Saturday, September 17, 2011

How Zoos and Aquariums Use Social Media

Beth Kanter recently posted an entry on her blog titled Bench Learning: Zoos and Aquariums Social Media. It's about a spreadsheet that keeps track of zoos and aquariums metrics on Twitter.

This entry reminded me that I had found some great examples about how zoos and aquariums are using social media and the Internet.

Georgia Aquarium
National Aquarium in Baltimore

The aquarium uses e-mail marketing as a big part of their communications strategy. Their primary newsletter is called Aquamail.

They get e-mail addresses from their visitors through kiosks at exhibits and texting at dolphin shows. Visitors can stay in touch with dolphins or jellyfish by subscribing to Aquamail at the kiosks. The staff holds quizzes and contests at dolphin shows and use text messaging to capture answers and visitor information, and the visitors are invited to subscribe to Aquamail. When a visitor subscribes to Aquamail, they get a welcome message reminding them where they submitted their information and a call to action to update their profile.

More information at From Dolphin Encounter to Facebook Fan.

Other Examples, Stories, and Presentations

38 Ways Zoos and Aquariums are Engaging Audiences Through Social Technology

Using Social Technology to Engage Zoo & Aquarium Audiences

Two Social Media Strategies Perfect for Earth Day! Birch Aquarium and Monterey Bay Aquarium

Two-Way Communication Using Social Media

Zoos Are Among Big Cats in Twitter Kingdom

Social Media: Am I Doing it Right?

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Nonprofit Blogging Session Notes from Nonprofit 2.0 Unconference

Questions Asked and Problems

  • Blogging takes a lot of time
  • It’s hard to motivate team to blog
  • How to re-motivate people to blog
  • Hard to demonstrate success of blog
  • How to start conversation on blog
  • How to market blog
  • How to motivate readers to read the blog
  • Is it worth the time to create a new blog for a program or use the larger organization blog


  • Repurpose content- write about reports and what organization is doing
  • Write shorter blog entries. Break up long entries into different posts.
  • Create an editorial calendar
  • Figure out where blog fits in communications strategy
  • Share web metrics with team
  • Use the blog to drive people back to website
  • Link to other bloggers
  • Comments on blog keeps blogger motivated
  • Start commenting on other blogs
  • Ask people to comment on your blog
  • Ask questions on blog entries to start conversation
  • Comments are not the only way to measure success - look at web analytics, likes, and re-tweets
  • Connect with people connected with organization
  • Need to know your market to know how to market your blog
  • You can experiment with blogs
  • Content ideas- Tell failures, Q & A with experts
  • Link to older blog entries on blog
  • Put a live feed on the website. It looks like the site is updated. The feed could be from the blog or Twitter.
  • It doesn’t matter if the blog is built on website or third party. Do whatever is easiest.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Notes from 5 Biggest Trends in Online Fundraising Session

This session was about Blackbaud's 2010 Online Giving Report. Here is a summary of the session and the report.

Questions Always Asked
  • How much money is raised online
  • How much money raised is from online

2010 Online Giving Report
  • Online giving went up 35%
  • January was the month that had the largest percentage of online giving for 2010 . Usually December is the month that has the largest percentage. For 2010, 18.4% of online giving took place in January and 18.3% took place in December. This was because of the Haiti earthquake.
  • International Affairs went up by 130.8%
  • Activists are 7 times more likely to donate
  • Best targets for activists - a repeat activist who took action within the last 24 hours, current donor who took action within the last month, or a super activist who took 6+ actions in the last 12 months
  • Ask to give after taking action
  • Nonprofits on Facebook- 77.6% raise less than $1,000
  • Mobile giving is the future
  • Organizations can use the report by looking at the trends for the size of the organization and by sector

Fundraising for Emergencies

  • Be prepared
  • Act quick
  • Most people give on websites and do not wait for a message to give

Online Giving for Disasters

  • People give within the first 5 days
  • Online giving in the first 5 days after the Haiti Earthquake was 19% more than the 2004 Asian Tsunami and 109% more than Hurricane Katrina

An interesting question was asked at the session asking if other online fundraising reports showed the same trends. I am interested in looking at other reports to see how they are alike and different.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Notes from NTC Unconference

Social Media
  • Ask for help to save lives in different locations. Big Love Little Hearts has been successful with this.
  • An organization that raises awareness about AIDS was looking for ideas to raise awareness all year long - not just around awareness days. One suggestion was to post a video of someone with the condition once a week.

Web Strategy

In this discussion, we discussed sharing resources across groups that are the same to see what different places are doing. Examples of these groups are NetSquared local groups and food banks.

We also discussed content curation. Roundups are good to share recent content.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Notes From Nonprofit Blogging Affinity Group Meeting at NTC

All Blogs Should Have:
  • RSS Feed
  • Use feedburner because you won’t lose readers if your blog url changes
  • A title – mention what organization the blog is for
  • Link back to the organization’s page
  • Be sure to include a link to the blog on the organization’s page
  • Analytics installed

Favorite Blogs

  • Beth’s Blog (
  • Red Cross (
  • Getting Attention (
  • Oxfam Blog

Challenges Organizations Have With Blogging
  • Different audiences
  • Not knowing what to say
  • Who keeps the blog going

Content for Blogs
  • Event Updates
  • Content Swap/ Guest Blogging – Drives traffic to original content
  • Add Contributor profiles at the end of each blog entry if blog is written by multiple people
  • Use tags and categories
  • One organization uses a rule that for every 4 entries written, one entry asks for money
  • Follow Twitter to get news from staff in the field
  • Wordless Wednesday – ASPCA does this and gets lots of comments (See Wordless Wednesday on ASPCA for more information)
  • Ask Subject Matter Experts for content

Volunteers Blogging
  • Huge asset
  • Problem is they are not trained writers
  • Ask them to write about a topic (Will you write about ___?)

  • One organization closes comments after two weeks of posting the blog entry
  • Moderate Comments
  • Spam

Finding Photos

  • Flickr
  • Contact photographer directly to ask permission to use

Social Media
  • to share blog posts
  • It is best to share blog posts with different text on social media sites (wording should be different on Facebook and Twitter)

How to Measure Success of Blog

  • Number of hits
  • Number of subscribers