The End (of the Semester) Is Near

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It feels as if the semester has just begun, but here we are in our final full week of classes, which means my Writing 200 class is reaching the finish line. While I could be working on the final project, I thought I would take time to reflect (and procrastinate) on all that I’ve learned from this class, in both my internship and class discussions.

The class itself has been incredibly informative and beneficial to my future career plans. The classes I’ve enjoyed the most throughout my college career are those that are filled with students who are just as passionate and excited about the material, or really anything for that matter, as I am. Writing 200 has been just that, which has given me the opportunity to engage with classmates about what drives them, whether it be improving the education system, journalism, or working to improve their communities. Even though everyone has different interests and talents that they bring to the table, we are all equally excited about the future of non-profit organizations. I always leave class with something new to think about and find myself bringing up the points discussed in class in conversations outside of the discussion, such as with friends or even interviews with potential employers.

Aside from the thought-provoking dialogue that each class promises, the hands-on work that I’ve been doing for the Canterbury House has been equally rewarding. It’s one thing to learn about how to effectively use social media, but applying those skills to successfully reach a large audience is another. Having this opportunity has opened up my eyes to the impact social media has on an organization’s marketing plan.

After working with the Canterbury House and taking Writing 200, I’ve definitely reevaluated what I want to do in the future. I’m still very interested in working for a nonprofit in the communications department, but I’m not sure I want to focus on maintaining social media outlets. I want to work on finding my writing voice and maybe write for an organization’s website. In addition, I’d love to help with the event planning aspect and use the skills I’ve learned from this class to market for the event. None of my career aspirations are set in stone and I’m excited to see what my next step will be for my future. Who knows… maybe my classmates and I will start a nonprofit of our own someday!

The Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media

ImageAs we delve into the world of social media, a world that can be both monumental in terms of reaching a large audience while also incredibly confusing, there are certain guidelines to follow. This is particularly true when using social media to market for a non-profit organization. It’s important to find the right balance between staying professional and finding a voice that comes off as personable to all viewers. Since this can be a struggle, I’ve compiled the top 5 Do’s and Don’ts utilizing social media sites to market for your non-profit.

Do’s:

  1. Engage with your audience. By giving the option to respond to posts on your social media site, people who visit your sites can contribute to a conversation about important issues and spark others’ interests in the org.
  2. Receive constructive criticism and respond. Not only can viewers start a conversation, but also provide helpful feedback about your org and express their wants in terms of social media. In addition, responding positively to the feedback shows that you’re willing to go the extra mile.
  3. Construct a social media policy. While it’s important for everyone who is posting from your org’s social media sites to have their own voice, it’s also necessary to have guidelines for everyone to follow in order to stay on track with your org’s core values.
  4. Don’t be afraid to show your personality. People respond better to a friendly, personable voice rather than generic social media posts. Express why your passionate about the org and the work that it does through the posts on your sites.
  5. Use social media to reach out to other organizations. Social media is a great way to reach a large number of people, including organizations who have similar interests. By connecting with these groups of people, you’re able to expand your social capital.

Don’ts:

  1. Appeal to one group of people. Many different types of people will have access to the social media sites, so it’s important to have posts that will attract a wide variety of followers.
  2. Promote your org 100% of the time. Mix up the types of posts that are on your org’s site. Instead of asking for donations constantly, provide pictures, updates, and stories that pertain to your org.
  3. Post pictures or stories without gaining consent from the people involved. Keep in mind that while you may think that a picture or story pertaining to your org may be perfect for one of your social media sites, the people involved may have a different opinion. Since social media is a very public domain, privacy is an issue that must be addresses when posting.
  4. Reveal too much personal information. While it’s beneficial to have a unique voice, it’s also important to remain professional and stay focused on the organization’s goals. Even though connecting with people through social media sites may help them to feel more welcomed, it can also be a turn off if you provide too many personal details that do not align with the org.
  5. Be afraid to ask for help. There are plenty of other organizations out there with similar interests and values who would be happy to help your org with a cause, as long as you reach out to them. Ultimately, this is what social media is for!

With the right guidelines, social media sites can be a great place to expand your org’s following and connect with large quantities of people at once. With some practice, you’ll be an expert in no time!

Introducing…Me!

Hello everyone! My name is Nicolette and I am a junior at the University of Michigan studying Communications and English. Growing up, I liked to spend time volunteering and working with kids, whether it be at the after-school reading program at the library or as a camp counselor for the summer. Even though my plans for my future have changed approximately 1000 times, I’ve always come back to the same idea of empowering children in some way and that has been my goal ever since. This is ultimately what led me to want to work for a non-profit organization.

In terms of experience, I’m currently the VP of MStars for the Make-A-Wish Foundation at U of M and have been involved with the organization for the past 3 years. We raise money to donate towards the children’s wishes and have the opportunity to meet the kids, all who have been the most appreciative group of kids I have ever met. If seeing their smiles isn’t motivation enough to help the cause, I’m not sure what is!

In the past few years, I’ve also been in charge of the social media and marketing for the club, but I have yet to set foot in the wonderful world of blogging. I’ve had some experience with writing as a journalist for the Monroe Street Journal, a newspaper for the business school on campus, and have dabbled in creative writing in my free time (not quite worthy of a Pulitzer, I assure you), but I am still in search of my blogging niche. This is why I am especially excited to combine two of my favorite things into one blog and explore marketing for a non-profit through new media.

On that note, I also love feedback, so comment away. Thanks for following me and enjoy!