Not everything you see online is above board

After reading Sick Baby Photos On Facebook Could Be a Scam [WARNING] on Mashable, it made me wonder not only about how, and what we share, but about how what we say about ourselves, our organization that could be effected by people ‘questioning’ it’s authenticity.

When you tell your story don’t embellish, don’t exaggerate, don’t use too much ‘fluff’ – you want what you’re saying to be taken seriously and not put in the ‘is this true basket’.

If you haven’t already take a look at

Social Media and your Event

Some organizations have already discovered that social media is ideally suited to event promotion and fundraising, others are yet to cotton onto the ‘power’ social media can bring their organization.

We do it in real life, we ask our family and friends to help with the work being done to stage an event, to help sell tickets or to help find sponsors; we ask them to share flyers, put posters up in their business and to – spread the word. Why then are we not also asking them to share this same information through social media?

The use of social media is now so widespread that it brings so many opportunities for messages, information to be share – we just need to start doing it.

A few simple things that could be done to help with your next event could be: 


  • When you put information out on your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or other platform – at the same time actively ask your friends, connections, followers to help spread the word – don’t be shy, some will – some won’t, but you will get added benefit, added awareness of your event no matter how many share the information.   
  • Some organizations email their supporters about the event, with a ‘footnote’ asking them to share information, pictures etc with thier online ‘friends’ – I see no problem with this – especially given that those being asked to do it already have some ‘connection’ with the organization so you’re not asking ‘just anybody’ to share it. 
  • Need help with equipment, a venue, product – then again, ask your online connections for help, you could be pleasantly surprised how successful this could be. Instead of spending hours on the phone calling around asking for ‘help’ – you can do the same, with a likely wider reach (and greater success) by asking people who already know what you’re all about doing the ‘asking’ for you.
  • Ask your friends to share other information about the event, there’s no harm asking the to share ‘post event’ information – when you talk about the event and what it achieved, go back to the people who shared, asked for help on your behalf – and let them know how it went, lent them know their support is appreciated – next time you might find you have people knocking on your door asking how they can help. Wouldn’t it be great if half the work toward your next event was already in-train before you even start?  


When is your next event – will you have a social media plan in place to help make it easier for you? 

Have you already used social media to help with an event? 

Please share your experiences.



Lost in a Tweet

Sometimes we can be seen to not be clear in what we are meaning when we tweet something, and others may take it the wrong way – some clarity is often needed to ensure people seeing our tweets understand what we are saying.

If we have something that could be taken out of context using 140 characters we should perhaps look at writing a blog post about it to avoid misunderstandings.

For organizations being misunderstood can be detrimental to their standing, to how people perceive them and of course to the credibility of the work they do in the community.

Can misunderstandings be avoided? Yes, and with thought put into messages organizations will avoid them. But, often the misunderstandings come about as a result of a hastily prepared tweet – tweets sent on the fly. Something comes to mind, an idea, a thought, and without thinking too much a tweet is sent, only for people reading it to take the wrong meaning; but don’t despair – some of your followers will help you when things like this happen, but in the first instance you do have to be mindful that what you are sharing is clear, that it can’t be taken anyway other than the way you mean it.

If it is taken wrong, taken out of context – then as soon as possible you have to put it right, you have to clarify what you meant.

Next time you feel the need to send that hasty tweet, stop, think and reword it if needed – don’t assume others will read it they way you read it yourself.

Don’t let errors, the chance that things may go wrong put you off – there’s far more to be gained that lost using Twitter (or any other social site).

There can be an upside to an ‘error’, it can open dialogue with people you may not have engaged with before – giving you the chance to further talk about the work your organization undertakes.

Growing your nonprofit with Social Media

Almost everybody representing their organisation on social media platforms are looking to ways to get their message out, to raise aware of and support of the work they do. 

How people go about it varies, some use social media solely to broadcast their appeals for support, others are using it to engage and tell a story, to listen and connect with others who need or have had support from the organisation or a similar one. 

It’s likely the latter group, those who are using social media ‘socially’ that are making more inroads, gaining more support and understanding for their work who are succeeding. 

Often you will see nonprofits (and you could be one of them) simply using the street corner technique “hey can you help us” – “we need your support”, but unless the people you’re talking to know who you are, what you do and how their help will make a difference you’re unlikely to gain that support. 

Now to take this online – you send out messages on your FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn or an assortment of other platforms, you post an update “We need your support – click blah blah for more info” – what’s the real point of this? It doesn’t really do a lot unless people know the background story – and really who is going to see this, more than likely 90% of the people who see it will already by your supporters, or be people who know what you do. 

This group may share your message, but still there’s no background story, no real reason. 

Here’s a tip, go through your connections – pick half a dozen and send them your message, but rephrase it – ask them to help spread the word, if they’re your connections on Twitter – ask “hey @mention have you seen what we’re doing < link to info> – can you do as a favour and ask others if they can help us”. 

When these people have passed on your message – thank them, a little thankyou goes a long way. 

Share information, join in conversations – if you see people talking about how they support community organisations, ask them what it takes from an organisation to gain their support – this will help to open up conversation, connection and likely support (in kind or monetary) for your organisation. You can also file away this information to help you you’re your next campaign. 

When you have an appeal running and it’s on your website, ensure that there is sufficient information (without boring people with too much) to make them make an informed decision, perhaps even include a simple online “ask us” portal, where people can get real time answers to their questions. 

Social media is just that, it’s social, people want to know and see the faces behind an organisation, so simply posting links, news and information won’t work, you need to make the effort to connect and engage with others.

How many individuals from your organisation are using social media, it’s quite likely a number of your staff/volunteers are using at least FaceBook – ask them to share what you’re doing with their friends and family. 

Using social for nonprofit activities really can broaden your reach, but you do need to handle it right, steer clear of using it only for broadcast and take on board some of the thoughts, comments above, you’ve nothing to lose – only potential to gain. 

If you’re already using social media effectively to gain support and grow your organisation – what has been the one big change you have made, and what made you make the change? Share your comments others are keen to learn.


Feeling out of the Loop?

You’re following a discussion on Twitter, then all of a sudden it stops, you’re left hanging, you want to know more, you want to join it – but it seems the discussion just stopped – you feel you’ve been left out of the loop.

What happened to the discussion?

Is it really an issue?

Firstly, what happened – it’s quite possible the discussion went ‘private’ the couple of people having the discussion thought rather than fill everyone’s timeline that they’d continue it with DM (direct messages), not a biggie really.

Was it really an issue that the conversation went private? In short – no. If you hadn’t joined in the conversation it’s how sad too bad really, but that needn’t be the end of it, you may feel you were left out of the loop, but unless you had joined in, how would the others have know you had an interest and had something to share about it.

It’s not too late to say something about the conversation, perhaps you could @reply the people and refer to their discussion, or you could blog about it and ‘reignite’ the discussion.

Being sour faced about a conversation going private is only your problem. You have the ability to keep a conversation going, but on the other hand if there was only a couple of people talking about it, perhaps they felt it was something no one else was interested in, so they took the ‘polite’ path by taking it out of the public timeline.

If you want to engage and join in conversations only you can do this, you need to be proactive in finding the conversations that interest you, and you need to be the one who joins in, others won’t know that you have an interest unless you wave your arms and say something.

Get in the loop – join in the conversations that interest you, and remember they don’t have to be about you, your organisation – they can be about anything you have an interest in.

Stop being a wallflower

People often ask “how do we get noticed?” They’re referring to people connecting with them on the likes of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc. 

A great analogy is – You won’t meet anyone if you go to a bar and stand around like a wallflower – so why be a wallflower when it comes to social media. And it’s dead right.

It doesn’t matter what social media you’re using, unless you let yourself be seen – post information others will be interested in, and check others profiles, connect with them; “butt” into conversations – you’re going to be nothing more than a wallflower. 

You’ve probably said something on the lines of “social media doesn’t work, I’ve not seen any benefit.” If you have, have you looked at your activity, has it been all that it could have been, or have you simply been doing updates – without trying to get any engagement or build connections? 

You can’t scramble an egg without breaking it – you won’t make any inroads in social media if you don’t break out of your shell, if you don’t join in conversations. 

Stop sitting on the sidelines, join in the conversations taking place – you don’t always have to talk “shop”, behind every account is a person, be a person, show your personality and you will soon find connecting, sharing and gains will be made.

Fundraising and Social Media


Discussion has been taking place about fundraising through social media and whether it should or shouldn’t be done.

It can be a tough question to answer, given that posting something on your social sites about your event or appeal is seen by some fundraising, whereas others see it merely as promoting the event/appeal.

Are people actively using social sites to ask for donations? Sure they are. What has their success been like? That can be a hard one to answer given the lack of data as to what “caused” the donation or pledge.

It seems that this will be a discussion that will be with us for some time. Things will evolve, people will see social media as more than a way to connect, engage and share information and as a tool for direct sales, fundraising, job search and much more, but for now concern is whether nonprofits should put effort into using social media for fundraising.

Fundraising Online looked at this subject, but with some of the discussions recently it’s worth looking at again. 

In Fundraising Online a link was given to #fundchat which outlined some do’s and don’ts:

1.           Don’t think social media changes the age-old strategy, at least not completely  

2.           Do – use social media to drive web traffic 

3.           Don’t –  think a ‘LIKE’ always means it 

4.           Do – give easy, specific & real ways for people to help

5.           Don’t – just ask for things

6.           Do – ask for intangibles

7.           Don’t – ask too often

8.           Do – follow, monitor and support your closest champions

9.           Don’t – forget you have other work to do

10.       Do – guess and check!


Nonprofits should perhaps be focussing on using social media to connect, engage and share information, and to also communicate with their current supporters – this will help raise the online profile of the nonprofit, which will eventually result in giving. 

Using social media as an appeal tool – a tool to solicit funds could work, but is it the best thing a nonprofit could be doing? It could be seen as spam, it could be seen as being no different to an appeal envelope. 

It’s likely to be better for nonprofits to be using social media to help tell their story. By telling the story, the work of the nonprofit and who/what benefits, nonprofits will have a better reach and more engagement, this will result in online giving (note). 

Passive giving through social media is likely have a bigger return than using social media to drive donations, this may be wrong – it’s still early days of nonprofits and social media. 

Agree, disagree?

Are you using social media to solicit donations?

What’s working?


Note: Keep an eye out for the Online Giving post to come




Charities and Social Media – Why Social Media


Are you using social media as part of your communication process – what’s working for you, what could work better?


If we were to look at the following, what of this have did you do, or have you done since starting your social media activity?


It doesn’t matter the type of organisation you are, there’s likely to have been discussion about social media and how you might use it.


If you haven’t already had that discussion you’re probably going to have it sometime soon.


Social media can be an organisations dream; it could give wider opportunity to engage with your current and potential supporters.


With millions of people using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and others, it’s easy to see that eyes would widen at the prospect of what this could mean to your organisation. But wait – there’s more – an understanding of what’s best for you is needed before hitting the “start” button.


It’s not about just collecting connections, likes, friends, subscribers and followers. There’s more to it – an understanding of what each platform is and what it could possibly do for you, how you can make use of different platforms for different purposes is also needed.


You shouldn’t use a hammer to put a screw in, you use the right tool for the right job – the same goes for social media.


Chances are your supporters are already using social media – what are they using. Ask them – next time you send an email, post your newsletter, or however else you connect with them, ask them what they’re doing – and if they’re already using Facebook, ask them to “Like” you, to become your friend.

Don’t go boots and all into every possible social media platform, start small – set up Facebook, YouTube and Twitter for your organisation – and perhaps have your key personnel join LinkedIn.


What you will likely find is that you have people within your organisation who are passionate about social media, who have some knowledge of it’s use and potential – nurture these people and invite them to help spearhead your online endeavours.


Different sites will allow you to not only register your organisation but will also allow you to register and promote your events.

Where to from here – look at what you’re doing now, what could you change, what sites are you using – what’s most effective, are there sites you’re not using that you could be?


Next time we’ll look at your strategy – there’s no point diving in unless you know what you want to achieve from being “social”. 


Image: © Robert Gubbins |


Protected Tweets


Are you open to your tweets being seen by everyone – if no why not?

It’s interesting to see community groups, charities and others working to help people in the community have protected tweets, why would these organisations want to narrow who sees their messages?

Using social media is a great way to reach the masses, but when you protect tweets you’re limiting yourself, and only allowing what you have to share being seen by your “inner circle”. 

Protecting your tweets means:

(Source: Twitter Help Center) 

  • People will have to request to follow you and each follow request will need approval
  • Your Tweets will only be visible to users you’ve approved, meaning that other users will not be able to retweet your Tweets
  • Protected Tweets will not appear in Twitter search
  • @replies you send to people who aren’t following you will not be seen by those users (because you have not given them permission to see your Tweets)
  • You cannot share permanent links to your Tweets with anyone other than your approved followers 

Open up your communication channel, and save yourself some time too, unprotect your tweets, let your followers share what you have to say, grow your exposure and give yourself a wider audience. 

Nonprofits struggle, as it is – will you keep your tweets protected or will you unprotect?