3 Must Reads for Social Good Promoters

Photo by nSeika

Nonprofits, fundraisers and online social good doers can always use information to better their efforts online. That’s why they should add these three books to their summer reading list:

1) The Non-Profit Narrative: How Telling Stories Can Change the World

By Dan Portnoy

This book is short and to the point. Telling a great story is the primary reason why fundraisers seem to do well. While the promotion aspect is critical to spreading the word, without a great story to start, success seems fleeting. And that is where Dan’s book begins.

Dan gets into the nuts and bolts of going beyond facts towards building a compelling story. He describes the development of a nonprofit story arc, and the creation of a meaningful story. From there, Dan moves into media choices and promotion. This is a great quick read that any busy person can finish in less than two hours. Check it out.

2) Optimize

By Lee Odden

Lee tackles the triple crown of online marketing–SEO, social media, and content marketing–with a deft hand. Understanding the dynamics of online marketing is critical for developing strategic approaches to promote your cause or social fundraiser. Optimize does a great job of taking readers through the process of research, choosing approaches, and encouraging familiar and new tactics alike.

The dirty secret about social media was that it was completely search-driven with content and blogs sourced as primary content. Marketers began using blogs to compliment traditional marketing. As social networks became entrenched in the online space, search increasingly used social verification to qualify online content.

The result is a seamless intertwining of the three disciplines. None of them alone are strong enough to succeed, but together organizations can deploy knock-out strategies. In the end, it’s all about helping people find your information. As Lee said in the book, “The primary value provided by search engines is to connect people with answers, and that fact shouldn’t be lost in the sea of tactics, tricks, and pontification that goes on in the digital marketing world.”

3) 101 Social Media Tactics for Nonprofits: A Field Guide

By Melanie Mathos and Chad Norman

Once you figure out your story, how you will approach SEO, social media, and content creation from a strategic standpoint, you still need to get the word out there. Which tactics best compliment your approach?

Our friends Melanie and Chad at Blackbaud are incredibly bright and talented social media communicators. In their work, they promote the industry’s largest software vendor, and help thousands of nonprofits engage on two-way conversations and fundraising online. They tackled an incredibly difficult task, providing an off-the-shelf guide to the best social media tactics for your nonprofit or fundraiser possible.

How did they do? To me, what’s surprising about this book is how the vast majority of tactics are still usable a year after it was written. Social media moves quickly, and consider that in the time since the book was released we have seen the rise of Pinterest, the release of Timeline, and the acquisition of Instagram.

As I said in their praise quote, “101 Social Media Tactics for Nonprofits delivers the pragmatic how-to advice that nonprofits always seem to ask for at conferences. Melanie and Chad deserve praise for helping nonprofits navigate and find resource-limited solutions with really useful information.”

What recent books would you add to the list?