Cone Launches CSR SocialScore

Boston-based public relations and marketing agency, Cone Communications, is launching a social media and Corporate Social Responsibility product, CSR SocialScore, which serves as a real time snapshot of how a brand uses social media to inform and engage stakeholders.

Today, nearly two-thirds (62%) of global consumers use social media to engage with companies around social and environmental issues, according to the 2013 Cone Communications/Echo Global CSR Study.

“Social Media is where the CSR conversation is happening. Brands need to meet stakeholders where they are,” says Jonathan Yohannan, executive vice president of Cone’s Sustainable Business Practices group. “It is no longer enough to be an offline CSR leader. Many of the most admired CSR leaders are not showing up online to meet and engage with consumers or other stakeholders.”csr_wheel_350px

CSR SocialScore helps companies equally measure their ability to “Inform” and “Engage” stakeholders:

Inform: This portion of the score looks at a company’s online CSR reporting and baseline CSR social media presence. Quantitative data is garnered through a variety of social media monitoring, research and analytics tools.

Engage: This portion of the score surveys how a company is positioning its brand as a CSR thought leader, how it is engaging with top influencers and providing open opportunities for feedback or co-creation.

The score is designed to be used as an ongoing barometer of effective CSR communication or at the beginning and end of a campaign in order to measure success and drive return.


Have You Heard of Beremedy?

Beremedy is attempting to revolutionize the way you give. Have you heard about it?

It’s an online charity that takes advantage the likes of Facebook and Twitter to spread people`s needs in their community. When you sign, up you will get an email alert or social media post telling you which neighborhood needs your help.

At present, Beremedy is testing the platform  in Atlanta and Oregon.

“It`s a really simple concept. I believe that you would help your neighbor if you knew they needed something. You just don`t know they need it,” said founder Blake Canterbury.

Canterbury and his organization will expand across the nation in a few months, but you can sign up now. Take a look and learn more:

Why I Unsubscribed From Your ENewsletter

As I said a while ago, email is queen AND key to your marketing strategy.

Here’s the thing: creating an email list is vital to driving sales, generating loyalty, and inspiring repeat sales opportunities. But keeping a list of happy subscribers is a perpetual challenge.

Thanks to a new infographic from Skadeedle, we’re getting an in-depth look at why subscribers unsubscribe and what we can do to potentially stop the bleeding once its starts:

Click on me!


Pinterest and Your NPO.

It was just a few years ago that most non-profit professionals had to fight for the right to use social media as part of their marketing strategies. Now, they can seem to get their Executive Directors out of the mix.

First there was Facebook, then Twitter, Youtube, Flicr and the like. These days, more and more attention is being paid to the use of images to inspire, tell a story and raise brand awareness and dollars.

Enter: Pinterest.  pinterest

Like any other social media channel, use of Pinterest, a pinboard-style photo-sharing website that allows users to create and manage theme-based image collections such as events, interests, and hobbies, requires a roadmap.

I hope these tips help you with that:

1. Create Pinterest boards that speak to the causes you promote. For example, the Humane Society might wish to create a board called Save a Dog, or, Report Animal Abuse. The car donation charity, Kars For Kids, may wish to create a board called Green Benefits of Car Donation, or, After School Programs for Latchkey Kids.
2. Follow other nonprofit users. By following other nonprofits, you may get new creative and inspiring ideas for how you might use Pinterest for your own nonprofit. It can also be beneficial for a target audience to see which nonprofits you follow.
3. Engage your followers by following them back. You can choose “follow all” on the person’s profile and then “unfollow” any boards that are, well, boring. You can also engage other Pinterest users by “liking” or “repinning” those pins that speak to you.
4. Highlight a specific project by creating a pinboard just for that purpose. In this way, you can document current work projects. Edit the board so that other people involved in the project can pin items, too. If your organization is engaged in building housing for the homeless, you can pin photos of the builders, the building site, the various tools used, and daily progress on the building. This helps your audience feel involved with you and your project, every step of the way.


I *Heart* Infographics.

More and more information is being released relating to non profit social media marketing and fundraising efforts these days. I’m a data-monger and so it’s all good. However, I will say that I absolutely love it when insights are presented in pretty little infographics.

In my previous post, I shared research from the 2013 eNonprofit Benchmarks Study, conducted by M+R Strategic Services and NTEN which crowned email the Queen of fundraising tools.

Below are additional findings including an infographic which speaks volumes (click on it to enlarge). The study showed:

  • A 21% year-over-year increase in online revenue overall, with only International groups recording a decline in online giving.
  • A sharp decline in certain key email metrics, such as a 14% decline in click-through rates for advocacy messages and 27% decline for fundraising messages. Those declines were driven mostly by Rights and International groups, whereas advocacy messages sent on behalf of Environmental groups performed best.
  • Since 2011, online monthly giving grew 43%, or more than twice as fast as one-time giving. Although still a small percentage of overall giving, sustaining gifts for International groups now account for18% of revenue.

Email is Still Queen of Fundraising.

Twitter. Facebook. Pintrest. Instagram. Tumblr. On and on and on. There are millions of social media platforms out there and NPO marketers feel pressure from their peers and Executive Directors to use them all (or not).

I recently spoke before a group of younger NPO volunteers who are tasked with managing social media for their organizations. They all wanted to know, “What is the best social media tool out there for fundraising?”

They all seemed to hold their breath, as they waited for the question of the year to be answered.

“Email,” I said.  And then I heard crickets

"Did you get my email?"

“Did you get my email?”

No matter. I now have the insights to back me up.

Research released last week by M+R Strategic Services and Nonprofit Technology Network showed that email list sizes were up by 15% compared with 2012 totals, and online revenue grew by 21%, with only the international sector showing a decrease. For every 1,000 email subscribers, groups in the study had 149 Facebook fans and 53 Twitter followers.

The report collected data about email messaging, email list size, fundraising, online advocacy, Facebook, Twitter and mobile programs from 55 U.S.-based national nonprofits.

The results were not all positive. Email response rates declined by 21% last year. Click-through rates fell by 27%, resulting in a 21% drop in fundraising response rates. Advocacy response rates fell by 8%, hitting rights and international groups hardest.

Social media fans, no need to worry. Th e number of Twitter followers grew by 264% over the past year, while the number of Facebook fans expanded by 46%.

So, how could a dinosaur like email, still reign in 2013? The answer isn’t concrete. However, I am willing to bet that for most NPOs, email is still the best way to share stories of programmatic success and updates to an audience that has already bought in to the mission. That element, my friends, needs to be woven into every platform that your organization adds to its marketing portfolio.

The Power of Digital Persuasion.

I can’t lie. When I first heard that ad agency giant, Waggener Edstrom released their new report, “Digital Persuasion: How Social Media Motivates Action and Drives Support for Causes,” I couldn’t help but picture a snake charmer luring one of the forked-tongued creatures out of a basket.

It turns out, the study isn’t about that at all.

Released by Georgetown University Center for Social Impact Communication and the integrated communications agency Waggener Edstrom Worldwide (WE)’s Social Innovation practice, it found that more than half (55 percent) of digitally active, cause-savvy American adults were likely to do far more than simply “like” a cause. Engaging with causes via social media prompted them to donate money (68 percent), donate personal items or food (52 percent), attend or participate in an event (43 percent), and even volunteer (53 percent).

Perhaps signaling a significant departure from previous research, where face-to-face interaction was the primary mode of cause information exchange, survey respondents named social media as their top source of information about the causes they support. This is true even for respondents who only support their chosen causes offline, which further supports this shift.sigital-persuasion

Among the top findings, the survey revealed the following:

  • Fifty-four percent of respondents indicate they are more likely to support a cause through social media rather than offline.
  • More than half of survey respondents (55 percent) who engaged with causes via social media have been inspired to take further action.
  • Seventy-six percent agree that it’s important to them to influence others to care about the charities and causes they care about.
  • Eighty-two percent agree that social media is effective in getting more people to talk about causes or issues.
  • The most popular way people get involved in global causes is by supporting on social media (38 percent), followed by mailing a donation (27 percent), and making a donation online or signing an online petition (tied at 25 percent).

Further, among survey respondents, four distinct categories of supporters emerged — referred to as Mainstreeters, Minimalists, Moderates and Maximizers. Each group can be extremely beneficial to a cause as long as organizations know how to engage them — and keep them tuned in.

  • Mainstreeters: Active on social media, but only support causes offline.
  • Minimalists: Only support causes online.
  • Moderates: Balance offline support with online actions, such as liking a cause on Facebook.
  • Maximizers: Support an average of 12 different causes — nearly twice as much as any other category — online and off.

Looks like I’m a Mainstreeter. Maximizers scare me.

What are you?

Hey NPO Social Media Guru, I’ve Got Good News…

I am so looking forward to next Monday. I’ll be speaking before a rather large group of volunteers from NYC Service’s Civic Corps about how they can best use social media to impact organizational missions.

The Civic Corps unites a diverse group of AmeriCorps volunteers for 10 months of full-time service, assisting non profit and City agencies in increasing their organizational capacity to engage volunteers and building sustainable volunteer initiatives.

Yes, I will talk about the ins and outs of using the newest social media channels and discuss best practices. However, I am most excited to share that it looks like this year will be a banner one for budgets against social media marketing for non-profits.

A recent survey conducted by VerticalResponse included 123 non-profit organizations and asked them various questions concerning to the amount of time and money they spend on social networking activities which included; finding content to share with their social media communities, and whether their budgets have increased or decreased year-over-year.



The survey found that, more than 60% of nonprofit organizations reported spending more time on social networking sites than they did a year ago. Only 4% of respondents said they spent less time. And about 40% nonprofits reported devoting 6 or more hours per week to social channels. Respondents found that, content to share were the most time staking aspect of social engagement. Further, overall, nonprofit marketing budgets are likely to increase investments on social networking sites. Roughly about 20% of the organizations reported increasing their marketing budget overall and 10% reported increasing their social media budget this year compared to a year ago, suggesting that social networking sites is gaining prime focus by nonprofits. Also, 22% of those surveyed said that they currently are spending on social media/analytics tools, among those, more than one in three spent about $26 per month on tools.

The results conclude that non-profits not only find value in social channels, but also it plays an imperative role in their marketing efforts this year.

Marketers, rejoice! Now on to proving to ROI…

2012 Social Good Summit Circles the Globe.

I have been ripping and running (and plotting) over the last few weeks. Still fresh on my mind is the experience that came with Mashable and the UN Foundation’s Social Good Summit.

Three years ago, I attended as a volunteer. At that time, my mind certainly was not fixed on using technology to influence poverty in Africa or the idea that broadband should be a right for all just as clean water is. Corporations were not actively exploring how they fit in the whole social media/tech for good space and although, forums such as these existed, the reach of them was nowhere near what it is today.

All Access.

Boy, have things changed.

According to RecordSetter, on Monday, September 24, 2012, the Social Good Summit set the record for the largest global conversation on one topic to take place in a single day. Some highlights include:

  • Nearly 300 cities across the world gathered for meet ups to discuss and share ways that new technology and social media can tackle problems in individual communities.
  • More than 170 UN and global leaders spoke in New York City to hundreds of thousands around the world.
  • The Twitter hashtag #SGSGlobal trended locally, nationally, and globally during the Summit and used over 60,000 times.
  • The Livestream of the Summit was translated in real-time in seven languages, including all six official UN languages.
  • The Social Good Summit has been viewed in more than 150 countries sparking conversations in 50 different languages.

I could go on and on. Instead, I’ll let these videos speak for me.

#SGSGlobal – I’m Pumped!

Last year, I had a blast attending Mashable’s Social Good Summit. I gained so much personal and professional insight from global thought-leaders, made new friends and blogged about the whole thing. Surely, I am looking forward to this year’s event which will kick off on the 22nd here in NY. 

Since 2010, the Social Good Summit has generated increasing attention and excitement, as a dynamic, open-to-all counterpoint to New York’s U.N. Week and the opening of the United Nations General Assembly. According to organizers, “this year, something unprecedented will happen at the gathering of bloggers, press, celebrities, world leaders, youth, CEO’s, non-profits and everyday citizens sharing ideas on how to tackle global problems using social media.”

*mysterious music plays*

Apparently, I will be able to find out  more about what this means and how it will work during an all-access, on-the-record telepresser today at 11:00 am ET.

This year’s Social Good Summit partners include:

  • Stacy Green, Head of Marketing and Communications, Mashable
  • Henry Timms, Deputy Executive Director, Strategy, Content and Innovation, 92Y
  • Elaine Weidman Grunewald, VP, Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility
  • Kate James, Chief Communications Officer, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Sigrid Kaag, Assistant Secretary General and Director of Bureau for External Relations and Advocacy, UNDP
  • Kathy Calvin, CEO, UN Foundation
  • Aaron Sherinian, VP, Communications and Public Affairs, UN Foundation (Moderator)

Go here for the latest on the Social Good Summit…