Isaac Kiehl

Sometimes nonprofit social media successes are solely in the execution

posted by
Anne Byrne,
ASU Lodestar Center

Question: I am starting a nonprofit organization, and I need to secure our 501(c)3 status. I don’t know how to fill Form 1023, the Application for Recognition of Exemption, from the IRS. Do I need an attorney to complete it? Can you help?

Questions about the application for 501(c)3 status or form 1023 are by far the most common I get in my role as a professional-in-residence at the ASU Lodestar Center. The instructions from the IRS are almost 40 pages and the form itself is 26 pages, so it is no wonder the task may feel overwhelming! Fortunately, there are resources available, and a clear perspective will help focus your efforts.

Lights, Camera, Nonprofit Social Media Engagement!

posted by
Isaac Kiehl,
ICAN, Positive Programs for Youth, 

Communications Coordinator

One of the primary gauges we use for digital communications is post reach and engagement, including number of views and amount of individuals who have interacted with a “like” or comment. As a nonprofit, your message is most likely tailored toward a specific cause, whether it’s through news, links, or photos.

Your ultimate breadwinner for social media engagement is photos. People LOVE photos and that’s the way it has always been. Do you remember being younger and loving books packed full of photos? The same rule applies with social media! Always tell/share your story with a photo, the more original the better.

If you have a news update or link, take or find a photo that fits with your nonprofit’s mission and enhances the update. This increases the likelihood of people reading your post. Also, get creative and show the “behind the scenes” of your organization. People respond well to seeing staff and activities going on at an organization and it increases transparency. As a smaller organization, we regularly showcase employees who are celebrating birthdays and anniversaries on social media which, in turn, increases employee appreciation.

Get Creative! with Nonprofit Social Media

posted by
Isaac Kiehl,
Communications Coordinator,

When starting out with social media as a nonprofit, it can be a tricky and confusing process. It’s not like the for-profit sector where you have a goal to gain customers through deals and offering products/services. It’s about your cause.  You now have supporters, donors, partners, and those directly affiliated with your organization to think about and cater to. Besides a website, the musts of nonprofit social media include a Facebook page and Twitter account. They provide an easy way for others to show their affiliation and support while being able to directly engage with the nonprofit. Your cause and organizational updates are able to become clearer and more regular through your messaging. I personally began employment at my first nonprofit, ICAN, a year ago, and this is how I’ve been able to make my social media mark on the brand.

The Facebook and Twitter pages had already been set up, but they were scarcely used. I re-evaluated the mission and audience of the organization and found a healthy mix.  As I began to post on a daily basis, I started including real-time photos and posts about events, donation thank you’s, and basic organization updates. Eventually, I began adding in “behind the scenes” posts about staff to make our brand include more than just the faces of those we serve, but also those who were providing service. Within a year, both the Facebook and Twitter followers more than doubled, and engagement increased almost 300%. I was surprised at how easy it was to post real-time happenings and how the engagement increased. When we switched from having our Facebook posts being automatically tweeted verbatim on Twitter to a tailored message for both platforms, Twitter engagement increased as well. It’s been well worth the extra 30 seconds to post a message twice, but customized for each.