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Toast To 2010


  • Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right. ~Oprah Winfrey

Xmas martini

As we end 2009 and begin a new decade I want to make a virtual toast to You.

Thank you for your friendship.

Thank you for your belief in social media as a credible strategy.

Thank you for your skepticism about social media as a business initiative.

Both ends of the spectrum help us learn together the possibilities of conducting business and marketing in a new way that weaves our customers' need with the brand promise.

Thank you for you joining me on Diva Marketing, Diva Marketing Talks Podcast and TobyDiva on Twitter. It has been an amazing adventure; I am humbled by your support and look forward to the possibilities that 2010 holds for us all.

Wishing you & yours all things wonderful for 2010.


Stories From Smaller Nonprofits: East Lake Foundation


Stars2009 holidays are winding down. Social networks from Facebook, Flickr to Twitter helped us share memories  with family and friends. But for some people holiday memories were not so merry or jolly. In the spirit of the season, to give back, Diva Marketing  is showcasing the stories of smaller nonprofits throughout December. 

It's my wish that together we can help raise their visibility, perhaps find a new volunteer or even encourage a donation or two. Because as Laura King Edwards, Taylor's Tale, says, "Nothing should stand in the way of a dream."  Also the nonprofits that are using social media have agreed to share their strategies so we continue to learn together.

East Lake Foundation

The tale of the Miracle of East Lake begins with, Tom Cousins an Atlanta real estate icon who had a "crazy" vision that golf could rebuild an inner city community. The story is told by Mary Dugenske, Director of Marketing and Communications for East Lake Foundation.

East Lake Foundation kids Everyone deserves a chance to succeed – which is why the East Lake Foundation provides tools for Atlanta’s East Lake residents to build a brighter future for themselves and their families."

Just 15 years ago - East Lake was a blighted, crime-ridden area, home to one of the nation’s most troubled housing projects. Only 5% of students met state math standards, and the employment rate (not unemployment rate) was just 14%.

Three key building blocks -  Working with residents, the East Lake Foundation brought hope to this historic community, relying on three key ingredients:

•Quality Education: East Lake kids now enter a cradle-to-college pipeline that includes an early education program that’s become a statewide model and Atlanta’s first charter school. Students learn, excel and graduate – in fact, 97% are the first in their families to attend college!

•Affordable Housing: Families now have access to safe housing choices, plus classes, events and support groups that help them build knowledge, skills and lasting financial strength.

•Community Connections: Neighbors connect and learn from each other – for example, through The First Tee of East Lake, a dynamic program that teaches both golf and life skills while opening the doors to colleges, scholarships and jobs for hundreds of children.

Toward a brighter future -  As East Lake families begin to break the cycle of poverty, East Lake is becoming a community of choice. Violent crime is down 95%, while school test scores and property values have surged. Today’s economic challenges hit working families particularly hard — but thanks to donors and volunteers, the East Lake Foundation can continue to provide tools that build brighter tomorrows. Just $10 a week provides a child with after-school tutoring, educational support and enrichment activities that foster lasting academic success.

Social Media Strategy

Expanding the conversation - Like many small nonprofits, the Foundation has long relied on “social” events (especially volunteer opportunities) to connect donors, partners and neighbors. We’re excited about the opportunities that social media offers to connect with our supporters and broaden our outreach.

Right now, we’re focused on listening and learning about what others are saying about our cause, as well as helping supporters and volunteers tell our story via their blogs and tweets. In 2010, we look forward to expanding the conversation ourselves via our own presence on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and other social media channels!

More About Eastlake Foundation

Donation Page


Miracle On The Social Media Street


Before you go off the grid for the holidays .. or perhaps when you come back on after toasting in 2010 .. imagine a time when there was no Internet or Twitter or blogs or Facebook or even email. It is Christmas 1947 and the CEO of a major retail organization briefs the company's ad department.

  • "No high pressuring and forcing the customer to take something he doesn't want. We'll be known as the helpful store. The friendly store. The store with a heart. The store that places public service ahead of profit. The plan sounds idiotic and impossible...consequently, we'll make more profit than ever before."

Miracle on 34th street No, it's not a new Twitter customer care strategy. But it is an innovative sales program launched in 1947 by Macy's Department Store .. it was a Miracle On 34th Street .. on the silver screen. Customers would not be coerced into buying what they did not want and if another store had a better, less expensive product Macy's would send them to that store.

Fast forward 62 years to 2009. Social media is one of the most exciting marketing strategies we've seen in the last 60+ years. Social media teaches us many lessons. One of the most important for marketers is our business is not all about the brand .. it is all about the customer. As with so many lessons, we seem to keep relearning this one.

In the world of conversational marketing there is no room for high-pressure sales techniques. As Mr. Macy learned we have to take our lead from our customers. Adding a relationship focused social media strategy to your master marketing plan can be a powerful initiative which demonstrates that you place your customers' needs above a one-off sale.

The digital relationships that the people (not departments) who are the heart of your brand can set off a chain reaction. Continuous listening -> which leads to continuous learning -> which leads to a continuous conversations -> which leads to trust -> which leads to loyalty -> which leads to the cash register bells ringing. And every time a cash register bell rings a marketer gets a bonus or gets to keep her job (!).. oops wrong film. Sorry.

Corner grocery store digital relationships that are build not only with you and your customers, but among your customers, could never have been imagined when Kris Kringle entered Macy's in 1947. However, even as we approach 2010, for many organizations open conversations still seem like a Miracle on (insert organization name here) or like the ghost of Xmas future (oops wrong movie again. Sorry.)

The plan sounds idiotic and impossible... consequently, we'll make more profit than ever before.

As we begin 2010, technology developments spin even faster taking digital marketing into areas that were impossible in '47 or '57 or even '09.

Imagine a site that holds current inventory and pricing, allows for on-line financing and results in better, faster cheaper processing.

Imagine a site that allows for product customization.

Imagine a site where you can start a conversation with a real person about what matters to you regarding a product or service.

Imagine a site where you can talk to a real person who doesn't respond with an FAQ list.

Imagine a site where you can actually help change the direction of a product or service before it's even launched.

Imagine a site where you can include your review of the product, service or customer care.

Imagine a site where you can talk to people about their experiences and learn from each other.

Imagine a company that doesn't close the door (or comment section) to you or your ideas.

The plan sounds idiotic and impossible...consequently, we'll make more profit than ever before.

It's interesting to compare a 1940's film, where finding solutions to customers' problems was perceived as unique, to 2009 where finding solutions to customers' problems is considered ingenious.

The techniques may have changed. New buzz words may be added to the mix. Bells and whistles may be a little louder. However, after all is said and done, the premise remains the same:



-Add value

-Do what it takes to go the extra mile to delight your customer

The plan sounds idiotic and impossible...consequently, we'll make more profit than ever before.

Toby max santa hats  And with that Max and I wish you a holiday full of joy and all things wonderful in the new year.

Sidebar: A Classic Diva Marketing post based on an article written for AMA Marketing News. 

Stories From Smaller Nonprofits: Isipho


StarsYes, Virginia there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. ~ Francis Pharculles, The Sun

There are people who play Santa year long. Many bring their talents and hearts to the important work they perform for nonprofit causes. Throughout December Diva Marketing will highlight stories from smaller nonprofits that light the way for causes but rarely pull mentions in the main stream media. 

It's my wish that together we can help raise their visibility, perhaps find a new volunteer or even encourage a donation or two. Because as Laura King Edwards, Taylor's Tale, says, "Nothing should stand in the way of a dream."  Also the nonprofits that are using social media have agreed to share their strategies so we continue to learn together.

The Isipho Story

Miranda Lynch The story is told by Miranda Lynch who is the 15-year old co-founder and vice president of Isipho. Miranda's story is as much a part of the fabric of Isipho as the children she is passionate about helping.

My name is Miranda Lynch. I co-founded Isipho in December 2009 so I could do everything possible to improve the lives of the children in Nzinga, South Africa after visiting there in August 2008 while on vacation to celebrate my 14th birthday with my dad.

When we first got to Nzinga, all I wanted was to turn around and leave right away.  I had never experienced such hardship or poverty. It was really overwhelming.

But I didn’t have time to be overwhelmed, because the second I got out of the car, a girl my age handed me a saw and pointed to some wood. I understood that she wanted me to cut the wood; something I had no idea how to do, but was embarrassed to admit that, so I just started sawing. As the evening evolved, I realized that the wood I was sawing was the wood we needed to make a fire to cook our dinner. Just making and then cleaning up after dinner was such hard work and took so long that by the time we finished, I was exhausted and went straight to bed. I guess it’s good I was too exhausted to leave!

The next day my life was changed forever, because I met Amahle, the beautiful, smart, precocious two-year-old daughter of our host. Amahle doesn’t have the same opportunities in life that I do -  the opportunity to receive a quality education, the opportunity to have three healthy meals per day, and the opportunity to earn a living and support herself once she’s an adult. Amahle became my little shadow, and I came to love her like a little sister.

When we left Nzinga, I kept thinking about Amahle, and was determined to do all I could to change the inequality in her life; to do everything possible to give Amahle and every other child in Nzinga the opportunities that I believe every person deserves.

  • I know I’m just one American teenager, but I knew I had to at least try, and that I couldn’t just leave and never look back. When my mom and dad saw my passion for this, they agreed to help me help Nzinga overcome their biggest obstacles to a better life.

The municipality where Nzinga is located has identified severe and chronic malnutrition and illiteracy as two of the biggest contributors to the poverty in Nzinga. It seemed so simple to me that if they could grow their own fresh vegetables and had the proper resources to be able to receive an education, their lives would vastly improve. So we decided to start a non-profit to focus exclusively on this small village and to make a difference one child, one family, one food garden, and one classroom at a time.

I decided to name the nonprofit Isipho, which is the Zulu word for “gift,” and the nickname that Amahle gave to me because she couldn’t say “Miranda.” Our Isipho, or our gift, is to help the people of Nzinga create a better, self-sustaining community. 

We do not give them more hand-outs that just extend the cycle of dependence. We give them the tools they need to feed and educate themselves within five years without any outside assistance. Specifically, we provide them with fencing, gardening tools, seeds and gardening training so that they can learn how to garden for themselves, and be able to protect their gardens from grazing animals.They do all the rest. 

We also provide books, school supplies, educational toys and teacher training so that the kids in the village are all going to school and are learning when they get there. Before we started Isipho, only 44% of the villagers had ever attended any school at all, and only seven percent had ever graduated from high school. Our goal is to get 100% of the children in the village enrolled in school, and to increase graduation rates so that their poverty begins to improve.

In our first year we raised almost $20,000, and on just that limited amount of money we’ve been able to send:

~23 villagers through a 3 day sustenance gardening training program with the regional agriculture college.
~Provide fencing, tools and starter seeds for more than 500 square yards of community vegetable gardens
~Provide fencing, tools and starter seeds for 40 smaller, individual family garden

~Deliver over $3,000 worth of books, mathematics tools (calculators, protractors, etc.), and other needed school supplies.
~Encourage development of a local committee that will oversee and lead the programs going forward so that the villagers have ownership and ultimate responsibility for long-term success. More than half of the committee is comprised of women.

Isipho is run by me, my mom and my dad, so far on a 100% volunteer basis.

I’m founder and Vice President of the Board of Directors. I spend most of my time working on public relations and fundraising, and I’m also busy making a short film about Nzinga, using video footage that I shot this past August when we were in Nzinga building vegetable gardens and working in the schools.

My dad, Tom, is President of the Board.  He does marketing and fundraising, and is always spreading the word about Isipho.

My mom, Sheri, is Executive Director of Isipho. She handles all the day-to-day operations.

The three of us work together to plan all of the programs. We’re also putting together a really great Board of Directors right now.

It’s been really interesting to work together with my family like this. We’re a business, so we have weekly meetings, as well as quarterly planning sessions and an annual planning retreat. I’ve learned a LOT about what it takes to run a business, like how to do strategic planning, how to organize fundraisers, what it takes to do even a simple program, and a lot about business etiquette. Most of that I’ve learned by making mistakes and embarrassing myself. But that’s OK – that’s one of the nice things about learning all this stuff as a teenager – people are quick to forgive my mistakes!

Social Media Strategy

Social media is important for us, but also very natural. My dad has worked in digital marketing for a long time, and I’m 15, so I’m on it all the time. We have a limited budget, so social is a great way to spread the story and get people involved. It has been great for us, and also a lot of fun.

It also is a lot of work though, because you have to stay active. Sometimes we’ll find that too much time has passed before we’ve interacted, and other times we’ll find we’re all on our individual Facebook pages saying the same thing.

  • Sometimes being consistent and coordinated is not as easy as it would seem.

 Isipho logo
More About Isipho

Web site
Facebook page
Donation link

For the greater good sites from Miranda:: Idealist Gold Star

Read More Stories About Smaller Nonprofits

Stories From Smaller Nonprofits: St. Vincent and Sarah Fischer Center


Stars In midst of the chaos of shopping, gift wrapping and cookie baking I invite you to join me on Diva Marketing for a quiet moment to learn about the work of some smaller nonprofits. Throughout December I'll be highlighting stories from nonprofits that light the way for causes that may not be on the front page of the New York Times. It's my wish that together we can help raise their visibility, perhaps find a new volunteer or even encourage a donation or two. Because as Laura King Edwards, Taylor's Tale, says, "Nothing should stand in the way of a dream."  Also the nonprofits that are using social media have agreed to share their strategies so we continue to learn together.

The St. Vincent and Sarah Fisher Center Story

Suzanne conti for svsf Story is told by Suzanne Conti who has been involved with the St. Vincent and Sarah Foster Center for many years. 

At one time the St. Vincent and Sarah  Foster Center was a foster home for children with volunteers providing Easter Baskets and Birthday toys.  Through the Center's studies they believed their efforts would be more fruitful if the children stayed with their parents as long as they taught the parents how to provide and parent for a successful family life. 

Tutoring of all forms is on-going and the results are wonderful, but the needs for these young Detroit families are greater than ever.  Sr. Judith would be so grateful to any assistance given to help these children and parents, whether it be crayons for the kids after school programs or warm coats and boots.

Providing education and skill development opportunities for at risk children and families in Detroit which have been devasted with the highest unemployment (38%) and highest levels of high school drop out rates (28%).  This charity is going to the heart of the problem- working to strengthen the family unit to become nurturing productive sources for children.

Svsf center photo of girls The odds say many of the children served in the Brightmoor and surrounding communities of Detroit will end up dropping out of school and going on to lives of poverty. Children's Learning Experience helps children beat those odds. Individual and small group academic support and encouragement a positive, nurturing environment that fosters a love of learning. Strict participation standards that include a high degree of parental involvement. The goal of the Children's Learning Experience is to ensure children are performing at or above grade level, and that goal is being met.

Many in the area are living in poverty, unable to support their families. Lack of education is a major component of the generational poverty that plagues this area. The Adult Learning Experience addresses this. The Adult Learning Experience has been designed around the concept of First Steps and Next Steps. In this program we recognize that getting a high school diploma or completing a GED is the crucial first step and the foundation for self-sufficiency. To help our students take that first step, we provide tutoring in math and language.

But a GED is no longer enough to give adults the ability to support themselves and their families. It is an important first step, but only a first step. That's why the Adult Learning Experience program goes further. Building on the confidence that comes with reaching a hard-won goal, we work with our graduates on Next Steps. Whether that Next Step is enrolling in college, attending a vocational school or getting into an apprenticeship program, we support program participants as they take measured, lasting steps toward self-sufficiency.


The values of founders St. Vincent de Paul and Louise de Marillac, continue to guide the expression of the Center's mission.


Honesty, integrity and openness in all of our words and actions


Working together in service to others


Advocating for those with no voice


Being creative in everything we do


Showing respect for those we serve and everyone we contact on their behalf

Service Quality


The agency traces its beginnings to 1844 when the Daughters of Charity first arrived on the streets of Detroit with only $8.50 in their pockets, with the intentions of opening a school. Within two years, they responded to community need by establishing the St. Vincent Orphan Asylum and a hospital. In 1869, the sisters opened a program to provide for the needs of unwed and/or deserted mothers and their children.

It is this spirit that began the Daughter’s 150 years of service to those in need in Southeastern Michigan. They had no idea that they would be responsible for founding the first hospital in Detroit, Providence Hospital in 1945, the first private psychiatric hospital in Michigan, three schools, an orphanage, and a home for unwed mothers and children in just over two decades.

In 1928, a fire destroyed a summer home located in Farmington Hills that housed children from the old St. Vincent Orphan Asylum in Detroit. Mr. and Mrs. Charles T. and Sarah Fisher of the Fisher Body Family read the news accounts of the fire. Because of their extreme gratitude to the Daughters of Charity and Providence Hospital for saving the life of their fifth son, Thomas Fisher, Charles Fisher took action by donating more than $700,000 to build a new structure at the corner of 12 Mile and Inkster Roads.

The formal opening took place one year after the date of the fire on November 25, 1929. The home reflected contemporary thinking in the institutional care of children. The Center’s Farmington Hills campus remained open as a residential facility for foster children until October 2005. In 2006, the St. Vincent and Sarah Fisher Center brought 150 years of family and child experience to the Brightmoor area and the surrounding community. The statistics for the area are daunting: A 40% poverty rate for children; a nearly 30% drop out rate; and unemployment levels that hover around 36%. Children are at risk, and families are failing under the crushing weight of poverty.

Svsf logo More About St. Vincent and Sarah Fisher Center

Donation Link

Items desperately needed


Read More Stories From Small Nonprofits

Stories From Smaller Nonprofits: Lendego


Stars In the spirit of the season, to give back, Diva Marketing  is showcasing the stories of smaller nonprofits throughout December. It's my wish that together we can help raise their visibility, perhaps find a new volunteer or even encourage a donation or two. Because as Laura King Edwards, Taylor's Tale, says, "Nothing should stand in the way of a dream."  Also the nonprofits that are using social media have agreed to share their strategies.

The Lendego Story

Lendego Dennis_and_Julie_2008 Story is told by the founder Dennis Hodges who explains how he came up with his unique concept where people can directly help others. As Dennis learned some times fate steps in and changes your dream for the better.

Lendego is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Atlanta, Ga. that helps meet the needs of others by connecting them with individuals wishing to give. Lendego empowers its donors to choose the individuals, families, groups or organization they want to help.

  • Powered by givers, Lendego positively impacts the lives of real people with real needs. With Lendego’s peer to peer giving platform, funds can be directed to specific individuals, families, groups or organizations in need.

I came up with the idea for Lendego, a nonprofit peer-to-peer lending organization, where individuals hoping to start a business could post their ideas and stories. Those interested could lend money to the individuals and then be repaid at a later date. Hence, the name Lendego. I created my business model, built the website and was ready to launch Lendego when the 2009 flood happened in Atlanta.

Watching the floods and hearing about all the victims so close to home had a very profound impact on me. The incident made me think about all of the individuals who were affected by the tragedies of life on a daily basis and how it was often extremely difficult, if not impossible for those individuals to receive financial help in their time of need.

In October of 2009, I converted my online lending platform to an online giving platform and Lendego, a nonprofit dedicated to peer-to-peer giving was born. Individuals or families struggling with difficult circumstances can contact Lendego for assistance. Recipients can post a need themselves or be submitted by a “sponsor” -- family members, a friend, church, employer or another nonprofit that is working to help meet the individual's need.

After the need is verified by Lendego staff, their story is posted at Lendego; where givers can browse all the needs and select those for which they wish to help. Givers can give the amount they choose to each recipient. Once the need is met, Lendego disburses the funds directly to the family or individual in need. 

Social Media Strategy

Lendego’s grass roots campaign is conducted via Facebook, Twitter and traditional public relations. Right now the organization is working on the Faces of Lendego, each month a different story will be told to the public making them the Face of Lendego. The goal of this campaign is to raise awareness of Lendego and to change the attitudes and perceptions behind peer-to-peer giving.

Lendego logo More About Lendego



Donantion Link

Read more stories from smaller nonprofits

Diva Marketing Talks Pharma + FDA + Social Media With Fard Johnmar and Steve Woodruff


Diva Marketing Talks is a live, internet radio (BlogTalkRadio) show.  30 minutes. 2 maybe 3 guests. 1 topic about social media marketing. Why? To help you understand how to participate in the "new" conversation without getting blown-up. Miss the show? You can pick it up as a podcast or listen on your computer.

On today's Diva Marketing Talks Fard Johnmar, Envision Solutions and Steve Woodruff, Impactiviti, join me to explore how social media impacts healthcare, with a focus on the pharmaceutical industry. In November the FDA held two days of open hearings that began the process of their development of regulation guidelines for Pharma. For any enterprise stepping into the social web can be a challenge. However, for companies in highly regulated industries, especially healhcare, the stakes are high to get it "right."

The Details

December 17, 2009:
Time: 4:00p - 4:30p Eastern/ 3:p - 3:30p Central/ 2:00p -2:30p Mountain/ 1:00p -1:30p Pacific
Call-in Guest Number: 718.508.9924

Fardjohnmarphotoweb_002 Fard Johnmar, M.A., founder of Envision Solutions, has extensive experience in the healthcare marketing communications arena.  He has developed and implemented programs for numerous major global and domestic pharmaceutical companies, nonprofits, medical associations and government organizations.  Pfizer Inc., Eli Lilly and Company, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Novartis Pharmaceuticals and the International Society on Hypertension in Blacks are just a few of the organizations he has completed engagements with.

Mr. Johnmar has special expertise in cardiovascular disease, mental health,infectious disease, oncology, social media communications, public health and health policy. He holds a Master of Arts degree from New York University's well-regarded Gallatin School of Individualized Study in communications and health policy. He completed his undergraduate degree at Amherst College where he earned a B.A. in jazz ethnomusicology with additional concentrations in pre-medical studies and political science.

Mr. Johnmar writes regularly on healthcare marketing, policy and related subjects for Know More Media (KMM), a leading global business blogging network and other publications. His blog on KMM, HealthCareVox, was recognized as one of the world's top 50 English-language health blogs by edrugsearch.com. Follow Fard on Twitter.

Steve woodruff Steve Woodruff is President of Impactiviti, a pharma network advocating new on-line solutions for communications, and "matchmaking" pharmaceutical clients with best-in-class vendor/providers. Steve has over 23 years of experiences in the life sciences arena, and is a well-respected thought leader in the social media field.

Steve has rich experience consulting with numerous pharmaceutical clients (such as Pfizer, Wyeth, Novartis, J&J, Abbott, Takeda, Sanofi-Aventis, Daiichi Sankyo, and many others) on training and marketing solutions, including technology platforms and global applications. Having consulted on the design and implementation of many types of learning initiatives (virtual universities, pre-launch training, printed modules, on-line tutorials, product portals, assessments, webcasts, etc.) for a wide variety of companies, Steve brings a broad perspective to clients as new training and marketing activities are planned.

Steve contributes to the Small Business Branding blog, Marketing Profs Daily Fix, and was recently featured in an article on Better Branding in TheStreet.com. Steve has also launched several on-line portals with aggregated content feeds from the blogging community; PharmaCentral, the Marketing Bloggers portal, and BrandingWire. He has contributed to two recently published “group-authored” books, Age of Conversation and Not Quite What I Was Planning. His branding/marketing/social media blog is called StickyFigure. Follow Steve on Twitter.

In The Diva Bag

Complement of Fard Johnsmar

1. Understand what you face: Pharma companies should understand how e-patients feel about them journeying into the social media space. According to a national survey we recently conducted, they aren't too happy about pharma communicating with them via social media. 

However, drug firms may be able to improve e-patient perceptions by providing them with  what they want: the straight facts about medicines and valuable information about the conditions they or their loved ones face. 

2. Remember, this is Washington:  A lot of the commentary I've seen focusing on the FDA hearings deals with the mechanics of Internet promotion and how pharmaceutical companies are being restrained from participating fully. 

However, people have to remember that the FDA is not just going to listen to industry insiders when developing policy. They have to deal with Congress and very active and vocal patient/consumer activists who will have a lot to say about the regulations the FDA releases.  Back in the 1990s when FDA decided to approve more robust DTC marketing, many said that the agency went too far. 

Now, we have the Internet, which is some ways, is a much more powerful and pervasive medium than television.  We have to remember that FDA is being pushed in many different directions.  We may get regulations, but we may not like what the FDA does. 

In addition, we have an article on our new knowledge community, Living the Path, summarizing the FDA's changing regulatory stance and how it impacts pharma and health companies. 

Read More: 

From Steve Woodruff: Social RX: A Resource Page

From Diva Marketing on the Power to the ePatient

Stories From Small Nonprofits:ChildFund International


StarsThe holidays are a time to give back to others. In that spirit, Diva Marketing is highlighting the stories of smaller nonprofits through out December. It's my wish that together we can help raise their visibility, perhaps find a new volunteer or even encourage a donation or two. Because as Laura King Edwards, Taylor's Tale, says, "Nothing should stand in the way of a dream."  Also the nonprofits that are using social media have agreed to share their strategies so we continue to learn together.

The ChildFund International Story

Virginia childfund international Story told by Virginia Sowers, Community Manager, ChildFund International.  For more than 70 years, ChildFund International (formerly Christian Children’s Fund) has been inspired and driven by the potential that is inherent in all children; the potential not only to survive but also to thrive, to become leaders who bring positive change for those around them.

We help deprived, excluded and vulnerable children around the world and in the United States to improve their capacity to improve their lives and have the opportunity to become young adults, parents and leaders who bring lasting and positive change to their communities.

We believe that change must be child-centered. Our distinctive approach focuses on working with children throughout their journey from birth to young adulthood, as well as with families, local organizations and communities globally to create environments children need to thrive.

Our work would not be possible without the generosity of our child sponsors and donors, and we are most grateful for their support.

Social Media

We have used social media extensively as part of our rebranding effort that began last July. In changing our organization’s name to ChildFund International (to align with the ChildFund Alliance), we have found social media to be an important tool to communicate the name change, build the ChildFund brand and also engage more interactively with our supporters.

In July, we launched a Twitter campaign. For every 200 followers we attracted on Twitter, an anonymous donor would provide a gift to country in which ChildFund worked. For example, one gift was a goat to a family in The Gambia. We shot video of the goat’s arrival and shared that back through Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. We gained 2,200 followers in the two-week campaign, resulting in 11 gifts to vulnerable children.

We also ran a Twitter event this fall. In conjunction with the 20th anniversary of the Convention of the Rights of the Child on Nov. 20, we invited Twitter followers to tweet on a right they believed children should have for healthy development. After a set time, we voted on the top 5 tweets and put those back out on Twitter for a bit of competitive retweeting. We’re about to announce the top 2 tweets (as based on the number of retweets). Those two individuals are receiving a coffee table book with photographs of children around the world.


More From ChildFund







Donation Link

Gift Catalog

Read More Stories From Small Nonprofits

Digital Conversations Need New Talents To Talk To People


Cocktail My friend Caryl is getting started in social media. It's fair to say that Caryl is not a digital native but I felt for certain she'd feel right at home in the world of online conversations. She is one of the friendliest women I know. She's funny and smart and the first person to make a new comer in the group feel comfortable. She has the talent of talking to people.

I was surprised when she mentioned she hadn't dropped into her LinkedIn page since we set it up 4 months ago. Her reason was simple - she didn't feel comfortable. "How could that be?" I thought. Caryl is a People Person with cap Ps. Social media = people.

As we talked I found a few reasons why it wasn't as simple as dropping into a Chamber networking event for her.

Caryl's 4 Big LinkedIn Questions

1. How do you engage and determine interest without physical or tonality cues?

2. How do you jump into the conversation when you don't know the people?

3. How do you enter the conversation without being invited?

4. How do you know when to continue the discussion when there is no feedback from the group?

8 Ideas On How To Join A LinkedIn Conversation

1. Read the post and any subsequent comments before jumping into the the discussion.

2. Review the profile's of the people interacting on the thread. You may find some ideas of how to frame your remarks that add specific ideas for your group members.

  • 3. Remember the culture of (most) social networks is not based on who you know but what you share.

4. Remarks are welcomed that take the conversation into areas where new ideas are explore and even when the status quo is debated.

5. Realize that although your input may be considered valuable people may not comment back. Don't take it personally.

6. Returning often to the group will help people know you better, you them and increase your comfort level networking in the social web.

7. Results often lead to "off LinkedIn" conversations where you can continue to build relationships in more depth.

8. Respect the people in your group by keeping your comments on topic *no spammy or overt selling in this world.

What advise would you give Caryl to help her feel more comfortable using LinkedIn and social networks?

note: thanks to jbrotherlove for the edit love.

Stories From Smaller Nonprofits: Georgia Canines for Independence


Stars Through out December, Diva Marketing is showcasing the stories of smaller nonprofits. It's a small way to give back to others who give so much. It's my wish that together we can help raise their visibility, perhaps find a new volunteer or even encourage a donation or two. Because as Laura King Edwards, Taylor's Tale, says, "Nothing should stand in the way of a dream."  Also the nonprofits that are using social media have agreed to share their strategies.

The Georgia Canines for Independence Story

Ramona fa cannines information Story by Ramona Nichols, founder and Executive Director of GCI. My mother and sister have epilepsy, and I experienced through their eyes the stress and isolation that disability may create for every family member. My animals provided a support system of unconditional love, which helped the family deal with the physical, emotional, and social effects of epilepsy.

After studying animal behavior at the University of Georgia, I dedicated my life to training dogs to improve the quality of life of people with disabilities. Photo: Ramona with canines Mary Kate and Ashley

Georgia Canines for Independence is a 501-c-3 nonprofit. Donations are tax-deductible. Georgia Canines for Independence (GCI) provides trained assistance dogs for children and adults with physical disabilities and other special needs. GCI is an all volunteer organization.

Each service dog learns 90 commands and performs skills such as opening/closing doors, turning lights on/off, retrieving dropped or needed items, and pulling wheelchairs. After completing 2 years of training, each canine partner is given away at absolutely no cost to someone in need. GCI also provides a lifetime of instructional support for each service dog team.

Service dogs increase independence. Many of our service dog recipients have gained employment or been able to attend college as a direct result of having a dog to assist them with daily living activities. Assistance dogs also increase self-esteem and social interactions and decrease stress and loneliness. Many service dog owners have also reported improvements in physical health and a reduction in the number of doctors' visits leading to decreased healthcare costs.

Because GCI does NOT charge for its services, our programs are made possible by community support. Insurance does not cover animal therapy or service dogs.

Social Media

GCI has a donation page on Facebook, several videos on YouTube that demonstrate how these amazing dogs help "their people" in daily living, a MySpace page and of course a presence on Twitter.

Logo ga canine More About Georgia Canines for Independence





GCI WebSite

Donation Link

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