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 – 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.

Meet #umbsocial Speaker – Jason Muth

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Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I’m the Interactive Director for Beasley Media in Boston, owners of HOT 96.9, ALT 92.9, MAGIC 106.7, 105.7 WROR, Country 102.5, and about 60 other media brands across the United States.

When did you start to work in social media?

I have been working in the media since 1991, and in digital / social media for over a decade.

How does a typical work day of you look like?

I manage our digital department and work with over 30 people on our sales teams, the marketing and program directors for 5 stations, and coordinate product rollouts and best practices with our corporate team.  Some days, I’m leading trainings.  Some days, consulting with clients.  Others, running through ideas with our station brands.  Few days are identical.

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

Elizabeth Warren has done a fantastic job communicating and fighting back though social media.

What is the hardest thing about social media?

Just when you think you have figured something out, the rules change.

What do you see as some up-and-coming trend in social media?

Live video is the wild west now – I see media brands cooking the golden goose if they don’t think and build some strategy into why they are going live before they turn their cameras on.  I’m fearful that we are also oversaturating photo and video filters.

Can you name us a brand or company that you admire for their great social media strategy/execution?

I think World Wrestling Entertainment is, hands-down, one of the best and most engaging social media brands that exist today.  I also great appreciate NPR’s digital strategy and how they communicate across platforms.

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

As a media brand, we need to be careful with what we share, not only from a copyright perspective but from a brand perspective.  We hold our FCC licenses with the utmost significance, and with an obligation to the public, we don’t want to publish anything distasteful or that jeopardizes our public responsibility.

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

Be open to new ideas, study the ever-changing rules of engagement, and understand the unique differences with each platform.

What is your favorite book and why?

I just finished Disrupted, which was mostly entertaining, and part mortifying.  I am more of an audiobook and podcast listener.  I love the Bigger Pockets podcast, which is all about real estate investing.  The Art of Charm and This American Life are also both on my list.

What is your favorite quote?

Make Good Choices

What is your favorite movie and why?

I have always had a fondness for The Goonies and the original Red Dawn.

Where can we find more about you and you work? 

My LinkedIn – http://www.linkedin.com/in/jasonmuth