Savvy Nonprofits Use Content Marketing to Raise Millions During Give Local America 2015
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When Tenacity 5 Media inquired about hiring me to be part of the team for #GiveLocal15 I instantly said yes. Give Local America

Before that conversation, I had never heard of Give Local America, but this project would require me to use my storytelling skills to highlight, share and document the great work done by participating charities. All this while raising millions of dollars to help over 9,000 nonprofits located all over the United States. I even got to travel a bit to be part of this, so it was a perfect project.

Thankfully it was a busy day from the moment I poured my first cup of coffee. With a focused day of giving across the country, I was eager to see and share the content marketing tactics that different nonprofits would use to engage their communities and to get them to donate.

Give Local America is powered and organized by Kimbia, one of the leading online fundraising and crowdfunding platforms. The event is a well thought out campaign that showcases their solutions, while helping their customers and the nation at the same time.

I couldn't write a post like this and not mention them. Take a look at this infographic of last years results and you can see how much good this event does.

My hope in writing this post is to shine a light on the variety of charities I learned about during this event while showcasing tactics that any nonprofit can learn from and put into practice to raise awareness and donations for themselves. I want to see organizations of all sizes using technology to find success, so read on and learn.

PHOTOGRAPHY

It was great to see so many images throughout the day. It is important to show people the work you do.

The San Antonia AIDS Foundation did a great job mixing photos with clear call to actions for the day.

Hill Country Daily Bread made a point to put a face on the people they were helping with a series of individual stories and photos of those they help.

I especially liked how Eva's Heroes showcased directly where donation dollars would be going.

As you can see here they showed not only a photo of a recipient, but how she would be using donations. Any organization could do this with a piece of paper and a smart phone (and it works).

Smiles are never a bad thing and the Starkey Hearing Foundation knew this when throughout the day they shared images of happy kids and families they have helped. They also did a nice job of watermarking all the images so if someone wasn't aware of what #GiveLocal15 was all about, they might go and investigate to find out more.

Sol Theatre Outreach created tons of images using photos from their various productions and playful copy to constantly keep their asks new and fresh.

It was also great to see that even on a day of giving, organizations were still out doing the work as showcased by the San Antonio STEM Connectory. Talk about perfect content to share in order to raise awareness and dollars.

Finally, one of my favorites of the day was San Antonio Pets Alive who throughout the day were sharing photos of their pets saying thank you to donors. I liked it so much I collected a few of my favorites and tweeted it out to showcase to everyone.

Take a moment to browse Instagram and you'll see lots and lots of photographs shared throughout the day for #GiveLocal15.

#GiveLocal15 on Instagram

INSPIRATION

People love to feel inspired and nonprofits should never forget this since you are in the job of inspiring others with the work you do.

The Weiss School was a content powerhouse throughout the day using quotes and photos to inspire others.

Another group that gripped my attention throughout the day was Ecology Project International who used quotes and photos from students to share the work they do.

Sometimes simplicity goes a long way and Silver & Black Give Back certainly believed in this with a variety of well thought out and simple bits of inspiration like this.

VIDEO

With Meerkat and Periscope all the rage at the moment, I was surprised that we didn't see more organizations experimenting with these tools. I will give credit to the National Performance Network who smartly tweeted out when they were being interviewed on Meerkat.

And here is the interview that Geoff Livingston live streamed using Meerkat.

The Sacramento Region Community Foundation posted short videos throughout the day, but the one that I liked the most was when they got their board involved to announce that they had 100% participation from them for the day. Always a great thing when you have an active board like this.

Maryville University took the time to get their students involved to create a video promoting the local giving day.

We all know that the work most nonprofits do is serious work, this doesn't mean you can't have fun too. The Community Foundation for Loudoun and Northern Fauquier Counties showcased that with their fun too sexy tractor video. One word of caution though: Always make sure you properly license the music you use in videos or else the lawyers can come calling. Too Sexy Tractor

The UpTake also had fun making an informercial style video to showcase their work and ask for donations.

MEMES

I'll be the first to admit that personally I'm not a meme fan, but I from a business standpoint I know how popular they are online and how they can be playful, fun ways to get people's attention. They were definitely very popular during #GiveLocal15 The Give Local America team encouraged this and even created several of them.

I especially liked this one because it called out my home town to get involved. I'm still bummed that New England was almost completely non active in #GiveLocal15 and it is something I hope to change next year.

Other organizations got in on the fun too with Seniors First being one of my favorites who used numerous popular memes to encourage donations throughout the day.

The Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties used them to highlight the massive matching donation pool they had to use.

With programs out there like Meme Generator it allows any organization to quickly create them for use and I think The Unicorn Children's Foundation realized this as they seemed to be a meme creating factory throughout the day.

I even gave in and created a meme using my puppy to help promote the day. Nadia hopes you'll make a #GiveLocal15 donation today!

WORDLES

No that isn't a typo, but rather a service that allows you to take a series of words and create a unique image from them known as a word cloud. Several organizations like Angels' Arms, Spooner House and African American Teaching Fellows all used them to call out and thank their donors.

 

INFOGRAPHICS

Making raw data interesting is where a well done infographic shine above all other forms of content. They are even more interesting when you can make them uniquely yours.

Culpepper Air Fest did an amazing job throughout the day sharing fundraising milestones as only they could.

Survival International used one to remind everyone how important individual donations are to their success.

DO SOMETHING UNEXPECTED

This is one of the Content Rules and I wanted to use it to highlight the amazing work that ATD Fourth World New Orleans did.

One look at their Twitter stream and you'll instantly notice that they decided to create their own meme for the day using messages hand written on hands to inspire and showcase the work they do.

This simple idea, executed flawlessly was the biggest win for me of the day. Scroll through some of these and I hope you'll join me and applauding their efforts.

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As I type this, the offline donations and final numbers are being calculated, but Give Local America 15 has raised over $68.5 million dollars! It is also exciting to see that it includes donations of all sizes from over 106,000 first time donors. That makes me very happy to see.

Give Local Thank You

Thank you to all who donated. Thank you to all the foundations, communities and nonprofit organizations who stepped up and took part in this national day of giving. I hope to see many more take part next year and not miss out on being part of something so special.

One way or another, I'll definitely be part of it.