Most organizations appreciate the value of networking with like-minded organizations and
reaching out to potential supporters. The traditional ways these relationships are built are
through meetings, presentations and phone calls.
However, with the advent of the Internet, networking has moved to the virtual realm. In the last few
years, people are using the Internet not only to find information but to interact with others. Sites like
MySpace and Facebook have prospered in this environment and can be a wonderful resource for
your organization’s networking goals. There are millions of people on these social networking sites
that you can reach out to for support. Therefore, you can reach many more people than you would
Social networking through the Internet can help your organization by:
• Raising awareness about your organization and your work.
• Disseminating information like news, photos and video.
• Fostering a sense of community around your organization and the causes you work for.
• Recruiting volunteers by empowering and mobilizing supporters.
• Raising money.
You should not join a social network just for the sake of it, instead you should figure out if social
networking can fit in with your organization’s core mission. It may not if the people you need to
reach do not use social networking sites. However, in most cases you will find that networking with
those on social networking sites will benefit your organization by promoting your mission. Reaching
out to the wide public is a way to raise awareness, mobilize support and even raise money.
The way social networking sites work is that you create a page about your organization and add
friends. Some of your friends are the ones you have in real life, other ones are just people you find
online that you have common interests with.
The aspect of social networking that makes it so powerful is that it has a viral effect. If you add Bob
as a friend, then everyone who visits Bob’s profile will be able to see that he is friends with your
organization. This may cause some of Bob’s friends to add your organization as a friend. This is why
some social networking sites are often called friend of a friend sites.
There are several social networking sites that can help your organization build its network. Some are
general social networking sites for meeting friends. However, others have a more targeted goal, for
instance creating a community around activism, video sharing or an actual community that exists
outside the Internet.
Three major types of social networking sites are:
1. General social networking sites – These websites are used to connect individuals and
groups directly with others who share common interests and goals. There is no common
interest or goal shared by all members, but rather the social network is a place for people
with various interests. Most of these sites are dominated by people younger than 35,
predominately young adults. Examples of general social networking sites are:
• MySpace – A site with a varied constituency (from high school students to middle
aged adults) and many features.
• Facebook – Facebook has a slightly different constituency than MySpace, focusing
on college students and young professionals.
• Orkut – A profile on Orkut has three aspects, social, professional and personal,
therefore Orkut is meant to be not only a place for friends but also for professional
• Friendster – Most of Friendster’s users are older than 25.
• Hi5 – Most of Hi5’s users are under 30.
2. Purpose driven social networking sites – There are several social networking sites with a
specific purpose. They are not a place where people go to generally make friends but rather
go there to undertake a particular activity. Some tailored social networking sites are:
• Change.org – Change.org is a social networking site that focuses on activism. The
visitors of this website are therefore interested in human rights and social justice.
• YouTube – YouTube is a video sharing site that has a strong social networking
component. It is a website with one of the largest audiences on the Internet. The
social networking aspect of YouTube is that people can comment on videos, post
video responses, choose favorite videos and subscribe to a user’s new videos.
• Flickr – Flickr is a photo sharing site that has a strong social networking component
as well. It allows you to choose favorite photos from other users, comment on
photos, add contacts to get updates when they add photos, and join groups to share
photos and discuss a particular topic.
3. Custom social networking sites – In addition to general social networking sites and
purpose driven ones, there are sites that allow you to create your own social networking
portal. You can create one for a particular group, a certain issue, an event, etc. These types
of sites are not particularly good for meeting new people but instead for building stronger
relationships with people you already know.
• Collective X
Some of the sites listed above are more popular only in certain parts of the world. For instance,
MySpace and Facebook are especially popular for North American users, but very unpopular for
Latin American users. Keep this in mind if you are hoping to target a specific demographic with
your social networking strategy. One of the sites above may have appealed to you, but if the people
you want to network with do not use that site, then you will have to consider another. See the chart
below to find the primary geographic audience of each of the five general social networking sites
Social Networking Site Primary Geographic Audience
MySpace Mostly used by North American and European users.
Facebook Mostly used by North American, European, Middle Eastern and
Orkut Most popular social networking site in Latin America (mainly Brazil),
and quite popular in the south Asia and Pacific region. Very
unpopular in other parts of the world.
Friendster Widely used in the south east Asia and Pacific regions, but not used
much in other parts of the world.
Hi5 The most popular social networking site in Peru, Colombia, Ecuador
and Central America.
Source: LeMonde, “Réseaux sociaux : des audiences différentes selon les continents”
If you decide that social networking can benefit your organization, read on for more detailed
information about what these websites can do for you and how to use them. Note that only the
most popular sites will be explained in detail.
Social Networking Tips
• Aim for consistency when joining multiple social networking sites since consistency helps
people easily find you. First, make sure all accounts have the same username because often they
are displayed in your profile’s URL. For instance, you should not use your full organization
name on your Change.org page and only your acronym on your MySpace page. Note that your
username cannot usually be changed. Second, make sure that you use the same logo as your
primary picture on each social networking site as this is the image that identifies you.
• Integrate your social networking presence with your other online presences. Don’t let
your social networking profiles stand alone. If you have an email list, advertise your social
networking presence there. Put links to your social networking page on your website. Similarly,
you can use the social networking site to repost your newsletters, promote your website, invite
people to events and more. Try to aim for integration between all your ICT tools to strengthen
and reinforce each of them.
• Know your audience. Knowing your audience is very important for the effective use of social
networking sites. For instance, in the above tip, it was suggested that you repost your newsletter
so that your social networking contacts can view it. This does not necessarily mean that you
copy and paste the newsletter to send out on Facebook. Instead, you should tailor the newsletter
or other material to your audience, who are often young adults. This often entails
communicating in a more casual way than you otherwise would.
• Gain a lot of contacts and build relationships. Send friend requests to a lot of people to get
thousands of friends, including high profile people such as musicians, actors, politicians and
even other organizations. But it is also important to develop a relationship with these friends.
Having thousands of friends is one thing, but turning these contacts into supporters and
potentially donors takes more effort. You can foster a relationship with your contacts by sending
a message to everyone who wants to be your friend. You can also hold mini contests via your
page, such as the person who writes the best comment on your page will be your supporter of
the month. There are a variety of ways you can turn contacts into supporters, you just have to
devote time to doing it.
• Keep your social networking page active. In order to engage your contacts, you have to
ensure that your profile is constantly updated with new material. This keeps people coming back,
thus serving as a constant reminder to people about what your organization does and what they
can do to get involved. When people continue to come back to your page, they are more likely
to get involved. For instance, if your profile has a discussion board, post a comment or topic if
you find that no one else is.
• Become a member of the community. Don’t build a profile on a social networking site, invite
friends and that is all. Instead, use the networking site the same way that other users do. Join
groups, post pictures, write comments on other people’s pages and customize your page. Doing
so makes your presence on the social networking site more useful as you will be more visible to
other users that are not your contacts (yet).
• Turn your contacts into activists. Ask your contacts to advocate for you. Encourage them to
feature your organization in their profile, to send a message to all of their friends asking them to
join your page, create groups or discussion topics about your organization, link to your website,
and more. Directly appealing to your contacts through an Action section on your profile can
motivate your contacts to do a little extra to promote your work.
• Use social networking to raise money. If you have a way for people to send you money
(either through the Internet or by sending a check), ask your social networking contacts to
contribute. Encourage them to give by recognizing them on your profile. This will encourage
more people to give in the future since they will see donors featured on your organization’s page
and want to be there too.
• Monitor your social networking pages. Check your pages frequently to ensure that you are
not getting inappropriate comments, that people aren’t posting inappropriate pictures, or
otherwise ruining your professionalism. You need to be prepared for some loss of control when
entering the social networking world, so do not censor, but rather step in only if a “friend” is
participating in an unconstructive or inappropriate way.
• Be patient. Do not expect to create an account on a social networking site one day and the next
day have 5,000 friends. Gaining friends and making good use of your social networking presence
takes time and dedication.
General Social Networking Sites
As stated above, there are many general social networking sites for meeting new contacts to
strengthen your networking. Below is more information on two of the most popular, MySpace and
MySpace is a general friend of a friend social networking site with users of varying ages located
primarily in North America and Europe. To create an account on MySpace, go to
www.myspace.com and click the orange Sign Up button. To get started, you need to fill out your
profile with the necessary information such as About Me. Then start exploring the following
features of MySpace.
• Friends list and Top Friends – To build your organization’s network on MySpace, you can
search for friends and add them to your friend’s list. Then on your profile page, there will be a
box where people can view your Top Friends (you can change how many Top Friends are listed
and who you feature there). People can also click on the box to view all of your friends. This is a
great networking tool since you can visit the MySpace page of like-minded nonprofits, view their
friends and then invite their friends to be your friends as well. One way to get the most out of
the friends feature is to friend a popular organization in your field and ask them to list you as a
Top Friend for a day, a week or a month. This will increase your visibility and get you a lot of
friend requests. The Nonprofit Organizations page rotates their tops friends frequently so
become friends with them!
• Comments – You can post a comment on your friend’s profile and pictures. Your comment
appears for everyone to see so this helps improve your visibility and relationship with your
• Groups – MySpace has a large group section that you can use to increase your visibility with
people with similar interests. There is a section devoted to nonprofit organizations that hosts
thousands of nonprofit related groups. It is a good idea to join groups related to issues you work
on so that other members of the group can find you. To facilitate this, be an active member of
the groups you join to increase your visibility. Also, groups pull together people with similar
interests, so if the group allows you, you can invite members of the group to be friends of your
organization (some groups explicitly ban sending friend requests to members).
• Events section and Calendar function – You can post information under the MySpace Event
section to publicize an event you are hosting. Most events that are posted are ones taking place
in North America and Europe, so the event feature is more relevant for outreach events in these
locales rather than local events. In addition, you have a calendar that allows you to add events
directly on your profile for everyone, or only your friends, to see.
• Photos – You can upload photos to appear on your profile to highlight your work, your staff,
your beneficiaries, etc. Photos can give a face to your organization and personalize your work.
• Videos – You can upload your videos using the MySpace TV section. It works similarly to how
YouTube works and allows other MySpace users to put the video on their profile. This can help
you disseminate your videos but should probably not be the only place you post your video.
• Blog – MySpace has a blog feature that allows you to post blogs on your profile and send
updates to those who subscribe to your blog on MySpace. It is not suggested that you use a
MySpace blog as your primary blog since it has limited features and capabilities, but using the
MySpace blog to repost other, important blog entries or update your MySpace friends with
information is useful. However, the bulletin feature is more effective in reaching all of your
MySpace friends who may not view your profile often or subscribe to your blogs.
• Bulletins – MySpace has a feature that allows you to send a bulletin to all your MySpace friends
at once. You can allow people to comment on your bulletin if you want to encourage a
discussion. This is a great dissemination tool and can be used for sending out your press releases,
news from your organization, or anything else you want to communicate to all of your MySpace
• Forums – MySpace has a forum section that encourages people to post questions or topics in
order to start a discussion with other MySpace users. Forums allow you to increase your visibility
and start a discussion about an issue relevant to your organization. Unfortunately, there is no
nonprofit focused forum, but there are topics that could be relevant to nonprofits such as News
• Customizable profile, HTML friendly – You can change the look of your profile to match
your organization’s “brand.” See Oxfam America’s MySpace page for an example of a
customized profile. You can do this by inserting HTML code into parts of your page, which
allows you to be creative and insert objects like slideshows. There are many websites that
provide you with HTML code to insert in your profile to customize your page. Note that adding
images and graphics will make your page load very slowly, especially on a slow Internet
• Nonprofit focused section for fundraising and advocacy – MySpace has recently created a
section of their website called Impact, designed specifically with nonprofits in mind. The main
feature of this section is the ability to have MySpace users fundraise on your organization’s
behalf via PayPal. This has the potential to be a great fundraising tool. Right now, only a few
organizations can use this feature since it has not been opened to the public. However, you can
visit MySpace to learn more and sign up your organization to be part of Impact once it is open
• Do not add music. MySpace has a feature that allows you to add a song to your profile.
While this is a nice feature for your personal page, it is not professional and thus should not
be on your organization’s page. It distracts visitors and lessens your message.
• Don’t overdo your page’s customization. It is good to customize your page to look more
professional and exciting, but do not go to the extreme. Avoid animations and distracting
colors that steal attention away from your organization. Think of designing your MySpace
page as if it is your website – be professional.
• Keep an eye on the comments you receive. Make sure you pay attention to the comments
you receive on your profile and on your pictures. The comment feature is fun but there is a
lot of spamming and inappropriate material that can end up on your page. You have the
ability to delete such comments if they appear. If this turns into a large problem, you can
adjust your account settings to require that you approve all comments before they are
• Use your logo as your profile picture.
• For more MySpace advice, see the MySpace Best Practices website.
For two examples of good organization MySpace pages, see
• Grassroots International
Facebook is a general friend of a friend social networking site. Individuals join Facebook and make
personal profiles, which include their picture, information about their interests and links to their
friends. Organizations, however, do not make profiles but instead make pages and their “friends”
are called fans.
Pages are tailored for organizations, not individuals. Thus there are no unnecessary sections like
birthday, gender, etc. Also, pages are public, meaning that someone does not need to be signed into
Facebook to view your page. However, someone does need to be signed into Facebook to become a
fan and use the features on the page. Thus, you can send people who are not Facebook users to your
Facebook page, something you cannot do with an individual profile.
To create your organization’s Facebook page, create a profile of someone in your organization. It
could be the person managing the Facebook page or you can create a pseudo profile of your
Director. Do this by going to www.facebook.com and sign up for an account. Note that you will
need to sign into this account to administer your Facebook page, so try to avoid using the personal
account (and personal password) of someone in your organization because once that person leaves
the organization, so does your Facebook login.
Once you have an account, login and scroll to the bottom of any Facebook page and click on
Businesses. Then click on Facebook Pages and click the button at the upper right that says Create a
Facebook page. On the next screen, click Brand or Product as the category and then click Non-
profit in the pull down box. Follow the rest of the instructions to create your page. Consult “The
Proper Way for Your Organization to be on Facebook” for step-by-step instructions on how to
create a Facebook page.
Note that while the personal profile was used to create the page, that person’s profile will
not be seen by your eventual fans. Everything that person does in relation to the page will be
marked as an action by the organization, not the individual.
While you can add friends and send messages to people as an individual on Facebook, you cannot
do so as your organization. For instance, if you used Sue’s account to create your organization’s
Facebook page and you want to send a message to Bob, the message Bob receives will be from Sue,
not your organization. Therefore, people have to find your page and become your fan by
themselves. This actually happens a lot easier than you might expect due to the viral nature of
For instance, Facebook has a feature called a news feed. When every Facebook user signs into
Facebook the first page they see is their news feed, which provides updates on what their friends
have done recently on Facebook. For instance, if you are friends with Bob and Bob joins a group or
becomes a fan of an organization, then your news feed will tell you so. This is what makes Facebook
so powerful. If one person becomes a fan of your organization, all of that person’s friends will see
that they did that. Some of them will become your fan as a result and it will snowball from there.
Features of Facebook Pages
• Fans – Instead of having friends of your organization like on MySpace, on Facebook you have
fans of your organization. When someone becomes a fan of your organization, it alerts all of
their friends through the news feed. Once someone becomes your fan, he or she can contribute
to your page by starting a discussion topic, adding photos and videos, and writing on your wall.
Also, only fans receive Updates, which is described below. Whenever a fan does anything on
your page, like write on your wall, all of that fan’s friends will be notified via the news feed.
Therefore, it is important to get a lot of fans and to engage them to spread the word about your
• Updates – Facebook Pages allow you to send an update to all of your fans about anything you
want to inform them of. You may want to disseminate some breaking news, a new addition to
your page, or anything else. Updates are sent to all fans.
• Notes – In addition to updates, which are sent to all of your fans, you can write notes, which are
displayed on your page for everyone to see. People can leave comments on them and you can
attach photos to a note, both things you cannot do with an update.
• Discussion Boards – Your Facebook page comes with a feature that allows you to start
interactive discussion topics. The page administrator (you) and all of your fans can create a topic
and all Facebook users can reply to a topic. This is great for encouraging people to come back to
your page and actively participate in the issues relevant to your organization.
• Wall – Like Facebook profiles, your Facebook page comes with a Wall. The Wall is the part of
your page where fans can leave comments for everyone to see.
• Photos – You can upload photos to your organization’s page on Facebook. Also, your fans can
add their own pictures to the page, but you have the right to delete any photos fans add. This
can help make your page more interesting and also foster involvement with your fans.
• Videos – You can upload videos to enhance the appeal of your page. Your fans can also upload
their videos to the page, but you have the right to delete any that you find inappropriate. Like
photos, adding video can make your page more interesting and also foster involvement with
• Events – You can post information about upcoming events on your Facebook page and update
all of your fans about them. These events are posted on your page so in addition to your fans, all
visitors to your page will be able to view them. This feature can help you publicize an outreach
event, a presentation, and more.
• Other Applications – You can expand your Facebook page by adding features called
applications. There are a variety of applications that you can add to your page, such as ones to
show your YouTube videos, show where you have been around the world, and more. By going
to your page manager and scrolling down to the More Applications section, you can browse
hundreds of these Facebook applications. Some useful ones are below:
Facebook Causes – There is a Causes application that allows people with Facebook
profiles or pages to create a cause page such as “Help Educate Girls” in order to raise
money for that cause. The cause creator chooses an organization that the cause benefits
such as UNICEF and all money will go to that organization. The creator can then invite
his or her friends to join the cause and donate money. Each cause page has a wall people
can write on, the top recruiters and donors listed and can also have links, photos, and
videos. Currently, only US and Canadian based nonprofits can be listed as beneficiaries,
however AP partners can contact AP and we can discuss hosting a cause on your behalf.
Then you can add the cause to your organization’s page to promote it.
Profile HTML – This application allows you to copy and paste HTML on your
Facebook page. This lets you post YouTube videos, widgets (charity badges), and any
other HTML you want on your page including your newsletter subscription box if you
Simply RSS – This application allows you to run updates from your RSS feed on your
YouTube Box – Allows you to post your YouTube videos easily on your Facebook
page without having to upload them individually to Facebook.
Change.org – The Change.org application allows you to tap your Facebook network for
support on your Change.org page (see below for more on Change.org). Therefore, this
application makes a bridge between your Facebook and Change.org presence. You can
post this application on your page to ask your fans to donate and take actions that you
In addition to your Facebook Page, you should use your individual profile to take advantage of
Facebook Groups. You can make a group on Facebook by logging in and clicking on Groups on
the left hand side of the screen. It is a good idea to make a group for your organization, or even a
cause you work on, in addition to your page in order to reach out to more Facebook users.
Organizations with pages cannot make groups, only individuals with profiles can. Unlike a page, the
creator of a group is listed for all Facebook users to see. Therefore, it will not show your
organization as the creator of the group but rather the individual who created your organization’s
Groups are different from pages because groups can be closed, meaning that it is restricted to
people who are invited (however, this is not recommended). Another difference is that groups
cannot be expanded with applications like pages can. Also, while you can send a message to all
group members, this only applies to groups with fewer than 1,200 members. If you have any more
than that, this feature is disabled. Therefore, while it is a good idea to have a Facebook group for
your organization and/or cause, this should not replace your Facebook page, which should be
viewed as your primary and official Facebook presence.
• Do not add inappropriate applications to your page. There are many applications on
Facebook that you can add to your page. Some are useful for an organization’s page, like
the ones mentioned above, while some are inappropriate and unprofessional.
• Only send updates about important things. If you send too many updates, your fans
may disable updates from you. Therefore, send updates about the things that matter
most, leaving the less important ones for people to view on your page.
Purpose Driven Social Networking Sites
The social networking sites listed below bring people together for a particular purpose, for instance,
activism or multimedia sharing.
Change.org is a purpose driven social networking site. It is a site for nonprofits and individuals who
want to change the world for the better. Change.org can help you raise awareness about an issue,
mobilize people who are committed to social change, raise money and publicize your news. There
are over a million nonprofits on the site, so this is a very large network you should join.
US-based nonprofits can join Change.org to raise money and mobilize people to take actions related
to their work. International groups can join as well, but they need a US-based 501c3 organization as
a sponsor. AP partners can use AP as their 501c3 sponsor.
Individuals can join to participate in Actions, create Actions for others to do, network with like-
minded people and organizations, and raise money for their favorite groups and causes. This is a
particularly powerful social networking site for promoting your organization’s work, gathering
support and raising money since all Change.org users are interested in social justice issues. This
contrasts with general social networking sites that have members with all sorts of interests.
It is important to note that all donations given through Change.org are subject to a 4.75 percent fee.
Therefore, if someone donates $100 to you, you receive $95.25. Consider this when using
Change.org. Most organizations end up deciding that the benefits of the social network far outweigh
the 4.75 percent fee taken out of donations.
To sign up, go to www.change.org and find the Sign Up button on the left-hand side in the middle
of the screen. Nonprofits do not click on the Sign Up button but rather the link directly underneath.
The next page gives you a choice between signing up for a free nonprofit account or the premium
service that costs $20/month. The premium service gives you added features such as a customized
page but remember that you can raise money on Change.org with a free account. Once you choose
your account type, follow these steps:
Step 1: Click on United States. Since you will be signing up as a sub-organization of AP, you
need to choose United States even though you are based in another country.
Step 2: Type the name of your organization. Do not type The Advocacy Project. Choose the
appropriate category that describes your organization’s work. Enter your website if
you have one.
Step 3: Email AP for our Tax Identification Number (EIN). Enter the number we give you
in the EIN field.
Step 4: Choose Yes in response to the sub-organization question.
Step 5: Type the address of The Advocacy Project and the contact information from
someone at your organization.
Step 6: Click Submit.
Once you are signed up, you should add information to your profile. Once you have a profile, you
should explore the features that Change.org offers, including:
• Supporters – Every individual that signs up for Change.org can become a supporter of the
nonprofits they like. The supporters of an organization show up on the organization’s page, and
the nonprofits the person supports shows up on their personal profile page. To gain supporters,
you can click on the People tab at the top of the screen and search for people that may be
interested in the issue you work for. Another good way to find supporters is to search for
Changes and Actions (described below) that relate to your work. Send those who are a member
of the Change or have taken a particular Action a message. To do this, click on the person’s
name and click Send Supporter Request.
• Changes – If someone asked you “What do you want to change in the world?” what would
your answer be? If it is “Empower women in the Democratic Republic of the Congo,” then you
should try to become a recommended nonprofit of that Change. Being recommended for a
Change means that you will show up on the Change’s page and all members of the Change will
be able to easily find your page and donate to your organization. Therefore, encourage your
supporters to make a Change and list you as a recommended nonprofit.
Making a Change creates a page for the Change, which hosts the Change’s mission,
description, members of the Change, nonprofits that are working for the Change, news,
a discussion forum, videos, photos and a comment board.
Also, the Change page is where people go to donate to the Change. Your supporter
will select which nonprofits can receive money from the Change when creating it. When
a donor clicks on donate, they will be able to choose which nonprofit they want to
Additionally, the Change page hosts all Actions related to the Change. For every
Change that is created, multiple Actions can be added to support that Change, for
instance, “Hold a movie night for Congolese women,” “Email representatives about the
state of Congolese women,” etc. See below for more on Actions.
Note that nonprofits cannot make Changes themselves, rather Change.org users
make a Change and then recommend nonprofits that are working for that Change. For
instance, one of your supporters can make a Change and then recommend your
nonprofit as a good instance of an organization working for the Change.
• Actions – In addition to making Changes to raise awareness about an issue and garner
donations for their favorite nonprofit, Change.org users can create Actions to encourage people
to DO something about an issue. Actions can be created through the Change page to support a
Change, or Actions can be made separate of any Change. After an Action is created, people can
add that Action to any Change. Both individuals and nonprofits can make Changes. There are
three types of Actions you can create:
Email campaigns – Change.org allows you to create an email campaign to support a
Change. You create a template letter to send to officials and you encourage other
Change.org users to personalize it, fill out their information and send it. If you are
targeting US officials, the tool takes into account where the user lives and sends the letter
to his or her own representative. You can also target non-US politicians by typing in
their names and email addresses. Also, when you make an email campaign, you can add a
button to the Action that allows users to easily call their representatives.
Events and volunteering – Another type of Action that you can post is an event or
volunteer opportunity. Examples of these kinds of Actions are “Support Women’s Day”
or “Attend a Save Darfur Rally.”
Personal commitments – The third kind of Action is a personal commitment Action.
These types of Actions are very easy for environmental groups to create, such as “Use
Reusable Bags” or “Unplug Appliances When not in Use.” It may be more difficult to
come up with personal commitments if you are a human rights group, so think
• Fundraising Projects – To raise money on Change.org, your organization should create a
fundraising project. The fundraising project will show up on your Change.org page and ask
visitors to donate. Also, creating a fundraising project allows your supporters to create a
fundraising page of their own to support your project. See below for more details on fundraising
• Fundraising Pages – Individuals on Change.org can go to their favorite nonprofit’s page and
create a fundraising page on their own to support a fundraising project that the organization is
undertaking. For instance, someone could go to Amnesty International’s Change.org page and
start a fundraising page called Support Human Rights to support Amnesty International’s
general fundraising project. The individual could then recruit people to donate to their
fundraising page, but all money raised will go Amnesty International. This is powerful, so
encourage your supporters to create fundraising pages to support one of your fundraising
projects. For an example of a fundraising project with many fundraising pages, see AP’s “Help
Sponsor an AP Peace Fellow” fundraising project.
• Fundraising Widgets – Every fundraising project or page that is created comes with a widget
(also known as a badge) that allows you to post a nice graphic on other websites and social
networks. The widget gives information about the fundraising project or page and asks people to
donate. For instance, if one of your supporters makes a fundraising page to support your
organization, they can get a fundraising widget to post on their own website, their blog, their
Facebook or MySpace page, or more. You can create a widget for your own fundraising project
• News – As a nonprofit, you can post news on the Change.org News page for other Change.org
users to read. If you have a press release that you want to promote, you should click the news
tab and paste the URL of the news story. Give the story a description and tags (descriptive
keywords). It is necessary that your news exists on an external website since “posting” your news
on Change.org entails linking to an external website and writing a short description of the news.
Note that while Changes allow the Change’s members to post news about the Change,
you cannot post news on a particular Change because to do so you have to be a member
of the Change, which nonprofits cannot be.
• Blog – There is a blog feature on nonprofit pages that allows you to write notes for all visitors
to your page to read. This is a good way to disseminate news, ask for Actions, and communicate
with your supporters since there is a comment feature where others can respond to your blog
• Comment Wall – Every individual and nonprofit page comes with a comment wall where
visitors can leave a comment. This is a great way to thank supporters for adding you, to recruit
potential supporters, and generally raise awareness. Changes have something similar, but instead
ask members Why do you Support This Change?
• Compliments – Change.org users can send compliments to one another. This helps strengthen
relationships since you can tell your supporters that they “make the world a better place,” that
they had a great idea, or leave a personalized compliment.
• Encourage supporters to make a Change related to your organization, but do not
encourage the creation of a Change that already exists. Search Changes before asking
supporters to create a Change. If the Change you want a supporter to create already exists,
instead try to become a recommended nonprofit on that Change by sending supporter
requests to members of the Change. When sending the request, tell them about the work
you are doing to support the Change.
• When creating fundraising projects, have a specific campaign. While it is okay to have
a general fundraising project to support your work, you should also create fundraising
projects with very clear goals. An example would be to Give $50 to Send a Girl to School for
a Month. Encourage your supporters to do the same when they are creating fundraising
pages for your projects.
• View the Change.org Best Practices for more tips including how to promote your
Changes, Actions and fundraising projects.
YouTube is the most popular video sharing site, and one of the most popular websites in general.
There, you can upload videos that you have created and share them with the entire world.
To view videos on YouTube, you do not need an account, but to upload videos and interact with
the YouTube community, you need to sign up. To sign up go to www.youtube.com and click Sign
Up at the top of the page. Choose your username wisely as it will appear as your channel’s URL like
www.youtube.com/user/username. Your channel is the page that hosts your profile as well as lists
all your videos, your friends and subscriptions. It is the page that you will direct people to go to in
order to see a list of all your YouTube videos. Therefore, it is a good idea to have your username be
the name of your organization.
While your channel indexes all your videos, each video “lives” on an individual page, which hosts
the one video, its comments, ratings and video responses.
While using YouTube as a place to host your video is a good enough reason to create an account,
there are several other features of YouTube that make it a social networking community:
• Comments and Video Comments – Every YouTube member can write a comment on videos
posted on YouTube. Also, users can post video responses to a video that you post. At the
bottom of their video, there will be a note saying that the video is a response to yours. On the
page where your video is, there will be a box underneath the video with all the video responses
to that video. This can help your organization start a discussion around a particular issue with
your video acting as the catalyst. The more comments you get, the more likely you will appear
under the Most Discussed YouTube section. The more video responses you get, the more likely
you will appear under the Most Responded YouTube section. Being featured in either of these
sections will raise awareness about your work and your video.
• Rate Videos – YouTube allows all users to rate the videos they watch, from one to five stars.
One of the YouTube browse options is to view the highest rated videos. Therefore, the higher
your video is rated, the more likely it will appear under the Top Rated section of YouTube.
• Friends – You can add other YouTube users as friends in order to send them bulletins and
easily share videos with them by clicking the Share Video link under a video you want to share.
If someone adds you as a friend, you appear in their friend section of their channel so all people
viewing their page will see that they are friends with you. Also, it acts like a bookmark so they
can easily refer to your channel if they want to see your new videos.
• Subscriptions – YouTube users can subscribe to your channel to receive email updates when
you post a new video. These email updates are sent out once a week. In addition to emails, when
the user visits YouTube, the home page will list new videos from channels the user is subscribed
to. Try to build up your subscriber list so that your video gets disseminated widely when it is
• Favorites – When YouTube users view a video they like, they can add it as one of their
favorites. This essentially bookmarks it so they can refer to it later. Marking a video as a favorite
also allows everyone who visits that user’s channel to view that user’s favorites. Therefore, you
want people to mark your video as a favorite so that it is more visible. Also, the more people
that add your video as a favorite, the more likely you will appear under the Top Favorites
• Bulletins – You can send bulletins out to all of your YouTube friends with the click of a button.
Go to your channel, scroll down and click Broadcast a Message. You will be able to send a
message to all your friend’s YouTube inboxes. You can use this to announce a new video you
posted (if your friends are not also subscribers), draw attention to a discussion forming around a
video, tell people about a group you made, or more.
• Groups – Users can join groups on YouTube to post videos related to a topic and have
discussions about them. If you have a lot of staff in your organization shooting video, you can
create a YouTube group for your organization where all the videos can come together and be
discussed. Also, you can search for or create a group about an issue you support in order to
bring together your and other’s videos about the topic. Additionally, you can use a group to host
a video contest for your organization. For instance you can ask YouTube users to compete to
create a video about a certain issue. Note that while there is a specific Contest section on
YouTube, that is only for paid advertisers. People or groups that are not paid advertisers are
allowed to create a contest for free using YouTube groups. This makes you a more active in the
YouTube community and will drive more traffic to your videos.
Flickr is a photo-sharing site with a social networking component. Thus it is a purpose driven social
networking site, forming around the goal of posting and sharing photography. If you have a great
deal of photos that you want to share, this is a great site for your organization to be part of.
Flickr is a site with users from all over the world and is available in eight languages.
Flickr works by having its members upload their photos to the site, tagging them with keywords and
allowing other users to search those keywords to find photos. The social networking aspect comes
in by the multitude of Flickr features, allowing people to comment on photos, add notes to photos,
join groups, choose favorite photos and more.
To join Flickr, you will need to make an account for your organization. Note that it has to be clear
that the account you make is an individual account, not an account that is shared by everyone in the
organization. It is acceptable to create an account, name it your organization and upload your logo
as the icon picture. Flickr just wants to make sure it is an individual account to prevent accidents
occurring from an account with multiple users. If you have many people wanting to add photos to
your organization’s account, create a group for your organization, have the others create their own
account and then have them add their photos to the group. For more on the topic of creating a
Flickr account and group for your organization, read “How Nonprofits Can Get the Most out of
For more on Flickr as a place to upload and store photos, see the Photo tutorial in this manual.
Below is a description of the social networking features of Flickr.
• Contacts – Like friends on other social networking sites, Flickr has a feature that allows you to
add contacts so that you can stay up-to-date with other Flickr users. When you add someone as
a contact, you can see on your Flickr homepage when they post new photos. In reverse, if
someone adds you as a contact, then they are updated whenever you post new photos. All users
can see who has added them as a contact. Also, a user can view the contacts of his or her
contacts, which allows people to create a network and become contacts with their friend’s
contacts. Therefore, you should try to encourage people to add you as a contact so that your
photos reach a large number of people. A good way to do this is to join groups and to search for
photos similar to your own, comment or leave notes on them and hope that those users add you
as a contact. There is more on comments and notes below.
• Favorites – You can browse other people’s photos on Flickr and add them as your favorites.
Then all people who view your profile on Flickr can view your favorites. Therefore, you should
try to get a lot of people to favorite your photos so that their contacts see your pictures and
potentially add you as a contact if they like what they see.
• Comments – Other Flickr users can view your photos and leave comments about them. You
can do the same. To build a relationship with your Contacts, consider commenting on the
photos that you like. Also, consider commenting on photos that do not belong to your contacts
to encourage people to add you as a contact.
• Notes – Flickr allows users to post notes on other user’s photos. A note is different from a
comment because a note shows up directly on the photo. For instance, if you think a part of the
photo is particularly interesting you post a note on that part of the photo. When other users
scroll over the picture with a note on it, they will see a transparent square where the note was
placed. When they scroll over the square, they will be able to read the note. Posting notes has a
similar effect as posting comments (building a relationship and increasing your visibility so that
others add you as a contact).
• FlickrMail – You can send messages to other Flickr users using the FlickrMail feature. To send
mail to a user, hover over a user’s icon, click on the arrow and click Send FlickrMail. Use this to
network with other users and foster a relationship with them. Do not use this feature to spam
users with “Add me as a contact” mail.
• Groups – The most exciting feature of Flickr is its groups. Users can create and join groups to
share their photos with other members of that group. For instance, if your organization takes a
lot of photos of women’s rights activists, then you might want to create or join a group about
women’s rights. In the group, you can post some of your photos and start a discussion with
other group members. Creating and joining groups is a good way to increase the number of
people who add you as a contact.
NTEN has an entire section of their website devoted to social networking tips for nonprofits. Explore the
website for a variety of articles and tips.
Should Your Nonprofit Use Social Networking Sites?
A great resource that helps you figure out if social networking is right for your organization. If you have more
basic and important tasks to do, or simply can’t devote time to it, social networking may not be right for your
group. If you find that it is, the article then addresses the advantages that social networking can bring to your
What Can Social Networking do for Your Organization?
Intorductory article covering what is social networking, some useful social networking sites, challenges of
social networking and how to get noticed.
Eight Secrets of Effective Online Networking
Eight great tips on how to get the most out of social networking.
7 Tips for Successful Social Networking Campaigns
A few tips on how to best use social networking websites.
Using Social Networking to Stop Genocide
A case study on how the Genocide Intervention Network has used social networking to promote its cause.
How to Use MySpace to Raise Awareness
This article consists of an interview with three organizations that provide insights into how they are using
Nonprofit Do’s for MySpace Success
A few tips for using MySpace, including limiting the amount of fundraising you do on the site and letting
your participants take control.
Sunny the Seal Melts Hearts on MySpace
A profile of how the Humane Society has used MySpace to promote its cause.
A Beginner’s Guide to Facebook
An article going over the main features of Facebook. It was written before the time of Facebook pages so
disregard the part about making a profile for your organization.
Using Facebook in Your Nonprofit
A blog entry about the basics of Facebook, as well as how to use it like an expert.
How to Promote your Non-profit’s Cause on Facebook in Five Easy Steps
A guide about the Facebook Causes application, covering how to create a cause and how to promote it.
How Nonprofits Can Get the Most out of Flickr
A great article about Flickr and what it can do for your organization. Includes information and tips on how to
use Flickr in compliance with its community rules and how to take advantage of its many features.