Monday, August 29, 2011

Social Media Resources for Nonprofits

We are always adding to our Online Resource section, and today we’ve added some helpful information about social media use for nonprofits!

With the pervasive use of social media over the past few years, many nonprofits have embraced the pros and cons of the medium and added social networking strategies to their marketing, communications, and fundraising departments. It's key to know how to use social networking responsibly; whether your nonprofit is still getting started or already actively using different social platforms.

Here at the Council, we actively use social media and we’ve noticed other organizations’ surfacing questions about how to best, and safely, use these tools for their own purposes.

With this in mind, we’ve created a list of online resources to help nonprofits feel comfortable effectively using social media.

Our social media online resource guide includes links to:
  • Explanations of why social media policies are necessary and examples of policies (we even share our own internal social media policy!)
  • Thoughts on best practices and how to evaluate if your social networking is doing what you want it to do
  • Broad overviews of the social networking movement
  • Specifics about each of the major social media tools

Thursday, August 25, 2011

$100,000 Matching Grant for Somalia Famine Relief Efforts

With Minnesota home to the largest Somali community outside Mogadishu (capital of Somalia), it’s exciting to see our communities coming together to support the Somali famine relief efforts. Statewide fundraising power-house,, has received an impressive $100,000 matching donation grant from The Mosaic Company benefiting the American Refugee Committee (ARC).
“By making this generous gift, Minnesotans can join Mosaic in the fight against famine in Somalia, stand with our local Somali community and demonstrate the spirit and generosity of Minnesota,” said Daniel Wordsworth, president of the American Refugee Committee. “This donation will help the people of Somalia for whom each day is a struggle to survive.”
ARC is also on the Charities Review Council’s list of the Most Trustworthy Nonprofits and we recently highlighted their important work as a recommended organization to donate to for those looking to support Somalia.

Donors supporting the American Refugee Committee’s famine relief efforts know that not only will their donation be matched with all credit card transaction fees covered, but also they are supporting a trustworthy and accountable organization dedicated to transparency.

To donate, simply visit and click on the homepage link to make a donation to the American Refugee Committee Somalia famine relief efforts to have your donation matched. Also, take a moment to view our full Accountability Review of ARC.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Luxury Brands Hurt By Doing Good

When Robert Egger spoke at our Annual Forum 2011, he made several comments about the purchasing power of the consumer and the shrinking gap between donating and spending money. That is, more than ever individuals are able to make socially responsible purchasing decisions in their everyday spending. If you want to order a pizza, you might choose to order from Galactic Pizza because they have a socially good vision behind their “planet saving pizza." To quote Egger, “It is time to get past the notion of transparency as it relates to .com or .org, but to take it to the next level.”

In general, it has been the belief that Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) improves a product’s performance with consumers. However, in a recent study “Doing Poorly By Doing Good,” research shows when people saw an advertisement for a luxury brand associated with a social cause that the group reacted more negatively than if the advertisement stood alone without a connection to social good. In a time when “being green” or promoting a good cause in conjunction with your product usually does nothing but help the bottom line, it is strange to see luxury brands performing negatively in the world of CSR.

So why isn’t this school of thought working for luxury brands? Does the message not feel authentic? The authors of the study suggest that perhaps consumers felt “something just didn’t seem right” and that there was too much conflict with the ritzy image already associated with the luxury brands.

Do you shop to support causes (luxury or otherwise)? If so, what are some of your tips to keep in mind as you make your purchases?

Here are some pointers to consider when shopping to support a cause:
  • Research the organization being helped by your purchase. You can always use the Charities Review Council’s list of most trustworthy nonprofits to find information about charities.

  • Find out how much money actually goes to the cause.

  • Find out what types of programs the funds raised will support.

  • Learn more about the business practices of the company. Are they consistent with your values?

From yogurt to clothing to Rolex Watches, it is important to remember that you are not only making a purchase but an investment. Take charge and be an informed shopper.