Stay Fresh

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Looking back at projects I have been working on the last few months, one thing that jumps out is the importance — and challenge — of keeping not just messages fresh, but yourself, too. You have to keep learning new tricks in order to present information in new and effective ways. It seems like every new tool you learn how to use, leads you to another.  Frankly, I love learning new things. This month alone I have added these new skills:

  • started a new newsletter via MailChimp — which was also a new program for me. I use another program I inherited for another organization, but  I am totally in love with MailChimp now. I am still mastering some of the size issues on graphics, but was pleased to learn how I can re-send emails to people who didn’t open the first email.  Not that I am a Glenn “I’m not going to be ignored” Close stalker, but by gosh I will resend an email to non-openers at least once.
  • completed a company newsletter and improved my InDesign skills. Check out the newsletter at Newsletter Summer 2017.
  • learned a super smart way to use Google Doc’s talk-to-text feature to take real-time meeting minutes. I just learned about the talk-to-text feature which I was using to transcribe interviews, but had not thought to use it for meeting minutes within an ongoing meeting until I saw it being done on a conference call. Genius! Because, let’s face it, meeting minutes are just an awful, awful thing, but so sadly necessary. It’s just a fact of life.

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Using Facebook to Grow Your Chapter (or Non-Profit)

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How to employ social media (mostly Facebook) to grow your local organization.


My Love Affair with Canva

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If you work for a nonprofit that has a big budget for graphic design and glitzy images that you can order on a weekly whim, good for you! Meanwhile, back here on Planet Earth, pulling graphics together to power up your social media messages and related fliers on a timely basis can be an overwhelming challenge for nonprofits.

Exciting images that support your brand have to be created, quickly and on a shoestring budget.  So what if I told you there is this amazing free tool available to you online that can unleash your inner graphic artist?  There is. It’s called Canva and a little dabbling goes along way.

Canva provides pre-sized templates for you to build from (or set your own custom sizes), using images or layouts you can use to create just the thing you need. Load your own photos, drop in your logo, and download your creation in handy shareable formats (JPEG, PNG, or PDFs).

And, best part — it’s FREE and doesn’t require quite the same level of icon knowledge that some programs use.  Not that I am naming any names, but you know who I am talking about.

My one caveat: Canva is addictive. I have been on a rampage of photo collages because they are fun and effective at conveying the warmth and excitement of different events. They make great “Thank You” inserts, letting donors see what their contributions made possible.

Of course, Canva does not replace the need for a proper graphic designer to design the look of some elements of your messaging. It does make it easier to benefit from professionally designed graphics as a template and blend those elements into your everyday messaging, using basic layout rules that hopefully you’ve learned along the way (you don’t want people looking “off” the page, proper use of white space, balance, etc.).

Here below are some examples of Canva created projects used for social media as well as fliers and event collages.


The Power of “Yes And”: Improv for Business

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Yes Triumphs Over No

If you’ve ever been to a good improvisation show, you’ve probably wondered how these comedic geniuses manage to come up with delightful, unique responses that captivate.  The reality is their work — and it is work — is based upon not just talent but principles of scene building that also apply to good business dynamics. Taking improv comedy classes can make you see new ways to present information in business.  Plus, it’s just fun and you’ll get to meet and interact with some of the funniest people you’ll ever know.

I once had the pleasure of taking a few improv classes in Hollywood. Years later, those lessons of scene building still resound and apply to any professional endeavor. Here is the Number One lesson learned from improv comedy:

YES AND vs NO BUT

“Yes” is a very powerful word. Combine it with “and” in a brainstorming meeting at work, and you might end up with enchanting results. When students first try doing improv scenes together without rules in place, often one person will have an idea where they want to go with the scene — but another person has another idea. Improv comedy shuts down when one person takes over the scene by saying, “No/But” and taking the character or situation in a direction that conflicts with a previous statement.  Whenever you see a “but” someone is denying someone else’s words or ideas. If others in the same scene “but” back, the work can just come to a grinding, unproductive halt. Just like at the office. Neither situations are fun for anyone.

When you commit to saying “Yes and” instead of “No but” automatically to ideas, it opens up your world to truly inspiring opportunities. Why? Because it forces your team to listen to each other. In order to add new information, participants have to hear what is being said in the first place, and then dig deep to find that new bit of information that will add to what was presented. It works in improv and it works in business, too.

Indeed, “Yes” is a powerful word. People love to hear “Yes” whereas when they hear “No” reflexively it can cause them to stop trying. Add an “and” to your “Yes” with new information and you will be amazed at what you can accomplish. Want to see how it works for yourself? Sign up for some basic improv comedy classes near you. There are even more excellent scene building rules that will burnish your professional skills. And, again, you’ll have a really good time while learning how to be a better listener and team player at work.


Social Media for Grant Professionals

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banner-workshop-social-media-tilt

When America got soaked in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge which rained in $115 million in donations, the power of social media as a tool for nonprofits was raised to a whole new level. If you’ve been hesitant to self-promote or don’t know how to connect your nonprofit’s social media to volunteer or donor development, here are a few links and resources to get you started.

10 Things to Do When Getting Started on Twitter

For most things you want to carry out in life, getting started is often the hardest part of the process. The same is true for social media. Whether it’s the anxiety of not knowing what to do, or the fear of possibly looking dumb—it’s easy to put off signing up for Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram until tomorrow … or next week … or next month…So, to help you stop procrastinating and start achieving your social media goals, check out this list of the first 10 things you should do to get started on Twitter.

Grant Chat @Grant_Chat  

JOIN THE GRANTCHAT COMMUNITY: GrantChat is a diverse group Grant Development and Grants Management professionals. There are numerous ways to connect with the #grantchat community across the different social media platforms. Weekly chats on Twitter happen on Tuesdays 9am PST. Follow the link to learn more.

10 Facebook Page for Best Practices for Nonprofits

With more than 1 billion active users, Facebook is the largest social network in the world. More than two-thirds of its users log in every day and three-fourths do so on a mobile device. Without a doubt your nonprofit’s supporters use Facebook on a regular basis. Therefore, Facebook Pages should be your first priority and entry into social networking. but to stand out from the other 50 million pages regularly active and all vying for likes, comments, and shares, you must excel at Facebook in order to stand out from the clutter and the 10 best practices from thus article will ensure your nonprofit is on the right path.

Facebook Go

Facebook Go helps advertisers learn how to get the most from their advertising spend on Facebook. Businesses that invest $25 or more per day on their ads for 30 days will be able to work with a dedicated Ads Specialist to grow their business. During this time, the Ads Specialist will help:

•    Develop a customized strategy for advertising on Facebook

•    Provide guidance on creating targeted ads

•    Measure and optimize campaign performance

Interested? Fill out the form at this link or call them at 1-800-601-0077.  They’ll give you a $50 ad coupon at the end of the program.

Facebook Advanced Tools

Custom Audiences: Sometimes the most valuable audience is one you already have a connection with. You can use Custom Audiences to connect with your existing contacts on Facebook. Or remarket to people based on the actions they take in your mobile app or on your website. Securely upload this information and create engaging ads designed for these groups of people. When you upload a customer list, this data is kept secure. All of the information is hashed, which means that no one can read it or un-encrypt it, including Facebook. You can create a Custom Audience in the ads create tool or in Power Editor.

Lookalike Audiences: Connect with people on Facebook who share traits—like location, age, gender and interests—with your best customers, so your ads reach more people who’ll care about your services and products. Facebook can help you build a lookalike audience based on:

•    The people who like your Facebook Page

•    Customer contact info, like emails or phone numbers

•    People who visit your website

Go to Ads Manager, then click Audiences. Click the Create Audience button, then select Lookalike Audience.

Google Grants

What is Google Ad Grants? Google Ad Grants is the nonprofit edition of AdWords, Google’s online advertising tool. Google Ad Grants empowers nonprofit organizations, through $10,000 per month in in-kind AdWords™ advertising, to promote their missions and initiatives on Google search result pages.

Is your nonprofit eligible for Google Ad Grants?

To be eligible for the Google Ad Grants program, organizations must:

•    Hold current and valid charity status, as determined by your country; please see your country’s charity status definition below.

•    Acknowledge and agree to the application’s required certifications regarding nondiscrimination and donation receipt and use.

•    Have a functioning website with substantial content

Please note that the following organizations are not eligible for Google Ad Grants:

•    Governmental entities and organizations

•    Hospitals and medical groups

•    Schools, childcare centers, academic institutions and universities (philanthropic arms of educational organizations are eligible). To learn more about Google’s programs for educational institutions, visit Google for Education.

YouTube for Nonprofits

To help you activate your cause, tell a compelling story, and launch an effective campaign on YouTube, we now have a couple of resources for nonprofits. Learn how your nonprofit can use these benefits and make the most out of YouTube by downloading the Playbook for Good and the Top 10 Fundamentals For Nonprofits PDF.

Benefits of joining

•    Donate button: Viewers can use your channel’s Donate button to contribute to your cause online right from your YouTube videos. Available only in the US and UK at this time.

•    Live streaming: Stream video footage live onto your YouTube channel; great for events, conferences, and reporting.

•    Call-to-action overlays: Place a Call to Action on your videos, which viewers can click to visit your website, donate, or learn more.

•    Video annotations: Use annotations on your videos to encourage users to subscribe to your channel or click to visit your website.

•    Production resources: Get production access to shoot or edit your videos at YouTube’s creator studio in Los Angeles, Space LA.

11 Nonprofits that Excel at Social Media

Your nonprofit can learn a lot from the 11 (mostly large) nonprofits listed in this article by simply following, liking, and subscribing to their e-newsletter, blog, Facebook Page, Twitter, YouTube Channel, etc. and then studying and duplicating their methods. Besides the ones listed here, we are  big fans of Charity Water and Girls on the Run L.A. among others. Keep an eye out for winning messages and see what you can adapt for your own development efforts.

Social Media for Nonprofits 

Social Media for Nonprofits is the world’s only conference series dedicated to social media for social good. Instead of abstract concepts and theory, their focus is on sharing practical tips and tools for fundraising, marketing, and advocacy with nonprofit decision-makers.

 

Original post date: January 2015