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Event Recap: Social Media for Nonprofits Conference 2015

On March 19th ConnectVA packed the house with over 180 nonprofit professionals at WCVE Community Ideas Station for a day full of learning, sharing, networking and fun at the Social Media for Nonprofits Conference 2015, “Mobile Technology for Social Good” with featured presenter, Heather Mansfield of Nonprofit Tech for Good.

Jeanine Guidry of Arts in the Alley got things started by providing a pre-conference Social Media Refresher Clinic. This session was optional and helped set the stage for attendees to get up-to-speed with a solid foundation in the big social media platforms, their most recent changes and the major ways that they are used.  See her presentation here.

The day kicked off with Curtis Monk, who warmly welcomed conference attendees to the Community Idea Stations | WCVE studio while Liz Lungut, the Manager of ConnectVA announced the upcoming launch of ConnectVA 2.0, and Caryn Stein and Helene Kahn, with Network for Good – our Signature Sponsors for the Conference shared the awesome mobile and fundraising solutions they have available for nonprofits.

The conference featured 4 expert-led breakout sessions including:

Communication Insights from Audience Behavior – Dean Browell, The Feedback Agency gave attendees a deep-dive into the connection between your audiences’ online and offline behavior to guide your communication strategy.

See his presentation here

Leveraging Social Media Champions – Sarah Milston, The Spark Mill, led participants in an interactive discussion on how to tap into the power of your nonprofit’s network by leveraging your closest supporters – your board, volunteers and staff to create social media champions for your cause or campaign. 

See her presentation here.

Creating Compelling Content – Jonah Holland, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden gave fantastic best practices for making your communications content more compelling, shareable and interactive – from blogging, to story-telling, to visual tools, to creative contests and more! 

See her presentation here.

Juggling Social Media – Molly Szkotak, Ledbury & Lianna Woods, Tumblr taught participants how to make the most of their precious time on social media platforms with insight into productivity and strategy decision-making tools.

During lunch Heather Mansfield, founder of Nonprofit Tech for Good gave a keynote on “Mobile for Good – A Brief History of Nonprofit Technology” where she explained the impact that technology has made on nonprofit online communication and fundraising.  She urged attendees to use a mobile-first approach in this work, and sited that less than 10% of organizations in the room currently have a mobile optimized website!

See her keynote presentation here.

After lunch, attendees enjoyed a technology and communication vendor fair with an opportunity for hands-on learning from local and international businesses, which provide much-needed services to the social sector,  Vendors included Network for Good, Networking Technologies + Support, Story Collaborative, PlantsMap.com, The Spark Mill, and the Feedback Agency.

Folks also had fun taking pictures at our “Selfie Table”, showing pride for their nonprofit, posing with Big Bird and using our event hashtag #SMC4NP.

There was even so much social media sharing, that the internet went down at one point!

Another highlight of the day came when Local Media Personalities and PR gurus took the stage for a panel presentation on “Engaging the Media to Promote Your Cause” and included Scott Wise, CBS6; Cameron McPherson, The Hodges Partnership; Lisa Schaffner, UNOS & formerly WRIC-TV; Ross Catrow, RVA News and Judi Crenshaw, VCEE (moderator).

Attendees left with a sense of hope that their stories can be heard, it’s all in the manner of approach; the most important way to be recognized is to build personal relationships with the media and craft stories that are person and story-centric.

 See their panel presentation here.

Heather Mansfield rounded off a fantastic day with an Afternoon Workshop – The Math & Science of Social Media – 10 Tips for Nonprofits – an eye-opening, no nonsense presentation packed with statistics, data and science to demonstrate exactly how you should be monitoring your organization’s presence online, making adjustments and distributing content to maximize engagement and increase fundraising online.

See her Afternoon Workshop here.

A BIG thank you to the attendees for spending the day with us to learn, share and have fun!  This day would not have been possible if it weren’t for our fantastic volunteers, our photographer Kim Lee Schmidt from Kim Lee Photography, our vendors, our Signature Sponsor Network for Good, our lunch Sponsor SunTrust, our Breakfast Sponsor Networking Technologies + Support, and of course, our INCREDIBLE presenters, panelists and moderators who so graciously donated their time and talent.

See more pictures on our Facebook page – all credits go to Kim Lee Photography!

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