Its not just about the money

As participants in the Jewish Day School Social Media Academy, we have faced many exciting challenges this year.  Getting our social media presence up and running was the first hurdle – daily posts, monitoring the likes, the reach, the insights overall – it has been a whole new world of lingo.

Once we had established some social media “cred”, we then ventured to the next madrega (level) – social media fundraising.  While initially we were most excited about the potential funds raised through the campaign, in hindsight we realize that we gained much more from the experience than the funds.  The obvious benefit was the prospect of raising important funds that could be matched an additional $10,000 from the AVI CHAI Foundation.  The side (and possible more useful?) benefit was watching as our school transformed into a community of PR ambassadors and fundraisers within a matter of hours.

Here’s how we did it:   

  1. Strategically craft a campaign – we spent a considerable amount of time deciding specifically what the campaign would support.  Once decided upon, the next step was to ensure that the administration “bought in” to the idea and would follow through on the expenditure of this money.  We made sure to select programs that would benefit the entire PreK-12 student body and would have broad appeal. Hence, our campaign was dubbed the “Music and Movement Challenge” supporting enhancements to the athletic and music co-curricular programming at RMBA.
  2. Create a fundraising campaign on Crowdrise.com – a social media fundraising website which allows individual campaign champions to set up their own pages and tell their stories to their personal social networks of why our school (and this program in particular) is a worthy cause.
  3. Tell the world – send out messages to the entire school community letting them know about the exciting matching opportunity and seeing who would rise up to be a champion of our campaign.
  4. Train the champions – in a Powerpoint presentation, we told the campaign champs how to create their own personalized crowdrise.com pages.
  5. Incentivize the champions – by announcing amazon.com gift cards to the champions who raised the most money, and who secured the largest number of individual donations, we created a more energized team.
  6. Watch the money roll in – within hours, our champions were talking up the campaign and bringing in gifts.

The rewards:

a.       $15,000 toward the enhancement of our music and athletic program.

b.       A dedicated group of champions who spent their time talking up the school and encouraging others to donate to our cause.

c.       Virality – champions were talking about our school to their cousins, employers, college roommates – anyone who might support them and their school.

We were overwhelmed with the positive response garnered by the campaign.  The utilization of our champion’s personal social networks created a fun, yet competitive, vibe which motivated all to push themselves for success. 

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 2012-13 nationwide cohort of 20 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

The 2013-14 cohort is currently in formation. If your school or community is interested in more information, please contact Lisa Colton.

 

Rally for MJDS: A Case Study of Social Fundraising

Milwaukee Jewish Day School is a non-diversified school accepting Jews from across the board. We have an excellent education program deeply rooted in tradition and innovation. We have a large emphasis on digital media and technology such as iPads, smart-boards, computer Labs, and a green screen studio. With so many students and parents using technology photo’s and videos have never been so important.

We’ve always had an Annual Campaign, but for the first time as a result of the Social Media Academy we decided to try something different, and accept donations online.

Before launching our campaign on the Rally platform, we went to the PTO and found volunteers who would be willing to spread the word and expand our network.

First, we sent out a future leader survey at the beginning of the annual campaign. We asked students what they want to be when they grow up? How is MJDS helping you reach your goals for the future? Once we identified our Fan Fundraisers for the Rally Campaign, David Hercenberg, our Digital Media & Marketing Specialist, worked with each person to help them promote the Rally Campaign on their personal Facebook pages.

We encourage our students to reach for the stars and achieve their dreams, so we used the idea of featuring current students & alumni students to show that with an MJDS education you really can achieve your goals.  

We customized our amount selection options & encouraged people to share the rally campaign with their friends and family. We posted custom photos and quotes the Future leaders survey to add a personal touch for every post. We also explained that every donation up to $10K would be doubled thanks to a match from The AVI CHAI Foundation!

Using an online social fundraising platform we were able reach our goal of $10K because we made it as simple as possible for people to donate. Facebook analytics proved that videos got people’s attention and inspired conversation, so we used photos and videos to our advantage. By utilizing our Fan Fundraisers' friends and family, we expanded our network and reach for the campaign. In addition to our Fan Fundraisers, the Milwaukee Jewish Federation reposted some of our posts to expand our network.

Although our alumni were not a huge part of the success of the Rally campaign, we did receive some donations from them. Since we opened the door to a new group of donors who might not have taken the time to donate through traditional ways we see this as a success.  Rally costs us 4.5% to process donations Vs. Paypal which is approximately 2%. Although we plan on using Rally again in the future, for now we are accepting regular donations on Paypal to keep the Rally fresh and focused, and to save money on processing fees.

Overall compared to it’s competition Rally did a great job of being customizable, however it did have one major limitation. The ability to grant multiple levels of access is not available, meaning whomever controls the account has access to all the information. Ideally we would like to allow one person to control the content posting while the business department controls the flow of money on the backend.  We hear that Rally is considering adding this feature to their platform.

 

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 2012-13 nationwide cohort of 20 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

The 2013-14 cohort is currently in formation. If your school or community is interested in more information, please contact Lisa Colton.

The Best Advice Facebook Ever Gave Me

Originally posted on Clips and Phrases.

Well, not Facebook per se, but the fantastic, smart, and savvy folks on it. In short, I was preparing for a panel on social media marketing and put the following question out to my peeps:

"What's one thing you think is critical for (Jewish, nonprofit) social media marketers to know, do, or avoid?"

And here are the answers I got, divided into handy-dandy categories for your reading pleasure.

It’s Social Media, So…Be Social:

The conversation is happening with or without them. It's best to be a part of the conversation and get their ideas/analysis into the mix and be actively engaged. –Ellen Slaggert Neuchterlein

Keep it a two way street– post things, get info out, but welcome and then follow through with that which comes back. –Anita Saltzman Silvert

Use your greatest advantage – your natural networking abilities – to create a network of people who are talking about the organization rather than to be one person talking to many. – Debra Askanase

Another point is related to those above – that it's not a "push-out-the-message-via-PR" strategy, but one of bi- and multi-directional engagement. Ask questions, listen to the answers, and prepare to translate those pieces of feedback into action to improve the product/organization/reputation/service. –Esther Kustanowitz

It’ Ain’t All About the Benjamins, Baby (At Least Not Yet):

One thing to note is that the number one goal of social media for non-profits can't be fundraising, if people feel that all you are doing is asking for things they won't engage. As everyone said, this is a two way street, so social media should be used to get people more vested in a non-profit via meaningful communication. That way, when the non-profit asks for help, the person has a stronger connection to them because of the social media relationship they have developed. There is a slew of research that shows that social media helps brands be top of mind, for future engagement, not for immediate spending. –Rae Gross

Using social media is a two way street, the non-profit needs to give those following something (i.e. relevant information about whats happening in the community, educational, historical, fun, etc.) before they start trying to fundraise to those followers. Also, should create engagement and not just "push" things out to show they are posting. – Micha Siegel

Be You! Do Yo’ Thang!:

DO be likeable and approachable through your media and always align with your mission, vision and values. DON'T avoid the complaints-feedback and how you respond is part of becoming more likeable. –Elaine L. Suchow

Have personality! Make sure it's consistent with your brand identity not just the person with their fingertips on the keyboard. Though making sure they're REAL is also great, as long as it's consistent. Have fun! –Lisa Colton

Tell the story through the relationships and the experiences. People not product. Unless it's dark chocolate with sea salt. New personal favorite. –Shariee Calderone

Spell-check is Your Friend, and Other Practical Nuggets:

Know who you are talking to and what that person/audience cares about. –Rebecca Saidlower

I always see a lax attitude when it comes to grammar, punctuation and diction. The more professional they come off, the more respect they get from the public. –David Steinberg

Keep your personal and work accounts on different apps. –Leah Jones

Especially with Jewish audiences, I like to point out that although these communications tools are often seen as "technology" (and therefore SCARY!!), what the tools provide is an ability to expand our points of connection with individuals and build a stronger Jewish community. Usually when that's stated, it helps calm tech-anxiety. Also, if you talk about Facebook as facilitating Jewish geography, that usually gets a giggle and a nod as people begin to get it.  –Esther Kustanowitz

And, a Final Note on Courage:

Dare to say only what's worth saying. Work hard to figure out what the hell this might mean. –Ken Gordon

What resonates with you on this list? What would you add?

CJDS Bar Mitzvah: Not just a social eventA social media event!

The 20 schools in the Jewish Day School Social Media Academy have been working on social media and social fundraising projects this year.  This post is part of a series of posts by the participating schools as they share their work, design and learnings.

The Charlotte Jewish Day School is now in our 13th year as a community day school and we are going to celebrate in a very 21st century way.

As members of this year’s social media academy given by Darim Online, See3 Communications and Big Duck, we have been given a great opportunity.  The AVI CHAI Foundation has offered us a matching grant for money raised through social media, dollar for dollar, up to $10,000!  So we decided to have a “Virtual Bar Mitzvah”.

We hope that the Bar Mitzvah will prove to re-engage our alumni and their families, and to raise some necessary funds.

Our first CJDS graduates are now young adults in their twenties, settled in other communities across the country.  These early graduates and their families are being recognized as “Leap of Faith” families, as their commitment to Jewish Day School education truly laid the foundation for the community school and for the hundreds of children that followed. The class of 2000 was the first graduating class, and some of the students are now in Business School, working at Fortune 500 companies, and working in the medical field.  Our graduates are reconnecting with CJDS and sharing their journey’s and stories of success.

The first part of the celebration was the introduction of “Flashback Fridays” on Facebook.  Each Friday, we post class pictures from early grades at CJDS on the Charlotte Jewish Day School Facebook page.  Former students and their families flock to the Facebook page each Friday to see if they can identify the students and reminisce about the school days on the hill in the trailers.

The second part of the celebration will be the fundraising component. We will be using the online fundraising platform, Crowdrise, to raise money.  The “front” page of the website will have a bar mitzvah invitation inviting “guests” to check out the rest of the site.  It will show team members, the group they are representing, and their goals.  We will use old pictures and videos to create an attractive and engaging environment and to convey the story and generate an emotional connection.  We will strive to have 16 teams, each representing a graduating class or specific group of CJDS stakeholders who may or may not be past parents or grandparents, such as community members, trustees to the Board of Directors, and teachers and staff.  We have identified team captains for each of the 16 teams.  The team captains will outreach to other parents, grandparents, relatives, graduates and friends through email and social media.  They can recruit others to form teams as well.

We are looking forward to seeing how our stakeholders rise (or should we say Crowdrise) to the challenge.  We would love you to check us out (and if you are so inspired, donate!)—http://www.crowdrise.com/CharlotteJewishDaySchool.  Our campaign will be open from April 4 –May 30, 2013.

 

Jewish Day School Social Media Academy 2012-13

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 Academy runs throughout the 2012-13 academic year, and includes live events, online training via webinar, and private coaching and consulting for each school.

Last year the first Academy included 9 schools in the New York and New Jersey area.  Participating schools' achievements included advancing their use of social media tools, developing social media policies, raising over $18,000 through Facebook Causes (which was then matched to total over $36,000), and introduced new networking strategies into their marketing and communications plans.  Now we're opening the Academy to schools nationwide.

Participating schools will benefit from:

  • Social media training from Darim Online
  • Up to 10 hours of private social media consulting from Big Duck
  • Support from The AVI CHAI Foundation, including matching funds for a social fundraising campaign (that you’ll design with the help of your coach) and reimbursement of expenses.

We’re looking for up to 20 Jewish Day Schools that are eager to take advantage of this opportunity, are willing and able to devote the time and focus to the Academy, and are willing to take risks and try new things.  The Academy is designed to encourage and support pioneers who are innovating and sharing what they learn and achieve.

ABOUT THE SOCIAL MEDIA ACADEMY
Developing and strengthening networks is the key to success in social media–and the schools that have the most success get everyone involved. To participate in the Academy, you will need to assemble a team of fellows to participate. While the teams may be made of up to five members, we expect two of them to play a core role. These two lead members of the team will attend live trainings, participate in webinars and conference calls, respond to conversations in an online community, and work closely with a coach. Other members of the team can participate as much as they'd like. These two lead members should be a senior leader (e.g Director of Communications or Marketing, Admissions Director, Development Director, etc.) and a person who will be primarily responsible for leading the social media work for the school  Schools are also welcome to have a lay leader or volunteer join their team.

There will be three live events during the Academy.

  • First, our kickoff event will be a full day in October shortly after Sukkot.  We’ll have one full day event in New York City, and another based in Los Angeles (or at a second convenient location once the cohort is selected).    Schools that are not in the Los Angeles or New York areas will be eligible for travel subsidies.
  • In February, at least one team member is expected (and more are encouraged) to attend the North American Jewish Day School Conference (NAJDS) in Washington DC February 3-6, 2013.  We’ll piggyback our cohort meeting onto the tail end of the conference.
  • The graduation from the Academy will be scheduled for May or June in New York and again at a convenient west coast location.

 
WEBINARS AND CONFERENCE CALLS
Throughout the year we’ll offer a series of webinar and conference call trainings to build skills and share experiences with various tools, strategies and case studies, including for example, “social fundraising”, “content curation” and “network weaving”, as well as looking at tools such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and others.  Webinars will be recorded so you can replay at your convenience.

Each school will be assigned a coach from Big Duck who will work with your team throughout the year on a project, fundraising challenge, and developing your school’s social and networked culture. You will have up 10 hours to meet with coaches by phone or webinar, and in cases where schools are geographically situated near Brooklyn, New York, in person as well.  Coaches will help teams create a strategy, use tools effectively, develop your project, design your fundraising challenge, and navigate internal processes as you move through the Academy.  Your work with your coach will focus around the following 3 areas:

  • Each team will work on a specific project during the Academy.  You will be asked to propose a goal and project in your application, and your coach will help you fine tune this strategy in the Academy.  Projects are typically focused around deepening your network through one specific online tool, or integrating social media into other forms of active communications.  Schools will be asked to share their project in blog posts and/or Sharefest! webinars (where schools share what they're working on with the Academy) throughout the year as their work develops.
  • Once schools have developed a level of fluency with key social media tools and have matured their online networks, they will be invited to participate in a social fundraising challenge.  Using a social fundraising platform (such as Facebook Causes, Kickstarter or Razoo, for example), schools will design and launch a campaign.  The AVI CHAI Foundation will match up to $10,000 per school raised through this effort.  Each school will work with their coach and the Foundation to design the parameters of this experiment. Schools will be asked to share their experience in blog posts and/or Sharefest! webinars.
  • Working in networked, transparent ways means doing our work differently. Not only do we use different tools (such as social media) but the ways we work need to shift as well.  Sometimes this is easy and obvious, and other times it is challenging, uncomfortable, and hard.   Through the Academy we’ll talk about these challenges, support you as you face them head on, and provide examples of how others have addressed the same issues.  Each school will be given copies of The Social Media Policy Workbook for Jewish Organizations, written by Darim Online with Idealware, and will be encouraged to work on one or multiple attributes of maturing their social culture.  This may mean, for example, creating a social media policy, or revisiting job descriptions.  You will be not forced to make any policy changes during the Academy — rather we want to help you identify where you can mature your organization and support you in doing so.

Each participating school will have expenses related to their social media work reimbursed by The AVI CHAI Foundation.  Schools selected to participate in the Academy will be provided with specific guidelines on such reimbursements.

Please see our FAQ: Jewish Day School Social Media Academy for additional details about the program.

Applications open:            July 11, 2012

Application deadline:       August 3, 2012, 5pm eastern.
Cohort announced:           End of August
Academy begins:              Following Sukkot, Mid-October.  Dates to be confirmed.

 

The application is available online, We recommend that you review the questions and draft your answers in advance.    You can download a PDF here of the full application or scroll down to the attachment below to preview the application questions.

 Tweet about this program using #JDStech

Any questions?  Please check our FAQ about the Jewish Day School Social Media Academy. You can also email us at learningnetwork@darimonline.org

Thanks to the AVI CHAI Foundation for funding the 2012-13 Jewish Day School Social Media Academy.

Jewish Day School Social Media Academy 2012-13

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 Academy runs throughout the 2012-13 academic year, and includes live events, online training via webinar, and private coaching and consulting for each school.

Last year the first Academy included 9 schools in the New York and New Jersey area.  Participating schools' achievements included advancing their use of social media tools, developing social media policies, raising over $18,000 through Facebook Causes (which was then matched to total over $36,000), and introduced new networking strategies into their marketing and communications plans.  Now we're opening the Academy to schools nationwide.

Participating schools will benefit from:

  • Social media training from Darim Online
  • Up to 10 hours of private social media consulting from Big Duck
  • Support from The AVI CHAI Foundation, including matching funds for a social fundraising campaign (that you’ll design with the help of your coach) and reimbursement of expenses.

We’re looking for up to 20 Jewish Day Schools that are eager to take advantage of this opportunity, are willing and able to devote the time and focus to the Academy, and are willing to take risks and try new things.  The Academy is designed to encourage and support pioneers who are innovating and sharing what they learn and achieve.

ABOUT THE SOCIAL MEDIA ACADEMY
Developing and strengthening networks is the key to success in social media–and the schools that have the most success get everyone involved. To participate in the Academy, you will need to assemble a team of fellows to participate. While the teams may be made of up to five members, we expect two of them to play a core role. These two lead members of the team will attend live trainings, participate in webinars and conference calls, respond to conversations in an online community, and work closely with a coach. Other members of the team can participate as much as they'd like. These two lead members should be a senior leader (e.g Director of Communications or Marketing, Admissions Director, Development Director, etc.) and a person who will be primarily responsible for leading the social media work for the school  Schools are also welcome to have a lay leader or volunteer join their team.

There will be three live events during the Academy.

  • First, our kickoff event will be a full day in October shortly after Sukkot.  We’ll have one full day event in New York City, and another based in Los Angeles (or at a second convenient location once the cohort is selected).    Schools that are not in the Los Angeles or New York areas will be eligible for travel subsidies.
  • In February, at least one team member is expected (and more are encouraged) to attend the North American Jewish Day School Conference (NAJDS) in Washington DC February 3-6, 2013.  We’ll piggyback our cohort meeting onto the tail end of the conference.
  • The graduation from the Academy will be scheduled for May or June in New York and again at a convenient west coast location.

 
WEBINARS AND CONFERENCE CALLS
Throughout the year we’ll offer a series of webinar and conference call trainings to build skills and share experiences with various tools, strategies and case studies, including for example, “social fundraising”, “content curation” and “network weaving”, as well as looking at tools such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and others.  Webinars will be recorded so you can replay at your convenience.

Each school will be assigned a coach from Big Duck who will work with your team throughout the year on a project, fundraising challenge, and developing your school’s social and networked culture. You will have up 10 hours to meet with coaches by phone or webinar, and in cases where schools are geographically situated near Brooklyn, New York, in person as well.  Coaches will help teams create a strategy, use tools effectively, develop your project, design your fundraising challenge, and navigate internal processes as you move through the Academy.  Your work with your coach will focus around the following 3 areas:

  • Each team will work on a specific project during the Academy.  You will be asked to propose a goal and project in your application, and your coach will help you fine tune this strategy in the Academy.  Projects are typically focused around deepening your network through one specific online tool, or integrating social media into other forms of active communications.  Schools will be asked to share their project in blog posts and/or Sharefest! webinars (where schools share what they're working on with the Academy) throughout the year as their work develops.
  • Once schools have developed a level of fluency with key social media tools and have matured their online networks, they will be invited to participate in a social fundraising challenge.  Using a social fundraising platform (such as Facebook Causes, Kickstarter or Razoo, for example), schools will design and launch a campaign.  The AVI CHAI Foundation will match up to $10,000 per school raised through this effort.  Each school will work with their coach and the Foundation to design the parameters of this experiment. Schools will be asked to share their experience in blog posts and/or Sharefest! webinars.
  • Working in networked, transparent ways means doing our work differently. Not only do we use different tools (such as social media) but the ways we work need to shift as well.  Sometimes this is easy and obvious, and other times it is challenging, uncomfortable, and hard.   Through the Academy we’ll talk about these challenges, support you as you face them head on, and provide examples of how others have addressed the same issues.  Each school will be given copies of The Social Media Policy Workbook for Jewish Organizations, written by Darim Online with Idealware, and will be encouraged to work on one or multiple attributes of maturing their social culture.  This may mean, for example, creating a social media policy, or revisiting job descriptions.  You will be not forced to make any policy changes during the Academy — rather we want to help you identify where you can mature your organization and support you in doing so.

Each participating school will have expenses related to their social media work reimbursed by The AVI CHAI Foundation.  Schools selected to participate in the Academy will be provided with specific guidelines on such reimbursements.

Please see our FAQ: Jewish Day School Social Media Academy for additional details about the program.

Applications open:            July 11, 2012

Application deadline:       August 3, 2012, 5pm eastern.
Cohort announced:           End of August
Academy begins:              Following Sukkot, Mid-October.  Dates to be confirmed.

 

The application is available online, We recommend that you review the questions and draft your answers in advance.    You can download a PDF here of the full application or scroll down to the attachment below to preview the application questions.

 Tweet about this program using #JDStech

Any questions?  Please check our FAQ about the Jewish Day School Social Media Academy. You can also email us at learningnetwork@darimonline.org

Thanks to the AVI CHAI Foundation for funding the 2012-13 Jewish Day School Social Media Academy.

This Made My Day.

I just received this press release from Congregation Beth Elohim.  It filled me with such warmth and pride for this community’s leadership that I just had to share.  Congregation Beth Elohim recently won $250,000 in a social media driven online voting competition to help restore their historic building. 

Upon Winning a Quarter Million Dollars in Online Competition, Brooklyn Synagogue makes $15k donation to neighboring Church

Partnership between synagogue and church lead to unprecedented gift; Two  communities facing the burden of repairing collapsed ceilings find meaning in supporting each other; Community members respond with emotion and  joy
.
 

Brooklyn, NY – May 22, 2012 —
 
On the heels of winning one of only four Amex Partners in Preservation grants of $250,000 in New York City, Senior Rabbi Andy Bachman of Brooklyn’s Congregation Beth Elohim announced today that Trustees of the Congregation have pledged $15,000 to Old First Reformed Church, their beloved neighbors and partners in building friendship and community in Park Slope.

The CBE gift to Old First is in recognition of its generous and continuing support for Congregation Beth Elohim over the years. Among many other gestures, Old First made its worship space available for several High Holiday services when CBEs Sanctuary ceiling collapsed. Old First also actively supported CBEs successful campaign to win the Amex Partners in Preservation grant. In an ironic twist, Old Firsts own ceiling collapsed earlier this year. Accordingly, CBEs gift to Old First will support their efforts to complete the necessary architectural studies for the preservation work its sanctuary demands.

In his announcement of this gift, Rabbi Bachman noted, “Each of our historic and sacred communities inhabit buildings made for a different era of religious life; and yet each of our communities understand the historical mandate to renew our relationships with our God and our community in every generation. As Simon the Righteous taught us in the Talmud, the world stands on three things: on Learning, on Worship, and on acts of Loving Kindness. May Congregation Beth Elohim and Old First Church thrive in these values and continue to bring goodness, kindness and peace to our world.”

Upon hearing the news, Reverend Dr. Daniel Meeter of Old First remarked that he was shocked, “Who does this kind of thing? So this is what love looks like, this hospitality, this generosity, this joining our lives together for better for worse."
 

How can we each be generous in our own ways today?

AVI CHAI Social Media Academy

We are so excited about Darim’s partnership with the AVI CHAI Foundation on their Social Media Academy! The Academy was created to help Jewish day schools integrate social media into their strategies for home-school communications, student recruitment, alumni outreach, and fundraising.

Ten high schools are taking part in a series of 3 face to face full-day meetings, an offering of over 20 webinars, an ongoing Facebook Group discussion, and coaching sessions to help them develop and implement strategic social-media enhanced communications plans for their schools.

The Academy reflects the work that the Foundation has been doing with social media guru Allison Fine over the past year, and was created in response to a recent survey that the Foundation conducted of around 300 day schools regarding their use of social media.

The Academy met twice in March face to face. Participants learned about a number of foundational social media tools, started creating their plans based on a “POST” planning process (inspired by the book Groundswell — People, Objectives, Strategy and Technology), debriefed what they’ve experimented with and implemented between the two meetings, and shared emerging best practices with each other.

The good people from Big Duck guided the group through determining appropriate metrics for analyzing social media and creating social media policies. Big Duck will also provide individualized coaching sessions to each school team on a regular basis.

Kudos to AVI CHAI for taking such great strides in modeling the learning process that they have undertaken themselves as a learning organization, and extending their active support to other professionals in Jewish education. We can’t wait to share more of what we are learning as well!

Read more about the Allison Fine’s reflections on the Social Media Academy here:

Avi Chai Social Media Academy Begins
Social Media Academy Part II

Need A Hanukkah Gift For Your Boss?

YScreen shot 2010-11-19 at 3.34.26 PMou’re looking for the gift that keeps on giving, right? I’ve got just the thing for you. Pick up a copy of Beth Kanter and Allison Fine’s book The Networked Nonprofit. A fun read with great stories and case studies, this book will help any nonprofit leader better understand the impact and opportunities of working in a networked world. THEN SIGN UP FOR OUR ONLINE BOOK GROUP! That’s right. Starting in January, we’ll be hosting a free online book group to discuss the concepts and their application to our work in the Jewish community. Bonus: experience the joys of the new Facebook Groups feature while you’re at it. You can join the book group now, and we’ll kick off discussion in January. That gives you just enough time to get copies for your co-workers, plus one for yourself, and read it in mid-December while everyone else is still scrambling for that other holiday, or by a cozy fire, or on the beach in Hawaii or where ever you might take a winter vacation… Have you read the book yet? What are you interested in discussing? What ideas grabbed your attention?

The Skinny on Microsites

Flickr photo credit: <a href=
Flickr photo credit: dawnzy58

Lets say your organization already has a website, but you have a project that needs some extra attention. It might be a capital campaign, a special event, a call for action, volunteering opportunities, a new publication, or a resource that is just aching to stand out from your general site. Consider the use of microsites, online sites that supplement an organizations primary web presence. Microsites highlight a product or service associated with an organization and is usually accessed at its own unique web address

Microsites became popular in the marketing community to tout new products and to house extensive marketing campaigns. Nonprofits and social service organizations are using microsites to engage with their communities in powerful ways.

Consider, for example, Temple Sinai in Oakland, California. The synagogue uses microsites for its capital campaign, and for its big Spring Fling fundraiser. As you can see, general information is available for both events on the primary site with additional, more focused details available on the customized microsites:

Primary site: Temple Sinai Expansion Project
Microsite: Temple Sinais Campus Expansion Project

Primary site: Spring Fling Fundraiser
Microsite: Temple Sinai Spring Fling March Madness

Potential benefits of a microsite:

  • Provides more specific information about a product, service, or opportunity than is found at your organizations primary site
  • Targets niche audiences who might otherwise not get noticed on your primary site
  • Opportunities to create and embed niche content, including multimedia and other digital storytelling techniques
  • Specific departments of an organization can own the site and respond quickly to changes and visitor feedback
  • Use of keywords facilitates better search engine rankings
  • Easier for visitors to bookmark that specific website rather than a particular page on the primary site

Here’s another reason for entertaining microsites: Is your organization thinking about upping the ante with your website, but isnt quite ready to make the leap? A microsite might be one way to minimize perceived risks and gain valuable feedback by using it to implement incremental changes as you refine your vision and further develop your organizations web strategy.

Learn More:

The Micro-Site Isnt Dead. (Its Just Not Useful) from LogicEmotion
Microsites are Becoming a Macro Idea
from Direct