GreatNonprofits 2014 Data Report

December 22, 2014 at 12:14pm Leave a Comment

It’s been a great year, everybody! To wrap up the year, here are great infographics of GreatNonprofits’ Data Summary for 2014! (more…)

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New Text Message Review Feature Offers Nonprofits Instant Feedback

March 5, 2015 at 11:37am Leave a Comment

Ninety-eight percent of text messages are read and the majority are opened within three minutes of being sent, according to Techipedia.  In comparison 84% of Facebook news feed stories aren’t viewed, 71% of tweets get ignored and 88% of emails go unopened.  To leverage the power of texting, GreatNonprofits created a new SMS, or “short message service”, review feature.

The new GreatNonprofits’ SMS review feature allows a nonprofit’s clients and volunteers to provide feedback about programs on-demand, and instantaneously.  The text tool is provided free of charge by GreatNonprofits.

“It’s about time that we provide technology that gives people a voice, in their preferred way of communicating,” said Perla Ni, CEO of GreatNonprofits.  “Texting appeals to young people and low income populations in particular, offering them a quick and easy way to provide feedback about services in their community.”

More and more industries are using texting to communicate with low income populations because it is cheap and doesn’t require an Internet connection.  The healthcare industry introduced the  “Text4baby” initiative, a campaign that provides essential health information to pregnant women in high poverty areas.  Txt2stop sends motivational messages to help people quit smoking.

Documentary filmmakers also use SMS to create awareness around an issue.  ‘The Cove’, a documentary film about the slaughter of dolphins in Japan, included a call to action in the closing credits.  Nine percent of moviegoers immediately responded by texting in a code to join a mobile subscriber list and receive updates about the cause.

“No longer do the people we serve have to wait for the annual survey to be able to voice their compliments or concerns,” says Ni.  “Now with SMS reviews, the feedback is nearly instantaneous and can be done by a client served, right after they receive services, from wherever they are.”

To send an SMS review through greatnonprofits.org simply start a new text message to (888) 432-6659.  In the message field, enter the 9-digit EIN of the nonprofit you are writing about.  You will then be prompted to answer three short questions allows the user to write about their experience with the nonprofit.

Contact

Brittany Freitas, brittany@greatnonprofits.org

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Little Kids Rock

March 5, 2015 at 07:52am Leave a Comment

Little Kids Rock

It started in 1996 with one teacher in one classroom. Frustrated by lack of music education at his school, David Wish offered an afterschool guitar class and Little Kids Rock was born.

During the past 13 years, Little Kids Rock has donated more than 43,000 free instruments and provided music lessons to over 325,000 underprivileged kids in 12 states and Washington, D.C.

Fast-forward to 2014, when Little Kids Rock partnered with Berklee College of Music to launch a three-year roll out of “Amp Up NYC,” an expansion of Little Kids Rock’s Modern Band program. Its goal is to reach 60,000 kids in an additional 600 schools in New York City, the largest school district in the U.S.

Just as important as the reach of the program is its message.

Little Kids Rock is about the kids and not the music. Its Modern Band program is about engaging students and connecting with their creative side. Rather than training kids to read music and learn notes, the teachers focus on teaching songs the kids love and guiding the students as they improvise and compose new tunes. Some kids call the program a “de-rock-racy,” since the students pick the music and choose the instruments they want to play.  Little Kids Rock does more than donate guitars, drums and keyboards; they build programs that endure and bring lasting pleasure to students and teachers alike.

It’s magic. And it changes kids’ lives.

 

Nancy’s story

Nancy was quiet for so long. For years, classmates teased and bullied her, making fun of her speech impediment. When she was in the seventh grade, her school began offering the Little Kids Rock’s Modern Band program. Nancy found the opportunity to learn the guitar irresistible (as her dad, who passed away, also played). For Nancy, Writing songs turned out to be the perfect outlet for her pent up feelings. “When I sing,” she says, “I feel like I can be flawless.” Now a senior in high school, Nancy dreams of being a songwriter and recording artist; she continues studying and composing music.

Teachers find a new way to reach kids

It’s about the kids, and helping them use music as a healing force, a refuge, or a means of finding self-worth. And the kids, in turn inspire their teachers. When a group of teachers were asked at a Little Kids Rock Modern Band workshop to name a favorite rock star, one teacher called out the name of her student Lamiya. As a six-grader, Lamiya had been studying the violin, but her heart was in singing and songwriting.  Her teacher in the Little Kids Rock Modern Band program (who also led the school’s traditional concert band) said she would never have truly gotten to know her student in the traditional music class setting. Lamiya helped her young teacher become a wonderful mentor and advocate for Little Kids Rock.

Need more inspiration? Take a look at this video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8BwxBsjAh7M

As one volunteer, a trained classical musician, stated so eloquently, “My experience as a volunteer at Little Kids Rock brought into focus the dramatic impact music has had on my life and the power of an organization like Little Kids Rock to give the gift of music to so many others, impacting their lives in ways unimaginable.”

It’s no wonder Little Kids Rock was top-rated by GreatNonprofits in 2014.

 

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3 Tips For Responding to Negative Feedback

March 4, 2015 at 08:00am Leave a Comment

This article was originally a post published by Cami Bird on LocalVox’s Blog.  View the original post here.

One of the biggest concerns small businesses have when they start getting reviews online is that they have no control over them. Whether they are negative, positive, indifferent or flat-out incorrect, a small business owner can’t just take them down.

With 79% of consumers trusting online reviews as much as personal recommendations, that concern is quite valid.

But, just because you cannot control what is being written doesn’t mean you can’t control how your business is perceived online.

Don’t be afraid of a negative review; 68% of consumers trust reviews more when there are good and bad ones. People have differing opinions and rating scales. The fact of the matter is your business can never please 100% of your customers and people want to see that, otherwise your reviews seem fake.

Second, when you get a negative review, it’s not the end of the story. The ball is now in your court and you have the opportunity to act.

Responding to Negative Reviews

The key to responding to negative reviews is really just responding. There are ways to effectively respond, but not responding means you aren’t even trying to change your customer’s mind. You’ve worked hard for your business. Don’t let someone tarnish your integrity over something you can fix or reassess.

Additionally, you’ll want to respond quickly and with emotions set aside. This moves into effective responses. While having an ‘epic’ response to a bad review can take your story viral, it doesn’t do much for your actual customers.

3 Steps to Effective Review Responses

Breaking it down to the most basic parts of a response, these three steps keep things terse and on point with the customer’s concern.

1. Acknowledge Their Pain

Start your response by acknowledging your reviewer is upset and apologize for their bad experience.

You want to keep this as short and to the point as possible as to not give your upset customer something else to rage about. Don’t make excuses about their experience, just acknowledge it has happened and you regret it did.

 
2. Take the Conversation Offline

Before writing anymore in your response, end it by asking them to discuss the matter more in private. Not only does this take the chance of further negativity away from the public eye, but it shows that you care about each customer’s experience.

3. Resolve the Issue

Resolving the issue may not end in both parties walking away happy, but it does mean ending the conversation with an understanding.

After following the first two steps you have done more than what is expected to treat your customers well, even those that don’t want to be customer’s anymore.

If they contact you privately, discuss their experience and possibly offer them a discount (if feasible, but shouldn’t be the answer to every negative review) or ask for a second chance. Whether they take you up on the offer or not is irrelevant, the fact that you are addressing their concerns it what matters.

Facebook Issues

On Facebook and Google My Business you can respond to reviews, which is great for your search results and Page ‘Like’s, but, specifically on Facebook, sometimes you cannot actually see all the reviews.

Some people have certain privacy settings that allow only their Facebook friends to see what they have written, making it even more important to monitor and respond to the reviews you can on the network.

While Facebook will hopefully fix this issue soon, it would be wise to have the Contact Form app added to your Page for disgruntled customers to always be able to get in touch with you. Push for those who are not happy with their experience to contact you directly.

Don’t let digital word of mouth hurt your company by not speaking out! By giving your customers a chance to review you on Google and Facebook you not only get feedback on your business, but have the ability to influence how your company is perceived by prospective customers.

Take back some control of your reviews, first by monitoring for them and second by responding to every negative review, as well as occasionally positive and moderate ones.

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Who’s Ready for an Alternative Spring Break?

March 3, 2015 at 08:00am Leave a Comment

 

In the dead of winter, who doesn’t daydream about the upcoming spring break or summer vacation?  Did you ever consider planning an “alternative break,” donating your time and energy to a community needing help while having fun?  To help inspire you we’ve come up with a list of ideas.

 

Check out opportunities through your college or university

Many colleges and universities provide opportunities for their students to spend Spring break volunteering in the local community, across the country, or abroad.

Contact your school’s student affairs office.

For instance, U.C. Berkeley has several new and ongoing volunteer programs for its students. Started in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, 2014-2015 marks the ninth year of a ten-year commitment by the UC Berkeley Public Service Center to work with Gulf Coast Communities. In 2014, students made a winter trip to Los Angeles, centered on the passing of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. In 2015, the university is sponsoring the first Food & Justice Storytelling trip.

Contact charitable organizations

Many large charitable organizations enthusiastically take on student volunteers for short stints.  Take a look at upcoming programs run by the United Way and Habitat for Humanity.

United Way

Since 2006, over 3,500 students have participated in United Way’s Alternative Spring Break in dozens of communities across the country, contributing more than 112,000 hours of volunteer service.

All participant fees cover food, lodging, and ground transportation once you arrive. Participants are also responsible for travel to and from their selected Alternative Spring Break location.

For Spring Break 2015, opportunities are available in these U.S. cities:

  • Baltimore, MD
  • Washington, D.C.
  • New York City, NY
  • Newark, NJ
  • New Orleans, LA
  • Fort Worth, TX
  • Killen/Fort Hood, TX
  • Tucson, AZ
  • San Francisco, CA

Habitat for Humanity

Since 1989, Habitat for Humanity’s Collegiate Challenge has been a year-round alternative break program. Participants apply as a group and have many options of places to volunteer across the U.S.  The building sites range from Breezy Point, Queens, an area hit hard by Hurricane Sandy to a suburb of Atlanta, where volunteers build homes, and provide home repairs for low-income seniors. The details are available here.

Have a Special interest?

If you are passionate about an activity or a cause, you can probably find an opportunity to volunteer your time.  Love to hike? Take a look at the trips organized by the American Hiking Society.  The trips are designed specifically for college student groups (the organization also has programs for individuals). Most of the trips last about a week (with weekends used for group travel).  You spend your days hiking, maintaining trails, exploring, and having fun. These alternative break destinations are scheduled for spring 2015:

  • Crystal River State Park (FL)
  • Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge (FL)
  • Cloudland Canyon (GA)
  • Knob Noster State Park (MO)
  • Trail of Tears State Park (MO)
  • Twin Lakes State Park (VA)

Opportunities abroad

If you are interested in a longer trip, perhaps abroad, you need time to research and raise funds to finance it.  For information about these opportunities, your college’s student affairs office is a great place to start. For an overview of the types of opportunities available and the places you might go, take a look at the articles, ratings, and reviews available on these sites:

  • Go Abroad This site was built as a one-stop information center for students wishing to travel and volunteer abroad. It links prospective travelers with organizations providing international opportunities. GoAbroad has limited advertising, so the site is clean and uncluttered.
  • Go Overseas This small company, with a staff of enthusiastic travelers, goes to the source to get information about international volunteer and education programs and shares inspiring stories.
  • The International Volunteer Programs Association (IVPA) is an association of non-governmental organizations involved in international volunteer work and internship exchanges. IVPA does not organize or run its own volunteer programs.  Instead the website provides details and links to numerous organizations that sponsor volunteer programs abroad.
  • Cross-Cultural Solutions (CSS), top-rated by GreatNonprofits in 2014 is a nonprofit ”… working to address critical global issues by providing meaningful volunteer service to communities abroad and contributing responsibly to local economies.”
  • CSS programs are designed by members of the communities they serve. Volunteers do meaningful work in these areas:
    • Improving education for children
    • Assisting with the care of infants and children
    • Improving health and sense of dignity among the elderly
    • Improving the quality of care for people with disabilities
    • Supporting those affected by HIV/AIDS
    • Enhancing the quality of healthcare

This organization is just one of many open to any college student ready to make his or her mark on the world.

The world is yours to explore and change!

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How to Get Your Press Release Noticed

February 26, 2015 at 04:36pm Leave a Comment

Securing media coverage for your nonprofit organization can be frustrating, especially when you take the time to send a press release and never hear anything back.  But journalists are on a tight deadline and don’t have the time to respond to every pitch.  In order to make your press release stand out, follow these three simple strategies:  pitch a relevant story angle, write like a journalist, and add a personal touch.

The number one question newsroom editors ask before covering a story is “why should I care?”  To make your story matter it needs to have a timely angle or tie into a local/national trend.  For example if you are promoting water conservation, lead in with a startling statistic about California’s drought or an upcoming event like Earth Day.  Another strategy is to pitch a follow-up piece on a story the journalist has covered in the past.  If the reporter did a story about overcrowding at an animal shelter, suggest they meet with your no-kill nonprofit about how to get more cats and dogs adopted.

It is also important to make the information in your release easy to find.  “Put the contact information right up top followed by a sentence or two summarizing what it’s about,” recommends Danny Willis with the Bay Area News Group.  Business jargon or over-the-top statements are red flags for media professionals.  The easier you make it for journalists to cover a story, the more likely your story will be picked up.

Finally when you are ready to submit your release, send it to reporters or producers personally.  Journalists rely on a handful of interview contacts for most stories, so the goal is to get on their short list.  Reporters are always looking for passionate experts locally, who are willing to be interviewed at a moment’s notice.  Build relationships with journalists in your city and then follow-up with them personally after sending a press release.  If a media organization does reach out, never turn down an interview request because as the old adage goes “any publicity is good publicity”.

For other ideas about how to get press coverage visit GreatNonprofits’ Social Media and Marketing Kit at http://goo.gl/z45Qvo.

Brittany Freitas is a media professional, with 5+ years of experience producing and reporting local television news.  You can reach her at brittany@greatnonprofits.org.

 

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A Day in the Life of an Everyday Hero at Muttville Senior Dog Rescue

January 15, 2015 at 03:24pm Leave a Comment

Muttville Founder Sherri Franklin

At the crack of dawn, Sherri Franklin awakens to a household full of old dogs. Franklin is the founder and CEO of San Francisco based Muttville Senior Dog Rescue.   On any given day, she has a dozen grey muzzles of all sizes camping out at her Potrero Hill home. Franklin had always had a passion for animals, dogs in particular, and more specifically, senior dogs.  As a volunteer for the SF/SPCA, she saw too many older dogs get passed over for adoption. One day, she rescued one—saving it from certain euthanasia and finding it a new home. Her ad-hoc rescue work grew, and in 2007 she founded Muttville. (more…)

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GreatNonprofits: 2014 Review and What’s in Store for 2015

January 13, 2015 at 01:26pm Leave a Comment

Find out what we've built and what's in store.

Thank you for using GreatNonprofits. This past year we experienced tremendous traffic growth that allowed us to increase visibility for nonprofits. Here’s a quick overview of what people are saying, new features, and what’s in store for 2015. (more…)

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Unleashing Cascades of Generosity

January 12, 2015 at 12:00pm Leave a Comment

A book excerpt from Matterness: What Fearless Leaders Know About the Power and Promise of Social Media by Allison Fine:

Karen Klein was riding a school bus filled with middle-school children in Greece, NY, on June 19, 2012. Karen had been safely delivering children to and from school for twenty-three years, but as much as that Tuesday was like any other day on the bus, it was also profoundly different. The yelling and taunting that routinely occurs on school buses across the country spiraled out of control that day, and rather than aiming their cruel verbal fusillades at one another, three seventh-grade boys aimed it at Karen — and a fourth videotaped it on his cell phone. (more…)

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Is Your Cause Ready To Matter More To People This Year?

January 12, 2015 at 11:45am Leave a Comment

For an excerpt of, "Matterness" click on the image.

Here Are Five Steps to Get You Moving in the Right Direction from Allison Fine, author of “Matterness, what fearless leaders know about the power and promise of social media.” For an excerpt of Allison’s book, click here.

  1. Think Abundance. Do you spend more time in meetings discussing what could go wrong or what could go right? Is your organization afraid of what people out there could do to harm your organization, or are you excited about engaging in their natural creativity and enthusiasm? Are critics treated as whackadoodles intending to do harm or as friends who are frustrated and want you to do better?
  2. Start Speaking With Not At Your Constituents. Stop using social media to just broadcast messages at people and start using them to ask real questions the answers to which are important to your efforts.
  3. Work with Your Crowds. Get in conversation with your crowds wherever they are. Ask them to do something creative with you, learn something together, gather information and intelligence, co-create an event together – before your ask them to buy a ticket!
  4. Gather Your People On Land. Gather ten or so donors together in someone’s home and talk about your cause with them. Discuss whether and how you make them feel like they matter. Do your communications feel personal? Does it feel like you only communicate with them to ask for money? Are they learning more about the cause?
  5. Figure Out What Scares You Most About Social Media– And Do It. Find a friend to teach you how to tweet, and spend a half an hour a day on Twitter. Talk to a critic on your blog, directly, like a human being, for the world to see. Encourage your younger staffers to use social media to talk about the organization (with some ground rules and talking points) and let them make mistakes. The sky won’t fall – I promise.
    Allison Fine is among the pre-eminent guides to the social media revolution. Her new book is Matterness: What Fearless Leaders Know About the Power and Promise of Social Media. Matterness explains how and why people and organizations are better together with social media. It implores organizational leaders to stop focusing in the mythical fears keeping them locked behind their walls and to start working with rather than at people. In the end, the book explains that we don’t need better people; we need better leaders
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The Promise of Charity: A Gift to Yourself and Others

January 9, 2015 at 11:10am Leave a Comment

The traditional season of giving may be coming to an end, but there is still time to give back or make a meaningful contribution to the community. But how do we get started? What groups should we give to in our community? (more…)

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