Tag Archives: Twitter

(Four)Square for Nonprofits. It’s Not the School Yard Game.

I’ve been an avid Foursquare user for over a year now.  I’ll admit, I didn’t really get into the application until I was running the Marketing strategy for a company, but even since leaving, I’ve been hooked.  Not only is Foursquare addicting, but it’s very useful for brands and businesses.If you remember from Monday’s post, one of the investors in Foursquare has also started another venture of his own, Square.

Although Foursquare is a pretty well-known app for a lot of the “tech geeks” out there (or those living in larger cities), I’ve run into a lot of people – especially back home in CT – who don’t know what Foursquare is.  So, here goes…

Foursquare is a location-based mobile platform that makes cities easier to use and more interesting to explore. By “checking in” via a smartphone app or SMS, users share their location with friends while collecting points and virtual badges. Foursquare guides real-world experiences by allowing users to bookmark information about venues that they want to visit and surfacing relevant suggestions about nearby venues. Merchants and brands leverage the foursquare platform by utilizing a wide set of tools to obtain, engage, and retain customers and audiences. ~ Foursquare.com

What’s the Point? Why Would You Ever Want to Use Foursquare?

You might be asking “why would my nonprofit event want to use Foursquare?”  For starters, it’s a great way to attract new supporters – whether through your social media sites or actual advocates.  When someone checks-in to a venue, they have the choice to promote that check-in on their Facebook and/or Twitter page.  Most people will opt-in to this choice, thus spreading your good name and getting their friends/followers interested.  Great – now you’re spreading your brand even further!

So, how can your nonprofit best use Foursquare?  To start off, you need to create a page. You have two options in doing this:

  1. Venue Owners: If you want people to be checking into your actual office space, click “Venue Owners“.  That is, companies like Starbucks, Sports Authority, and the Museum of Modern Art have created venues.  This can help you attract new supporters by offering rewards for checking into your office, attending an event, etc.  Think t-shirts and bracelets or – on a larger scale – iPhones, iPads, jewelry.
  2. Brands: Most nonprofits create a “Brand” account, which might be a better route.  This is for organizations not tied to a specific location.  For example, NOH8 CampaignLIVESTRONG, NWF, NAACPHistory Channel, Bravo, and Zagat, have all created brand pages.  If you choose to create a Brand page, Foursquare lets you create a customized page and badges.

I’ve Created a Page. What Now?!

Now that you’ve created your own page, there’s so much you can do!  If you’ve set your nonprofit up as a venue, make sure you create an incentive for people to come visit.  This would work best if you’re a homeless shelter, advocacy group who hosts events at your office, and any organization that typically has volunteers come work.  Also make sure you can offer an incentive for people to come back.  Make sure your supporters know that the Mayor of your venue will receive a free “x”.  As Foursquare explains, there are various types of specials: Mayor Special, Frequency Special, Count Special, etc.  Obviously, the better the prize, the more enticed people are to come, check-in and volunteer.

On the flip side, if you set your organization up as a brand, you should push your team to create a custom page and badge.  People foam at the mouth for a new badge (trust me, I’m one of them).  I promise you, they’re much more likely to come follow your brand and accomplish the tasks on your “To-Do” list if there is an incentive like a shiny, good-looking, new badge.

Tips: Help Your Supporters Become Insiders

This brings me to my next point: Tips.  Since you’re an advocacy group, you obviously have an area of expertise.  Tips allow you to spread the knowledge to your Foursquare followers.  For example, The History Channel used Tips to leave historical factoids around the country in advance of its America: The Story of Us miniseries.  Make sure that the tips you leave are relevant, interesting, and provide information that only an insider would know (ex: buy a (RED) Starbucks product to donate 3% to Project RED or other secret details).

Other than creating a Foursquare account, here’s one piece of advice: as with your other social media platforms, promote your Foursquare page – whether it’s a brand or venue – through your other social media sites.  Get it up on your blog, Facebook page, Twitter account – everywhere!

Can I Have an Example, Please?

Imagine you’re running a homeless shelter.  Foursquare is a great way to get new volunteers and online supporters!  Offer incentives to repeat volunteers, create tips about nearby grocery stores who donate food to your shelter, create a venue for an upcoming advocacy event.  There are so many ways to get the most out of Foursquare!

Get Out There!

Not sure why I made this a separate section…

Anyways.  That’s enough chatting.  What are you waiting for?! Make an awesome Foursquare page and get that thing rocking!

For more information, you can check out the following Mashable articles:


Square + Potential Donors = Easy Money

Jack Dorsey – founder of Twitter – has recently launched a fun little application for the iPhone and iPad called Square.  Jack also invested in Foursquare.  I guess he’s really into geometry.

Square is an application for your iPhone that let’s you accept credit card payments from your friends.  Here’s how they pitch it on their site:

Square is a revolutionary service that enables anyone to accept credit cards anywhere. Square offers an easy to use, free credit card reader that plugs into a phone or iPad. It’s simple to sign up. There is no extra equipment, complicated contracts, monthly fees or merchant account required.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how nonprofits can make the most out of this and thought of few scenarios:

  1. Development Directors: A Development Director is at a networking event with potential donors.  He (or she) is working the crowd, and hits it off with someone who wants to make a considerable donation.  Now, we all know that it’s best to get a check ASAP, but who carries a checkbook around?  Not me.  Development Director can now whip out his iPhone, insert the card swiper (or enter the credit card number), and voila.  The donation has been made.  This guarantees that the donation is made as soon as possible, and neither party will forget to follow up after the party.
  2. Big City Advocates: If you live in a big city, chances are you’ve seen people advocating for major causes like clean water, healthcare, poverty etc.  They typically wear those weird smocks and have clipboards.  Square can make their lives easier, so people can’t say they forgot a check at home.  Now, charities can equip their street advocates with an iPhone and Square adapter.  Easy!
  3. Conferences: Attending conferences can be easy!  You signed up last minute for your organization’s conference and haven’t paid (or you’re doing on-site registration).  Pay the fee easily with Square!

What do you all think of using Square for your nonprofit? Can you think of other ways to use this great tool?  Leave some ideas in the comments section below!


Foursquare and (RED)

I’m aware this is old news. Old, because it happened all of 8 days ago.  Some of you may have read about it on   article: Foursquare and (RED) Team for World AIDS Day written by Austin Carr. If not, I’ll explain…

For those of you who are unaware of what Foursquare is (because I know some of you probably read this blog), Foursquare is an application that you can download on your iPhone, BlackberryAndroid and a few other devices.  Here’s how Foursquare describes the app: Foursquare is a mobile application that makes cities easier to use and more interesting to explore. It is a friend-finder, a social city guide and a game that challenges users to experience new things, and rewards them for doing so. Foursquare lets users “check in” to a place when they’re there, tell friends where they are and track the history of where they’ve been and who they’ve been there with.

In honor of World AIDS Day on December 1st, Foursquare and (RED) teamed up for something epic.  Anytime a Foursquare user checked-in with the #turnRED, and broadcasted that check-in on Twitter, the geographic area they checked-into turned dark red.  The more people in that area who checked-in with #turnRED, the darker the area became.

Why do I think this is an epic feat for (RED)? Well, for starters, they partnered with a great social media tools – Foursquare.  It allowed people to find others who share a common interest, as well as fellow advocates for HIV/AIDS organizations.  In a world where people rarely say “hi” to people passing by, this partnership brought a true sense of community to the cause of AIDS, where a community might not exist.

Two other things I liked about this partnership/campaign: First, the fact that (RED) is campaigning for the first AIDS-free generation by 2015.  It’s become part of their brand (as you can see in the picture on the right).  I also love the idea that (RED) is thinking out of the box. Instead of doing a “routine” campaign (i.e. fundraiser, etc.), they decided to go digital. (RED) created a virtual community and allowed people to check-in for a cause they care about.

Imagine the day when every major social good organization gives their grass-roots followers the opportunity to check-in and show their support for the cause. Talk about creating a community for the common good! As with the joint (RED)/Foursquare partnership, this could lead to city-specific MeetUps where fellow supporters come together and create city-specific campaigns for the cause they care about most.

How do you foresee partnerships between nonprofits and social media/tech companies looking like?  Do you think the Foursquare and (RED) partnership was a good idea? Leave your thoughts below.

Oh, and if you’re on Foursquare, connect with me here!

Love is Louder: The Great Partnership

Back in September our country was rattled by multiple youth suicides within 2 weeks. Within a matter of a week, five students – all under the age of 20 – took their lives because they were bullied due to their sexual preferences.

We were (and very much still are) in the midst of an epidemic of  bullying.  Kids as young as 5 are the victims of bullying that can continue all the way up through college and in the work place.  While some are able to endure and cope with the daily pain that comes with being the victim of bullying, others are not.  The saddest part about this epidemic is that it’s 100% preventable.  We can prevent it.

Instead of sitting idly by, waiting for others to react, actress Brittany Snow and Courtney Knowles, Executive Director of the JED Foundation, took a stand. With MTV‘s help, they created Love is Louder.

Why am I telling you all about Love is Louder?  Not because they grew to about 20,000 Facebook fans within 1 month and have about 10,000 Twitter followers.  It’s also not because of the amazing job they’re doing in spreading awareness with things like the Twitter hashtag #loveislouder.  It’s because of how they formed the campaign.

Courtney and Brittany could have done the legwork for Love is Louder on their own.  They could have created the Facebook page, Twitter account, and spread the word with just the two of them.  However, instead of flying solo, they chose a different route: collaboration.  Before launching the campaign, they reached out to 10 different groups: Active MindsAd CouncilBringChange2Mind.org,DoSomething.orgLiz Claiborne Inc.’s Love is Not AbuseReach OutStomp Out Bullying!The Trevor ProjectTo Write Love on Her Arms and Wired Safety.  Now, all of these organizations are campaign partners.

Wow.  Needless to say, they have many organizations collaborating with them. I love seeing that happen – don’t you?!

Not only did they successfully implement partnerships with other organizations, they have a unique approach to their branding – unlike most organizations. They have decided to allow anyone use the phrase “Love is Louder”, along with the logo and promotional materials, as long as it’s for a good cause.  Do you want to raise money for AIDS in Africa? #LoveisLouder. Have you always dreamed about doing a walk-a-thon for cancer? #LoveisLouder.

Three months later, with outstanding partnerships in place, the campaign is still alive and stronger than ever.  Remember, spread the message that love is louder.  It’s louder than hatred. Louder than bullying. Louder than pessimism. Louder than all negativity.

Interested in finding out how to join the movement?  Click here.  Also, be sure to check out Love is Louder in the following places (and buy a t-shirt):

WebsiteTwitter | Facebook

Vote It Up: Child & Adolescent Bipolar Foundation

My friends over at the Child & Adolescent Bipolar Foundation (CABF) are in the running for $250,000 this month! Well, they were in the running last month as well but lost by only 3 SPOTS – it was a sad, sad day. To make up for the fact that most of you didn’t vote for CABF everyday last month, they’re giving you the chance to make up for it.

CABF is back in the running for the Pepsi’s Refresh Project and the lovely $250,000.  Why should you vote for them and not the other 500 groups in the running?  Well, here’s what they plan on using the moola for:

  • Expand awareness of depression & bipolar disorder in youth
  • Educate parents about symptoms and treatments
  • Enlighten the public about teen suicide
  • Eliminate the stigma associated with childhood mental illness
  • Extend hope to families raising children with a mental illness

With plans like these, how can you refuse to vote for them?

One incentive they’re throwing into the mix is that you’re eligible to win 1 of 3 FREE iPads if they win the contest, so make sure you sign-up to receive the daily e-mail reminders.  Yep, it’s a free iPad. That’s $500 you don’t have to spend yourself on something you’ll end up getting anyways.  Think about what you can do with the $500 you don’t spend on an iPad because you won one from CABF.  Personally, I’d buy a dog.

Just one reminder: in this competition, you need to vote everyday! To remind all of you good-doers, CABF is pulling out all of the stops.  You can receive voting reminders via e-mail from CABF by going here.

Oh, and I almost forgot. Vote for them here.

P.S. – You can connect with CABF on Facebook and Twitter (@bpkids). They’re fun to follow and won’t annoy you (like I do). Promise.

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