Social Media and the Non-Profit

On Thursday, June 21, 2012, I was one of the panelists at Hofstra University, discussing the use of social media for the non-profit organization.  I was joined by some great minds in social media, Jerry Allocca, from Core Interactive (author of Connected Culture and SEO expert), Donna Rivera-Downey from the Girl Scouts of Nassau County (Chief Social Marketer), Ellen DePasquale, Regional Development Director for Constant Contact, and our host, Debbi Honorof, Senior Director of Marketing and Communications Coordinator for Hofstra University.

Some of the things discussed included choosing where and how to engage, how to use Google search and their keyword tool to help improve visibility, and best practices for event marketing.

What information came from the panel?  Here are five tips to get your social media moving in the right direction.

1.  Pick the Right Social Network

The first step in becoming a social non-profit is to decide which network(s) will give you the engagement and results that you are looking for.  As discussed during the panel, the best way to determine this is to ask.  That’s right, go ahead and poll your users by sending out a survey through e-mail, using the polling function on Facebook, and asking Twitter.  If you are not on any of the networks yet, send out an e-mail and ask.  Your donors and participants will drive your engagement, so you are best served by being where they are.  And, it may not always be the network or method that you think it is.  Don’t just choose networks based on size.

2.  Ask your Personal Friends for Help

Once you have decided where you will be engaging, do not be afraid of asking for help in sharing your messages.  Your cause is one that is a passion for you, and you should be willing to share that information with your friends and family.  As they begin to share your posts and information, people will begin to gravitate towards you and naturally share information you provide.

3.  Don’t just take your Traditional Advertising and Make it Digital

Digital and social marketing are inbound marketing strategies that require a different message and different tone.  Traditional marketing is outbound, and directly asks for the donation or action.  Inbound marketing causes donors to participate because of who you are and what you’ve shared.

4.  Incorporate Social into your Website and Traditional Advertising

Make sure that your potential donors are able to donate on their terms.  This means having the ability to donate through Facebook.  Make sure your website/blog is your home base, and that all information leads back home.  Help your potential donors connect with you wherever it is easiest for them.  Utilize social plug-ins on your site, so that they can connect without any extra effort.

5.  Have a Social Media Policy

People make mistakes, and those handling your social media will, at one point, do something you wish they didn’t.  That’s ok.  What’s important is how you handle it, and a good social media policy will help you do just that.  Check out the social media policy of the U.S. Army for a well-written policy, and see how you can implement it into your organization.

Now that you have some basic tools to begin the social media process, the most important suggestion is:  Jump in and get your feet wet.

Really, the only way to determine if social media is for you is to begin.  Take a chance and begin to experiment where you are comfortable, and then jump into the deep end.  Take on Facebook or Twitter.  Connect.  Engage.

How is your non-profit using social media?  What, if anything, have you found works well?  What doesn’t?  I’d love to hear from you!


Craig E. Yaris is the owner of EsquireTech Solutions, which helps small business get found on the social web, whether through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, he can both teach you the effective use of any social network or act as your social media manager, enabling you to reach your clients where they are and when they want to hear from you.  He can teach your organization the social media best practices that can help you use the tools of today to cost-effectively increase your bottom line.  EsquireTech Solutions brings the social web to your business.  Visit EsquireTech Solutions or call 516-495-9107.


Photo courtesy of Hofstra University

Obama Signs Bill for Crowd Funding [News]

President Barack Obama speaks to a joint sessi...

President Barack Obama speaks to a joint session of Congress regarding his jobs plan, the American Jobs Act (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

President Obama recently signed into law the Jumpstart Our Business Start-ups or JOBS Act. Noted as a game-changing bill, the JOBS Act is a bipartisan bill that aims to make it easier for start-up businesses to expand and hire more employees to help aid further the so far, very sluggish, US economic recovery.

This new bill will classify start-up businesses as emerging growth companies, allowing those business owners to rely on online investors who can help raise the vital start-up capital required. Sites like Kickstart offer a very similar format currently. Companies like this that allow users to raise money for start-up ventures will be able to sell up to $50 million in their own shares before being required to register with the SEC. The new bill also doubles their current limitation to now allow up to 1,000 shareholders.

During the bill signing ceremony, President Obama stated that  “One of the great things about America is that we’re a nation of doers. We think big, take risks and believe that anyone with a solid plan and a willingness to work hard can take even the most improbable idea and turn it into a solid business.” Obama signed into law the JOBS Act while flanked on both sides by Congress members as well as some of our nation’s top entrepreneurs. Many have taken this as an act proving that our politicians are beginning to better understand the role that entrepreneurs have to play in American economics.

How will this effect start-ups?

The JOBS Act is only an initial step in a much larger battle to make it easier for business entrepreneurs to create vital new business, expand their growth, hire work workers and create the economic growth our country is desperate for. It will help to increase capital formation as well as pave the way for other smaller businesses to gain more public visibility.

Start-ups will now be able to gain financing via crowd funding allowing those who participate to raise up to $1 million a year without having to do public offerings. That step currently requires state-by-state registrations that can cost business owners thousands of dollars. The hope is that this type of funding will begin to open up many more opportunities for necessary capital to begin flowing into our nation’s start-up businesses. In turn, new companies that can now create jobs will help to steer our economic perils back onto the right path that benefits each and every one of us.


@BasilPuglisi is the Executive Director and Publisher for Digital Brand Marketing Education ( Basil C. Puglisi is also the President of Puglisi Consulting Group, Inc. A Digital Brand Marketing Consultancy that manages professional and personal branding for Fortune 500 CEOs, Hedge Fund Managers and Small Business Owners.


The Nonprofit Technology Network – Get Your Org in Check with Tech


NTEN Side (Photo credit: TaranRampersad)

At The Nonprofit Technology Network, developers aspire to create a world where nonprofit organizations can utilize available technologies with skill and confidence. NTEN is a membership organization with members who have a common goal – to help nonprofits utilize all elements of technology most effectively. Members of NTEN’s community share the belief that technology allows and encourages nonprofit organizations to work with a more enhanced social impact. Their focus is to enable other members of NTEN to strategically use available technology to help make our world a better place.

NTEN helps facilitate the exchange of information and knowledge within their community. Connecting to members with the intent to research and develop opportunities, educate others on issues of technology that may benefit their organization, encourage advocacy, and discuss remedies for technology issues that affect communities.

How Does Your Organization Use Data?

Check out this video to see if you are organizing your non-profit’s data effectively.

If you are not, you may directly benefit from NTEN’s help and system of community values.

NTEN History

In the late 1990’s, the tech sector in San Francisco was booming.  Many new tech companies and foundations wanted a way to help their nonprofit clients and grantees to operate more efficiently by utilizing technologies more efficiently. In order to meet this need, funders then hired ‘circuit riders’ who were formally known as nonprofit tech assistance providers. These circuit riders did everything from creating helpful databases to setting up secure computer networks within these organizations.

In 2003 the conference name was changed rom Circuit Rider Roundup to the Nonprofit Technology Conference, or NTC, to help better reflect the technology’s pervasiveness and potential, as well as to better reflect their increasingly diverse membership. As tech began to reach into the communications and marketing industries, it began to reach a bit further into the realm of development.

Today the NTEN continues to grow and lead the nonprofit technology industry.

If you want to check out the NTEN site, be sure to check out their  programs, events, and community pages.

NTEN is a 501(c)(3) organization.


@BasilPuglisi is the Executive Director and Publisher for Digital Brand Marketing Education ( Basil C. Puglisi is also the President of Puglisi Consulting Group, Inc. A Digital Brand Marketing Consultancy that manages professional and personal branding for Fortune 500 CEOs, Hedge Fund Managers and Small Business Owners.


Philanthro-Tweet: Using Social Media for the Greater Good

Social Saturdays on DBMEi

Let’s face it, celebrities often abuse their rights of stardom and do stupid things that become broadcasted on every social media Website and news outlet. We don’t always care that recent Bachelorette star Ashley Hebert moved into her New York City home with her fiancé, that Kim Kardashian went bowling with her hubby or how Lil Wayne celebrated his birthday, yet these are popular topics that trend in the Twitterverse.

However, there are some famous personalities who use Twitter and Facebook for the cause of the greater good, like the CW’s One Tree Hill star Sophia Bush, for example.

Sophia Bush has been an active philanthropist for a few years now, dabbling in eight projects at a time to help save the environment. On her Crowdrise fundraising page, she shares her charitable life with the world, rallies donations and constantly keeps her fans up to date on her Twitter and Facebook pages.

Bush originally thought social media Sites were for people who just wanted to post irrelevant things (like how some people will write what they wore, ate, and how many times they went to the bathroom), but gave in on Dec. 15, 2009 and has amassed 407,765 followers since then.

The disaster that sparked her Twitter interest? The BP oil spill in the Gulf Coast. Here’s a video of Bush with her One Tree Hill costar/ real-life boyfriend, Austin Nichols from their visit to the Gulf Coast:

Bush dreams big; big enough to have raised a total of $92,181 for all eight of her projects combined. Those projects include: Team Nature Conservancy SF ($52,192), Run for the Gulf ($18,192), Global Green Gulf Relief ($14,067), Massai Villagers Need a Truck! ($2,529), Friends of NWHS-Global ($130), Meditation for at Risk Kids ($190), Art of Elysium Rocks! ($3,347) and Massai Wilderness Conservation Fund ($1,459).

If you think that’s a lot, just wait — there’s more. Bush created her own limited edition Water Bobble, which, with every purchase, 50 percent goes to the Nature Conservancy’s fight to protect nature. She also won the 2011 Do Something Twitter Award for her environmental activism against celebrities Ashley Green, Kim Kardashian, Ashton Kutcher and Eva Longoria.

Here’s a quote from Bush, written in September of last year article: “That’s the most exciting thing, that all of these people coming out of the woodwork and contacting me and joining the teams on Crowdrise are all people who genuinely want to make a difference. We have voices and we have the ability to act, and the ability to create change.”

Sure, she may get paid close to $100,000 per episode on One Tree Hill and therefore has the money to advocate so strongly for the environment, but she is only one person. It makes you wonder, what have you done to save the environment lately?

If you want to become one of Sophia Bush’s #LittleVoices, visit her Twitter account, @SophiaBush or personal Website, for more information.


Crowdrise: Sophia Bush

Water Bobble: Limited Edition Sophia Bush

VH1 Do Something Awards: Twitter

AOLTV: One Tree Hill Star Sophia Bush Talks Twitter and the Continuin

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