4 Ways for A Non-Profit Organization to Use Social Media on its Website

An organization’s website is its online HQ. It’s where much of the non-profit magic happens.

Websites can help a charity take donations, update an association’s members on the latest news and services and give other non-profits a space to tell its community about an upcoming event.

The bottom line is that websites are important to your non-profit, as is social media. So how to you bring the two together to make the online experience better for your community? We’ve put together four suggestions for integrating social media with your organization’s website.

1. Twitter

Putting your organization’s Twitter feed on the home page of its website it a great way to keep visitors to the site up-to-date and engaged. Not only does it let your community know your non-profit is on Twitter (and make it more likely they will follow the account), but it also makes the content you tweet about more accessible to those who may not be as social media savvy. Twitter feed widgets are generally simple to install and don’t take up too much space on your website’s home page.

One tool that could help your organization drive Twitter engagement from its website is ClickToTweet. This tool allows you to write a suggested tweet for any content on your website and turns it into a clickable link on your web page. It kind of looks something like this:

Tweet: The Upwards Blog: Bringing you the latest in social media for non-profits since 2013 http://ctt.ec/99Su1+

This makes it easy for visitors for your website to share news, information, event notices or other things from your website without a hassle while allowing you to track how many times your community engaged with the link.

2. YouTube

Your website is almost like a welcome mat for visitors; you can either put out the old, dusty square of fabric or roll out the red carpet to start the experience. YouTube videos can help you make it the latter.

Making a YouTube and placing it on your home page is a great way to welcome visitors to your non-profit’s website right away. This sort of video can be as simple as a greeting from the executives/board of directors or it could explain, in a fun and visual way, what your organization is about. It may also be helpful for those who are new to your website, such as first-time members or donors, to have a video guiding them through the website and how to get the most out of it.

YouTube videos can also be used to highlight members, donors, volunteers or sponsors for your organization. Putting these videos on your website, in a place designated for community recognition, would only increase the exposure your members receive. Not only does this highlight the good your community is doing, but it also shines the spotlight on what your organization can offer to potential and current members.

3. Blog

If you want your non-profit’s website to be more than just a dreary notice board, it’s time you became a storyteller (aka, a blogger). A blog creates a space on your website to tell stories, go in-depth on issues and allows for some creative sharing strategies for members, volunteers and staff. It takes your website from a boring drive down a country rode to one along a stunning, ocean-side highway.

Establishing a blog on your website takes a lot of consideration, design and content creation, but the benefits and options are numerous. Share photos, event recaps, editorials, calls-to-action, original articles and infographics from your blog. Make sure to have a specific section for your blog and make it easy to access blog archives. Not only does this help your organization’s SEO, but it makes it a better experience for visitors.

4. Pinterest

Pinterest is like the older brother your website wants to be like; it’s creative, it’s engaging and it’s visually appealing. Really, what this section is all about is mimicry; try to make your website more like Pinterest. Have more visuals on your page. Lists and how-to guides can help clear up complicated processes for members or donors. Include infographics and link to other resources your community might find interesting.

If you’re really in the mood to be radical and revolutionary, make your organization’s Pinterest account its website. It’s cheap and is guaranteed to pack the visual punch that’s engaging. Have a Pinterest board for each section that would normally be a menu item on your website and tell stories about your association or other non-profit through pictures and infographics. This approach isn’t for every organization, but it does offer something new and fresh.

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Your non-profit’s website is an integral part of what makes your organization tick. Incorporating social media into your website takes it to a whole other level and gives your community a place to learn, participate and have some fun at the same time. Explore the options available for you and your non-profit when it comes to combining social media and website and watch a world of opportunity become open to you.

Looking Back At the Year That Was: Trends and Topics for Non-profits and Social Media

We past a pretty cool milestone last week; our blog celebrated its 50th-post birthday!

If our blog was a person, it might entering into a mid-life crisis. Fortunately, we don’t think our much-loved platform will suddenly start buying sports cars or quit its job and move off the grid.

But we did think it would be a perfect opportunity to take some time and reflect on the last 50 weeks. We put together five lessons we’ve learned from 350 days of writing on non-profits, associations and a little thing we like to all social media.

1. Social Media is the Next Step in Education

Education is a vital part of any professional association’s mandate. A large part of the allure for members is getting access to cutting edge lessons from experts in the field so they can grow in their careers and collectively thrive as an industry.

Social media is a new frontier in education that can help your organization’s members to learn every single day and connect them to the information that matters to them. Setting up a live blog at your next conference will allow your attendees to get the most out of the event. Twitter chats give your members a chance to learn from each other in a very engaging way, while other social media tools make these lessons accessible to all members, regardless of tech abilities.

Social media and educational events go together like peanut butter and jelly and can even encourage face-to-face networking at conferences. But social platforms open up whole new opportunities for your members to learn their way; when they want and how they want.

2. Urban Legends Don’t Hold Any Weight

There’s no doubt about it; social media can look scary from the outside. There are plenty of reasons to convince yourself that social media isn’t right for your non-profit, but many of them just aren’t valid in a world that is constantly becoming more and more connected online.

Criticism can be handled in a way that actually turns a frown into a smile. Social media ROI is a slippery animal to snare, but it’s not impossible, nor is it all about the numbers. You also shouldn’t count out a social media platform just because it’s changed, just as no one should bet against your organization‘s ability to do good (and use social media to achieve it). And forget what people are saying about non-profit’s these days; your unique and your social media accounts should be too!

3. A Little Recognition Goes A Long Way

Everyone likes a little time in the spotlight once in a while, especially those members of your non-profit community who work tirelessly to strengthen the organization. Social media has proven again and again that it is the tool for the job.

Sponsors are key to any non-profit’s operation so a Big Ask is important. But a Big Thanks, facilitated by social media, is also a critical step to continued support.

Recognizing each and every member of your community is important as well and that’s why giving them access to the latest news and trends that fit each person’s interest is important. And then there are those who many disregard as posers in the non-profit world, but with a little patience, a bit of care and a pinch of social media love, they can be some of the most active members of your organization.

Giving a face to the Twitter name can help connect members of your community and rewarding great ideas through social media can be the start of a long and happy relationship between members and your non-profit.

4. Consistency is Key

You know consistency is key in everything your organization does; from event planning to processing member dues to the services you provide. Well, same goes for social media.

Social media is a conversation that requires frequent follow-up. Creating a buzz is great, but you need to sustain it. A great conversation generates a great brand, which comes from connecting with the right people on a regular basis. Maintaining consistency doesn’t always follow a stable schedule and things may happen that are out of your control. This is when social media can really help with a solid plan B. And always remember, you may be using technology, but you’re engaging with humans, so a consistent, human voice helps a lot.

If you want some examples of how putting in daily effort can take your organization to a whole new level, take a lesson from the Sochi Olympics or the social media giant Facebook.

5. Images Are Powerful

A picture is worth 1000 words; the saying that has spawned a million spin-offs, puns and quotable lines. But in the midst of all the cliches and corniness there lies a load of truth. Images can be an amazing way to connect with an audience and encourage them to invest in your non-profit or association. Social media makes this easier than ever.

The photo is a critical ingredient to any part of success on social media. We even made it a New Year’s Resolution for non-profits looking to grow and succeed in the online world.

Facebook, for instance, gives you a platform to share photos and harness the power of images. Pinterest is not only the fastest growing social media site, but is full of potential for non-profits to show off their services and success. And last, but not least, YouTube allows your organization to show its human side, to capture the passion of staff and connect the world to your amazing members

 

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It’s been a great year of innovation, insight and ideas. Thank you to everyone who joined us on that journey and we are looking forward to continuing it, starting next week with another great post!

Let us know what you though the social media highlights were of the past year in the comments. And remember, stay social!

Pinterest for Non-profits: The Anatomy of a Great Pin

In an online world where more users mean more influence, Pinterest is climbing the ladder of social media bigwigs.

There is no doubt that business is booming on Pinterest and non-profits are not excluded. Having a strong Pinterest profile could be a key part of your organization’s social media strategy and overall path to success.

But what makes a perfect pin? What secret ingredients need to be tossed together to create an irresistible image that leads your community to information and investment in your association or other non-profit?

We have some thoughts on that:

1. Label Your Pins The Right Way

Pictures may be able to say 1000 words, but you’ll need a few more to make a successful pin. If no one can find your pins, than no one can see them, engage with them or benefit from them in any way. The same goes for pins that confuse your followers; if they don’t know what they’re looking at, they’ll skip right over it and take their chances elsewhere.

First thing’s first; create boards that are descriptive and easy to find, both on Pinterest and search engines. A board called “Our Awesome History” might seem fun and descriptive, but when a member is searching for you online or on Pinterest, this board will likely not show up. Stick to something simple and descriptive, even if it’s not terribly imaginative.

As for your pins, add a description that is clear, concise and relevant. Keep the description short without too much jargon. Using hashtags is also a good idea. It’s always a good practice to search various, relevant hashtags to determine which ones are used the most and will gain your pin more exposure in your target audience. Ensure the link from your pin to any website or other platform is working. There’s nothing worse than seeing a pin you want to follow up on and discovering it leads nowhere.

2. Use Your Best Images

This may seem like a no-brainer, but higher quality pictures catch the eye quicker and thus draw more engagement.

Invest the time and resources in taking, creating or curating really good images. This can turn into a great opportunity to engage your association members or non-profit community by crowd-sourcing images from an event, project or initiative.

Once you have these photos, do a little research (and your own trial and error) to see what sizing makes the image look great. These images are a representation of your organization, so make them a great one; your followers and community will appreciate this effort. They will probably also engage more with the content.

3. Make Sure Your Pins Tell a Story

Descriptions are a great way to tell your audience what they’re looking at on Pinterest, but as we mentioned further up in this post, they should work to enhance and organize your images, not serve as a crutch for a poorly put together or confusing photo. Your visuals should tell a story by themselves, especially because each and every one of your members has a history and wants to be part of your organization’s continuing tale.

For images to capture a moment that tells a story, they should be focused, vibrant and descriptive. Think of a key moment at an event, a scene that displays everything you want to say about your organization, its goals, its benefits and, most importantly, its people. The image should evoke an emotion and give people information at the same time.

Another great tool that can tell great stories on Pinterest is the infographic. The name itself, infographic, explains its purpose; to inform your audience on a subject while being visually appealing. No other description necessary!

4. Have a Call To Action in Your Pins

You use calls to action on your other platforms and communication material, so why not on Pinterest? When you create an image to pin, add a call to action in it.

By now you know that the images should inspire and educate your community on a certain cause, but they may be sitting there after the initial interest has worn off and asking, what do we do next? A call to action takes your storytelling a step further by explaining to your association members or non-profit community how they can add their own voices to that story.

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Pinterest can be an exciting and beneficial platform for both your organization and its community. By combining the elements above into each and every pin and having some fun with it along the way, you can create great content that will engage, educate and inspire your members.

The Good, the Bad and the Useless: The Latest Social Media Features and the Pros and Cons for Non-profits

Social media can do many things for non-profit organizations. One of those things is keep you on your toes.

The different platforms are always introducing new features and tweaking existing ones in order to provide users with the best, most engaging experience. Associations and other non-profits need to keep up to date on these changes in order to maximize their effectiveness on social media. After all, some of these changes could mean a huge boost to your organization. However, others may be bad or just downright useless for your organization.

To help you decide which is which, we’ve put together a list of some of the most recent new features on the major social media sites and broke down the pros and cons for each one through the eyes of a non-profit.

Twitter Mute

What Are We Talking About: The mute feature allows Twitter users to silence chosen accounts they follow. In other words, if you don’t want to see any tweets from someone, you can mute them and poof, they’re gone from your Twitter feed.

Pros: The mute feature could de-clutter your Twitter feed. If you connect with a Twitter user who doesn’t post relevant content, but tweets often enough to distract you from focusing on other, more relevant accounts, you can erase their presence and gain some control over a messy feed. The person can still retweet, favourite and reply to your tweets and they do not know they are muted. This could help non-profits spend less time sifting through tweets and more time sharing the best content and interacting with its target audience. It’s a more polite way to take people off your feed than unfollowing them.

Cons: You could lose touch with your community. There’s a reason you connected with someone on Twitter and most of the time it’s because they were a member of your community, shared great content or were active in your cause. If you get into the habit of muting those you follow, you could miss out on great content, tweets about your organization, a post about an important issue your organization should address or a chance to interact with a post that highlights a member’s achievements.

Pinterest Q&A

What Are We Talking About: Pinterest is testing a new Q&A feature allowing users to post questions on a pin and notifying the user who pinned the image of the question. The intent is to make Pinterest more engaging and connect users with more people and more information.

Pros: This feature has the potential to increase engagement on Pinterest. A Q&A will, in theory, make it easier for your non-profit’s community to connect with your organization and vice versa to get more information, have better conversations and build longer-lasting relationships. Answering questions is a great way to provide an added service to members of your community and further establish your organization as a helpful, transparent and beneficial source of information and action.

Cons: There aren’t many drawbacks of this feature specifically from a non-profit’s point of view. The feature may fail, just as a similar Facebook service did. You may also get some negative or spam questions, but that risk arises on any social media platform anyways.

New Twitter Profiles

What Are We Talking About: Twitter recently rolled out new-look profiles for users that includes a different profile and background photo display and the ability to pin a tweet to the top of your profile in order to highlight it.

Pros: The new features allow Twitter users to make profiles fresh, creative and unique. The new, larger and more versatile banner could help non-profits stand out from the crowd and convey their goals to the community in a way that is engaging and informative. Being able pin a tweet of your choice to the top of the profile could be useful for organizations looking to highlight a call to action, recognize a standout member of their online community or remind members about an upcoming event without tweeting about it a dozen of times a week and falling prey to the mute feature.

Cons: It takes time, patience and some creative know-how to bring your profile up to date. This isn’t necessarily a con as much as it is a minor inconvenience. However, if your non-profit doesn’t have the resources to dedicate to updating your Twitter profile, your account could end up looking outdated and, worse still, could lose out on the benefits of the new features.

Facebook Nearby App

What Are We Talking About: Facebook debuted the Nearby Friends App last month and was the first significant addition to its mobile platform in over a year. The feature lets users see which of their Facebook friends are in physical proximity to them. It provides a map that places a picture of your friends in the location they are in.

Pros: This feature doesn’t provide many major benefits to non-profits at the moment. To see the location of your friends, they need the app turned on as well, which may mean the chances of finding members close to you only get slimmer. They may be an opportunity for organizations to alert their community of a nearby event or initiative if they notice that many of their friends are living, working, etc., around a certain part of a city.

Cons: Again, there aren’t many cons that come to mind when exploring this app. If you’re looking at broad stroke, the app could cause your community to question their privacy settings. However, this feature may border on useless for many organizations and with less power, comes fewer drawbacks.

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Keeping up with the latest and greatest (and not so great) features being offered by social media platforms can help enhance your overall online presence and communications strategy. Exploring these features and seeing which ones could help your community, and which ones won’t, will allow your organization to rise above the rest.

Let us know in the comments of any other newer social media features you use or that could be beneficial to non-profits and associations. And remember to stay social!

Operation Event Success: How to Pull Off an Awesome Event with Social Media

Pulling off any great plan comes in stages. Just take a look at any good heist movie and you’ll see that at least half the plot involves the ridiculously good looking, relatable main characters planning the job (including the creation of a catchy name for it, like Operation X, Y or Z) and the other half executing their plan with a slice at the end that sees them enjoying their spoils.

Putting on a successful event is similar, although hopefully it doesn’t involve breaking the law or doing any of your own stunts. A great conference or fundraising event involves planning, execution and follow up. Social media can help you complete this mission and take your event to the next level.

On that note, here are the three phases of putting on a successful event with social media, or what we’ve dubbed Operation Event Success

Phase 1- Approaching the Mark: Before the Event

The planning stage of the mission has a few key steps. These include establishing a hashtag, getting the word (and the details) out about the event, and posting/tweeting/writing about the important elements like how to register and how sponsors can get involved.

Remember to have some fun with it though. Create a video tour of the venue or trade show area and upload it to YouTube. Create a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure infographic for your blog or Pinterest to give attendees a fun way to plan their time at the event. You could even run a small Twitter or Facebook contest that promotes your event and encourages engagement, such as one that gives clues for the theme or location of your event.

Phase 2- The Eagle Has Landed: During the Event

This is the crucial part of your mission. The action is at its peak and all the players are in motion. A truly great event happens, well, at the event. If social media has anything to say about it, the conference, fundraiser, etc., will be a huge hit.

Live tweeting the event helps attendees network, learn, contribute and engage on another level, which is always a great thing. Setting up TV screens in the venue that show your live tweets can help attendees who don’t have Twitter keep track of any updates, information or fun stuff. Arranging a tweet up can also be a fun way for your community to network, collaborate and have some fun at an event.

Recapping the day’s highlights on a blog during a multi-day event can also be helpful, engaging and fun for attendees. Try to get one of your attendees, volunteers, members or organizing committee to write a short post to get a different perspective on the day and the event.

Phase 3- A Clean Getaway: After the Event

The chairs are stacked, the lights are out and the venue is a speck in your rear view mirror. But hold on, you’re not in the clear just yet. Even after the event is finished there is much to do on social media in order to achieve a successful follow up and ensure future events flourish.

Recapping the event with a blog post, a video on YouTube and/or an album on Facebook gives your members a chance to develop their new connections and reminisce about the event while highlighting the benefits of your organization’s efforts. Creating an infographic or photo collage on Pinterest can help show your attendees how their efforts made a difference.

Receiving feedback is an important part of putting together future events. Put a poll on your blog or Facebook page asking what everyone’s favourite moment was at your past event. Making the poll into a contest where participants win a trip to your next event also helps increase engagement and feedback.

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A great event isn’t built in a day, but with thoughtful planning, a well-executed strategy and a devoted follow up, all on social media, having a successful event can be easier and more fun for everyone involved.

What are your social media secrets to a successful event? Let us know in the comments!

 

Which Social Media Platform Should Your Non-Profit Be On, Part 2: Four Key Questions to Ask

Last week, we gave a quick guide to determining which social media platform might be the best fit for your organization by posing a series of questions. Determining beforehand which platform will be the most beneficial for your organization is important as it takes resources and dedication to consistently follow-through on social media. With that in mind, here are four more questions every non-profit executive should be asking themselves before they decide which social media platform their organization should be active on.

What Are Your Goals?

Determining what you want to achieve with social media is probably the most crucial part of this decision. What your finish line looks like will have a huge impact on which path you take towards it.

Twitter is Perfect If: You want member/community engagement. If you want to share information and news quickly. If you want to reach out to new people.

Blogging is Perfect If: You want to be considered an expert on an issue. If you want to use lots of different media or authors. If you want to tell a story or go in-depth on issues.

Pinterest is Perfect If: You want to drive traffic to your website or other websites. If you want to appeal to your connections visually/emotionally.

LinkedIn is Perfect If: You want to give networking opportunities to your community. If you want to help your connections grow professionally. If you want to start conversations about industry-specific issues.

Facebook is Perfect If: You want to engage with members/community. If you want to share news and information. If you want to be less formal and more relatable. If you want to conduct contests.

YouTube is Perfect If: You want to expose a new side of your organization. If you want to provide your community with tutorials or learning opportunities. If you want to be a visual storyteller.

Who Is Your Audience?

It’s important to know who you’re trying to reach with your social media efforts. Connecting with the right people will help you achieve your organization’s goals much faster and more efficiently. Each platform draws a unique audience and understanding these demographics is key.

Twitter is Perfect If: Your audience is almost anyone. If you want to attract businesses and people of all demographics. If you want to make new connections and build on old ones.

Blogging is Perfect If: Your audience is people who are already interested in your cause or industry. If you want to attract those searching for information on your area of expertise.

Pinterest is Perfect If: Your audience is creative or responds to and provides visuals. If your audience are women (80% of Pinterest users are women). If your audience are members of the wider community.

LinkedIn is Perfect If: Your audience is made up of professionals from the same industry. If your audience is looking to network, gain experience and connect with similar individuals.

Facebook is Perfect If: Your audience is, once again, almost anyone. If you already have an established audience. If your audience knows to look for you.

YouTube is Perfect If: Your audience is, for the third time, almost anyone. YouTube is used by a broad demographic and its videos can be posted to other platforms.

What Does Your Organization Do?

Your organization’s identity is oftentimes tied to its cause and how its community works toward it. An organization’s identity is the key to drawing in supporters. Certain platforms showcase an organization’s identity better than others.

Twitter is Perfect If: Your organization helps members. If your organization sends out calls to action. If your organization wants to create awareness.

Blogging is Perfect If: Your organization tells stories. If your organization works towards its cause by informing people. If your organization studies ongoing issues.

Pinterest is Perfect If: Your organization invites the community to get involved. Advocates for other businesses, individuals or organizations. If your organization evokes emotion.

LinkedIn is Perfect If: Your organization helps people grow professionally or connect with educational and volunteer opportunities. If your organization advocates for an industry.

Facebook is Perfect If: Your organization does almost anything. If your organization connects with many stakeholders as well as the general community.

YouTube is Perfect If: Your organization engages at the grassroots level. If your organization and its community hosts or partakes in a lot of events.

What Resources Do You Have?

It’s common knowledge that non-profits have finite resources and have to use them the best way possible. All social media efforts take time, know-how and some money to be successful, but some fit into an organization’s overall strategy better than others.

Twitter is Perfect If: You have the personnel and time to invest in tweeting several times daily, comb through trends, find the right content and engage with followers.

Blogging is Perfect If: You have the time to invest in researching, writing, editing and promoting a consistent blog. If you have the money to invest in creating a decent looking page for your blog.

Pinterest is Perfect If: You have the time to search out visuals and links for pins. If you have the time to research trends on the platform. If you have the money to invest in photo taking and image making equipment and software.

LinkedIn is Perfect If: You have the time and money to write posts, check in regularly, create networking opportunities and look into paid job postings and promoted posts.

Facebook is Perfect If: You have the time to invest in posting multiple engaging posts a week, follow up with engagement and contests and maintain other features such as photo albums.

YouTube is Perfect If: You have the time, money and expertise to invest in equipment and planning, filming, editing and uploading a video or multiple videos.

What Social Media Platform You Should Be On, Part 1

Choosing the best social media platform or platforms for your organization isn’t always easy or simple. Before you decide to embark on a Twitter journey, Pinterest quest or some other social media adventure, you must first ask yourself a number of questions about your organization’s goals, audience and brand. While this takes both time and research, we thought we’d help get the ball rolling.

The following infographic is a great way to get the process started when picking an online platform for your organization. Hopefully it can get you thinking about what the various networks have to offer your organization and how it might appeal to your community of connections.

Quick Social Media Guide

Choosing the right fit for your organization takes some thinking and realizing the strengths and weaknesses of each social media platform relative to your non-profit is crucial to this process. Next week we’ll look at a few more important questions to ask yourself when starting up online. We’re looking forward to seeing you then!

Social Media Spring Cleaning for Non-profits

Do you hear that hubbub out on the street? Can you feel the warmth of the sun through the window? That’s spring calling you to celebrate its arrival! But before you run through the door, rip off your winter coat and enjoy the sweet freedom from winter’s iciness, you might want to consider doing some social media spring cleaning for your organization.

Just like a house or an office needs a cleanup every once in a while, so to do social media accounts, especially those of a non-profit or professional association.

Doing a bit of social media spring cleaning takes a little time and makes a big difference down the road. It helps you be more efficient, make a bigger impact and better plan for the future.

So get out your digital dish clothes and social media sponges, because here are a few tips for cleaning out your accounts.

Facebook

The first course of action for cleaning up your organization’s Facebook page is to review and refresh its profile. This includes changing the profile pictures, updating the ‘About’ section and adding or subtracting tabs. This updates any out of date information and gives a fresh look to the page.

It’s also useful to go back over your past event pages and delete any old ones. When people search for your organization and find old events instead, it may seem like your non-profit is unorganized and not committed to the platform. Deleting old events ensures a cleaner, sleeker look.

Twitter

Start your Twitter spring cleaning by looking through the list of accounts your organization follows and unfollow any inactive or irrelevant ones. This includes those that haven’t tweeted in far too long or have no connection to your cause, industry or audience. This will help you curate content more efficiently, engage with the followers that matter most and determine which accounts you haven’t interacted with in a while.

Take some time and update your bank of popular hashtags. Do some research and check to see which hashtags are still popular, which ones have fallen out of use and which ones have emerged as a great way to connect with members or those interested in your cause.

Pinterest

Your organization’s Pinterest account can get cluttered and inefficient if you’re not careful. That’s where a bit of spring cleaning comes in handy. Review the boards you follow and disconnect from any that are irrelevant or inactive. After that’s finished, it’s a good idea to turn your attention to your own boards. See which ones can be split into separate or new boards and which ones can be joined together. This eliminates overcrowded and redundant boards and makes things easier for current and potential followers.

Blogs

With a bit of spring cleaning, you can raise your blog’s profile among members and others in the online community and eliminate some backlogged headaches for yourself.

Take some time to go over some older posts and update them. Write about what has changed or what hasn’t. You could always ask a quest blogger to contribute and give the issue a new perspective. Another way to update a post is to address it with different media, like an infographic or video.

Go back over your comment and weed out the spam and any inappropriate responses. This will help you keep track of which blog posts are getting the most meaningful engagement and will rid your comment section of eyesores and headaches for both yourself and those looking to contribute to the conversation.

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Social media spring cleaning isn’t always the most fun activity, especially when all your want to do is enjoy some time in the sun, but it’s necessary in order to keep clean, efficient and engaging platforms your members, staff, volunteers, etc. can use to interact with your organization.

Do you have any other social media spring cleaning tips for us? Let us know in the comments!

5 Reasons Why Non-profits Should Use Pinterest

If your non-profit or association hasn’t taken Pinterest seriously yet, it should now.

Pinterest is the fastest growing social media platform at the moment, according to a Pew Research Survey. The photo pin-up site saw a spike is users, from 15 per cent of American adults in 2012 to 21 per cent in 2013. That’s more than Facebook, more than Twitter and more than LinkedIn.

But what can Pinterest offer non-profits? Well, if we told you all the benefits the platform can bring your organization, we’d be here for a while. That’s why we looked through the maze of photos, infographics and stunning images and picked out five of the best reasons non-profits will love Pinterest.

Images evoke emotion

Emotional responses lead to a deep connection and more engagement. People are more likely to contribute, share, interact and join a cause or organization if they feel an emotional attachment. Images create this emotional response because they are not as abstract or easy to ignore as print. They put a face to a name and an image to an explanation.

Pinterest’s whole structure is based on creating, curating and sharing photos. Non-profits are made up of a community of people and thus have an almost unending source of great photos. There are also events, field work, projects and initiatives that provide opportunities for photos and great content to link to.

Pinterest drives traffic to your website

Pinterest takes regular, old links and spruces them up. Instead of words on a page linking someone to a website or blog, Pinterest displays photos that link to an organization’s pages. This drives traffic to your organization’s pages more effectively than other social media sites.

Your non-profit’s website is your organization’s online HQ. Much of the giving or membership purchases come from your website. Any traffic will help raise awareness, money and membership and Pinterest brings you lots of this beneficial traffic.

Pinterest turns history from boring to beautiful

History is an important part of any organization, especially non-profits. History gives members and contributors a shared experience. History also lends credibility to a cause or an association. Showcasing your organization’s history highlights its triumphs, the important people that were dedicated the cause and how the organization’s goals have evolved and will continue to evolve.

The only asterisk beside ‘History’ as a tool to boost engagement and interest is that many find it dry and dull. Photos help liven up history and evoke nostalgia. They take dates, numbers and anonymous names and turn them into a picture of the passion your organization has for the cause or industry.

Pinterest can highlight trips to the field

People don’t just want to read about how your organization is making a difference, they want to see it. Pinterest allows your non-profit to show contributors and members that it walks the walk.

By pinning photos showing your organization’s activities in the field and their impact, contributors and members can see your non-profit is making a concrete difference and, by being part of the effort, they can have a hand in creating this positive change.

Pinterest gives stats with flare

Stats can be a non-profits best friend. They take all sorts of information that may be crucial to your cause, contributors and members and package it into easy to comprehend numbers. But, like history, stats can be boring, dense and come across as a wall of print and percentages. Pinterest has the power to take these stats and present them into an infographic to appeal to a broader audience. Infographics are graphs that take an audience on a visually-appealing journey of an issue using statistics. Pinterest and infographics go together like good wine and cheese and can be a great way to convert an on-the-fencer into a loyal member of your organization.

Pinterest is a fast-growing social media platform that offers lots of helpful, not to mention fun, ways of engaging current and potential members and contributors for your non-profit. Do you know any organizations doing a great job on Pinterest? Let us know in the comments. And keep it social!

Converting the Skeptics: How Social Media Can Help Change the Minds of Non-Profit Naysayers

Non-profits are great. You know it, we know it, but, unfortunately not everyone feels the same way.

We hear the same reasons for not being part of a non-profit over and over again. Good, old-fashioned, one-on-one conversations can help turn the tide and make people realize professional associations, charities or other organizations are worth investing in. But sometimes people need more convincing. Sometimes your organization needs a way to reach not one, but tens, hundreds or thousands of potential connections consistently.

That’s when social media can play a role in turning even the most ardent disbeliever into a loyal member, volunteer, contributor, etc. We looked into a few of the more common situations where social media can help turn the tide, banish myths and highlight the benefits of being part of a non-profit.

Situation #1- The Investment Conundrum

Many people point to high membership dues without upfront value as a main reason for not joining their industry’s association. Many people only see the price tag of membership and not the benefits of it. Helping those in your industry see the true worth of an investment in membership can be done almost every day with social media in both big and small ways.

Let’s start with the small, or indirect, ways. By tweeting, posting, pinning and uploading frequently, your organization becomes the go-to source for information for your industry. All roads to knowledge go through your association. This shows people that it is worth being part of your association for its potential to unlock lessons that could bring their career to a new level.

On a larger, more direct scale, social media is a great outlet to promote events, draw attention to association services and map out exactly how an association plans to meet the needs of its members. Blogs are a great way to achieve this aim in detail and Twitter is a great platform to boost both reach and frequency of your message.

Situation #2- The Effort Theory

Social media is a great tool to show that making a difference is fun, flexible and has a huge impact.

For example, Nonprofit Technology Network announced a creative incentive via a blog and video post to raise $10,000 in scholarship money for people to attend the annual NTC conference. Executive Director Holly Ross let donors vote on which one of three embarrassing things she’d do if NTEN reached their goal. They quickly raised the $10,000 and donors voted for Holly to do a Single Ladies Video.

Using Instagram, Vine or Twitter to highlight the fun and inspiring moments of an event or fundraiser in pictures does more to change peoples’ attitudes than words can ever do.

Showing the extraordinary benefits of contributing can be done very effectively with Pinterest. By pinning an infographic of where someone’s money or time is going as it travels from their pocket to the cause is a great way for people to visualize how they personally are helping out.

Situation #3- The Generational Anomaly

Yes, associations have been around for many a decade and any institution that has been around that long is going to risk being called out of date. But the truth is every new generation breaking into an industry is going to benefit from joining an association more than their more experienced colleagues. Social media can put this into perspective.

Networking is a key ingredient to any young professional’s success and forming social media communities on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn is a great way to encourage communication between members and show potential members the benefits of joining.

Similarly, highlighting the achievements of young professionals on blogs, Twitter, Instagram or other social media platforms may encourage others to get involved in your association and work to get recognized.

Situation #4- The Transparency Factor

When anyone gives money, or even time and loyalty, into an organization or a cause, they want to know where it’s going or have a say in the services that organization is providing. For example, many people want to know how much of the money they donated to charity is going to administrative costs and association members want to have a say in the education topics of a conference they are paying for. This is where social media steps in to lend a hand.

Social media gives the public easy access to organizations and makes it simple to start engaging and informative dialogues with the non-profits they get involved in or are thinking of getting involved in. That’s why providing information on spending or impact is easy for charities through Twitter or Facebook and pooling ideas on products and services is a piece of cake for associations on many different platforms.

More transparency means more trust and more trust means a loyal base of members, donors, volunteers and customers.

Battling myths is a past time of social media. That doesn’t mean every naysayer out there is going to turn into your biggest fan just because they are following your organization on Twitter. But a strong social media presence is another tool in your non-profit’s toolbox that be used to encourage participation, conversation and a more informed and active membership.