What's on our mind
This past Wednesday our Social Media Intermediate Brown Bag was a packed house! Focusing on using social media strategy to take engagement to the next level, we enjoyed lively discussions. Topics included RSS feeds, editorial calendars, social media management tools such as HootSuite & SocialBro and lots of questions. Nonprofits new to using social media, are often cautious about the possibility of negative feedback or unsure of how to handle off-topic posts. This issue came up in discussion during our brown bag click through to our blog to read our answers...
This past Wednesday our Social Media Intermediate Brown Bag was a packed house! Focusing on using social media strategy to take engagement to the next level, we enjoyed lively discussions. Topics included RSS feeds, editorial calendars, social media management tools such as HootSuite & SocialBro and lots of questions. Nonprofits new to using social media, are often cautious about the possibility of negative feedback or unsure of how to handle off-topic posts. This issue came up in discussion during our brown bag and here is the re-cap of one of our answers:
How should my nonprofit respond to negative feedback or off-topic posts on Facebook?
A brown bag participant raised this question and mentioned that they were sometimes frustrated by other Pages posting their own (off-topic) stories on other Pages’ walls. Obviously posting on other Pages’ walls can be a great way to strike up conversation, however just using other Pages’ walls as free advertising is bad etiquette. In general, reaching out directly to someone who posts something off-topic is preferable, conversation provides many more opportunities to gain friendship then immediately deleting.
While no nonprofit likes the idea of encountering negative feedback on social media channels, one brown bag participant shared the story of how they handled some negative comments on Facebook. The nonprofit created a video featuring success stories from their clients. When the video was shared by staff members on their personal walls they received a negative comment from a former staff member upset by possible privacy violations. Before the nonprofit had a chance to respond directly, the broader community of supporters responded to the negative comment to defend the nonprofit. Community-generated support is a much stronger defender of one’s brand than any official statement, so by not immediately deleting the negative comment, the nonprofit gained additional support and positive attention.
More Resources and Examples of Dealing with Negative Feedback
- Kivi Leroux Miller’s coverage of the risks of staying silent on Social Media channels during times of controversy - The Accidental Rebranding of Komen for the Cure
- Mark Story’s Case Study about one company’s choice to delete all negative posts on Facebook - If You Love Your Social Media Message Set It Free - Case Study
- Carie Lewis shares tips on how to keep your cool when your nonprofit receives negative feedback - Social Media Anger Management Tips
- Abby Nafziger
Happy AmeriCorps Week! From March 10-18 we acknowledge AmeriCorps members and alums nationwide who improve their communities by tackling tough issues such as education, disaster relief, economic opportunity, and healthy futures. Hear more about AmeriCorps Week and how to participate from NPower's fabulous AmeriCorps/VISTA team...
Happy AmeriCorps Week! From March 10-18 we acknowledge AmeriCorps members and alums nationwide who improve their communities by tackling tough issues such as education, disaster relief, economic opportunity, and healthy futures.
The two main goals of AmeriCorps Week are
- to connect members and alums with each other so they feel they are a part of a nationwide effort and
- to communicate AmeriCorps' powerful impact on critical problems and on people’s lives
Activities this week:
- March 10 is the Seattle AmeriCorps Alums service project at Marra Farm in South Park in the morning.
- Also on March 10 in the afternoon, the Washington Service Corps is hosting a TED Talks-styled event on AmeriCorps service at the Seattle Public Library downtown branch -- this event is open to the public.
- March 13 is an AmeriCorps Week Service Learning Workshop at the 2100 Building in Seattle.
- March 14 is the official celebration at the Jackson Federal Building open to current members, sites, and alums and includes a coffee reception with Mayor Mike McGinn.
- March 16 is a happy hour for AmeriCorps members and alums at Rock Bottom Brewery to network and celebrate the conclusion of AmeriCorps Week 2012! You might just find the NPower VISTA team there....
Who are all these members and host sites?
I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t put all the AmeriCorps programs from Seattle into a Google fusion table that could be turned into a data visualization as a multi-colored map. Here you go, for your viewing pleasure! Please let me know if there are additional sites not listed.
- Twitter users please connect with @americorps and the #americorpsweek hashtag.
- For more information or to meet up for any of the events this week, give us a holler at VISTA@npowernw.org
--Elissa Thomas, AmeriCorps VISTA hosted by NPower Northwest
In this follow up to our initial post about Brave ED's in a New Social Media World, here is Part Two: So what is the difference between a Facebook Page and a Profile anyways? Read all about it...
At a discussion on Social Media Return on Engagement last month at an Executive Director Roundtable hosted by the Alliance for Nonprofits and 501 Commons, there were a couple of questions that I didn’t have answers to on the spot. One thing you can be sure of with social media: somebody somewhere has the answer. So I went looking and I am following up on my initial post about Brave ED’s with a couple of additional posts focused on those unanswered questions:
- With help from Abby Nafziger, a member of NPower’s AmeriCorps VISTA team, we’re covering one question today in this Part 2 post about Facebook. Enjoy!
- There’s a Part 3 post coming next week from guest blogger Erica Mills of Claxon Marketing that will elaborate on the hub and spoke model for managing your communications channels. Stay tuned!
- Peg Giffels
Facebook question: So what’s the difference between a Page, and a personal Profile?
Pages are for organizations, Profiles are for individuals.
Pages are used by everyone from nonprofits to celebrities, bands or businesses. Pages create a space on Facebook to interact with customers/fans/constituents/audience/etc. Profiles are the backbone of Facebook and are personalized by individuals in order to connect with friends, reunite with old classmates or just to play Farmville. While you do have to create a personal Profile in order to create a Page, Profiles and Pages remain completely separate publicly.
3 differences between Pages and Profiles
- Privacy - Page accounts are automatically public facing and open to any Facebook user, while Profiles offer a range of privacy settings ranging from completely public to visible only to the owner of the Profile.
- Insights - These statistics about Reach, Virality, Demographics and more are only available to Pages, which if you think about it is probably a blessing. You can rest assured that none of your friends will be able to tell how frequently you read their updates, un-friend them or look at their photos.
- Interactions - Profile users can also choose to “like” a Page, which will give them the ability to write on a Page’s wall and see the Page’s status updates in their news feeds. However Pages administrators are limited to only interacting directly with other Pages and can’t friend personal Profiles or write on their walls.
Want to learn more?
- If you prefer face-to-face instruction, consider signing up for NPower’s FREE Facebook 101 brown bag on May 9th, or arranging for social media strategy consulting.
- The Nonprofit Facebook Guy details the different forms of interactions possible by Pages and Profiles.
- Beth Kanter provides nonprofits with all the details about the upcoming change to Timeline for Facebook Pages.
- Inside Facebook delivers a comprehensive guide to the algorithms that Facebook uses to determine what activity updates show up in Profile users news feed. [Note: this ranking doesn’t affect Pages, who will always see all the updates from liked Pages in their news feed]
- Abby Nafziger
What does a global professional services company like Deloitte have in common with a 20-person nonprofit like NPower Northwest? Both have deep expertise in technology consulting, and both are passionate about empowering resource-constrained nonprofits through the contribution of their specialized skills and knowledge. So it’s a natural fit that Deloitte supports NPower by sponsoring our Techtacular Event, an annual celebration of nonprofit technology. Read more...
We're proud to partner with Deloitte as a sponsor for our upcoming Techtacular event (save the date: May 17 at Showbox SoDo!). Learn more about Deloitte's commitment to the nonprofit community and why they've chosen to support NPower in this article from our most recent Tech Do-Gooders eNews...
What does a global professional services company like Deloitte have in common with a 20-person nonprofit like NPower Northwest? Both have deep expertise in technology consulting, and both are passionate about empowering resource-constrained nonprofits through the contribution of their specialized skills and knowledge. So it’s a natural fit that Deloitte supports NPower by sponsoring our Techtacular Event, an annual celebration of nonprofit technology.
"Our goals are very similar," says Kay Pitman, Deloitte Tax Partner and Treasurer of the NPower Northwest Board. "NPower and Deloitte both seek to understand the challenges of a broad range of organizations, and to provide solutions, and they share a similar model of affecting not just one issue or set of people, but many."
As a Board member, Kay is passionate about NPower’s mission. "I remember what it was like as Board president of a small organization serving homeless families when I lived in the Bay Area. The struggles we faced with technology really slowed us down. I wished for an organization like NPower to help us get beyond struggling with our mailing list or our website and get busy doing our mission. I see what a difference NPower makes for hundreds of nonprofits a year that face similar challenges."
Kay has big visions for what’s possible for the Deloitte-NPower collaboration. "One of my goals for this year is to find ways for Deloitte to do more with NPower, helping to evolve the technology consulting model. I am excited about the prospects for continued cooperation." Kay continued, "NPower embodies the innovative spirit of the Northwest and drives improvement in other nonprofits across the region. I encourage other organizations with a passion for improving the technology capabilities of those in need to consider NPower as a powerful ally."
Thank you Kay and Deloitte for your support and collaboration! To discuss sponsorship and other partnership opportunities for your company, contact Jenna Barrett, Executive Assistant, at email@example.com or 206.957.7742.
Mobile sites and apps can be easily overlooked by nonprofits who are busy focusing on creating good content, updating social media and running fundraising campaigns. However, many nonprofits are stepping up and creating better mobile experiences for their users. Click through to see examples from three Seattle-based nonprofits who are leading the way with mobile websites and apps, and some resources to learn more...
Mobile sites and apps can be easily overlooked by nonprofits who are busy focusing on creating good content, updating social media and running fundraising campaigns. However, as more people access the Internet on their mobile devices, many nonprofits are stepping up and creating better mobile experiences for their users. Here are three Seattle-based nonprofits who are leading the way with their great mobile websites and apps:
On the left, you can see how the Burke Museum’s website is normally viewed by a mobile web browser. While the website looks good, you can easily see how this site would be quite hard to navigate on the small screen of a mobile device. On the right is the mobile site. The design is much simpler than the full site, containing very few graphics (which can slow down mobile browsing), just a few clear buttons that link to specific information that viewers may need to know on the go.
Woodland Park Zoo
Offering both a basic mobile website and an app on both the iOS and Android markets, Woodland Park Zoo has its mobile viewers covered. Above is a screenshot of both the full website viewed on a mobile screen and the iOS app on the right. The menu at the bottom allows mobile viewers to check zoo hours, connect with the zoo on its social media channels or find out more info on specific animals they meet along the way. Woodland Park Zoo even included a fun map to help users find all of their favorite animals!
Seattle Public Library
This great mobile app from Seattle Public Library allows patrons to check the due dates on their books, search the catalog and download digital books and media to their mobile devices. A good mobile site helps users access all the information of a website from the reduced screen size of their mobile devices.
3 tips for good mobile sites and apps
- Keep designs clean and graphics simple -- Slower website loading times and the small screens of mobile devices mean that users need to be able to access your information easily.
- Include hours and location information -- Often viewers who access your nonprofit’s website from their mobile devices are trying to find your contact info or have other specific questions. Make it easy for them to find out where you are located, what times you are open and how to get in touch.
- Link to Social Media channels -- Much of what mobile device users do on the Internet connects to their social media channels. Including a link to your Facebook page or Twitter stream can be a great way to integrate your online communications.
Do I need a mobile site?
Obviously not all nonprofits need to have complete mobile websites or apps. Sometimes, all that is needed are some tweaks to your current site to make it more accessible to mobile viewers. NPower's Web consultants can help you sort out the options. Also, look for Part Two of this post on how to optimize you current website -- coming your way next month.
Resources to learn more:
Five Must-Have Characteristics of Nonprofit Mobile Websites: A solid set of best practices for nonprofit mobile websites.
33 Nonprofit Mobile Websites: Great examples of other nonprofit mobile websites.
Why Your Business Needs a Mobile Website Right Now: Statistics about the use of the mobile web.
How To Build A Mobile Website: An in depth guide to building your own mobile website that takes into account usability and current web design standards.
-- Abby Nafziger, AmeriCorps VISTA at NPower Northwest with thanks to Jesse Snyder, Principal Web Consultant
Here at NPower we love to hear from other thought leaders in the sector. Thanks to Nicholas Merriam, Operations Manager from Building Changes, for this guest post on adoption strategy. Click to read all about it.
Here at NPower we love to hear from other thought leaders in the sector. Thanks to Nicholas Merriam, Operations Manager from Building Changes, for this guest post on adoption strategy.
Building Changes has been working with NPower Northwest for the last year and a half to create and implement a comprehensive, organization-wide database (SalesForce). While this technology was an essential infrastructure addition, the big question came up, "How do we get our staff to use it?"
Adoption of any new technology in an organization is hard work. It’s challenging to figure out how to get people to enter information or look at the great dashboard you made. It’s hard even in organizations that are inefficient or are using antiquated tools. Many people are comfortable with the way they work and don’t want to change – even if they see good reason for it.
It strikes me that adoption is challenging for many of us, because we fail to realize that adoption has everything to do with change management and organizational culture and almost nothing to do with the actual technology. It’s easy to fall into the trap of “...if we build a great system, everyone will use it...” At Building Changes, we found that to successfully drive adoption we needed to approach the challenge in a variety of ways, by aligning with our current organizational culture wherever possible. Organizational culture can act as a leverage point (or barrier) for any adoption tactic you might implement. Here’s what we did:
Leverage the Culture
Building Changes has a highly collaborative culture, so we used that to develop the database. Our project management teams are ad-hoc groups, formed with different staff from different departments, depending on what we’re building. The teams come together for about 90-120 days and lend their expertise and knowledge to help inform how best to build the system. These ad-hoc teams leverage our collaborative nature and help everyone in the organization gain exposure to the development process. As with any other type of project, each staff member’s dedication to success grows as their responsibility increases.
Engage Early Adopters
Many different people worked on the database during the roll out phase and we found that some were more excited than others about using this new technology. We engaged these “Early Adopters” and solicited their help in leading staff meeting demonstrations and teaching others how the database works. We also directed questions about the database to these people. These “Early Adopters” have ultimately turned into our database evangelists, preaching the good news about how this tool is changing the way we work.
Provide Timely Support and Ongoing Training
One of the most frustrating things with technology is when it doesn’t work properly. Having ongoing, real complaints about technology not working properly is a surefire way to kill adoption momentum. To curb this we budget for ongoing support and have a number of people that are quickly becoming skilled at troubleshooting. This ensures that when someone has a problem, we can address it rapidly. We also provide ongoing training for our staff. We send new hires to a class at NPower and have periodic brown bag trainings to showcase new functionality or simply answer questions.
This is the only portion of adoption that is focused on the actual technology. It’s important that whatever you build not only solves a problem, but also helps the organization gain access to information and make better decisions. These decisions could be directly related to one person’s work, or ideally, would related to a department or the entire organization. Prior to building our new database, it was incredibly time consuming to develop a report on where our grant dollars were being deployed across the state. Now, we have a variety of reports that anyone can access and dashboards that update weekly to inform everyone of where our grant dollars are being deployed.
Hopefully these tips will help you drive adoption of any new technology at your organization. Keep in mind that adoption is far more of an art than a science; the specific tactics that worked for us, may not work for others. The one thing I know for certain – culture is king. Organizational culture guides how people work, informs organizational norms, and can drive or kill adoption. Identify the leverage points in your culture, align the technology with those points and you’ll be much more likely to succeed.
- Nicholas Merriam, Operations Manager at Building Changes
Building Changes leads a multi-faceted approach to ending homelessness in communities across Washington State. Our grant making, training, and advocacy activities ensure that housing and vital public services are available to people at risk of homelessness or experiencing homelessness.
During the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Brown Bag yesterday a few great questions came up that are worth sharing with everyone in some more detail. Find the answers here.
During the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Brown Bag yesterday a few great questions came up that are worth sharing with everyone in some more detail.
What does my site or page look like to Google and their web crawlers?
This came up after discussing the importance of putting content in the appropriate HTML tags such as <title> and <h1> tags, as well as the use of images without alternative text. Here’s how you can view your website similar to how Google sees it.
First search for your site or page. When you locate it in the search results, hover over the image preview and click on the cached version:
This will also pull in the images that are hosted on your site. However, search engines spend most of their time parsing and reading in text. Click the “Text-only” version of your site to see what the web crawlers are able to see:
Was it what you were expecting? If images or other multimedia play a large role in your web presence and do not have any alternative text, you may be surprised at the lack of easily discoverable content.
When I search for the name of my organization (even using the exact title), my website doesn’t show up. What’s going on?
The first two questions you’ll want to ask yourself are:
- How much time did I give myself after publishing the site to when I started searching for it?/li>
- How much traffic does my site get on a regular basis?
Unfortunately new or low-trafficked sites will take a while to gain some momentum. In fact, Google’s web crawlers may not even be aware that your site exists. You can solve this problem by submitting a sitemap to Google, or by just waiting for a couple other sites to link to yours.
The next thing to consider is that once Google is aware of your site, its crawlers won’t necessarily crawl it every day looking for new content. Even then, it takes awhile to start showing up in search results.
For the case when your organization’s name doesn’t even show up in the search results, even after a few weeks, you might want to check to make sure that your organization’s name is listed in the critical places-- the page title tag <title>, header tag <h1>, and elsewhere throughout the page. Sometimes it helps to have your organization’s name in the footer of the page, alongside the address and contact information, or somewhere on your site’s navigation or side panels.
What were those resources again?
For more information, check out these three great resources. They’re written in an approachable and friendly format and even include cute robots and diagrams.
- Google SEO Starter Guide (.pdf) for helpful technical information and best practices to ensure that your content is discoverable
- SEOmoz Beginners Guide (.pdf) for the history and evolution of search engines and a discussion on how and why they work the way that they do
- Google Webmaster Tools to spot any errors or problems that Google’s web crawlers have run into, preventing your site from reaching its potential
Thanks for coming!
Be sure to check our training calendar for upcoming brown bags. If you missed yesterday’s SEO brown bag, we’ll be doing it again in a couple months.
Peg Giffels had the opportunity to facilitate a discussion on Social Media Return on Engagement last week at an Executive Director Roundtable hosted by the Alliance for Nonprofits and 501 Commons. She was impressed by the high rate of adoption of social media across different types and sizes of organizations, and also by the outright courage nonprofit leaders are showing by trying it out. Read more...
I had the opportunity to facilitate a discussion on Social Media Return on Engagement last week at an Executive Director Roundtable hosted by the Alliance for Nonprofits and 501 Commons. In the ED Roundtable format, participants rotate between three topics, so I saw three different groups for 1/2 hour each. In those 30 minutes the Executive Directors expressed diverse feelings about social media, including confusion ("What is the difference between Facebook and Twitter?") and delight at the possibility of reaching new audiences. I was impressed by the high rate of adoption of social media across different types and sizes of organizations, and also by the outright courage nonprofit leaders are showing by trying it out.
I shared some tips from my own experience and from NPower's Knowledge Center, including a new flier on Return on Engagement. One of the key differences between social media and traditional media is the shift from monologue to conversation. That means giving up a little bit of control over your organization's message, in trade for a chance to better engage with and learn from your clients, donors and other "constituents". It's the difference between posting a carefully crafted summary of your fundraising event on your website (a one-way broadcast), and giving a shout out to event volunteers on Facebook and tagging them to encourage comments back. Both communications have their uses, but without the Facebook update you miss giving your volunteers a chance to appreciate you back, and to share their enthusiasm with all of their friends.
The ED's I met with on Friday were not worried about control in the same way that nonprofit leaders were just a few years ago. I credit these leaders with "getting it" that the advantages outweigh the discomfort, and with being willing to bravely enter a new world of figuring out how to use the tools in service of their missions. One participant shared that she keeps a list of "Twitter mavens" to whom she feeds updates and news. They in turn share the information with their followers, increasing the chance for donations and volunteer engagement for her organization. Now that's smart and brave!
Thanks to the Alliance for Nonprofits and 501 Commons for the opportunity to share some tips and to learn from the group on Friday. For more conversation about technology for mission impact, check out the brown bag sessions listed on our Training Calendar. Our brown bags are free and chock full of useful info. We offer a brief presentation and plenty of time to learn from your peers, with cookies and coffee to fuel the conversation. Next up on social media: Social Media Intermediate on March 7, and Social Media Content Curation on March 28th.
Our AmeriCorps VISTA team is excited to announce the launch of our Tech Assessment Project. This pilot program gives small nonprofits working in the area of poverty alleviation a chance to assess their technology, receive trainings and create a strategy map to guide their operations planning, grant-writing and volunteer recruitment. Click through for information on how to apply...
Our AmeriCorps VISTA team is excited to announce the launch of our Tech Assessment Project. This pilot program gives small nonprofits working in the area of poverty alleviation a chance to assess their technology, receive tech training and create a strategy map to guide their operations planning, grant-writing and volunteer recruitment.
As newcomers to Seattle, our VISTA team is excited to have this opportunity to get to know many of the amazing nonprofits in the area who are doing great work everyday to help alleviate poverty. If your nonprofit is interested in this free program, here are all the details about about eligibility and project outcomes, and a link to the application form.
Applications are due by March 23rd, so if you're interested let us know soon!
NTEN's Nonprofit Technology Conference is just weeks away: April 3-5 in San Francisco. There's so much to love about NTC 2012. The networking opportunities alone are worth the trip, but the schedule of sessions is enough to set even the most accidental of techies swooning. Read more...
NTEN's Nonprofit Technology Conference is just weeks away: April 3-5 in San Francisco. There's so much to love about NTC 2012. The networking opportunities alone are worth the trip, but the schedule of sessions is enough to set even the most accidental of techies swooning.
Did we mention that our very own Alison Carl White and Peg Giffels will be presenting? It's true! In their session "Taking Action, Making Change" Alison and Peg will introduce the NPower Northwest Technology Theory of Change and how it helped us envision the capacity, people and processes we need in order to reach our goals.
Check out this post from NTEN's blog featuring videos from Alison and Peg, as well as a few other NTC presenters sharing what they love about the conference. Register before February 17th and you'll save a hundred bucks! What's not to love?
See you there!
- Mandi Moshay