#1: A Year-End Review of 2014 and What to Expect in 2015

This past week’s reading series was a year-end review of 2014 and what to expect in 2015 in terms of Nonprofit.  It was only appropriate to talk about the biggest trends of 2014 and how it will affect 2015 as this week transitioned from 2014 to 2015.  Of course I had to start the week with Nonprofit Times, “Big Donors Want Self-Sustaining Projects”.  People are giving more than ever.  Including the wealthy!  From ALS Ice Bucket Challenge to #GivingTuesday, 2014 was a HUGE philanthropic year with innumerable successful campaigns which contradicts the prominent notion within any nonprofit community that people do not give enough.  According to the Wealth-X and Arton Capital Philanthropy 2014 Report*, United States has the most number of billionaires of any country (571) and New York City having the most number of any city (103).  The number of billionaires are exponentially growing with 155 new ultra high net worth individuals just from 2013-2014 in the world.  United States is the most philanthropic country; “most numerous, most generous, and most frequent donors […] with assets between $30 million and $49 million donated $60,000 annually, and the average American household, donated $3,000 annually.” with the most number of billionaires donated up to $100 million.  Point is, we all give when we can!  You can watch Wealth-X and UBS Billionaire 2014 Census* video summary below:

 

Wealth-X And UBS Billionaire Census 2014 from Wealth-X on Vimeo.


 

On Tuesday, I shared two articles about #GivingTuesday (see what I did there?)  #GivingTuesday actually intrigued me a lot when I first heard about it and made me wonder, “Why haven’t I heard of this before?!” Ha, it was because 2014 was the first ever #GivingTuesday and let me just say on record– whoever conceived this hashtag is an absolute GENIUS!  By integrating social media with charitable giving during a holiday season, #GivingTuesday increases awareness,  provides participatory activity, and enhances the season of giving!

Slide1(Image from GivingTuesday.org)

Increase Awareness
Let’s face it– hashtagging is never going away.  I may not be old enough to say, “kids these days…” but I am old enough to say, “#I #Remember #When #The #Internet #Didnt #Look #Like #This.”  However, an effective, spreadable, catchy hashtag such as #GivingTuesday can and will spread like wildfire and you’ll be glad you know how to use the Internet.

Participatory Activity
#GivingTuesday obviously took notes from the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.  ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was popular for one, and one reason only.  It was fun to tag and be tagged to do a challenge.  Even if a person could not donate, most people participated in the challenge just to play along.  So when #GivingTuesday was paired with #UNselfie (a selfie taken after making a donation to a charity of choice) it helped further increase awareness.  People all over taking selfies (which is, not out of the ordinary and easy to do) were able to participate by boasting about their “UNselfie-ness” while still raising awareness for #GivingTuesday.  

‘Tis the Season
My nonprofit experience is somewhat limited to only theatre organizations and winter is typically dead for theatre.  Typically, because unless you are doing a holiday show, few are going to come, and there can only be so many A Christmas Carol or Nutcracker performances by different companies in the same city at the same time before it gets ridiculous.  This leaves many theatre organizations to either do small readings/performances, take a hiatus, or do a fundraiser.  Money is particularly tight during this time because of the competition for entertainment during the holiday season.  However, because of Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, people are still in the mood to give.  The timing is perfect, and since #GivingTuesday is online, there is low risk and low-cost.  If you ever wanted an excuse to make an ask during December, #GivingTuesday is your golden ticket to jumpstart into the new year!

 

Read Network for Good’s in-depth look of organizations successfully utilizing #GivingTuesday here.  And, in case I have not convinced you about the greatness of #GivingTuesday, read SteamFeed’s How to Create a Successful Social Media Giving Campaign in December.

 


 

On Wednesday, I shared an infograph covering 20 Marketing Statistics that will Influence Marketing Trends in 2015.  While the infograph is pretty straightforward– I will say one thing about it– “33% of traffic from Google’s organic search results go to the 1st item listed”.  This actually surprised me, considering I used to work for an independent contractor to Google evaluating result relevancy for user input queries.  I thought more than half the people would click the first result to their query with the assumption that it was most “relevant” so, I found it interesting how people are becoming so Internet savvy that SEO and custom content is more important than ever.  Along with the 20 marketing stats that will influence trends in 2015, I highly recommend this article about “5 Marketing Trends for 2015 You Can’t Ignore*” and of course, Thursday’s article about Top 10 Major Donor Fundraising Trends for 2014 -2015 which lays out plain and simple what donors want, and how to approach them.

 


 

On Friday, I shared Philanthropy’s article about Obama’s 2015 budget and implementing a 28% tax deduction cap.  This article was written March 2014 and unfortunately upon further research I could only find articles written around the same time, if not earlier in 2013. Since I have not found an article stating the contrary, I am assuming that this is still a reality.  All the articles shared throughout the week boils down to this.  After so many sources saying 2014 was the year for donations, I wonder how this tax deduction cap will affect giving.  Some suggest it could cut $9.4 billion from charities.* Though “the limit would only affect people whose incomes are in the top 3 percent,”  the top 3 percent typically give more to charities than what their real estate assets cost and that is indisputably generous– even Top 10 Major Donor Fundraising Trends says mega donors are making a comeback!  So, why are we hindering the ones who give the most?  Referring back to Monday’s Nonprofit Times article, “Philanthropic bequests are expected to reach $86 billion in the next 10 years”, will this still be expected if ultra high net worth individuals are only able to get up to 28% of their salary deducted?  I don’t know.  Having a minimum percentage to get a deduction doesn’t seem to make much sense either.  I guess I would have to agree with chief executive of the Council on Foundation, Vikki Spruill in the Philanthropy’s article, “This is an ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ situation.”

 

Thanks for reading with me!
Want to discuss?  Have ideas/suggestions?  Leave a comment below, or tweet me @andreayhuang.


Monday
“Big Donors Want Self-Sustaining Projects”- Nonprofit Times
Wealth-X and Arton Capital Philanthropy 2014 Report (*Additional material, mentioned in post.)

Tuesday
 “Lessons from N4G’s #GivingTuesday Award Winners”- Network for Good
“How to Create a Successful Social Media Giving Campaign in December” – SteamFeed

Wednesday
20 Marketing Statistics that will Influence Marketing Trends in 2015 – Nonprofit Hub
5 Marketing Trends for 2015 You Can’t Ignore – Nonprofit Hub (*Additional material, mentioned in post.)

Thursday
Top 10 Major Donor Fundraising Trends for 2014 -2015 – Gail Perry, Fired-Up Fundraising

Friday
“Obama 2015 Budget Would Cap Charitable Deduction at 28% for Wealthy” – Philanthropy
“Deduction Cap Would Cut $9.4 Billion from Charity” – Nonprofit Times (*Additional material, mentioned in post.)


Remember, you can read with me throughout the week on Twitter and Facebook or come back every Saturday to see the full list (and sometimes, more!)

NEXT WEEK: What NOT to do in Nonprofit.

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Introducing Andrea’s Reading Series

2015 is just around the corner, and unlike most people, I typically take the new year pretty passively.  For the past two years I had given up making New Year’s Resolution, succumbing to the reality that majority of resolutions people make for the new year go out the window within the first three months.  I had accepted I will never lose the extra ten pounds, change my dietary preferences, break bad habits, or keep up with a daily exercise routine.  Now entering my third year of being goalless and stress-free, I’ve encountered more people questioning my ways than ever.


 

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    “What do you mean you don’t have any New Year’s Resolutions?”


 

It’s not like I don’t have any aspirations for the upcoming year.  Who doesn’t?  I just don’t see the point of making the same menial resolutions over and over again and never follow through with them.  Now, I am type of person who will admit when they were wrong– and in the case of my attitude towards New Year’s, I’ve been wrong.  I had been stuck in an unmotivated cycle, formulating my New Year’s Resolutions based on the things I should do, but realistically have no intentions of following through.  Without those ten extra pounds, I’ll definitely be healthier in terms of BMI, but I will never lose them if I am comfortable with my body, right?  So I decided if I was going to make New Year’s Resolutions, I am going to make one because, how can you lose focus of your resolution if you only have one?

Like I said earlier, I do have aspirations going into the new year that I never typically count as resolutions.  Things like, “get accepted to graduate school” or “act in a professional theatre production.”  I don’t call them resolutions because those things are typically out of my control.  If I never got accepted in graduate school or cast in a professional theatre production, I’d like to think I didn’t fail the year.  I think of resolutions as a firm decision to do something, where you, yourself is solely responsible for the success.  Since I will be graduating in 2015 with a M.A. in Arts Leadership from University of Houston, I will soon have to go out in the real world and start a career.  While I may not land my absolute dream job right out of graduate school, I can still continue to better myself to eventually get to that dream job.

Introducing Andrea’s Reading Series

Introducing my 2015 New Year’s Resolution!  Throughout the week (Monday – Friday) I will post articles I find interesting revolving around art and business on my Twitter (@andreayhuang) and Facebook page and finally write a reflective/summary post of all articles here, on my my blog, every Saturday!  Follow me on Twitter and/or Facebook to read along with me, or come back every Saturday to see what articles was presented throughout the week and my personal thoughts.

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Here’s to 2015!

Think, Don’t Sync! Content Marketing using Facebook & Twitter

If there is one thing I have become increasingly interested in since starting graduate school, it is content marketing through social media.  I believe the knowledge of utilizing social media to its fullest potential is one of the greatest advantages for young professionals.  There also is an indisputable increase of time and research spent on how to effectively market through social media.  According to Nielson’s Global Trust in Advertising report, the percentage of the population who would trust advertisements on social media has increased from 26% in 2011, to 48% in 2013.  With technology growing at exponential speeds along with societal dependence on social media, it is no wonder many articles suggest businesses to invest in social media marketing initiatives (mainly because it is free.)

It is exactly because it is free that a lot of small to mid-sized non-profit organizations have turned to social media as a form of marketing and increase the opportunity to make impressions worldwide. However, many tend to overlook that having a following is not a direct result of simply having multiple social networking sites.  By joining multiple platforms, organizations are only increasing their accessibility to the public.  Public following and feedback must still be generated and developed through content marketing.

I’ve noticed a lot of small to mid-sized non-profit organizations relaying the same message on Facebook and Twitter.  While this may be an appropriate action for personal accounts, it is not the best way to market content.  It is not particularly taboo and there could be an innumerable amount of reasons why like lack of personnel, technology proficiency, time, or ideas (just to name a few) but in doing so results in missed opportunities.


Missed Opportunity #1: Generating the most impressions per post

To generate the most impressions through social media, peak user activity and lifespan of content must be considered.  User activity definitely differs between Facebook and Twitter.  Typically Facebook activity peaks at midday on Saturdays whereas Twitter activity peaks at 5 P.M. on Wednesdays.  So simply updating once a day with the same message going across both platforms is not going to reach the maximum potential of impressions. However, both platforms provide account-specific analytics that measures when peak activity occurs and the details of your audience demographic.  By studying the activity of the audience, you can theoretically post the minimum amount and get the maximum return on investment.

(For more information, check out Facebook Insights and Twitter Analytics)

As for lifespan of content, Twitter is better suited to broadcast live events because it inherently has a short-attention span with responses generating for up to an hour.  However, by a creating a hashtag specifically for the event encourages participants to tweet.  This increases impressions as the topic trends. This was proven effective during the first Arts Leadership Summit in Houston through #UHArts.  Facebook is much more timeless with responses that can generate for days.  So, in terms of content marketing on Facebook things like post-event photos, press releases, interviews, reviews, and event information would be better suited.

Missed Opportunity #2: Variety of content and increasing transparency

By better understanding the difference between platforms and playing on the strengths, the organization can then produce wider variety of content and even more transparency.  The importance of content variety stems from the notion that the majority has more than one social network account.  Twitter and Facebook being the most popular pair.  By allowing yourself to promote different things on different platforms during different parts of the week, you can experiment more with what you post and generate more opportunities for feedback at a faster pace!  This notion is from The Lean Start-Up by Eric Ries: nobody knows what they want.  It’s only through experimentation can you deeply understand the difference between what you think your customer wants and what your customer actually wants.  From a non-profit standpoint, especially for an organization that has synced posts since day one, it is the perfect opportunity to experiment with the current followers.  Post an interesting fun fact on Facebook related to the work you do!  Give a public shout out to an artist on their birthday on Twitter!  Social media is fantastic in the sense that you do not have to be “professional” all the time.  See how your audience reacts!  All the while gaining transparency for your organization and eventually a collection of testimonials or reviews.  Transparency seems to intimidate most but as Jay Baer, writer of this article that inspired me to blog said, “A list of ingredients doesn’t make someone a chef.”  More often times than not I’ve found an organization’s “best kept secret” is the one keeping them from their target audience.

Missed Opportunity #3: Building a relationship with the audience

Finally, by perfecting the content marketing through differentiating posts across platforms you can build a relationship with the audience which is the most important thing.  Social media should not be used to create a facade to the public– it is to serve them through accessibility.  84% of a typical brand’s Facebook fans are already existing patrons (36% for Twitter) and the promotion ends once they “follow” or “like” so it should be used as a tool to inform supporters and build a relationship with them.  Who interacts a lot on your page?  Who has participated within your organization? Who hasn’t, and where did they come from? (Mutual Friend?  Word-of-Mouth?  Networking?)  What’s the geographical spread of the audience?

The process of fostering relationships is going to differ between Facebook and Twitter.  For example, the relationships built on Facebook would be more personal.  So for a case like fundraising, an invitation to the event and private message may be sent.   Twitter with its tendency to gain vaster audience, it would be more appropriate to promote the event on there in advance, and then live-tweet the event with a hashtag and a link to donate.  (Photos and Videos produced by patrons are perfect for retweeting, sharing, and “throwback Thursday”-ing too!)


 

With research and time management, a small to mid-sized organization can effectively use social media as a form of content marketing.  This is all, of course, in theory as I have no real-life experience to go off of.  Just what I’ve read and what I studied in school so.  I really shouldn’t discredit myself at the end of the entry but I am horrible at conclusions.  I have been reading a lot of advocacy for content marketing through social media and not enough on the benefits of using Facebook and Twitter as two separate marketing touchpoints with a non-profit perspective.  So I hope this will inspire more to think and not sync, and not only use social media effectively but also get more return on investment.

Let me know if you have any questions/comments or a topic you would like me to cover either below or @andreayhuang on Twitter.

For more interesting differences between Facebook and Twitter, check out this Klout article on Engagement!