How to Generate Buzz via Social Media Real Life Dos and Don'tsHas this happened to your organization: You experimented with social media tools and found that nothing happened at all?

If so, you’re not alone. One of the most frequent complaints from organizations trying social media out is that after taking the plunge–whether tweeting, blogging or launching a Facebook fan page–nothing happens.

Now there’s help: I partnered with NTEN ED Holly Ross to share guidelines and case studies on using social media tools to build buzz (and reach) via this webinar for the Communications Network. And now the video recording and slide deck are available to you, at no cost.

Our presentation covers the nuts and bolts of social media success, the readiness required to put them to work and a laundry list of dos and don’ts. Although the case studies are about grantmakers, the examples and findings are equally relevant to nonprofit organizations.

I recommend you take an hour out to make sure your social media buzz building is all it can be. Here’s what one participant had to say (and another, just in).

P.S. More effective messaging is a priority for all organizations. Learn how to craft the most essential message — your tagline. Download the free 2009 Nonprofit Tagline Report, filled with must-dos, don’t dos, case studies and 2,500+ nonprofit tagline examples!

Nancy Schwartz in Nonprofit Communications, Professional Development, Recommended Resources, Social Media | 1 comment
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Just Do It Early Bird Registration for 2 Top Nonprofit Conferences Ends 1215Act now to attend two of the finest conferences for nonprofit communicators at a reduced early bird rate. Discounted registration for both meetings ends Tuesday, December 15.

True Spin Conference: Jan. 21 and 22, Denver, CO

Join some of America’s best progressive communications practitioners for two exhilarating days of panels, workshops, networking and fun at True Spin 2010.  Focused on the communications needs of issue-oriented advocacy groups, True Spin offers participants timely, focused sessions on topics ranging from How to Combat Astroturf Campaigns to Taking Advantage of Audience Fragmentation, plus lots of opportunity to brainstorm with colleagues in the field. Register now.

2010 Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTC): April 8-10, Atlanta, GA

Full disclosure: I'm a board member of NTEN, which runs this conference. But I became a huge NTEN champion through attending this conference — the only venue I know of where program, fundraising, communications folks and other key nonprofit staffers and consultants learn and talk together about common challenges and strategies! The program is too rich to cover here but I promise you it's mind-blowing (in the best way), the networking superb. Please join me there.

Register now. Early bird registration rates end COB December 15th.

Flickr: normko

P.S. Don't miss out on in-depth articles, case studies and guides to nonprofit fundraising and marketing success — all featured in the twice-monthly Getting Attention e-update.  Subscribe today.

Nancy Schwartz in Nonprofit Communications, Professional Development, Recommended Resources | 0 comments
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Here's How to Solicit Free & Vital Input on Your Web Site Design, Make Your Base Love You More than EverNTEN is redesigning its Web site, and it’s calling far and wide for its network (members and non-members alike) to participate in the process. Here’s one of the invites.

Audience research is the only way to ensure that any communications initiative has maximum impact. And Web site design is so complex (look at how many folks it keeps in business) that soliciting input on your site design is even more important than it is for most other communications channels.

I admire NTEN’s openness in its call for input (they’re reaching out via their blog, to members via email and in other ways). It speaks volumes about the organization’s desire to serve the nonprofit sector, and will definitely generate a new Web site that’s far more effective.

Give your two cents today! You can do it here, in only 10-15 minutes. When you do, you’ll get a bonus — some great ideas on putting your network to work to strengthen your org’s communications.

P.S. Read this guide to shaping your org’s Web site to generate the actions you need.

Nancy Schwartz in Audience Research, High-Impact Websites, Nonprofit Communications | 0 comments
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You know it from your personal life, and on the professional side too — when you share something personal (but appropriate, can’t be too much), it can deepen understanding, interest and the connection.

The same goes when your organization — or you, speaking for your organization — does so. Here are a couple of recent examples that wowed me:

  • Holly Ross, NTEN‘s executive director, used a double fun strategy to raise $10,000 for scholarships to the recent NTC conference. She challenged members and others to give, offering their choice of “public humiliation” if they met the goal. They did, and the vote was for Holly to do a remake of Beyonce’s Put a Ring on It video. The NTEN community (and my daughter, Charlotte) went wild for the video, which generated a huge amount of Holly- and NTEN-love. Move over Beyonce.
  • Patricia Wilson, executive director of the Greater Bay Area Make-a-Wish Foundation just launched a diet-based fund-raising campaign to help close the gap on her org’s $200,000 deficit. She’s putting herself way out there, asking folks to pledge for every pound she loses. Donors and lurkers can track her progress (see her sign at left, with weight lost and dollars gained) and give via Patricia’s Big Loser Campaign on Facebook. She’s going strong on both fronts and is likely to exceed her $7,500 goal.
  • Social media blogger Chris Brogan shaved his head to raise money for Giving Kids Laptops. His dramatic campaign – – part all Chris, part reality TV — conveyed like nothing else how passionate he is about the cause, and made me feel like part of the Chris club.

P.S. Don’t miss out on in-depth articles, case studies and guides to nonprofit marketing success — all featured in the twice-monthly Getting Attention e-update. Subscribe today.

Nancy Schwartz in Branding and Messages, Case Studies, Nonprofit Communications, Strategy | 1 comment
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Join Me, 2pm et Today wExpert Mal Warwick -- Fundraising When Money Is Tight for NTEN members onlyIt's far from secret that we're dealing with a tough economic environment these days and there's no magic 8 ball to tell us when things might turn around.  And it is in these tough times that innovation, creativity and some common sense can take you further than even before. 

In his new book, Fundraising When Money Is Tight: A Strategic and Practical Guide to Surviving Tough Times and Thriving in the Future, fundraiser extraordinaire Mal Warwick shares some simple yet sometimes counter-intuitive steps are presented that you can take to ensure that your organization will suffer the least possible damage in a down economy — and emerge healthy and poised for renewed growth when the economic crisis has passed.

Join me today at 2pm (eastern) as I host Mal in NTEN's Ask the ExpertRegister now (for NTEN members only, join here) to learn from a master and ask your own questions.

Nancy Schwartz in Fundraising: Innovations & Research, Nonprofit Communications, Professional Development | 0 comments
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Branding More of a Challenge Than Ever in a Web 20 World
As the nonprofit landscape gets increasingly complex, money is tighter than ever and your org is discussed on infinite communications channels, it’s more important than ever to brand your organization, programs and campaigns.

When you do so – conveying credibility and value in a way that’s easy to remember and repeat – you’ll build long-lasting relationships with donors, volunteers, members, the media, clients, and more. But it’s more challenging than ever in our Web 2.0 world, where your network ideally spreads the word to their network, often leaving your brand far behind.

I’m taking on this challenge big time — along with four incredible minds in the marketing and fundraising fields — at an NTC conference session this April. But since you should dive into this issue right now, here’s a preview podcast:

Nancy Schwartz in 09NTC, Social Media, Web 2.0 | 0 comments
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Enter DoGooderTV Nonprofit Video Awards -- Great Motivation to Push Your Org to Produce a First-Time Video or Get to the Next LevelListen up! The 2009 DoGooderTV Nonprofit Video Awards are now open for submissions of all shapes and sizes — from organizational vlogs, to staff-produced web clips and high-end, professionally produced videos.

I see this contest like I see the triathlon I’m starting to train for — a compelling motivation to get myself to the next level. So whether your org hasn’t ventured into video channel yet, or is working on getting to the next level, use the DoGooder Awards as a reason to focus on it now. Video is powerful and here to stay. The more practiced your are, the more impact your videos will have.

Just do it! Video submissions will be accepted until March 26, when a panel of judges will select the finalists in each category.  The public voting period will open on April 7 and end on April 26.

BTW, Flip, the marvelously inexpensive and easy-to-use video camera, (our 5 year old uses ours with great success) offers nonprofits a way in with the Flip Video Spotlight program. Just complete the short application and you’ll hear back within 30 days on your eligibility. Once you’re eligible, you can purchase heavily discounted Flip kits – a kit containing two Flip Ultra camcorders, instructions, tutorials, and training materials.  Go for it! It’s a no lose proposition.

P.S. The right messaging is critical to the success of every nonprofit video! Download the free Nonprofit Tagline Report for must-dos, don’t dos, case studies and 1,000+ nonprofit tagline examples!

Nancy Schwartz in Awards, Nonprofit Communications, Social Media, Video | 0 comments
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