Change.org fundraising widgets allow anyone to fundraise online for their favorite nonprofit organization. The widgets can be copied and pasted onto any personal page across the Web - including MySpace, Facebook, your blog, website, etc.
All donations made through the Change.org widgets are processed through JustGive.org, a 501(c)(3) organization that processes donations on behalf of over 1 million organizations nationwide. JustGive sends each nonprofit a single check on a monthly basis that includes all the donations they've received through Change.org from the previous 30 days. For more information, see Change.org's FAQ.
MySpace is all about interactivity and the ability of your friends to participate actively in your MySpace community. Your friends post comments and images of support in your comments section. Often these images are large in width and can easily throw off the design of your MySpace. Centering your friends and comments section allows more leeway for image width. To center your friends and comments section, copy and paste the following html code into the bottom of the “I’d Like to Meet” section:
See the Nonprofit
Organizations MySpace for an example of a centered friends and comments
What should you do if a friend posts a very large comment on your MySpace profile and it throws off the design of your page? In my experience, delete the comment and send them a quick e-mail letting them know that you had to delete the comment because the image threw off the design of your MySpace. The supporter will usually repost another comment with a smaller image or just text, or respond to your e-mail with a short and friendly “That’s OK!” e-mail.
In addition to maintaining the design of your MySpace, it's important to center your friends and comments section because this section is often where your Friends will go to first to browse when they visit your MySpace. Friends enjoy scrolling through the wide variety of colorful comments and top friends, so centering them puts the focus where it should be on your MySpace.
MySpace is an amazing community building tool in and of itself, but it also has the power to drive large numbers of individuals to your organization’s Web site for the first time. MySpace is html-driven so you need to know some html basics to use MySpace effectively. To link to your organization’s Web site on your MySpace, insert the following html code into the “About Me” section:
<a href="http://www.yourorganization.org">Your Organization</a>
I suggest that you use your organization’s mission statement as the first sentence in the “About Me” section with your organization’s name hyperlinked to your website. The CARE MySpace is a perfect example:
As an example, here’s is the html code for the first sentence in CARE’s MySpace profile:
<a href="http://www.care.org/">CARE</a> is one of the world's largest private humanitarian organizations.
You've spent years and thousands of dollars building a brand around your organizations's logo, right? MySpace is the perfect opportunity to further showcase your logo and build brand recognition. See how nice the logo looks when your organization's MySpace profile is featured as a top friend:
I suggest that you configure your logo image for your MySpace so that it is in the shape of a square or at least a full rectangle. In my opinion, the narrow, smaller logos just don't look as sharp or professional when your organization's MySpace profile is a featured top friend.
Unless your organization is well-known as an acronym (such as the ACLU), don’t use an acronym as your MySpace display name. Spell out your organization’s name so that when a MySpace user receives your friend request or sees you as a top friend in another MySpace profile, they are more likely to recognize your organization. If they have never heard of your organization, they are going to be more intrigued by your name (rather than an acronym) and likely to visit your MySpace.
Friends are the heart and soul of MySpace.The more friends you have, the more successful your MySpace. In the beginning, it is important that you take the time and make the effort to send out 50-100 (or more!) friend requests everyday. Successful MySpace communications and marketing is really a numbers game. The more friends you have, the more people there are to read your bulletins. The more friends you have, the more likely others are to find your MySpace and send you a friend request. The more friends you have, the more people will visit your organization's website. It's not about being popular on MySpace for vanity's sake, but rather being popular to share your organization's mission with large numbers of individuals on MySpace.
When the Nonprofit Organizations MySpace hit the 5,000 friends mark,a critical mass occured. The number of friend requests received on a daily basis grew very quickly and I no longer needed to send out friend requests. So, I suggest that your organization find a volunteer or intern who can spend the time necessary in the first few months reaching the 5,000 friends benchmark.
Nine times out of ten a song is going to detour your visitor's attention away from the mission of your organization's MySpace profile. The first three seconds are the most crucial to grab a visitor's attention and keep them interested in learning more about your organization. You want them to be reading your profile and scanning key messages, not sharing with them your own personal musical preferences.
People's musical tastes are wide and varied and what you appreciate in music may not match what your visitor's taste in music. They might already be listening to music on their computer and sometimes songs on profiles cause Internet browsers to freeze. You run the risk of annoying potential new friends. There are, of course, exceptions to this, such as an organization that works to promote musical arts or a famous musician is your organization’s spokesperson, but nine times out of ten – resist the urge and just don't do it!
[4/28 Update: Please note that you no longer need to insert html to link to your organization's website in bulletins. It is now done automatically for you. The concept still remains the same... that you should link to your organization's website in bulletin, but you no longer need to insert html code to do so. Yeah!].
Second to having a lot of friends on MySpace, using bulletins effectively is where much of the power lies in using MySpace as a tool for social change. Here's an example:
The One Campaign wants their MySpace friends to visit their Web site and sign onto the One Declaration. So, they send around a bulletin entitled "Visit our Web site and sign onto the One Declaration" and then in the body of the bulletin they post:
Visit us at www.one.org to sign the One Declaration!
Well, that requires the friends of the One Campaign to then copy and paste "www.one.org" into their browsers. But what if all they had to do was click on the "www.one.org" to visit the One Campaign's Web site? One.org would get a lot more visitors that for sure! Here's is the correct way to link to your organization's Web site in bulletins:
Visit us at <a href="http://www.one.org">www.one.org</a> to sign the One Declaration!
Visit <a href="http://www.one.org">our website</a> to sign the One Declaration!
Can you see the difference (look carefully at the html code)? Now you try it with your organization's Web site address. Experiment with it and your website traffic will definitely grow... so watch your stats!
600 pixels = 8.33 inches. Comment images larger than this will throw off the design and functionality of your friend's MySpace profile. Comment images larger than 600 pixels will break tables and/or require visitors to your friend's profile to have to scroll right to view comments. So, be polite and keep your comment images to 600 pixels in width or less.
People are on MySpace to interact and network - not to read in depth information about your organization - that's what your website is for. Use your blog for calls to action on issues, to request a donation, to ask that your MySpace friends subscribe to your organization's e-newsletter, or to post events. Absolutely do not leave your blog blank.
One blog entry that I have found to be very successful is simply "If I am one of your top friends, please let me know!" The friends who support your work enough to make you a top friend appreciate being recognized. Be sure to thank them for making you a top friend!
It's crucial that nonprofit organizations begin to merge their MySpace efforts with their Web site communications. Download the MySpace.com logo and add it to your organization's homepage as a link to your MySpace profile. If your organization is not ready to promote your MySpace efforts on your homepage, then add a story about your new MySpace profile to your "Take Action" or "Get Involved" website pages.
Web sites and MySpace have very different functions that perfectly compliment one another. Your Web site should focus on in-depth, one-way communication about your organization and it's programs. Your MySpace profile should be designed to drive supporters to your Web site so they can acquire that in-depth information. Your MySpace profile, on the other hand, is an interactive, two-way communication tool between you and your supporters. Your MySpace is where they go to engage and communicate - and therefore become emotionally invested -in your organization's work. Together, your Web site and your MySpace profile provide your supporters the best of what Web 2.0 has to offer in Web-based communications.
Sometimes we overlook the most obvious. If someone makes you a top friend or supports your MySpace efforts in a special way and lets you know about it by either sending you an e-mail or comment, be sure to thank them for their support. If you don't thank them, you won't be in their top friends for long! A simple "Thank you!" will easily earn their long-term support. Your supporters want to feel appeciated for their efforts.
I have experienced this first hand. In the past, I have sometimes neglected to say thank you when an individual or nonprofit organization has made the Nonprofit Organization MySpace a top friend. I wasn't in their top friends for long.
I have also promoted some nonprofit organizations repeatedly on MySpace, and let them know about it. If I don't hear back from them at least once, when it comes time to shuffle around my top friends, they are often the first to be dropped. It's very important to take the time to build community on MySpace and be thankful. A one-word e-mail of "Thanks!" often does the trick. Craig Newmark of Craigslist.org is probably the most thankful - and therefore one of the best - online community builders on the Web and his individual attention is definitely a crucial factor in Craiglist's success.
Bulletins are by far the most powerful feature on MySpace. Unfortunately, many nonprofit organizations are overzealous in sending out too many bulletins. The great majority of your supporters who actually take the time to read the bulletin board have 300 friends or less. Sending out more than 1-2 bulletins a day completely overtakes their bulletin boards and begins to give the impression that you are spamming.
That said, plan your bulletins in advance. They should have a wide variety of themes and subjects. Some should be informational, some should be calls to action, and every once in awhile, something fun like a funny video or article. If you are going to post two bulletins per day, then post one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Most importantly, your bulletins should drive your supporters to your organization's website.
Just like an e-mail signature is used to drive traffic to your website, a bulletin signature's function is the same. Create a bulletin signature, save it in Word on your desktop (text and html), and get in the habit of inserting it into every bulletin your post. Here's is an example of a very simple bulletin signature:
is a human rights and international development organization that supports
community-led sustainable development projects. We focus much of our work
on resource rights, including the fundamental human right to land, water
As discussed in the Best Practice #13, the supporters you want to consider most in your bulletin strategy are those that have 300 friends or less. Every couple of days go to Mail > Bulletin > Show Bulletins I've Posted and delete any bulletins that are time sensitive, such as events that have passed or calls to action that have expired. Supporters who are selective in approving friends are likely to be very supportive of your organization if they became friends with your organizations on MySpace. The worse thing you can do is annoy them with too many bulletins scattered throughout their bulletin board. It's makes your organization look overzealous, borderline desperate, and at some point your organization is relegated into the category of spammer.
Only a handful of nonprofits are doing this and when I come across a profile where the comments and top friend are hidden, I wonder "What are they thinking?" Comments and top friends are what make MySpace work. What is the point of having a MySpace without comments or top friends? It's basically just a copy of your website. Websites serve one purpose and MySpace serves another, and they are perfectly complimentary. Hiding your comments and top friends sections also sends the message, quite frankly, that your MySpace community isn't worth the time necessary to monitor comments and top friends... that's not a message you want to send!
I come across this quite often. The "Add Friends" feature goes to "Send a Message" or sometimes the contact table doesn't work at all. Some even go to spam websites. Click all eight functions of your contact table and make sure they are working correctly.
As of January 1, 2008 there are over 219,000,000 profiles on MySpace.... each different and unique. MySpace is messy and chaotic, and goes against almost every website design standard out there. Don't fight it... embrace it. Your MySpace profile should look like a MySpace profile, not a website. It's what users are accustomed to and comfortable with... it's what they like about MySpace or it wouldn't be the number one social networking website in the world.
You can now have 40 top friends on MySpace. Make your Top 8 your MySpace allies (other nonprofits, musicians, etc.) and save the other 32 top friend spots for donors. Through the use of bulletins, ask people to make a donation through your fundraising widget and let them know that you will make them a top friend if they donate. Once the donation is made, contact them through Change.org or MySpace and let them know you want to make them a top friend!
After a MySpace friend makes a donation, post a comment on their profile thanking them for their donation. All their friends will then know that they put their money where their mouth is!
Simply posting a fundraising widget on your MySpace will not work. You have to ask and inspire your MySpace friends to donate. Similarly, ,just putting a "Donate Now!" button on your website does not result in large numbers of online donations. You have to ask your supporters to donate on your website through inspirational e-newsletters. The concept is also true for MySpace fundraising.
Try this... when your MySpace hits 1,000 friends, create a "1,000 Friends, $10 Challenge" blog. Using bulletins, ask people to donate. Let them know if they donate you'll make them a top friend and ask them to post a comment on your blog that they have made the donation. Provide your MySpace donors numerous opportunites to be acknowledged publically on MySpace.
It's important that your organization's MySpace URL match your Web site's URL in case you ever promote your MySpace in print materials or in your e-mail signature. For example, the American Foundation for Children with AIDS:
If your MySpace URL is already taken and not available, then simply add "myspace" to the end of the URL:
Only embed videos on your MySpace profile that require your friends to click "Play" to watch the video. Videos that play upon loading your MySpace profile will freeze your friend's browser approximately 50 percent of the time. It goes without saying that they will of course avoid visiting your MySpace again.
MySpace friends like to post images, videos and Web site links on your comments section. Disabling html comments will turn away a large numbers of your MySpace friends from being active particpants in your MySpace community. Many will feel snubbed if they go to post a comment on your MySpace profile and html comments are disabled. If you are worried about how html comments will affection your MySpace design, see Best Practices 2 and 18.
At the very least, in the era of Web 2.0, nonprofit organizations should be using Change.org, MySpace.com, Facebook.com, and YouTube.com in their communications and outreach strategies. Use the icons below on your MySpace and website to drive traffic to your other social networks (see WildAid.org adn TransFairUSA.org as an example):
Whether they are donors, staff and/or partner organizations, businesses, or musicians, share the spotlight and feature 40 top friends. The Top friends function is what distinguishes MySpace from other social networking sites, so use it effectively. Having only 4-12 top friends is boring!
Prepare for the worst case scenario... your MySpace profile gets phished and/or the html code gets deleted by accident. It's rare, but it happens. To protect yourself, copy and paste all the code in the backend of your MySpace profile and save it in a Word file on your hard drive. Try to do this at least every three months.
MySpace is an amazing communications tool, yet many nonprofit professionals are still fearful of MySpace. They miss the bigger picture and tend to stay focused on the worse-case scenario. If 1,000 people post comments on your MySpace, 999 of them will be positive... yet that one bad comment is what many nonprofit communicators tend to focus on. Well, guess what!?! You can delete that one comment and block that individual from your MySpace profile. Please... let go of your fear of MySpace! This video may help calm your fears. This video is good too!
Web 2.0 and MySpace have changed the way people communicate online, and if you don't learn it and embrace it, your organization will be left behind. Much of this fear has to do with the way the media portrays MySpace... as a website predominately used by teenagers who are at the mercy of dangerous online predators. This is very far from the truth. First, teenagers are smarter online that the media gives them credit for. Second, 85% of all MySpace user are 18 and over. These are your future donors. Third, in my humble opinion, MySpace is one of the best online democratic tools our civilization has ever experienced. Compared to most other Web 2.0 websites [including Facebook], it is mostly uncensored, open, and primarily controlled by the masses. MySpace is a microcosm of our global society. Participate in it... learn it... embrace it, and most of all all, don't fear it!
A few nonprofits are putting their profiles on "Private" which requires individuals to know that organization's e-mail account or last name to become friends. Unless you want to have a small, controlled MySpace community, setting your profile on private defeats the purpose of having a MySpace. If people can not view your profile, then they are unlikely to send you a friend request. If they aren't your friend, then they can not participate or post on your profile. My feeling is that fear drives these nonprofit organizations to set their profile to private. As I said, let go of your fear of MySpace!
People on MySpace love to receive "Happy Birthday!" comments on or a few days before their birthday. When you login to your profile's backend, there is a function that alerts you when your friends are celebrating their birthdays. Ideally, your organization should have a graphic that brands your organization's mission and says "Happy Birthday from [Your Organization]!" that can be posted as birthday comments. If you do not have the capability to create custom comments, you can copy and paste the html for hundreds of birthday comments.
Many nonprofit organizations on MySpace begin their communications strategy with emailing their friends an introduction email to their organization. Often these emails are viewed as SPAM and quickly deleted. Your time is much better spent posting a comment on your friend's MySpace profiles. People enjoy receiving comments more than email on MySpace, and every comment you post is visible to hundreds of other individuals.
Hundreds of people visit the NPO MySpace everyday searching for nonprofit organizations that are active on MySpace. Since only a small fraction of the nonprofit organizations on MySpace can be featured in the Top Friends on the NPO MySpace, be sure to post a comment at least once a week on the NPO MySpace so the MySpace community knows you are there!
Famous musicians living Green and advocating social responsibility seems to be very hip these days. That's a good thing, but it sure isn't relected on MySpace! Less than 1% of the Top Artists on MySpace have nonprofit organizations in their top friends. These musicians often have hundreds of thousands of friends on MySpace - some have even crossed over the 1,000,000 friends benchmark. Imagine if they put just one nonprofit organization in their top friends! That nonprofit organization would reach critical mass on MySpace within a month and a whole new audience would be exposed to that nonprofit organization's mission, vision, and programs. Something so simple could evolve MySpace into a much more powerful tool for social change.
So, spend at least an hour a week sending friend requests to the Top Arists on MySpace and then follow up with a simple comment on their MySpace:
Please put a nonprofit organization in your top friends!
If we get enough people doing this, then eventually a Top Artist will take the leap and put a nonprofit organization in their top friends, and then other musicians will follow. Take a minute to think of musicians you know that are known for being green and socially repsponsible, then search for them on MySpace. There is a 99% chance that they do not have nonprofit organizations in their top friends. Those rare musicians that do:
That's it... that's all I know of after a year and half of researching musicians on MySpace. Pretty sad, huh? It's quite shocking when you actually start browsing through the Top Artists and/or the "Music" section on MySpace in general. If you find any others, please let me know so I can add them to the list. Each month I feature a "Socially Responsible Artist on MySpace" - a band or musician that has a nonprofit organization in their top friends - and let me tell you, each month it is struggle to find a socially responsible artist on MySpace!
Many nonprofits utilize e-advocacy software to pressure elected officials, foriegn leaders, and corporations to implement policy changes on a wide variety of issues. Nonprofits also use this software to collect the contact information of the e-activists that participate in their e-advocacy campaigns [Example]. Until recently only large, well-funded nonprofits have been able to use these e-advocacy tools due to the high cost of the software.
Thanks to Change.org and their new premium service, any nonprofit can now afford to launch e-advocacy campaigns for $20 a month [Example]! Once the nonprofit signs up for the premium service and creates e-mail campaigns, the nonprofit then gets the email address of each individual that participates [subscribe them to your e-newsletter!]. This software has never been provided at that low of a cost. The organization also gets their own branded social network on top of that! Amazing times for the Internet and social change.
What better place to populate these e-mail campaigns than on MySpace? Post them as a blog, in bulletins, and as comments. For more information on how to utilize Change.org on MySpace, see: www.change.org/bestpractices.
I am seeing more and more nonprofits do this... at long last! Oxfam lists their MySpace URL after their website in their e-mail signatures and TransFair USA actually has the Web 2.0 icons in their e-mail signatures!
If you want to have a clean, well-organized MySpace profile that does not require visitors to scroll left or right when viewing your MySpace profile, then limit images to 180 pixels on the left of your MySpace (Interests, Music, Movies, Television, Books, and Heroes), 445 pixels on the right of your MySpace (About Me and I'd Like to Meet). Also, be sure to center your friends and comments section.
MySpace profiles are entirely customizable with very few rules or limitations on design. That's what I love about it. MySpace is chaotic and a great experiment in our global society organizing and expressing itself online. MySpace and its community reflects the world in which we live. It is a thriving online community that is extremely diverse in age, race, income and education levels, sexual orientation, and geographic location. It embodies and expresses the design aesthetic of tens of millions of individuals around the globe.
If you are not expert in html, it can be difficult to custom-design a MySpace profile. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of free MySpace profile editors available to you for free on the Internet. Mashable.com, a website that aggregates news stories about social networking websites, has compiled an excellent list of 20+ Editors for MySpace Profiles that are easy to use and simple to embed in the backend of your MySpace profile.
This is one of the top three reasons your organization should be using MySpace! As I have mentioned many times before, the beauty of MySpace is that you can customize your organization's profile using html. On the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund MySpace you'll see a sign up box for their e-newsletter. The html code for that sign up box was taken directly from their website.
If your organization has the html code for an e-newsletter sign up box, be sure to embed it on your MySpace! Also, since bulletins on MySpace are compatible with html, be sure to send around the html sign up box via bulletin with an "ask" to subscribe at least once a week. You can also insert a "Subscribe" graphic on your MySpace that is linked to the e-newsletter sign up page on your website. See the left side of the American Refugee Committee's MySpace for an example.
If your organization does not have an e-newsletter sign up box or webpage, then simply use the html code below to help build your e-newsletter list by inserting the code into your "About Me" section, your blog, or in bulletins:
<a href="mailto:email@example.com?subject=Subscribe e-Newsletter">Subscribe to our e-newsletter!</a>
All you need to do is replace "firstname.lastname@example.org" with your email address in the html code above. You will get an email with "Subscribe e-Newsletter" from individuals that want to receive your e-newsletter and you can then add them to your database accordingly. Be sure to send around the subscribe html code in bulletins... this is how you will get the bulk of your new subscribers by using MySpace!
[4/28/08 Update: Please note that you no longer need to insert html to link to your organization's website in bulletins. It is now done automatically for you. The concept still remains the same... that you should link to your organization's website in bulletin, but you no longer need to insert html code to do so. Yeah!].
A lot of nonprofits post "Thanks for the Add!" comments or general introductory comments with an ask to visit the organization's website. More often than not, the website link is simple text and not hyperlinked. Most MySpace friends will not copy and paste that simple text website address into their browser, thus they will not visit your website.
Driving traffic to your organization's website, in my humble opinion, is the number one reason your organization should be on MySpace, so link to your organization's website every chance you get using html, especially in comment sections since they are viewable to thousands of individuals on MySpace!
On MySpace, groups essentially function as online bulletin boards. When logged into to your organization's MySpace profile, go to Groups > Create Group. Follow these instructions to create your Group:
1. Name your group
the exact name of your organization.
In an effort to crack down on Spammers, MySpace has changed the default settings where potential friends are required to enter a "CAPTCHA" to send your organization a friend request, an email, or post a comment. These CAPTCHA's can prevent folks from sending your a friend request or participating in your MySpace community. When logged into MySpace, go to Account Settings > Spam and disable all CAPTHCHA requirements. On a side note, please help MySpace delete and block spammers by "Marking as Spam" their friend requests as they come in to your Inbox.
Every 501c3 and 501c4 in the United States that is listed in the Guidestar database is also listed on Change.org. Change.org allows individuals to create fundraising pages [View Example] that can be emailed to friends and family. Each fundraising page also comes with a fundraising widget that the individual can embed on their MySpace.
The reasons for persuding your MySpace friends to create a fundraising page to benefit your organization are numerous:
1) You'll have an
army of people out there fundraising for your organization on Internet.
There are two ways to ask your MySpace friends to create a fundraising page:
1) Sign up for Change.org and have your social network on Change.org branded to match your website. Your fundraising pages will then also be branded to match your website and social network [View Example]. Your organization will then also have a unique "Create A Fundraising Page" URL that you can send to you can bulletin, email, blog, and comment to your MySpace friends which only allows them to choose your organization as the beneificary.
2) Bulletin and comment
this URL, and/or announce it in your MySpace blog:
In addition to your MySpace profile, your organization should create a MySpace Group on MySpace. The best way for your friends to find your group on MySpace is to announce your group in a blog post. Be sure to use the hyperlink function in the blog editor to link to your group!
Change.org offers so many great web-based tools for nonprofit organizations that are compatible with MySpace. If one of your MySpace friends creates a fundraising page on Change.org for your organization, then they also get a MySpace fundraising widget that they can embed on their profile (in addition to a unique URL that they can email to friends). People in the nonprofit community on MySpace are very friendly and eager to help your organization... empower them do so! Fundraising pages are great for individuals who would rather have your organization receive donations in lieu of wedding, birthday, and/or holidays gifts. Mention this when asking them to create a fundraising page to benefit your organization.
One of the best ways to get the word out about the fundraising pages is by posting a blog on your MySpace profile. Be sure to hyperlink to the page on Change.org where they can create the fundraising page and ask that they come back and post a blog comment on your MySpace letting you know that they are fundraising for your organization. Once they post the comment on your blog, then be sure to put them in your top friends!
MySpace is where social activism and pop culture collide. It's the social networking website for entertainment and increasingly social activism is becoming a form of pop culture and entertainment on MySpace (this is a good thing!). When posting a blog, be sure to select what you are listening to/reading/watching/playing... it's just about bringing a little bit of entertainment and fun to your profile. The same is true for the "Current Mood" function... there are over 100 emoticons to choose from. Simply selecting one adds some personality to your blog and is more likely to inspire blog comments and kudos from your friends.
MySpace launched Apps in March 2008. Be sure to Add the iThink App and post opinions and comments relevant to the mission of your organization. This application is a great way to get your logo and profile out there on the MySpace community which could easily lead to increased friend requests. Be sure to pay special attention to the "Catagories" relevant to the work of your nonprofit!
Nonprofit professionals are usually very busy and do not have the time to properly manage your organization's MySpace profile. Nor do I think they should... their time is better spent doing other things. Successfully managing a MySpace profile requires the grunt work of sending out friends requests and posting comments. Ideally, this should be done 5-10 hours a week. It is the perfect job for a volunteer looking to build a career in nonprofit communications.
To begin, post "social networking intern volunteer job description" into Google. Copy, paste, and write your own job description. Then post the position on Craigslist.org, Idealist.org, Volunteermatch.org, etc. After you have found an intern (who either works in your office or remotely), be sure that they take DIOSA | Communication's webinars about MySpace. This will save your organization a lot of time on training the volunteer as well as ensure that the volunteer knows exactly what her or she needs to be doing to successfully promote your organization on MySpace.
This is so simple, yet incredibly powerful. Two or three times a week "Update" your status. Be sure to post items relevant to your organization and its mission and programs. Doing so gets your logo and profile listed in your "Friend Status" feed. Keep it fun, light and positive and be sure to use the "mood" function. Every so often post an urgent fundraising appeal asking that your friends donate through the fundraising widget on your MySpace. Sad, somber, exhausted, etc. moods tend to prompt people donate.
Like bulletins, you can easily become a spammer on the Friend Status feed if you post too often. Limit it to two to three times a week and limit fundraising appeals to once or twice a month.
There are millions of do-gooders on MySpace that are more than happy to put your organization in their top friends... sometimes they just need a subtle ask and this blog post tends to do the trick. Not only will they put your organization in their top friends, but they will also come back to the blog and post a comment informing you that your organization is now in their top friends. Just like you thank your donors MySpace, be sure to post a "Thank you!" comment on those that put your organization in their top friends! See an example of this blog.
When posting blogs on MySpace, you can add videos, images, fundraising widgets, and website links by simply clicking the link in the text "If you can't input your Blog, click here." which is found in the upper right of the "Body" section after you select "Post New Blog." Remember: People are on MySpace to act... to watch videos, put you in their top friends, post a comment, make a donation. They are not their to read in-depth information. That is what your website is for. So when posting blogs, be sure to use html to make your MySpace Blog more interactive and interesting.
Every blog on MySpace has the Really Simple Syndication (RSS) functionality. To grab your RSS URL, go to "View Blog > RSS [in the upper right] > View Feed Properties". Copy and paste your RRS URL and plug into Facebook, your website, other blogs, etc.
The Change.org MySpace App entitled "My Favorite Nonprofits" empowers the millions of do-gooders active on MySpace to promote your organization. First, sign up for a Free Nonprofit Admin Account on Change.org and then upload your organization's logo to your organization's profile on Change.org. Second, add the App to your MySpace profile:
And then "Add" and feature your nonprofit inside of the App. View the the Humane Society MySpace and the Nonprofit Organizations MySpace for live versions of the App and to see why it is important that you upload your logo on Change.org.
The general consensus is that individuals on MySpace do not read "Event Invitations". It's better to take a few minutes and list your events on "Your Calendar". Of course, many of your MySpace friends are not located where your events are held, but the process of listing events only takes a few minutes and demonstrates that you are an active and interesting organization.
To update your calendar on MySpace, go to Events > My Calendar > Month and then "Add" your event. Be sure to list the link on your website about the event in the "Notes" section and "make your calendar visible to everyone". After you add your first event, view the public view of your profile so you can see how your calendar is displayed on your MySpace profile. Don't list every event... just your most interesting and timely!
At the bottom of your MySpace "Home" near "Change My Top Friends" there is a "View New Friends" link. Once clicked, you land on page that lists your 50 most recent friends. It's a good idea to make a positive and immediate impression on your new friends by posting and introductory comment.
Another way to drive traffic to your website and MySpace profile is to share banners on your organization's MySpace profile (View the left side of the National Wildlife Federation's MySpace for an example). To share banners, follow these steps:
1) Create the banners
you want to share. Limit banner images to 180 pixels on the left of your
MySpace, and 445 pixels on the right of your MySpace.
By adding the RSS Blog Reader App to your Facebook Page, you can insert the RSS URL for your MySpace blog and promote it on your Facebook Page. This is will increase traffic to your MySpace blog and help successfully integrate your organization's social networking strategy. View the DIOSA | Communications Facebook Page for example of promoting a MySpace blog through RSS.
A simple, yet important best practice, is to create a unique email address such as email@example.com, and use it to centralize all your social networking efforts. That way your social networking profiles are not attached to staff person's email. That staff person will eventually leave so the emails will have to be changed eventually.
If you have created numerous social networking profiles, it is a good idea to change over the email address now rather than later. It's rare, but in case that staff person leaves without handing over access to the profiles, you could lose years of work. If you haven't created any profiles on social networking sites yet, this is a must best practice.
If you have added the Change.org fundraising widget to your MySpace profile, make sure you donate $10, $25 or even $50 to your own widget. The vast majority of people will not be the first to donate to a fundraising widget... you have to be the one to get the ball rolling!
MySpace is doing some great work to help social causes and nonprofit organizations, yet they receive very little positive press coverage about their efforts and most nonprofit organizations have no idea. MySpace gives $10,000 a month to nonprofit organizations in the United States through their MySpace Impact Awards (in Australia). In addition, they have just launched A Place for Impact. Make sure both are your friends and then explore impact.myspace.com!
Profiles that have the ages of 13 to 17 will not show up in searches on MySpace. So if your organization has not been in operation for at least 18 years, then set your age to 99 or 100.
Some people will prefer to give through a "Donate Now" button rather than a MySpace Fundraising Widget or App. Make sure you have all three on your MySpace so that donors can choose their preferred method of making an online donation. If you need a "Donate Now" button, Change.org offers them for free.
The Causes App is very well known on Facebook, and now any Cause that your organizations has created on Facebook can be added to your MySpace profile:
Some people use MySpace. Some people use Facebook. Some people use both for different reasons. Nonprofits that successfully social network understand this and use both MySpace and Facebook. Make sure you link to your MySpace profile on your Facebook Page. See the Nonprofit Organizations Facebook Page and The Humane Society Facebook Page for examples!
Millions of people are chatting in MySpace Forums everyday. Get your name and profile out there on MySpace by regularly going into Forums and posting topics and responding to discussions. Just don't post the same topic in every forum on MySpace because you will quickly and easily be tagged as a spammer and thus become blocked from forums.
"MySpace Schools" is one of the best kept secrets out there for higher education, but the "Schools" discussion boards can also be used by nonprofit organizations. "Add" Colleges and Universities that are located close to your organization and then go in an post a topic to introduce your organization. Some words of caution... stay away from the high school profiles since most of those folks are minors and don't overuse MySpace Schools... only reach out to schools in your area to prevent getting tagged a spammer on MySpace.
Twitter was the fastest growing social networking website of 2008. Nonprofit organizations, colleges & universities, and small businesses are all using Twitter, and it is a good idea to add the Twitter Badge Widget to your MySpace profile.
When scouting for new friends on MySpace, make sure that you send friend requests to people that are local to your organization. Simply "Browse People" by zip code and start sending friend requests!
MySpace users are a very active group of people. From posting comments to giving "Kudos", MySpace users love to be engaged. Polling is a great way to do that. Add the PollDaddy App and via bulletins, comments, blog, and status updates, let your friends know about your polls and ask them to participate. It's a very simple way to get them engaged and regularly active on your profile.
To make a MySpace profile clean, neat and organized you need to know HTML. The new Profile 2.0 takes a bit of getting used to for long time MySpace users, but it is much easier on the eyes. See the Colleges & Universities profile for an example of Profile 2.0.
One of the easiest ways top get your friends to read, comment, and kudo your blog is to feature a "Blog Post of the Month" in your bulletin signature. Every bulletin I send out on MySpace has a bulletin signature (which is why I get so much Web site traffic from MySpace!). I keep this signature in a Word document on my desktop and just copy and paste the signature before posting a bulletin. Example:
Organization MySpace of the Month: Lions
If your nonprofit has a Flickr account, then definitely integrate your Flickr account in to your MySpace profile with the Happy Flickr App. Not only does the App update automatically, but the upgrades automatically show up in your Activity Feed.
MySpace has launched a very cool new tool bar that you can donwload into your Web browser that allows you to post Status Updates and approve friend requests without having to login to your MySpace profile. It saves users a lot of time and makes you a best community builder on MySpace.
The iTwitter App imports your Tweets from your Twitter account and automatically displays them on your MySpace profile. All links are enabled which is great for driving traffic to your Web site and Twitter profile, but the App in only visible to folks that are logged in to MySpace.
The YouTube Favorites App displays thumbnails of your "favorited" YouTube videos from your YouTube Channel. The thumbnails are hyperlinked to the video on YouTube, but the App is only visible to those folks logged into MySpace.
76) Get professional training on how use MySpace!
Knowing how to use social media in your personal life is quite different from knowing how to use it professionally. Training is essential for launching and maintaining a successful social media strategy for your organization. Be sure to take DIOSA's Webinar on How Nonprofit Organizations Can Successfully Use MySpace.