We’re Doing It Wrong! or, 7 things we learned from SM4NP

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Guest Blog Post by Joy Scott & Jaci Dahlvang, Children’s Home Society’s North Seattle Family Center.

Last month, two staff members at North Seattle Family Center had the privilege to receive scholarships to attend the Seattle Social Media 4 Nonprofits conference. Here are some of our lessons learned!

Videos are awesome.

Our biggest takeaway from Justin Ware’s presentation on Online Video Done Right is JUST DO IT! Videos help nonprofits connect to individuals and media outlets like no other medium can. Don’t worry about the tools! Tripods are great, but they can be cheap (or jerryrigged). Audio clarity is more important than video quality. Smartphones are our friends! Use the tools you already have to create a new method of engagement. Most of all, have fun and keep the video under 5 minutes!

Embrace Internet memes.

This was an idea brought up throughout the day, and showcased effectively in Justin Ware’s “Hoarders” parody. Lots of us in the nonprofit world work with very serious issues. This doesn’t mean we can’t increase awareness of our work in humorous or irreverent ways! Here at NSFC, we feel that Food Lifeline is a perfect example of raising awareness of serious work in wonderful and pop-culturally relevant ways.

Won’t you be my neighbor?

We could all use a lesson from Mr. Rogers from time to time. Be a good Social Media neighbor! Connect with individuals *and* organizations. Comment, ask questions, like statuses, and help promote causes that align with your own! In nonprofits, we’re all in this together! Connect with your neighbors in order to serve your populations to the fullest!

You’re not as awesome as you think.

Don’t worry, we know this isn’t really true. But people don’t want to hear about your daily tasks or the money you need to keep the lights on. The want to hear about the differences you’re facilitating in people’s lives. People want to give *through* you, not *to* you. Whenever possible, have other people talk about how awesome you are – it carries a lot more weight!

Everybody loves a winner.

Philanthropy has fundamentally changed since the advent of the Internet! People can now be a part of causes like never before. Good fundraising tools ensure that every $10 donor can feel like a $10,000 donor! Make sure that giving doesn’t stop at the gift receipt. Bring people on to your winning team, and let them know the progress that they have made!

Do the least amount possible.

For most nonprofits, social media is an “additional task as assigned.” Here at NSFC, our roles encompass everything from handyman to IT professional to accountant, even though most of us have only been trained in social services. We don’t have time to reinvent the wheel! We need to make use of all the wonderful tools that exist already, especially when it comes to fundraising and volunteer recruitment.

Act like an 8 year old.

Think of your favorite 4th grader, and take a page out of their book. Use your social media platforms to ask questions! Any questions! Lots of questions! Research shows that posts ending in a question mark are far more likely to receive responses. Lee Fox also showed us that Generation Z is more philanthropic than we ever give them credit for. Invite them to be a part of the wonderful work that you’re doing!

What did YOU learn from SM4NP? How will you use it to change the world? :)

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