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3 Tips For Responding to Negative Feedback

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. (more…)

Who’s Ready for an Alternative Spring Break?


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.


How to Get Your Press Release Noticed

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

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


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

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…)

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

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.


80% of Donors Said Reviews Influence Donations

“GreatNonprofits is a valuable tool in helping decide what organizations to donate to.”
GreatNonprofits user

Computer with GreatNonprofits Logo

Reviews Engage Volunteers

“GreatNonprofits is another source of validation that really engages volunteers in sharing their experiences about a nonprofit that they care about.”
First Graduate

2014 at a Glance

This year was a year of growth and increased visibility for nonprofits. With this growth, GreatNonprofits is now the largest source of community information about nonprofits.  Here are some facts at a glance, plus new tools we’ve built (see infographic):

  • GreatNonprofits pages were viewed 13 million times (up 50% from 2013!)
  • More than 40,000 reviews were added to bring reviews to more than 200,000
  • 1,700 nonprofits were voted Top-Rated
  • We extended reach by growing social media: We now have more than 55,000 followers on Twitter and more than 36,000 likes on Facebook
  • We launched a new mobile-friendly website
  • We introduced new donation functionality for all U.S. nonprofits
  • We launched SMS reviews. Now users can submit reviews by text. No Internet required.
  • We syndicated reviews to more partner sites, such as Foundant
  • We were gifted a new video website for nonprofits, the (more…)

Unleashing Cascades of Generosity

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…)

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

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

10 Tips for Effective Video Storytelling

Creating a video for your nonprofit organization can be a daunting task.  But the benefits of getting behind the camera, or in front of it, are worth it.  “1.8 million words is the value of one minute of video,” according to Dr. James McQuivey of Forrester Research.  Videos inspire people to get involved or donate to a cause.  It is estimated that 100 million internet users watch online video everyday.  If you’re ready to get started, here are some simple guidelines for creating a video narrative: (more…)

Keeping Warm from Head to Toe

The holidays may be over, but the good will and spirit of sharing doesn’t have to stop.  In fact, the winter weather continues for at least a couple of months and we have far too many neighbors and residents in our cities spending frigid nights outside, with no shelter. If you were overcome by activities over the holidays, maybe now, in the new year, you’ll have a chance to help those in need.  Here are some organizations that work year round, collecting warm coats, shoes, and blankets. Hopefully you will be moved and encouraged by their stories to help those in your own community who are in need.

A “bag of love” filled with a handmade blanket, a stuffed animal, and a few of life’s necessities give a child a sense of security in uncertain times. Top-rated by GreatNonprofits in 2014, Bags of Love, based in Eugene, OR, has distributed over 5,000 bags to children in crisis since 2008. As one volunteer states: “…each person plays an important role in making Bags of Love reach as many children in our community as possible, whether it is sewing bags and quilts, filling bags or delivering bags, serving on the Board, or helping with fundraising events.”

In partnership with firefighters, Rotary and other civic clubs, local

businesses, and community agencies, Operation Warm provides brand new winter coats to at-risk children who live in need. The gift of a brand new winter coat brings a child happiness and warmth and empowers her to attend school and play outside on cold winter days. Located in Chadds Ford, PA, Operation Warm helps kids across the US.  “Working with this organization has opened my eyes not only to the problems facing the underprivileged in our country, but that there are thousands of volunteers and campaigns to do something to stop it.” (more…)

Busting the Myth of Overhead: What Really Matters in Charitable Giving

Image courtesy of Charity Defense Council

It’s the home stretch for donors to make tax deductible charitable gifts in 2014.  To help donors choose wisely during this season of giving, some websites focus on overhead costs to judge a nonprofits’ effectiveness. But contrary to popular belief, overhead costs don’t tell the whole story. “Don’t ask if a charity has low overhead.  Ask if it has big impact,” according to entrepreneur and author Dan Pallota. (more…)

How Nonprofits Can Keep the Momentum Going After #GivingTuesday

This year “GivingTuesday” generated at least $45.7 million for nonprofit organizations.  That’s up roughly 65 percent from 2013 according to  Here are five ways to keep that momentum going through December and beyond:

Cultivate Social Media

Interact with donors and viewers on social media by thanking them, re-tweeting, or replying to direct messages.  For example Irwin Naturals, an alternative health company, posted a picture showing how their fundraising project helped a retirement home decorate for the holidays.

Also amplify your message with visuals and infographics.  Utilize free tools like Picktochart, Visuall.y and InfoActive.  You can find the top 12 websites at  Another option is to upload and edit videos with your iphone using videolicious and camtastic.

Tools like storify or can showcase mentions to donors.  This tagboard from GreatNonprofits’ 2014 Top-Rated awards exemplifies how nonprofits are using videos, testimonials, and awards in their social media.  The Cambodian Children’s Fund combined a visual of their clients with the award.  Summit Adventure featured one of their participants talking for 30 minutes about the impact of their program.  You can also use certificates like the one on the right. (more…)

GreatNonprofits Welcomes New Board Members and New Board Chair

GreatNonprofits welcomes Parker Blackman as the new Board Chair, and new board members Bill Crane, former VP of at LinkedIn, and Reed Colley, CEO of FlightPath!

Parker Blackman is the Founder and Principal of Parker Strategies. Previously Blackman served as Chief Operating Officer and West Coast Managing Director at Fenton, the largest public interest communications firm in the nation.  During that time he successfully led the San Francisco office, established Fenton’s Los Angeles office, built the firm’s digital capabilities, and led the transition from a public relations to an integrated communications firm.

Blackman served as partner and lead strategist for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, First 5 LA, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and Playworks. He has consulted for movement leaders including Arianna Huffington & Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

“Parker Blackman will be a terrific asset for GreatNonprofits. His work at Fenton in organizational leadership and communications strategy was legendary,” said Mal Warwick, who is retiring after eight years as board chair. (more…)

Shopping with a Purpose

Christmas is just around the corner! This holiday season, why not “shop for good”? You probably spend a lot of time and energy looking for that perfect gift, so why not give a gift with a purpose? You’ll help a worthy cause and delight a loved one with a thoughtful gift!


Share Quicks Acts of Kindness

(Click the image to get Free Printable Kindness Cards, a project of

Not all acts of kindness require planning and advanced notice.  In fact, people all over the world are spreading kindness right now, instinctively, and often the small acts are the acts that are easy to do and easy to follow.

Doing Good Together, has put together these simple tips for targeted compassion. Use them today and for a list of other ideas, see the full article from Doing Good Together.


7 Ways Non-Profits Can Capitalize on Employment Information

This blog content has been provided by HEPdata.

Over the past year, HEPdata has helped hundreds of universities and non-profits track down current employment information on their constituents. By tapping into publicly available sources of information, including screening social media sites like LinkedIn and Twitter, the average non-profit can expect to see a 30-50% increase in the amount of employment information available to them using HEP’s EmployerFind service. While this may sound great, we all know that the real value of employment data is only realized when your institution can actually do something with it. So what can you do with employment information? Here are the top 7 recommendations from HEPdata. (more…)