Top Ten Mondays with Marissa Posts – Part One

It has been my pleasure to write for DonorDreams each Monday in 2012. A lot of exciting things have happened in the social media world and I have enjoyed discussing a variety of topics with you.  As the year comes to a close, I thought it would be a great idea to look back on some of the most popular “Mondays with Marissa” posts here on DonorDreams and see if there are any updates to share. Today, we are going to look at #10 – #6 on the most popular posts list.

google products#10 – Have You Googled Yourself Lately? You’d Be Amazed at What You Find
In this post, I talked about the importance of doing periodic searches on yourself and your organization on Google to see what comes up. It’s a good habit to get into so you can see what people see when they search for you. Remember that your goal is to make sure your site is the first search result that comes up. In the post, I also point out how to make sure Google has all of the information it needs to make this happen.

Beyond actually going to and searching for your organization, you can set up a Google Alert that will email you whenever your organization is mentioned elsewhere on the internet. I find this useful to keep my eye on all corners of the cyberspace.

Besides looking yourself up on Google, I suggest searching for yourself and your organization on Bing and Yahoo as well. Not everyone uses Google as their search engine of choice.

tumblr#9 – How Nonprofits Can Use Tumblr
Tumblr is quickly growing into a force in the social media world. I think of it as a combination between Facebook and Twitter. In “How Nonprofits Can Use Tumblr,” I explain the best way you can use Tumblr for your agency and how to write a successful Tumblr post. The audience of Tumblr is a bit younger than those on other social networks. So, it might be the best way for you to gain supporters with the younger generation.

Since the writing of this post, I watched how the Obama campaign used Tumblr to share what supporters were writing about the election as it was happening. I also saw how Tumblr users raised funds for those effected by Hurricane Sandy.  The moral of the story? Don’t leave Tumblr out of your social media plan. It’s quickly picking up steam and becoming a source to find supporters.

google hangout#8 – How Can Nonprofit Organizations Use Google Hangouts Effectively?
To me, Google Hangouts are one of the most interesting things to come out of social media this year. Growing up, video chatting with someone on your computer seemed decades away, but today you can have a chat with multiple people at the same time using free software over the internet. It’s amazing if you stop to think about it. In this post, I highlight how non-profits can use Google Hangouts to hold meetings or broadcast special events over the internet.

I have seen Google Hangouts become home to many podcasts that I listen to as an alternative to using Skype to call guests. I have also seen game shows hosted using this platform. I suspect Google Hangouts is something that will just continue to grow into 2013, and I will be watching to see how it does.

komen1#7 – Lessons Learned from The Susan G. Komen Foundation’s Use of Social Media
When the Susan G. Komen Foundation decided to stop funding mammogram screenings for Planned Parenthood earlier this year, news feeds and timelines everywhere were filled with voices on the subject. Looking beyond the politic, what happened between these two organizations still provides vital lessons when it comes to how non-profits should use social media.

Months later . . . the Susan G. Komen Foundation is still recovering. As recent as September, the founder and CEO, Liz Thompson stepped down from the organization. The big take away is that what happens in social media can have a real impact on the structure of your organization.

google search#6 – How Google’s Recent Changes Affect You and Your Nonprofit Organization
At the start of 2012, Google started to shake things up when it comes to delivering search results. They introduced something known as “Search + Your World”. This changed how results show up when you search for something. If a person in your network “+1”’d something, it would show up before other search results. Also, Google made one large Terms of Service to umbrella all of their services where each product used to have on of their own.

There haven’t been many major changes since that time. Your real name is still used when you sign into your Google account. Most recently, this has spread to YouTube in an attempt to bring more continuity between Google products. The internet used to be a place for anonymity, and it is increasingly becoming more and more public. I predict this is a trend that we will see continue in 2013.

We’ve talked about a lot of things in “Mondays with Marissa” posts this year,  and this is just the first half of the list!  Do you have any updates on the topics shared above? Have you used the any of the products or services since I first wrote about them? I’d love to hear from you in comments. Stay tuned for Part Two!
Marissa sig

Answers to the two most popular social media questions asked by non-profits

At the end of yesterday’s post titled “Are non-profits yelling at their donors using social media?” I promised that I’d share a few revelations from a social media conference that Marissa and I attended last week hosted by SkillPath Seminars. Today, we’re talking about two of the most popular social media questions that I’ve been asked by non-profit organizations:

  1. Which social media platforms should your non-profit organization use to speak to donors and supporters?
  2. How can your agency do a better job at engaging its supporters using social media and gain more traction?

Let me first say that I highly recommend this SkillPath training conference to all non-profit professionals who are responsible for managing their agency’s social media communities. You can find more information at the other end of the link that provided above. (No, I was not paid to say this)

When looking through the conference materials on this subject, they list more than 20 different platforms that companies are using to market their efforts. However, it came as no surprise that Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn were the top three “networking platforms;” YouTube was the most popular “promotional platform;” and various blogging platforms (e.g. WordPress, Blogger, and Tumblr) were the most popular “sharing platforms”.

Our trainers suggested that a company should give serious consideration to developing a presence on all three platforms and five sites. While that might sound easy enough, it becomes more complicated when you consider that you’ll be saying different things in each of these places. You need to figure out who your target audiences are and which social media platforms are best at communicating with them.

As I sat through many of the sessions, I found myself trying to translate the training curricula into non-profit speak. Assuming that my universal translator is working well, I concluded the following:

  • Facebook looks like a great stewardship tool where you can engage donors and show your “friends” how their contribution is being put to good use.
  • Twitter and its 140 character limitations could be an awesome cultivation tool where you catch the attention of prospects and drive them to a place where they learn more about your mission.
  • LinkedIn is more than a human resource tool. It is a place to build relationships with potential corporate supporters and identify special event sponsors.
  • YouTube can be a multi-purpose resource development tool and used in many different ways. However, it might be best used for raising brand awareness and developing a pool of interested prospects who you are positioning for cultivation activities.
  • Your blog is a friendly online place to engage in conversations with supporters and potential supporters. You can establish yourself as a “thought leader,” advocate and engaged listener.
  • All of these social media tools should be used to drive traffic to your website where there is more information, volunteer forms, donation pages, etc.

Yes, this is a lot of work and at some point you’ll need to frame your agency’s strategy in a written social media plan. While it is easy to think that it might end up on the fundraising department’s plate, I think there is an opportunity for thoughtful organizations to transform their agency into a “social company” and share the workload and transform your workplace culture.

Enough on platforms.

What about building momentum? Gaining traction? Engaging more deeply?

The following are just a few of the suggestions offered by our SkillPath trainers:

  • Write content that is interesting to your reader. (If you don’t know what that is, then go ask them)
  • Host contests
  • Offer coupons
  • Make your content interactive
  • Include links to things that your audience will find interesting and useful

Perhaps, one of the best ideas I heard was that a picture is worth a thousand words. Write less and post more pictures of your mission, your programs, your volunteers, and your donors. This one simple idea that will probably result in increased traffic, more content sharing, and deeper engagement.

Is your agency using social media? How’s it going? Do you feel like it is working? Why or why not? Please scroll down and use the comment box to share your thoughts. We can all learn from each other.

Here’s to your health!

Erik Anderson
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC!/eanderson847

Which blogging platform is right for your non-profit organization?

We all know that having a website is an important part of any social media strategy, but along with that comes having a blog. Many times these are the same thing, and the blog serves as the main content on the site. Other times, a blog is a supplemental part of a site. Either way, finding the platform that is best for you and your organization is key to blogging success.

Some questions to ask yourself before setting up your blog:

  • Who will be blogging? Will this be a solo or group project?  Different platforms allow multiple authors, which is important to keep in mind. Also, I recommend making one person in charge of editing and layout, which means that person needs to be more knowledgeable on how to make changes.
  • What type of content will you share on the blog? Will it primarily be text, photos, videos, or a combination of all three? You might find after looking at different options that one is more suited to your content.
  • Will the blog serve as your main site or will it supplement your current site? Either way, you need to choose an option that works with you current website, brand and logo.

After thinking though a few of these questions, now the actual research can start on which blog platform is best for you.


WordPress is a very popular free blogging platform that powers many of the sites you visit today – this one included. WordPress’ claim to fame is that they make it super easy to get a blog up and running and offer many plug-ins to make the site customizable.

There are two versions of WordPress — and One might work better for you based on the needs of the blog. allows you to create a free blog on WordPress’ servers. You get most of the features behind the WordPress platform without having to install it on your own server. While you never have to worry about updating software, your blog might have a domain ending in “”. It is also a social network that people use to follow and read all of the blogs to which they subscribe. is the full featured free WordPress suite hosted on your own server. It is widely popular due to its ease of use and because it is free. It is easy to use for novice web designers, and it becomes more powerful as the user develops a familiarity with plug-ins or basic html.

There are a plethora of resources out there to build your site using WordPress. A simple google search will lead you in the right direction.


If you want a super easy to build professional looking blog, look no further than Squarespace. Squarespace is not free, but in my opinion it is worth the money. Depending on the plan you choose, you will be given web space, a domain, and an easy to use interface that allows you to customize your site through the simple act of “dragging and dropping”. This provider makes it easy to build a site that doesn’t look like created by a cookie cutter template approach. They also offer the ability to edit code if needed.

Other Options

There are a few other options out there. Tumblr is a social network built around blogging. The audience at Tumblr is on the younger side, but if that’s what you are looking for, it just might be the right place for your organization to share content.

Blogger is Google’s free blogging service and has been around for a long time. It is well-known as a starting place for new bloggers.

Finally, you can always code your own site. However, if you are going to do that, I always think it is best to consult with a professional.

I hope this post got you thinking about which blogging platform is right for your organization. If you currently have a blog, I’d love to hear the pros and cons of the system you are using. Also, if you have any questions on blogging services, I’d be more than happy to answer them using the comment section below!

How Nonprofits Can Use Tumblr

Before there was Pinterest, there was Tumblr. Without Tumblr, there would be no Pinterest.

As if there weren’t enough social media sites to manage these days, today we are going to take a look at Tumblr and see if it is a good fit for your non-profit organization.

What is Tumblr?

Tumblr is a short form blogging site that allows users to post photos, videos, blog posts, and audio recordings into what is called a tumblelog. (Yes, it’s a real word. Stick with me here.) Users can follow tumblelogs and re-blog or “like” posts . . . just like on Pinterest.

Who is Tumblr’s Audience?

Every social media site has an audience. Facebook and Twitter’s are the broadest, and they are the most popular. However, sometimes finding a niche audience can be very effective when it comes to reaching more people. The average Tumblr user is under the age of 25. While they probably aren’t big money donor prospects due to their young age, Tumblr users can be very powerful online advocates for your cause. According to Wikipedia, “as of June 8, 2012, Tumblr has over 58.9 million blogs and more than 24.7 billion total posts.”

Young people who may not be able to contribute to your organization today, might be able to do so tomorrow and don’t you want to be on the top of their list? In the meantime, these individuals can be talking about what your organization is up to or become a volunteer.

To put it in fundraising terms, asking these young people to advocate on your behalf will have a “self-cultivating” effect and build a very strong donor base for your organization in the future.

What is a successful Tumblr post?

Just like with most social media sites, you want to create a post that users will want to share with others. (Sharing really is caring.) On Tumblr, most users will like a post if it is short. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of long posts out there in the Tumblrverse, but they are usually by people who have an established and large audience.

Photos, lists, videos, and questions do well, and I think it is helpful if you include links citing original sources so that if your post is interesting I will be able find more to read on the subject. Additionally, you can use Tumblr to drive traffic to your agency’s website by creating a short post with a link back to an article on your webpage. You might also consider sharing a photo from your latest event on Tumblr.

Tumblr also has a feature that allows users to ask the tumblelog’s owner a question. Posting answers to those questions is a great way to interact with your followers.

How do I get started on Tumblr?

Sign up.

  • Take a look at what other nonprofit organizations are doing on the site. See what type of posts work best for an organization like yours.
  • Follow tumblelogs in your community and actively reblog and like their posts.
  • Tell your volunteers, supporters, and donors that you are now on Tumblr.
  • Write a few posts and see which ones your audience responds to most.

If you are looking for a younger audience with whom to share your content, Tumblr just might be the place for you. If you find that Tumblr is not a place for you, I still recommend signing up and claiming your organization’s space on the site so that no one else does. I also recommend using Tumblr as another source for finding out what is going on in your online community.

For more Tumblr tips, check out this Mashable article.

Does your organization already have a tumbleblog? Post a link in the comment section below and let us know what works best for you on this platform.