Category Archives: social media

The Everlapse App: 5 Ways Photo Sharing Can Support Your Cause

Like many other apps, the potential of the new Everlapse app will be determined by the people who use it. Even the creators have said they aren’t sure what this cross between a photo app and a video app will lead to. What I can tell you is that it’s easy to use (at least on the iphone and ipad, because an android version hasn’t been released) and takes photo sharing to a new level.

Basically, you choose a selection of photos from your camera roll, and the app strings them together to create a looping slideshow that can be shared with others. Many reviews describe it as a way to share your Instagram photos, and it does allow you to very easily create an Instagram highlights reel. But you can use the app with any photos on your device, and what makes Everlapse different from Vine, Instagram, or anything else available is that it allows others to add to your creative project (and only with your approval).

To make my first two flipbooks, I copied photos from iPhoto on my Mac, sent them to my ipad, and then pulled them into the app. If you’re using photos already on your phone or ipad, it’s even easier. The first is a random collection called “Things I Saw,” and the second is “Mannequins.” (I’ve always thought mannequins were interesting to photograph, because you don’t have to ask their permission, and they offer the perfect combination of life and non-life.)

Everlapse then shares your finished flipbook with others who use the app — and then you can choose to share it via email, text message, Facebook, or Twitter. You can also embed it into your website or blog. (It works perfectly with Blogger, but not WordPress.)

I’m always interested to see how nonprofits use new tools like this. In its first flipbook, shares the powerful statement “1 in 3 people don’t have a toilet. Show us yours.” While it seems silly to photograph and share your toilet, it’s real engagement about a serious global issue. A group called Crawfish for Cancer, which raises money for melanoma research with tasty events in several cities, shared photos of their most recent feast in New York. Haiti Partners does a great job demonstrating their impact, with lots of uplifting photos of their Children’s Academy. Click links to view their creativity.

Here are a five ways you can use Everlapse to support your cause:

1. Demonstrate the need for donations. For example, if you’re providing relief after a natural disaster, invite people in the affected community to submit photos. If you have multiple offices, have your staff and volunteers contribute to a flipbook.

2. Show your organization at work. Everlapse is a perfect way to capture service days, construction projects, and other efforts — especially if they’re done in different locations.

3. Show a “day in the life” to bring your cause to life. Have your staff, volunteers, and regional offices contribute photos on a selected day to give your donors and supporters an inside look.

4. Show impact. What are the results of your work? How are people’s lives improved? Do your supporters a favor and ask them to share how they’ve been touched by your mission. Chances are, they can tell your story better than you can.

5. Say thank you. Show your donors how their support is making a difference — preferably through compelling images (people, animals, etc.) that personalize your mission. What other ideas do you have? Please send examples of how you or other nonprofits are leveraging this new app.

Make a Difference with Social Media: Start Here


A professional colleague called me last week for advice about social media. Her nonprofit has decided they need to boost their digital presence, and her boss has asked her to lead that effort (in addition to her other responsibilities). She has a Facebook page and uses LinkedIn, but she hasn’t used social media channels professionally — and she didn’t know where to start.

My answer was easy. I told her to start with the Case Foundation’s Social Media 101.

I was fortunate to lead communications for the Case Foundation at a time when Jean and Steve Case were ramping up their efforts to leverage technology to make philanthropy and civic engagement more accessible and efficient for nonprofits and individuals. There was no better place and no better time to learn about the potential for technology to make a greater social impact — and keep up with trends that continue to shape social activism.

In my first week working there in 2005, I learned that my top priority would be to leading the development of the foundation’s first website. It was both exciting and intimidating to be asked to develop a plan and launch a site within a few months — for the founder of AOL, nonetheless. But what I learned over those months, and over the entire time I worked there, was that the Case Foundation was the ideal place to apply my experience while constantly learning new things and developing new skills.

The Case Foundation was (and is) a think-tank for changing the world in new and innovative ways. It’s a culture that expects, demands, and rewards big thinking and “swinging for the fences” (one of Steve’s favorite metaphors). As an employee, you’re surrounded by talented people who are passionate about making a difference, and all staff at all levels have a chance to contribute.

By the way, the website we launched nearly eight years ago — a robust journalistic site about philanthropy and civic engagement — looked nothing like the Case Foundation’s site today. Always looking to leverage new tools and capabilities, the foundation ‘s site is now a real-time hub for blogs, videos, and social media feeds.

Which brings me back to where I started this post. Whether you’re new to social media or are ready to take the next step, “Social Media 101” offers carefully selected articles and videos to help you “harness social media tools and platforms for good.” You’ll get helpful tips for Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Foursquare, mobile, blogging, video, photography, and more.

The Case Foundation’s website also has videos, publications, and other resources on philanthropy, social activism, and corporate responsibility. And if you’re trying to convince your boss, board members, or others about the value of social media for nonprofits, show them this video:

What resources would you recommend for someone getting started in nonprofit social media?

Facebook is the Suburbs, while Twitter is the City

A good analysis that explains why I find both Facebook and Twitter valuable, both personally and professionally.

At 7 Years Old, Twitter is Still Addictive, Immediate, and Flawed (in a Good Way)

Imagephoto by Cobalt123

Twitter launched publicly seven years ago today, as documented in this blog post from July 15, 2006, “Silicon Valley’s All Twttr,” by Om Malik (@om). Read his short post to see why Malik, the founder of GigaOM, called “Twttr” both “addictive” and “annoying.”

I felt like I was late to the party when I started my first Twitter account on Feb. 26, 2008. Over the years, I’ve managed three accounts — for myself (@mmiller20910), my work at Children’s National Medical Center (@childrenshealth), and a charity I support, the American Special Hockey Association (@specialhockey). At different times, I’ve found Twitter valuable for educating, learning, fundraising, being entertained, following breaking news, and keeping up with industry trends. I’ve been a passive lurker, a compulsive poster, a stalker (in an innocent way), an eavesdropper, a researcher, and a time-killer. That’s the thing that stands out to me about Twitter. It serves so many purposes for so many people, and you can choose for yourself how and when to use it. As I said in my post on the second birthday of G+, the immediacy of Twitter makes it stand out among social media platforms — there’s no better place for instantaneous news, reaction, and emotion.

Exactly seven years after his 2006 article, Malik posted again today, this time reflecting on his 32,531 posts and his continuing love of Twitter. He writes that Twitter “is more important to me than any news network or a wire service or any newspaper. Human, flawed, chaotic, raw, ugly, beautiful, wrong, right, emotional, argumentative, frustrating and deeply satisfying — that is what Twitter is. Just like the world it is supposed to mirror.” Read his full post, “Seven Years of Tweeting.”

Google+ at 2: They Grow Up So Fast

Happy birthday, Google Plus! Two years ago today, Google launched its own social platform, hyped as the network that would make Facebook obsolete. That hasn’t happened, and is unlikely to, but G+ has done a lot of things well and is rising in popularity. It’s the second largest social platform (behind Facebook) with 500 million members, and as many as 350 million of them are active monthly. And it’s grown by 27 percent in the past three months.

I’ve been a fan of G+ since the beginning, and I prefer its design and functionality over Facebook and Twitter. When it first launched, I played around with my personal account for a while, and then on the first day company pages were made available, I launched the page for Children’s National Medical Center. Getting an early start and being chosen as a featured nonprofit has allowed Children’s National to attract more than 270,000 followers (compared with 25,000 on Facebook and about 24,000 on Twitter). Of course, it’s not a popularity contest and not just about numbers. We continue to have the greatest engagement and conversions on Facebook, where we have a more loyal (and more local) following. Each of these networks adds value in their own ways. (Read my post from August 2011, “Should Hospitals Add Google+ to their Social Mix?“)

In Ad Age Digital, B.L. Ochman writes, “Google+ Turns Two: You Can’t Ignore It for Another Minute.” One of the big advantages of G+, she writes, is the power and ease of Hangouts On Air. I remember organizing webcasts nearly 10 years ago, before things like GoToMeeting were available. They were expensive, complicated, and you needed technical consultants to pull it off. Today, with Hangouts on Air, you or your organization can broadcast to thousands of people with virtually no sophisticated technical skills and NO COSTS. Of course, you still need to promote your broadcast if you want to have an audience, but the actual execution of a public broadcast is simple and free. Score 1 for Google.

G+ has also paved the way for improvements to other networks, most notably its intuitive organization of circles. What many people didn’t realize then was that you could include or exclude anyone on Facebook too, but it wasn’t as easy or user-friendly. Facebook has made some improvements to make it easier to share with specific people or groups, but even after many rounds of updates, it’s still not as simple as what G+ started with on day one.

On Mashable, Jennifer Warren offers “Google+ at 2 Years: An Assessment.”  I agree with Jennifer that “Google+ is not a ghost town. By the same token, the service doesn’t have the immediacy of a Twitter or the ubiquity of Facebook. Still, for certain types of content and certain groups of users, it’s the best sharing platform on the web.” Two years after its launch, I still say G+ has the highest quality content of the three platforms.

Twitter is instantaneous. Facebook is where most of my friends and family are. But I get more knowledge, insights, and professional value from G+. Unlike Google Buzz and Google Wave, it’s proven that it has staying power, and — have you noticed? — it still has no advertising.

Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest Drive Sales, But Differently

snapFacebook, Twitter, and Pinterest all directly drive sales of products, both online and in stores, but there are some big differences in how, according to new data from Vision Critical. Most interesting, Facebook and Twitter help drive sales of products that people were already considering buying, but Pinterest is more effective at driving spontaneous sales. Among people who had made purchases based on information from one of these channels, 70 percent of Twitter users and 60 percent of Facebook users said they were at least “vaguely” considering purchasing the item before they saw it online. However, only 49 percent of the Pinterest users said they were thinking of purchasing the item before seeing it there.

Other key findings: 43 percent of social media users have bought a product after sharing it or favoriting it on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. Nearly 4 in 10 Facebook users say they’ve gone from liking, sharing, or commenting on an item to buying it. And half of all social-driven purchases occur within a week of sharing or commenting on it.

Read “Moving Customers from Pinning to Purchase,” from the Harvard Business Review, and download the full report, “From Social to Sale: 8 Questions to Ask Your Customers,” from Vision Critical.

What products did social purchasers share March-June 2013? Here are some color-coded examples representing purchases influenced by Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest:

Which Metrics Matter?

MetricsWhich metrics matter for websites and social media channels? It depends. Too often nonprofits measure what they’re told they should measure, and what others are measuring. What makes more sense is to measure what matters now for you and your organization — and what data you can act on to improve your outcomes.

Citing a term from a new book, Lean Analytics, The Agitator blog warns: “Fundraisers…Beware of Vanity Metrics.” In the book, authors Alistair Croll and Ben Yoskovitz explain, “If you have a piece of data on which you cannot act, it’s a vanity metric. If all it does is stroke your ego, it won’t help.”

Roger Craver of the Agitator writes, “Part of the problem with ‘vanity metrics’ is that nobody does anything with them. But more importantly, and dangerously, they are often used to drive absolutely bad decisions. For example: ‘If I put more spend into online search advertising, it’s a quick, guaranteed way to drive up the number of website visitors.’ A meaningless strategy. A meaningless result!”

Roger lists some metrics that could be considered “vanity metrics” for fundraisers. They include benchmarking; website hits; page views; visits and unique visitors; “likes,” friends, and followers; and number of email addresses. Another one I would add is “time on site.” There seems to be this impression that the more time people spend on your website, the better. But if a visitor is there to get a certain piece of information or to make a transaction, don’t you want them to be able to do that quickly?

Which leads me to another post that’s making the rounds, from Mashable, titled “6 Digital Metrics You Should Be Watching.” A few key points:

1. Active supporters. It’s better to have a smaller audience of active supporters than a large number of inactive followers. Tracking the number of people who follow you is fine; tracking the number of people who share, comment, and engage is better.

2. Return visitors. It’s great to attract a lot of people to your website, but how many are coming back? And how often? Are they getting what they need?

3. See you later, alligator. We like to pay attention to our new followers, but what about the people who unsubscribe or unfollow? What can you learn from them? Similarly, when and why are people leaving your website? What’s the last page they’re on before they leave, and what does that tell you?

4. Response time. How long does it take your team to respond to an inquiry that comes in from your website or social media channels? How can you shorten that time?

As Mashable points out, these are just some of the things organizations can and should measure. What metrics do you find most (and least) useful?

Tips to Stay Private with Facebook’s Graph Search


While Facebook’s new graph search — which was rolled out to all users this week — offers users an easy way to find information, it also involves some changes to privacy settings that you should be aware of. In announcing the new tool a few months ago, Mark Zuckerberg emphasized that users are still in control of their privacy settings. What he didn’t say is that it’s getting more and more complicated to know what you’re sharing with whom, especially when settings are changed so often.

When I checked my own settings, the first thing I noticed was that the default setting for “share future posts” was for “public.” To make it easier for you to take control of your content, take a look at Business Insider’s simple step-by-step guide to protect your Facebook page from unwanted searches.

Noting that some have called Facebook Graph Search a “privacy nightmare,” Slate offers this warning: “If You’ve Ever Posted Anything Embarrassing on Facebook, Now is the Time to Hide It.”

What do you think? Do you like the new search tool? Are you concerned about how it affects your privacy, or is that just part of being a Facebooker?


How Social Media is Changing Nonprofit Culture and Practice

ImageMost nonprofits, large and small, are using social media in some basic ways — such as maintaining a Facebook page, maybe a Twitter account, and linking to content on their site. Many others are incorporating social media into their online fundraising strategies (commonly annual giving and events).

But those examples are just scratching the surface of the true potential of social media to improve ALL types of fundraising, including major giving, planned giving, and corporate partnerships. If you’re looking for ideas to take the next step for your organization, or if you’re trying to make the case for social media to your bosses and colleagues, I highly recommend this white paper from Wealth Engine, “Fundraising’s Social Revolution: How Social Media is Changing Nonprofit Culture and Practice.”

Based on a survey of 1,300 prospect development and fundraising professionals, the paper will give you strategies to implement social networking throughout your organization, from marketing to prospect research to front-line fundraising. It covers how to create a social media culture, implement new social technologies, apply best practices and tips, and follow ethical guidelines. I was pleased to be interviewed for the paper, along with leaders like Beth Kanter, author of The Networked Nonprofit and Measuring the Networked Nonprofit, and Dan Michel of Feeding America. So you’ll get some examples for how we’re using social media to build and strengthen relationships with donors at Children’s National Medical Center. You can download the white paper from Wealth Engine.

How is your organization using social media to support fundraising? I’m especially interested in proven ideas to support major giving.


One-Third of Americans Own iPads or Other Tablets

More than a third of American adults own a tablet, and in households with an income of at least $75,000, it’s 56 percent, according to a recent report by the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

Imagephoto by Veronica Belmont
Just a year ago, only 18 percent of Americans age 18 or older owned a tablet computer like an iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tab, or Kindle Fire. The recent study, released in June, shows that number at 34 percent. Marketers must be interested to see that the figure is about 50 percent or higher among wealthier households, people age 35 to 44, and college graduates. Read the full report.