Marketing for Good

Discovering and analyzing emerging media used by nonprofits

Cyber Security – What’s at Risk and What You Can Do to Protect Your Organization

In a world where not even the government is safe from a data breach, securing your organization’s most private information such as personal clients or donor financial information should be of top concern. But what can you do? Eugene Fram of the Rochester Institute of Technology has some insightful suggestions for nonprofits when it comes to cyber security:

Carefully “wall off” all confidential information Have management be certain that private information such as health records, are encrypted and separated from operating data that may be considered public in a nonprofit environment.

Review Director and Officers (D&O) and other liability policies Determine whether or not the D&O policy protects directors and managers from cyber security (CS) intrusions. (It likely does not, but I understand that some carriers may offer some protection along with smaller policies.) It is clear that most general liability policies do not protect the organization against CS.

Board Encouragement Devote some meeting time, perhaps 10 minutes, to a discussion of the CS topics so that management and staff are aware of the board’s concerns on the subject and will take action when necessary. Appropriate due care actions like frequent password changes should become routine. Some checklists are available online, suggesting questions directors might pose to raise awareness on the topic and avoid potential CS breaches.

Can third party payer help? Many nonprofits deal with third party payers with sophisticated CS systems and may offer the nonprofit some advice or assistance.

Education and training of employers Many CS crimes have been successful because employees have violated or forget to effectively protect their working accounts and information. Proper education and training can help reduce these types of lapses.

You must be secure, if not there are ramifications that could occur if a breach does occur such as major lawsuits and a distrust of your organization.

When your organization collects data from clients or donors you are being entrusted with that data. It is your responsibility, as an organization to make sure that trust isn’t broken by being clear with why you are acquiring the information and how your organization will be protecting the information as best you can.


Hey Nonprofits! Google Has Your Back!

Google is the king of search engines. Your website’s ranking can make or break your online presence. But how do you stay or get to the top of the all-powerful Google search result list? SEO of course! But if your organization is relatively new to the digital world, how can you let your online presence be known? That’s where Google’s commitment to non-profits comes in with Google for Nonprofits.

Google states, “Google for Nonprofits offers organizations like yours free access to Google tools like Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Ad Grants and more. These tools can help you reach new donors and volunteers, work more efficiently, and tell your nonprofit’s story.”

The big thing Google offers in relation to web searches is Google Ad Grants. If you qualify you can receive up to $10,000 in “in-kind” Google AdWords advertising every month! That could create a huge impact on your organization’s digital reach, which could produce positive results in both awareness and donations.

If your wondering how Google AdWords work, breaks it down:

Basically you pick some keywords that a searcher might use on Google, then create an advert that will appear on the SERP (search engine results page) based on those keywords. Of course you’re probably not going to be the only company wanting to serve adverts to people who use those particular terms…. If you want your ad to appear at all, you have to bid against other marketers on how much you’re willing to pay Google AdWords every time a searcher clicks on your ad. Obviously the more you pay-per-click (PPC) the more likely your ad will appear in the search results.

The whole article, What is Google AdWords and how does it work?, is well worth a read especially if you’re new to search marketing.

I personally applaud Google for helping out non-profit organizations get their message out into the world! What about you? Do you use or do you plan to apply for Google AdWord grants? I’d love to hear your stories!

How and Why You Should Tell YOUR Story

You Have a Story to Tell.

Behind every non-profit, there is a story. A reason you either started the organization or why you use your time and energy to support it. One of the best ways to promote your non-profit and cause is to tell that story. Through video, blogs, pictures, and social media hashtags you can raise awareness to your cause through your or other’s stories.

When it comes to marketing, stories work. Jennifer Aakar, a marketing professor at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business explains: “Research shows our brains are not hard-wired to understand logic or retain facts for very long. Our brains are wired to understand and retain stories,” “A story is a journey that moves the listener, and when the listener goes on that journey they feel different and the result is persuasion and sometimes action.”

But where do you start? Lori Jacobwith over at shares tips on how to best share and develop your non-profit’s story:

  1. Stories should be about real people who need something, hopefully something that YOUR organization provides.
  2. Allow the person in your story to have a real name, age, and to speak for themselves.
  3. Minds wander, get real quickly. In about 4-10 seconds your listeners tune out if you haven’t grabbed them. Don’t tell me you are going to tell me a story about someone, just tell it. Start with the person’s name, age and a few descriptive words.
  4. Keep your story short. Six words to two minutes is the length I recommend.
  5. Allow your story to cause me to feel something. Anger, sadness, happiness, pride—it doesn’t matter what the emotion is, I just have to feel something.
  6. Your story should have a moment when people see themselves or someone in their own lives. Could be their aging parents, the daughter of the person who made their latte today or their own child.
  7. The best stories are told by the person themselves. Clients telling their own stories are the most moving way to share how your organization makes a difference.


If you think about it, some of the most impactful video’s that are shared on social media come from organizations sharing their stories. One such is that Everytown for Gun Safety. To better inform people of their cause, Everytown for Gun Safety created a video sharing the story of Richard Martinez, father of shooting victim Christopher Ross Michael-Martinez, and why he supports the organization and what he hopes they will accomplish:


The short video is both an emotional tribute to his son and other parents of shooting victims and also a call to action for change. Whether or not you support the ideals of Everytown for Gun Safety, their storytelling efforts are impressive, impactful, and very much align with Jacobwith’s storytelling outline.

Your story is the soul of your organization, don’t keep it bottled in, let it out and spread your message!

Giving Tuesday & The Power of Hashtag Activism

It’s here! #GivingTuesday has arrived!

#GivingTuesday is a movement born out of the marriage of emerging media and philanthropy. Back in 2012 92nd Street Y and The United Nations Foundation collaborated to start a “hashtag activism” campaign promoting giving to charities on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving in response to the massive consumerism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. 4 years after its start, #GivingTuesday now has over 30,000 partners in 68 countries, 32.7 million twitter impressions, 15.4 Billion global impressions, and has caused a 470% increase in online donations on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. These are powerful numbers that have a huge impact on communities across the country. Not just funds are raised on #GivingTuesday, but also awareness of multiple charities and organizations across various forms of social media.

The debate is still out on the usefulness of hashtag activism with some critics saying that while it does create awareness of major issues it does not necessarily create tangible results. One of the most recent examples of this is the viral #BringBackOurGirls campaign, which created a massive awareness to the atrocity of 200 Nigerian schoolgirls being kidnapped in April 2014 by terrorists. But even with millions of retweets, hashtags, and selfies later-little to no real action was taken and the public’s attention moved on, the girls are still missing and seemingly forgotten from the public eye.

Hashtag activism has been incredibly useful in other cases, such as in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. #ALSIceBucketChallenge raised $115 million in 2014. Greatly because there was specific call to action for the social media participant to accomplish – donate and dump water on your head. #GivingTuesday also is successful because of the specific call to action associated with the hashtag.

Awareness is great and should be pursued by nonprofits and other organizations through emerging media, but with that awareness action must be put into place for a movement to occur.

So, how are you giving today?

Mobile Giving – Increasing Fundraising Through Mobile Efforts

With the population ever increasingly becoming more attached to their phones it is no wonder that nonprofits are now harnessing the power of mobile technology to help in their fundraising efforts. Through responsive websites, apps, and texting, non-profits are getting their message directly to their target audiences and allowing them to streamline the donation process ensuring a higher volume of funds collected for their endeavors.

Donors are found to be 34% more likely to give if they can do so on a responsive website. A mobile option such as a responsive, easy to navigate, user-friendly website with plenty of “calls to actions” allows donors to act more impulsively and quickly go through the act of donating. In addition to responsive websites, non-profits have found great success with text based giving.

You see it after natural catastrophes and on commercials for various charities, the call to action to “Text now to donate.” The request is followed by an easy to remember number or word/number combo that you can text to donate a pre-determined amount to the charity of your choosing. The Pew Research Center states that The ability to send small donations using mobile phones facilitates “impulse giving” in response to moving images or events. One of the most successful text based fundraising campaigns was that done by the Red Cross to aid Haiti after the devastating earthquake of 2010, $43 million dollars were raised by text donation alone.

One of the most valuable things your non-profit can invest in is developing your mobile strategy. If potential donors hear about your organization chances are they are immediately going to Google you on their phones, be sure that the information they find will be easily accessible! Further more you must engage your potential and reoccurring donors by going to where they are – their phones!

Still not sure about mobile giving? mGive breaks the benefits of mobile giving down for you following their 2013 study on the subject:

Mobile Giving
Mobile Giving

Your Nonprofit Needs to Get Social

Even though social media is part of 73% of adult’s everyday life, the medium is still a mystery to many when it comes to spreading a brand or organization’s message. It is necessary for organizations to harness the power of social media to reach people and grow awareness for their causes.

Luckily, non-profits have caught on, with their time on social media and budgets both being on the rise. Vertical Response has made this handy dandy infograph to better explain how and where non-profits are investing in social media:

What is most interesting about Vertical Responses’ infograph is the highest amount of time non-profits spend on social media is spent looking for content to post. So what are practices your non-profit can put into place to make use you get the most out of your time and budget when it comes to content?

Create a Personalized News Feed.
Using RSS feeds (such as the one provided by Google), you can be alerted to news stories relevant to your cause. In setting up this personalized news experience you can eliminate time spent searching for those articles on your own, your RSS feed does it for you! In turn, you can share those news stories most relevant to your cause on your social media channels allowing followers to share the content and also your organization social media page with their friends and followers.

Create Your Own Media
People love pictures and video, and it has been proven over and over again that social media posts involving media see higher engagement among social media users. Show video of your organization in action; show pictures of your events, and the results of your efforts! People will comment, like and share your posts and your message for you!

Share Your Story
Chances are you got involved with your cause because you were passionate about it. Now show that passion online! People react to passion; share your organization’s history and story of why you do what you do. Tell about the impact your organization is having on your community and what you hope to achieve. And also don’t be afraid to talk about how working at your organization has impacted and changed your life personally.

While there are a number of ways non-profits can utilize social media, it is hard to know where to start, hopefully these few tips will help get you started!

Designing a Well Designed and Trustworthy Website for Your Organization

Your website is the digital face of your organization or campaign. Though funds may be lower than desired for your web design, this is not an area where you should skimp when it comes to price or time. Well designed sites are more trustworthy. People are more likely to stay on your site and learn your story as well as contribute financially if they feel they can trust your organization.

Our tips for a well designed site: 

Keep it Simple

  • Don’t clutter your site with tons of random pictures,
  • Use no more than 3 fonts (only use 2 if you can get away with it)
  • Don’t go crazy with your color scheme. Your scheme and palette should reflect your mood as an organization. Need ideas? Adobe can help you with that
  • Make sure your navigation easily to both find and use.

Show Your Purpose

Why do you want people to get involved in your organization? Why should they donate? Put this information up front and center, don’t hide it away!

Keep Your Site Current

No one likes finding outdated information when they are searching for contacts and events. Make sure your websites information is up-to-date. Being as up-to-date as possible will make your organization current and in turn visitors will be more trusting of the information you are providing.


And don’t forget, as this is your organization digital “face,” to show off your personality!

Engaging Socially Responsible Teens

Any marketer will tell you, the teen market is huge. They have a big influence on their peers and spread brand awareness and loyalty like wildfire through social media. What if nonprofits could tap into this over-sharing peer influencing market to boost awareness about their causes? They need to look no further than the highly successful truth campaign. The truth anti-tobacco campaign started 1999 by the American Legacy Foundation (now called the truth initiative) to help inspire teens to both stop smoking and never start smoking. By raising the awareness of the dangers of smoking as well as exposing big tobacco companies not so ethical backgrounds, the truth initiative states that teen smoking is down from 28% in 2000 to 9% in 2014. Their newest campaign #FINISHIT seeks to end teenage smoking once and for all.

So how does truth reach teenagers? They go to where they are. truth is very active on facebook (2 million followers) twitter (121k followers) and instagram (35k followers) engaging followers in their hashtag campaigns, such as #FINISHIT, to spread awareness.

truth has commercials are all over MTV, ABC Family, and CW, where some of todays most popular teenage programming airs. truth also uses celebrities teenagers recognize, like vine and youtube stars to get their message across with one emotion teenagers love to share- humor:

These videos have millions of hits and have been shared thousands of times! What a way to get your message across!

The truth anti-tobacco campaign is a long running one, now going on 15 years. It has survived and been amazingly effective because it has evolved with its market. Who knows what the next 15 years will hold for truth, but I’m sure they hope they won’t be needed any longer.

They Hope You’ll Catch it – Going Viral with Your Nonprofit’s Video.

In today’s content sharing world video is king. Having a viral video, well that can set you on the path to world domination. There are no guarantees that the video a nonprofit creates will achieve “viral” status. However, there are some tactics we can analyze from one of the most successful viral campaigns that have been produced in the last few years.

We’ve all seen it, shared it, and maybe even cried over it – Save the Children’s Most Shocking Second a Day Video.

This video currently has close to 50,000,000 views on youtube. It has been shared all over social media raising awareness on the devastating effects war has on a child’s life. The objective of this video is to make viewers who are usually emotionally and physically distant from modern warfare, in this case England, and see it as if it was happening in their own backyard through the eyes of a child.

So what can other nonprofits gather from the success of this video?

Use Emotion.

Think about it, how many video have you shared because they’ve made you tear up or laugh hysterically versus how many you’ve shared that didn’t? Don’t Panic, the creative agency that produced the video, states this about the importance of emotion in a video:

Bake extreme emotional triggers into your treatment. Make it inherently funny, sad or WTF.


Use Simple Calls to Action

Challenge people to not just watch but to act. As the video begins to play a tiny box appears with a number for both the UK and US to text to donate $5 to Save the Children’s humanitarian efforts in Syria. At the end of the video you are invited to share the video and use the “#SaveSyriasChildren” to help raise awareness, and you are also able to click a pop up box to take you to to learn more about their efforts in Syria. These are simple and easy ways for people to help and be part of something bigger from the comfort of their own electronic devices.

Incorporating both emotion and simple calls to action in your video can both help get your video and message shared and also raise funds and awareness. Its an exciting time for nonprofits to utilize emerging media such as video to reach a potential audience of limitless numbers!

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Marketing for Good

Discovering and analyzing emerging media used by nonprofits