Tips to Get Started Using Social Media to Fundraise

Last year, Nonprofit Tech for Good reported some of the following statistics:

* Fifty-five percent of those who engage with nonprofits via social media have been inspired to take further action.

* The average nonprofit crowdfunding campaign raises $9,237.55.

* Online giving grew 13.5 percent in 2013.

Social media is here to stay and nonprofits need to become more aggressive in incorporating its use into their overall outreach strategy for courting their current and prospective donors. The vast majority of organizations say that their websites and email is the most important communication tool that they use. Fully, 97 percent of nonprofits are using Facebook.

Nonprofits exist not only to fulfill their respective missions, but in order to accomplish their work, they are also looking to promote their organizations and obtain financial support, in effect fundraising dollars. As noted in a Nonprofit Quarterly article 74 percent of organizations use social media to announce events and activities, and only 53 percent, “follow the best practice of posting issue-centric content to establish thought leadership… ”

That point is one that should not be taken lightly. The reality is that nonprofits should not be in the business of simply using social media to promote their activities. The most successful organizations (for-profit and nonprofit) are the ones who consistently become thought leaders in their respective fields. Individuals and the media want to know that your organization is an expert in the field and this is not acquired by simply publicizing your own events.

In order to be effective at using social media, you need to regularly communicate with your followers. This means with tools such as Facebook, it should be approximately 5 to 10 times per week. Since Twitter is a micro-blog, nonprofits can certainly tweet more often than Facebook. One of the key best practices to keep in mind for this particular platform is to build up your followers. To accomplish this, your organization can look into Tweelow, @NonprofitOrgs and WeFollow. And, on Twitter or other similar platforms, in order to have a good conversation, remember to follow back those who follow you.

Most nonprofits are very good at being able to communicate what they do, but many forget that there should be a regular call to action in your conversation. There are several means to accomplish this:

* Ask a question and target your message to influencers on varying social media platforms.

* Tell followers what you need via a wish list or if you have implemented a campaign, let people know how to get involved and why.

* Ask people to share or retweet (RT).

* If publicizing an event, promote early-bird tickets.

A great practice to promote your cause that people will remember is to post great photography and images on the social media platforms you are using. People may notice a picture more than text. Infographics are also another approach to get your message across in a simple to digest and visually memorable fashion.

Finally, get messy. Some nonprofits don’t use social media because they are afraid of doing something “wrong”. There are no hard and fast rules. The reality is that the more your organization uses social media, the more you will see what the best practices are around that specific platform. Start out using one or two tools and as you gain more confidence and success, add other social media.

© 2015 Not Your Father’s Charity. All Rights Reserved.

Managing the Family Blender – Making Blended Families Work

Do you own a blender in your home? If you do, what type of blender would you say you own? Is it small, medium, or large? Is it one of those high-tech blenders with multiple buttons with different speeds? Or is it an older style blender with just a few buttons with only two or three different speeds? I do own blender in my home. I would have to say it is a rather large blender. As the man of my house and the head of my house hold, I take it upon myself to be the manager of the blender in my house. You see, the blender that I am referring to is not the kind that you may think. I am actually referring to my family.

I have a blended a family. My wife and I both come from previous marriages. In each of those marriages, we produced children. When my wife and I met and fell in love, we decided to bring our families together to form one big family. We are what you might call the modern-day “Brady Bunch.” The blended family is much more common today than it ever has been. If not handled the right way, being a part of a blended family can be a nightmare. On the other hand, if properly managed, a blended family can form a bond that can allow for the removal of the “Blended” and can just be a family; a healthy, supportive, and loving one.

My wife is 100% Dominican. She was born and raised in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. She moved to the United States at an early age and lived between New York, New Jersey, and Texas. I am African-American. I was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. We are both ex-military and currently reside in North Carolina. Between my wife and I and our children, we bring three different ethnicities to the table. We also bring different upbringings, cultures, personalities, and attitudes as well. This can be a very stressful mix if the right frames of mind are not brought to the forefront. Luckily, my wife and I came to a very good understanding of how we want to raise our family. We both understand that we must have a sound foundation and that we must set the standards for our family and then stick by them.

We understand that bringing a blended family together is hard work and it takes great effort. It takes time for a family like this to gel together. It is not an overnight procedure. It is also very difficult to put a timeline on a process such as this. Each family dynamic is different and may take varying amounts of time to achieve the ultimate goal, which is a single, fully functional unit of love, respect and support for one another. We also understand that it takes plenty of fortitude to be able to manage the large mix of personalities and different attitudes, wants and desires. This effort has to be looked at as a life-long commitment to making the family work and everyone has to get on one accord and do their part. My wife and I made that commitment before we even got married and we recognize that putting the blender to work in our family starts with us. As the head of my house, I feel that it ultimately starts with me setting the tone.

Here are some concepts that my wife and I decided to incorporate into our family culture.

1) Rules must be put in place to develop discipline and responsibility. Once my wife and I agree on a house rule, we hold everyone accountable. Each child is held to the same standard. No one receives preferential treatment and everyone who violates a house rule is subject to the same punishment.

2) Communication on our part as parents is critical when dealing with our children. We have to always be in agreement with everything when it comes to the children. We never let any of our children play us against one another. Whatever my wife tells them, I back her up and vice versa. We never have disagreements in front of them. We save those for when we are alone and can talk things out in private.

3) Respect is huge in our family. There are all boys here in the house. I am tough on them when it comes to respecting the woman of the house. There is to be absolutely no disrespect of any kind displayed toward my wife at any time. It does not matter if it is her biological sons or her step-sons. I correct with haste, any actions that I deem disrespectful towards her. Teaching the boys how to respect women is a priority of mine and I will work hard to instill that quality in all of them. I demand respect as well, but the dynamic of my relationship with the boys is slightly different and I go out of my way to distinguish that difference with them.

4) Education is very important to our family. We try to instill the value of education into our children. We don’t just do that by word of mouth. We also demonstrate it through our actions. My wife is pursuing her undergraduate degree and I am working on a degree as well. They see us faithfully completing our school work as well as pursuing our career dreams. We want them to understand that they must work hard to achieve their goals and dreams. We make sure they understand that whatever they want to do or be, they can if they put their minds to it and work hard.

5) Family fun is necessary for bonding and just being able to unwind and enjoy being with each other. We consistently do family events together. Whether it is a cruise, sporting event, going to church or to a movie, a trip to one of our favorite restaurants, or just taking a drive to Baskin Robbins for some ice cream, we spend lots of time together doing fun things as a family. We work hard, so we should play hard as well. We also support one another’s individual events. All of our children like to play different sports. We all support each other in our individual events too. We want everyone in this family to know they have a support system at home that they can trust and depend on.

6) Love is the key ingredient that helps to make everything work. We try as hard as we can to create an environment that is full of love. My wife and I are very affectionate in our home. We show lots of affection in front of our boys so they can see it. I love my wife and I show her through my affections towards her. If they follow my example, my boys will also learn how to properly treat a lady, with kindness and respect. We also show plenty of affection towards the boys. We want them to know that we love them. We want them to understand that we desire to see all of them grow up to be happy and successful men.

Our overall goal is to ensure that our children have a safe, healthy, and loving environment where they can grow, thrive, and become well-rounded young men. We believe that the six concepts that we incorporated into our family culture have begun to reap great rewards. We still have a lot more to do and a long way to go, but we are well on our way to a great start in developing our family. I believe the same concepts can also be helpful to anyone who has a blended family.

Remember, nurturing a blended family is like making the perfect cake batter! Once you have all the ingredients, blend them together until you have a smooth mix. When the cake is baked in the oven at the right temperature for the right amount of time, you will have a nice looking, sweet-smelling, and great tasting dessert. This is the way I see my family, which is why I work so hard to make sure our family is built on unity, love, and respect. That is why I consider myself to be the manager of the blender in my home. Truthfully, every member of the blended family has to contribute in order to make the family a success. So in a way, each person is a manager of the family blender. Let the blender in your house work for you!