ‘magic’) circulated the post. It was hailed by many for- and non-profit organizations as an opportunity to push through the background noise endemic in most people’s timelines to get your words and images out to a larger but (broadly) targeted audience.

We want to show you how to promote a post if you are unfamiliar with the easy process, but we also want to call attention to the fact that many power users are not finding the return on investment that Facebook claims. Is it a case of false advertising, or is Facebook still working out the kinks?

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#HOWTO: Setup A Pheed Account & Why It Could Prove Valuable For Nonprofits

Pheed connects to Facebook and Twitter
Pheed offers easy, and copyrighted, blogging

Alright, I admit that when I first heard about one of the newest social networks out there, Pheed, I was underwhelmed. Are we not overwhelmed with social networks as it is? But both professional engagement and personal curiosity got the better of me, and I signed up. The interface looks rather like Tumblr, whose praises we have often sung on this blog. The screenshot to the left is Pheed’s signup page: clearly it is pitched toward an artistic, and likely younger, audience. Nevertheless, it has a couple of features that nonprofits and charities could find especially useful as they present their own content via their social networks. Here’s how to sign up and see if it could be of use to your organization.

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#DEVELOPMENT: Do You Have Big Plans For Your Big Data? Not So Fast…

The latest buzz concept is ‘Big Data.’ Like most buzz concepts/ words, its definition leaves much up to the mouth of the speaker. Big Data, whatever the specifics, refers to the large amount of information that can be collected from online activity and exchange of information (on social networks, for example). The ability to aggregate such information from posts, streams, and online purchases creates some truly ‘big’ numbers. And they are only further extended with the collection of information from rewards programs and loyalty cards.

But Big Data can also trick us with impressive numbers like our Twitter followers or Facebook friends − but who within that number are encouraging each other to support our causes? Though ‘numbers don’t lie,’ statistics do, so an organization must know how it’s going to parse the data is collecting and what it hopes to achieve with the effort.

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