Posts Tagged ‘social media’

Social Media and You – Meet Bryn Warner

October 25, 2012

Bryn Warner

AFP Suncoast has some truly talented members. Our own board member, Bryn Warner is among them. He has joined a growing number of AFP Suncoast members who are becoming presenters and teachers. Almost as if planned, he will be teaching at the Nonprofit Leadership Center of Tampa Bay on a topic near and dear to this blog – Social Media!

Attend either of his workshops and earn CFRE credits while building your personal and your organization’s online sociability:

10/31/12 LinkedIn: Building Your Personal Brand

11/28/12 Facebook: Communicating Your Message

If you haven’t met Bryn, why not shake his hand at the next AFP Suncoast luncheon or attend one of his workshops? Growing your network is so easy in AFP! And, of course, now you’ve seen Bryn’s picture and have something to say to start the conversation.

Do you know an AFP Suncoast member we should feature on the blog? Contact Jen Filla at 727.231.0516 or email her at jen at

Other Blog Posts of Interest:

Social Media and Fundraising: Metropolitan Ministries

Social Media and Fundraising: The Florida Aquarium

Social Media and Fundraising: Tampa Metropolitan YMCA

Social Media and Fundraising: Metropolitan Ministries

October 20, 2012

The next stop on my journey to discover how social media is impacting AFP member organizations and whether it is helping to raise dollars was at Metropolitan Ministries. There I had the pleasure of talking with Justine Burke, Director of Marketing, and Jim Alexander, Digital Marketing Coordinator.

Marketing Mayhem

You might be wondering why I was talking to the marketing department instead of the fundraising department. And if you weren’t, I was! It turns out there is a very good reason for that. Justine explained that she sees a shift where development and marketing are beginning to merge. She likens the change to when IT and development became bedfellows.

It also begins to make more sense when you realize Metropolitan Ministries is a direct mail marketing powerhouse. And it works. At least half of their online donations come as a result of direct mail. But what does all this have to do with social media? Plenty.

Especially after talking with Justine and Jim, there is one adjective that instantly pops into mind when I hear Metropolitan Ministries – discipline. The merging of marketing with development has created an extremely disciplined approach to all of their fundraising efforts. For Metropolitan Ministries, social media is integrated with and invested in just like other marketing channels.

For the past four years, Metropolitan Ministries has been active in social media. They have merged all of their marketing and fundraising messages, including social media, into overarching themes that reflect Metropolitan Ministries’ mission and vision. Their core themes are faith, love and children. This way, no matter what is happening, it all matches the same theme.

Instead of shopping for an engine, tires, and body, you get to shop for a car. Instead of being confused by a different event, mail appeal, Facebook page or newsletter, you give to Metropolitan Ministries.


This kind of coordinated messaging takes discipline and planning. But Metropolitan Ministries also tracks, measures and evaluates their efforts. Every time someone clicks the donate button on their Facebook page they know it. It’s not enough to push content even when it is coordinated content. You must be able to determine what works well and what doesn’t work as well.

Coordination and evaluation requires that you stay ahead of the messages and be proactive instead of reactive. Not an easy task, but it does explain Metropolitan Ministries’ success!

Does social media raise money? Yes!

Social media is not a magic fundraising wand, but when there are clear objectives for its use and methodical and consistent messaging, it works successfully together with other fundraising efforts.

Want to see Metropolitan Ministries’ social media in action? Click the links to connect:

Facebook   Twitter @MetroMinistries   YouTube  Pinterest

P.S. Time Sensitive News!

The Nonprofit Leadership Center of Tampa Bay is hosting a Development Professionals Forum 11/1/12 9-11am on…SOCIAL MEDIA! Specifically, what role does social media play in development are what are the best ways to use it?  Register today for only $15 by visiting

Other Posts of Interest

Social Media and Fundraising: Tampa Metropolitan YMCA

Social Media and Fundraising: The Florida Aquarium

About the Author, Jen Filla

Jen Filla is a roving reporter on the AFP Suncoast Communications Committee. She is also president of Aspire Research Group LLC where she works with organizations worried about finding their next big donor, concerned about what size gift to ask for, or frustrated that they aren’t meeting their major gift goals.

Social Media and Fundraising: The Florida Aquarium

September 4, 2012

Mark Haney

Continuing my pursuit of how social media can be used to raise cold hard cash – or not – I had the pleasure of interviewing Mark Haney, Vice President of Advancement at The Florida Aquarium. I will admit to being distracted by the stingrays entertaining visitors in front of us, but it made me aware of what a picture-intense, storytelling powerhouse opportunity the Aquarium has in social media. So what are they doing?

Tweeting It Up

A couple of years ago the aquarium hosted a Tweet-up event. They invited all of their Twitter followers and some hand-picked bloggers to join them at the Aquarium for free. The friend-of-friend reach was fantastic. Their Facebook page, which had fewer than a hundred friends a few years ago, as of this writing has 25,537 likes with 1,086 people talking about them. The objective was to raise awareness – and the Tweet-up did a great job of it!

Asking for Cash Gifts+

This growth in social media activity is important for the Aquarium because direct mail is a small percentage of their fundraised dollars. Especially through Facebook, Mark tells me they have been very successful promoting their special events. But they have also been able to use social media to raise cash gifts.

Remember the cold Florida winter of 2009-2010? More than 4,000 sea turtles were distressed by the cold and needed help. The Florida Aquarium sent the message out through Facebook and Twitter asking for all kinds of help, including cash gifts. The Aquarium raised $5,000 in less than a week! It was a time-sensitive, specific ask – and it worked. Social media is extremely low cost compared to traditional direct mail.

Mark mentioned a relative newcomer to social media platforms – Pinterest. The Aquarium hasn’t made a plan yet, but the picture appeal of animals is transparent. How to raise money from Pinterest is not clear, but I’m confident they will figure it out!

About Those Major Gifts

But what about major gifts? Is the Aquarium using social media in their major gifts program? Mark told me that they have been successful at getting traditional media coverage of their major gifts. Now they are piggybacking on this success and using social media to expand the reach of those messages. As we were wrapping up our conversation on the subject, Mark took me to see the Aquarium’s donor recognition board.

The Florida Aquarium Donor Recognition Board

Wow! We couldn’t get close and play around with it because there was a mom and her son engrossed in a digital game just beneath it. The Florida Aquarium has a digital donor recognition board made up of four panels. As you can see from the picture, the left panel currently has the various gift levels which also line the tops and bottoms of the other panels. Because it is digital it can be completely changed at any time.

The truly exciting bit is that coverage of major gifts could be used in all sorts of ways with the digital display. Major donors could be interviewed, benefits touted and pictures displayed. Mark couldn’t resist another benefit of the digital donor recognition board – revenue! When the Aquarium hosts events the board can be rented out. Plug and play makes it all possible.

Coming up next…

Visiting The Florida Aquarium is always a fun time and Mark took me out the long way, showing me the new animals. My next member interview is with an entirely different kind of organization. Justine Burke and Jim Alexander from Metropolitan Ministries share how they use social media to raise more gifts. Their tactics may surprise you.

Other Posts of Interest

Social Media and Fundraising: Tampa Metropolitan YMCA

About the Author, Jen Filla

Jen Filla is a roving reporter on the AFP Suncoast Communications Committee. She is president of Aspire Research Group LLC where she uses her direct fundraising experience to help you close major gifts, translating your donor information into actions you can take to raise more money now!

Social Media and Fundraising: Tampa Metropolitan YMCA

August 14, 2012

by Jen Filla.

Kathy Rabon, CFRE CFRM

In an effort to feed my curiosity on the subject of social media, I decided to interview some of our AFP Suncoast Chapter members on how they are, or are not, using social media in their fundraising efforts. Is it all hype? Is it a resource drain? Or is it a powerful, inexpensive tool that can be leveraged to bring in money for the mission?

My first interview was with Kathy Rabon of the Tampa Metropolitan YMCA. (Yes, there will be more interviews!) She told me that in 2010, the national office underwent some re-branding. As a result we now refer to the organization as “The Y”. But more than the name, the re-branding hopes to raise awareness that the Y is more than a gym. The Y has three core areas: youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.

Benefits of Social Media

Kathy told me that in her office they are actively using Facebook, Twitter and a YouTube channel. Social media provides the Y with the opportunity to use new words, a new organizational language, to communicate its core areas. Social media also helps them interact and engage a new, noticeably younger, demographic. It is also true that those affiliated with the Y are already there. For example, running clubs and other groups in and around the Y have Facebook and other social media spots to communicate and share.

Fundraising with Social Media

So it’s wonderful that the Y in Tampa is using social media to communicate, but what about fundraising? Kathy shared with me that they are planning a social media campaign for a specific need that has resonance with the social media crowd. They want to raise somewhere around $50,000 for a social entrepreneurial program in an area of Tampa that has a media income of $10,000. This lawn service business would promote beautification and a sense of pride while employing and training residents.

Kathy told me that this campaign is still in its planning stages. That means that you have the opportunity to tune in to the Tampa Metropolitan YMCA and watch the story unfold! I’ll be following-up with Kathy post-campaign to report back her experience with the project.

Kathy’s Social Media Harvesting Techniques!

What I didn’t expect to learn was that Kathy was using social media very effectively to re-purpose existing material for stewardship, public relations and other needs. She told me that because of a staff vacancy she had to step-in and create the Y’s e-newsletter herself. This inspired her to take existing stories – such as video footage from events – and edit into great, shareable stories. Beyond her e-newsletter, she shares these stories on the website, social media platforms and has “trained” reporters to look at her content for news stories. After initially reaching out and cultivating reporters, Kathy finds that they are now reporting stories without additional encouragement from her. Wow!

About the Author, Jen Filla

Jen Filla is a roving reporter on the AFP Suncoast Communications Committee. She is president of Aspire Research Group LLC where she uses her direct fundraising experience to help you close major gifts, translating your donor information into actions you can take to raise more money now!

How to Go from Info Overload to Opportunity

October 7, 2011

Monday morning 5:35AM logging into your email for the first time after taking the weekend off can be a traumatic event for you and your server. Clichés like information overload and 24 hour news cycle coupled with too many preset and/or suddenly hot topic email news alerts have led to the demise of many email servers and “last nerve”. While waiting for the last of 3876 emails to download I finished my XL triple shot espresso dark roasted coffee – my version of multitasking (i.e. to do more stupid things faster).

One news report was “US poverty highest level in 50 years”  the following week (9/30/2011)  Marian Wright Edelman founder of the Children’s Defense Fund  wrote a piece for the Huffington Post National and State Safety Nets Fail to Catch Millions of Children”.  Dr. Edelman’s article not only covered additional statistical data and commentary about the Census Bureaus’ report on poverty but also proactive steps her organization is taking. As professional fundraisers we have to go from information overload to opportunity.

Twenty-first Century informational age fundraising requires strategic communication skills.  Nonprofits successfully fundraising in this dynamic fast paced fluid environment have as linear an organizational structure as possible. A linear or flattened structure instead of a hierarchical chain of command allows for a faster more responsive communication process.

Many successful nonprofits use a secondary Action-Reflection-Revision-Action Funding Model based on institutional positioning – in addition to a long-term, campaign-based fundraising strategy.

The Action-Reflection-Revision-Action Model enables rapid response to fundraising opportunities (not exploitation) of breaking news and events guided by Social Media Strategy. Additional research and information on Action-Reflection can be found at

An outstanding book to read on this matter is The Age of Responsibility: CSR 2.0 and the new DNA of Business by Wayne Visser PhD.

Sustainably Yours,

15-Step Social Media Plan

July 31, 2011

by Kim Payne.

Bernie Borges

Bernie Borges shared a 15-step social media plan with the AFP Suncoast chapter in July. Social Media is ubiquitous. From Facebook and Twitter to Linkedin and YouTube, social media dominates a significant part of the Internet landscape.

During the AFP Suncoast Chapter lunch meeting, local Internet marketing entrepreneur Bernie Borges, Chief Find Officer of Find & Convert, educated members and guests what sites should be used and why, how to use them to their fullest advantage and if they should be used at all.

Borges advised that social media is still a new frontier and it shouldn’t be thought of as merely a marketing tactic. He indicated there are three strategies of the Social Media ROI Cycle. They include: Launching, Management and Optimization.

He offered a couple of important take-aways:
1. New marketing paradigm – a mindset shift using Content Strategy and Relationship/Engagement
2. You want to be a magnet – attract the right people to your site using Content as your Foundation/Platform

In his closing, he provided a 15-Step Plan to develop a Social Media Marketing Strategy:
1. Persona – identify someone to map out a plan
2. Identify sources of content in your organization
3. Develop content that speaks to the needs of your target audience
4. Develop content for all stages of your customer life cycle
5. Create an editorial calendar of content plan
6. Assign content to as many people as possible (sales, marketing, customer service, etc.)
7. Marketing Department is the traffic coordinator, not the content producer
8. Develop diversified portfolio of content across various media
9. Leverage social media as a Communications & Engagement channel
10. Define many success metrics and measure them
11. Obtaining C-Level support is a MUST
12. Produce content that has a measurable support on sales
13. Focus on educational content; enlighten and entertain
14. Be willing to experiment with content
15, Study content management examples in and outside your industry new ideas

For more information, visit or you can follow Bernie on Twitter:@berniebay


Kim Payne is the Roving Reporter for the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Suncoast Chapter. Contact him for story ideas via email.

February Got us Talking

February 23, 2010

Yup. It happened. We lost our luncheon speaker in February. He’s not hurt thank goodness! So in lieu of a speaker I facilitated a discussion among our members on social networking success stories. Here’s what people shared:

As best I remember, the most funds were raised for urgent time-limited causes – Haiti, sea turtles dying from cold, and special events. Marla Grant shared in-person and on our Facebook page, how she used Network for Good to collect donations and was able to track her donors. Other success was in using social media as a communication tool among committees and to engage donors in real time for activities they would otherwise not be able to experience.

So can social media raise the money or is it only useful for short-term fundraising and engaging new and current donors? I’m no expert on the subject, but after February’s meeting I’ve been seeing conversations, blog entries and comments about it. Here’s a link to the Connection Cafe blog: Peer to Peer Fundraising and Social Media

If you have other great articles and comments to share on the subject, won’t you comment on this blog or on the AFP Suncoast Facebook Page?