All posts by Peter Panepento


When Bad Things Happen to Good Nonprofits Online

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At many nonprofits, just one person is responsible for monitoring conversations on Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and elsewhere online.

But Allyson Kapin, founder of Women Who Tech and a founding partner of the Rad Campaign, believes nonprofits should encourage everyone in the organization to play a role in watching what’s happening online.

That makes it easier to cover more ground than one person ever could, but more important, helps people throughout the organiza…


Online Fundraising and the Meaning of Life

When Marc Erlbaum was trying to raise $150,000 to finance a series of short films on the meaning of life, he turned to Indiegogo, a site that makes it easy for people and organization to advertise and raise money for projects.

He learned as much about what’s meaningful to people from fundraising as he has from his filming project. When people give through a site like Kickstarter or Indiegogo, “they’re contributing because they believe in something and they know it will come around, ultimately. …


Podcast: How and Why Causes Gain Momentum Online

In the past few weeks and months, social media have helped many groups unleash widespread advocacy efforts that have won the attention of millions of people and ignited large-scale public debates.

Supporters of Planned Parenthood, for example, used Facebook and Twitter to inspire protests after Susan G. Komen for the Cure said it would end support to the organization. Invisible Children used a YouTube video to start a campaign to make the public aware of abuses committed by the warlord Joseph K…


Podcast: Building Better Nonprofit Blogs

When nonprofits develop ideas for using social media, they tend to focus on networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. But they often overlook one of the oldest and most effective tools for sharing ideas and building a community online: the blog.

While blogs don’t get the same attention as newer social-networking platforms, Britt Bravo, a communications consultant, says blogs should still be a central piece of an organization’s social-media strategy.

Ms. Bravo says a good blog can produ…


Planned Parenthood Shares Its Formula for Rallying Supporters Online

When faced with a crisis, many nonprofits stay silent until they are sure they have created the right message to share with their supporters.

Amy Bryant, digital content manager at the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, says that can be a big mistake. Groups that are facing a public crisis or challenge need to take control of the message early—even if they are still trying to react to that crisis, she told a session at the South by Southwest Interactive conference, in Austin, Tex. That…


Give Your Blog a Makeover

If your organization’s blog has gotten a bit stale—or if it has never really connected with supporters—help is on the way.

Britt Bravo, a communications specialist and blogging coach, will join Allison Fine, an author and consultant, as the guest for the next edition of Social Good, The Chronicle’s monthly podcast about social media.

Together, they will answer your questions about blogging and help you add new life to your online commentary.

To submit a question—or to request advice on how to …


Podcast: The Power of Stories in Social Change

Many nonprofit leaders understand the value of telling stories to connect with potential donors or to inspire action by supporters. But they struggle to find creative ways to tell stories—especially because they are often more focused on helping the people they serve than they are with documenting the experience.

How can nonprofits tell attention-grabbing tales about their work and the people they help?

In the latest episode of our Social Good podcast series, Michael Margolis, founder of the co…


Social Media Fuel Debate as a Big Charity Cuts Off Planned Parenthood Aid

Susan G. Komen for the Cure is facing a significant social-media backlash following its decision to cut off its support of Planned Parenthood.

The controversial move by the nation’s largest breast-cancer charity will cut hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual grants from Komen chapters to Planned Parenthood clinics, primarily for breast exams.

The charity is now facing a significant outcry from Planned Parenthood supporters in social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

Planned Parenthood hel…


Steve Jobs and Philanthropy

Steve Jobs (Jessica Brandi Lifland/Polaris/Newscom)

Steve Jobs, the Apple co-founder, was a polarizing figure in the nonprofit world.

While his chief business rival, Bill Gates, leads the world’s largest foundation and has been a standard-bearer for the high-profile Giving Pledge, Mr. Jobs, who died Wednesday after a long battle with cancer, rarely made his philanthropy or his views on giving a topic for public discussion.

He briefly ran the Steven P. Jobs Foundation—a grant-making organizatio…


Podcast: How Foundations Can Use Social Networks to Support Movements

A small but growing number of foundations are relying on social networks to advance their missions and promote conversations about the causes they care about.

The Marguerite Casey Foundation, for instance, uses Facebook to start discussions with its grantees about topics such as poverty, and it turns to Twitter to encourage similar discussions among government leaders and journalists.

Its goal is to use those networks to mobilize people to address poverty in America, says Suphatra Laviolette, w…