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PLAN. LISTEN. ENGAGE.

PHILANTHROPY NOT about money, but to find out about the people you’re trying to reach. The “ask” should be specific, understandable, digestible AND genuine. Try not to overwhelm; you’re not trying to save the world, your organization is looking to meet a real need.

Listen to Key Players.

After crafting a plan, develop a list of people that might be influencers of your primary and secondary audiences online to listen to and formulate ways to insert yourself into these conversations. Go to each influencer’s blog, Twitter and Facebook accounts and read through the archives. Take notes on topics that each influencer champions, the quirks that make them different from other bloggers and the types of communities who frequent their blogs. This not only helps to familiarize each blogger, but this information comes in handy later on when engaging. In addition to listening to key influencers, listen to the conversations about your brand, the causes that your organization supports and keep a pulse on the reception received. Monitoring your brand keeps you in the know, helps to gage sentiment among target audiences and gives a leg up on preparing/responding to online crisis before it blows up. Through listening, identify brand ambassadors and brand champions – those who already discuss your organization online or the causes associated with it, as these can be a great addition to your volunteer crew.

Social media is a two-way conversation – not just a charity spewing messages about their brand, as mentioned earlier. Ask followers questions, offer incentives and look for ways to make the campaign mutually beneficial to donors or to those helping to spread the word. For example, if a blogger posts or tweets that they’re looking for more information or a information resource on a topic involving your organization, offer to help. Recognize donors and other contributors on Twitter, Facebook or in your blog to create mutually beneficial relationships. Allow donors to share their stories, and look for ways to make any contribution a meaningful experience. Give people information the way the want it online. Recent reports show that the majority of online networkers consume news. Think about planning to share and engage with this knowledge in mind. Quality content is key to creating credibility and loyalty among your followers. Those who produce quality content are more influential and are able to create change. Those who don’t are usually called out by their peers or ignored all together. If soliciting donations, make donating easy. Think text donations, mobile, web, etc. However, look beyond solicitation for donations. Instead, generate buzz about your cause and create brand champions instead of donors who might fall into the abyss shortly after. According to George Rubanenko from the Blackbaud study, “After six solicitations a year, the likelihood for long-term loyalty diminishes significantly.”

Engaging.

While the listening phase should truly never stop, after learning the ins and outs of the influencers and online audiences, you’re ready to engage. Identify and join communities with your target audience BEFORE making an ask. Start by building relationships with each of the targeted bloggers, influencers and communities. This might mean commenting on blog posts, responding to tweets or replaying to posts on Facebook. Keep in mind that although your overall goal might involve promoting your nonprofit or charity, this does not mean blatantly posting about your nonprofit any chance you can get (for example – “Hi Chris, great blog post. Support our cause at XYZ!”). You’re not an advertiser, you’re a human being, as is the blogger. Instead, if there’s a particularly relevant post that might benefit readers, retweet the blogger and give him credit. If the blogger posts about a cause that’s of interest to your organization, identify yourself as being affiliated with your organization and share your organization’s point of view on the matter. Strategically build mutually-beneficial relationships to help prepare for outreach.

Assessing Success.

Lastly, monitor success in terms of how close you came to reaching the overall goal. Instead of measuring the number of impressions gathered in media hits or the dollars raised, think about overall impact. Measure success using examples and anecdotes instead of actual numbers. For example, if an influencer helped further the organization’s cause, look at that person’s Facebook, Twitter, blog and the engagement level (people commenting, etc.), and write a few sentences about how these numbers, comments, views, etc. actually impacted the organization and how the team leveraged this. Impressions and dollars are good, but in terms of social media, examples of engagement are key. Sevans Strategy offers a comprehensive complement of public relations and new media services to meet the unique needs of our clients. From traditional media and new media influencer outreach to comprehensive bootcamp trainings to online content creation, we identify the appropriate tactics to reach your audience.

Start or enhance a movement. Once the established relationships are in place, look for participatory ways to help followers rally around the cause. Make your first ask

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Viral Business Guide: ViralVenturesMag.com  

This free guide is to help people make their business a viral success online. Our focus is on Business Intelligence, Digital Design, and Phi...

Viral Business Guide: ViralVenturesMag.com  

This free guide is to help people make their business a viral success online. Our focus is on Business Intelligence, Digital Design, and Phi...

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