Reclaiming My Social Media

As a rabbi and Jewish educational leader, I have used social media, including Facebook and Twitter, extensively. Sadly, in recent weeks there was an epidemic of the use of my social media in ways that I considered to be negative or insulting. We’re all had that happen:  someone posts an insult or an obscenity and we have to decide how to respond to the situation and to the individual.

Cleaning up my social media mess is becoming a bit like a mikvah immersion.  For a month, I am holding off my usual weekly routine of posting, and re-purifying and reclaiming my social media presence not only in reaction to a particular set of circumstances, but in a proactive way that will help me to lead that presence, both as an individual as well as professionally.

During the month, I’ve been renovating my Facebook and social media presence and creating, in effect, my own social media policy, so that my Facebook and Twitter presence reflects my values. The guidelines and day posts, which can be followed on my personal Facebook or on Twitter (@JewishConnectiv), with the hashtag #reclaimingmysocialmedia:

Social Media Cleanse

  1. Social media is social. Cleaning out people who watch but don’t share.
  2. There’s enough hatred in the world. Cleaning out people who consistently add more hatred, and deleting sarcastic comments.
  3. My social media is safe place for expression. Cleaning out anything or anyone who makes it unsafe.
  4. Done with narcissism. Cleaning out narcissists and limiting “selfies”.
  5. Respect. Fostering respect for one another on my social media.
  6. Humor. Adding humor and joy to my social media, and inviting others to do so.
  7. Music. Adding music that will make people smile or dance and inviting others to do so.
  8. Educating. Posting something that people will learn from. Making everyone a teacher and learner.
  9. Repairing the world. Adding something to social media that will make the world better.
  10. Adding passion. Inviting everyone to share their passions on my social media.
  11. Sharing something personal and inviting others to do so. Taking risks is part of social media.
  12. Setting limits. Prioritizing the 3 most important things to post daily, 5 comments I want to make to others and 10 things to “like” each day.
  13. Learning silence. Not every comment needs a response. Respecting people’s comments by letting them be.
  14. Exercising ownership. Nobody has an unlimited right to post or comment on my FB wall. Granting the privilege to those who are respectful and removing comments or people that aren’t.
  15. Reaching out to someone new. Adding a new contact regularly. You should try it, too.
  16. Looking backwards. Some past posts no longer reflect who I am today. Cleaning up and trashing what no longer fits.
  17. Stop using general posts when what I really need to do is to talk to one or two people about something. No sense in broadcasting what is really an issue that only involves a small number of folks.
  18. Posting something that doesn’t do anything for me but could really make a difference for someone else. Like a piece of wisdom or experience.
  19. Promoting someone else today. Maybe their business or career, or their value as a friend.
  20. Reducing use of my social media as free therapy for others. Being an online psychotherapist or relationship counselor does do them or me justice. Being a friend does.
  21. Letting go. I don’t watch to see who’s “unfriended” me. I figure anyone who does has a good reason and I respect that.
  22. I use Shabbat to turn off for a day. I encourage you to take a weekly social media fast.
  23. Setting a face-to-face or Skype or Hangout with someone I usually see only on social media. If the vast majority of your friendships are only on Facebook, it’s worth turning that around.
  24. Practicing humility. The insight I share on social media might be valuable. But considering the possibility that it isn’t.
  25. Stopping reading between the lines. A comment is a comment. If you think a comment needs exploration, ask. Most often, people say what they need to and that’s it.

Talmudic law speaks of our responsibility for any potential dangers that may lurk on property that belongs to us. Our online presence is no less our responsibility. I am neither the first nor the last to clean up his/her social media presence.  I have found inspiration in those who have practiced greater mindfulness in regulating their social media involvement. And I am honored to know that many of my Facebook friends and Twitter followers have found value in my campaign and have begun actions of their own to take greater charge of their social media activities.  In closing, I invite you to consider:

  • What actions do you take to protect your social media presence and to assure that it reflects you and your values?
  • How do you keep interactions (and the participants in those interactions) safe?
  • If you were writing your “ten commandments” for your social media presence, what would they be?

 

Rabbi Arnie Samlan is executive director of Center for the Advancement of Jewish Education in Miami, FL and founder of Jewish Connectivity, Inc.

Lessons from a Social Fundraiser

After completing our first-ever social fundraiser on Crowdrise this spring, there is no doubt it was the best learning experience of the Social Media Academy. We met our goal, reached new donors and developed new fundraising ideas for the future–all while having a lot of fun doing it.

Of course, we learned along the way and have a few lessons to share.

The Social Fundraising Age Gap: While it’s true that all ages are on social media these days, it’s not necessarily that everyone is engaging on social media—commenting and taking the call to action that we seek in our posts. Contrast these two cases:

  1. One donor who learned about our social fundraiser actually contacted The AVI CHAI Foundation (which was providing matching funds through the JDS Social Media Academy) after seeing no mention of their matching grant to us on their website. Really? Because it was certainly on the school website!  That person had never heard of Crowdrise and was entirely skeptical. And although she was kind enough to donate, she did it by mailing in a check. It’s possible that she never uses her credit card online.
  2. Now, consider our seniors (students), who we engaged for Campus Fundraising. They wanted no information about our campaign after finding out that money went to our school. A fundraising team captain would say something like this: “You know Crowdrise? Well, go there and find the ‘AlmostAlumni’ link. Give me some money, and our team will win.” And then that student would whip out his phone and credit card and do exactly that. Engaging our seniors and planting the seed for future donations was the best part of our campaign.

Don’t Base Results on the First Few Days: We raised over $6000 in one week. It took three more to raise another $2500. Enough said.

Competition Was More Effective Than Prizes: The most aggressive fundraising happened when fundraising champions were motivated by winning. It didn’t really matter if they won a prize or not, they were excited by the challenge of beating their friends (or losing!) in public. Our best results came from alumni who knew each other and were motivated to stay ahead. One would get a donation and another would ask for that amount, plus $1 just to keep the lead. As for prizes, we didn’t see higher results from our champions or our donors based on incentives like Amazon gift cards, iTunes and even Passover shopping gift cards.

Wendy Margolin is the Director of Communications at the Ida Crown Jewish Academy in Chicago, IL.  The school was on of 15 schools chosen to participate in the 2013-14 Jewish Day School Social Media Academy.

The Jewish Day School Social Media Academy is an intensive program designed to help Jewish Day Schools advance their strategic use of social media in areas such as communication, marketing, community building, alumni relations and development. The 2013-14 nationwide cohort of 15 schools was generously supported by The AVI CHAI Foundation.  Each of the schools will be sharing insights from their experience through blog posts here this spring with the tag #jdsacademy

Also, check out the Jewish Day School Social Media and Video Academy website, which includes a free self-assessment to help your school focus on key areas of growth in your social media work.

2014 NTCjews

I have attended the Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTC) three times, but this year's conference was my first time participating in NTCJews.  Jews have been gathering at NTC for the past several years. Since I have always been active in the Jewish community – from BBYO to Hillel to Jewish organizations in the DC area, I was excited to have the opportunity to learn about technology with other Jews at the conference.

This year's theme was technology integration, and we heard three mini-case studies from organizations working to get technology out of the IT and Marketing Departments, and in use in service of wider organizational goals.

Alex Kadis from Repair the World shared the strategy behind their volunteer management system.  After selecting and implementing the system, they were faced with issues including staff not making it a priority to enter the data and feature confusion. They learned through this experience the need to devote lots of time and energy to training.  Their key lesson was to make it fun.  They nicknamed the system "Spot" and called the trainings "Talk Nerdy To Me".  Crisp design and a clear message helped get their fellows on board and created the tools to onboard new fellows each year.

Karen Alpert from Hillel International shared how they needed a way to measure impact, analyze which programs work best, and to not lose data. Hillel developed
REACH , a tool for local staff to keep track of how many students they are engaging on college campuses, which also allows Hillel International a wide view of the field.  Even though the database has been successful in meeting their needs, they have been faced with challenges including user input and cultural shift.  Their key lesson was to be clear with staff about why they need to use it.  Younger staff especially will do it if they see it to be part of their job.  Hillel listened to user input and made adjustments such as simplifying the user interface and limiting fields that overwhelmed users visually.

Yaniv Rivlin from The Charles and Lynn Schusterman Philanthropic Network shared their experience with Friday Night Hack, an event that was held this past July.  Programmers in both the Silicon Valley and Israel participated in a concurrent hack-a-thon to build two apps. One app was a Jewish college roommate finder for BBYO, and the other app was a continuation of a web application Hasadna started previously to promote the accessibility and transparency of budgetary data in Israel’s municipalities. 

Perhaps the most valuable part of the session was the chance for NTCjews to dive deeply into themes raised in the presentations and submitted by participants prior to the event, such as

• Planning for mobile
• Developing an agile and iterative culture
• Moving people from online to offline engagement
• Technology to engage volunteers
• Technology integration across the organization

I really enjoyed my first NTCJews session and it was one of my favorite sessions at the conference.  It was a great example of a session at NTC as the first two presentations showed a problem the organization had internally, how technology was used to help them solve the problem, and the challenges they faced.  Understanding how leaders recognize and address a problem is much more educational than learning only about best practices.

Finally, it was a delight to be with many of the same people for Shabbat dinner on Friday night and hearing the funny d'var from Rabbi Laura Baum comparing the lessons of Purim to nonprofit technology.  It's nice to be around other Jews.

Emily Weinberg is a nonprofit blogger. Her blog, The Nonprofit Blog Exchange, is a resource for nonprofits where she writes monthly roundups linking to nonprofit blog articles and has been recognized as one of the top 150 nonprofit blogs in the world.  She also writes about nonprofits and social media on her blog, Emily's World. You can learn more on her LinkedIn profile.

A Place for Us to Listen

JCDS started off the 2013-2014 academic year with what I would have considered a strong social media presence. While the school has been active on many social media channels for some time (Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, LinkedIn), most of my focus had been on Facebook, as it is a quick and easy way to share photos, videos, and important updates with our parents, grandparents, donors, and alumni.

Looking back, I wasn't thinking about social media in the right way. While I posted nearly every day, the most engagement I got was a couple of likes here and there. I was posting, not connecting.

Through experimentation over the last six months, I've learned that my role, as the voice of the school on Facebook, is not to be a news source, but to create an environment that starts conversation. Once I was able to get the conversation started, Facebook became a tool unlike any other. It became a place for me to listen to what our audience values, which in the end, is the most important thing of all.

By analyzing the engagement levels and analytics of our recent posts, here are the top 5 Facebook strategies that have been successful for JCDS:

1. Tag those who are involved, and those who you want to be involved.

When you tag someone in a post or photo, it will show up on their Facebook page. Not only will it directly call attention to the person you want to be involved, but your post will also be visible to their network, and therefore, reach many more people who you otherwise would not have access to! I’ve had success asking people to tag themselves and their friends. The benefit of this is twofold: they are actively engaging with the post, and they may tag people who we are not yet connected with.

2. Ask questions.

Asking specific, pointed questions is a great way to get the conversation rolling. Sure, I’ve had a few flops, but those helped me learn what our audience likes to talk about. I've seen success in action in many of my #ThrowbackThursday posts, where I've asked (via tagging) people in the photo specific questions about what's going on in the picture. One comment leads to the next, and pretty soon anyone who sees the photo gets a deeper understanding of what was happening when the photo was taken, and hopefully feels more connected to story I am trying to tell.

3. Be genuine.

In January, JCDS students were surprised with a visit from the 2013 World Series Trophy. First, I posted that we had big news with a photo of one of our staff members dressed as a Red Sox player. The next day, I posted a photo of excited kids (and tagged their parents) and shared that the trophy would be coming. Then — the most successful post of all — was a video of a 4th grade teacher telling the kids that the trophy was coming. Seeing their pure and genuine reaction definitely resonated with our social media audience: 38 likes, 19 comments, and the jackpot, 12 shares. The video was even written about in the local newspaper, the Watertown Patch. This kind of engagement was unprecedented for us.

4. Repeat successful themes.

Between the regular daily posts, I've committed to a few repeating themes. One universal theme, #ThrowbackThursday, has been a great way for us to connect with our alumni and alumni parents. I’ve gotten a tremendously positive response from our throwback photos. Because this is a weekly theme, the audience knows to expect it. And because there are usually a lot of comments, people are not shy to participate.

I also created a new theme, called #JCDSCharacter. I felt it was important to celebrate our students through short stories that capture the spirit of our school. Parents love to see that they are sending their kids to a school that helps them grow into mensches. It's also a great tool for prospective families. Every time a #JCDSCharacter post is shared, a whole new audience is exposed to the great things that happen in our school.

5. Engage with other organizations.

Celebrating successes of other schools and organizations is a beautiful thing! Just as much as we want people to engage with our school Facebook page, it's important to interact with others. While I am on Facebook, I make sure to take the time to look at what other organizations are posting. If they post something that relates to our school or community, I share it on our page. Fostering good-will between organizations is priceless, and the favor is almost always returned.

 

The Jewish Day School Social Media Academy is an intensive program designed to help Jewish Day Schools advance their strategic use of social media in areas such as communication, marketing, community building, alumni relations and development. The 2013-14 nationwide cohort of 15schools was generously supported by The AVI CHAI Foundation.  Each of the schools will be sharing insights from their experience through blog posts here this spring with the tag #jdsacademy

Also, check out the Jewish Day School Social Media and Video Academy website, which includes a free self-assessment to help your school focus on key areas of growth in your social media work.

Top Ten Tech Tips Learned from the Book of Esther

Cross-posted with permission from OurJewishCommunity.org

In today’s world, holiday celebration is usually juxtaposed with whatever else is going on at the time.  So it was with my celebration of Purim this year, as I was travelling into the holiday from the SXSW Interactive Conference in Austin and the Nonprofit Technology Conference in Washington DC. I couldn’t help but reflect on Purim in the context of technology, and I discovered that the Book of Esther is full of helpful tech tips!

As background, Purim is one of several Jewish holidays to commemorate the resilience of the Jewish people in the face of oppression (otherwise known as: they came to kill us, we won, let’s eat!).  The main characters in the Book of Esther are King Ahasuerus of Persia; his beautiful first wife Vashti; Haman, an evil official of the king; Mordechai, a kindly Jew; and Queen Esther, the second wife of Ahasuerus, who was Mordechai’s relative and also a Jew.

Another piece of background: There are two ways to approach biblical texts.  One is exegesis.  This involves a careful, objective analysis.  The other is eisegesis, a subjective, non-analytical approach.  It lets us read our own message into the text.  And that’s exactly what I decided to do.  Here's what I learned:

1.  Diversity matters.  Throughout the Nonprofit Technology Conference, many spoke of the importance of diversity in tech teams – the need to include women, minorities, and others who are so often excluded.  Purim celebrates diversity as well.  The cast of characters includes two queens who are quite different from one another, and two courtiers at opposite ends of a good-to-evil continuum.

2. Avoid the shiny object syndrome.  The king’s shiny object was Vashti.  But when he wanted her to prance around naked in front of his friends, she refused.  If he wanted a queen who doubled as a display piece, Vashti wasn’t that woman.  He was wooed by her looks, and never bothered to see if she had the substance needed to accomplish his goals.  Of course, I’m speaking from the king’s perspective of viewing Vashti as a beautiful, objectified woman, rather than from my feminist perspective.  But the parallel holds: with technology, it’s critical that we look past the sexiness of the package to make sure it does what we want.

3. Collect data and ask questions.  Several conference sessions addressed the importance of data.  Haman could have used that lesson.  When King Ahasuerus asked how he would honor a great man, Haman said he would dress that person in royal robes and lead him around on the king’s horse.  Haman assumed the king was talking about him, but it turns out the king was asking how to honor Mordechai.  If Haman had done things thoughtfully, he would have first gathered data and then answered based on that.  We need to make sure our tech decisions are data-driven as well.

4. Just because you build it doesn’t mean they’ll come.  Haman built gallows for Mordechai.  But, it turned out that’s not what the community (and in this case, the king) wanted.  In fact, Haman ended up being the guy who was hanged.  So don’t assume that, just because you build something, people will want it.  Maybe you’ll be the only guy using that tech in the end!

5. Go big or go home.  Be loud and bold and crazy.  Like Esther, be yourself. And be willing to make noise.  Wear a mask occasionally.  Experiment with tech.  Try new things on for size.

6. Don’t drink and tweet.  Be responsible.  Though it’s a mitzvah (commandment) to get so drunk on Purim that you don’t know the difference between Drupal and WordPress – or Salesforce and Oracle – drink responsibly.

7. Segment your audience.  If we were writing and disseminating the Book of Esther today, we would share it differently with each audience.  For example, kids would get a text about hamantaschen (cookies), queens, and noisemakers.  Adults would get an email about nudity, drinking, and violence.

8. Think before you hit send.  King Ahasuerus had already decreed that all the Jews should be killed – before Esther told him she was Jewish.  When he wanted to reverse the decree, it was too late. So the story had to end with the king allowing the Jews to defend themselves, and therefore tragically slaying tens of thousands.  He would have been better off not issuing the decree in the first place.

9. Borrow from the past, but decide what to discard.  The Bible is a series of myths and legends.  Its authors were brilliant and creative.  I still look to some of my ancestors’ writings for meaning – but not to all of their stories.  Some are simply not meaningful to us today, so we also create our own authentic stories.  It’s the same with technology.  We have to decide what to hold on to and what no longer serves.

10. Be disruptive.  The Purim story is about disruption.  Mordechai changed history by refusing to bow to Haman.  Vashti disobeyed the king.  Esther disrupted the norms too.  In an effort to save the Jews, she appeared before the king without having first been summoned – a clear violation of royal protocol.  The authors of the Book of Esther knew that it is through disruption that society moves forward, just as disruptive technology helps us create new markets and value streams today. 
As someone who values the ongoing evolution of the Jewish experience, I celebrate disruptive Judaism and disruptive technology.  Through disruption, innovation happens. Meaningful experiences emerge.

Laura Baum is rabbi and co-founder of OurJewishCommunity.org, an online synagogue that reaches hundreds of thousands of people around the world.  Follow her on Twitter @Rabbi .

Games for Change: Shooting for the Moon

As part of the 11th Annual Games for Change Festival taking place April 22-24, Schusterman is teaming up with Games for Change to sponsor a game design contest! Games for Change is a nonprofit organization that catalyzes social impact through inventive digital games. They are known for bringing together and propelling the brightest minds passionate about incorporating gaming into daily life in order to advance society.

Schusterman is excited to partner with Games for Change in helping to advance the understanding of games and game thinking within its network of young Jewish change makers! We believe that this initiative will tap into a network of young Jewish adults eager to apply technology for social good in Israel, the Jewish world and beyond.

As part of our partnership with Games for Change, Schusterman invited eight representatives from organizations in our network to come together for a two-day workshop at Soho House in New York City. The workshop helped to advance understanding of the potential of digital games to engage new audiences and to move each organization’s mission forward.

As a result of this workshop, SpaceIL was selected to see their plan through, and we are now calling on game builders far and wide to apply their skills to a worthy mission!

SpaceIL, an Israel-based nonprofit organization and one of the leading teams competing for the Google Lunar X Prize, is aiming to land a spacecraft on the moon by 2015. Through this endeavor, SpaceIL aspires to create a new “Apollo effect,” inspiring the next generation to think differently about science, engineering, technology and math.

The game contest invites designers and developers to envision an interactive experience that encourages players to learn about space exploration and, at the same time, captures comprehensive real-world data that will inform the mission of SpaceIL.

Ideally, the game will allow the SpaceIL team to learn about potential spacecraft designs and possible orbits from online players who are able to land virtual spaceships on the final frontier.

The Games for Change Festival will take place as part of the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. Three finalists will present their ideas on stage in front of attendees, potential funders and a juried panel, and the winning team with the most innovative proposal will receive a grand prize of $25,000 and have the opportunity to collaborate further with SpaceIL on their mission to the moon!

We are officially on the hunt for creative entries and are excited to see young innovators in our network put their skills to the test! Click here to submit your proposal.

Want to go to the Games for Change Festival but not interested in building a game? No problem! You can purchase tickets here and receive 10% off festival registration using the Schusterman code: schusterman-g4c14! Festival-goers will get to experience presentations from icons of the gaming world. Please visit the Festival website for more about this exciting event!

Is Your Day School Ready To Take the Social Media Leap?

Originally posted on the AVI CHAI Foundation Blog

Enhancing your social media and video use can be hard and sometimes daunting work. But never fear: if you are curious about how to up your online presence across platforms, you can now access the collective resources and learnings from The Jewish Day School Social Media Academy and Jewish Day School Video Academy programs on a new website!

The Jewish Day School Social Media Academy is a year-long intensive program now in its third cohort which helps schools mature their social media use to achieve specific goals, such as recruitment, alumni engagement, community building, and fundraising. The Jewish Day School Video Academy is a contest and program created to help schools use video to support their goals. Since the inception of these programs, we’ve seen some patterns emerge that lead us to two important lessons about advancing your school’s work.

  1. You don’t know what you don’t know. Often, schools will think they’re doing a fine job with their Facebook page when, in fact, they aren’t using it to the fullest to accomplish their goals. Consider this: you can be proud of yourself when you’ve just memorized your multiplication tables, but you have no idea that there’s more to learn in algebra, or how this new knowledge could actually be useful.
  2. It’s easy to stick to what you do know. Staff (and in some schools, volunteers) who are excited about social media and video often focus on activities that they know and love, doubling down on what they are already doing well while ignoring other areas that need maturation. Perhaps you’re really good at live tweeting events and photos in real time, but haven’t yet ventured into creating purposeful and high quality videos to market your school. Or you love telling stories, but haven’t been tracking metrics to understand: What tone of voice (for example: serious or funny?), time of day, or visual content gets the most engagement, or farthest reach?

After working with Academy participants to help them understand these two points, we wondered: How can we help you understand where you have room to grow and mature, and then help you take important next steps? How can we support you in trying new things, integrating digital tools into your communications and development work, and rounding out your social media skill set to advance your school’s mission and goals?

To help you and your school advance your work, this week we are launching the Jewish Day School Social Media and Video Academy website, which includes a powerful assessment tool that will help you identify what you’re doing well, where (and how) you can improve, and in which areas you should be investing your time and energy. After completing the assessment, you’ll receive personalized recommendations from the Academy designers and experts from Darim Online (an organization dedicated to advancing the Jewish community by helping Jewish organizations align their work for success in the digital age) and See3 Communications (a digital communications agency that works with nonprofits and social causes to engage and activate people) to help guide and inform your next steps.

The website also includes a wide array of resources: recorded webinars where you can learn to tell your story through video and develop strategies to engage alumni, helpful articles, award-winning videos made by day schools, and examples of best practices in social media.

We’ve designed this site for you to have ah-ha moments, to feel excited and inspired, and to think, “Oh yeah, I should do that!”  We also hope the recommendations it provides will be great guidelines for your team and administration to prioritize which approaches to pursue, what professional development is most necessary, and where to focus your social media investments.

Want to connect with other Jewish day schools using social media in creative ways? You can also join the JDS Social Media Academy Facebook Group!

Calling All DoGooders!

Announcing the 2014 DoGooder Video Awards!

Presented by See3 Communications, YouTube, the Nonprofit Technology Network, The National Youth Media Network and National Alliance for Media and Culture

See3 Communications (which merged with Darim Online in 2012) is once again teaming up with the amazing partners listed above to host the 8th Annual DoGooder Video Awards. This is a HUGE opportunity for Jewish organizations to showcase fantastic videos created in 2013, and to get the word out about the good you're doing. Check out the video and the press release below for more information, and let us know if you submit – we'd love to cheer you on!

See3 Communications, the leader in online video for nonprofits, and YouTube, the world’s largest online video community along with the Nonprofit Technology Network, announced today the launch of the 2014 DoGooder Video Awards. The DoGooder Awards recognize the creative and effective use of video in promoting social good. Cisco, a global leader in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), is generously contributing a cash prize to one contest winner. Cisco combines human and technology networks to multiply its impact on people, communities, and the planet. The National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture in partnership with the National Youth Media Network & with support from The National Alliance for Media Literacy Education and others, will also provide additional prizes to the winner of the new Youth Media category.

In addition to prizes provided by Cisco and the National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture, contest winners will receive free registration to the Nonprofit Technology Conference, the signature event hosted by the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN). Finally, the winners will see their videos (and their message) featured on the hugely popular YouTube Spotlight Channel.

Now in its 8th year, the DoGooder Awards program is dedicated to giving those cause advocates that use video a place for their work to shine. This year, the program is excited to open up participation to include younger do-gooders ages 12 to 21 who best communicated their thoughts on pressing social issues in a way that inspired others.

"We are really excited to launch another year of the DoGooder Awards," said Michael Hoffman, CEO of See3. "When we started the awards 8 years ago, no one knew why they needed to focus on video. Now, the majority of all bandwidth is video and video messaging has become more important than ever for nonprofit organizations around the world. This year, we are pleased to present the Most Inspiring Youth Media Award, where we can showcase the up-and-coming video makers dedicated to social change. Once again we have the investment of YouTube, NTEN and Cisco to make this all possible and we are grateful for their dedication to the nonprofit sector."

Beginning February 1st, video submissions will be accepted via the contest website until February 15th, in the following categories:

  • The ImpactX Award: honoring those videos that have demonstrated impact for their causes.
  • The Best Nonprofit Video Award: honoring nonprofit organizations using video to make change.
  • The Funny for Good Award: Recognizing effective use of comedy to make people laugh and take action.
  • The Most Inspiring Youth Media Award: For youth who best communicated their thoughts on pressing social issues in a way that inspired others.

Members of the YouTube community will have the opportunity to vote for the best among the finalists from February 28th through March 10th.

The winning videos in each category will be featured on YouTube’s coveted Spotlight Channel, receive a free registration to next year’s Nonprofit Technology Conference and will be recognized at the Nonprofit Technology Conference in Washington, D.C. on March 13, 2014. The winners in the ImpactX category will receive a cash prize from Cisco to help them harness the power of human and technology networks to multiply their impact on the people and communities they serve. Additional prizes will be awarded to each winner as well.

Celebrating its eighth year, the DoGooder Video Awards has awarded thousands of dollars in grants and prizes to support the work of organizations doing good. Last year, over 800 entries were submitted from more than 300 nonprofit organizations, with winning videos from Rainforest Alliance, Pathfinder International and more.

Organizations and individuals can enter the contest by going to www.youtube.com/dogooder.

Its Not About The Likes. Reach Higher in Your Online Alumni Engagement.

Originally posted on EJewishPhilanthropy

As part of the #NetTalks Alumni Engagement Webinar Series, Beth Kanter, nonprofit social media and engagement guru, taught an important lesson during her recent presentation: you must invest in building your online alumni ecosystem, and then you can turn to activating it to achieve your stated goals.

You don’t just want people to “like” you. And you don’t actually want them to start engaging the moment they become alumni. And you don’t really want to share information about your program with them. Really.

Why?

  • Because “liking” your Facebook page or your content is just the beginning. It’s potential, but it’s not the goal. You want alumni to follow you, engage, advocate for you, and donate. The “like” is merely one early step along this path.
  • Because beginning to engage should happen before they become alumni – focus on developing long term relationships and mature communication channels that flow in both directions!
  • And finally, because you want to be in conversation with alumni, not broadcasting information at them.

Building your online alumni ecosystem cannot be based on one-directional broadcasts, nor rest primarily on reminiscing about the past. The opportunity to leverage social media and networks is huge, but requires that we pivot our approach to be more empowering, more conversational, and more personal. (Join the next webinar with James Fowler on Feb. 19th to learn about “Mobilizing the Network: The Power of Friends”.)

Take this example from URJ Camp Kalsman: When beginning to hire staff for the summer, they turned to their alumni (and potentially current older campers and parents of current campers) on Facebook to ask, “We are in the midst of hiring our summer staff and we want to hear from you! What do you love to see in a camp counselor?” By asking a question, the camp invites engagement, values the perspective and experience of alumni, and gains important insight for their future hiring. They’ve moved from “liking” to “engaging” and those who respond actually may influence the experience of future campers.

Beth also showed several examples from schools that are using reminiscing as an entry point to strengthen their network. Their “Throwback Thursday” photos are intended to go beyond reminiscing – they are getting alumni to tag their friends in the group photos, which creates or re-creates a strong group dynamic and builds energy.” It’s not about the school, it’s about the relationships that were fostered there. The Shulamith School for Girls in Brooklyn, NY had 78 comments on a photo from the 1970′s, as alumni talked with each other and reconnected with old friends.

Moving from engagement to activation, The Jewish Community High School of the Bay featured photos of beloved teachers and coaches holding signs (“Coach says GIVE!”) that prompted alumni to join in the communal effort to reach their fundraising goal – tagging friends to contribute and asking for photos of their favorite faculty.

Social media is social as much (or more so) than it is media. As a professional seeking to engage and activate your alumni community, consider yourself more “party host” than “alumni magazine editor”. To play this role, you must have the right tools in your toolbox and know how to use them. However, doing it well goes far beyond technical proficiency. Be a good listener, steward conversations, and empower your biggest fans to enrich the network with their voice, actions and relationships.

If you missed Beth’s webinar, view her presentation here. To learn more about activating an alumni network, join the next #NetTalks webinar with James Fowler on Feb. 19 on “Mobilizing the Network: The Power of Friends”. Register here.

Tips for An Effective Professional Presence Online

Cross-posted from Clips and Phrases

I was putting together a presentation for Jewish communal folks on developing an effective professional presence online, including some bits about the personal/professional continuum, some about reputation management, some about privacy vs. publicy, and other technical tips. Before I finished the presentation, I asked my network: What advice would you give? Here are their answers…

Rebecca: Creating separate lists for professional contacts and adjusting privacy settings accordingly.

Arnie: Ask questions consistently. Value people’s responses. Engage them in conversation. Respect them. Maintain a sense of humor and a sense of perspective.

Deborah: Just like in in-person communication, consider verbal, vocal (tone) and non-verbal (appearance). They all make an impact.

Stephanie: Nothing is truly personal. You must always represent yourself professionally, even in your personal spaces (i.e., your hobby blog, your “personal” Twitter.

Liz: Don’t just “sell” your programs and/or yourself. Also answer others’ posts, share others’ ideas/posts, participate in the on-line community.

Peter: Be a digital role model (easier said then done).

Ken: Don’t just talk to your own pals. Better yet: try and make new pals, as often as possible.

Lisa: Be generous — respond when people ask or share. Also, re Stephanie’s comment which I 100% agree with, look at the ratios of personal sharing, professional sharing/promoting, generosity/appreciation for others, network engagement, etc. Only a small percentage should be the cute things your kids said (that don’t relate to anything else), otherwise professional contacts will have a hard time taking you seriously. All about the ratios.

Mimi: Connecting with people authentically, keeping things light/funny (the new professional) and warm! AUTHENTIC. GENUINE. REAL. HONEST. (Grabbing my thesuarus here ;)).

Asaf: To the point about reputation maintenance online, I think the best term is personal branding. I think from a professional point of view, people should consider their online presence as supporting the brand that is them. This relates to what they post,where they post, and to whom they post.

Isaac: To be a brand you need to have a consistent voice, tone, message and point of view. To be a personal brand, the above needs to be authentic and closely connected to your actual personality and style.

Big thanks to everyone who contributed to this post! Check out the presentation here.
What advice would YOU give?