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Updated: 6 years 23 weeks ago

4 kinds of Facebook ad types compared

Wed, 02/06/2013 - 06:06


Understand the nuances of Facebook ads to find the best fit for your objectives

Target audience: Nonprofits, NGOs, cause organizations, social enterprises, businesses, Web publishers, bloggers, social media managers, individuals.

John HaydonFacebook ads differ from almost every other type of Internet ad in at least two important ways:

1) Facebook ads target the interests expressed by users in their profile details, the pages and groups they like, and updates they post on their Timeline (new job, new relationship, new baby, etc.).

2) Facebook ads also scale word-of-mouth marketing to a massive degree by leveraging the recommendations between friends – a network of 140 billion connections Facebook calls the “social graph.”

Nonprofits and other organizations considering Facebook ads can look at this summary of four different types of ads, with an example of each, plus a handy chart at the end of this post:

Marketplace ads


1A Marketplace ad is an ad located in the right-hand sidebar of Facebook on desktop browsers (not available on mobile devices).

Marketplace ads allow you to include a headline, body copy and image. If you’re promoting a Facebook page, a call to action for liking the page appears below the ad.

Marketplace ads can be targeted to any subset of Facebook users.

Sponsored Stories


2A Sponsored Story is a story about a page, event or app that appears in the news feed (Web and mobile). The content for Sponsored Stories is derived from stories generated from people who talk about your page or RSVP to your event.

For example, if you’re advertising an event, stories about people RSVPing to the event would appear as a Sponsored Story in the news feed.

Page post ads


3Page Post ads are posts from your Facebook page that you can promote to existing fans, friends of fans and even non-fans. These ads appear in the news feed and in the sidebar of Facebook (on the Web).

The main difference between Page Post ads and Sponsored Stories is that Page Post ads can be shown to anyone on Facebook, regardless of their connection to your page.

Promoted Posts


4Promoted Posts are Facebook’s answer to the novice marketer who may not have any experience using Facebook ads or those who just prefer to advertise in the simplest way possible.

Promoted Posts are Facebook page updates that you can promote to existing fans or fans and their friends, simply by using the “Promote” feature located under every update on your Timeline.

The other main difference is that you only pay for reach based on a flat rate for various different ranges of people. In many cases, Promoted Posts seem to have the highest click-through rate of all ad types.

An explanation of all four Facebook ad types

FB Ad Chart
Click here for a larger downloadable version

Advertising objectives

Before you spend any money on Facebook ads, you need to determine what your goals and objectives are.

  • Do you want more Facebook page fans?
  • Do you want more exposure for your page posts?
  • How will you use ads to build your email list?
  • Who are you trying to reach and what do you want them to do?

Having very clear answers to these questions will help you spend your ad money wisely.

Which Facebook ads have you tried for your nonprofit? Did they work?

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John Haydon delivers social web strategy solutions for “the quick, the smart, and the slightly manic.” Curious? Then connect up: Contact John by email, see his profile page, visit the John Haydon blog, follow him on Twitter and Google Plus or leave a comment.

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 UnportedThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported.

Categories: Non-Profit IT News

Create a social media policy for your nonprofit

Tue, 02/05/2013 - 06:31


Draft a comprehensive set of guidelines to cover all of your social media bases

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises, businesses, educators. Note: Socialbrite has created social media policies for a number of nonprofit clients.

Guest post by Andrea Berry and Ben Stuart

As nonprofits have increasingly turned to social media, policies to govern their use have become the new frontier. It can be difficult for organizations to find examples that fit their needs. A good social media policy will provide clear guidelines as to what staff should and shouldn’t do when posting and interacting with the community on a day-to-day basis, freeing them up to think more strategically. But what’s involved in creating one?

A good social media campaign or engagement strategy can help your organization fulfill its mission, and there are many examples of nonprofits using these tools successfully for everything from fundraising and volunteer recruitment to building awareness. But there are also examples of organizations that have encountered pitfalls along the way to an effective social media presence.

How do you avoid such a fate? By developing a policy that provides guidelines for how and when to use social media, you can save staff time, improve the effectiveness of your efforts, and limit the risk of other potential problems before they arise.

What your policy covers, and to what to extent, will vary based on your particular needs, but the foundation is the same. Let’s look at the different components one at a time.

Defining policy within your organization

What should your social media policy say and do? That’s going to depend on your organization’s particular needs. For some nonprofits, a policy should spell out what staff can and cannot do on different social media channels by creating strategically defined roles governed by hard-and-fast rules. For others, a policy is a vision statement that guides staff, but empowers them to make decisions for themselves.

Before you write the plan, think about who is going to follow the policy, whether it fits into a larger plan and whether existing employee policies are affected

Which is right for your organization will depend on whether your day-to-day work includes legal risks, privacy concerns, or other potentially risky situations. Do you have lawyers sign off on all policy documents? Do they take the lead in drafting policy? If not, informal guidelines — or something in between — might be a better fit.

Before you write the plan, think about who is going to follow the policy and whether it fits into a larger plan, like an employee handbook. Existing policies could influence your guidelines for social media, so give some thought to whether they need to match with regard to style.

As an example of this, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, a global humanitarian organization, built its policy around its strengths—the volunteers who carry out the day-to-day work in the field. Many of those people have their own social media presences on Twitter or Facebook or blogs. The goal was to embrace the nature of volunteerism and empower people rather than restricting them. The organization could not guide what its volunteers said online, but it could ask them to think about what the organization would do and make suggestions.

Similarly, your social media policy is your opportunity to guide staff toward a better fit you’re your organization’s brand and values presence on social media. Some guidelines should be broad — for example, encouraging people to add value and be passionate about what they say — while others may more specific, like requiring staff to use a disclaimer distinguishing their own personal views from those of the organization.

Identifying and incorporating values

corporate values
Photo courtesy of newsusacontent via Creative Commons

The process of developing a social media policy gives you the opportunity to reflect on and organize your external voice and communication values. Think of your social media presence as an interactive extension of your organization. It’s often the first and easiest way for stakeholders to learn about you and comment on, share, and applaud your actions — and sometimes, criticize them.

Start with your organization’s mission, and identify a short list of values central to the work you do. Examples might include friendliness, collaboration, integrity or sustainability. Defining your core values helps ensure that you incorporate them into your social media guidelines — for example, if “responsiveness” is a core value for your organization, it makes sense to focus on listening to what others are saying in your community and make it a priority to respond in a quick and informative manner.

Assigning roles

Who will be the person interacting with your community through social media? Who maintains the Twitter feed, and who posts to Facebook? Is it one person, or several? Who is responsible for finding content? Well-defined roles and responsibilities among staff will help to eliminate the ambiguity that can often come with social media content creation.

Some staff may have great stories to tell, but don’t know how or if they should post them. Remember, social media works best when it is current, active and responsive — it’s easier to allow for that when everyone is clear about who can post, when and how often. It’s often easier to keep content organized if the social media strategy is owned by an individual or small group.

Creating and sharing content

Screen Shot 2013-01-23 at 8.53.35 PM

Whether you’re posting about your organization’s work or events, or sharing interesting information related to your field, there are plenty of topics to post about. Use your policy to narrow your focus to fit with your core values or organizational goals. There’s a lot of content floating around the internet. By finding your niche and creating or sharing mission-related content, you’re more likely to draw people in and entice them to return, and more likely to find the right audience for your nonprofit.

This is also the time to consider what types of content should never be posted, or posted only with approval. This can be as simple as maintaining a certain image for your organization, or as complex as protecting it from legal problems. For example, health-related nonprofits subject to the Health Information Portability and Accountability ACT (HIPAA) should make sure health records and information that might inadvertently identify patients or clients is protected. Other 501(c)3 organizations might be concerned with activities that could be considered lobbying as they could endanger the foundation’s nonprofit status.

If your nonprofit is concerned with such issues, a conservative policy can make sure no one oversteps the bounds. A good policy that defines what can and can’t be posted can help prevent problems from arising.

Monitoring conversations and responding to comments

Social media is a two-way conversation so your policy should not just inform external communications—what your organization says, and how you say it — but how you deal with what people say to, and about, you. Creating and publishing content means it’s open to comments, both good and bad, and can be shared with other networks, often without your knowledge. How do you control your reputation and your brand?

You could choose to disable comments on your Facebook page, but then you’d miss out on one of social media’s greatest benefits. Instead, develop a strategy for monitoring and responding to comments, both positive and negative. Who will respond? Will you do it public or take the discussion offline? Every comment is an opportunity to further craft your organization’s personality and reputation and build relationships. Responding thoughtfully can turn a bad situation into a positive “customer service” moment and publicly correct misinformation.

If you receive a customer service complaint, determine who will handle it and what they will say

A good way to develop a response policy is to practice with a series of hypothetical situations. How will you respond to posts that contain inaccurate information, vulgar or inflammatory language, or information that purposely or inadvertently identifies clients in a way that breaches their privacy?

Answering hypothetical questions will prepare you for real ones.

There are general guidelines to start with. If you receive a complaint you can turn into a customer service moment, or a post with misinformation in it, you should take the opportunity to respond. Determine who will do so, and what they will say. Consider removing comments that will damage your community or that include vulgar or inflammatory language. Some negative posts are better left unanswered, especially if a response is likely to incite the poster into further action.

Don’t just reply to negative comments — be a part of the conversation and reply to positive or neutral comments to create a rich, informative environment for your audience. Answer questions that arise, invite others into the conversation, and thank people for participating. Your responses put a human quality to your content and can create a feeling of goodwill in your community. Let your organization’s core values and mission inform your response policy.

Protecting privacy

In an era where sharing content is so easy, and even encouraged, privacy concerns seem to be often overlooked or ignored. Part of the problem lies with the tools — new privacy complaints about Facebook and Twitter seem to pop up all the time — but it’s important to review your organization’s privacy and permissions policies, especially if you work in areas like healthcare or children’s services.

Start by examining your existing policies for relevant information. When can you use photos of children or names of clients, and do you need their permission? Update your policies and waiver forms to include the social media channels you plan to use — there’s a big difference between getting someone’s permission to use their photo on a brochure, and using that same photo in a blog post or on your Facebook page. Photos or videos posted on social media can be widely shared, and often will.

Protecting rights to content CAPTION

Photo by Giuli-O via Creative Commons

This is also the time to look at how you attribute the content you share, and how you copyright the content you create. Weigh the value of keeping complete control of your content against the value of sharing. Some nonprofits copyright all material and ask permission for others to share it, while others adopt a more open approach that lets others repost freely. The latter, called a Creative Commons license, lets you maintain some control over how your content is used by setting guidelines for attribution and whether other users can modify your content or use it for commercial use. (See the Creative Commons website to learn more.)

Which approach is right for you? Again, this decision should be informed by your organization’s nature, and whether you’re concerned with legal issues or interested in being open. Remember, this is a two-way street — make sure you follow the rules and ask permission before reposting content you did not create, if necessary. It’s OK to link to something as long as you don’t pass the content off as your own, but do not assume anything you find online is free to repost. How can you craft your policy to ensure that you are respecting copyright restrictions?

Finding and enforcing the line between personal and professional

Social media lets you put a human face on your organization, making it easier to connect with constituents who, in turn, can become champions for your cause. In many cases, you want your social media presence to be as personal as possible. But you can run into problems when the line between the personal lives of your staff and your organization’s goals is blurred.

What type of personal information can be posted to your organization’s social media channels? Do you only allow mission-related posts, or can staff express personal opinions or share information about major life events, such as weddings and birthdays? Defining the boundaries in advance can prevent inadvertent problems, but make sure your staff understands how the policy relates to their own, personal social media use. If they link to your organization’s page, or speak about the inner workings of your nonprofit on their personal pages, their audience might not distinguish their personal posts from your organization’s posts.

There’s a fine line to walk here — you can’t enforce regulations for what staff do in their free time, but you can encourage them to adhere to organizational best practices and to represent your nonprofit’s culture and goals. The legal boundaries in this area are evolving almost as fast as the technology itself. If you have concerns about this aspect of your policy, it might be worth contacting your lawyer to make sure you define the risks and find the appropriate way to prevent them.

Even if staff don’t self-identify as employees on their Twitter feeds or Facebook pages, in most cases, a good number of people still know where they work. To address that, your policy might train staff on the effective use of social media, and ask them to adopt strict privacy settings on personal pages. You might also encourage a “What would your mother think?” approach to posts. Each organization should decide whether it’s necessary to dictate how personal pages reflect upon the nonprofit as a whole, and make it clear to employees what that separation is.

Creating your policy

You can’t foresee or protect against all possibilities, but being proactive and thoughtful when creating a policy can help ensure that your organization gets the most benefit out of its social media efforts while avoiding many of the problems. The return on your efforts is likely to be worth the extra consideration.

So how do you go about crafting an appropriate policy? Start by identifying your team, and make sure all the right stakeholder groups are represented. Ask and answer the questions identified here to help get the conversation started, but don’t hesitate to ask other questions specific to your organization’s work and goals. Your policy should ultimately fit your own use of social media, and your own needs.

Andrea Berry and Ben Stuart are on the staff of Idealware, where this article orginally appeared under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License. Idealware is a resource center to help nonprofits make smart software decisions. Related

Directory of social media policies (Socialbrite)

• Sort out your team’s social media roles (Socialbrite)

• Does your nonprofit have a Dilbert social media policy? (Socialbrite)

• Finally! An enlightened social media policy (Socialbrite)

Categories: Non-Profit IT News

19 ways to engage your nonprofit’s Facebook fans

Mon, 02/04/2013 - 06:03

Screen Shot 2013-02-03 at 3.10.02 PM

Get your Facebook page buzzing by using these tactics

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises, businesses, Facebook administrators.

John HaydonIf you’re like most busy nonprofit professionals, you make your best effort to have an organized content strategy on Facebook. Still, there are times when you get buried with other projects and simply have no idea what to post on your Facebook page.

Here are 19 quick Facebook page post ideas that you can use right now to get your page buzzing.

  1. Ask a fill-in-the-blank question about the specific area of your cause. Begin the prompt with “Fill in the Blank:”
  2. Ask a multiple-choice question related to a specific area of your cause. Begin the update with “Quick Poll” and then write the choices on separate lines (A, B, C).
  3. Cap that! Ask fans to caption a photo. Post an unusual photo (that has to do with your cause) and ask your Facebook fans to come up with a caption. Tell them that the best answer wins an Einstein award.
  4. Play the elephant game. Crop a small section from a photo, post it on your page and ask fans to guess what it is. For example, a dog shelter can post a picture of the dogs ear and ask fans to guess what breed the dog it is.
  5. Let Google Analytics help you. Post a picture from your one of your top viewed Web pages and post it with a comment or excerpt from the article.
  6. Let aliens abduct your page. The Alliance Theatre in Atlanta did a show that involved a tiny alien. In December they dressed it up as Santa and shared it on their page.
  7. Survival for Blondes

  8. Isn’t that Pinteresting? Post a picture from one of your Pinterest boards that’s received the most repins. For inspiration, see what Survival for Blondes does.
  9. Play and edge. Ask a question about a topic where people have strong opinions one way or the other. For example, “Yes or No: Do you think we should ban assault rifles in the United States?
  10. Supporter love. Post a picture of one of your top volunteers in action and share something really great that he or she did recently.
  11. Let locals know that you care. If you notice a news article about a tragedy in a specific city, target an update to that location letting those fans know that your organization cares.
  12. Post a fun fact related to your cause. “Did you know that…?”
  13. Share a post from George Takei’s page. You won’t go wrong there, unless your organization leans more conservative.
  14. What the FAQ? Post the answer to the most common question you get asked at events.
  15. Ask your supporters for ideas. If you have an event coming up, ask your Facebook fans what they’d like to see to make it memorable, different and amazing.
  16. Share your work life. Snap a quick picture of a peculiar item in your office and share it on Facebook with a comment. Or take a picture of staff doing cool and interesting things.
  17. Share a post from a partner page. Your sponsors spend a lot of resources to support your nonprofit. Make a point of regularly promoting their agenda to your fans.
  18. Try conditional sharing. Post a compelling photo related your cause and ask people to share if they’ve been affected by the same issue.
  19. Learn from the best. Post a similar updates to one of the top ones from your competitors.
  20. Steal success. Oscar Wilde said, “talent borrows, genius steals.” An example Jeremy from The Dundee Hills Winegrowers Association shared is the someecards ecards site. If you see one that is already getting a ton of likes and shares, go ahead and post it as your own (with proper credit).

Bonus: Here are 16 ideas to get more comments on your Facebook page using text.

Do you have a creative example of a Facebook update that worked for your nonprofit’s Facebook page? Don’t be shy — share your example below!


16 ways to get more comments on your Facebook Page (Socialbrite)

• 27 ways to increase engagement on your Facebook page (Socialbrite)

Facebook tools and tutorials (Socialbrite)John Haydon delivers social web strategy solutions for “the quick, the smart, and the slightly manic.” Curious? Then connect up: Contact John by email, see his profile page, visit the John Haydon blog, follow him on Twitter and Google Plus or leave a comment.

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Categories: Non-Profit IT News

Nonprofit & social change calendar: February 2013

Fri, 02/01/2013 - 06:31

A scene from last year’s Wisdom 2.0 conference (Photo by Mari Smith).

Plan for the month’s top conferences & events

JD LasicaIt’s the the dead of winter, but the conference season is heating up, with a number of conferences in the nonprofit/social change sector worth attending.

I’ll be attending the Marin Nonprofit Forum on Valentine’s Day (awww) and following these events as well: Social Enterprise, Media That Matters, Wisdom 2.0, TED and the Nonprofit Communication Workshop. Are you attending any of these?

For the full year, see our Calendar of 2012 nonprofit and social change conferences. If you’re interested in social media, tech and marketing conferences, see this month’s calendar on our sister site,

If you know of other events, please share by adding the info in the comments below. Hope to see you at one of these!

Conference Date Place February Washington Nonprofit Conference Feb. 7-8 Washington, DC The Washington Nonprofit Conference is an annual two-day event where more than 800 fundraising and marketing professional in the nonprofit and commercial sectors gather to exchange innovative marketing and fundraising ideas, generate insightful solutions and think creatively. The conference hopes to offer a platform for improving public awareness and receptivity to direct and interactive market-driven philanthropy. nonprofitconference Social Enterprise Feb. 9-10 Boston This year’s theme at the Social Enterprise conference at Harvard is Create. Connect. Commit. The gathering’s organizers hope to catalyze a forum to create, to enable individuals and organizations to connect and to inspire one another to commit. Jacqueline Novogratz Marin Nonprofit Forum Feb. 14 San Rafael, Calif. The Center for Volunteer and Nonprofit Leadership in Marin brings together experts and practitioners for learning and reflection by convening the bi-annual Marin Nonprofit Conference and issue-based Forums. This year’s Nonprofit Forum will identify what we have in common and how we can tell that story in a way that builds partnerships with donors and clients. Media That Matters Feb. 15 Washington, DC Media That Matters (not to be confused with the long-running Media That Matters in B.C.) is an annual conference presented by the Center for Social Media at American University. It’s designed for established and aspiring filmmakers, nonprofit communications leaders, funders and students who want to learn and share cutting-edge practices to make their media matter. mediathatmatters Strategic Co-Funding: A Grantmaker Convening Feb. 21 Washington, DC Grantmakers for Effective Organizations brings together a group of 150 grantmakers to explore different approaches to strategic co-funding. This daylong convening will offer participants opportunities to deepen their knowledge and advance their practice around key areas such as building trust; developing joint strategies, goals and common processes and more. GEO Wisdom 2.0 Feb. 21-24 San Francisco Join Twitter co-founders Evan Williams and Biz Stone, Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner, author Marianne Williamson and others at Wisdom 2.0, and explore the great challenge of our age: to not only live connected to one another through technology, but to do so in ways that are beneficial to our own well-being, effective in our work and useful to the world. This conference brings together people from the worlds of tech, business, spirituality, wellness and more. Arianna Huffington ACM: Computer Supported Cooperative Work Feb. 23-27 San Antonio, Texas CSCW is the premier venue for presenting research in the design and use of technologies that affect groups, organizations, communities and networks. Bringing together top researchers and practitioners from academia and industry in the area of social computing, CSCW 2013 will build on this strong history with venues including papers, workshops, panels, a Doctoral Colloquium and more. TED Feb. 25-Mar 1 Long Beach, Calif. The best moments at TED have often come from unexpected places. But this year, the organizers are pushing that to a new level, staging a global talent search to bring together the most remarkable lineup in TED’s history. This year’s theme: The Young. The Wise. The Undiscovered. TED2013 TEDActive Feb.25-Mar 1 Palm Springs, Calif. TEDActive is a curated community of 700 curious and energetic leaders who share an immersive week of TEDTalks (mainly through video links) and surprising experiences designed to inspire conversation, exchange and immediate action around ideas worth spreading. TEDActive provides a journey through critical conversation, joyful exchange and deep thought. TEDActive Nonprofit Communication Workshop Feb. 28 Bentonville, Ark. The Center for Nonprofit Communication at Drury University presents a one-day conference for nonprofit organizations, The Nonprofit Communication Workshop, that will provide nonprofit professionals with strategies for improving communication and creating stronger connections with donors, volunteers, businesses and the community. nonprofit-communication

JD Lasica works with nonprofits, social change organizations and businesses on social media strategies. See his profile, visit his business blog, contact JD or follow him on Twitter or Google Plus.

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Categories: Non-Profit IT News

A messaging calendar is not a content calendar

Tue, 01/29/2013 - 06:31

An editorial calendar, or content calendar — not to be confused with a messaging calendar.

Your strategy begins with a single step: Planning

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises, businesses, general public.

JD LasicaYou can’t be blamed if you’re a little confused by recent discussions in the nonprofit world about the need to create a content calendar. Yes, it’s true, a meaningful strategy for your organization starts with planning.

But what exactly is a content calendar?

There are no hard and fast rules about this. But I thought it would be helpful to nonprofits and other organizations, which often survive day by day, to get granular about what exactly should go into these planning documents.

Our former Socialbrite partner Debra Askanse wrote the other day about the need for planning and messaging to inform your nonprofit’s content creation, resulting in a content calendar. And another former Socialbrite partner, Beth Kanter, recently featured a blog post about the need for an editorial calendar.

But what does this calendar look like?

Start with messaging and support it with content

In my strategy webinars at CharityHowTo, I suggest that nonprofits think about maintaining two separate documents:

A messaging/planning calendar

1Call it a messaging calendar, planing calendar or events calendar — it doesn’t matter what term you use. And chances are your nonprofit may not be doing any of these, if the polls I conduct during my CharityHowTo webinars are a gauge. But let’s simplify things by calling it a messaging calendar.

events-calendarYour organization’s messaging calendar should derive from two sources:

• an annual list of outside events: national and global holidays like Martin Luther King Jr. Day, important landmarks like the 40th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade;

• internal events your nonprofit or your partners are planning, like your big spring fundraiser or that community job fair in the fall.

Begin each year with a messaging calendar of major national and international events. Localize it with events your nonprofit is putting on or that are happening in your state, like Give to the Max Day. Then update it regularly throughout the year when you add new events or plan new campaigns. Use the calendar as a calendar (in Outlook, Google Calendar, etc.), buttressed by an internal Word document spelling out what each department will be doing to support an internal campaign. And while your messaging calendar should live in marketing/communications, other departments should be able to contribute to this master planning document. It should also feed into your content calendar (see No. 2 below).

Optionally, such a document can also be used to create a public events calendar or community calendar for your online community (eg., both MLK Day and your fundraiser), but it should not be used to publicly expose your internal planning (eg., all depts. will support a Back to School theme in our external communications for the month of August). Here’s the external events calendar we created for SF Goodwill using a WordPress calendar plug-in.

A content/editorial calendar

2Your content or editorial calendar (see image at top) is not the same as the messaging calendar. Nonprofits need to create content to be relevant and to found on Google, and you need one person — call her an editor if you’d like — who’s in charge of a master content calendar for your organization. Such a document should list all the planned blog posts or new content your nonprofit is planning to run for the next several months on your blog, blogs or website. That, my friends, is your content calendar. It consists of a combination of external events and internal events fed from your messaging calendar as well as other story ideas contributed by your nonprofit’s employees or content partners.

What does it look like? Usually it’s a spreadsheet maintained by communications/marketing consisting of:

• the topic of the blog post or new content
• author
• which online channel (if your nonprofit has more than one)
• due date or publication date
• accompanying photos, video or other media
• how it’ll be supported on Facebook and Twitter
• notes that your team should know about.

We recommend making it available on the intranet so folks can contribute story ideas to it.

That, folks, is your real content calendar, not simply a listing of holidays or fundraisers.

So: Your messaging calendar notes that Jan. 21, 2013, is MLK Jr. Day/National Day of Service. Your content calendar has someone down for writing a blog post on the importance of volunteerism — in advance of Jan. 21.

As I said at the top, there’s no one right way to do this. So, be creative — do what works for you!

How does your nonprofit handle planning? Do you have a planning calendar, a content calendar, a single integrated planning document or none of the above? Tell us in the comments!JD Lasica works with nonprofits, social change organizations and businesses on social media strategies. See his profile, visit his business blog, contact JD or follow him on Twitter or Google Plus.

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Categories: Non-Profit IT News

8 steps to prepare your Facebook page for Graph Search

Mon, 01/28/2013 - 06:31


Connect your organization through Facebook Graph Search

Target audience: Nonprofits, NGOs, cause organizations, social enterprises, businesses, Web publishers, bloggers, social media managers, anyone with a Facebook Page.

John HaydonFacebook’s new Graph Search is very different from Google search. With Graph Search, you combine keyword searches with friends who’ve shared content on Facebook related to that search.

For example, here’s a search of friends who like The Ellie Fund and live in Boston:


Graph Search also allows people to discover your organization through different keyword / network search combinations:


Facebook Page SEO isn’t new

Google has been indexing Facebook Pages for quite some time now, so Facebook Page SEO (search engine optimization) isn’t anything new.

Both Google’s and Facebook’s search algorithms consider your page name, category, vanity URL and keywords within your About tab.

What is new is the combination of keyword, category and connection (as shown in the examples above) – and the way Graph Search suggestions influence how searches are conducted.

Here are eight steps to optimizing your Facebook Page for both Google and Facebook’s Graph search:

Tweak your page category


1Make sure you’ve selected the best possible category for your page. You can edit your category by going into your Basic Information admin panel, as shown above.

Tweak your page sub-categories

2If you have a Facebook Place (local Place or Business), you can add up to three sub-categories. These can be added / updated within your Basic Information admin panel (as shown above).

Complete your address

3Graph search will allow users to search for local nonprofits their friends like, so make sure your address is complete and current.

Complete your About section

4The information you share in your About section will help people find your page in search. Particularly if you put keywords at the beginning of specific fields.

Do not start off with, “We are a 501(c)3 organization…” People don’t search for 501(c)3 when they’re looking for services and resources for breast cancer patients.

Tag your photos

5Photos are a primary content type displayed in Graph Search results. Make sure you tag each photo with your page name and any location associated with the photo.

Pay attention to photo descriptions


6Devote a few seconds to filling in photo descriptions. For instance, guess which keywords are in the description of each photo this search result?

Create a username


7If you haven’t done so already, create a custom URL (username) for your page that includes the name of your organization. For example, should be shortened to This will improve your SEO on both Facebook and Google.

Continue creating killer content

8Remember, like Google, Facebook wants to display the best results at the top of a search. And parsing out great content on Facebook has always been done by looking at how much people have talked about that specific photo, video or text update.

Questions? Tips? Share them in the comments section below!

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John Haydon delivers social web strategy solutions for “the quick, the smart, and the slightly manic.” Curious? Then connect up: Contact John by email, see his profile page, visit the John Haydon blog, follow him on Twitter and Google Plus or leave a comment.

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 UnportedThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported.

Categories: Non-Profit IT News

Five tips to create powerful infographics

Wed, 01/23/2013 - 06:32

How nonprofits can use infographics to demonstrate supporters’ impact

Target audience: Nonprofits, NGOs, cause organizations, social enterprises, businesses, Web publishers, bloggers, social media managers, individuals.

John HaydonPeople support your organization for one reason: They view your organization as the agent of change they seek.

If they had the resources, they’d make the changes they desire by themselves. But they don’t, which is why you’re in their lives.

So when you tell the story of your cause, you need to show how supporters ultimately create the outcomes.

Nonprofit storytelling with infographics

One powerful way to do this is with a set of infographics like the Best Friends Animal Society created.

What’s really great about this infographic is that it’s broken down into five separate infographics, which makes the information even more digestible.

Five tips for creating powerful infographics

Best Friends Animal Society does a number of things right with their infographic. Here are a few:

  1. Keep it simple. The information should be instantly understood through pictures and words.
  2. Make it beautiful. No one wants to share an infographic that’s ugly. Make sure you spend the money and hire a graphic artist who can create a beautiful infographic. (Here are a few tools to create infographics.)
  3. Make it easily shareable. Users should be able to share your infographic with one mouse click on Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter. If you use WordPress for your website, you’ll find a number of plug-ins that will add a sharing feature to images.
  4. Put it everywhere. Make sure you post your infographic on your Facebook page, your Pinterest board, and even Instagram. This allows people who call these places their home to easily see it.
  5. Promote it. Just because you build it doesn’t mean people will come. You need to have a marketing communications plan that uses your biggest assets, like your email list, to promotes the infographic.

Have you seen an effective infographic about a cause? Let us know in the comments section below!

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John Haydon delivers social web strategy solutions for “the quick, the smart, and the slightly manic.” Curious? Then connect up: Contact John by email, see his profile page, visit the John Haydon blog, follow him on Twitter and Google Plus or leave a comment.

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 UnportedThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported.

Categories: Non-Profit IT News

11 free & inexpensive online photo editing tools

Tue, 01/22/2013 - 06:31

Photo courtesy of Fensterbme via Creative Commons

Photoshop Express, Pixlr, FotoFlexer allow editing on a budget

Target audience: Nonprofits, NGOs, cause organizations, social enterprises, businesses, Web publishers, bloggers, social media managers, individuals.

By Lindsay Oberst
Socialbrite staff

Lindsay Oberst

Good photos are powerful. A good image captures interest, creates connection and provokes a reaction, which can then inspire action. All organizations need quality images that inspire people to act — to share, to like, to comment, to give.

Newsletters, websites and Facebook pages with photos that could be improved — maybe cropped tighter or made brighter — can be that much more powerful. Plus, if your nonprofit wants to impress on Pinterest or Tumblr, knowing how to enhance images and add words and other elements to your images is essential.

So how do you edit photos when you’re not a designer and don’t have access to pricey programs like Adobe Photoshop or Aperture from Apple, and when you only occasionally need to edit images online?

You’ll be happy to know that while Web-based photo-editing tools were once limited, now many websites provide basic editing options such as cropping and resizing. Some even offer advanced editing options such as layers. Plus, most of these tools are free and easy to use.

Photo basics and editing tips

Before we get to the photo editing tools, let’s touch on some basic things you need to know to change your images into wow-worthy creations.

  • Image resolution describes the detail an image holds and refers to the number of dots, or pixels, in a linear inch of the image, measured in dots per inch (dpi) or pixels per inch (ppi).
  • The browser extension Measureit! is useful for measuring the pixel width and height of any elements on a Web page.
  • Most Internet images are 72 or 96 dpi (mostly depending on whether you’re a Mac or PC). However, dpi doesn’t apply to the Web (contrary to what most people say). Don’t worry about dpi or ppi for Internet images — image resolution has nothing to do with how an image appears on a screen — but you do need to be concerned with the pixel dimensions of your image. For example, on Facebook, the largest possible image size is 720 x 720 pixels.
  • Print images should be at least 200 or 300 dpi.
  • File size measures the size of a computer file, in kilobytes (KB) or megabytes (MB). Web photos should generally be no larger than 100KB. Saving photos as JPGs is preferred for digital images because it compresses while also maintaining picture quality.
  • When editing online photos, the Chrome, Safari and Firefox extension Measureit! is useful for measuring the pixel width and height of any elements on a Web page.
11 good online photo-editing tools

These are the best tools that we’ve found for editing images online. Know of others? Please add them in the comments below!

PS Express

Photoshop Express

1Photoshop Express is good for simple edits. To use this Flash-based service (not to be confused with Photoshop Elements), sign up for a free account or test drive the service first. Then you can upload a photo (must be a JPG) from your computer.

The layout is simple and grey, and you can edit fullscreen. Basic edits (crop, rotate, resize, auto correct, exposure, red eye, touch-up, saturation), advanced edits (white balance, highlight, dodge, burn, sharpen, soft focus), effects (crystallize, pixelate, hue, tint and others) and graphics (text, bubbles, frames and others) are available. Sharing to Facebook, Picasa, Flickr and others is easy.

Photoshop Express apps exist for Android and Apple, too. Free.

Good for:

  • Basic editing
  • Beginners


  • Allows you to view the original as you edit


  • Small font selection for adding text
  • Requires you to sign up and provide your birthday


2Pixlr is a more advanced, Flash-based editor, which offers most of the basic Photoshop functionality at no cost. You can even layer images on top of one another or use other effects to transform your photos. To use this tool, choose the express version or the advanced one. Both have fullscreen options.

The basic editing tool, Pixlr Express, is simple and easy to use, with big buttons that allow you to make changes with one click. Make adjustments (crop, resize, auto fix, color splash, vibrance, white teeth, touch-up, airbrush and others), add effects (only a few), overlays (space, smoke, vignette and others), borders, stickers and text (only seven font options).

The advanced editor, Pixlr Editor, is quite similar to Photoshop in layout, with areas including navigation, layers and history. Make adjustments (hue, levels, curves, exposure and others), add filters (sharpen, noise, halftone, tilt shift, blur and others) and create layers. A wand tool and a lasso tool are included, as well as a clone stamp tool, red eye reduction and others. Can save in a variety of formats: JPG, PNG, BMB, TIFF and PXD.

Pixlr also offers apps for Android and Apple. Free.

Good for:

  • Basic to advanced editing
  • People looking for cheaper programs similar to Photoshop
  • Creating collages (with Pixlr Express)
  • Touching up and correcting imperfections in photos of people


  • Keeps high-res photos the same quality after editing
  • Tutorials are available if you’d like to learn more about using Pixlr
  • No log-in required to use
  • The Pixlr Grabber for Firefox and Chrome allows you to choose online pictures or screenshots for editing using Pixlr Editor


  • Pixlr Editor requires editing knowledge or time to learn how to use it
  • Pixlr Express doesn’t have the ability to share to social networks after editing your image (the advanced editor does, though)


3Pixlr-o-matic is made by the same company as Pixlr and allows you to add filters (a la Instagram), overlays and borders. Images are saved as JPG. This Flash-based service is also has apps for Android and Apple and an Facebook app. And it can be installed as a Chrome Web app. Free.

Good for:

  • Adding filters, like retro and vintage
  • Adding creative borders


  • Easy to use, although the buttons are not named


  • Doesn’t have a fullscreen option
  • Doesn’t offer simple editing, like cropping and resizing
  • Can only save to your computer
media funnel


4Splashup is an advanced Flash-based editor that allows you to open an image from your computer, Facebook, Flickr and others. Its layout is similar to Photoshop, with layers and filters (but not as many options as Pixlr). The interface is grey, with moveable boxes. Free.

Good for:

  • Basic to advanced editing
  • People looking for cheaper programs similar to Photoshop
  • Multiple saving options: save as a JPG or PNG and choose photo quality. Also shows you photo size.


  • Allows you to edit multiple photos at once
  • Can edit a webcam image


  • Navigation is not as easy as other tools
  • Opens a new window for editing


5FotoFlexer is an editor with basic and advanced options. It can edit fullscreen. Offers basic edits (auto fix, fix red eye, resize, flip and others), effects, decorations (text, draw and others), animations, beautify (fix blemishes, smooth wrinkles) and layers, with a layout that is easy to use, yet different than layers in Photoshop. Edit photos from Facebook, Picasa, your computer and other places, and share to a variety of social-networking sites and email when you’re done. Saves images as JPG or PNG. Free.

Good for:

  • Basic to advanced image editing
  • Creating collages
  • Touching up and correcting imperfections in photos of people


  • Can upload any size photo
  • Has a low-bandwidth interface
  • Has a white background (most other tools have boring grey ones)
  • Has a large selection of font options


  • Takes a minute to save the photo
  • Not as easy to use as other tools


6Ribbet is a Flash-based editor built on the same platform as Picnik, which used to be a top online editing tool before it shut down. Most of the options are free, with some only available in Ribbet Premium. Currently, the premium version is free, but it will cost money in the future. Once you upload an image, the layout of interface is very simple and clean, with rounded buttons and colorful pictures.

Allows for basic edits (crop, rotate, exposure and others), a large variety of effects, touchups (blemish fix, airbrush, sunless tan, mascara, lip color, cloning and others) and creative frames. Can edit images from websites using a Chrome bookmarklet. And saving to your computer, Flickr and Facebook is possible. Save images as PNG or JPG.

Good for:

  • Touching up and correcting imperfections in photos of people
  • Creating collages


  • Has a more-pleasing layout with a white background
  • Has a large number of fonts for adding text to images


  • May charge money for certain features in the future.


7PicMonkey is a well-designed image editor, with beautiful graphics and a clean layout. Some former Picnik engineers decided to create this tool, which is Flash based and offers basic edits (rotate, crop, sharpen, resize), effects (some good ones like the HDR one), touch-ups (blemish fix, teeth whiten, lip tint and other ones in the paid edition), text (with many font options), overlays, frames and textures. Many features are free, but for $4.99 a month, users get ad-free editing, 40 percent more effects, double the touch-up tools and more.

Good for:

  • Basic to advanced editing
  • Touching up and correcting imperfections in photos of people
  • Creating collages and cards


  • Beautiful layout
  • Simple to use
  • Can easily share to social-networking sites, including Pinterest, or save as JPG or PNG


  • Advanced features and extra effects cost money
  • Free version has ads


8LunaPic is an editing tool with a variety of animations, which could be good for Tumblr images. You can also easily share to social-networking sites, including Tumblr. Free.

Good for:

  • Basic to advanced editing
  • Creating slideshows
  • Creating collages
  • Making images with animations


  • Has some unique editing features, including reflecting animation and the ability to create a Twitter image mosaic
  • You can see each image in your undo history
  • Offers some tutorials within the editing interface
  • Can save to many formats: GIF, JPG, PNG, PDF, AVI and others
  • Doesn’t rely on Flash


  • Layout is distracting and not easy to use
  • Lacks cancel buttons


9iPiccy is an online editor that offers basic and advanced edits, with the added ability to upload photos to a photo basket. Offers fullscreen editing, along with basic edits, many effects (pop art, HDR and others), touch-ups (blemish fixer, shine remover, wrinkle remover, hair color, clone tool and others), layers, paint tools, frames and textures. Can save as JPG or PNG. Free.

Good for:

  • Basic to advanced editing
  • Creating collages
  • Adding watermarks to your images (using saved photos in your photo basket)
  • Touching up and correcting imperfections in photos of people


  • Layout is simple with colorful buttons


  • You have to give iPiccy permission to store files on your hard drive


10Sumopaint is an online editor with a layout and menus similar to Photoshop. It has a free version with basic editing tools, a $9 version with 35+ more filters and tools and a $19 version with the 35 extra features, along with a desktop app for offline use. This Flash-based tool has a gray interface and layers. You can crop, rotate, use a magic wand or a lasso and many other tools. An iPad app is also available.

Sumopaint also has a strong community of users at, which allows users to share images and interact with one another.

Good for:

  • People looking for cheaper programs similar to Photoshop
  • Basic to advanced editing


  • Can save as JPG or PNG


  • Only allows you to open file from computer or a URL
  • Doesn’t have any photo-sharing capabilities
  • Doesn’t have font preview when adding text
  • Doesn’t allow for full-screen editing


11Citrify is a basic editing program that allows you to adjust (brightness, contrast, hue, saturation, resize, rotate, sharpen), touch up (airbrush, blemish, glare, red eye, toothbrush, wrinkle) and add a limited amount of effects and stickers. Saves images as PNG. Free.

Good for:

  • Basic editing
  • Beginners
  • Touching up and correcting imperfections in photos of people


  • Easy to use


  • Editor opens in a new window
  • Can only open a photo from your computer
  • Can only resize photos smaller or bigger, not a specific size
  • No sharing features

What other online photo editing tools do you use for your nonprofit?


7 image editing tools to create top-rate visual content
Top 10 sites for free or low-cost photos

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Lindsay Oberst is a freelance writer who writes about art, culture and topics that relate to social and environmental good. Follow her on Twitter at @LindsayOSocial for social good discussions or at @LindsayOWrite to chat about writing.

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Categories: Non-Profit IT News

9 powerful, simple ways to build your email list

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 06:31

Target audience: Nonprofits, fundraisers, cause organizations, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises — and businesses and brands, too

John HaydonIf you’re not building your nonprofit’s email list (and increasing your open and click-though rates), you are missing out on a huge opportunity to retain and attract donors.

This is because people prefer to donate via email. A study by Razoo (see above) shows that email is the best way to optimize the transactional aspect of fundraising.

Over the next few weeks here on Socialbrite, I’m going to outline exactly how to optimize all the various aspects of your email marketing. These articles will be based on my own work with nonprofits, as well as big data research. Subscribe to the series so you don’t miss out.

To start with, let’s talk about nine simple ways to build your list.

Prominently place your opt-in form

1An obvious way to increase email subscribers is to make it easy for people to find your opt-in form! When I placed mine at the top of this page, the number of new email subscribers I acquired each week tripled.

Tell subscribers what they’ll get

2The other thing you’ll notice about the email capture form above is that it tells people exactly what they’ll get. Make sure you tell them how often they’ll receive emails, andwhat day of the week they’ll receive them.

Setting expectations up front like this will also lower your unsubscribe rates.

Set the tone with a welcome email

3The moment someone joins your email list is the best time to send an auto-reply letting them know exactly what they can expect going forward. This sets a positive tone to the relationship as well by sincerely thanking them for joining your email list.

Don’t forget your Facebook page

4Because of the massively viral nature of Facebook, you should definitely put an email opt-in form on your Facebook page. In some cases, I’ve found that an opt-in form on a Facebook Page converts more effectively than a website.

Make it more frictionless

5An easy way to increase email opt-in rates is to remove hurdles — hurdles like captcha forms and requiring more than a first name and an email to join your list.

One thing Oceana recently did to make their opt-in process more frictionless was to use Facebook login. Using Facebook login meant that instead of filling out a name and email, all that was required was two mouse clicks. They also made it fun by incorporating profile pictures (as shown above).

Give them subscriber-only content

6Email marketing 101 requires that you answer the question every reasonable person eventually asks: “Why should I join your email list when I can easily follow your content on Facebook?”

An easy way to do this is to offer subscriber-only content, like HubSpot does with their eBooks, or Best Friends Animal Society does with their action alerts.

Get them to tell others

7The moment someone subscribes to your email list is precisely the moment to encourage them to share your list with their friends.

Above is a fun way I get new subscribers to retweet my email list (using Click to Tweet).

Create beautiful popovers

8If you’re like me, you hate pop-ups. They usually appear before you’ve experienced a site’s content or even when you’re still reading i!.

A WordPress plug-in called Pippity solves these issues by giving you control over how and when a pop-up will appear.

Know your audience

9Your current subscribers are always asking themselves: “Is this email still worth the space it’s taking up in my in-box?”

The sure way to building your list requires understanding what your subscribers really want – and consistently giving it to them.

Serving up useful, awesome content not only attracts new subscribers – it keeps the ones you have.

What other ideas do you have?John Haydon delivers social web strategy solutions for “the quick, the smart, and the slightly manic.” Curious? Then connect up: Contact John by email, see his profile page, visit the John Haydon blog, follow him on Twitter and Google Plus or leave a comment.

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 UnportedThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported.

Categories: Non-Profit IT News

5 nonprofit apps that make a difference

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 06:31

Photo courtesy of Daniel Y. Go via Creative Commons

5 organizations with apps worth downloading

Guest post by Kerry Butters

There is an app for pretty much everything these days, whether you want help with yoga, looking at the stars, getting to sleep or maybe you just need to keep all your affairs in order.

However, not every app is in it for the money. There are nonprofit apps out there that are worth more than a passing glance. With this in mind, we’ve put together a list of some of the best nonprofit apps available today.

First Aid App by American Red Cross
1I don’t know about you, but when it comes to first aid, I’m clueless. Anything that involves more than a Band-Aid and I have to look online for advice. This cool app can help you along the way by teaching you first aid, giving you quizzes to improve your knowledge. With its built-in content, you won’t have to worry about finding a signal in a moment of peril. iTunes and Android


2The YMCA does a great job helping youths gain a future. They promote a healthy family lifestyle and are a great part of the USA. With this cool app you’ll never have to worry about being from the Y ever again. Its built-in GPS will help you locate your nearest Y so you’re never far away from a helping hand. In addition to giving you the location, it will also give you directions so you’ll never get lost. Android only

UN Foundation

3The United Nations is constantly working to improve the health and well-being of people across the world. With this great app you can now be a part of that. Whether you want to send messages to those doing good works, read about the great things the UN is doing across the globe, or just simply donate when you see someone that needs your help, then this is the app for you. iTunes and Android

Movember Mobile

4This charity app goes hand in hand with the charity event held annually for prostate cancer. Are you considering growing a mustache and doing your bit later this year? Even if you’re not, download this app and get sucked into the cause. iTunes and Android

PETA (People for the ethical treatment of animals)

5Whether you just want to make a donation, keep up with the good work or get directly involved, then download this be-kind-to-animals app to get started. You can even get points and badges if you want to add a little healthy competition to the app. iTunes and Android

As the mobile app world becomes more ruthless — with Android and Apple vying for supremacy and Windows jumping into the fold — it’s refreshing to know that not everyone is in it for what they can get. If you’re currently shopping around for apps to install on your smartphone, iPad or tablet and are looking for some helpful apps to go with it, these are certainly worth a look.

What are your favorite nonprofit apps? Please add them in the comments!

Kerry Butters is a contributor for the popular consumer information site Broadband Genie in Great Britain, which covers everything from broadband to the best iPad contract deals. Follow her on Twitter at @kesbutters.

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 UnportedThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported.

Categories: Non-Profit IT News