email fundraising, email markeing, social media strategy

M&R 2014 Benchmarks Study: Findings and Implications

Screen Shot 2014-04-17 at 5.38.23 PM

The M&R 2014 Benchmarks Study is here! For the past eight years, M&R,with support from NTEN, has produced a study of email and fundraising benchmarks. This year's study looked at email (open rates, churn, clickthrough rates, list growth, response rates), online giving (email, other giving online, monthly vs. one-time gifts), website traffic (traffic growth and web gift rates), and social media (Facebook and Twitter fan size, growth, and frequency of posting) in 2013. What is interesting about this year's study isn't so much what is in it, but what it implies for the future of web communication.

Continue Reading

0 Comments 18 April 2014


How Upworthy Thinks About Metrics

Screen Shot 2014-04-01 at 11.20.14 PM

The founder of the news site Upworthy, Eli Pariser, knows just a little bit about how to get people to read his content. Pariser spoke with New York Times journalist David Carr at South By Southwest Interactive about Upworthy, why he created it, the relationship with Facebook, and how Upworthy views metrics. Upworthy's secret sauce is a mix of importance, satisfaction, and quality.

Continue Reading

0 Comments 03 April 2014

conferences, presentations, social media policy

50 Shades of Social Media: Navigating Policies, Laws & Ethics at #14ntc

Screen Shot 2014-03-22 at 10.07.33 PM

As the manager of your nonprofit’s social media presence, knowing what you (and your colleagues) can say or how you should respond gets tricky. Establishing solid social media governance policies and understanding your legal and compliance obligations are both important aspects of your overall social media strategy. But, where do you turn when you encounter a dilemma that isn’t easily solved by turning to the law or an existing policy? At the 2014 Nonprofit Technology Conference (#14ntc), myself and three fellow presenters addressed these and other social media questions during our "50 Shades of Social Media" workshop. This blog post includes a session summary, our slide deck, and highlighted takeaways of the legal, cultural, ethical and policy considerations for organizations using social media.

Continue Reading

1 Comment 24 March 2014


Taking a Deep Dive Into Something New

  If you’ve taken a look at my blog lately, you probably noticed that the blog has been dark since January 1, 2014. Whenever I’ve taken a break from blogging in the past, I notified readers ahead of time. In January, I faced a quandary: I didn’t want to post to this blog while I [...]

Continue Reading

9 Comments 24 February 2014

metrics, nonprofit social media trends

2013: The Year Nonprofit Social Media Grew Up

Image courtesy of Dan Foy, Creative Commons license

This is the month when we all reflect upon 2013, and I am no holdout. Thinking about what I repeatedly encountered as a digital engagement strategy consultant, I realized that this was big story: 2013 was the year that social media grew up. 2013 was the year that communications and social media finally melded into [...]

Continue Reading

2 Comments 27 December 2013

Facebook, fundraising

This Is What Nonprofits Need More Than A Facebook Donate Button

Have you noticed that your organization’s Facebook page reach is down lately? Very much so? That’s because Facebook has recently made changes to the way page content appears in newsfeeds. In an internal document leaked to Ad Age, Facebook reveals the future demise of organic post reach and importance of paid post reach. To quote [...]

Continue Reading

6 Comments 18 December 2013


#GivingTuesday: Looking for Community


Last November, I wrote a blog post about the potential for building relationships with #GivingTuesday. In 2012, #GivingTuesday was an idea to build a day dedicated to giving, and an opening of the door to a movement. I understood that it was an initial experiment, but I wanted more: I wanted a place where we [...]

Continue Reading

1 Comment 09 December 2013

Facebook, search engine optimization

Playing The Facebook Ratings Game

NYCEAC stars upon thars FB cover

This week, Facebook changed the way it wants users to look at Facebook pages. Two days ago, Facebook began prominently displaying a page's ratings (from zero to five stars) directly below the page name, and above to the number of Likes. Those of us who spend our time focused on developing an engaged fan base, offering valuable content, and creating conversation and/or community on our pages now have to play the Facebook Ratings Game. If I had the talent of prognostication, I'd predict that Facebook will change its search algorithm to display Facebook search returns that are influenced in part by the number of stars on a page. I don't want to jump to conclusions, but everything in my experience working on this channel tells me that Facebook is getting ready to change its game.

Continue Reading

4 Comments 15 November 2013

presentations, storytelling, technology

Share Small Moment Stories Using Digital Stortytelling Tools

Next Up Fdn other

On Tuesday, I offered a workshop at the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network’s annual conference on Digital Storytelling Tools, subtitled “The One and Only Storytelling/Digital Tools/Speed Dating Mashup.” The workshop had four goals: leave with a solid “small moment story” idea, have an idea of how to use stories to reach organizational goals, develop at least two [...]

Continue Reading

6 Comments 31 October 2013

nonprofit resources, time management

Curating Nonprofit News

Image courtesy of Mike Bailey-Gates, Flickr Creative Commons license

I find it hard to keep up with all the news. Many of us have our own curation practice, but one of the most efficient I have is to keep an eye on those in our community who are curating the news for us. While I trust the curators I've selected on Twitter, Google Plus, Pinterest and other social channels to find and share news and information relevant to me, I love the news roundups most. They are a mix of the personal sensibilities of the curator (sometimes irreverant, sometimes quirky) and the web stories or blog posts that piqued their interests. These are the nonprofit news roundups that I read.

Continue Reading

13 Comments 25 October 2013


Debra Askanase is an experienced digital engagement strategist, non-profit executive, and community organizer. She is the current Director of Outreach at the National Brain Tumor Society. She speaks at conferences worldwide on the intersection of technology, social media, and nonprofit organizations.

Follow Debra

Subscribe via email




© 2014 Social Media Strategy for Nonprofits and Businesses.

Site by Arrow Root Media