The Importance Digital Advocacy

2016-03-30 09.09.10
Amanda Neumann

What is digital advocacy

It’s the use of digital technology to contact, inform, and mobilize a group of concerned people around an issue or cause (x).

Examples of digital advocacy

  • Facebook Likes
  • Twitter Retweets
  • Photo tagging
  • Blogging about a cause or organization
  • Sharing events on social media
  • Personal recommendations (through Facebook, Google, etc)
  • Linking to a website or blog content
  • Positive comments on posts, pictures, or videos

Digital advocacy is often used to talk about large social media campaigns, such as fundraisers or to mobilize around a political or social issue. However, it’s much more than that. Digital advocacy is becoming an important facet of day-to-day support for nonprofit organizations.

Many people do not have the socioeconomic freedom to give, donate, or volunteer regularly. Online, or digital, advocacy is one way for individuals to offer support.

Twitter Follow

Social media is also a great way for community building and interaction –so tweeting, blogging, and Facebook posting are valuable ways to show support for an organization. 

What exactly makes digital advocacy so valuable?

The Power of Testimonials and Engaged Support 
Testimonials are an important resource for nonprofits. Testimonials inform people about what your organization does, how it affects the community, and why it is valuable. Even more importantly, digital advocacy allows for unsolicited testimonials and can extend outside of an organization’s immediate reach.

Free and Effective Community Outreach 
Digital Advocacy can be an excellent form of community outreach. Having online support from community members, nonprofit professionals, emerging leaders, and even business owners is free and effective community outreach. 

Having online support from community members can be an incredibly effective way of creating strong community bonds.

Authentic Marketing 
While Facebook ads and regular social media posts help nonprofits market fundraisers and events, there’s no real substitute for a friend telling you to check out an event or organization. Having community members who are excited about your organization share a Facebook event can help marketing campaigns tremendously.

Sources & Resources:


Social Media Tips for Nonprofits

2016-03-30 09.09.10
Amanda Neumann

There is no singular way to effectively utilize social media. Every organization has to find ways to capture and engage their specific audiences.

While many nonprofits use email as the primary form on communication, social media is rapidly taking its place. Why? Because social media allows for more engaged and personal communication.

Many organizations are creating and implementing social media policies. A social media policy is a document that contains strategies and guidelines for your organization’s social media presence. These policies can be especially beneficial when multiple employees or volunteers share social media management duties.

Regardless of if your organization has a social media policy, it should have some type of social media strategy

When creating a social media strategy it is important to keep it simple and direct. Focusing on engagement, frequency, and visuals when writing social media posts can drastically improve your organization’s social media presence.


Social Media isn’t a one-way street—communication has to go both ways.

When writing social media posts, it is vital to remember that you are doing more than marketing. Social media should be used for more meaningful, and individual, interactions. This can be as simple as liking Facebook posts or tweets from friends and followers or quickly replying to comments on your organization’s social media pages.

Tip #1 : Use push notifications on your smartphone or internet browser to stay current with your organization’s social media interactions 


It’s important to maintain a presence while not overloading your connections with posts and information.

There’s no perfect number of social media updates to post per week. The most important thing is to post regularly without overloading your audience. Posting once per day on popular social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter is becoming expected from all organizations and businesses. However, it’s important to note that every post does not need to be published on every site (i.e. every Facebook picture doesn’t need to be shared on Twitter or LinkedIn)

Tip #2 : Create a Buffer account to manage social media posts 


Remember to make your posts visually interesting!

Including pictures or info graphs is a great attention grabber. Too much text can be boring and easy to overlook. Further, adding photos of employees, volunteers, or events can be a wonderful way to engage your organization’s online community.

Tip #3 : Create a file of “extra” photos to share with text posts or by themselves 


How Nonprofits Use Social Media to Engage with Communities via Nonprofit Quarterly
Social Media for Non-Profits: High-Impact Tips and the Best Free Tools via Buffer
Creating a Social Media Policy via Tech Soup

For-Profit Marketing Strategy Success

For our first Marketing Seminar Series this year we invited for-profit Cyclone Social’s Founder and President – Andrew Lamping. In the hour and a half brown bag lunch presentation, he provided some great words of wisdom and tips for marketing.

Lamping began with saying “strategy trumps advertising.” Your strategy begins with the sales process. The sales process steps are:

  • loyalty  strategy marketing sales
  • buy again/or refer
  • buy/visit (create a remarkable experience)
  • invite (have real conversations with your audience and find your brand’s voice)
  • intrigue (tell your story)
  • expose (show content to your audience)
  • identify audience (listen for trends and what people are saying on social media)

All of these steps aim to build long term sustainability. Lamping suggests to work backward, from the bottom (identify audience) up (loyalty).

In addition, our guest speaker shared an advance marketing tip for exposing your audience to specific content – Facebook dark post or unpublished post ads. It is an ad post that does not show on your page. It is only visible to the audience you target in their news feed. This is a good tool to test different ads or content to difference audiences without flooding your page. Lamping was not able to get into the specific steps to create a Facebook dark post due to time. However, there are numerous videos on YouTube on how to create one.

Online Crowdfunding for Nonprofits

What is Crowdfunding?2016-03-30 09.09.10

Crowdfunding refers to any effort to raise money through donations from a large number of people. Crowdfunding websites allow individuals, organizations, and businesses to reach a wider audience in order to obtain donations and support. Crowdfunding websites also give individuals an easy way to contribute to their favorite organizations.

Why Should Nonprofits Use Online Crowdfunding?

There are numerous benefits to using online crowdfunding. First, it’s accessible to anyone with internet access. This is beneficial for organizations looking to expand their donor base or simply to make it easier for existing donors to give. Second, it’s fairly easy to start an online crowdfunding campaign. With crowdfunding websites (like Kickstarter and Indiegogo) on the rise, it’s becoming easier to create and maintain crowdfunding platforms. And third, online crowdfunding also works as an outreach platform and marketing tool.

Which Online Crowdfunding Website is the Best?

This isn’t a simple question. Different crowdfunding websites offer different benefits and services. There are a plethora of different websites but it’s important to understand how much of the donations will make it to your organization. Most crowdfunding websites charge a “platform fee,” which is charge for using their website. Most crowdfunding websites also charge a “credit card payment fee” which goes to the third-party payment processors (like Paypal).

Below are 5 popular crowdfunding websites with their associated fees:


5% : Platform fees

3% + 30¢ : Credit Card Payment Fee


4.9%: Platform Fee

2.0% + 30¢ : Credit Card Payment Fee

First Giving

5.0% : Platform Fee

2.5% : Credit Card Payment Fee

$500 : Subscription Yearly Subscription


5.0% : Platform Fee

2.9% + 30¢ : Credit CardPayment Fee


4.9% : Platform Fee

3% : Credit Card Payment Fee

This is my no means an exhaustive list. However, these may  be a good place to begin your crowdfunding journey.


Engaging College Students in Philanthropy

What can nonprofit organizations do to engage college students in philanthropy?2016-03-30 09.09.10

There are a plethora of new and old ways that college students can participate in philanthropic efforts. While the philanthropic contributions from current college students may differ from traditional methods, they are none-the-less vital. So, what can your nonprofit organization do to engage passionate students in philanthropy? Here are some suggestions!

Find Us on Social Media
In my experience, the largest obstacle for college students to engage in philanthropic efforts is the lack of readily available resources. Social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) is by far the best way to reach college students. Sharing events, links to online donations, and information about local philanthropic efforts is a fantastic way to get information about nonprofits to college students. (We spend a lot of time on social media, if you hadn’t noticed.)

Interact With Us on Social Media
For college students, it’s not enough to see what organizations are doing—we want to feel involved! We want our voices heard. Posting on Facebook is a great start to engaging college students, but you can’t stop there. It’s important to engage with college students on social media—‘like’ Facebook status that mention you, tag event attendees in your Facebook and Twitter photos, retweet reactions to your events and programs.

Let Us Donate Online
Online shopping is a miracle. As a college student, it’s saved me time and energy that I simply don’t have. Online shopping is also phenomenal for nonprofits. Online donations offer an easy way for college students to contribute to local or national nonprofits without leaving the comfort of their beds. Additionally, offering monthly donation options is a great way to maintain a relationship with college students. I know I can’t donate $100 at one time, but I can definitely donate $10 a month throughout the entire year.

Work With Our Universities 
Many colleges and universities offer service learning opportunities to students. Service learning focuses on civic responsibility and community involvement. There are few things better than helping a great cause while receiving course credit for it. Working with universities is a great way to introduce college students to what philanthropy is and how they can get involved.

Listen To Us
We’re young, passionate, and excited to help organizations and causes we care about. So, please, listen to us! Create opportunities for college students to contribute ideas to your organization—whether it be an online suggestion box, events on college campuses, or an online survey. This is a great way to gather new ideas and find new board members.

Good luck recruiting and engaging!


Donations through YouTube

YouTubeDoes your nonprofit post any videos to YouTube? Are you enrolled in YouTube’s Nonprofit Program? If you answered yes to the last question, you already know about the YouTube channel donate button with a link to Google Wallet. Click HERE for more information about the perks of YouTube’s Nonprofit Program.

YouTube recently released that creators can add donation cards to their videos. There are two options for using these donation cards. First, YouTube creators who produce their own content but care about your nonprofit can add a donation card featuring your nonprofit to their videos. Thus, they can solicit donations on behalf of the nonprofit. Second, if your nonprofit puts videos on YouTube, you can add donation cards to your own videos. Donation cards simplify the donation process. It’s as easy as clicking on the card, and the donor’s information remains anonymous. Read more about how donation cards work HERE.

Is there a cost for the cards? Lucky for you, no. Google (which recently acquired YouTube) covers the processing fees of the donations through Network for Good, so your nonprofit receives 100% of the donations.

U.S. Coins and Paper MoneyDon’t forget that your nonprofit can produce a free PSA video through the PCNRC and Access Fort Wayne. You can then put this video on YouTube, add a donate button to your channel (if you’re part of YouTube’s Nonprofit Program) or a donation card to the video, and let donors click away. For more information about PSAs, see our website.

For more information on donation cards, see the Nonprofit Quarterly or The NonProfit Times. Also, check out YouTube’s helpful donation card outreach toolkit.


Pinterest: To Use or Not To Use

Katrina Pieri for wordpressThe year is almost 2016, and most nonprofits are (hopefully) familiar with social media. Facebook and Twitter in particular are used by numerous nonprofits as successful marketing tools. If you’re involved with a nonprofit, you most likely know exactly what I’m talking about. However, a lesser-used social media platform within the nonprofit world might also be worth your organization’s time: Pinterest.

Although Pinterest is sometimes scorned as a “craft site” for women with a lot of free time, I’d like to respectfully point out that given its nature as an organizational tool, it might be just as helpful as a marketing tool. Hear me out, and perhaps you’ll reconsider whether it would benefit your organization to jump on the Pinterest bandwagon.

Joe Waters, blogger at, suggests contemplating a few questions before jumping on the bandwagon in his article “Why and How Causes Should Use Pinterest”. The very first question he asks is: “Do you have an interesting story to tell through pictures?” If so, perhaps you’ll find Pinterest useful.

Here are some ideas to convince you:

(1) A local ASPCA or other pet adoption center, for example, might pin photos of animals that are up for adoption. While posting photos to a website may appear to accomplish the same goal, keep in mind that Pinterest users repin worthy pins to their own boards, giving them a virtual collection of images they can view on their computer screen with ease. Perhaps a Pinterest user eager to adopt an animal would find it more useful to have a Canva Pinterest Blog Post image 2board of adoption-ready animal photos, as opposed to having to scroll through images on a website. Many Pinterest users already maintain “cute animal” boards, so it’s not a stretch to suggest that they would also enjoy maintaining boards of adoptable animals in their area.

(2) Joe even suggests that an organization such as Goodwill could pin photos of trendy used clothing from their stores, so that Pinterest users could view (and virtually collect via their own boards) clothing before actually visiting the stores.

(3) If your organization is geared toward environmental causes, you could create a board full of inspirational images of nature, or the specific environments/species you’re trying to conserve, etc. If you reintroduce animals into their natural habitats, you could capture those moments via camera and then pin the photos to a board. The possibilities are endless.

If your organization routinely experiences touching moments of any kind, and those moments can be captured on camera with relative ease, then you can pin those photos and share them online, thereby touching hearts everywhere.

pinterestSo, if your organization is already utilizing social media and can handle another virtual task, and your organization can benefit from sharing images, perhaps Pinterest may be right for you. It’s yet another marketing tool to spread awareness for your organization, and it’s a fairly easy one given the simple nature of Pinterest. If your organization can communicate something of importance through an image, then by all means, pin that photo! (And don’t forget to repin other appropriate/similar images!)