Best Nonprofit Marketing Posts of 2012
There are some really brilliant people working in the nonprofit community and fortunately many of these smarties are excellent bloggers! I read a lot of articles about nonprofit marketing, from year end appeals to mobile giving to slacktivism and more. I have compiled my favorites from 2012 and I hope this collection will empower you to engage your community, to advance your mission, to change the world.
This is by no means a comprehensive list. I have pulled from my own reading, my saved bookmarks, starred items in my feed reader, Evernote, Delicious, links colleagues have shared over email lists and Facebook Groups, and a few posts I catch myself googling to find again and again. Grouping the posts by category reveals my own interests and I've noticed that I favor longer pieces. As a result, some topics are more thinly covered, notably IT and nonprofit governance. I have undoubtedly missed a ton of incredible posts so please share additional favorites in the comments!
This wrap up is inspired by Tamar Weinberg's now retired annual Best Internet Marketing Posts series. It's a long list, but I hope you'll find my favorite posts of 2012 valuable. Enjoy!
The *Really* Important Stuff
- Who is Behind the Nonprofit Hulk Twitter Account? (Beth Kanter): I'm looking at you Danielle Brigida.
- Sh*t Nonprofit People Say (Official) (bc dc ideas): Seriously just watch this.
- A Few of Your Favorite Things - NTEN: In case you missed all the cat videos they sneak into their email marketing over there :)
Innovation & Experimentation
- The Story of HelpAttack! (Ehren Foss)
- Tmura: The Non-Profit that Uses Israeli Startup Exits to Do Good (TechCrunch - Roi Carthy)
- Big Idea 2013: Innovating Charity From Without (LinkedIn Blog - Katya Andresen)
- Why 'Risk' Is An Unloved Word in Philanthropy (Philantopic - Derrick Feldmann)
Measurement, Metrics, Data, Evaluation
- Measuring The Return On Engagement Of Community Commitment (CommunityOrganizer2.0 - Debra Askanase)
- Big Data For Small Organizations (Wild Apricot - Lori Halley)
- Say So What To Your Data Three Times (Beth Kanter)
- Using Cartoons To Make Sense of Your Data (Beth's Blog - Rob Cottingham)
- What Are We Accomplishing and How Do We Know? (NTEN Blog - Amy Luckey): What can the nonprofit community learn from NTEN's own journey toward demonstrating its impact with data?
- Brick wall redux: Practical tips for leading change (Katya Andresen)
- Creating a Culture of Data-Driven Philanthropy (Nonprofit Marketing Guide - Anjali Deshmukh)
- Creating a Culture Where Everyone is a Marketer (Nonprofit Marketing Guide - Beth Ann Spiegel): What a great idea for a blog series. Kivi more of these please?
Staffing and Capacity Building
- 11 Things to Consider Before Hiring a 23 yea…err.. Someone to Run Your Social Media (SocialFish - Ryan Crowe)
- 11 Qualities of an Effective Social Media Manager (Nonprofit Tech 2.0)
- Volunteers + the Right Technology = Your Dreams Come True (NTEN Blog - Shari Ilsen): "Running an effective, successful volunteer program can be a game changer for your nonprofit… tools, tips, and strategies that can help you succeed in each of the three phases of the volunteer lifecycle."
Boundaries Personal and Professional
- Survey says: Most noprofiteers blend their personal/professional brands (The Duck Call - Farra Trompeter)
- Sort out your team’s social media roles (Socialbrite - Debra Askanase)
- Why Building Resilient Networks Matter (Beth's Blog - Pat Brandes): Lessons Learned About Resilient Networks from Super Storm Sandy
- Network Weaving Is Like Starting A Band (Darim Online Blog - Miriam Brosseau)
- The Emerging Field of Network Weavers (Darim Online Blog - Deborah Fishman)
- No Wonder Retention of Online Donors is So Bad (Kivi Leroux Miller)
- The 3 Most Boring Words in Fundraising Appeals - Gail Perry
- Six Online Fundraising Appeal Goofs to Avoid (Frogloop - Allyson Kapin): Silly mistakes you can miss without a checklist that can cost your org big bucks.
- Evolution of a Nonprofit Annual Report (Nonprofit Marketing Guide - Katie Bryan): How Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement's annual report has changed over the years.
- When Building Donor Relationships, Talk is Cheap (Inspiring Generosity - Joe Waters)
- Disaster Fundraising: Hurricane Sandy The Perfect Storm (The Agitator)
- Segmenting Your Data- Are You Ready for End of Year Fundraising? (npENGAGE - Tiffany Crumpton)
- Give to the Max Day Research: The Ultimate Case Study (Geoff Livingston)
- GiveMN 2012 Giving Day by the Numbers (Beth's Blog - Jeff Achen, GiveMN Digital Strategist)
- 5 Crowdfunding Lessons (Hildy Gottlieb): Hands-on reflections from Creating the Future's 3rd successful campaign on StartSomeGood.
- The 5 Commandments of How to Raise $1Million on Kickstarter (Waxing Unlyrical - Christopher Wallace)
- 5 Assumptions Every Community Manager Should Make Daily (Amy Sample Ward)
- How to Build a True Learning Community at the Core of Your Membership Model (SocialFish - Anna Caraveli)
- People Buy People: How Are You Connecting Your Constituents to Your Organization and Each Other? (Jocelyn Harmon)
- 5 reasons people come to an event (Katya Andresen)
- Why Slacktivism Is Underrated (Mashable - Katya Andresen)
- Four Lessons From The Replyallcalypse (Darim Online Blog - Miriam Brosseau)
- 10 Ways To Reveal Your Organization's Best Stories (Frogloop - Allyson Kapin):
- Make Your Annual Report Sing: 5 Ways to Choose and Use Stories (Getting Attention Blog - Kimberlee Roth)
- A Good Cause Wins with a Good Story (Rally)
Images, Visuals, and Media
- 8 Tips on Facebook Images for a Cause (M+R Blog - Ezra Billinkoff and Alli Bailey)
- 6 Photo Engagement Tips from National Wildlife Federation (Inspiring Generosity - Ifdy Perez) Interview with Danielle Brigida of National Wildlife Federation.
- So You Wanna Live-Stream An Activist Event? A How-to By One of Occupy's Top Live Streamers (Net Squared - Nathan B. Grant)
- A Photo A Day Keeps Lack of Engagement Away (Frogloop -Justyn Hintze)
Going "Viral", Memes, Newsjacking, and More
- You Can Has Memesez? (Amy Sample Ward): Three guidelines for any nonprofit looking to join an Internet meme.
- Three Social Media Principles at Play for Hitting the Meme Jackpot (CommunityOrganizer2.0 - Debra Askanase)
- How Nonprofits Can Use Reddit (NTEN Blog - Annie Lynsen): Amid all the bad stuff, you'll find some ridiculously generous human beings on Reddit.
- Why your non-profit won't make a KONY 2012 (Communicopia - Jason Mogus)
- Balance the Spontaneous and Strategic of Social Media: Newsjacking and Obamacare (Beth Kanter)
- Newsjacking: The New Way to Get Media Attention (Kivi Leroux Miller): "Sometimes the work you do is newsworthy on its own and it’s worth the time to pitch your story to reporters. But there’s also another way to get your name in the news: Newsjacking."
- Lessons from KONY 2012 (Allison Fine)
Gratitude and Showing Thanks
- 4 Inexpensive Examples of Saying Thank You With Video (Inspiring Generosity - John Haydon)
- Why is saying “Thank you” so Hard? - Jeff Schreifels
- 8 Ways You’re Probably Not Thanking Your Donors (npENGAGE - Mike Snusz)
- Nine Clever Ways to Thank Your Donors (Kivi Leroux Miller)
Content Management and Content Curation
- How to Create Enough Good Content (Case Study) (Getting Attention Blog - Holly Ross)
- What’s a Reasonable Amount of Content to Produce? (Kivi Leroux Miller)
- The Unanticipated Benefits of Content Curation (Beth Kanter): Great slidedeck and wrapup from an NETN webinar on the topic.
- 12 Key Findings about Engaging Millennials (NTEN Blog - Kevin Wolfe)
- Fact or Fiction: 5 Myths About Millennials (Social Citizens - Emily Yu)
- The Multi-Generational Appeal of Gamification in Online Communities (NTEN Blog - Christina G. Smith)
Privacy and Security
- Fraud Happens: A Practical Guide for Nonprofits to Reduce Their Risk (NTEN Blog - Vince Thomas): Nonprofit organizations are not immune to occupational fraud. It's estimated that the typical organization loses 5% of its revenues to fraud each year.
- Brace Yourself, and Your Privacy: Nonprofits in the Age of Context (Frogloop - Avi Kaplan): Yup, this one is one's mine (along with one or two others further on).
- Privacy, Anonymity, and Safety: Protecting Your Community (Frogloop -Justyn Hintze)
In Hot Water: Transparency, Crisis Communications, and #TakeBackThePink
- Another Fortress Caught in Social Media Firestorm (Allison Fine): "It’s hard to think of a more joyous, carefree place than sleepaway camp. Sadly, though, this week we have witnessed a camp director who let the worst part of himself, the narrow, scared, ungenerous part trump all the wonderful assets I’m sure he posses."
Holy cow, there are so many great posts reflecting on the lessons of Komen's crisis this year. There are some common takeaways, but everyone had there own slant on this as events unfolded.
- Advice to Komen Leadership: 8 Steps to Recovery (Getting Attention Blog - Nancy Shwartz)
- Lessons Learned When Your Community Revolts (Frogloop - Allyson Kapin)
- The Accidental Rebranding of Komen for the Cure (Kivi Leroux Miller)
- Observations and Reflections on #TakeBackThePink (Amy Sample): Including 10 great community driven organizing lessons.
- Free Agents: Insights from #TakeBackThePink (Darim Online Blog - Lisa Colton)
- Take Back the Pink Lessons Learned (Allison Fine)
- Creating 21st C Governance Models - #Takebackthepink (Philanthropy 2173 - Lucy Bernholz)
- Why Komen Was Destined to Clash with Social Media (SocialFish - Kami Watson Huyse)
Learning from Campaigns
- Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America spread #GoSilent across the web for Memorial Day (Amy Sample)
- 5 Lessons for Nonprofits from Kony 2012 (Waxing Unlyrical - Shonali Burke)
- Support the SMAC! Crusade Against Cancer (Pulse + Signal - Jennifer Windrum)
- The Crisis Center with a Sense of Humor - (Kivi Leroux Miller): TP the Crisis Center!
- Case Study: Blogger Outreach for Oxfam America’s International Women’s Day 2012 Campaign (Waxing Unlyrical)
- Use a Notable Day to Spur Engagement, Action & List-Building (Case Study: Oxfam America) (Getting Attention Blog)
- Storm the Castle! Staging an IT Coup in 5 Steps (NTEN Blog - Jeremiah Dunham): "We want the IT Department to have a seat at the leadership table. You want the IT Department to have a seat at the leadership table. What about your leadership?"
- 8 Frequently Forgotten Costs of IT Projects and How to Plan for Them (npENGAGE - Bo Crader)
- Is it time to rethink your website? (The Duck Call - Farra Trompeter)
- Ten Ways To Make Your Nonprofit Website Simply Awesome - John Haydon
- How to Plan a New Website Without Your Head Exploding (Nonprofit Marketing Blog - Jennifer Doron)
- Separate Mobile Website Vs. Responsive Website: Presidential Smackdown Edition (Smashing Magazine - Brad Frost): Comparison between the strategy and implementation of Mitt Romney’s dedicated mobile website and Barack Obama’s responsively designed site.
- Three Nonprofits Pioneering Responsive Web Design (Nonprofit Tech 2.0 -Heather Mansfield)
- Seven Deadly Mobile Myths (npENGAGE - Lacey Kruger)
- Four Strategies for Going Mobile (NTEN Blog - Nam-ho Park)
- Ushahidi and the Long Tail of Mapping for Social Change (Tech President - David Eaves)
- Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Integrated Mobile Strategy (Beth's Blog): Interview with Humberto Kam, Senior Manager of Online Communications for the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Ok you caught me, this one's from 2011, but this conversation continues.
Ok, Blackbaud's done a deep dive on this topic...
- The Obama Way to Getting More Results From Email Marketing (npENGAGE - John Haydon)
- The Anatomy of an Email Sign-up Thank You Page (npENGAGE - Lacey Kruger)
- You Kids Stay Outta The Spam Folder (npENGAGE - Sally Heaven)
- My Favorite Post-Sandy Email (Kivi Leroux Miller)
- The 10 Step Blog Plan (NTEN Blog - Britt Bravo): This post is based on a session Britt gave that was my favorite at #12NTC.
- Six Different Kinds of Nonprofit Blogs - (Kivi Leroux Miller)
- Why, How and When to Quit FeedBurner (SocialFish - Maddie Grant)
- A Meet and Greet with Your Favorite Social Media Archetypes [Infographic] (npENGAGE - Frank Barry)
- 5 Facts that Social Media is an Endurance Contest (Inspiring Generosity)
- Top 20 Ways to Sabotoge Your Nonprofit's Social Media Efforts - (Small Act - Annie Lynsen)
- 7 Social Media experiments we tried with the 99% Power Coalition (Net Squared - Joe Solomon)
- Why Creativity is the Underestimated Superpower of the Nonprofit World (Frogloop - Avi Kaplan): A reminder that thoughtful creativity can be your most powerful asset.
- Is Social Media Making Organizations Lazy? (Frogloop - Allyson Kapin)
Social Media: For the Executive Suite
- My Communications Director is an Idiot (Kivi Leroux Miller)
- Social Media for Nonprofit CEOs—How one executive director manages it (The Duck Call - Farra Trompeter)
- One Tweet from a CEO is worth 100 Tweets from Staff (Social Fish - Maddie Grant)
Social Media: Tools
- Why Buffer, HootSuite and Post Planner are the Holy Trinity of Managing Social Media (Shonali Burke)
- INFOGRAPHIC: The Ultimate Complete Final Social Media Sizing Cheat Sheet (Luna Metrics)
- The Value of Facebook “Likes” (Allison Fine)
- A plain English, level-headed guide to Facebook updates, reach and promoted posts (Katya Andresen - an Interview with John Haydon)
- How Seattle Children’s Hospital went outside the box with its Facebook page (Shel Holtz)
- How To Create A Terrific Facebook Cover Image If You Don’t Have Resources To Hire A Designer (Beth's Blog - Ash Shepherd)
- 13 Ways to Boost Your Facebook Page Reach Without Spending a Single Dime (John Haydon)
- Using Facebook Groups for Deeper Engagement with Audience or Your Peers (Beth's Blog - Lisa Colton)
- Returning to Facebook Groups (CommunityOrganizer2.0 - Debra Askanase)
- How The Humane Society uses Twitter Hashtag Chats (Inspiring Generosity - John Haydon)
- 12 Tips to Organize and Run a Tweetathon (Waxing Unlyrical - Shonali Burke)
- Is Instagram useful for nonprofit marketing? (Socialbrite - Beth Kanter)
- Tips for Finding Nature (among other things) on Instagram (Danielle Brigida)
- Imagineering InstaGood: 7 Examples You Won’t Find On Mashable (Alexandra Bornkessel)
- Steal These 42 Creative Pinterest Ideas for Nonprofits (Frogloop - Avi Kaplan)
- 12 ways to use Pinterest for your nonprofit (Noland Hoshino)
- 10 Strategies for Non-Profits on Pinterest (Mashable - Matt Petronzio)
- Pinterest: A Tool To Curate Relevant Visual Content for Your Audience (Beth Kanter)
- 3 Trends in (Early) Pinterest Fundraising (CommunityOrganizer2.0 - Debra Askanase)
- Pinterest for Nonprofits: 5 Tips for Raising Money with “Pins” (npENGAGE - Debbi Stanley)
- Six Ways to Supercharge Your Google Grants Account - (NTEN Blog - Dennis Yu)
Trends and Recaps
- Looking Backwards and Forwards: 2012 and 2013 Nonprofit Technology Use (CommunityOrganizer2.0 - Debra Askanase)
- 2012 Nonprofit Marketing Communications: A Recap of Trends, Tools, and Tactics (NTEN Blog - Julia Reich)
Other Links and Resources
- Kids and Philanthropy: Teaching Your Children To Be Charitable (Beth Kanter): I really appreciate when bloggers open the Kimono to share how they apply their commitment to social good in their personal lives. I don't have children (yet please God) but I think about legacy this way a lot.
- Panhandling or Hotspot Vendor: Which is better? (Mark Horvath): Thoughtful post about controversy at SXSW.
- The Good, the Bad & the Ugly of the BBH Homeless Controversy (Inspiring Generosity - Geoff Livingston): Thoughtful post about controversy at SXSW.
- The nation's voter file. Freed. (Nation Builder - Jim Gilliam)
Well, you have your reading cut out for you :) What have I missed? Please share your favorite posts from 2012 with us in the comments.
Here's to a world changing year.