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Online Awareness Campaigns for Your Nonprofit – What Works and How to Do It!

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article by Julia Campbell

To cut through the clutter and get your message heard on digital channels, especially social media, can seem like a Herculean feat.

For nonprofits that have little to no marketing staff, how can they build their online communities, grow engagement, and strengthen connections with supporters through a dynamic online awareness campaign?

In this presentation, given to a fantastic group of nonprofits organized by the Foundation for MetroWest, we reviewed actual case studies from nonprofits that had success with their online awareness and marketing campaigns.

Using their examples, we detailed each step necessary to run a successful online awareness and marketing campaign for nonprofits of any size.

Topics covered in “Online Awareness Campaigns for Your Nonprofit:

  • What Works and How to Do It”:
  • How to plan and prepare for a successful campaign;
  • How to set SMART goals for the campaign;
  • How to set up your website, email, and social media channels for maximum success;
  • How to identify and recruit Social Media Ambassadors to spread the word;
  • How to launch your campaign with a bang;
  • How to use a Campaign Calendar to consistently promote the campaign after launch;
  • How to measure the success of the campaign;
  • How to build on momentum and keep your new supporters motivated and engaged after the campaign; and more!


About the Author: Julia Campbell is a digital marketing strategist and online fundraising coach to nonprofits big and small. She is the author of the forthcoming book Storytelling in the Digital Age: A Guide for Nonprofits, and a frequent speaker and webinar presenter. Learn more about her on her website.
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Thank you for the success of 5th Social Media Day

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Thank you to all the people that made the 6th Social Media Day at UMass Boston so special. Let’s keep on moving and please stay in touch.

Meet #umbsocial Speaker – Sophia Bernazzani

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Tell Us About Yourself & Your Background?
I’m Sophia Bernazzani, and I’m a Staff Writer for HubSpot’s Marketing Blog. I’ve worked in several , community management, social media, and content marketing positions since my freshman year of college. At HubSpot, I write about all things social media, technology, inbound marketing, and writing, and I work closely with our Social Media team to create compelling content for a variety of HubSpot channels and media.
Like a lot of social media professionals out there, I didn’t study anything related to my career — I studied International Affairs and Economics at GW in DC. I’ve worked in nonprofits, think tanks, and SaaS companies in DC, Denver, and Boston. Outside of work, I’m an Instagram addict and mostly post pictures of my cats; I love to travel, especially to places warmer than Boston; and I might be the biggest Harry Potter fan on earth.
When Did You Start to Work in Social Media?
I started working in social media at my first internship at an education nonprofit organization in DC. Back then, social media and community management weren’t roles of their own yet, and it was tacked onto my duties as a grants and fundraising assistant. This was before Instagram, before Snapchat, and before Facebook Live — and we didn’t even have a strategy in place.
What Does A Typical Day Look Like?
I’m one of the main Staff Writers for HubSpot’s Marketing Blog, so the beginning of my day is always spent brainstorming and writing the day’s blog post. I love writing about news in the social media space — right now I’m closely following the smackdown between Facebook and Snapchat — but I write about a ton of different topics. Once I’m done writing for the day, I like to work on an experiment I’m running to test the impact of video content on blog traffic. I film and edit videos for YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram to try to diversify content distribution and drive more social media traffic.
Fun Fact About Me:
I’m passionate about real-paper books and writing with a pen and paper — I think it’s because I’ve worked in technology for so long. Sticky notes and to-do lists for the win.

Meet #umbsocial Speaker – Amanda Healy

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Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I’m Amanda Healy and I’m a social media addict <HI AMANDA>. Politically incorrect jokes aside, I really do adore social. The fact is, social, at its core, is about being sociable. I’m the golden retriever of the social media world and am consistently amazed by its ability to connect us, ignite knowledge and ideas, and influence our emotions and actions.

In my day job, I run global demand generation for a business unit of a Silicon Valley-based B2B software company called TIBCO. In my “night” job, I speak around the country on the topic of social media and personal branding at large conferences including the Massachusetts Conference for Women, Women in Technology International, the Watermark Conference for Women, Microsoft Ignite, Social Tools Summit, and others. I like to think of my career is a double-dipped ice cream cone – I get to pursue my passion while continuing to hone my marketing range. Extra sprinkles, please!
When did you start to work in social media?

I started my work in social media by being annoying. Another word for annoying is persistent. I was working at a Fortune 500 tech company with 14,000 employees at the time when B2B was finally starting to look at social seriously. I was that annoying young woman (Where’d she come from, anyway?) who consistently raised her hand in each meeting to ask what we were doing from a social perspective and by the way, why wasn’t it an integrated element of our marketing toolbox? I finally wore executive management down so much they asked me to act as a social media evangelist. I spent a number of years building out the organization’s corporate channels and launching an internal enablement program for its sizeable employee base.


What does a typical work day look like for you?

A typical work day finds me in the midst of Q3 planning, assessing our worldwide budget and looking at historicals to determine success factors and where budget should be allocated in the coming months. Later that day I’ll sit down with Product Marketing and work through various personas and messaging for the product suite – what are the challenges our target audience faces, their goals, where do they find information and how do they want to consume it? What assets do we have in our repository to address their customer journey and which ones need to be developed? We’ll put together a launch plan for our release coming this summer, and I’ll schedule a meeting to present the campaigns lens of it with our CMO.

The afternoon will be spent on the phone with a vendor, walking through a prospective engagement where we’ll create an interactive eBook that unfolds like an infographic or a survey to 100 prospects to understand where they are on their journey to cloud computing. While I’m wrapping up for the day, an email will come in on my personal account asking if I am available to keynote the upcoming Social Media Day in Boston. A LinkedIn message will pop up gauging my interest in being a social media trainer for a series of local events. I’ll receive a text from a client requesting a proposal for an Instagram strategy for their health and wellness business.

How does she do it? While outside of the time-turner I’m trying to get Hermione to loan me, I take one day at a time. I’m a big list maker (physical lists only, I’m a purist), and each day starts with a fresh list and the satisfying sound of checking a line item off. That line item is coffee (the second line item is also coffee).

Do you have a role model in social media? Someone who inspires you?

Not in social media, specifically, but more so in the incredible people I’ve been fortunate enough to call mentors. If you want to make a difference, mentor someone. You will touch his or her life in a way you cannot begin to imagine, and there is no better investment of time then investing in someone’s future.
What is the hardest thing about social media?

What’s hardest is what the core of this conference is all about: getting the business world to take social seriously. While social has been well adapted in B2C, for B2B it continues to be elusive. There are so many misconceptions around social as fluffy or fleeting, but the more we educate and enable others the shift will become more pervasive.
What do you see as some up-and-coming trend in social media?

Influencer marketing will continue to be huge. The rise of “Instafame” is remarkable – we now have Insta models, Insta artists, Insta brand advocates, you name it. I believe influencer marketing will transfer into events, with curated VIP meetups bringing a physical connection to the social sphere.

LIVE, LIVE, LIVE will continue to grow. From Snapchat, to Instagram stories, to Facebook Messenger Day, to Periscope, we will continue to feed our naturally voyeuristic nature. While many of these channels tell stories of the past, I think we’ll see the platforms evolve to influence the users’ futures: we’ll see embedded connective features to help you get together with people who share similar interests, are attending the same event as you, etc. Our agenda for the day may very well change based on the path these channels take us.
Did you make any social media mistakes in the past or is there anything you would avoid in future?

Not personally, yet, but I’m sure it’s inevitable. The thing to remember is that we are all human. If you make a social error, take ownership, address it, and put corrective action in place. Nothing deleted ever dies… so use your brain before your use your keyboard J


To be successful in social media, you need to ….?

I’m going to use a word I’ve recently come to detest, but only because I think it’s become a buzzword. Be AUTHENTIC. Ugh, ok, I said it. But in my head I replace this phrase with “keep it real”. Whether you’re comfortable with it or not, the fact is that your digital self and your “real” self need to be one and the same. There is nothing a person likes less than being duped – find your voice and rock the hell out of it on social and beyond.
What is your favorite book and why?Image result for On Writing Well

Why must you torture me so? I’m a card-carrying library local (nerd alert) and try to consume a couple books a month. I love fiction (throw me a good thriller anytime) but for the purpose of this article I’ll put forth a few more useful reads.

One of the most memorable books I’ve read is “On Writing Well” by William Zinsser. Earlier I said one of the reasons I enjoy social media so much is that its essence is social. Well, the essence of social is communication. This book is about far more than writing, it’s about communicating in a clear, concise, and memorable manner. Communication is not only key to social success, but is our lifeblood as human beings both personally and professionally. Shout-out to my college professor for incorporating this read in our coursework.

I also have to champion “Getting to Yes”. This book taught me to be confident, persuasive, and to understand as well as put a value on my worth. A passion project of mine is salary coaching, and this is required reading for anyone I take on.
Where can we find more about you and your work?

Golden retriever, remember? I’m the friendliest gal you’ll ever meet and would love to hear from anyone and everyone who wants to drop me a line. I’m probably most responsive on Twitter via @Amanda_Healy, but you can also send me a LI message ( or a good old-fashioned (har har) email at

Want me to speak at your event or conduct a workshop/webinar/podcast/interpretive dance for your company? Get in touch with me ASAP, and remember that the interpretive dance comes at a premium 😛

That’s all, folks!


Meet #umbsocial Speaker – Georgina Cannie

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Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

My name is Georgina Cannie, I am a Community Strategist with The Community Roundtable. I work in an advisory role to design, develop and maximize the value of online communities for my partners and clients. I have an eclectic academic background that includes Philosophy, Conflict Resolution, and Community Social Psychology – each of which I feel are integral to the art of Community Management.

When did you start to work in social media?

Trick question! Technically, I never did. I work in the field of community management, which is a separate discipline than social media (although the two practices share much common ground). Social Media Managers and Community Managers are often confused as synonyms, but don’t be fooled! To find out more about what a Community Manager does, you can check out this free research on the career path, roles and skills of community professionals.

How does a typical work day of you look like?

One of the best parts of my job is that none of days are “typical”. I have the fortune of working with many different organizations – from non-profits to fortune 500 companies. However, there is an awesome visual created by Rachel Happe around “A week in the life” of a Community Manager that rings very true for me.

Hillary Boucher and Rachel Happe

Do you have a role model in Community Managment.  Someone who inspires you?

I am pleased to report that I have a few! Hillary Boucher and Rachel Happe (who are both on my team) are incredible role models for this work. They are each insightful and forward thinking. I am lucky to work with them. Kirsten Laaspere at Akamai Technologies is another big one for me. She is creative, enigmatic and never misses a beat. I am constantly looking to her work as an example and inspiration.


Did you make any Community Management mistakes in the past or is there anything you would avoid in future?

Community Managers send lots of emails, direct messages and posts. And they need to do it all with incredibly quick response times. In the beginning I sent a lot of “oh-fudge” messages that had typos, incorrect info or tone-deaf content in them because I was trying to move so quickly. Now I have a rule that I read each message 3 times through before sending it. Every time.