Latest News: Thank YOU – Team TLC 2013 Chromosome 18 Conference Fundraiser – Part 1

Team TLC returned from the Chromosome 18 Conference on Friday, August 2, 2013. It was a great and heart warming experience for all three of us.

First, and most importantly, I have overflowing gratitude for the people in our lives who took part in the Team TLC fundraiser to get all three of us to the 2013 Chromosome 18 Conference.

Without your support, love and kindness our trip would not have been possible. Some of you purchased custom created stretch bracelets from us and some of you chose to donate money towards the trip. Sending thanks, smiles, and warm hugs on wings of pure love to each and every one of you ….

Robert Downs
Tim Bishop
Frank & Patty Romano
Connie Wilson
Peg Flowe
Katie Sprister
O.C. Gillham
Kathy Borello
Suzanne Bean
Robin Mayfield
Roberta Verdun
Lauren Bradbury
Robin Kehoe
Loretta Bonilla
Cheryl Donlan
Deb Yocum
Nora Schaefer
Cassie Salsberry
Lillie Salsberry
Carolyn Smith
Cathy Diver
Lisa Glazier
Rachel Flower
Melanie Gorrell
Roxane Daigle
Alisha and Steve Peters
Sandra Ozment
Dawn Ward
Tony Hightower
Mackenzie Banta

In complete and open honesty I had chosen not to be attached to attending the conference this year. I would be happy if we attended the conference and I would be happy if we didn’t attend the conference. However, my two absolutely fabulous kids, Thomas and Lillian, had their heart set on it. I talked with them up until nearly a month before the conference about not being too attached to going.

Making the bracelets was Thomas’ idea. Once we began the fundraising and sharing on facebook, the response was so overwhelmingly positive that I saw an opportunity to help Thomas and Lillian experience and be a part of the unfolding and manifestation of what they desired.

It was extremely moving receiving such enthusiastic support from our friends and strangers alike. Especially with the support of some of our Chromosome 18 friends who would not be able to attend, yet chose to support our efforts to get to the conference.

Team TLC at the Reno/Tahoe Airport ready to leave for our 2013 Chromosome 18 Conference Adventure!

We had a great adventure traveling to and from the 20th Annual Chromosome 18 Conference. You can read about our adventure here.

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you …… With oceans of gratitude …. ♥

Go here for the second installment and Part 2 of Team TLC 2013 Adventures to the 20th Annual Chromosome 18 Registry Family Conference.

Go here for the last installment and Part 3 of Team TLC 2013 Adventures to the 20th Annual Chromosome 18 Registry Family Conference.

Go here if you’d like to see more pictures of our adventure …


10 Keys to Nonprofit Social Media Marketing Success (Part 2)

This is the second of a two-part series of “10 Keys to Nonprofit Social Media Marketing Success”.

Let’s review the first 5 Keys to Nonprofit Social Media Marketing Success from last week:

  1. Mission ~ Successes ~ Logo
  2. Social Media Marketing Goals ~ Strategy ~ Content Guide/Editorial Calendar
  3. Google: Places ~ Alerts ~ Trends/Insights ~ Google for Nonprofits
  4. Facebook: Page ~ Cause ~ Engagement
  5. Twitter:  Search ~ Texting ~ Hashtags

So, what’s the next key? Creating some buzz for those GREAT events all you nonprofits put together!

#6:  Buzz-worthy Events:  Event Pages ~ Twitter ~ Live Video Stream ~ Photo Gallery

There are several Event Management sites that are feature rich.  Eventbrite even has a nonprofit program.  These sites can take payment for you AND they integrate with social networking sites so that supporters can “share” with their community that they will be attending your event.

Twitter can be used to create scavenger hunts and/or contests leading up to the event.  As well as during the event.  Live video stream will create buzz during an event and setting up a photo gallery on a site like Flickr after the event can create buzz for the next event.

#7:  YouTube:  Nonprofit Program ~ Call to Action ~ Video Volunteers

YouTube has a nonprofit program available that gives access to a feature rich YouTube channel for your nonprofit.  You have the ability to overlay a call to action to your organization’s video.  Also, available to nonprofits are video volunteers.  If you qualify and participate in this program you will be paired with an experienced individual to assist with video creation.

#8:  Blogging:  WordPress ~ Engage ~ Expert ~ Ease of Use

WordPress is my choice and favorite for blogging (and for a website for that matter).  Your blog gives you another layer and venue to connect and engage with your supporters.

Since you are in complete control over the length of your blog posts you use your blog when you have more to share than will fit or work on social networking sties.  Your blog is THE place to establish your organization’s expertise in regards to your cause.   WordPress is user friendly and after a slight learning curve is very easy to use.

#9:  Focus: Engaging ~ Connecting ~ Creating ~ Building

Don’t lose your focus by getting caught up in the Followers, Likers, Connections count.  There are also a GREAT deal of distractions when online and on social networking sites.  If it helps create a poster to hang on the wall with your Mission and Social Media Goals as a reminder that you are there to engage, connect, create content and grow your supporters.

#10:  Analyze:  Analytics ~ Comments ~Likes ~ Shares

How will you know your Social Media Marketing efforts are working if you don’t take the time to analyze.  Install Google Analytics to your website so you track the amount and origination of traffic to your website.  Review how many comments and “likes” you are getting and on which types of posts and how many times and what type of information are your connections sharing or retweeting?

Whew! Now you’re thinking that I’m absolutely bonkers as there’s no way in heck you have the time to do all of this.  Remember that none of this is set in stone.  Use this as a generic blueprint to guide your organization to Social Media Marketing Success.  And, don’t forget this, “I choose to make the time to build our organizations brand, gain support for our cause and market our organization online.”

What are your thoughts? I would love to hear some success stories.  Please share if you have the “time” . . . .

10 Keys to Nonprofit Social Media Marketing Success (Part 1)

Are you suffering from Social Media overload? Tired of the same old line, “Your nonprofit should be doing this!”?  If so, let’s move past all that right NOW! This article will give you a blueprint from which to build your organization’s Social Media Marketing Success.

But first, let’s clear some dust before we begin piecing together our blueprint.

The Dust ~ Are Our Supporters Looking For Our Organization on Social Networking Sites?  And, I Don’t Have Time For This!

The majority of people on social networking sites are NOT there to find places to spend or donate their money.  They are there to socialize.  It just so happens that we users of social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and blogging DO end up finding causes, products and services to which and to whom we want to give our money.

It’s not simply one or two people engaging with one or two other people.  It’s family members, experts and influential people talking together from all over the world out on the wide open world wide web!  These people trust one another and “see” when one of the others is supporting a cause, service or product.

That’s not to say that there are times when people specifically go online looking for your organization.  Most likely, they will use a search engine, like Google.  So, when supporters DO go online looking for you, you want to “SHOW” up!! Participating in the conversation on social networking sites has the added benefit of helping your organization to show up more in search engine results.

I am absolutely empathetic to the “I don’t have the time to maintain all these sites” statement.  Let’s change that statement a bit and say, “I make the time to build our organizations brand, gain support for our cause and market our organization online.” In the nonprofit setting, having a presence, engaging and sharing on social networking sites IS a marketing tool.

Let’s look at this for what it is.  As fundraising professionals and nonprofits our INTENT for being on these sites is “To Increase Donations and Support”.  There, we’ve said it.  Now, my suggestion is to reprogram our thinking on this and NOT think of our intent.  Think, plan and strategize with the GOAL of Building Relationships, Giving and Trust.

So how do we even begin to know where to start?  It all starts BEFORE creating and setting up even ONE social networking profile!

This is the first of a two-part series of “10 Keys to Nonprofit Social Media Marketing Success”.

#1:  Mission ~ Successes ~ Logo

Does your organization have a clearly defined mission?  What are the main goals of your nonprofit?  This must be determined, be solid and sound, and be embraced by your organization as it is THE first and main key before drafting the rest of your Social Media blueprint.

Do you have success stories to share and do you have permission to share them?  Your supporters and potential supporters want to see real life examples of the good that your nonprofit has accomplished.

Do you have your logo and the look and feel of your organization prepared?  This will be carried into all aspects of your online presence and your social networking sites.

#2: Social Media Marketing Goals ~ Strategy ~ Content Guide/Editorial Calendar

The social media marketing goals for XYZ Foundation are _________.  Each organization will have different goals for participating on social networking sites.  You will have a much easier time and see better results if you take the time to determine your goals before jumping into this.

Having the strategy well thought out and planned is a must.  Otherwise, it’s like throwing a handful of darts at a target and hoping some of them hits the mark!  Who in your organization will be responsible for maintaining, responding and interacting with your connections?  What’s their level of understanding regarding technology?  Have they been briefed on etiquette in regards to engaging, having conversations and customer service out in the OPEN?

The difference between approaching social media marketing with or without a  content and editorial guide is like the difference between night and day.  Have a plan for where your organization will get content and a system for how often and how much gets posted to your social networking sites.

#3:  Google: Places ~ Alerts ~Trends/Insights ~ Google for Nonprofits

Google has an entire section devoted to nonprofits ~ Google Nonprofits. Make sure to check this out and determine if any of their offerings is a right fit for your organization.  If your nonprofit has a physical location, create a Google Places account (or claim it if it’s already listed).

Create Google Alerts for your name, your organization’s name and any other relevant keywords.  Google Trends and Google Insights are used for keyword research. You need to know what people are searching for in regards to your cause so that you can build some of your updates and blog posts around those keywords.

#4:  Facebook:  Page ~ Cause ~ Engagement

Create a Facebook Page for your organization. Put a great deal of thought into who creates the account for you as the Page is tied to the original creator (original administrator) and CANNOT be changed.  You do not want an intern, temporary volunteer or an employee whose time is limited to create the Page.

Facebook created the Causes Application specifically for nonprofits.  This is a perfect way for your supporters to help spread the word about your cause as they can share it with their friends and post the Cause Badge to their personal profile.

Your Facebook Page is a venue to connect, engage, converse and share with your supporters.  Make sure to do that.  If someone takes the time to comment on the Page Wall or share a photo or video on the Wall, respond to their comment or shared information.

#5:  Twitter:  Search ~ Texting ~ Hashtags

Twitter is highly overlooked as a phenomenal research tool.  When using Twitter in conjunction with a website such as Hootsuite you can create columns for specific search terms and keywords.  You also want to use this feature for brand monitoring.  Create columns monitoring the mention of your name and organization.

Donating through text messagesin conjunction with Twitter has proven highly effective.  Twitter’s hashtag feature (and go here for more hashtag information) can be used with a fundraising campaign and with events to track the “conversation”.

Next 5 keys coming your way in a few days.  Until then, remember this, “I make the time to build our organizations brand, gain support for our cause and market our organization online.”

(Go HERE for Part 2 ~ Thanks y’all!)