Friends for Funding

The biggest takeaway for me from this class is the need for transparency in our content. People have a hard time arguing honesty, and it is also an attribute we not only look for in people,  but in organizations. Organizations which exercise transparency in all aspects of their cause are more likely to collect good partnerships and network with quality organizations that will further their outreach. This is especially important when looking for funds. Not only for an organization, but looking for funds personally also involves a level of transparency. For example, grant writing involves a level of transparency, in that the donor is looking for a story that they can understand and want to help.

The Networked Nonprofit shares a lot of similar information with Content Strategy for the Web but fills in the gap of information for where to find cost effective funding tactics. One of the first tactics discussed is free agents, or people who are used, free of cost, to create buzz for a cause or organization. These free agents are discussed as more frequent due to millennials capability of, for free, expressing their love of hate for anything from food to companies. This same content can also be used to network with local organizations of these free agents who share similar interests with the organization being promoted. This promotion is usually friendly dialogue between friends who are sharing their experiences. Friends are valuable resources because we tend to turn towards people we trust to give us advice on anything from purchase to, in the case, where to donate.

As demonstrated consistently throughout the semester, transparency within an organization allows for trust to be built, similar between friends. An organization is seeking to connect with their audience but also those within the organization. Internal relations is just as important as impressions from those on the outside because employees are one of the biggest proponents for an organization. People who are unhappy with their job are going to express their unhappiness with those around them, and also possible on an online platform. Internal complaints are just as important as paying attention to negative online reviews as well. Organizations or companies which respond quickly and sincerely to their online audience tend to have better representations of who they are.

This friendly dialogue is something we discussed at length with our client. We and their clients know the great work they do but we explained the importance for them to be transparent with their work. Our client had a lot a good video and pictures on her phone and was an amazing storyteller, and we told her those were all powerful attributes that should be shared on the site and their social media.

SDA does have Twitter but they were not using it effectively. We explained that Twitter is highly interactive and since they were not very interactive on any of their platforms, besides email, we suggested they delete their Twitter and instead make an Instagram account. Although Instagram is also interactive, it allowed for more transparency without as much interaction. A picture is worth 1000 words, or a well crafted caption, and we also discussed the use of links and tagging to draw traffic from their tagged partnerships or drive traffic to their other platforms like their Facebook or website. One of the biggest focuses we had was their blog, which could serve as their ultimate platform to connect with their audience. Well crafted blogs can be just as interactive as a Twitter as long as their content was well presented, unlike their current posts.

For myself personally, being honest through my writing is something I strive for, and my experience working with nonprofits has demonstrated the importance of being passionate for your career. Writing for an organization that may be seen as a job rather than a career is going to be more difficult. Often the language comes out dry or flat and maybe does not get at the heart of the company, but instead face value mission. For a career, I want to be able to write as passionately as I feel towards my organization, giving anyone reading my writing the same feeling I have. This skill can be well adapted towards grant or proposal writing, hopefully for a cause that is meaningful to me.

Storytelling was a theme seen in both texts but definitely covered in TNN. Working for a corporate or for-profit organization is of course meaningful and fulfilling, but working for a nonprofit I believe requires another level of commitment. In order to receive funding, you need to convey to someone that your organization deserve their time, and a good cause always has a good story, something people can relate to and want to be apart of. People are always more willing to help out a friend, so it is important to speak about your organization as if it is a close friend. If you can craft a legitimate argument to someone in a way which make them feel as passionate towards a cause as you, they are going to want to be apart of that cause with you. I hope to be apart of something that make me feel passionate towards their cause one day.

 

Final Post

This semester has been a good learning opportunity filled with tools to use in future endeavors. The skills taught and learned gave deeper insight into how to use social media for social good, and to create content that reflects the passion in whatever we decide to do. Besides the other two books for the class, we focused on Halvorson and Rach’s Content Strategy for the Web (CSW) and Kanter and Fine’s The Networked Nonprofit (TNN). Both books are good starting points for anyone interested in developing their online avatar, and provide extra valuable information for anyone working in the nonprofit sector who may be looking for ways to increase their online traffic. This final blog post will be an overview of the strengths of both texts and how together they can be effective tools for anyone looking to strengthening their online presence.

CSW focuses on building content for anyone who is interested. The broader themes and ideas align with the nonprofit goals of TNN. Beginning with CSW the biggest takeaway I found that overlapped with the goal of TNN is the idea of transparency. In CSW, the first chapter discusses the importance of learning how to listen (Halvorson 10). The two biggest categories that need this attention are those inside the organization and those outside of it. TNN also have a section on listening (Kanter 61) which is a useful tool that can allow organizations, “to orient themselves online”. TNN further states that the process, “involves sifiting through online conversations on multiple channels like social networks and blogs” (61). CSW starts this process by listening to those on the inside. Focusing on internal relations is important because it can identify key issues within the organization and could reveal how people outside of it views or understand the mission of the organization. One way suggested in both texts is conducting different types of analyses within and outside the organization. CSW begins with the alignment of stakeholders and the importance of keeping the momentum going with them through regular communication during the entire process (Halvorson 45). Keeping stakeholders happy is important but further more, “the best way to conduct an internal analysis -by far- is to talk to people inside the organization” (69). Interacting with those who handle the day-to-day grind of the organization are the ones who are going to have some of the best insight of what is going on inside and outside the group. After listening to the internal relations CSW moves onto focusing on the core strategy of the organization and lists being “inclusive” as one of the effective core strategies allowing for a “wide variety of individual and team contributions” (96). Being inclusive throughout the entire process allows for open dialogue and a greater understanding of the problems or strengths of the organizations.

TNN focuses on the ways that content strategy can help a nonprofit and gives tactics for people wanting to strengthen their online presence. TNN’s greatest focus which overlaps with CSW is the importance of good content in order to create the transparency desired and also create traffic for the sites. One of the first strategies towards creating good content once again focuses on the importance of transparency within and outside the organization. This can be achieved through content that demonstrates the social culture of the organization. The organization’s culture, “comes from melding the psychology, attitudes, experiences, and beliefs of the people who lead organizations. Others inside and outside of the organization react to those patterns and norms” (Kanter 42). Good content creates good reactions from those representations of the organization. Although transparency is important throughout the content strategy, TNN recognizes the challenges of figuring, “out what to use when and how so we can better manage a world with social media in it” (96). Some of the suggestions of simplifying the content presented includes: creating a schedule for the posts, pruning information flow and finding trusted sources (97). This allows for the most direct and informative content without overwhelming visitors or burning out those who post the information. CSW breaks this process down into four categories: substance, structure, workflow and governance (Halvorson 103). These rules allow for content to be, “more more effective and easy to manage if you set some parameters and priorities about who your content is for” (105). Both texts not only focus on the importance of transparency through communication but the importance of transparency also through the use of well crafted and sourced content which gives not builds internal relations but also builds relationships with those outside the organization.

The biggest strength of CSW which is not covered in TNN is the importance of conducting an audit on the social media and sites already in use and good instructions on the best ways to go about this task. The chapter begins with the different kind of content audits and the process and the kind of information involved or discovered during and after the audit. The book does a good job of laying out the important steps and tasks involved in the audit process and the importance of taking the time to conduct then audit. 41jQ0rWRLjL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_After the completion of the audit the book does a good job going into the process of analyzing the information from the audit. The book notes the importance of this analysis as something that cannot be ignored or out-of-date otherwise, “entire strategies are build on un-researched assumptions and isolated opinions- costing everyone time and money” (Halvorson 70). The importance of taking the time to conduct the audit gives the organization an opportunity to patch any holes that are causing misrepresentation of the organization. By creating a content audit and analysis its purpose is not to create suggestions for the content but instead, “its sole purpose is to ensure that everyone on the content team starts the content strategy process with the same information about the complex ecosystem [the] content lives in” (89). Looking at what others are seeing as the representation of the organization gives insight into what strategies would be best to make the campaign seamless and effective.

The best strength of TNN is the chapters which focus on the use of content to develop a fundraising campaign. Once again focusing on transparency, TNN goes into the importance of transparency when it comes to raising funds for your organization. Transparency in the fundraising sector is demonstrated through, “annual reports, financial statements, and audit reports [posted]download online” and by, “listening, engaging, and building relationships” with the target audiences or donors (135-137). TNN gives successful online fundraising tactics including: credibility, donor recognition and storytelling as all effective ways for the organization to further connect with those interested in helping (146). Another way mentioned earlier in the book is the use of crowdsourcing, or the, “process of organization many people to participate in a join project often in small ways” (106). Although TNN focuses on the volunteering aspect of crowdsourcing, this tactic can also be used today when it comes to fundraising. In tangent with crowdsourcing is the use of free agents, or, “individuals working outside of organizations to organize, mobilize raise funds, and communicate with constitutes” (15). Both are cheap solutions that nonprofit are looking for in order to increase awareness of their organization while also limiting the funds used. This is one of the biggest differences between the two texts: TNN focuses on the use of content for nonprofits while CSW focuses on content strategies for anyone wanting to increase their knowledge of online traffic and representation. Both books are valuable on their own but I believe someone working within the nonprofit sector would benefit from reading CSW first and then TNN to close the gaps while CSW on its own is valuable to anyone wanting to build their online avatar.

 

One Oh Fo Sho

This post is designed to build my avatar and give you guys a feel for what I have experienced semi-recently that has lead me to where I am today. I think it’s fitting that this is blog post ten, and I graduated in 2010. Our senior class slogan was “One Oh Fo Sho” and my life is definitely no where even close to where I thought I would be, that’s fo sho.

I was originally going to be an Animal Science major/Vet Tech. I was a zookeeper in Wahpeton in 2012 for  a year and everything seemed to be working itself out, until I realized that zookeeping was not what I wanted to do forever so I took some time off and decided I wanted to go back to NDSU and finish my English degree starting Spring 2013. I had taken a few classes before I left NDSU but at that point I was so confused with what I wanted to do, I felt it was best to stop spending big money on uncertainty.

I left the zoo and worked a few odd jobs in the Wahpeton area until I could afford to move back up to Fargo. During one of my visits to Fargo to see friends I met some guy that I thought was funny, attractive and I found out we had mutual friends at NDSU. He also told me he was a veteran, but at that point that meant very little to me other than I made him wear his dress uniform once so I could ogle. Eventually, we were Facebook official so, you could say things were pretty serious. After about a year of dating we decided it made sense to move in together. Before meeting Chris, I had never known anyone in the military, let alone a combat veteran, and while we were dating I didn’t notice anything “different”. Not until we were living together did I understand why Chris was worried about living with someone.

Living with a veteran has been a new experience for me, and it has also been a big adjustment for Chris too. I hate to sound too diary-ish but it gives important context to the short story I wrote for Northern Eclecta titled, “The War at Home”. I can’t even describe the life of a student veteran, in my opinion, in complete sentences. I’m not trying to umbrella every student veteran (or veteran) as experiencing the same things as Chris does, but there are 100’s of articles, books and studies on PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress D(isorder)-they’re trying to get the D dropped), TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) and other post-combat related issues that appear for many veterans. I want to note that my experiences are secondhand, and are my own interpretation of what I perceive.

For me it has been snippets: Night-terrors which lead to little sleep. He still has to go to class. College politics leaving students empty handed. Emotions: Guilt. Shame. Intense moments of happiness. Intense moments. Back pain. Counseling. Medications. Alternatives. Veterans Affairs appointments. There are things in our lives that we are hyper-sensitive to because of Chris’s experiences: Fireworks, large crowds, sudden drops on roller coasters, strobe lights, turbulence on flights…

Although things have worked out well for us, I can’t help but think of even just one of the over 400 student veterans on campus who are lonely and dealing with the same things that I know Chris struggles with. These are people who often don’t seek any sort of help because they have a lot of pride, so it is important for them to know there are people available to them and who are there with open arms just to listen, help without judgement and to just be someone who says, “hey, I don’t understand what you’ve been through but I’m here if you need me”. Sometimes that’s all people need. Dating a veteran has given me the opportunity to experience some of the emotions and day-to-say struggles that many other veterans face, and has made me want to be someone who is there to at least listen and be engaged with their stories.

I teach English to veterans, typically older, who want to freshen up or gain skills for returning to school. One of the biggest things I tell them is to be transparent with their professors and let them know of any special requests they may have like not wanting to sit in the front of class or needing to step out in the middle of class if necessary. The former NDSU Veteran’s and Military Services office now is only a certifying office, leaving student veterans to fend for themselves. With little support from administrators and little knowledge throughout the student body as a whole on the effects of post-military life, I find myself wanting to get their story out, students just like us, who offered their lives in exchange to protect ours. The least we can do is stand with them and make sure they are receiving the help they need to succeed. The very least we can strive for everyday is try to not be shitty people and lend a hand, open our hearts and open our ears to the other human beings in our world.

Oh, I have to leave?

I met with my adviser a couple of weeks ago to go over my final semester of college. I felt under-whelmed compared to what I thought setting-up the final semester of classes of my undergrad career would feel like. The meeting went as any other, and I left feeling just as I had walking in. 12 credits. Four classes. And then that’s it. I have applied to internships and now all I can do is wait. Perfect.

I have also met with a possible capstone mentor who made me realize that I really don’t have a clue what I want to focus on for my capstone project. We have talked about researching more on writing programs for veterans and my experience instructing an English course to veterans enrolled in the Veterans Educational Training through Trio at NDSU. This opportunity really came out of thin air (Listserv) and is a new experience, one I find myself absorbed in professionally and in my everyday life. I never pictured the culmination of my college career would focus on something that is very new, and personal, to me. I hate to get too personal on here but my boyfriend is a combat veteran so I take what I do to heart. I enjoy connecting with people with different, almost unimaginably different, perspectives and gain insight into who they are. I think everyone likes telling their own story, or believe their story should be heard, and it should! I think my biggest problem with writing is I fear people get weird when we get too emotional or get “too deep” on a topic. I love it. I want to know what you know and figure out why you think that way. A veteran’s perspective is very unique and is very skewed from the civilian perspective of what or who a veteran is. This has been my first semester instructing the course and the student went from not believing he has anything to write to creating a 13-page short story. Amazing, but I do not believe I taught him more than some basic punctuation and how to use GoogleDocs. During our classes we mostly just talked, and then talking turned into writing confidence. I think that’s a beautiful thing.

So what’s my strategy? I really do not have one, which I think is my biggest problem right now. I’m a lists person, a need-to-know kind of person, so this waiting game is killing me. I’ve already received my first reject letter, while not totally soul crushing, still was a sting. I have applied to a lot of creative writing/communications/PR positions in several companies but I am drawn to wanting to help people, even someone, and right now I just happen to be serving veterans. I sorta feel like a traitor to what I want to do by focusing my capstone project on the educational-based approach project. I also feel like I am so all across the board with my interests that I won’t be picked up anywhere. It is also hard to tell people that, Yes, I’m an English major. No I don’t want to teach. Yes I teach right now. Nope, don’t want to teach, I want to write. No, not like Edgar Allen Poe status, but general content, getting the word out, using my craft and all that jazz.

Okay, so what’s the strategy…

Building my avatar. Updating my LinkedIn was one of the first steps I needed to take in order to apply to internships. I scrutinized over what profile picture to use and what cover photo (if any) to have. I updated my skills, likes, interest and info. I researched the companies I applied for and not only looked for what they look for in candidates but also what they are doing as an organization to increase veteran hiring.

So my strategy…

Come what may.

Ewan McGregor is the unknown adventure that awaits and the Duke is the corporate life that will pay my student loan debt. Sorry to whoever hasn’t seen this but you get the point.

 

 

A cup of tea and a content analysis

I have always been interested in actually sticking with a blog and reviewing products that I use that I want to share with others, or similarly, review products that companies send bloggers for positive reviews, as long as they are a reputable product/organization, of course. One of my favorite bloggers is Candace Moore (yogabycandace.com) who is a blogger and yoga instructor. She posts lifestyle and health posts as well as reviews for products and items that are sent to her. She is very health conscious and only reviews select items. She gets free stuff in the mail all the time. How cool is that? She gets paid to do yoga, eat well and write; not a bad gig. This post will be a meta-review while also compiling a mock content analysis for the brand that I will be reviewing.

The product I am focusing on is Full Circle’s tea. Full Circle (fullcirclefoods.com), a Topco brand, teamed up with Project 7, an organization which sells gourmet mints and gum, with the mission to prove that “little purchases when added up, can pull many people together and make life changing impacts every day of the week” (project7.com/pages/mission). These little purchases impact 7 different areas which the organization focuses on: Save the Earth, House the Homeless, Feed the Hungry Quench the Thirsty, Heal the Sick, Teach them Well, and Hope for Peace. The partnership with Full Circle focuses on hunger in the United States and the partnership expands past just gums and mints and can be found on a full line of grocery products (fullcircleproject7.com/products) including the tea I am currently drinking.

I wanted to research more into Project 7 and the Full Circle brand, because I am always skeptical of the bigger players b
ehind the brands, in this case, Topco (topco.com/). The company is an LLC comprised of 50 member-owners from the supermarket and wholesale world. Many of the members are well-known including Casey’s, Coborn’s, Piggly Wiggly, and my hometown favorite, the local Stater Bros. Their website is pretty corporate but fairly easy to navigate. They host a Home, About Us, Members, Brands, Programs, News, Sustainability, Careers, and Vendors tabs, making navigation on the website fairly straightforward. From there I was able to navigate to the Full Circle website from the Topco’s Brands page, underneath their Health and Wellness subcategory tab.

Full Circle’s website provide a lot of information and is a lot more creative and appealing than the Topco site. They do not display tabs at the top of their website but instead the user scrolls through and sees snippets of information available to click, and scrolling pictures hyperlinked to other pages on the site. Full Circle carries an entire line of home products from seafood and produce to health care products. The site also has a link to recipes and also a healthy lifestyle blog. They also list on their main page the organizations and programs they support including Marine Stewardship and Fair Trade Certified, both demonstrating what market they are playing to. Frequently the user is shown a questions or comments link, making me think that they might actually care (whoa). The only social media the website links to is their Facebook, which has only 3000 likes and their posts have very few likes. Their posts appear to typically be recipes which link to their website, or pictures with a quote or caption pertaining to a certain holiday/significance. They post frequently, every other day or so, which I think is reasonable. It would be interesting to see them post more lifestyle blog link, which were fairly numerable on their website but I do not see much of on the Facebook. I think they would get a lot more likes if they played to a larger audience, considering they sell more than just grocery items.

You are unable to get to the partnership page between Full Circle + Project 7 from the Full Circle Site, which was kind of irritating. You have to go and type in fullcircleproject7.com which takes you to their website. The main page gives the user the options: Learn More, Products, Partners & Tracking, and Hunger Facts. I have two qualms with this page: first, they do not have a link to the Project 7 website anywhere transparent but only at the very bottom of the site, just in case you were looking for the copyright date? Second, under the Partners & Tracking tab, they have nothing. There is a “note” saying to “please check back soon for information on our participating retail partners and how many meals have been provided to-date through Full Circle + Project 7 program”. Okay, cool. How long has that been there? I got off of their pretty quick because all the other tabs were flops too: the Hunger Facts tab had many 4 stats listed (not even an infograph!) which seems like a wasted opportunity to me.

I navigated over to the Project 7 page which contains besides the Home page an About, Shop, M7ission, Buzz, and Jobs tabs. Also at the top of the page is the friggin’ laundry list of platforms the organization hosts including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, and YouTube. They have around 32,000 likes on Facebook and their posts are diverse and cute! The posts themselves only have a few likes but the content is much more varied than the Full Circle’s FB. Their Twitter not only posts the cute links from their FB but they also retweet relevant posts from the organizations they follow. They have 17,000 Twitter followers and they follow over 2,200 sites themselves. Their Pinterest looks very well put together, with 27 boards including “Holiday Flavors” to “Causes We Support”. This good variation makes me wish their Pinterest presence was better, and as someone who is on Pinterest a lot, I have never seen a Project 7 pin. Their Instagram only has the photos they post on FB so that’s a flop. They have almost 10,000 followers but all the images are digitally created and there are no images of, oh I don’t know, the people all around the world they help? They haven’t posted on their Tumblr since 2014, they have a PhotoBucket place holder for their use-to-be cover photo. What is that? Annoying: delete it. Their YouTube has 3 videos. Two from their work in Haiti which in mine opinion should be available on their website. They also have a video from their partnership with 7Up in 2014 to help in all 7 areas, but I had never heard of this initiative before, making me wonder if it every happened. The premise is with every purchase you use the bottle cap code to donate to a cause of your choice, the exact mission Project 7 focuses on, demonstrating that every small purchase makes a difference.

There it is! The conclusion of my review, starting with a cup of green tea. It tastes even better knowing that it goes to a good cause, and it was valuable to see where it came from and how each organization (or partnership) represented themselves online. It was interesting to see that an organization which I believe to be fairly large, could have such random gaps in their online content, which can lead people to think less of their brand, or could even affect how many people know about their brand.

When will my avatar show, who I am, outside.

Developing my avatar, or my online persona, has been weighing heavily on my mind recently after already submitting to and continuing the search for summer internships. As an English major with a minor in PR and Advertising, I have applied to a broad spectrum of positions, all which center arounMulanReflection1d the focus on a strong social media presence and understanding as well as a demonstrated portfolio of online work. I want to focus on writing more material as the semester finishes out in hopes to
further develop my avatar, as well as focus on how I write on my blog, versus for other assignments or genres. Often I become too picky about what I am writing about, or do not want to ruffle any feathers, resulting in nothing being written at all. I need to gain the confidence I want to support my avatar, including writing more online versus for myself, in order to see that online persona grow and develop.

Another item on my list recently has been working with nonprofits, especially Service Dogs for America, the nonprofit I am working on with my teammate. They too are looking to solidify their online avatar and persona by increasing the exposure they have on Facebook as well as keeping up with their blog on their website and creating an Instagram in order to showcase the clients they work with as well as the other amazing services they support. One idea stuck out to me from The Networked Nonprofit that I believe perfectly explains the goal of our organization, but also a goal I hope to achieve personally, wherever I may end up in the future. The idea is that an organization which engages and ignites passion in their participants, will in return reap the benefits of a committed participant community who is willing to go out of their way to share an organization they love. This idea is a main focus for our client and us because we all share the desire to share SDA’s mission, and can do so through a blog which connects past and future clients as well as accessibility to all the amazing services and deeds SDA is involved in, further reaching the community at large. The blog would give exclusive insight into any events which are or will be held and the impact donations will have for that event, and also highlight stories of past clients and the success they have achieved through working with SDA. This will help deepen those community bonds out client hopes to make more transparent in order to make future clients feel right at home.

As a free agent for SDA, I want to provide them with the tools and resources necessary in order to continue their mission. One goal our client wishes to work on is increasing overall social media savviness, something as a young free agent, both my teammate and I believe we can help with. Our client even made a suggestion that if we were digital media savvy, she would consider looking at a design we came up with and possibly working together in the future. Although I have no experience with it, this opportunity proves that reaching out to people and making connections, providing them with any skills or resources you can offer, helps build your own persona by helping others. Content Strategy makes good points about not having too many platforms, and in order to build that community aspect we are striving for, the book suggest having the organizations clients/participants be able to generate their own content on the organization’s platforms. To support this, we intend to create an Instagram account for SDA, while at the same time deleting their Twitter, a platform they have had little success with. Instagram would give SDA the exposure they need while still allowing clients/participants have the capability to tag pictures or videos in support of the organization, including at events or pictures of their dog aiding in their day-to-day lives.

Although I spoke a lot of SDA, they are helping build my avatar online. As I get more involved with the nonprofit world and talk to people, like Shelley, the Development Director for SDA, who is passionate about their work and willing to engage with random strangers giving advice, makes me want to build my online persona to fit the passionate person I am outside of the internet. I get so caught up on what people will think that I disregard the fact that I can get people to think. And if that is through my own writing, or sharing the work/mission of nonprofits, they both will enhance my avatar development.

Midterm Paper 2

Dom Sagolla’s 140 Characters: A Style Guide for the Short Form focuses on the impact of Twitter, especially important information for non-profits to employ. Each chapter focuses on a facet of Twitter which needs to be properly executed in order to have a successful Twitter campaign. In this paper I will be discussing the use of the short form in relation to my team assignment’s non-profit, Service Dogs for America. SDA does not have an Instagram account but after speaking with them, they do have interest in getting an account. They currently do have a Twitter account but do not use it frequently and shared interest in possibly deleting the account. For this discussion I will focus on Instagram, and my “client’s” future with using the short form. For Instagram, it is important that the client first determine if that is the best option for them. After some research, I discovered that similar organizations were using Instagram with much success. Their success, I believe, is attributed to their use of simplification, their reach, their repetition of posts, their use of mentions or links leading visitors to sister-site and also the organizations ability to branch out, expanding on what’s worked and reaching to deepen their online exposure. I will use these attributes and discuss how SDA can use these skills to help their own organization.

Service Dogs of America already has a lot of good information that they can use for promotional material, the problem I noticed, specifically during Giving Hearts Day, was they have too much information presented, but not executed well. Their graphics contain a lot of material which is often hard to read and are very wordy. They have videos which receive good view counts but do not make the impact they were hoping for. I believe this is attributed to the amount of information presented, and the way it was presented. A viewer must watch the entire video, which were often people just standing and talking, reciting information, with no graphics or titles for people to place a “brand to word” image with. I believe SDA could benefit from learning how to condense their information in a way which would allow people easily digestible information, while still giving them the opportunity to follow a link to another platform which could give people seeking more in-depth info the proper location they would want to be. They expressed their wish to increase their blogging presese, and while it is important that SDA be good story tellers, they must also be wary of Sagolla’s view that the “first line [of a book] is the most memorable identity of the text to a reader” (16). If SDA can focus their information and storytelling for videos and graphics, I think they could be very successful with using Instagram.

The current marketing coordinator for SDA wants to broaden their reach because they are the only certified service dog program in the state. By using the correct social media platforms and revamping the ones they currently use, SDA could reach the expanded audience they desire. She definitely wanted to expand their shares and likes on posts overall, with a commitment to engage more with the community at large.

Another skill SDA could benefit from using is the repetition of attention-getting posts. They recently ended a #sharethelove Sunday post which featured the hashtag and information of a puppy-in-training. The campaign was a perfect example of an image they could use on Instagram but instead shared it on FB with little engagement of their audience. This repetition, as demonstrated successfully on similar Instagram accounts, is an important practice SDA keeps up with in order to create a consistent and growing audience.

Although they are two differently identified attributes, I combined mentions and links in the same discussion as important skills for SDA to adopt. During GHD, I only noticed a few mentions to other local businesses which helped achieved SDA’s goal. These mentions would help SDA expand their reach by connecting with local partnership’s audiences as well. Also, adding links to their own blog pages or donors links would increase the desired exposure.

Finally, by branching out of their currently implemented practices and revamping what they already have, they will have the ability to continue that branching. Sagolla describes branching as “keeping the essence of what you do, but adding one more activity that adds depth to the experience” (116). Right now, SDA is proud of the work they have done, and rightly so, but SDA also recognizes the need to branch out and reach a wider audience to continue the amazing work they do.