Posts Tagged social media

A Four-Step Plan to Building a Social Media Dashboard

“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.”

Lewis Carroll

A few years back, I presented a preliminary dashboard measuring Web activity to an advisory group at the organization where I was working. This was a smart, perceptive and knowledgeable team. I expected lots of questions and some insightful discussion around the conference table where we met late on that cold afternoon. What I didn’t expect was to walk out with a list of indicators three times as long as the one I walked in with. Every metric I posed led to suggestions for more. The suggestions shot off in a thousand directions. By the time the sun had set outside (and in the room), I had learned a painful lesson. While the metrics may vary, there is a logical process to follow that will make creating a dashboard easier. So, to help you avoid similar pain, here is my four-step, never-fail plan to building a social media dashboard. (Your metrics may differ, but the process should work.) Read the rest of this entry »

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How to Be An Effective Philanthropist in Eight Easy Steps

I was lucky enough to learn from a long list of amazing people during my nearly nine years at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Now that I am on the outside peering back through the glass, it is my turn to pass on some of those lessons, which I collected in a commentary for the Philanthropy News Digest. Consider it one man’s primer on how to be an effective philanthropist, learned the hard way. You can read it here.

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Tips on Connecting with Foundations via Social Media

I received two comments from separate blog entries recently that were essentially asking the same question: Can I use social media to develop relationships with foundations?

One was from Joe Waters, director of cause marketing for a Boston hospital and author of the always interesting blog Selfish Giving.

Joe asks:

Do you have some examples of HOW foundations are using social media to interact with nonprofits? I work for a hospital and I’m a big advocate for using social media and I want to make the case that being on social media is another way to appeal and communicate with Foundations. These are important to us as we raise most of our money from them!

Moments later, MReiss posed a similar question:

Any thoughts on using social media to start a conversation with foundation and corporate donors (current and/or prospective)?

Can you use social media to develop or improve your relationship with funders? The answer is yes. And no. Read the rest of this entry »

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Using Social Media to Battle Disparities in Health Care

Elizabeth Myung Sook Krause and I were on the same panel at the Grantmakers in Health annual meeting last month, and she began with typical self-deprecating humor.

“Being young and Asian, I know I’m supposed to be good with technology, but I’m really not,” she said, mentioning the decidedly low-tech cell phone she had just replaced. She got a nice laugh, but the truth is—technical or not—she is serving as program officer on the kind of social media project that will shape the new face of philanthropy. And, fittingly, she now possesses a shiny new iPhone.

Krause, a senior program officer for the Connecticut Health Foundation, is overseeing a project to motivate the public to take a stronger interest in the racial and ethnic disparities in health care delivery. What caught my attention is the heavy focus on using social media to complement offline efforts. Read the rest of this entry »

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Why We All Need to Splash the Old Ladies Now and Then

I’ve been thinking about hippos lately.

Not the behemoths you see on Animal Planet lounging in the watering holes in Africa with just their warty heads above the mud. I’m talking about a different kind of hippo. I’m talking about the large, wrinkled ladies in flowered bathing suits and freshly poofed hair, who lounge on the steps in public swimming pools. You know the ones. They gather in groups of three or four, gabbing ceaselessly about their grandchildren, the weather, Regis and their next trip to Miami Beach. They don’t like it when the kids get too close or too noisy, and God help you if you accidentally propel a few drops of water toward their cotton-candy hairdos. Read the rest of this entry »

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Baby Steps and Other Lessons Learned Implementing Social Media at a Foundation

I can still see it in my mind all these years later.

My oldest son was starting to walk. We were upstairs in the tiny house we lived in at the time. My mind wandered for a second, and, before I knew it, he was standing at the top of the stairs with a goofy smile on his face. I ran to catch him, but was too late. He took a big step, and then his chubby body rolled down about 15 carpeted stairs, plopping onto the landing on the first floor. I was right behind trying to catch him, but he stayed just out of reach. Like in the movies, it felt as though it was happening in slow motion. He wasn’t hurt. He was crying, though, and suddenly had a full load in his diaper. I learned an important lesson. Babies (and drunk people) are good fallers because they don’t try to stop themselves. They just go with it. I also learned that a gate at the top of the steps might be a good idea. My son learned a pretty good lesson that day about how stairways work and how that first step can be a doozy. You learn new and useful things every day, especially when you are trying something new—like walking … or social media. Read the rest of this entry »

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Why I am Making a Pretty Big Change in My Life

I have some big news to share. First, a little background.

A few weeks after I started at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, my wife looked at me across the dinner table one night.

“What is going on?” she asked.

“What do you mean?”

“You are not complaining about work.”

I thought about it, and she was right. After a lot of tough years in journalism, magazine publishing and on the Web, I had landed at the foundation feeling like I was in heaven. Read the rest of this entry »

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A Social Media Experiment that Somehow Went Right

Just before we launched the first Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Year in Research poll, David Colby came by my office about a hundred times with the same question.

“What if nobody votes?”

Colby (pictured left) is Vice President of Research and Evaluation at RWJF (my employer). He had been producing an annual list of the most influential health policy research articles for a couple of years, when he decided in 2008 that it was time to let a broader audience help choose the list. But clearly he was struggling with a common fear. Read the rest of this entry »

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Why One Foundation Believes Writing Checks is Not Enough

Toward the end of December, I saw the Case Foundation do something I haven’t seen before from another foundation. It was straightforward and helpful. And so simple. Under the heading “Great Nonprofits That Should Make Your Holiday List”, Michael Smith, V.P. Social Innovation (pictured left), wrote a blog post listing 27 of the foundation’s grantees. The post contained a description of each and, most important, a button to donate directly to them. It was a simple gesture to help organizations Case is working with in their end-of-year campaigns for funding, and an acknowledgement that foundations can and should be helping their grantees in more ways than the grant process.  Read the rest of this entry »

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My Helpful Guide to Failing at Philanthropy

There has been some discussion in the foundation world recently about failure (although probably not nearly enough). Particularly, about the question of why foundations don’t talk more openly about our mistakes. 

While there are a few “good” reasons like protecting grantees, we all know the main explanation comes down to embarrassment and ego. I want to add one more possibility to the literature.

Perhaps foundation staff members don’t know how to fail. I don’t mean that we don’t fail. We fail all the time. I mean that we don’t know how to fail with style. Failing to succeed. With that in mind, I put together a handbook on failing at philanthropy for the Philanthropy News Digest. You can read it here.

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