Category Archives: Social Media
April 26, 2012, 4:16 pm
By Cody Switzer
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 Uganda to start farms and build schools, health centers, and other facilities that strengthen communities.
But long before that campaign, her charity started working to create new perceptions of Africa and to show that it is full of capable people with the potential to support themselves. Her nonprofit has released three videos over the past year as part of its …
April 23, 2012, 4:26 pm
By Derek Lieu
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 on social networks. The group soon plans to use fewer contractors while adding a new full-time employee who will handle live online events, says Susan Tenby, TechSoup’s director of online community.
Smaller groups can’t afford such luxuries. The Collaborative for High Performance Schools, which has three full-time employees, must juggle social media with its other priorities. Still, it…
April 10, 2012, 5:09 pm
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 Kony, in Africa.
And the killing of Trayvon Martin in Florida has fueled a massive online debate about race relations and gun laws and sparked large protests nationwide.
What is it that makes these events spread online and generate support?
The common thread is that the organizers found a way to help anyone relate to the cause, says Stephanie Rudat, an online activist and co-founder …
April 5, 2012, 2:58 pm
By Cody Switzer
“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 campaigns asks fans of “The Hunger Games” to carry a pledge sheet to join Oxfam International’s campaign to fight hunger when they go to see the film and ask other moviegoers to sign up. The pledge sheet draws parallels between the movie’s dystopian world and problems in the real world.
That campaign was challenged by Lionsgate, the movie company distributing the film, but it eventually …
April 5, 2012, 9:08 am
By Derek Lieu
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 the smartest ways to use multimedia to get supporters involved and to create a culture of experimentation and testing.
That approach to innovation differs from the common practice of hiring a social-media manager or online expert to handle communications on the Internet. The problem with those roles, Jason Mogus, chief executive of the consulting firm Communicopia, told the conference is…
April 4, 2012, 10:41 am
By Derek Lieu
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, the fundraising-software company Blackbaud, and the consulting company Common Knowledge, were based on data from 3,522 nonprofits. It was released to coincide with the Nonprofit Technology conference that opened in San Francisco Tuesday.
For the first time, the study attempted to quantify the return on investment per social- media follower.
The study found that the average nonprofit…
March 22, 2012, 4:40 pm
By Cody Switzer
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 the conference organizers, Univision News, and others to present the Social Revolución Latino Lounge and the Revolucionario Awards to call attention to Latino efforts to help others.
“Revolucionarios” are important in Latino culture, says Mr. Rayo.
“It could be that you’re a cancer survivor and you want to raise awareness, maybe it’s social-justice issues or education, or you want…
March 21, 2012, 11:11 am
By Cody Switzer
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 one product of the foundation’s work to help six grantees use social networks wisely and includes lessons from their approaches.
Small nonprofits could spend 10 to 34 hours on social media a week as a starting point, the report says. For an organization that hopes to be effective in social media, keeping up with Twitter and Facebook accounts could take a minimum of 25 to 50 percent of on…
March 19, 2012, 2:33 pm
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 produce a steady stream of content that can help nonprofits share information with supporters, garner media attention, and snare a higher ranking in search engines such as Google.
Blogs also provide useful content that can be shared in social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
In the latest episode of The Chronicle podcast Social Good, Ms. Bravo shares advice on how to…
March 13, 2012, 10:41 am
By Derek Lieu
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, including a dozen by certified mail.
Invisible Children, which gained its nonprofit status in 2005, has prompted considerable scrutiny of its methods and finances after it made its video, which seeks the removal of an African warlord named Joseph Kony.
The Wise Giving Alliance says Invisible Children’s video sends a mixed message. “We think that an organization that is willing to shine…