Lookin' for love: Organizations, valentines, and social media


Example of an NPR Valentine. (Image: npr.org/valentine/2012)

All over my Facebook feed I’m seeing examples of people and organizations highjacking (lovejacking?) Valentine’s Day “for good.” Whether you abhor the “romantic industrial complex” or you adore the chocolates and flowers, the day is hard to ignore. So it poses both a challenge and an opportunity to organizations: if we play our cards right, we can find fresh, easy ways to show love to our fans and to engage our communities around issues we also want to promote every other day of the year. But these can also easily be lost in the pink-and-red deluge, or strike the wrong note with people who hate the holiday.

Here are some examples I’ve seen today.

  • NPR Valentines: Easy-to-download, simple graphics featuring inside jokes for loyal listeners.
  • Generosity Day: Cooked up by folks from Acumen Fund, Network for Good, Malaria No More, and Fast Company, this campaign encourages everyone to “reboot Valentine’s Day” by saying yes for 24 hours to anyone who asks for help. Get the rundown on Beth Kanter’s blog.
  • Amnesty International, Love is a Right: To push their Facebook friends toward an ongoing fight against homophobia in Cameroon, their status reads “Happy valentine’s day! Take action for those who don’t have the freedom to love without discrimination. http://bit.ly/loveisaright LIKE & SHARE!”

So what can you do if you didn’t focus your energy on a whole Valentine’s campaign?

  • Find a quote about love or kindness that ties to your organizations mission and share it through whatever channels make sense for your audience. Kiva‘s Facebook status this morning was “‘Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.’ — Mother Teresa.”
  • Simply show some love for your community. Google for Nonprofits posted to Facebook: “Today we want to share our love for you! Thank you for your continued engagement, your support, and your insights. Happy Valentine’s Day from the Google for Nonprofits Team.”

Seen other examples? Leave your favorites in the comments. I’ll love you for it.

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Is "social media" on your resume?


Image via Gavin Llewellyn, http://www.onetoomanymornings.co.uk/ (Flickr/Creative Commons).

12.12.2011: The bullets in this post have been updated to include the percentages of social media jobs (out of all jobs posted on Idealist) each year.

Fellow Idealist Jeremy and I recently ran a little test to see how frequently “social media” appears in job postings on our site. Here’s how many listings have included the phrase over the last several years:

  • 2007: 25 jobs, o.01 percent.
  • 2008: 125 jobs, 0.27 percent.
  • 2009: 507 jobs, 1.67 percent.
  • 2010: 2,115 jobs, 4.98 percent.
  • And in 2011 so far, 3,467 jobs, or 7.7 percent of all jobs posted this year.

Curious what the very first jobs to include “social media” were? Reaching all the way back to November 2006, we found four jobs from three trailblazing organizations: a Content Producer at WGBH Educational Foundation; a Social Network Designer-Manager at Games for Change; and two web developer jobs at Feminist Majority Foundation.

When I was hired in 2006, there are at least a few people on staff who were creating social media, but I don’t think they would have called it that. For example, our editor Eric checked all of the copy on our site, but he also served as a curator of news about the nonprofit sector and posted articles from around the world every day. He was blogging before we had a blog. Now social media weaves naturally into the jobs of many folks here, whether they’re writing emails for multi-channel campaigns, blogging here, or using social networking sites to learn about and grow our community.

Questions for you, dear readers:

  • What has this evolution looked like at your organization? Is your organization so new that the majority of your work takes place through social media, or have you spent a lot of time convincing people of the value of this type of engagement?
  • Are blogs, social networking sites, and other social media included in your job description? How much of your work time do they consume?
  • If you’re a hiring manager posting one of those 3,400+ jobs, what matters to you with regard to filling those roles? How do the best candidates showcase their experience in this area?

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Can social media help you land your dream job?


Social networks can help you with your job search. Photo by Dean Meyers (Flickr/Creative Commons)

Remember when people said you should hide your social media profiles during a job hunt? Now I would argue the opposite. Become active in social media – just remember that the person reading your tweets, blog posts, etc. could be your future manager! Here are some tips.

Twitter: Follow the organizations that you’re interested in working for, and the causes that you’re passionate about. Tweet about topics that are relevant to the job you want to land. Interested in fundraising? Follow, RT, and engage in conversation with people already in fundraising. Staying on top of new developments in your field, and being public about it, highlights your growing expertise to future employers.

Facebook: Stop reading and go check your privacy preferences. Put up a photo that’s at least semi-professional and make sure to include your past work and education experience in your profile. Unlike pages that might scare away a potential employer and replace them with the pages of the organizations that you’d like to work for. Engage with their posts when the opportunity presents itself; it will help demonstrate that you’re knowledgeable about their work if and when the time comes for them to hire.

LinkedIn: I’m not even job hunting and I’ve received offers for interviews just because I have an up-to-date LinkedIn profile. Take the time to make your LinkedIn profile as beautiful and informative as your résumé. Keep it up to date with your accomplishments and find and connect to everyone that you know professionally. It can definitely pay off, especially when you’re applying to jobs and looking for someone in your network at a company or organization.

Google profile: For whatever reason, you may have something showing up in a Google search that you don’t want employers to see. Cultivate online content that you control by creating a free Google profile. (And read my last post to learn more about how free Google tools can help you manage your job search.)

Idealist: Create a free profile and let hiring managers see your skills, interests, experience, and the causes that you’re passionate about. You can also connect directly to the organizations that you’re interested in so that you’re in the know when they post new opportunities.

Free blogging tools: If you’ve got a skill, a talent, or a passion for something that is related to your career, start a blog on a free blog service like WordPress. A well-maintained blog is an awesome way to show off your expertise, writing skills, and personality to potential hiring managers. (Not sure where to start or how to maintain your blogging mojo? Lots of folks have written about these topics, including Rosetta Thurman, Badi Jones, and Allison Jones.)

And finally: Put the networking back into your social networks. Whenever you apply for a job, check your social networks for contacts that you have at the organization, or even friends of friends of friends at the organization. If you’re looking for a job, be proactive and message your contacts on all of your networks to let them know what you’re looking for. People usually want to help, and if they know what you’re looking for, they’ll think of you first if something similar opens up at their organization. Knowing someone that can vouch for you to the hiring manager is the easiest way to land an interview.

Your turn to weigh in! What other ways can you use the social web to make your job search more successful?

Other posts you might enjoy:

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Trends in Nonprofits' Use of Social Media

Use of social media has surged in the nonprofit sector in the past year, according to the Nonprofit Social Network Benchmark Report by NTEN, Common Knowledge, and ThePort Network. Most interestingly, social media use is becoming much more varied as organizations commit more staff time and resources to their presence across various social networks.

Facebook headed up the list of most popular social networks with 86% of the 1,173 small to large sized nonprofits that were surveyed saying they maintained a page there. That’s up 16% from 2009. Twitter was second with 60%, and was the social network with the highest percentage growth with a year-over-year increase of 38%.

Via NTEN.org

Almost 85% of organizations are committing at least one-quarter of a full-time staff member’s work hours to the management of their social networking accounts, demonstrating the importance that nonprofits find in using online social networking as a tool in an overall media strategy. Overwhelmingly, organizations are using their social networks for traditional marketing purposes (92%), but increasingly they are starting to delve into fundraising (45.8%), program delivery (34.5%), and market research (24.3%).

Although it’s gaining popularity in the nonprofit sector, there are still a lot of unknowns in social networking. Since social networks are often housed with marketing or program staff, instead of development or fundraising-focused staff, there’s little data about their return on investment when it comes to donations. Although social communities are thriving around nonprofit issues, it is very difficult to quantify how organizations are engaging their members or increasing the reach of their message.

Here at Idealist, we’re working on some new features to make our site more social; it’s one major way we hope to strengthen the connections among organizations, people, resources, and ideas.

[This blog entry appeared on an older version of Idealist; any broken links are a result of having re-launched our site in Fall 2010.]

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The Making of Our New Social Media Posting Policy. Like?

By Flickr user Beck Tench (Creative Commons)

One of the biggest changes coming when we launch our new website this year will be how our members—individuals and organizations—will be able to interact with each other. With dynamic new connections soon to be possible on our own site, we thought it might be time to better define the interactions we are hoping to foster across our larger community.

We have profiles on a several sites—including Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, LinkedIn, and others—each with its own personality and its own community. We want our new public posting policy to serve as general guidelines for all of our online fans, followers, and friends.

Our first steps in creating this policy: introspection, and then research, research, research. What kind of communities are we trying to encourage? What is the focus of having a given profile? What possible issues might come up? How do other, similar organizations address these points? What policies are already offered by the hosting sites? What tone do we take?

We found an impressive compilation of published social media participation policies listed at http://socialmediagovernance.com/policies.php. After all of our reading, we ended up being most inspired by the guidelines issued by the American Red Cross and by Easter Seals.

We reworked our past internal procedure (which dealt primarily with offenses and consequences) into more understandable, reader-friendly language, and stated explicitly what our goals for our communities would be. We followed this writing by a few rounds of intense revision. After much discussion, and much finessing, we have a final (for now) draft of our public posting policy that we are adding to each of our profiles this week.

We intend for these guidelines to be as vibrant and evolving as our communities are. We welcome any questions, comments, or proposed revisions you might have. Let us know what you think!

[This blog entry appeared on an older version of Idealist; any broken links are a result of having re-launched our site in Fall 2010.]

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Three Days Left to Vote!

By now you’re probably aware that Chase and Facebook are running a big contest this week, which will result in one nonprofit organization winning $1 million, and five runners-up winning $100,000 each. With your help and votes, Idealist made it to the final round. We’re in great company, and we are currently in the top 10!

We could really use this money to continue the work that we do. And we genuinely believe that a vote for us is a vote for the whole nonprofit sector, because all of the other groups who are in the running can use our site and resources to strengthen their programs.

If you add the Chase Giving app to your Facebook profile, you can vote for five organizations. The deadline is Friday. If you don’t have a Facebook profile, this is a great time to create one, and you can do so by visiting facebook.com and following the instructions there.

If Idealist has helped you to connect with the practical dreamer within—whether that meant finding a job, an internship, a volunteer to help your project get off the ground, a graduate degree program, etc.—please consider using one of your votes for us.

If you’d like to encourage your friends or colleagues to vote, too, you can use this short link: http://bit.ly/7N51FM

Thank you!

[This blog entry appeared on an older version of Idealist; any broken links are a result of having re-launched our site in Fall 2010.]

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