Initial Thoughts Regarding Nonprofits & Pinterest

In what seems like an endless sea of people re-pinning cute outfits and photos of animals, the first time I logged on to Pinterest I thought, “This is not for me.”

But, I gave it a shot anyway, despite my initial lackluster feelings for the website.

I realized that the more boards I followed, the more I could avoid the outfits and artsy-inspirational quotes that continuously appeared on my home page. Finally, the things I found interesting (quirky artwork,  healthy recipes and fun craft ideas) were waiting for me whenever I logged on.

Although my feelings for have Pinterest grown in leaps and bounds, I was skeptical the first time I came across a nonprofit using the social media website.

This specific nonprofit is a nation-wide organization, doing amazing things throughout the country. I had high hopes, but I was quickly disappointed.

As I fumbled around their page, clicking on their various boards, I was (for lack of a better word) bored.

Nothing on their Pinterest was new or exciting, everything was just a re-post of material already on their Facebook, a collection of photo albums from various fundraisers and events.

I realized I was not the only person who shared these feelings, reflected in their low number of followers.

This Pinterest account lacked two main things;

-Interaction: What are people suppose to do with photos from their fundraisers? How would Pinterest users benefit from sharing them with their own followers? The photos didn’t have anything to do with the issues the nonprofit is actively trying to fix, the only time they mention their mission is in the small information box at the top of their page. How is this Pinterest account spreading their message?

-New and consistent information: Based on the times that each of their boards were created, someone just created all of the boards one day and has only returned two or three times to post new things. What is the benefit in flooding your followers with information one day every four weeks? Returning to my first point, without new information, there is little opportunity for interaction between the organization and their followers.

But hope is not lost- The deeper I dive into the nonprofit-Pinterest waters, the more I’m realize that this site could be very beneficial when used the right way and a bundle of nonprofits are already using the social media site to their advantage.

Stay tuned for future blogs about specific nonprofits that are using Pinterest in fun, engaging and interesting ways!

Stay Tuned: Updates Ahead

Hello, Everyone!

I apologize for the lack of postings recently. Although I hate to admit it, blogging fell off my radar the past two terms as class readings, group projects and essays consumed my life.

Alas, here I am, a University of Oregon graduate!

Finally, it is time to dust off my blogging fingers and get back to writing. I have a whole list of blog ideas that I can’t wait to start researching and processing into words to share with everyone. In my return to this blog, I also realized that this layout is quite.. grayscale. As soon as I finish this post, I’ll be searching for a new theme and I’d love everyone’s input.

You’ll be hearing from me again soon!

– Caitlin

Go Ahead, Judge a Book by its Cover.

When a company I worked for was hiring and started interviewing potential applicants, I realized that sometimes it is okay to judge a book by its cover. Because of the economy, a lot of people are out there looking for work. We wanted someone who cares about our company and the people we serve, not just someone who cared about getting a job.

In order to weed out the people who care from the people who don’t, making a great first impression is critical. Throughout the entire hiring process I compiled a list of a few things that irk me the most when it comes to new applicants:

1. Dressing too casually. I’ll be the first to admit that coming in a suit just to fill out an application is a little extreme, but it surprised me how many people come in shorts and sandals and sweatshirts to apply for a job. At least take the time to brush your hair and iron your shirt before coming in to apply. Taking a few extra steps to get ready before you come in is a little extra “umph” to prove you actually care about getting THIS job, not just getting a job.

2. Disregarding me because I am young. I’m 23, but most people would guess that I’m 18 (that’s actually a stretch, it is a shock to most people when they realize I’m old enough to drive.) There have been a few instances where an applicant has come in and asked to talk to “someone else”, ie. “someone older and more influential within the company”. When you first walk through the door, I recommend not putting yourself above anyone already involved in the company. Besides the fact that it is rude and says a multitude of things about your personality, I could write another blog on all the reasons why this peeves me so much (actually, I think I will… adding it to the ‘to-blog’ list right now), but for the sake of space, I’ll just leave it at that.

3. Not smiling enough. I’m a huge fan of smiles, I do it all the time. Like I mentioned above, I’m 23 and I already have wrinkles around my eyes from smiling so much. Smiling is a natural thing. Our clients love people who smile, they smile all the time, our manager smiles, all of the other employees smile. We all love our jobs so much that we are smiling almost all of the time. Nothing catches my eye more than someone who smiles right when they walk through the door.

So, in my opinion, what does it take for a great first impression? Brushed hair, an open mind and a big, huge smile.

5 Reasons Why I ALMOST Deleted my Facebook.

Recently, I’ve been going back and forth on whether or not I should delete my Facebook. Clearly from the title of my blog, I decided against it. Here are the 5 reasons why I ALMOST deleted my account.

5. Distracting the current with the future.

I don’t even know how many times I’ve been with friends and we take pictures then immediately people ask to look at the camera again and “dibs” default photos. By only caring about what pictures will go on Facebook in the future, it is taking you out of the current moment that you are in and not truly appreciating the time you are having with your friends. Sometimes I’ll think back to certain days that I have pictures from and all I’ll remember is sitting there taking pictures, not anything else we did during that time.

4. Privacy? What Privacy?

This is just a personal annoyance. I don’t really like websites changing their privacy settings and making its users go in and manually change them so their information that was previously private remains that way.

3. Don’t judge a book by its cover.. Or Profile Picture.

More and more employers are turning to Facebook in order to find out more information on their job-seekers. Although there is nothing on my Facebook that I’m ashamed of or have to hide, I just don’t like the idea of someone looking at me and using a profile picture as a way to judge whether or not I’ll receive an interview or considered for a position (mainly because I look a lot younger than I am and that constantly works against me).

I also realize that Facebook is a great way of weeding out potential interviewees. For example, one of my Facebook “friends” has 90% of her profile pictures either drunk or in a swimsuit, and she certainly doesn’t qualify for most jobs, although her resume may not appear that way.

2. Facebook: The Ultimate Procrastination

I’m not going to lie, I’ve checked my Facebook about 4 times in the process of writing this blog. It’s an instinct reaction now to check it whenever my mind begins to wander, usually during studying or writing papers during finals week…

1. Facebook “friends”

Let’s be honest, I am not ACTUALLY friends with 85% of my “friends” on Facebook. What I really like about Google+ is that it has an “acquaintances” circle. If Facebook had a “we went to high school together, but never really talked” friends list, I’d be happy. Instead, I decide to just hide everyone’s updates that I don’t actually care about so they don’t constantly pop-up on my news feed.

Why don’t I just delete them? Well, I’m pretty convinced there is some Facebook-karma going on here. The other day, my friend and I were talking about that inevitable awkward moment when you run into someone who you recently deleted on Facebook and are kinda forced to say, “Oh I’m sorry, it must have been an accident!”or just cross your fingers and hope they haven’t noticed yet. In my opinion, I’d rather just “hide” them instead of having 356 awkward Facebook-karma moments.

So… Why didn’t I delete it?

I didn’t delete my Facebook because it is the best way to keep in contact with my friends and family that live all across the world, everywhere from Eastern Oregon, to Nicaragua, to Louisiana, to Sweden. Facebook is a one-stop-shop to keep in contact with them at no cost to any of us.

One of my best friends has approximately 26 friends on Facebook. They are all people that she can’t see in person on a regular basis (with the exception of me, hence the ‘best friend’ bit), she’s not even “friends” with her boyfriend. Maybe eventually I’ll get to that level, but for now I’m really trying to avoid all those awkward Facebook-karma moments…

Photo by duncan

Social Media vs. One-On-One Relationships

The other day during one of my nonprofit administration classes, my professor brought in a guest speaker who worked in the nonprofit PR field. I was SO excited. A guest speaker doing EXACTLY what I want to do once I graduate!

The guest speaker was hilarious. She told us a lot of funny stories about her experiences with fundraising and various PR campaigns. After story time, she finally started telling us about PR basics; the message, the audience, etc.

When she got to the topic of “the medium” she said something along the lines of, “Social media websites like Twitter and Facebook are useless, one-on-one relationships are the only thing that nonprofit organizations should focus on.”

My jaw dropped. Literally. There I was, in the front row, with my jaw hanging so far down that it almost hit my collarbone. Then she asked our class, “So, what do you all think about nonprofits and social media?”

Usually I just sit in class and I won’t speak unless I’m spoken to first, but when she asked that question I shot my hand into the air so fast I nearly dislocated my shoulder.

One-On-One

What did I think about nonprofits and social media? Well, considering I have a blog dedicated to that exact topic, I had a lot to say about it.  After eight minutes of me talking about how great Twitter is for nonprofits, it was obvious that the guest speaker and I had conflicting views on the subject.

I told her that while one-on-one relationships are a key to a successful nonprofit, social media is also a GREAT resource. In the eight minutes I had to speak, I gave her a quick summary of nonprofits and social media. Twitter and Facebook are easy, free ways for people to go learn about an organization, their mission and volunteer opportunities. These sites are also places to publicly acknowledge their donors and volunteers. They are immediate and much easier to update than a website and they allow for a nearly instant two-way conversation as opposed to just static produced on a website.

Her reaction was that nonprofits are organizations with limited time and resources and that social media is just a waste of time that could be spent on making personal, one-on-one relationships.

So what do you think? Should nonprofits care about social media, or is it just a waste of their time?

Photo by andybrannan

Incase of Emergency… Facebook?

This infographic shows the ways that people and organizations are using social media to provide updates and keep in touch during emergencies.

According to this infographic, people use Twitter in multiple emergency situations that range anywhere from providing information during the Mumbai Terrorist Attacks to various natural disasters.

One of the benefits of Twitter and Facebook is that it is instant.

There are more than 6 million individuals and organizations on Twitter and more than 400 million on Facebook.

One of the examples on this info-graphic was a Tweet that said, “Need a paramedic on corner of John Wesley Dobbs and Jackson St. Woman on the ground unconscious. Pls ReTweet”

I’m not sure how efficient it is to Tweet something like that instead of calling 911. While instantaneous news-feeds like Twitter and Facebook are effective for situations where no one can be reached by phone, calling 911 should always be the first option in the case of a real emergency.

When I told my dad about the use of Facebook and Twitter during emergencies, he laughed at me. His said that during a natural disaster that causes everyone to lose phone and internet service, social media is irrelevant.

This lead him to plan what we were suppose to do as a family, in case there was an emergency where we couldn’t contact each other. That is another story for another blog though, back to the original reason for this post…

This infographic asks the question “In an area-wide emergency, how likely would you be to use social media channels to let your friends and family know you are safe?”

28% of people said they “definitely would”, and I’m in this category with them.

Social media is an instant way to get the word out about a crisis or disaster in the area and can spread the message a lot faster than a phone call could.

What do you think? Would you use Facebook or Twitter in case of an emergency?

Photo by Niccolò Caranti

Set Yourself Apart: Extra Steps to Take as a PR Student

Recently I read a blog on “Preparing Yourself: The Extra Steps to Take as a PR Student.”

Considering the fact that graduating and finding a job terrifies me, I crossed my fingers and hoped that these tips would help calm my nerves.

#1- Learn HTML

I know quite a bit about HTML because I have a weird fascination with the internet and web design, but I’ve never used it in-class or for any other projects. As for knowing HTML to “set you apart” from other graduates, I really like this tip because it is something that not many people learn in school, unless it is specifically related to their major.

#2- Writing Different Styles

The thing that I really liked about the PR sequence at the University of Oregon is that we learn how to write for all different mediums. I now know how to write news releases, blogs, newsletter articles, a backgrounder, feature articles, video treatments and much more! Every different style of writing has a specific purpose, and when you know what the target audience is, it makes your writing that much more affective!

#3- Social Media

Social media is a great way to set potential job applicants apart. Since technology is changing at such a rapid pace and the Internet is becoming an increasingly popular medium to share and receive news, organizations need to keep-up with the times and have active social media plans.  Here are some tips on how to appear professional on your personal Twitter:

  • Keep out the bad words
  • Don’t be negative
  • Provide useful information for your followers, not just static
  • Participate in conversations
  • Build relationships

Blogging is also important because it provides a place for potential employers to get an idea of your writing “voice” and style.

What do you think? Are these good tips for PR graduates? What else (if anything) would you include on this list?

Photo by Kristina B