If You Only Have Time To Read One Email A Day For Social Media News And Information…

…Choose Mashable.com

Below is a list from today’s email blast, containing almost 30 articles on Social Media,Mobile, Web Video, Entertainment, Business, and Technology. Of all the email digest’s I receive this has consistently offered the most helpful and comprehensive listing of news and information.

Click here to join their email list

5 Ways to Jazz Up Your Marketing Efforts

The following is an excerpt from,  Rethink your nonprofit marketing efforts, by Mike Knutson on his blog ReimagineRural.Com

Mike has graciously allowed a portion to be re-posted here and I wanted to share the section that speaks to the needs of small to medium size nonprofits.  I highly recommend reading the full article and thanking Mike for his efforts.

5 Ways to Jazz Up your Marketing Efforts

First, and most importantly, write down your goals and then match them to your marketing efforts. Goals will vary, but might include: fundraising, promoting organizational events, or building general awareness of your organization to name a few.  If your goals are written down you can use it to examine your marketing efforts and ask the question:  “Are the marketing strategies I’m spending time and money on helping me achieve our goals?” This is the start of a marketing plan, which doesn’t have to be complicated.  In fact, I have always advocated the simpler the better.  Just writing down your goals is a huge first step.

Second, get online with a blog… it’ll be better than a website. Everyone knows how important it is for non-profits to build relationships.  Large non-profits often seek to hobnob with finance bankers and philanthropists, while small non-profits probably look more to the average citizen in their community; like the retired carpenter who can volunteer a little time for a construction project.

Regardless of whom your nonprofit targets for relationship building, blogs are a great place to start because they make it so easy to share stories about your non-profit’s work. I think this is particularly important in rural areas where distance makes communications more difficult.

But I can hear it already; “We don’t even have a website.  Don’t tell me about a blog!”  I understand.  But you need to understand that blogs are generally inexpensive and easy enough to use that most non-techies can manage them.

Perhaps the key to nonprofit blogging is to get personal and let others know what you are passionate about.  Even if your goal is to promote your organization’s events, you can make it personal, so that readers get a feel for you as well as the organization.  And if you post regularly – that might mean once a day, once a week, or once a month – people will be more likely to come back to your site and stay connected to what you are doing.

Third, think of Facebook as a place to create a sense of community. Just over a year ago, I would have frowned on any recommendation for a non-profit in a small, rural community to create a Facebook Page because I didn’t see many older rural residents using Facebook.  That’s changed dramatically with Baby Boomers making up the fastest growing segment of Facebook users.

Many non-profits have looked to Facebook as a fundraising tool, choosing to develop a strategy around a Facebook “fundraising” application. These tools make it easy for people to donate online. That’s great for some organizations that have an emotional cause that transcends geography and reaches a wide audience.  Most non-profits in our small, rural communities, however, are probably focusing fundraising on a smaller group of people who already have a connection to the community.

Instead of asking for donations online, think about how you can use Facebook as a place where people can chat about how your organization is making a difference.  “Make meaning before money” is a common phrase used to describe online marketing efforts today, and it definitely applies to small non-profits using Facebook.

When thinking about Facebook, you should also consider the following two recommendations.  First, chose either a Facebook page or a blog.  I say that only because most small non-profits don’t have time for both.  (But if you do chose Facebook, make sure you have a link to your Facebook page on your website.)  Second, think of your goals before deciding if and how you are going to use Facebook.  Although I suspect you can find a way to use Facebook effectively to meet most any goal, only you can decide that.

Fourth, use YouTube to showcase projects you are working on. Just the other day, I learned of how the Anaheim Ballet has been using videos to showcase their students practice and performances.  What a great way for interested parties to see what their work is about.  There’s nothing fancy about their efforts, and they are definitely not trying to create a viral video, which can be daunting. It reminded me of the efforts of Café au Play, a nonprofit seeking to create a third place coffee house with a place for children.  (I wrote about them about a year ago, and embedded their video below.)

My guess is that most small non-profit can rustle up a volunteer who enjoys doing a little video production.

Fifth, get online and learn what others are doing and what the experts recommend. What I’ve identified above is just a starting list.  I tried to keep it short because I understand what it’s like to serve on small town non-profit boards, and I know you don’t have the resources to do everything.

Although I understand life in small rural communities better than most, there are people out there who focus solely on non-profit marketing, and they share some of their knowledge for free.  You need to turn to these experts for inspiration. Often what they talk about applies more to large non-profits for whom they hope to consult.  But I think innovative small town residents should filter through what they say to find new ideas that can be done by their non-profit.

Some of these experts include:

There’s no doubt that the economy will create challenges for non-profit organizations, regardless of size.  But I hope that the non-profits in our small rural communities will do a better job of creating marketing plans and begin to embrace social media.  There’s something in it for everyone.

Mike Knutson believes small, rural communities need to “Reimagine” their futures.  On a blog titled “ReImagine Rural” he and others attempt to inspire rural residents to look at the futures of their communities differently and to base their community development efforts on innovative, transformative ideas.  As a former teacher, small business manager, and economic development coordinator, all in rural communities, Knutson hopes that rural residents will join in the conversation.

5 tips to getting the most from your logo design contest

Change for a Dollar went through this process recently and are very pleased with the outcome.  Here are five tips on getting the most out of your contest.

#1 – Find a site that works for you

There are more and more crowdsourced logo design sites out there every day.  Check out several of them first so you get a feel for functionality and ease of use for the site and quality of the designs.  Then, pick the one that appeals to you most and is within your budget.

Full disclosure, we used LogoMyway.com for our logo contest.

Here a few more out there that you can start with:

99Designs.Com

LogoWorks.Com

CrowdSpring.Com

GFXContests.Com

DesignOutpost.Com

LogoMyWay.Com


#2 – What do you want out of this contest?

Before you start up your contest, you need to do a little strategic thinking.  Answer these questions ahead of time and you’ll have a complete picuture of your logo design needs.  This will save you time during the contest and give designers a clear picture of their design goal.

  • Who is your audience for this logo?
  • What do you want it to represent, classic vs. modern, traditional vs. cutting edge, old school vs. Web 2.0?
  • Do you want the title of your group in the logo?
  • Do you want to include the tagline?
  • Are there images or ideas out on the web you can point to as giving a good representation of what you like or don’t like?
  • How will this logo be used? (Website, Twitter, Blog, Stationary, Business Cards)

#3 – Be Proactive

Now that you’ve entered your contest you plan on sitting back and letting the designs roll in, right?  Wrong.

If you want the most from your contest  you need to stay active in the contest.  As designs come in, let designers know what you like and don’t like.  Constantly rate and re-rate what comes in so that designers watching the contest but have yet to weigh in know what you are looking for.  Look around at other contests and find designers and logos you like.  Email or message those designers and ask they submit something for your contest.

Designers need feedback like everyone else. By staying active in the contest, you’ll get a better product at the end and save time by being upfront about what you like and don’t like.

#4 – Be open minded

Going into this contest you had a clear vision for what you wanted your logo to look like.   You’ve picked colors, have an idea about layout and might even be deciding how it will look on your new business cards.

Be prepared to throw that idea out the window!  You are getting tons of new ideas from people all over the world.  They are male or female, young or old, black/white, and everything in between.  One of the fundamental benefits of crowdsourced logos is that you get ideas from all across the spectrum.  Be open to how these new ideas convey your message. It might be they have things to share that are more effective, imaginative, and inspiring than what you originally envisioned.

#5 – Engage your supporters/followers

Use this process to solicit feedback from your customers, clients, donors, friends and family.  Getting perspectives from lots of different perspectives is vital to producing a logo that appeals to all.  Plus this is a great way to include your supporters or clients into the process and make them feel part of the effort.

Use your social media to update them on progress.  Let them vote for a few of your finalists, and make a big announcement when the winner is picked.

Good luck!

Check out our new logo!

Change for a Dollar logo

After weighing several great options we chose the logo you see today.We are very excited about the final product.

We used LogoMyWay.com for our crowdsourced logo and enjoyed all aspects of the process. They have a great site and a tons of creative and professional designers.

Thanks to everyone for their comments and feedback.

To see more of our logo, visit Change For a Dollar at the following:

Facebook Group

Twitter

LinkedIn

Next week we’ll have tips on how to get the most of your crowdsourced logo.

Logo Design Contest underway for Change for a Dollar

Follow our logo design contest on LogoMyWay.com

See all of the Top logo designs and let us know which ones you like or would change

See all of the Top logo designs and let us know which ones you like or would change

The contest to design the new Change for a Dollar logo runs through August 19th. So far, we’ve received over one hundred entries and more are expected. Once the contest ends, we’ll ask for your opinion on which should be selected.

Stay tuned!