Thursday, February 24, 2011

Yakkity Yak - Let the Pictures Do the Talking

Talking Hands Tattoos from A+R Store via Peaceology
Spring E-newsletters and hard copy newsletters are in the making and I'd just like to take this opportunity to remind you that "less is more." That is, less typing and more pictures and maybe bigger fonts.

One of the chief drawbacks I see in newsletters and bulletins, is a tendency to be wordy. You definitely want to communicate what your small nonprofit is doing to serve your mission, but if you do it by going on and on and on, you'll just lose the readers you're trying to impress.

How Can I Make the Most of My Newsletter?

Here are some tips:
  • Use larger type, but don't go any bigger than 12pt for the body text - anything larger will inhibit comprehension.
  • Use more pictures, and make sure that the picture you use aren't just pretty, but tell the story of the article. A helpful guideline is to ask yourself if someone just looking at the pictures could get the gist of the story without reading it. Help this along by using short, descriptive captions.
  • Use enough "white space." Make sure that the white of the paper (or whatever color you're using) isn't completely covered by text and/or pictures. The reader needs some rest for their eyes.
  • Use active words and voice with descriptives that help the reader get a mind picture or a particular feeling.
  • Make things conversational and about what you're doing, as though you were telling a friend and not giving a lecture.
And one more thing - if you haven't investigated making a cell phone-readable version of your e-newsletter via texting, do consider it, particularly if you're trying to reach a Latino audience. Texting is also the perfect way to reach cell phone users with an opt-in campaign!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Facebook: We Iz Now In Yur Car Reading Yur Posts


I only like the Olympics and baseball, so I wasn’t in the viewing audience when this commercial aired. But when I saw it later I knew I’d have to blog about it and what it might mean to your small nonprofit. Take a look:

 It’s not groundbreaking in terms of advertising originality, but I got two things from this:
  • Facebook is considered mainstream enough that being able to listen/dictate posts from your car is now considered a sales incentive for new car purchases
  • If your small nonprofit still doesn’t have an FB page, you’d better correct that, because FB is going even more mainstream

Imagine driving to a public meeting and posting to FB about it while en route, then posting your thoughts on the way back and hearing, real-time, the thoughts of your stakeholders and supporters? Naturally you can do all that from your smart phone already, but you can’t do it hands-free and you can’t continue to do it throughout the drive unless someone else is the driver. Yeah, you’re right; it’s not like they invented sliced bread, but it is an indicator of how integrated into daily life social media networks are becoming and how – even if you don’t make use of ALL of them –it’s good to know what the newest tools are for participating.

Speaking of Facebook

Nonprofit Tech 2.0 has a great post on the changes to the Facebook Pages feature. Check it out here.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Tool of the Week/Busy, Busy, Busy

Last year was one of the more challenging out of a five year cycle of challenging years for me. This year is looking a lot better so far, but it’s going to take a lot of work to keep that going and I won’t have the focus needed for this blog on a regular basis. So this blog is going on semi-hiatus, which means that I’ll write occasional posts and – at the very least – every week I will try to let you know about an interesting discussion involving social media or a tool I think you might find useful.

Tool of the Week: Boomerang for Gmail

Boomerang adds to your tools by letting you write an email now and schedule it to be sent later. This is something Outlook lets you do, but Boomerang also lets you send yourself reminders for followup or to check in if you haven't heard back from someone. Maybe best of all, if you get an email for a meeting, Boomerang will figure out the best time to send the message back to you so you don't have to go looking for the meeting time or details in your inbox.

We’ve all had those days where we knew we wanted to read a particular email, but don’t have immediate time for it. Boomerang lets you send those emails back into the ether to come back another time when you’re more likely to be able to give it attention. Using Gmail, you could certainly ‘star’ it or mark it as unread in your mailbox, but if your mailbox looks anything like mine, you might not come back to it for days. If it’s from a blog you subscribe to, it might get lost among the other six or seven posts you haven’t had time to look at, yet. This is another option for making sure you don’t miss reading something you think could be valuable.

Check out Boomerang