Idealist by the Numbers: You love us, just not on Valentine's Day.

Howdy! It’s Kim and Diana, your friendly neighborhood Community Support Team. Last month we debuted our new column and uncovered just how many of you self-identify as “geeks,” “nerds,” or “geeky nerds.” We’re back now with some freshly crunched numbers for you:

301: Number of organizations that joined the site last week.
1,195: Increase in jobs posted in February 2012 vs February 2011.

18: Percentage drop in visitors to Idealist on Valentine’s Day as compared to the previous Tuesday.

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Well, at least we have each other.

15: Percentage increase in visitors the next day.

That's better. (Photos: Staff retreat, March 2012)

3,837: Users whose profiles include the word “passionate.”
4,450: Users whose profiles include the word “love.

18: Idealist Grad Fairs we have planned for 2012.*
225: Graduate school programs that will be represented at our largest fairs.
2: Days it took our entire Grad Fair season to sell out.

10: Portland, OR Idealist staff members. (Apply to be #11!)
0: Land line telephones in the Portland office.

6,369: Members of our LinkedIn group.
1,569: Idealist LinkedIn group members who describe their work as entry level.
1,463: Idealist LinkedIn group members who describe their work as senior level.

80: Kilowatt hours of energy used by Idealist.org’s NY office last month according to thinkeco.
2.3: Kilowatt hours of energy used by Kim yesterday.

*While we’re here, we want to thank all of the graduate admissions folks who plan to participate in our 2012 Idealist Grad Fair season! Our offices have been abuzz these past few weeks as we launched the fairs and you rushed to join us. We can’t wait to see you all there.

That’s all for now. Have a question, or is there a certain number you’re curious about? Leave a comment below.

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Can social media help you land your dream job?

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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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