Tuesday, 31 December 2013

I Bet You’d Never Guess Which Topics Were Most Popular on npEngage in 2013..or would you?

Last week I published the 112 Nonprofit Blog Posts, Articles, and Stories from 2013 You Can’t Missthat compiled some of the wisest words and insights from across the industry this year. 

The surge of useful and actionable advice that has surfaced in 2013 shows the value of rich content marketing—the creation of resources that provide direction and assistance, and have you, the audience, at the heart of every word and image.

Now, there’s still a lot of work to be done and lessons to be learned, but tomorrow marks the beginning of a new year with unlimited potential for growth. As we begin our journey into the uncharted lands of 2014, it’s only wise that we carry with us the findings and resources acquired over the past 12 months.

npEngage is proud to be a hub of a portion of the industry’s ever growing index of advice, insights and best practices, and it’s our goal (like many of yours) to really step up our game this year.

In the spirit of making new year’s resolutions, here’s ours: produce and provide better content than we’ve ever created before. In order to make this happen, we’ve taken a look back at your npEngage favorites from 2013 – what worked, what didn’t, and what we can do better – and, well, we’ve got our work cut out for us.

Have look..

npEngage’s Top 20 Posts from 2013

  1. Frank Barry get’s right to the point – online fundraising isn’t a fad. As a matter of fact, online fundraising accounts for seven-percent of total fundraising and has seen double-digit growth over the past four years. He outlines how your organization can be a part of this growth in his post:  15 Techniques Used by Top Nonprofits to Boost Donor Acquisition and Online Fundraising Results 
  2. Back by popular demand was Steve MacLaughlin’s analysis of the 200 email subject lines sent to him from nonprofits between December 1, 2012 and December 31, 2012. Here are some interesting findings, best practices, and the complete list of email subject lines, 200 Email Subject Lines from End of Year Fundraising
  3. Debbi Stanley asked, “Is it enough to simply say thank you to our biggest donors- the Board of Directors?” She pondered this ageless dilemma and offered up some helpful tips for a heartfelt thanks in her post, How to thank your Board? Sing their praises.
  4. What would happen if we combined some commonly *overheard* phrases from the nonprofit sector with the most popular Internet memes? Steve MacLaughin showed us when he created the Top 12 Internet Memes for Nonprofits
  5. If you’re looking for fundraising ideas, the npExperts: Fundraising Ideas and Marketing Tips from the Pros has you covered. Frank Barry gives us a break down of the insight you’ll gain from the ebook with his blog post, 19 Proven Fundraising Ideas from Nonprofit Experts.
  6. It's very easy to become paralyzed by the variety of opinions about how to optimize donation forms for the purpose of improving online giving and donor acquisition. With this in mind, Amy Bills wrote about the simple things you can do today to have an impact in acquiring now donors. Take a look: Donor Acquisition: 3 Donation Form Tweaks that will Quickly Improve Online Fundraising
  7. Understanding the multichannel preferences and charitable habits of Generation X, Generation Y, Baby Boomers, and Matures could have a significant impact on your nonprofit's fundraising performance, but it could also leave you frozen, retreating back to the familiar. What's a fundraiser to do? In mine and Frank Barry’s posts,  The Next Generation of American Giving: Insights, Takeaways, & Suggestions From The Nonprofit Industry  and The Top 5 Fundraising Ideas from The Next Generation of American Giving, we give the break down on how your organization’s fundraising can span the generations.
  8. Aga Suida pulled from her experience of working with nonprofits to write on the importance of social media. The truth is you can turn your social media routine into a revenue generating opportunity for your organization by following a few simple steps. She highlighted those steps here: How To Use Social Media To Raise Brand Awareness and Drive Donations
  9. If major commercial emailers are including symbols in their subject lines, then is the practice of including symbols in subject lines really all that taboo? Robyn Mendez’s Symbols in Subject Lines… Them or Them? shared tips on how to effectively use symbols in the subject lines of your next email.
  10. Steve MacLaughlin confessed that he used to believe that online average gift size was a vanity metric. That is until he learned to love really dig into the data. Read his 5 Facts About Online Average Gift Sizeand you might learn to love the metric too.
  11. Simply getting emails out the door can be a challenge for nonprofits.Sending the right message to the right constituent at the right time can be almost impossible to organize manually.f But, what if it didn’t have to be that way? Mike Snusz’s One Email Tactic Nonprofits Need to Steal From Brand Marketers shed light on the importance of a triggered email campaign.
  12. When done right, infographics are exciting, simple to digest, fact-filled, shareable and all together useful for anyone who crosses their path. But not every infographic is created equal. Frank Barry offered up 7 Tips for Creating Compelling Nonprofit Infographics that get Shared to ensure your next infographic is a huge success.
  13. When it comes to making resolutions to improve, diversify or broaden your fundraising efforts, sometimes it’s best to start small. In Kelly Jarrett’s post, Three Simple Ways to Improve Your Online Fundraising, she challenged nonprofits to try easy and completely doable steps to improve results of online giving.
  14. While nonprofits are challenged with retaining donors, one overlooked cultivation tool may be the Enewsletter. Many nonprofits send one on a regular basis. And although the enewsletter can present challenges of it's own – time commitment, content creation – the right type of enewsletter content can help strengthen donor relationships. Mike Snusz provided 6 Enewsletter Ideas to Help Retain Donorsthat will come in handy when it comes time for the next ask.
  15. I've always heard "If you want something, ask for it", but I'm not convinced this is the best advice. You can't just ask; you have to prove that what you're asking for is worthy of consideration. I say if you want something, start building. Show the value. Build a vision. Prove the impact. And then ask for it. Read what else I had to say in my first npEngage post: Donor Acquisition: The #1 Way to Acquire More Donors Online.
  16. Most nonprofit websites see a donation form abandonment rate of around 50% – 70%. Yes, that's more than half of the people who have found your website, gotten interested enough to click the "donate now" button and looked at the donation form and decided not to make that donation. In Alissa Ruehl’s post, You have been abandoned, she gave 7 tips to combat the form neglect.
  17. After the 2013 eNonprofit Benchmark study’s findings suggested a steep decline in performance of fundraising emails, Mike Snusz compiled the eight most popular npEngage posts to help improve email management and fundraising results. The result: Fundraising Ideas to Reverse the Trend of Declining Email Response Rates.
  18. Frank Barry drew on the results of the Charitable Giving Report of 2012 to note the 4 Fascinating Facts about Online Fundraising (and some ideas to help boost your fundraising results).
  19. Kathryn Hall used email results from the then soon-to-be-released Peer-to-Peer Benchmark Report  to create her post, Raising Money Using Social Media: Five Ways to Support Peer-to-Peer Fundraisers. With the expansion on online activity, the ways in which nonprofits can empower P2P fundraisers should no longer be constricted to purely email.
  20. Asking is part art and part science.  You must manage your composure and delivery while simultaneously listening for verbal and nonverbal cues from your donor. In Rachel Muir’s post, How to Nail the Soft Skills of Fundraising: The Face-to-Face Ask, she urged that practice truly makes perfect and offered up 10 tips to get you started.

What would you like to see more of in 2014?

We would love to hear from you! Share in the comments below.


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My one word for 2014

My one word for 2014 is led (as in the metal). I know, it sounds like a funny word to use for goal setting. I’m spelling it “led” so I don’t confuse it with “lead” as in being a leader, although I plan on doing a lot of that in 2014. And it’s only one... Read More

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Saturday, 28 December 2013

Nonprofit Web Design Process Part 3: Content Strategy

Note: This is the seventh in a series of posts about the Nonprofit Web Design Process. See the end of this post for a linked index of other posts in the series.


Content for your website includes your headlines, body copy, photos, captions, graphics, videos, audio clips, etc. Content Strategy is "planning for the creation, delivery, and governance of useful, usable content". (Quote from Kristina Halvorson) It's an essential step in the Web Design process that’s often overlooked or skimped upon. Here at Blackbaud, we do our best to start our design recommendations with content so that our clients are thinking about content very early in the process.

Purposes for content strategy include:

  • Defining a Messaging Hierarchy to prioritize messages you'd like to convey on your website and building consensus among your content creators
  • Articulating content priorities for your homepage and other key pages/sections of your web presence
  • Determining what content needs to be written from scratch, revised and deleted and developing an editorial plan (for now and in the future) for when this work should be complete and who is responsible


The foundation for a good content strategy is a current content inventory. If you ever plan to redesign your website, the best thing you can do to prepare is to create (and maintain) a content inventory. I wrote a post about how to create a content inventory several years ago in case you need some instruction.

Once we have a complete content inventory, we then proceed with a content audit where we evaluate each page/section of content for how useful it is for the end user. We take into consideration the quality of the content itself and how well it’s meeting its objective. The data we gathered via Analytics during the User Research phase and during Stakeholder Discovery is key to assessing content performance.

We then assign actions to each page/section of content. This can take several forms but the simplest is to classify content as "Keep", "Revise" or "Delete". We'll make notes on each page as we go through this process to provide direction for the content editors about how to improve the content.

In addition to the content audit, we may have a workshop with the website stakeholders to create a messaging hierarchy to document key messages for the web presence. We also might develop page description diagrams to define and prioritize content for key pages of the site. The page description diagrams are excellent precursors to wireframes, allowing the team to take a content-first approach to design.

Finally, we might devise an editorial calendar for the project, assigning content owners, due dates and recommendations for updating the content pre- and post-launch.


Our content strategy deliverables are not typically very pretty to look at since they're largely text-based:

  • Content inventory – spreadsheet
  • Content audit – the same spreadsheet with some additional columns added in
  • Messaging hierarchy – Word doc or PowerPoint deck
  • Page Description Diagrams – Word doc
  • Editorial Calendar – spreadsheet or Word doc

Do not let looks deceive you though as these are possibly the most important deliverables in the Web Design process! All project stakeholders must agree on the future of the content for the web presence to be successful.

What's Next

Once we've determined the Content Strategy for the website, we then move into the Information Architecture phase where we decide on the structure and placement of the content for the new site. This phase is where the new web presence starts to take shape with a Sitemap and Wireframes. Stay tuned!

Other Posts in this Series

  1. Introduction
  2. Stakeholder Discovery
  3. User Research
  4. Content Strategy [this post]
  5. Information Architecture
    • Sitemap
    • Wireframes
  6. Visual Design
  7. Solution Design

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Thursday, 26 December 2013

How are you going to handle your next fundraising set back? #TT

Forward: This is one of my favorite posts. I thought it was a good message to re-share as we close the door on 2013 and welcome in 2014. 

We all go through tough times, but how you handle adversity is what truly matters.  Last week, I had the opportunity to listen to a talk by Jeff Evans; a mountaineer and motivational speaker.  Jeff had a ton of interesting stories to share, but one stuck with me.

He said… I'm paraphrasing here… when there are four of us climbing up Mt. Everest and we're tethered together with a rope; if one of us stops or falls we all fall.  We're a team.  But, it was Jeff's next statement that struck a chord. Again paraphrasing… When some falls we don't ask who fell, or figure out who's at fault; instead we check to make sure everyone is all right.  Because blaming someone for falling isn't really helpful at 22thousand ft.

I'm not sure what it is about us non-profit folks, but I’ve noticed we tend to blame or beat ourselves up when don't hit certain goals.  But, that's not helpful or productive.

I was talking to a friend who manages P2P events at a local non-profit; she was harping on the fact that they were $3,500 behind in revenue compared to this time last year.  I asked how are your registrations?  She said that's the thing registrations are up, but our dollars are down.

Ok, let's pause here.  My friend shouldn't be in a state of woe; instead she should focus on her accomplishment. So the dollars might be down, but the registrations are up.  This says to me that she's doing a great job marketing the event, but maybe needs to take another look at her follow up fundraising messaging.  I have no doubt that my friend will meet her fundraising goal, she's smart and a hard worker, but she's not doing herself any favors by beating herself up.

I used to do this too. Maybe we beat ourselves up because we know the money we are tasked with raising is important – people are depending on us.  But, when people are depending on you – you need to be in tip top shape.  You don't have time to be in a state of woe. You need to figure out how you're going reach the summit a.k.a hit your fundraising goals.

As I'm writing this, I can't help think about my Mom.  Growing up my Mom wouldn't let me have these woe is me moments.  Instead she would say "Amy you need to get up, dust yourself off and move forward."  Thanks Mom!

For all my friends out there with events, if you're numbers aren't where you want them to be it's not time to call in National Guard. Instead, walk away from your desk, go make a cup of team (or my case run to Starbucks) and clear your head. Have you noticed this is often my advice? Good decisions are made with a clear head; rash and often not so good decisions are made in a state of panic.

Jeff and his team didn't care who was at fault because it's wasn't productive; nor does it motivate you to keep going. If you focus on the negative you won't be able to see your potential. As Mom always encouraged me to get back up, dust myself and move forward; I'm encouraging you to do the same.

mom 365x230 How are you going to handle your next fundraising set back? #TT

In the tradition of #ThrowbackThursdays here's me and Mom.  Growing up I was never far from my Mom's side, which is evident in this picture. I'm sticking with Mom, while my sisters are hanging together.

For a few tips on what to look for in the numbers, check out my original post.

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Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Testing Your Donation Form Part 4: Running a Usability Test

This is the fourth part in my series about learning how to test the usability of your online donation form and website with real donors. Part one discussed why to usability test, part two outlined crafting your test, and part three gave best practices for recruiting participants. Today, we gear up for your big test day!

It’s test day… what now?
The running of your usability test can give you a few jitters if you’ve never done it but I’ll say it again. Usability testing is not complicated. Anyone can do it. Moreover, usability testing is an invaluable tool for improving your website design and increasing donation conversions. Running your test really only involves four aspects.

  1. Orientating your participants
  2. Giving testing tasks
  3. Observing participants drive your website (without helping)
  4. Wrapping up with exit questions

Now let’s explore each of these in a little more detail.

Orientating your test participants
When you first greet your participants, your first task is to just make them feel safe and comfortable. Sure, you are only watching them surf your website, but I’ve found this to be surprisingly nerve-racking to most people. I’ve seen test participants use salty language (yes, really) and even break into hard sweats (yes, really). Not because a website was especially difficult to use, but because someone was sitting behind them while they stumbled along.

So your first role in running your usability testing is to be the flight attendant. You need to get them calm and relaxed right off the bat. I do this by reading a welcome script like the one below which is a modified version of Steve Krug’s. I’ve used it for years and you are welcome to steal it!

I really appreciate you doing this today. We are trying to get feedback from real users as to how easy our website is to use. My name is ___________, and I'm going to watch you use the website today. It should take about _____ minutes.

The first thing I want to make clear right away is that we're testing the website, not you. You can't do anything wrong here. You also cannot hurt our feelings because we are just looking for honest reactions. We only want our website to be better.

As you use the site, I'm going to ask you  to think out loud as much as possible. Keep telling me what you're thinking, what you're looking at, and what you're trying to do. This will be a big help to us. You really cannot talk too much.

I will keep as quiet as possible because I want you to use the website just as if you were alone at your home. If you have any questions as we go along, just ask them. If I cannot answer your questions during the test, I may say something like, “What would you do if I wasn’t here?” Then, I’ll note any questions you have so I can answer them at the end of the test drive.

Great. Now I'm going to ask you to try to complete some specific tasks on our website as best you can.

Giving your participants your testing  tasks
We touched on tasks in the previous designing your test post, but I will show my suggested testing tasks again below. I usually read them out loud and give the participant a printed copy.

You are considering whether you want to donate to our organization, but first you want to do some basic research about the organization before making a donation.

Task #1: First, you want to find out the purpose of the organization. Take as much time as you need researching the site and tell me what this organization does.

Task #2: Now, you are considering making a donation. You want to use the website to find out specifically how your donation will be used by this organization.

Task #3: You are ready to make a donation. Make a $10 donation to this organization using credit card number 4111 1111 1111 1111, expiration date 01/15, and CVV 456.

After covering the tasks:

Great, now we are ready to start. Please let me know when you are done with each task before you move onto the next one. Do you have any final questions?

Awesome. You can start whenever you are ready.

If you are doing quick-and-dirty Starbucks-style testing as discussed in Part 3, feel free to shorten your script as needed.

Observing your test participants during a test
When the participant begins working through the tasks, your role in the testing changes greatly. You are no longer the flight attendant. You are now the zoologist. 

Your goal is to observe without influencing which is the most important and tricky part of running your test. Tricky? Yup, because very soon you will see someone begin to flail in the water, but you cannot help them.

Keeping your mouth closed and watching someone struggle is often the hardest part of running a usability test.  But this is how you learn where your website design is working and where it could be improved for your real supporters.

Some tips for running your test

  • Don’t give hints
    Don’t tell them where the link is. Don’t explain your design. Don’t give hints unless they are completely stuck. Which leads to…
  • Throw them a rope only when stuck
    Once you have seen that a user cannot figure out how to find a page or hyperlink, you can give them a little guidance since there is nothing left to learn. Don’t tell them how to get past the problem, but just nudge with something like, “Can you look at the list of options in the top left and tell me if you find something which looks helpful?”
  • Keep them behind the wheel
    Early on, all test participants will ask, “What is X supposed to do?”. Again, usually a little nudge is all that needed like, “What would you expect it to do if I wasn’t here?”.
  • Sometimes a little encouragement is needed
    When you hear a comment like, “I’m so dumb… I cannot figure this out”, I usually give a little feedback to keep them relaxed and moving forward. Something like, “No, you are doing just fine. Please keep going because I’m learning a lot.”
  • If they stop narrating? 
    Simply ask, “What are you thinking right now?”
  • Dig deeper as needed
    After the participant gets into a flow, it is okay to tease out some details while they progress like:

    • Why did you do that?
    • What did you expect to find after going to that page?
    • When you say ‘I like this page’, tell me what that means.

Where should you sit during the test?
I usually sit just behind the participant on their right where I can take notes quietly and reach the mouse as needed while staying out of their line of sight.

Should you record the session?
Skeptics turn to believers on a dime when they watch individuals using the website directly. A recording of a testing session can be a powerful tool for influencing stakeholders. You can also use tools like WebEx or Join.me to share your desktop so stakeholders can watch the testing in progress.

If this is your first toe in the water of usability testing, simply snapping a couple of photos discretely with your iPhone can convey, “This is real testing with real users”. Just be sure to get permission from participants first!

Debriefing your participant
After all of your testing tasks are finished, you can address unanswered questions or unpack something you observed (e.g., “I noticed you kept returning to the home page… tell me why”). Here’s a great wrap-up question I often ask after testing:

I would like you to rate the website from a scale of 1 to 10. 1 being worst imaginable and 10 being best imaginable.

Great, now tell me 3 things which would have improved your rating by one point.

This question is fabulous because it essentially gives the participant permissions to be honest about your design without feeling rude. Another variation is: “Tell me 3 things you liked about the website and 3 things which could be improved”.

From here, you can just thank them, give them a gift card if doing incentives, and say good-bye.

What’s next?
At this point in the series, you’ve knocked out your testing and you’ve collected some great data! Be excited, take a breather, pat yourself on the back!

If your stakeholders saw the testing first hand, you may be done. If not, you need to make the test results meaningful to your organization and maybe even make the pitch for additional resources. We’ll discuss how!

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Sunday, 22 December 2013

112 Nonprofit Blog Posts, Articles, and Stories from 2013 You Can’t Miss.

It’s been quite the year.

And if the collection of resources and highlights below are any indication, a lot has happened in the nonprofit industry over the past 365 days.

From #batkid to #GivingTuesday, the Next Generation of American Giving to Content Marketing for Nonprofits, storytelling to social fundraising, retention rates to relationship building, the roundup below covers it all (and everything in between).

As we prepare for our leap into 2014, let’s learn from 2013′s ups and downs – triumphs and flops – and make this next year one for the record books.

Here’s Your 2013 Nonprofit Roundup:

  1. THIS – thanks to Marc Koenig of Nonprofit Hub: Nonprofits, 2014 is the Year of the Blog. Here’s Why You Can’t Afford to Wait Any Longer. You’ve got 3 kinds of donors – the True Believer, The Casual Fan, and The Reluctant Tagalongs . Your blog is your gift to them, as well as to yourself. It’s a platform to connect, to earn trust, and for even the most reluctant of supporters to discover just how much they want to be a part of your community.
  2. Millenials: It’s been said that they’re flaky, hard to find, and donate once (but rarely twice). But this age group is the second most likely to fundraise and volunteer for your organization, and the most likely to spread the word. So, it’s time to get in front of this group. Charles Klein of Crowdvance offers up Six Ways Buddy The Elf Can Help You Reach Millennials.
  3. More and more donors are giving online, especially towards the end of year. Yes, even your older donors! Here are the  7 Things You Need to Know About 2013 Online Donors from Gail Perry, with action steps you must take to ensure your site is armed and ready for the online giving season, and every season in between.
  4. Your supporters’ Facebook news feeds just got a quality content make-over, and grumpy cat is taking a backseat  to high-performing posts. Here, Facebook’s Latest News Feed Algorithm Update — Three Things You Need to Know, John Haydon walks us through what the updates mean and how you can be sure that what you share remains relevant and engaging.
  5. With 1.5 million tweets and 914,000 photos shared, the Movember movement did something right. And I want more. In her post on Convince & Convert, Jessica Gioglio shows 2 Amazing Movember Case Studies That Will Make You Grow it Back. Take a look for ideas on how your nonprofit could empower supporters and advocates to fuel creative  buzz around your cause.
  6. There’s a lot of talk about attrition rates, and what nonprofits must do to keep their donors around. But what about the donors that have already left? The ones that have gone dark and stopped responding to or opening your emails? Pamela Grow shares a great example of how one nonprofit isn’t letting go : Loving lapsed donors back into the fold | Simple, brilliant and oh so swipe-able!
  7. There’s a standard approach, and then there’s the approach that keeps readers reading. When writing your fundraising appeals, it’s important to opt for the latter. In Pamela Grow’s Nonprofit Storytelling- How to hook your reader from the first sentence she draws on the importance of using emotional hooks to draw your readers in.
  8. Checklists. They’re  necessary.  And like a personal guide, they keep us on track when it’s inevitable that we’ll get lost in the day to day, hustle and bustle, and demands of our jobs.  So, here is Nancy Schwartz’s gift to you: Year-End Fundraising Checklist for Nonprofits. There are a few last minute to-dos that you won’t want to miss.
  9. Being liked isn’t everything, especially if those likes don’t translate into further action. So what’s a nonprofit to do? In Farra Trompeter’s recent Big Duck blog post, Facebook for nonprofits: Moving your marketing beyond the likes, she recaps insight shared by Kaiya Waddell and Amy Bryant at a recent 501 Tech NYC event.
  10. It’s incredibly important- Saying Thank You Like You Mean It - and it’s reported to be indicative of a donor’s willingness to give again. And since such a large amount of giving happens this season, make sure that your nonprofit is prepared to show donors the gratitude they deserve. In her post, Lori Halley tells you how.
  11. Thirty to fifty percent of giving happens this month and next, so why not capitalize on the giving season to do more asking? Marc Pitman suggests 3 Things to Make Your Ask Easier. Be upfront, Be quiet (sometimes), and be prepared.
  12. When Batkid saved San Francisco, the whole country watched. And we talked. On Friday alone, there were 78,000 tweets  and 10,000 photos shared of him. Now that’s social engagement #SFBatkid and it’s evidence to the power of social media. Check out the post for tips on how you can inspire Batkid moments at your next event.
  13. Content is taking the Marketing industry by storm, and nonprofit marketers are no exception. According to the 2014 Content Marketing Report, 92% of the nonprofits surveyed are using content marketing. Curious about what other findings are reported in the study? Check out this post: Nonprofit Content Marketing – Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends for 2014 and don’t miss the associated Nonprofit content marketing infographic.
  14. Close to 11 million have been affected by the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan. Support in the Philippines is needed and this post has compiled a list of nonprofit organizations providing aid. Every dollar helps.
  15. Jeffrey Haguewood is calling it a best practice – making mission support tangible. In his post, Beyond Generic Giving Levels, Productize Your Fundraising Appeals, he urges nonprofits to go beyond asking for strictly monetary support. Instead, consider the tangible value of the support and give donors an opportunity to comprehend the true importance of their contribution.
  16. Results. Donors want to hear them. And in this post by Joanne-Fritz, How to Close the Loop with Donors by Email, she shares how nonprofits can provide “closure” after fundraising campaigns. Use email to communicate the success and importance of donor support, and give them reason to give again next time.
  17. On the NTEN blog, Lauren Giardin says it’s time to Take Charge of Your Editorial Process as Air Traffic Control. Successful content production demands a clear editorial process, and someone to oversee that process is required. Without a controller, the flight plans may always seem like a mess.
  18. Micro content has trained us to prefer our information bite-sized rather than super-sized. So in order to engage beyond the 140-character tweets, you’ll need these  6 Tricks to Make Your Content Skimmable from Laurel Dykema. Mix it up, break some rules, and most importantly..get to the point.
  19. What’s the sound of your nonprofit’s brand? Have you ever thought about it? You should. With the ever declining attention span of your audience, it’s necessary that you start appealing to a broader range of senses. Colleen Fahey’s article, How Audio Enhances Your Brand Content: Find Your Signature Sound, provides guidance for how your nonprofit can strengthen its voice.
  20.  In Marc Koenig’s NPhub post, 7 Tips on Asking for Donations – It’s Intimidating, We Get It, he reminds fundraisers that asking isn’t about convincing donors to give. It’s about reminding them why they care and giving them an opportunity to join your cause. Asking for money can be sweat inducing, but it’s a lot less painful if you’re prepared. Know who you’re asking, what you’re asking, and then *shhhhhh* let them talk.
  21. Beth Kanter provides simple, yet super helpful advice on how your organization can keep track of aha moments, lessons, ideas, mistakes and experiences during  events. In Keep Calm and Write It Down: How Reflective Practice Leads To Better Results for Nonprofits, we’re reminded that a key step to improvement is having an accurate retrospective view. So get out your journals and start taking note.
  22. Tech Impact echoes words from BBCON and The Nonprofit Times in their post: 6 Tips For Creating A Better Donation Form. Optimizing your donation form is about removing barriers and thinking simple. Don’t miss out on gifts because your form is a turnoff.
  23. Calling yourself friendly doesn’t make you friendly- truth. Jeff Brooks draws on some unpleasant flight experience to remind nonprofits that it’s about walking the walk. Don’t lose donors because you leave promises unfulfilled. Mean what you say.
  24. Who pays the tab at a meeting with a donor? In Marc Pitman’s latest, he suggests you assume it’s always you. Don’t let your donor-date end on an awkward note by stressing about who’s picking up the tab. Bring your wallet, and focus on providing a positive experience for your donor.
  25. Wild Apricot’s Small Membership Insight Survey has some Good News About Millennials and Meetings. Even though Gen Y has been bred on digital, they (we) recognize the value in face-to-face interactions. The key  to getting that face time at your events is reaching them first online- on their terms- and including their friends.
  26. The Nonprofit Blog Carnival got dressed up this year, major donor style. In Claire Axelrad’s edition, Halloween Nonprofit Blog Carnival- Major Gifts Tricks and Treats, nonprofits are given advice galore on building relationships with major givers. From finding the obvious prospects to creating thoughtful thank you’s, this carnival has a treat for every palate.
  27. Halloween How-Tos: Right Things, Right Now Marketing Don’t let the title of this post trick you- it isn’t just a Halloween thing. It’s a year-long thing. Creating marketing campaigns based around current holidays or events is a no brainer for nonprofits, but there’s a catch. As Nancy Schwartz puts it, if you’re not creating marketing that deepens understanding and motivates support, you’re creating who-cares, right now marketing. And there’s a big difference.
  28. Consistently finding and creating content that resonates with your audience can be a struggle. But it doesn’t have to be. John Haydon let’s us in on a small, but powerful secret in his post: How to Hack Facebook Interests Lists for Content Marketing. In just 4 easy steps, your nonprofit can be using Interest Lists to curate read-worthy resources for your fan base.
  29. In this short episode of Fundraising Fundamentals, How to Use Social Media in Year-End Drives, Natalie Stamer of St. Baldrick’s Foundation shares expert story-telling advice. Creating share-worthy content means understanding your audience and the story they want to tell. Twitter and Facebook serve different functions, but two things should always be consistent: your ask and your story.
  30. Twitter. It’s the #2 social network, and nonprofits everywhere are being encouraged to use it to expand their reach and share their story, but the need to quickly build a social presence leaves many wondering where to begin . In Julia Campbell’s  Top 10 Twitter To Do’s for Nonprofits, she provides some much needed direction for nonprofits surveying the field.
  31. It’s projected that there will be more than $602 billion generated this holiday season. Think about how much of that money is wasted on awkward gifts- the junk. What if even a portion of that of that $602 billion was spent with purpose? Imagine that. Nonprofit Tech For Good highlights  29 Online Gift Stores that Benefit Nonprofits to bring new meaning to your giving this season.
  32.  #GivingTuesday is December 3rd: Are You Ready? Rachel Hutchisson is. In her npEngage post, she shares secrets and tools to help get your nonprofit prepared, too. Join the movement. {And check-out the webinar series to learn how you can leverage the day for year-end fundraising}
  33. Your mission statement- Do you know what it is? Can you recite it one sentence? What about your supporters- could they? Marc Koenig’s post, Nonprofit Mission Statements – Good and Bad Examples, provides a necessary  break down of the attributes and elements that make a mission statement memorable and inspiring.
  34. Your small donors are basically shouting it- Please, Treat Me Like a Major Donor -  and Joanne Fritz tells you how you should respond and why. Be appreciative of the small gift-givers; some of them might just become your major donors one day. Follow up, say thank you, and start building the relationship.
  35. You don’t have to be a people person, but you do have to be prepared.  Beth Anne Locke shares tips for  how you can maximize your efforts before, during, and after the event in her post- Working the Room .
  36. Mazarine Treyz of Wild Woman Fundraising has adapted Donald Murray’s Writing to Deadline to give nonprofits 9 ways to tell an old story in a new way. It’s not always easy to keep supporters caring about your cause- breathing new life into the story you tell can help.
  37. Erica Waasdorop makes a guest appearance on the Philanthropy for All blog to share a key insight she’s learned about the monthly giving: Every Monthly Giving Program is Tailor Made. Each program is as unique as the organization that’s driving it, so it’s about discovering the media that works for you. So, start testing- the sooner you do, the sooner you can start converting new donors.
  38. Maybe we’re in this whole retention mess  because we’ve been thinking about donors all wrong. We see dollar signs and think of them as cash cows rather than part of a movement. This piece from Ahern Donor Communications,  Fundraising is about money. And the moon’s a hunk of stinky green cheese, holds nothing back and shares some much needed advice from Alan Clayton that all nonprofits should hear.
  39. Dolores McDonagh of Charity Dynamics write on npEngage about the Top 3 Roadblocks to Event Registration. Oftentimes, registration rates suffer because of the process itself. If you can understand what’s standing in your participants’ way, you can make the corrections needed for improvement.
  40. The 2nd gift. It’s almost as important as the first and it’s indicative of a donor’s likelihood  to give again. In this post, How to Get a 2nd Gift from New Donors, Joe Garecht shares his 4 step new donor stewardship process to help nonprofits plan beyond the first contribution and get retention rates up past 22.9%.
  41. Have You Killed Your “Annual” Appeal Yet? Mary Cahalane challenges organizations to do more asking. If you quarantine appeals solely to the giving season, you’re not asking nearly enough. It’s time to build an asking schedule for the entire year. She tells you why on #fundchat, and addresses any concerns you might have about time, money, staff, and donor complaints.
  42. You’re using it to stay connected with your friends and families, but have you considered Using text messaging to achieve your mission? In her post, Farra Trompeter shares some of what she learned from pros Sam McElvie and James Servino, and points to a few nonprofits that are leading the texting for good revolution. {bonus: she includes video and slides}
  43. Stories. You know that in order to catch and keep the attention of new donors and current donors, you have to tell stories. And you have to tell them well. Marc Pitman brings Master Storyteller, Lori Jacobwith, onto his blog to give  7 tips for sharing stories about your nonprofit work. If you can learn to tell a great story about what you do, you’ll stand a better chance of compelling your audience to stick around.
  44. npNEXT 2013 – Penelope Burk  is the first in a series of recorded presentations from Blackbaud’s experimental event, npNext. In this presentation, Counter-Intuitive or New Path to Profit?: What donors can teach us about making more money, Penelope shares 3 key research driven insights around donor-centric fundraising.
  45. We know that fundraising is all about asking. But is that ALL you’re doing?  Are you a real fundraiser? Jeff Brooks puts it pretty simply on his Future Fundraising Now blog: if you’re not building a relationship - creating a story with your donor –  you’re not doing your job.
  46. Pinterest. It’s hot. With 70 million users, it’s about time that nonprofit organizations begin tapping into this goldmine. But how? On Hubspot’s blog they list the 10 Nonprofits That are Totally Nailing Pinterest Marketing to inspire your organization to leverage the photo-sharing site to grow support.
  47. People give to people. They give because they’ve formed a connection. It’s preached that in order to successfully raise funds you must truly know your supporters- your people. But how much attention is being paid to ensure that your people know you? That  your website showcases the awesome team working tirelessly at your organization? Nonprofit Hub documents the  7 Steps to Compelling Staff Bios On Your Nonprofit Website . Give it a look. And then go see what your Staff Page says about you.
  48. It’s crucial to content creation. Whether you’re crafting a newsletter, blog post, or email about an upcoming event, your first step in writing copy is to be conscientious of your readers. Are you using irrelevant jargon? What’s your tone? On Kivi’s blog, Victoria Michelson shares some basic, but extremely important tips on How to Write For Your Nonprofit Audience.
  49. It doesn’t require a redesign or rebrand. But acquiring new members does involve strategy. In Laura Beussman’s post 4 Tips for Turning Your Visitors into Loyal Members she walks organizations through the process of converting a one time visitor into sustainable revenue for your organization.
  50. There’s been a lot of talk about the results of the 2013 Fundraising Effectiveness Project Survey. Donor retention rates are depressing. More than 7 out of 10 donors were lost. For every 100 donors gained, 105 were lost through attrition. What’s happening? Here, Where Have all The Donors Gone? Three Guesses, Claire Axelrad tries to make sense of the downward trend and offer up some guidance as to how nonprofits can begin responding.
  51. There’s no shortage of options, the digital age has made sure of that. However, with the seemingly never ending supply of tools, platforms, and applications at marketers’ disposal, it’s necessary to prioritize based on the needs and preferences of your target audience. In this post by Amelia Northrup-Simpson, What Audiences Expect from Arts Marketers: Four Technology Must-dos, she provides some guidance on how to ensure your tech decisions are meeting the expectations of your organization’s lifeline.
  52. Jeff Haguewood of Sidekick Solutions suggests the 5 Basic Fundraising Performance Metrics to Start Measuring Today.  It’s important that you begin paying attention to the stats. If you’re not appropriately monitoring performance, how can you gauge success?
  53. Infographics. They’re all the rage- but only when done correctly. What’s the story? Are you using data as your guide? Have you considered your platform? In his latest npEngage post, Frank Barry shares  7 Tips for Creating Compelling Nonprofit Infographics that get Shared.
  54. What do you know about the “life blood” of your organization? Do you have a CRM that makes tracking relationships and supporter interactions possible? In this piece,  7 Tips for Building Nonprofit Supporter Profiles, Tech Impact outlines how to appropriately manage constituent relationships.
  55. Gail Perry uses her expertise to offer up the 6 Ways to Get The Most Out of a Major Donor Visit. Too often the focus rests solely on getting an invitation, but what’s next? Don’t go to your next major donor appointment under prepared. Know your objectives. Talk less. Listen More. And then join Gail for one of her free webinars to get best prepared for that next appointment.
  56. Don’t blame it on the internet.  Ideas and stories were going viral long before the web. So what does it take to create something contagious? John Haydon draws upon Jonah Berger’s STEPPS to share the  6 Human Factors that Influence Virality.
  57. Network for Good’s Caryn Stein takes a dive into Debbie Millman’s  Brand Thinking and Other Noble Pursuits and comes out with two key themes in her post:  The identity and promise of your nonprofit’s brand. As your organization works to distinguish a unique voice, you must focus also on the identity and promise it conveys.
  58. If you were unable to attend #bbcon, Blackbaud’s own Ryan King has you covered. Check out some of his blogs from the conference, where he covers benchmarking data, donor ready patrons, and conversion rates.
  59. Darian Rodriguez Heyman, Founder of Nonprofit Boot Camp and Co-Founder of Social Media,  uses data, experience and a bit of common sense to uncover the most opportune times to share posts on social media. You want results? Think breakfast burritos and late-night snacks. Get the specifics here: The Best Times To Post To Social Media: Introducing the Burrito Principle.
  60. In this blog series by Nancy Schwartz - Connect First- Your Marketing Magic Bullet (Part One) and Content, THEN Channels, Follows Connections (Part Two) – she answers the question she hears most often: what is the marketing magic bullet? Connections. When you truly understand your people, you're apt to make better marketing decisions. Until you have a real relationship with your supporters, how will you know the right messages to share or channels to use? Nancy urges you to focus on connections first.
  61. This one I particularly like, and not just because I wrote it. If you’re a fan of the trilogy, you’ll understand: 5 Important Marketing Lessons Nonprofits Can Learn From The Hunger Games
  62. Jenifer Snyder shares the Top 5 Reasons to Use Mobile on Kivi's Nonprofit Communication's Blog. Her main point: Mobile devices are more a part of your donors' lives than any other communication tool of this century. Unless it's your goal to be as out of touch as E.T., it's time to go mobile. Like yesterday.
  63. What would your nonprofit showcase in a 15 second video? Would you post a sneak preview of an exhibit? Show mission impact? Give a teaser for an upcoming campaign? All of the above? In this post, 5 nonprofits using Instagram video to promote campaigns , SmallAct's Casey Golden shares ideas and examples of the new ways nonprofits can tell their stories to boost awareness, excitement, and support for their mission.
  64. Who shares your nonprofit pond? There's a body of nonprofits working towards a similar mission, and often times competing for the same donor attention. In her Big Duck blog post, Ally Dommu discusses the need for organizations to have a unique voice, one that's separate from the traffic. To differentiate rather than compete, begin by surveying the field.
  65. We Miss you! A Creative Re-Engagement Email Campaign by DJ Waldow on the Brand Driven digital blog. This post highlights the success of NTEN’s campaign to re-engage the 24,000 subscribers who had not opened an email from them in the past year. We know that retention is the new acquisition, and as DJ mentions in regards to a re-engagement email campaign- the best practice is the one that’s best for your subscriberes (and your business).
  66. On Guidestar’s blog, Rob Wu of CauseVox  unveils the essential ingredient to any successful online fundraising campaign: social media.  Like any other channel, social media is a means to an end, a way to engage with your supporters. Learn how to effectively use social media to inspire audience action in this post: How to Use Social Media for Nonprofit Crowdfunding.
  67. In this NTEN blog post, How Can I Love You If You Don’t Know My Name? Steve Birnbaum of SofTrek Corporation  points out the dangers of “ineffective”  data management and offers guidance  to ensure your organization effectively uses data and facts to foster constituent-centric communication.
  68. The Next Generation of American Giving study is continuing to be a hot topic. In Daniel Melbye’s post, What Nonprofits Should Know About Next Generation Fundraisers, he dissects the report and offers up some pretty important stats in easy-to-digest pieces. Moral of the story, millennials have unique engagement preferences- it’s crucial that your organization is considering ways to speak to them on their terms.
  69. In a guest post by Teddy Hunt on Socialbrite entitled SEO 101: 10 ways to make your website more findable , he gives the run down on how to ensure your nonprofit’s website is getting the visibility your mission requires. In this age of digital, getting found is key ingredient to the success of your new donor acquisition and online fundraising strategies.
  70. Ryan Crowe writes for Social Fish about the keys to crafting an engaging blog post here: 5 Must Haves for Every Good Blog Post. The advice in this post is a compilation of suggestions offered up by social media professionals involved in Ryan’s Google+  community. Take a look at what blogging experts and natives have to say on the topic.
  71. It’s not about the clothes you wear. Or free sodas. In Marc Koenig’s most recent  contribution to nonprofit hub, he dives into what culture really means and what your organization must do to foster it.  Why Designing Your Nonprofit Culture is Do or Die is about sharing values, a defined mission and vision, and valuing your people. Every day.
  72. On Gail Perry’s Fired Up Fundraising Blog, she reminds all fundraisers that it’s NOT all about you. Being a good communicator involves more than just good articulation; it’s about understanding your audience. In her post, The Fundraiser's Kiss of Death: Talking Too Much, communicators everywhere are confronted with the ugly truth: the talk is boring.
  73. John Haydon simplifies the science of giving. Why reason alone doesn’t work in fundraising suggests that appealing to your supporters’ analytical nature isn’t enough to inspire a gift. Tell stories. Evoke emotion. Speak to the part of the brain that controls action-taking.
  74. Ready for this? In Marc Pitman’s latest : The secret behind year-end fundraising fall appeals, he urges fundraisers to think differently about how they craft their message. As you write your three letters (as he suggests), focus on connecting and telling stories. Don’t be the expert – Your expertise won’t inspire a donations.
  75. Steve Maclaughlin’s 10th episode of npVoices rallies some of the nonprofit sector’s brightest minds. In this show, he’s joined by The Agitators’ Roger Craver, NTEN’s Amy Sample Ward, True Sense Marketing’s Jeff Brooks, and Blackbaud’s Chuck Longfield and goes deeper into the topics that matter. Have a listen.
  76. On Stay Classy’s blog, Ross Campbell does a lot of explaining. The Nonprofit Microsite: What, Why & How builds the case for microsites, shares examples, and provides a downloadable template to use at your own organization.
  77. Some make content creation look easy, but it’s not. And you shouldn’t expect it to be- but telling your organization’s story is important, so stop being hard on yourself. Start writing. Copyblogger makes it easy by destroying any insecurities that you might have in this post: 10 Rules for Writing First Drafs [Poster].
  78. On Front Range Source’s blog, Leslie Allen dives into the buzzword we’ve all been throwing around lately: engagement. In her post, What is Donor Engagement, Anyway? 3 Ideas to Make it Real, she provides some ideas for what this could mean for your organization. For many, it might involve a little attitude adjustment.
  79. Steven Shattuck makes a guest appearance on Nonprofit Hub and suggests  5 Can’t-Miss Opportunities for Extraordinary Donor Engagement. This post hits on the importance of the little things and challenges organizations to consider how even the simplest of gestures can show a whole lot of appreciation.
  80. How’s the planning going for your end-of-year campaign? Yep..it’s that time again and, like it or not, the difference between a successful campaign and a not-so-successful campaign is preparation. Mike Snusz covers End-of-Year Campaign Planning: 6 Things to Get Done in September on the Guide Creative Blog.
  81. On the Future Fundraising Now blog, Jeff Brooks reminds us that boring isn’t all bad. In Why your fundraising brand should bore you, he suggests that repetition is about reach. If you’re changing all the time, don’t expect your donors to keep up.
  82. Selfies. They may be causing a lot of controversy, but some nonprofits have found a silver lining. Beth Kanter highlights a few organizations that are taking advantage of the trend in her post, Selfies for Good? Or just tapping into a narcissistic trend?
  83. Mentioned this week  in the Agitator, SOFII has become the treasury of the  Jerry Huntsinger’s  direct mail fundraising advice . Take a gander at The Huntsinger Tutorials  and get insight into everything you need to know about direct mail fundraising.
  84. Tech Impact compiled 20 Insightful Nonprofit Technology and Social Media Stats , validating the need for nonprofits to establish a social media presence and incorporate  story to grow their supporter base.
  85. How to Make Your Website Awesome in Seven Weeks.  It’s not a blog or an article- it’s better. John Haydon is offering up [FOR FREE] 42 pages of eBook goodness to help you get more traffic, increase search rankings and boost conversions.
  86. On npEngage, Chas Offutt boils down Exact Target’s list of 50 Email Marketing Tips and Stats for 2014 into 3 Key Takeaways. Everything is more easily digested in bite-size chunks, right?
  87. As part of Miratel’s Social Media series for nonprofit fundraising, Desi Cabrera offers 5 Tips to Overcome Writers Block for Stronger Nonprofit Blogging.  With the case for content becoming more pertinent, having ways to combat creative roadblocks is crucial.
  88. Frogloop’s Allyson Kapin  gives advice on how to get on your target audience’s radar by improving image content. Learn how to seek out great images here: 4 Ways to supercharge your nonprofit images to connect with your supporters
  89. Some People Make Excuses; Others Raise Money – Fundraising Coach, Marc A. Pitman challenges nonprofits to reframe the slow months and use them to catapult their fall fundraising.
  90. 10 Surprising New Twitter Stats to Help You Reach More Followers – On Buffer's Blog, Belle Beth Cooper shares some easily implementable tips on how you can improve the way you reach your followers on social media.
  91. Five Ways to Ensure Your Event Makes Headline News – Kathryn Hall joins npEngange and gives advice on how to make sure your next event gets the love and attention it deserves from the media.
  92. Focusing on Donors, Not the Charity in your Appeals – The Chronicle of Philanthropy shares their monthly podcast hosted by Tony Martignetti. In this short piece, Tony speaks with fundraising consultants, John Lepp and Kimberly MacKenzie about the importance of refocusing your message to be more donor-centric.
  93. Encourage Planned Gifts By Telling a Bequest Story – Claire Meyerhoff, a guest writer on Gail Perry's Fired Up Fundraising Blog, gives suggestions for how your organization can use a bequest story to inspire planned giving.
  94. How to Write Your Way to the Top of Your Industry – this Copyblogger post by Pamela Wilson gives necessary advice on how to start creating content. Writer or not, the success of your organization depends on the creation of content that captivates and motivates supporters. You don't have to be a writer, just a person who writes. You can do it.
  95. Kivi Leroux Miller's post Be More Relevant by Being More Responsive discusses how nonprofits can create more relevant messaging for their participants, supporters, and influencers.
  96. Beth Kanter's guest star, Ann Emory, offers up the Top Ten Chart Secrets from a Nonprofit Data Nerd
  97. Fired Up Fundraising's Gail Perry insists that planned giving is a must, and she offers a "quick and dirty" plan that can be (and should be) easily implemented: No Time for Planned Giving? Try These Quick Ideas!
  98. Are you ready to segment? Elizabeth Ricca addresses the need to begin laying the groundwork for your year-end segmentation strategy in her post on the Big Duck Blog.
  99. On episode 8 of npvoices, Steve Maclaughlin talks with Jay Frost, Jocelyn Harmon, and Michael stein about major giving trends, advice for new nonprofit professionals and donation form testing.
  100. Scott Gilman sheds some light on what the new Gmail tabs mean for nonprofits in his npEngage post, New Gmail Tabs and Nonprofits: don't Panic, Don't Assume the Worse and Keep an Eye on It
  101. The Fundraising Coach, Marc Pitman, takes a dive into the findings of Blackbaud’s Next Generation of American Giving Study and suggests 3 key take aways in his post: Baby boomers most generous- Gen Y most like to increase donations. (If you haven’t already, go ahead and check out the Next Generation of American Giving Infographic).
  102. Kivi's Nonprofit Communications Blog  highlights the hashtags that every nonprofit should be using: Nonprofit Hashtags You Should Keep an Eye On.
  103. The Planned Giving Blogger, Phylis Freedman, shares ideas on launching a planned giving program for prospect audiences: Planed Giving When There Is No Annual Fund.
  104. Farra Trompeter makes a guest appearance John Haydon's blog and shares 12 Ways to Make Your Multichannel Campaign Stand Out.
  105. On npEngage, Mike Snusz writes on the 3 Key Pieces In an Engaging Email Campaign, to help you meet the growing expectations of constituents for relevant and interesting information in every email.
  106. Working in the nonprofit industry isn't easy or glamorous, which is something Leah Neaderthal and Leanne Pittsford know all too well. Their new blog, When You Work At A Nonprofit, won't give you ideas for how to increase major giving or execute a flawless email campaign, but there's a really good chance it will give you a laugh and, hopefully, brighten your day.
  107. Mark Hrywnda and Patrick Sullivan’s article  - #GivingTuesday Trending and Cashing In - on The Nonprofit Times is one of the best impact summaries I’ve seen. Paragraph after paragraph we’re shown how nonprofits, schools, and businesses capitalized on December 3rd’s spirit of giving – inspiring.
  108. What happens when you mix motivated college students, the #GivingTuesday movement, and #unselfies on social media? For Camp Kesem, $10,000 happens- money that will send children affected by a parent’s cancer to a free, life-changing summer camp. Michael Beahm highlights the strategy behind their campaign in his npEngage post: Lives are Changed when #bigkidsgive and how you can rock #GivingTuesday Next Year.
  109. While there’s plenty of enthusiasm around the movement, there are others, like Michael Rosen, who aren’t yet convinced that the day of giving is good for the entire sector. In Rosen’s post, No Evidence of #GivingTuesday Success, he rises some tough but valid questions about measuring December 3rd’s success and whether participating in the day is really best for every org. As the movement continues to grow and expand, it’s necessary that we’re appropriately measuring and monitoring the long-term implications.
  110. It’s only in its second year, but this Huffington Post blog by Eleanor Goldberg - Giving Tuesday Smashes Records, Spurs 90% Donation Spike - shows that the #GivingTuesday movement is much bigger than just a day of giving. The quadrupling partnership numbers, tweets from President Bill Clinton, and donations from around the world signify that the philanthropic impact of December 3rd will be felt long beyond those 24 hours.
  111. In Kevin Bacon’s post (yes, you read that right) he writes about Why Tuesday Is the Best Day Ever. In an effort to promote good deeds and giving, he used the movement as a platform to jumpstart the holiday giving season. By partnering with Case Foundation, Network for Good, and CrowdRise, SixDegrees.org was able to create a #GivingTuesday Challenge that encouraged supporters to give to their favorite charities, and offered up some pretty hefty prizes as incentive.
  112. Thanks to Taylor Corrado of Hubspot, here’s 12 Notable Highlights from 2013′s Giving Tuesday. The breakdown shows what can happen when we come together for causes bigger than ourselves. And the 12 hour Google Hangout, 269,000 tweets hashtagged with #GivingTuesday, and 7,000 unselfie images posted are indicative of the power of social done right.

Here’s to a killer 2014.

Yours truly,



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Saturday, 21 December 2013

How are you harvesting inspiration?

How are you harvesting inspiration?

We don’t need any more blog posts about social media time management.

And this post isn’t about that.

What’s missing from most time management models

The conventional approach to time management slices up minutes into little buckets you can more easily manage.

But what’s missing from this approach is YOU. How do you feel about the tasks that need to get done? Are you inspired? Bored?

Now if your taking out the trash or balancing a checkbook, being inspired might not have a huge impact on whether the task gets done. But we’re talking about engaging your community. You kinda have to be inspired, no?

Capturing moments of inspiration

There are two things you won’t see on most calendars:

  • 2:00PM: Get Inspired
  • 3:00PM: Have sex with spouse (I said most…)

If you’re like me, you find inspiration hitting you at odd moments throughout the day. And yes, it’s like sex because you kinda have to feel something before doing the nasty.

You’ll be taking a shower or going for a walk and suddenly you’ll get an idea for a blog post, or a Facebook Page update, or some other creative idea.

Capture these! Keep a notepad, an iPhone or whatever you need to capture these snippets. I use Dragon Dictation, an index card I keep in my pocket, and Evernote as my tools.

Moments vs. minutes

When you make it a practice of capturing moments of inspiration, you’ll no longer be bound by the rules of time management. Instead, you’ll harvest more YOU from the moments you do feel inspired!

How do you harvest your inspiration?

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29 Essential Tools for Social Media Marketers [Infographic]

29 Essential Tools for Social Media Marketers [Infographic]

Ian Cleary (of RazorSocial) recently published an infographic highlighting the daily tasks of a social media marketer. But what’s really useful about this infographic isn’t rundown of daily tasks. It’s the 29 tools.

Some of these tools you may already know about, but here’s a quick rundown of the highlights:

Learning and Content Curation Tools

  • Downcast – This is an IOS app that let’s you and listen to podcasts directly from your iOS device without the need to sync with iTunes. Perfect for iPhone and iPad users on the go.
  • Evernote  - There are thousands of things you can do with Evernote, including curating, creating and organizing content. My friend Joe Waters is a huge Evernote fan.
  • Zite – This is a magazine app that helps you discover content based on your interests. Personally, I like Flipboard.
  • Feedly – Imagine if Google Reader was reborn looking beautiful and easy to use, and you’ll have an idea of what Feedly is.

Content Publishing Tools

  • Aweber – This is an email marketing tool that’s super popular with bloggers and small businesses. Most nonprofits use constant contact or male chimp, but a Weber is definitely worth a look.
  • WordPress – The best blogging (and website) platform on the planet. Enough said.

Scheduling Tools

  • dlvr.it – This tool allows you to schedule and share content on almost every major social media platform. It includes many notification in analytics features that you can learn about here http://dlvr.it/pages/why.php.
  • PostPlanner –  This tool is a must for any Facebook manager. Particularly if you manage multiple Facebook pages or have multiple administrators. It even has an excellent content curation feature!
  • Buffer – You probably already know what buffer is, but I’m listing it here anyhow. With Buffer, throw content in a hopper that spits it out at predetermined times. I use Buffer every morning to schedule retweets from specific Twitter Lists I’ve created.
  • Hootsuite – Another tool you probably already know about, HootSuite is a must-have for any social media marketer. It allows you to manage multiple Twitter streams, schedule and post content to multiple platforms, and even publish beautiful analytics reports.

Facebook Contest Tools

  • Agora Pulse – I recently used this to develop a custom quiz app for a breast cancer foundation. The app worked beautifully, allowing me to acquire emails and analyze engagement rates in the process.
  • ShortStack – This tool allows you to run any type of photo contest or giveaway, in addition to creating any type of custom tab you can imagine. No coding required, but yet highly customizable.

Monitoring Tools

  • Mention – Create alerts for mentions of your name, your brand, your cause and even your competitors on the web and social networks. I haven’t use this myself, but I’ve only heard good things.

Analytics Tools

  • Google Analytics – In my opinion a must-have for every social media marketer. Over the past year, Google Analytics has undergone a major overhaul to make measuring social media more meaningful.
  • Tailwind – If you use Pinterest, you will want to use Tailwind. With Tailwind you can track follower repins, likes and comments, and even drill down into content performance by category, board, keyword and #hashtag.

Check out all 29 tools mentioned in the infographic below:

29 Essential Tools for Social Media Marketers [Infographic]

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