Category Archives: Social Media


A Nonprofit Uses Humor to Change the West’s View of Africa

Nyla Rodgers is one charity official who is fed up with the way nonprofits represent Africa. Too often she sees depictions of AIDS, warfare, famine, hopelessness, desperation, and dependence on a Western hero. That kind of concern came to the surface when she saw the “Kony 2012” campaign by the advocacy group Invisible Children.

“When I saw the Kony campaign, it made me so mad,” says Ms. Rodgers, founding director of Mama Hope, a San Francisco charity that works in Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, and U…


Video: How Small and Large Nonprofits Use Social Media

As social networks grow in popularity, nonprofits of all sizes must figure out how they spend their time using them, which networks to focus on, and what skills to hire for. But big groups and small groups often have different approaches to these challenges.

Large groups typically have more resources and can give more time to social media. For example, TechSoup Global, which has a staff of about 230, dedicates three full-time employees and four part-time contractors to maintaining its presence o…


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…


New Project Aims to Motivate Movie Fans to Do Good

“The Hunger Games,” the new film based on the popular book by Suzanne Collins, has quickly become a blockbuster. Andrew Slack, executive director of the Harry Potter Alliance, a group of fans of another popular book and movie series, is hoping it can also inspire its fans to help change the world.

Mr. Slack, who co-founded the alliance in 2005, is now working on the Imagine Better Project, an effort to help fans “turn the fictions they love into the world they can imagine.”

One of the first cam…


Greenpeace Experiments With Technology Team Structure

Greenpeace has never acted much like other nonprofits. As Michael Silberman, a global director with the environmental protection group, put it in a session at the Nonprofit Technology Conference on Wednesday, “Greenpeace is a big institution but not as staid as other big institutions.”

Mr. Silberman leads an effort at Greenpeace called Mobilization Lab. His small team—three to four full-time staff members by the end of the year, including a data analyst—has two goals: to educate employees on…


Nonprofits Chalk Up Big Gains in Social-Network Followers

Nonprofits are expanding the number of supporters they draw on Facebook, Twitter, and others social networks, all without spending much more money to attract attention, a new study finds.

The average nonprofit’s Twitter page increased its follower count 81 percent in the past year, from 1,822 to 3,290. Groups also added more Facebook followers by 30 percent, from an average of 6,376 in 2011 to 8,317 in 2012.

This year’s findings, from the fourth annual report by the Nonprofit Technology Network,…


A ‘Social Revolución’ Gives Attention to Latino Causes

Armando Rayo, a vice president at the communications firm Cultural Strategies, is a veteran of the annual South by Southwest Interactive conference in Austin, Texas. In recent years, though, he’s noticed that all the discussions about using technology to promote the social good have been missing a key element.

“There’s always kind of this sense of, ‘Where are the Latinos and the Latino sessions?’” Mr. Rayo said. “It’s kind of hard to find.”

That wasn’t the case this year. Mr. Rayo worked with …


Small Nonprofits Offered Advice on Social Media

A new report offers advice to small organizations on how to manage the time and costs associated with social-media programs.

“The challenge, especially for the greater than 1 million smaller organizations with tight budgets and limited staff, is how to use scarce resources most effectively to reap the benefits,” says the report by the Rita Allen Foundation and the Bridgespan Group.

The 10-page report, “Tweeting For a Better World: Essentials of Social-Media Strategy for Smaller Nonprofits,” is…


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…


Charity Behind Viral Video Failed to Respond to Watchdog Requests

A charity watchdog took the unusual step Monday of calling attention to the unwillingness of the nonprofit behind the popular “Kony 2012″ video to provide basic information needed to certify whether donors should support it.

The BBB Wise Giving Alliance, an accreditation site for nonprofits, has tried for six years to persuade the group, Invisible Children, to undergo a  financial and governance review, to no avail.

During those six years, the Wise Giving Alliance says it has sent 18 letters, in…