Category Archives: social networks

Search Engine Optimization Made Easy

Cheers to the Public Policy Communicators of New York City, whose article released today, “What We Learned: Search Engine Optimization” is a quick and dirty how-to-guide to getting your website noticed.

PPCNYC explains what SEO is (and what it’s not), why it’s so important, and how to make it work on your website. The crux of the matter is that “keyword research is the key” but never fear: their explanation of how to get started is straightforward:

To truly understand how people search on the concepts associated with your cause and your issues, it helps to do some simple research. This is what you should do:

  • In your own mind, boil down your article topic to its essence – just a few key words. These are the words with which you will start your research.
  • Start a keyword “glossary.” This is just so you have a record of your research for future reference, since you will probably want to use certain terms that seem like good prospects many times in the future. Just create a table (can be in Excel or Google Docs or whatever spreadsheet program you like), and create column headings for “Keywords,” “Competition,” “Global Monthly Searches,” “Local Monthly Searches” and “Comments.”
  • Start your keyword research. Go to Google Adwords’ keyword tool. Enter in the “Word or phrase” box the key words your article is about and hit “search.” Or, if you are wanting to refine the title and/or metadata for an already existing post on your site, paste the URL into the “website” box and hit “search.” This will bring up a long list of terms associated with your search criteria. This process can also be used when pulling search terms from your competitors’ sites, you simply enter the URL that is similar to your top and hit “search.”
  • Determine which keywords have both high search volume AND low competition. The terms from the search returns you should be most interested in, says Murphy, are those that have “low” competition and high numbers of global monthly searches. (Murphy also noted the term “Longtail Keywords,” which is commonly used to describe these terms.) For those terms that have those indications, click the box on the right for each one and then use the “download” box at the top of the table to download a CSV for Excel file, then just open that up and copy and paste the information into your Glossary for safe keeping and future reference.
  • Put those keywords into practice. Once you have done your keyword search, you not only have a better sense of what are the terms that people search on but also which have relatively little completion in terms of other sites that use those terms. Rework your article title and/or metadata/opening paragraph to give prominence to those terms.

To read the article in full, click here.

Like Riding a Bike: Feel the Joy of Sponsorship Once, Feel it Forever

A cornerstone of my personal philanthropy is to contribute towards friends’ causes. I’ve been a sponsor of swims for cures & races for cures, a patron of the arts, granted birthday requests, wedding requests, and more. In fact, if, like me, you see many requests in your inboxes each month, you might feel overwhelmed….

It helps me to think about how easy it would be to say “yes” to each friend if, instead of asking for support, they were asking me to dinner. A night on the town in San Francisco runs anywhere between $10 to $100 or more…so why not consider that tonight, instead of dinner and drinks, I’m going to treat my friend to an evening of work on their brilliant new website? Or to an afternoon of swim time through the San Francisco Bay?

Still, that’s THEIR experience and while I’ve often ponied up, I’ve never felt truly connected to what my sponsorship of their passion could mean to them and to the cause they’ve chosen.

Until I received this thank you note from Meg for helping sponsor her AIDS Lifecycle Ride. She’s given me permission to share it with you:

To all of my wonderful donors!

The 545 miles from SF to LA have come and gone and I wanted to thank you, again, for your contribution. It was one of the most incredible adventures I’ve ever been on and in the process we – you, me and the rest of the riders -helped raise 13 million dollars to go toward research, education and support services for those living with and at risk of contracting the HIV/ AIDS virus. We started off with an almost miraculous break in the rainy weather from San Francisco and had dry weather all the way to Santa Cruz. It did finally rain, but only after we had finished up dinner and were all tucked into our tents for the night and only for a little bit. We made our way through beautiful agricultural and rural areas of California, areas I definitely wouldn’t have seen otherwise. California really is one of the most beautiful places in the world.

We rode on freeways and bike ways and through towns. We supported another fundraiser along the way in Bradley. The students of the school district there hold a BBQ lunch for the riders and use the money they earn for various school programs. Last year they purchased new computers with the money they made, and I think this year it was to go toward their field trips and extra curricular activities.

Many of you have already heard how life changing this ride can be. It really is. Aside from the extreme miles, aside from tight living quarters with 2499 new friends, aside from the idea that you are indeed raising money for a great cause you are spending every waking minute with 2,499 of the most dedicated people you will probably ever meet in one spot.

A concentration of this size would change anyone. For 7 days straight you are on your best behavior. You shrug off jeers that you still get from a very few but random people on the road. You respect the reality of lines for the bathroom, lines for the shower, lines for dinner and dig up patience where you never thought it existed. You don’t let the hunger, the fatigue, the b.o. affect your inner calm. You don’t compete, you are gracious. You respect that there are riders of all levels and abilities and you don’t allow for any discouragement anywhere. You find stregnth where you didn’t know you had it. You cheer for riders behind you, you cheer for the riders ahead of you. And every hill you summit, every day you finish, every rest stop you arrive to are filled with roadies and riders cheering for your accomplishment.

I could feel the influence this ride has had on me in the days after we pulled into LA, but I couldn’t pinpoint exactly what, when or where. Rather, it’s an overwhelming clarity on what is important in life.

There is rider that always does the ride, named The Chicken Lady. On the last day of the ride, she puts eggs on all 2500 bikes with a note and a lifesaver mint. She said best what I could only feel after 545 miles. I’ll leave my thank you with her words:

Life is too short to wake up with regrets. Believe everything happens for a reason. If you get a chance, take it. If it changes your life, let it. Nobody said it would be easy, they just promised it would be worth it. Applaud yourself.

Love, The Chicken Lady ALC10

Thank you so much for your contributions. I wouldn’t have been able to do this without each and every one of your dollars and encouragement. Your generosity in this recession has been mind blowing.

Much Love, Meg, ALC 10 Rider # 4870

Wow. $13 million dollars. 2,500 riders. Total commitment. I picked up the phone that day and asked the Leukemia and Lymphona Society for information about their Team in Training Program. And thanks to her thoughtful note, Meg changed my outlook on sponsorship from one of grudging gifting to passionate philanthropy for the actions my friends take to make the world a better place to live. So, thanks to all of YOU! Ride on.

Fear and Loathing in Fundraising

I am a very social person. I am also somewhat shy. Okay, don’t believe me. But it’s true.

Yesterday, I spent 12 hours meeting people and learning about amazing ventures including: the impressive leadership programs new client Oasis for Girls provides for young women of color and Ashoka’s Youth Venture’s work supporting entrepreneurs leading food justice initiatives.

I love building connections and collaborations to make good ideas a reality, but frankly, making new friends is scary. Before you build trust with someone you can’t guess the outcome of your interaction. We feel insecure: what if they hate that idea? What if I don’t have anything to offer this relationship?

Or, you can be like me: struggling in vain to swallow a mouthful of spanakopita in order to respond to a group of people paying compliments to my necklace. FYI, grace under pressure does not often walk hand-in-hand with a raid on the buffet table.

Luckily, we’re all human. They were sympathetic to my plight. Well, at least I proceeded to have very nice conversations with all of them. I could easily have fled. And if I’d been in a different situation – like a cotillion – I might have.

But I knew we were all at that table with a common goal: to figure out ways to work together to make sure everyone has access to healthy food. So actually, I felt safe. I got over my fear of looking ridiculous and had a great evening sharing ideas and resources.

But what happens when your fears of social interaction are justified, when you try to establish relationships and end up hurting your cause?

A Board member recently told me that when she was newly appointed, she was asked to call the organization’s supporters and ask them to give. But the donors hadn’t been prepared to receive these calls. Instead of being engaged by the new leadership, they felt defensive. The volunteer had pushed past her fear and instead of being rewarded was punished. Why? Because she wasn’t just afraid: she wasn’t safe.

Feeling safe – aka, establishing trust – means you can tackle something scary in a relationship knowing both parties have already agreed to the rules of engagement and want the same goal.

I will tell you this right now: some people can roll with the punches when the rules of engagement are changed suddenly. But some people cannot. If you try to force new terms on them suddenly, then they don’t feel safe. And when thinking about your donors are you really ready to ask for forgiveness instead of permission?

These donors had a relationship with the organization where 1) they received letters asking for support and 2) they responded with a gift. All of a sudden, someone they didn’t know changed the relationship to the level of a phone call AND asked them to recommit in the same moment.

We’re all so pressed for time and resources, it’s easy to forget to check-in with each other. We know we’re ready to jump into the unknown and assume our supporters will follow us. It’s a false assumption.

You can’t skip steps in building relationships. And you can’t have a relationship with someone who doesn’t trust you. While your supporters might feel scared to follow you as you jump, make sure they trust you enough to feel safe going skydiving with you in the first place. They’ll be more willing to take the risk and your mission will reap the rewards.