Ask for what you want


No one gets anywhere by not asking, you need to ask to get what you want. A child cries when it’s hungry – it’s asking to be fed. A person cries in pain when they’re hurt and need help. Asking gets you what you want – and need. 

Every organisation needs to freshen its supporter base, it needs to get a younger generation on board, and what better way than through existing supporters. 

You’re current supporters can be your best asset when it comes expanding your supporter base. 

No matter what you’re using to connect with your current supporters, – email, e-letter, FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn, newsletter – you have an audience you can confidently ask to help with your supporter drive.

You need to be asking your current supporters to encourage their friends, colleagues and family to learn more about what you do, and ultimately support the work you do. 

Social media makes it a lot easier to connect with many people in “real time” – you should be making the most of it’s capabilities. 

When you share something on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or anywhere else for that matter, you should be asking people to “Like” it – to share it, and retweet it, to pass it on.  The people your connections are linked with are likely to be more inclined to take a look at what you’re sharing, and some of these will become friends, fans, followers or connections – you will not only have the ability to grow your traditional supporter base, but you will have the added opportunity to grow your online connections (spread). 

When one of your supporters sees something and shares it – the reach can be immense – it’s truly a case of from one to many. Using your current supporters to help spread word of the work you do is like a referral campaign, the return could be a lot higher than you might imagine. 

What have you got to lose? Are you going to start asking all your connections to help? 

Are you perhaps going to ask each of your supporters to introduce you to ten of their own connections – imagine how far your message could spread, it could become viral. 

What are you going to do differently to find new supporters?




 © Vladyslav Starozhylov |

Getting a younger generation onboard with your activities



Times are changing, and one of the changes taking place is that of an aging population; and possibly one who won’t be able to keep giving to the level they have previously. 

Before your ‘older’ supporters start to bow out, you need to refresh your pool with new supporters; it’s never too soon to look toward the children in your community to support you. 

How you do this is the key to whether you will get them interested in what you do and getting them stay with you until the time comes that they will be able to support you more as they mature. 

It will depend on the services your organisation provides as to how easily you can get younger people involved; for instance an organisation working with stray and abandoned animals may find it easier to attract younger supporters, than one working with the aged. 

Some ways to look at attracting younger people could be through school activities, engaging with a local school to help with a community project will not only help share your story and what you are doing within your local community, but it will also give the opportunity to talk to children in a setting they’re familiar with – the classroom. Community groups may like to invite the local school to run a competition to design a poster for an upcoming appeal; this will not only get children involved, it will also help them understand what you are doing and will have the potential to also make their parents aware of what you are doing. 

Invite a school group to visit your project; again this would help them understand what you are doing, they could then be invited to write a ‘story’ about what they saw and how they feel about what you are doing and who you are helping. 

College and High School students could be engaged through careers events; this way they could see other opportunities where they could work when the leave high school or go onto further studies. This could have the potential to gain them as supporters well before they enter the workforce. 

Encourage adult supporters to bring their children to family events; some parents may have felt reluctant to talk about the charity or community group they support; but by holding family events they may become more willing to share this with their children. Again, opening the children’s eyes to what and who they could offer support too.  

Some organisations could be suited to having tiers of supporters; junior for children from ages 6-10, intermediate for ages10 – 15 and teens above age 15. Each group could have projects to work on specific to their ages; it would also give younger children an insight into what they could be doing for the organisation as they get older. 

There’s also the opportunity for organisations to have part of their website dedicated to younger supporters; with games, competitions etc specific to this group. Larger organisations may wish to develop a website dedicated to younger members of the community. 

What you can do:

  • Look for ways to encourage children to become involved
  • Use local schools to introduce children to what you are doing
  • Offer opportunities to children by way of competitions
  • Offer levels of support (Junior, Intermediate, Teens)
  • Hold “family days” for your supporters
  • Encourage adult supporters to talk to their children about the work you do

Also check Young people need to be nurtured and encouraged

(This post originally appeared on Socialize Your Cause)


© Franz Pfluegl | 



Is social media impacting on your appeal


We may have seen reports that traditional/regular giving to charity hasn’t declined much with the recession and the wave of natural disasters, but have new donors “signed up” for the long haul? 

When people see pleas for assistance for crises, famine, natural disasters they want to help, they want to help right here – right now. 

But, how many of these will become regular donors, have they been sold on the work you do, or have they given to help with this one “event”? 

The upside of the wide uptake of social media is that it gives an immediate way to get your message out – you have the opportunity to reach many people in a very short space of time. This gives you the opportunity to push out pleas for immediate assistance. 

There can be a downside to too much use of social media to run appeals, people can turn off quickly, and even if they don’t and they give; it’s likely they’ll only give the once. 

It’s important to have balance, to run appeals – but to also show the positives of what has been happening. Even the worst disaster can have a positive story you can share. 

Read Three Ways Social Media Has Negatively Affected the Nonprofit Sector (and What We Can Do About It) from Nonprofit Tech 2.0 – it covers some of the above and more. 

Are you turning your supporters (current and potential) off by being too negative, or are you being balanced with your online activity?



Image: Courtesy of mattinbgn


Charities and Social Media


We’re almost constantly being approached to help one charity or another; sometimes it seems that these requests are coming daily – whether this is reality or not, it certainly seems like it.

Having worked for or been involved with charitable organisations for a number of years I’ve seen many “pitch styles” used, pulling at heart strings, guilt, or more sincere approaches simply asking people to give as much (or as little) as they can.

Something I’m finding difficult to understand is why more charities, community groups and the like aren’t using social media to tap into and connect, communicate with the potential huge supporter base it could offer.

Sure some don’t have the resources to do this; some have such tight budgets that even getting someone in to help them navigate the social media stream can be prohibitive.

In the work I do for community groups I’ve seen organisations using social media really well, others are making an attempt, while the third group have said “we just can’t see how it will benefit us”.

Recently I spoke at a charity’s conference on using social media; it was apparent from the instant I started talking that they could see how effective this could be. Sure there can be challenges (who speaks, what’s said, how often), but any challenge can be overcome with the right planning and strategy being implemented from the outset.

If more charities were to start using social media I’m sure they would soon discover that they not only connect with potential supporters, but they would soon start building relationships with other groups in the community. If they are able to build these relationships I’m confident that like in business, knowledge will be shared, tips will be passed on, and they may even discover more cost effective ways to raise the funds they need.

Those in business who are using social media know and understand the opportunities it enables to reach the masses, which makes for some interesting and perhaps unique ways of marketing for business, so why not for charity as well?

The potential social media offers business can also mean great things for charities and community groups.

When once we were only able to talk with our current supporters and those identified as being potential supporters, social media now opens more doors to enable messages to get out there. The opportunities social media gives mean that messages are able to be spread wider than ever possible before.

Using social media gives anyone a better way to find people, and when it comes to charities it means you can find people who care about a causes; once you’ve ‘found’ then there’s the chance to connect with them, build a relationship and get them to help.

It won’t happen overnight, but building an online relationship with ‘your’ supporters means you have a quick, easy and virtually free way to gain more help and support.

Charities who adopt social media as part of their communication strategy will soon find that their ‘first level’ supporters will pass on messages to their friends and other connections on social media sites – meaning messages will be transmitted exponentially. You can’t get this from a phone call, from a mailer or by having people on the street asking for support.

For charities or others working in the community wanting to venture into the world of social media check out #10Ways to Support Charity Through Social Media,

The tips given are:

Ø  Writing a blog post

Ø  Sharing stories with friends

Ø  Following charities on social networks

Ø  Supporting causes on awareness hubs

Ø  Finding volunteer opportunities

Ø  Embedding widgets on your site,

Ø  Organizing tweetups

Ø  Expressing yourself with video

Ø  Signing or starting a petition

Ø  Organizing an online event

Whatever a charity, or anyone using social media should understand is that a simple, quick message on one social media site can and will soon spread. The important thing is to connect, join in the conversation and engage; it’s not the place to be pleading for help, subtlety works best.

You’ll find support will come your way simply by spreading your message, letting people know what you are doing, and showing examples of the work being done.

Don’t miss the boat, get on board and start sailing in the waters of Social Media, you have nothing to lose.

(This post originally appeared on AdageBusiness)


Have some fun


It doesn’t matter what we do we generally take it seriously, the time spent doing what we do is mostly done with sincerity and professionalism, but is this really what you want to be doing all the time, should you even?


There’s no harm adding a bit of humour to what you do, find something out of the norm to say, show or tell – be ourselves, play a prank, generally inject some humour into what we do.

This video from Mike Stenger says it well, in part  “ … people just need to loosen up, and let people see more of their personality … “ 


Now if only there were virtual custard pie – we could have a massive online pie fight that would be fun, who’s up for one?


Image: Clown Boy
© Raymond Kasprzak |


Twitter users are different


It doesn’t matter whether you’re a charity or a business – you’re a brand, and twitter users are different when it comes to brand engagement. 

Sherilynn Macale of The Next Web says in – Twitter users are more likely to impact your brand than any other social network“Now, more than ever, is the time for brands and companies to begin understanding how the chaotic and real-time world of Twitter can massively influence the ways in which consumers perceive them.” 

For charities this is important to know and understand, when you have twitter users who are “… 3x more likely to amplify the influence of that brand than, say, a Facebook user would” as Sherilynn cites in her post, you’re in need of knowing just how powerful a platform like twitter can be for your message to be heard and amplified.” 

So who are twitter users? To quote from Sherilynn Macale’s article, “Who are Twitter users and why are they so important to your brand? 

Of the users who are active on Twitter daily:

  • 72% publish blog posts at least once a month
  • 70% comment on others’ blog posts
  • 61% write at least one product review a month
  • 61% comment on news sites
  • 56% write articles for third-party sites
  • 53% post videos online
  • 50% make contributions to wiki sites
  • 48% share deals found through coupon forums

In essence: What happens on Twitter doesn’t stay on Twitter.” 

It’s important to understand that people will talk about you, and when they do it may be complimentary – but it mightn’t be. Are you ready for the good and the bad? 

Twitter users are influencers – they share, what they share can and does spread far and wide. 

Think about it, if someone on Twitter wrote a blog about you – how far do you think it has the potential to spread? The spread can be massive. 

Are you making the most of Twitter? Are you watching what’s being said about you on Twitter? 

See Twitter as the local coffee shop – news spreads. 

Do you agree or disagree? What’s you’re take on Twitter users? 


© Bsilvia |


Are you relevant to your audience?


Ask yourself this one question… “Are you relevant to your audience?”

We all want to know that we are being listened to, that what we are sharing is being seen as interesting, beneficial etc – but are we taking our “scoring” too far? 

Are we going back to having “in crowds” –if you’re not in the “in crowd” you don’t count. We can’t look at social media, or any other measure as a way to see how well we’re doing. 

Our measurement should be on the engagement and continued engagement we are having, that our message is being seen – and acted on, that what we’re offering our audience is valued. That we’re not just cluttering our online streams with meaningless information. 

If we want to know how well we’re going shouldn’t it be measured by the number of new subscribers we have to our blog, our newsletter; or the number of people offering assistance, offering skills and expertise and of course financial support. 

This post from Pam Moore The “Marketing Nut” makes for an interesting  read and looks at what perhaps we should be measuring – our Zoom Factor. 

Pam asks: 

Ask yourself this one question… “Are you relevant to your audience?” 

She says, “If you answer anything other than yes to this question then you need to read the rest of this post.” 

What are your thoughts?


© Yanik Chauvin |


Nonprofits and Social Media – A Series


A week or so ago I posted “Questions about Social Media” and said I’d be posting a series – sorry for the delay in getting this started. Watch for the series kicking off next week.

I’ll be talking about:

  • Why you should be using social media
  • What social media can do for your organisation – including case studies
  • Planning – Laying the foundations, know what you’re doing and why
  • Tools – some of the tools available, getting started
  • How to – Connect, Engage, Collaborate and more
  • ROI – What could you gain, it’s not all about money

These are only some of the areas the Nonprofits and Social Media series will cover, if you have something you’d like to see covered leave a comment below; I’ll cover it if I’m able.

Listen to “Putting it Together” and see how some of the lyrics tie into our daily life 

A vision’s just a vision if it’s only in your head!

It has to come to life!


Bit by bit, putting it together
Piece by piece, only way to make a work of art
Every moment makes a contribution
Every little detail plays a parts
Having just a vision’s no solution
Everything depends on execution
Putting it together, that’s what counts!
Ounce by ounce, putting in together
Small amounts, adding up to make a work of art
First of all you need a good foundation
Otherwise it’s risky from the start
Takes a little cocktail conversation
But without the proper preparation
Having just a vision’s no solution
Everything depends on execution

Until next week – enjoy 


Update 2: Supporting Child Cancer Foundation



It’s been a good week since I shave my lid for the Child Cancer Foundation (CCF), raising over $2,300.00 – not too shabby. A BIG thank you to everyone who kindly donated, your support means a lot to me and CCF.

I’d also like to make a special thank you to Hester and the team at Ministry of Hair – not only did they stay late to shave my lid, but they also gave a generous donation. A big thank you too to the Heritage Hotel for their support, loan of wine glasses and the generous donation. A massive thank you to you both.

Thank you also to Nigel for coming along and taking some video of the night – I’ll get this posted over the weekend so you can all have a laugh. 

As for my hair, I’m enjoying having it shaved – even in the recent cold weather

 I spent Monday with my niece while she was in Auckland for chemontherapy treatment, from all accounts she’s doing well which is good news. Seeing other children and families at Starship Children’s Hospital for treatment is sometimes hard to cope with especially when you see how young some of these kids are – a child in a carry cot too young to even crawl, a child happy and full of life one day, the next too sick to lift its head. For some families the path is not easy, having the support of the Child Cancer Foundation helps them cope a bit more.

Something that might surprise is this from the CCF website  Did you know More than 150 children in New Zealand are diagnosed with cancer each year and the Foundation can support up to 900 families at one time.”

One last thing – if you’re looking for an organisation to support please check the Child Cancer Foundation website to see how you can help them in the work they do.

Thanks again to everyone for your generous support.

Update: Supporting Child Cancer Foundation


As you may have read/heard it’s all coming off to help raise the funds the Child Cancer Foundationwhich needs our help to give the support they do to families who have a child with cancer. 

The support received to date has been amazing, both in terms of donations and support in kind. Ministry of Hair will be pulling out the clippers to do the deed, thanks also has to go to the team at the Heritage Hotel who have kindly offered a cash bar to any supporters who wish to come along. The Heritage Hotel have also made an offer direct to Child Cancer Foundation for other support they may be able to offer – so a special thanks for this too. 

It’s been fun talking to people about why I’m doing this and what it means to be able to support, along with many jokes being said about how I will look come the 10th of August. I’m looking forward, with some trepidation to how it will look, it’s been a number of years since I last shaved my lid. 

I’ve also been asked how my niece (Stevie) is, how the treatment she is receiving is going and what the outlook is. So for those interest – last week Stevie was at Starship for her chemo treatment. Her medical examination went well – weight stable, blood pressure ‘normal’ and her overall bloods were good to. All in all things are going to ‘plan’. Her prognosis is good, and for that, I know everyone is grateful. 

Other families are not so lucky, and it’s not only for the support Stevie has been receiving from the Child Cancer Foundation that I’m shaving my lid, but for all the families who the foundation supports. 

Without organisations like CCF New Zealand would be much the poorer, where else can families get the support they need when facing what can be a long road when they have a child undergoing treatment. 

Your support is really appreciated – thank you. 

If you wish to support my efforts you can on here.