As the second of our series profiling the best engaged not-for-profits, I recently had a chance to sit down with Laura Kimball (@lamiki), director of communications and digital media for relative newcomer, but strongly  buzzed about, foundation Seattle-based Jolkona (@jolkona)  and talk about how they’ve  rooted donor and fan digital engagement, particularly among young professionals, into their DNA. This is the second of two posts.

6) We know that many not-for-profits struggle with staying up with the speed of change and the need to resource dialogue in the social/digital/community space, how does Jolkona do it?

Thankfully, we have  a bank of volunteers and interns. In fact, I first joined as a volunteer and a year later it groomed into the role I have today. We have a combination of 11 people and a smattering of volunteers who get involved in the digital/social side of things – 2-3 of us are involved in building community and 8 of us are responsible for content.

It’s great that our efforts are being noticed in far away places. in fact, the UN has looked to what we’re doing online as the basis for some of the work they’re doing.

7) There are literally hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of not-for-profits around the world, how do you effectively get the word out?

We tend to use three vehicles – partnered events, blogger outreach and social media. With Twitter, we have taken a conversational approach – building perception, answering questions and providing live coverage of our events.  Given our audience, we use Facebook in a much more targeted way and use it to support our campaigns.We also have a Youtube channel for our most engaged fans.

8) You mentioned campaigns – how have you used them to create awareness and interest in Jolkona?

Excitment and fundraising are key offshoots of our campaigns. We’ve had a lot of great success here. We host about one per quarter.  Two of our more successful ones have been the “12 Days of Giving” and “Give to Girls” campaigns.

The 12 Days of Giving had twelve members of our team build  videos to support their favorite campaigns and ask people to donate. It was a discovery to see how personal connections turned into a broader and deeper sense of knowing who worked at Jolkona and people became more intimate with both our people and their individual causes.

The Give to Girls campaign was held in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of International Women’s day and was our top fundraiser yet. here is the set of impacts that were created by it and we’re sure to run it again.

Increasing, we are tapping the strength of partners to help lift off these campaigns with plans for a “Give Big” campaign with the Seattle Foundation and an Invest in Women program with GroupOn.

9) We love to identify smart tools that causes are using to become more effective and efficient on the social web, any special ones we might not have heard about?

One we like is Row Feeder, it’s built by a local company Simply Measured. It’d able to do a comprehensive search of terms/hashtags/partners from Twitter and Facebook and produce reports over a certain time frame. Great “at your fingertips” insight from our campaigns.

10) Given your role, what are the three things you measures yourself against?

Beyond our natural first measure “level of donations from our activity and campaigns”, we also like to track “who is engaging us” as we like it when we are building exposure externally beyond our core audience. We also regularly do a qualitative assessment of what went well and didn’t go well.

11) What does the future hold for Jolkona?

We have the frequency of campaigns ramping up. Our GroupOn and Seattle Foundation effort happening this week is one example where local businesses and GroupOn members get involved with donating money to grassroots women leaders around the world in support of doing a 10 week fellowship together in Seattle. As we continue to get more exposure, we’re also interested in broadening and formalizing our brand ambassador program.

12) Why do you love what you do?

I’ve always been interested in building community and writing. It’s the people and communications person in me. The fact that I can apply these skills by building a real living, breathing and talking and participating community  that goes beyond social and gets people to help others is even better.

Read more:

The 1st post in this series

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