SEO and Social Media for Non-Profits

seo and social media for non-profits

This year, I’ve been fortunate to be involved with a non-profit organization here in Atlanta, called Vision Rehabilitation Services of Georgia.  My wife is a member of their staff and I have volunteered to help with promote their upcoming fundraising event via SEO and Social Media.  It’s been a great learning experience and I am proud of the results that have been produced so far.

Screen shot from Google Analytics showing improvment

Thankfully, my wife is often my sounding board and she will be the first person to remind me I am talking over people’s heads.  I love technology and all things internet related. Once I get excited about something, I tend to take off or (incorrectly) assume everyone knows what I’m talking about.

consider your audience

Alas, such is not the case.  The good people at VRS are not technical in nature and I’ve done everything from explaining what Twitter is to how to edit the title of a page in HTML.  They certainly haven’t had much exposure to SEO and Social Media. This, I have found, is great since it helps me stay grounded, slow down, take a breath, and really make a difference in helping achieve results.


I have found that I learn best when I have a goal in hand and the can put whatever I’m doing to practice.  This is how I learn and improve.


I’m no stranger to Social Media and I consider myself more of a rabid enthusiast as opposed to an expert. I was already somewhat familiar with SEO and the over all concepts, but putting it all together for a good cause really helped me grow and be effective.


I’ve bought books, signed up for mailing lists, practiced and experimented.

Rinse, Lather, Repeat for success!

(If you read Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Outliers, you know about opportunity and experience so I think that’s very apropos in this case.)

Malcolm Gladwell's book, Outliers

finishing touches

I’ve been using an example to illustrate how I feel. The example I’ve been using is that the Internet is a car; I know how to work on the engine, transmission and brakes, and with what I’m learning now I’m learning how to put on the custom, hand-painted pin striping.

I’m not going to go into specifically into SEO or Social Media tips for non-profits because that stuff is already plastered all over the web and can be found in books, but I have really enjoyed my experience and am glad I’m helping a great cause.


But is has become clear to me that you have to use both, or that is to say, you should use bothThe sum is greater than the parts and with the various tools available, you can see the results, (whether positive or negative) pretty quickly.


I guess the one piece of advice I can give, is to have a goal.  Whether it is something like “getting people to sign up for the fundraiser,” or “move up in search engine results,” or simply create awareness, you got to have identified what you are trying to do.   SEO and Social Media just for the heck of it, will not work.


Oh, and if you are interested in helping our cause and seeing how SEO and Social Media can help a non-profit, check out the Spooktacular Chase, 5k Race in Symrna GA.


I’d love to hear any suggestions or questions you have.





cycles of improvements

A good friend of mine shared something with me that was really cool.  Surely, you’ve heard to TED Talks. In case you didn’t here’s a brief description:

TED is a small nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. Since then its scope has become ever broader. Along with two annual conferences — the TED Conference in Long Beach and Palm Springs each spring, and the TEDGlobal conference in Edinburgh UK each summer — TED includes the award-winning TEDTalks video site, the Open Translation Project and Open TV Project, the inspiring TED Fellows and TEDx programs, and the annual TED Prize.

And that’s taken right from their website.

I honestly don’t watch enough of them.  Some of videos I seen are “knock-yer-socks-off” type of good.  Most everything I’ve seen so far has been really inspiration.

So, my friend shared with me, TED Curator Chris Anderson on Crowd Accelerated Innovation, which was featured in Wired. I’ll embed the accompanying video here. I think both the article and the video have profound impact. Anderson’s video focuses on videos, but I feel the same sentiment can be applied towards Twitter and Facebook, and other social media outlets.

What I find interesting, is the concept of people who have passion and are self-taught, can raise the bar on those classically trained.

Innovation is hard work; it based on 100’s of hours of research, practice… abscense of desire… it’s not going to happen…

– Chris Anderson

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… to the cloud!!!

… to sound cliche.


So, my precious VMWare node, running on an old Dell 1850 died a couple weeks ago. I lost a drive. I had it set up with RAID0.  Yes, I’ll admit I was over confident. I was surprised how quickly that drive died, but I lost everything. I lost years of work: my SVN repositories, my Asterisk configs, my DNS records, the list goes on.

A good friend of mine said, “It’s time to go to the Cloud; It’s awesome.

He was right. In recent months, I’ve relied heavily on DropBox and more recently on, and even more recently on Microsoft’s Skydrive, but what was I going to do with my other services?

… back in my day…

It’s been so many years since I’ve run a server in my basement. Even before my kids were born.  I was one of the first people to get aDSL in Atlanta: this was when the phone company still did a truck roll to their customer’s house.  I ran a FreeBSD box, (I think 4.5), that did PPPoE with a really old 10Mbit switch.  Ever since then, I had a box in the basement doing things.  I used to run mail servers, web servers, media servers, network drive, internal DNS, and even an Asterisk PBX.

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inconceivable, yes… impossible, no.

please stop the voices

I’ve posted before about innovation and creativity.  Recent events have brought this back into my daily thoughts and how I continue to try and define myself.  Those are mere details that I don’t want to get into, however I do have some things to share.

you’re not helping

On Twitter, someone tweeted about this incredible post (apologies to you; I can’t find the original tweet):

The Makers of Things

In the late 1800s, the Brooklyn Bridge was built with no power tools, no heavy machinery, and only a basic, evolving understanding of how to make steel. It’s not these facts, but the stories surrounding the facts that inspire me when I take a good, long stare at a suspension bridge. But first…

Rands has quite a following.  I had not seen his blog before but you can bet I’ll be following it.   To me, the message is that despite the impossible, don’t stop trying.  Sure, I over simplified it, but that’s okay.  It’s such a great post, any summation I do would not do the post justice.  Just go read it.


However, it does help slam some things I’ve been juggling into perspective.  I don’t have or know all the answers, but I am not afraid to try new things and take some lumps, (or teeth marks on my skull) for something I believe in.  Change is scary.  New ideas can seem silly.  The wrong motivation can really crush the spirit.

In preparation of this post, I was trying to come up with a catchy title so I looked up innovation in the thesaurus:

Main Entry: innovation
Part of Speech: noun
Definition: change, novelty
Synonyms: addition, alteration, contraption, cutting edge*, departure, deviation, introduction, last word*, latest thing*, leading edge*, modernism, modernization, modification, mutation, newness, notion, permutation, shift, variation, vicissitude, wrinkle*
Antonyms: custom, habit, old, old hat, rut, tradition

Naturally, the synonyms are all familiar to me, but what was interesting was seeing them in this context.  The synonyms that speak to me are:

  • addition
  • alteration
  • departure
  • deviation
  • introduction
  • leading edge
  • modernism
  • modernization
  • modification
  • mutation
  • newness
  • shift


The element that all these words have in common, is “change.”  Could the essential nugget of wisdom of innovation boil down to one thing?  Change?  Yeah, I think it does.

I’m conflicted.  I like to think of myself as an “Agent of Change” but I sure feel like a jerk saying that.   And there are probably people out there who think I’m a jerk for saying it, but the truth is, I do like change.

what about the risk?

But what about risk?  I’m not afraid of the risk of a change or a new idea, what I am shy about, is the risk of exposing myself.  For the most part, I feel like I am confident in who I am, but it’s one thing to pitch my ideas to higher ups or more experienced people in my arena.  It’s a personal risk, for sure, but also it’s pulling back the kimono a bit, right?  It’s exposing myself to someone who could squash my spirit or worse.  So it is risk? Or fear? Or both?

What holds me back?  What holds you back?

Alright, I feel like I am rambling a bit.  I think I went down the rabbit hole.  Anyways, where was I…

Back to innovation.  Whatever word you pick to use to describe it, I’m okay.