Sproutlets: Speak Softly and Pack a Wallop

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Curating content alton brown

Curating content on Facebook should be a huge part of your content strategy.

Content is at Facebook’s core. In the past content has served a somewhat singular purpose, inform or entertain readers with the intent to convert them to fans and supporters. In other words, your content is a unitasker.

At ActionSprout, we don’t tolerate unitaskers.

With a Sproutlet you can add an action to nearly any article, blog post, or web page in seconds. Easily poll your readers. Quickly collect signatures. Newsjack the latest trending topics in less time than it take to order a latte. Newsjacking has never been faster. Your content is now working for you, collecting data, engaging your base, and increasing your reach. Basically, Sproutlets transform your content into a multitasker.

Why use Sproutlets?

They are Super Easy, Super Fast

Sproutlets are designed to be the easiest and fastest way to add an action. On the most basic level, you only need to copy and paste a URL, click “save and continue”, on the next page, you’ll click “share and post”.

That’s it.

Curating content sproutlet

Once posted, the Sproutlet appears at the footer of the page you added it to. From there, a user can weigh in on and share the topic with a single click.

Curating content in the wild

Powerful Newsjacking

This is not a new idea. PR firms have been newsjacking for decades. Now, with a 24-hour news cycle, it’s more important than ever to be responsive and fast.

When a news event aligns with your mission or a topic that might engage your audience emerges, turn it into a Sproutlet. You are riding the wave, taking advantage of the attention to the topic and compelling your supporters to act by engaging them in a conversation.

Keep Your Traffic

When a user clicks on an article you share they are taken away from Facebook and away from you. This creates a barrier for them to return. Once they have left, that’s it, they are gone until next time. A Sproutlet keeps the user engaged with you and your cause. When using Sproutlets, they never leave your side on their journey through your news feed.

Curating content traffic

No Time to Compose a Post?

Your content strategy should be an 80/20 mixture of curated and original content. Sproutlets make the curated 80% that much more powerful. Unlike a normal ActionSprout Action, there is no need to gussy up titles and descriptions. Just paste the link, decide on buttons, or leave the defaults, and go.

Sproutlet or Traditional Action

There are some key differences between Sproutlets and Traditional ActionSprout Actions actions.

1.) The action title, image and description only appear on Facebook. Unlike normal actions, your title, image, and description are only seen in the Facebook News Feed. Once a supporter clicks on your link, they will see your call to action and action button(s).

Curating content on facebook

2.) You cannot ask for additional data. When creating a typical ActionSprout Action you can pop into your data tab and chose what additional data you’d like to collect. This feature is not available when creating a Sproutlet.

Curating content

3.) You cannot ask for or collect donations with Sproutlets.

4.) Sproutlets do not support Facebook comments.

5.) Sproutlets cannot be your default action.

Pro tip

Make your message short, impactful, and keep the button simple. Sproutlets are all about being fast, impactful, and pointed. The easier you make it for supporters to participate, the more they will participate.

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Cecil The Lion: Daily Kos Wins with Trending Story

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justice for cecil the lion

Engage Supporters, Spread Your Cause and Grow Your Email List with Trending Content

Updated July 30th, 20015 11:30am PST 

On July 28th the story of Cecil the Lion started to trend on social media. It wasn’t long before the hash tag #CecilTheLion had topped the list on Twitter trends.

In case you missed the story, Cecil was a protected lion killed for sport by a now hated American dentist, Dr. Walter Palmer, who is believed to have paid about $55,000 for the privilege. Cecil the lion was one of the most beloved and famous animals in Zimbabwe’s national parks.

Quickly Dr. Palmer was wanted by Zimbabwe officials and became the most hated man on the internet. The people were demanding justice.

Daily Kos saw the story and quickly spun up an ActionSprout call to action demanding the justice supporters so desperately desired.

The results were amazing. 

Within five hours of posting the action on Facebook they were nearing 16,000 actions completed.

When the dust settled two days later Daily Kos had earned over 70,000 signatures.

Screen Shot 2015-07-30 at 11.29.02 AM

Daily Kos’ Engagement rates were through the roof!

  • 41% of viewers completed the action
  • 90% of folks who engaged with the post (liked, commented or shared) went on to complete it
  • 6.2% of all impressions lead to action completions
  • 63.5% of their reach was viral

At one point, 857 people were on at once signing the petition!

cecil GA


What made this action about Cecil the Lion so successful?

  1. It was based on a trending topic. Trending topics and breaking news always perform well as actions. It’s a good idea to keep your eye open for stories that apply to your cause.
  2. It was a trending topic people were passionate about. Passionate is an understatement when it comes to Cecil the lion. A group of supporters on Twitter were asking for blood at one point. People were fired up about Cecil.
  3. Daily Kos used a mobile optimized action. Daily Kos used a mobile optimized action. As you can see the majority of action takers were doing so from a mobile device. More and more supporters are accessing Facebook content and petitions from their mobile devices.

What does this mean at the end of the day?

You may be thinking “Sure this is interesting, but how can this help my nonprofit?”

When supporters completed Daily Kos’s action they opted into their mailing list. In five hours time Daily Kos had added almost 20,000 supporter email address to their mailing list. These supporters knowingly opted into their mailing list in support of Cecil and Daily Kos at large.

So what could a trending action do for your nonprofit? A lot- potentially thousands of new email address.

Want to take advantage of trending actions for your cause? Learn more about ActionSprout and get started for free. 

Need more social mojo?

Reach more supporters, cultivate donors, and increase Facebook engagement with ActionSprout today.

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Cast a Wider Net With Advertising

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Increase the reach of your best-performing actions & seamlessly integrate new supporters

Paid email acquisition can be an excellent strategy to grow your base of donors and supporters—and when done right, it can pay for itself. In the last couple years, more and more organizations are finding that paid Facebook email growth can be the lowest cost and highest return option. And if you are able to develop a budget for email acquisition, no matter how small, you can easily try this method for yourself.

Keep the following six points in mind as you begin to use Facebook advertising to promote your best actions.

Pay only to promote the best

Before diving into the rest, you’ll want to follow this first simple rule: only pay for your highest-performing content. It’s simple enough, but it has a huge impact on success. Whether using “boosted posts” or creating new ads, make sure to only put real money behind content that would naturally get high performance with your audience. If you can, use your Facebook Page to organically test posts to see which one would do the best. By spending money on only high-performing content, you’ll ensure the lowest-cost ads and the highest sign-ups.


Effective ads mean effective targeting

If you are going to pay to promote actions, you want to be sure to only promote to the right people—people who are not already on your list and who look like your supporters. And fortunately, Facebook can make sure you do just that.

3 goals every Facebook Manager should track

There are two basic types of audiences that you can start with for targeting:

Custom Audiences: Allows you to upload your entire email list. This can have a match rate between 30% and 70%, reducing how many of your current supporters see your paid ads.

Lookalike Audiences: Allows you to take the email list you uploaded via custom audience and create a lookalike audience to use to target new supporters that look like your current supporters. You can also target people who visit your website using a remarketing pixel and create a lookalike audience of this group as well.

But just know that targeting can be as much art as science and you want to tweak and experiment as you go. There’s a whole host of other creative ways to target your ads. You can target people by demographics such as age, gender, political affiliation, or by behaviors such as charitable giving. One of the more powerful targeting tools is “interests”, which targets people who like specific pages, allowing you to connect with people who like pages similar to your own.

Choose the right kind of ad

Once your targeting groups are all set, consider what type of ad you want to run. Generally speaking, ads fall into the following categories:

CPC/PPC: This method is the easiest to control. It’s exactly like the Pay-Per-Click advertising that’s been around a long time via Google. If someone clicks on your ad, then boom—you’re going to pay the price you bid.

CPM/PPM: Instead of clicks, you pay a certain amount for 1,000 impressions or views. Do keep in mind that CPM ads never sleep and can run around the clock, so your costs could get out of control if you’re not careful.

CPA: This is where you pay for specific actions: Page likes, app installs, clicking links, etc.

When considering what type of ad you want to run on Facebook, there are two important points to keep in mind: objective and optimization.

There are a few different types of objectives to choose from as you are creating your ad:

  • Clicks to site
  • Web conversions
  • Page post engagement

And within each of these objectives, you can optimize for different outcomes:

  • Post engagement
  • Daily unique reach
  • Impressions
  • Clicks
  • Web conversions

There’s no magic formula here and objectives and optimization will vary depending on your ad goals. However, many organizations are finding success for email growth using ads with an objective of page post engagement optimized for post engagement. It’s an easy place to start as it allows you to focus on only promoting the posts that are getting great initial organic traction. Another popular type is web conversion ads so consider giving that a try too.

As you work more with your organization’s Facebook ads, you’ll learn what combination of objectives and optimizations work best for your organization.

Creating a budget

Aim to pay just $10–$20 and watch what happens before spending more. If thing are going well, increase the ad spend over time. If your bid starts too high, it could increase the overall cost of your ad buy! Keep in mind that as you ramp up, you might increase the cost in the long run.


At this point, it’s important to know what you are willing to pay. Whatever tactics you use for recruiting Facebook supporters to your email program and beyond, make sure that you’re measuring it every step of the way. You’ll want to track cost and outcomes, but consider tracking staff time as well. Make sure this effort is as efficient as possible and that you are getting the best returns.

Try tracking:

  • Cost/engagement
  • Cost/action taker
  • Cost/new name
  • Progress to daily budget

If you are using ActionSprout with a eCRM like Convio or NationBuilder, you can easily sync your data to find out what percentage of email addresses are new to your list in real time. Otherwise, establish a baseline of new names per action for your organization so that you can estimate cost/new name and then upload the new names once a week to verify that you are on track.

Tracking success

It’s important to track the long-term performance of Facebook-acquired names to make sure that ActionSprout list growth is the right investment for your organization. Sometimes a full Return On Investment (ROI) picture can take to 18–24 months. As you’re thinking about long-term investment, consider the following:


  • Are the acquired supporters still accepting email?
  • How many additional actions have the acquired supporters taken?
  • How many new supporters have made online/offline gifts or joined your organization?
  • After the first month, how are these names performing compared to other acquisition channels?

For more information on CCAH and ActionSprout.

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Reach more supporters, cultivate donors, and increase Facebook engagement with ActionSprout today.

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Convert Your Facebook Fans to Emails

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Once you have built an energized and engaged Facebook community for your organization, it’s time to ensure that it’s having the greatest impact on your mission possible. While social media is growing into a direct source of fundraising, email is still where most online fundraising takes place. Not only is email fundraising a reliable source of revenue, it also allows you to cultivate relationships with donors through another channel and communicate more directly with your supporters.



The key to successful email list building on Facebook is giving your Facebook community a reason to take an action that provides you with their contact information. We call this a “Call to Action”. And once you find a good action, you can use it again and again.

Picking a Good Call to Action

Be audience-centric: The most important part of creating a call to action is putting your audience first. In order to be audience-centric, you need to know your community. Each post that you send out is an opportunity to learn something about your supporters. Look for patterns and clues; what actions and issues do they engage with most readily? If you don’t have good data from Facebook, what about from email or even offline conversations? When it comes to calls to action, past performance is a great predictor of future success.

Tip: Use Facebook Insights or ActionSprout’s Timeline to look at your posts and find what’s working.

Screen Shot 2015-07-13 at 2.48.35 PM

Solvable: Your audience has to believe that taking your action will lead to some positive change. Can you express what that change is and how the action will help?

Writing Social Content

Whether you are writing for a Facebook post or the action landing page, keep these tips in mind:

Be motivational: Using a motivational format can help catalyze people to take action. Try this simple format: state the problem, share the solution and tell people how they can take action to make that solution a reality.

hang in there

Just right: You don’t want it to go too long or too short. For a post, don’t be shy about a full paragraph so long as you aren’t adding in filler. And if people are actually bothering to read the content on your landing page, it usually requires a few paragraphs to help move them to take action.

Be clear: When you ask supporters to take action, make sure it is very focused. You don’t want your supporters to have to think too hard or they will simply scroll on by. Think about your causally involved supporter and make sure that they would understand the problem and the solution.

Be consistent: Just have one simple call to action, such as signing a petition, pledging support, volunteering, etc. Copy that call to action over and over again throughout your content, so that it remains clear what you are asking people to do.

call to action example

Try putting your call to action right up front. Use language like “SIGN THIS LETTER to XYZ” or “PLEDGE NOW to XYZ”. Then, add another couple of sentences that provide color to the topic and the action you are asking people to take.

Tap into emotion: Why do you care about this action? Seriously, if you don’t care about it, why would you expect anyone else to care about it? Why do you believe that members of your community care about this issue? Try creating an evocative hook that speaks to the heart of the matter.

It’s always urgent: You only have your supporters’ attention for a few seconds. You need to find a way to convey that this action needs to be taken right away!

Tips: Set a goal, have a deadline, and talk about a growing challenge or impending decision.

Make action-takers look good: Facebook is a social space. Your action should be something that members of your community want to be seen supporting. Will taking this action make your supporters look good to their friends and family? Ask yourself what your friends would think about you if they saw that you have taken this action.

Facebook Taking Action

Have a target for your action: Having a clear and understandable target to which your action is directed makes a big difference. So is having a clear and specific goal for what you are asking that person to do, e.g. keeping open a children’s hospital, saving a local park, passing legislation, etc.

3 goals every Facebook Manager should track

The Right Image

Picking the photo: Make sure that the image is powerful and attention-grabbing, but also relates directly to your action. Think of the image as a shorthand for your action. Will people understand the theme just by looking at your image? Will it catch their attention? And you can use free images from sources like Creative Commons if you don’t have the budget—just make sure to follow their citation requirements.

Screen Shot 2015-07-13 at 3.08.47 PM

Be consistent: Your image should be the same for both the post and the ActionSprout landing page.

Optimize for a link post: This is a biggie. Facebook’s link post format for images is optimal because when clicked, it will take your supporters directly to the landing page. Make sure that the image is 1200×627.

Make the text count: If you have the ability, add your call to action to the image. Free tools like PicMonkey are great for this. If you decide to run ads as well, keep the text to no more than 20% of the image.

Power Tips

Be transparent: People care about the data, so it’s good to have a very clear privacy policy. Explain exactly how you’ll be using the data. Even something as simple as this can do the trick: “XX organization may send you periodic updates; you can unsubscribe at any time.”

Screen Shot 2015-07-13 at 3.06.31 PM

Repost the best: The best actions deserve to go out again and again. Since only a small portion of your supporters will see any given post, make sure to keep reusing the best. When you find an action that is working well, use it until it stops working.

Create many actions: Some actions will do great and some will bomb—that’s just how it is on social. But the more you create, the more chance you’ll have to get a viral hit. Some organizations create at least one new action a day—if that’s more than you can do, shoot for two a week.

For more information on CCAH and ActionSprout.

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Reach more supporters, cultivate donors, and increase Facebook engagement with ActionSprout today.

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How to Effectively Onboard New Supporters

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Welcome Them Home

You have great new names… now what?

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be new to your organization? You sign a pledge or petition, offer to volunteer, maybe rsvp at an event and all of sudden, you are receiving a stream of information in your inbox. If you want that transition to be welcoming and not bewildering, try creating a thoughtful on-boarding program with a welcome series.


A welcome series allows you to:

  • Effectively engage with and inform new supporters, action takers, donors and members
  • Build early affinity with your organization
  • Prime your audience for more online communication
  • Secure early, additional online actions and gifts

When building a series, try creating conditional content to tailor welcome emails to different audiences such as brand new supporters vs. donors or members vs. action takers.

Now let’s address the issue of timing. There is some variety out there, but typically a welcome series should consist of three emails spanning 10 days. The first message should arrive within 24 hours of the constituent’s addition to your email list. The following two messages then follow, spaced about 3–5 days apart.

During the 10-day period, the constituents receiving the welcome series should be excluded from all other emails from your organization.

What should these messages look like? Let’s take a look.

Message 0: Auto-responder Email when a New Email is Added

This is the “receipt” that email supporters receive when they complete an “action” via ActionSprout or other tools. Other actions could be completing an email subscription form, a survey, an action alert, a donation form or any other form of engagement.


Try including a line in your autoresponder telling recipients that they are now subscribed to your emails and can look forward to receiving more soon. This is also a great place to include information about how supporters should get more involved online (social media, blog posts, etc.) and offline (volunteering, events, etc.). These auto-responders serve as the perfect primer for the welcome series to come.

Message 1: Welcome and Survey

For the first message in the welcome series, try a brief survey with questions designed to engage new constituents right away as well as build some early affinity with your organization. The purpose of the survey questions is to get new constituents to interact and engage with your mission and goals. This message can be tailored to the subscriber’s status recognizing action taker, member, or donor status. Make sure to keep it simple!


Message 2: Evergreen Action

For the second message in the welcome series, try an action alert email featuring a strong evergreen action. Evergreen actions are actions that will be relevant for a long period of time so you don’t have to keep changing it. This action should give new constituents a window into your organization’s advocacy work and an opportunity to take an action (or another action) early.


Message 3: Donate or Join Ask

For the last message in the welcome series, it’s best to include an evergreen fundraising appeal for members and a membership ask for non-members. The purpose of this message is not necessarily getting people to give to this email or become a member right from this email (although that will happen now and again), but instead getting supporters primed to make future gifts and membership contributions online. Tests have shown that asking for financial support early can lead to increased donations later.

donation jar

Automatic Sends

The most effective way to make sure that your welcome series emails are always going out is to set them up automatically to send. Many tools like Salsa, Convio and Nationbuilder allow this.

Note for Convio users: To do this effectively, you will need to create the following groups in Convio:


Exclude group to be added to all emails that go out from your organization: to exclude users who are in the welcome series from other communications until they are out of the welcome series:

(System Creation Time falls on or after 14 day or days prior to today AND System Creation Time falls on or before 0 day or days prior to today) AND Accept Email equals true AND Email Status not equal to Bad (Hard Bounce)

Send groups for message 1,2,3 (groups to rebuild on send)

For Message 1: (System Creation Time falls on or after 3 day or days prior to today AND System Creation Time falls on or before 0 day or days prior to today) AND Accept Email equals true AND Email Status not equal to Bad (Hard Bounce)

For Message 2: (System Creation Time falls on or after 7 day or days prior to today AND System Creation Time falls on or before 5 day or days prior to today) AND Accept Email equals true AND Email Status not equal to Bad (Hard Bounce)

For Message 3: (System Creation Time falls on or after 12 day or days prior to today AND System Creation Time falls on or before 9 day or days prior to today) AND Accept Email equals true AND Email Status not equal to Bad (Hard Bounce)

Groups of all action takers, ActionSprout names, members, non-member donors, and any other distinguishing groups your organization has (set to rebuild daily at midnight)

These can just be big queries of anyone that falls in the categories that are important to your organization. These groups should rebuild daily. These will be to use for conditional content within the messages to customize the series based on supporters’ status, not as send groups.

Then, once all these queries and groups are set up and the messages are built, you’ll set them up for a recurring delivery at a chosen time (11am every day is a good place to start), and the messages will roll out and welcome your supporters automatically!

For more information on CCAH and ActionSprout.

Need more social mojo?

Reach more supporters, cultivate donors, and increase Facebook engagement with ActionSprout today.

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Building an Engaged Support Base on Facebook

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Growing your Facebook Page isn’t about Fan Count. You can have 1 million+ fans, but if no one is paying attention to your posts, it’s just not that useful. Instead, focus on engagement: the cumulative likes, clicks, shares and comments that each post receives. It’s Facebook’s currency by which everything else is driven. Engaged supporters are more likely to see your posts, like your Page, share with others, and take meaningful actions like RSVPing, joining your email list and even donating. Engagement is a consistent number that you can grow overtime.

organically_grow_your nonprofit facebook page

In fact, you can use engagement as a predictor of how many people will move to take an email action promoted on any given post. If 100 people engage with your average link post, then you can expect around 10–20% to take a higher-level action promoted in a post like “sign a petition” or “take a pledge”. That translates to roughly 10–20 people taking action on your average post with a call to action. So if your goal is ultimately to grow your email list, start by growing your engagement.

Here are 7 easy-to-use tips to grow your engagement:

Do what works: Building a successful Facebook community isn’t about hacking Facebook’s algorithm; it’s about creating content that your audience wants to be seen engaging with. Look for patterns—certain issues, images, types of posts—that have worked on your own Page before, or Pages doing similar work with a similar audience. When you find content that works, do more of it!

Screen Shot 2015-07-13 at 2.48.35 PM

And finding patterns is easy. You can always check Facebook Insights to track your post performance or use free tools like ActionSprout’s visual Timeline.

It’s about being seen: People engage with content on Facebook because they want to be seen engaging with it. As a Page manager, your job is to give people content and actions that help them show their friends something about themselves. Post content and offer up actions that they can take to show their friends who they are and what they care about. Does your content make them look smart, caring and fun? These are the things they want to engage with.

Post better content:

Only a small percentage of your supporters will see any single post that you send out. We’ve been told by Facebook that as long as you post good content, you can’t over post. And we’ve seen Pages post as much as 30 times a day and thrive. You don’t have to do that, but here’s how to quickly get more great content up on your Page.

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We’re all curators now: Look for content that is doing well on Pages with similar audiences or that create content you think your audience likes. Then either share those posts on your own Page or look to them for inspiration when you set out to create new posts for your community.

If you can, focus on over performance. If something is doing really well for the Page that it’s on, if it has a similar audience, or it’s an issue you work with, it’ll probably over perform for your Page too.


  • ActionSprout Inspiration
  • Crowdtangle
  • Buzzsumo
  • Topsy
  • Facebook Trends, Lists

Follow the 80/20 rule: 80% of the content you post should have already proven itself to have some viral potential. The other 20% can be totally raw and new. But don’t be surprised when most of that fails to take off. The 80% includes posts that look like posts you’ve seen work on your Page before; reposted content that previously worked on your Page; curated content that has succeeded elsewhere; and new content that was inspired by successful posts from a similar Page.

80 20

The real heroes: Post content that celebrates your donors and supporters as heroes. Give your Facebook community ways to join you in thanking and celebrating them with you. Putting your heroes at the front can generate great engagement and also build direct relationships.

lcv after

Have a conversation: Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that your job is done when you push the “Publish” button on a great post. Creating real relationships with supporters and donors on Facebook requires real dialog. Ask questions in your posts, reply to comments, like and share comments made by your supporters, etc.

Post multiple times a day: Every organization has limited capacity, so use what time you have wisely and post at least a few times a day. The more often someone sees your content and engages with it, the better your relationship will be. To keep the volume up, don’t hesitate to repost a great piece of content from last week or share a piece of content from other Facebook Pages.

For more information on CCAH and ActionSprout.

Need more social mojo?

Reach more supporters, cultivate donors, and increase Facebook engagement with ActionSprout today.

Get Started  Learn More

Need more social mojo?

Reach more supporters, cultivate donors, and increase Facebook engagement with ActionSprout today.

Get Started  Learn More

Interview: Fight Poverty Through Social Media

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garth_moore Fight Poverty Through Social Media

Can Supporters Effectively Fight Poverty Through Social Media?

Co-founded by Bono, ONE is an international campaigning and advocacy organization of more than 6 million people taking action to end extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa. They primarily work with political leaders to combat AIDS and preventable diseases; increase investments in agriculture and nutrition; and demand greater transparency so that governments are accountable to their citizens.

They are a unique organization in that they do not raise money for their organization, but work through advocacy and campaigning to ensure that government funds continue to flow to programs that make a difference in people’s lives.

Their name was inspired by the belief that one voice, coming together with many others—the political left and right, business leaders, activists, faith leaders and students—can change the world for the better.

Recently, we had the pleasure to talk with Garth Moore, the U.S. Digital Director at ONE. We got the chance to ask him about the work of the ONE Campaign, how he uses Facebook to support his goals, and giving his supporters a voice.

Here’s what he had to say.

ActionSprout (AS): Tell us a bit about where you work. Why did you want to work with the ONE Campaign?

Garth Moore (GM): ONE is a really unique organization in that we don’t fundraise, we don’t have a direct mail list, or any of the other trappings of a lot of nonprofits. We’re a bit more nimble and can turn our attention as needed when events occur that fall within our mission to end extreme poverty. Plus, ONE is a fun brand that’s very pliable and can mean a lot of different things to different people, which opens up the way we communicate, especially on social.

Fight Poverty Through Social Media logo

(AS): It’s been said that the current generation may be one of the most passionate about change we’ve seen in a while. Does your experience support this?

(GM): Yes, we have a Campus program in the States and a Youth Ambassador program in Europe. We’ve also worked with youth in Africa. All of them are highly energetic and engaged. They’ll be the generation that will be crucial if we want to beat extreme poverty in the next 15 years.

Fight Poverty Through Social Media next gen

(AS): What do you wish other people knew about your nonprofit?

(GM): ONE is more than one person or a group of celebrities. ONE is made up of more than 6 million people globally who receive our alerts and support our mission. These supporters are who we call “members”. We’ll never ask members for money; we just ask them to use their voices, e.g. signing a petition, writing a letter, or making a call when we need to push governments and world leaders to fund programs that help end poverty.

(AS): What do you think will change about the ONE Campaign over the next five years?

(GM): We are growing with African membership and starting to attract younger demographics in North America and Europe. We hope that with this fabric of membership to have these voices talk with each other and create a network of activists that stretch across the globe.

Fight Poverty Through Social Media campaign france

(AS): How has your strategy / options about Facebook changed over time?

(GM): It’s constantly evolving as Facebook changes their algorithms. Originally, Facebook felt more like a broadcast medium. But, as our base has grown on it, so has our strategy. Facebook leads people to ONE with our great content; engages members with local event postings and comments; and gets people to take action on our issues (primarily signing petitions, but also doing other things).

(AS): What do you find most challenging about your job and the cause you support?

(GM): The economic collapse of 2008 made it tougher for governments to support poverty-fighting programs. But these programs across the world make up less than 1% of most governments’ total budgets. And most of the world’s poorest countries are still in Africa. So our challenge is trying to convince potential members that governments spend very little on programs that save lives and that with the right kind of pressure, these governments can do more to help end poverty.

(AS): Tell us a bit about your Facebook Page (What’s the audience like, what kind of content do they enjoy the most, how often do you post?)

(GM): ONE has several Facebook channels and we post to our main channel probably 4–7 times a day. Our audience is pretty responsive and we encourage them to comment, ask questions, and even push back on our content or actions. We don’t shy away from engaging directly with our members—we love it!

Fight Poverty Through Social Media facebook page

Like most organizations, our fans love listicles and photo albums! We also try to make sure to share news items with them and keep them informed on when our issues make the news. And our fans love content on girls and women programs, which is a big focus in our work this year.

(AS): How do you use social actions, from ActionSprout, compared to traditional form-based actions on your website?

(GM): We put items like petitions on both our site and in ActionSprout, then do a few promoted posts to see which ones do better.

(AS): Tell us about a successful action. Can you tell us what went into creating the Action?

(GM): Our best action, so far, has been our Poverty is Sexist petition. There will be new development goals for the world decided on this year, and we think the key to success in beating poverty starts with supporting girls and women. Our petition tells world leaders to put their issues on the forefront of the new global goals to end poverty.

We had thousands of petition signers within a day or two. Then, when we reposted the action a month later, we got even more signers. It’s our flagship petition for the year leading up to the United Nations Week in September, so we’ll run it a few more times and expect great results.

(AS): What did you learn from this success more broadly? Is there anything you do differently now?

(GM): Our actions with the broadest appeal do better. Now we want to test language and images to see what works and what will inspire people to add their name to an action that already has almost 1 million names on it.

(AS): What did you learn about your audience from this success?

(GM): We learned that a few of them take more than one action. We love these members! So, we want to get every action that will be on the site into ActionSprout and then really target our Facebook Page likers to take these actions in Facebook.

Fight Poverty Through Social Media campaign

(AS): How did you measure the success of this action? What metrics did you focus on?

(GM): We focus on the number of actions and some ROI with ads/click-through. Because we use ActionSprout mainly for our petitions, we want big numbers to help us make our case with leaders.

(AS): Do you have any advice for other nonprofits based on your learning?

(GM): Test! Test! Test! Test petition or event headlines and language. Test the same action with 3–4 images and see which one does the best. Test 2–3 promoted posts against each other to see which ones drive the most actions. You could do a test a week and in one month, have a highly optimized action and way to promote it. It’s worth carving 3–4 hours max each week to do it.


  • Broadcasting channel to community outlet. Over time, Facebook Pages have shifted from broadcast channels to places of community engagement. Fans today come to Pages with the expectation of community involvement and participation. They expect an answer to their comments and questions, and desire a connection with Page managers. It’s important to keep this frame of mind when running your Page. The more you can create and encourage this atmosphere, the more successful your Page will be.
  • Repost actions for even greater engagement. Garth states that reposting one of his most successful actions led to even more success. This is an important example that illustrates the significance of reposting: even successful actions can benefit from being reposted. We recommend reposting each action 3–4 times for maximum results. Many organizations have even enjoyed success reposting actions hundreds of times.
  • Test everything. As Garth states, one of the most powerful things you can do is test and experiment. You’ll never truly know what will lead the most people to take action for your cause unless you experiment with different angles, asks and formats. You have little to lose and much to gain in the game of testing
  • Post multiple times a day on Facebook. This gives your supporters lots of opportunities to engage with your content and mission. The more engaged they are, the more likely they are to complete your actions.

Need more social mojo?

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NARAL Interview: The Leader in Reproductive Rights

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rebecca_wall Reproductive rights

Fighting to Protect and Expand Reproductive Rights

NARAL Pro-Choice America is a powerhouse organization that Fortune Magazine once described as “one of the top 10 advocacy groups in America”. Made up of pro-choice women and men across the United States, they fight to protect and expand reproductive rights through:

  • Lobbying Congress to convince elected representatives to support the right to choose.
  • Organizing women and men to make sure that lawmakers hear from the pro-choice people they represent.
  • Connecting what happens in Congress or in the states to how it affects the ability to make private decisions, like choosing legal abortion.
  • Working with state affiliates to advance ideas that are good for women’s freedom.

Recently we had the pleasure to sit down with their Digital Media Associate, Rebecca Wall. We asked her about the challenges of her work, moving supporters to action, and the future of NARAL.

Here’s what she had to say.

ActionSprout (AS): How long have you managed social media communications and where did you get your start?

Rebecca Wall (RW): I started managing social media communications when I came to NARAL Pro-Choice America in May 2014, so for 1 year.

(AS): Tell us a bit about where you work. Why did you want to work with NARAL Pro-Choice America?

(RW): NARAL has long been a leader in the movement for reproductive freedom, and I’ve been a supporter of gender equality and the right to choose for as long as I can remember—I attended my first NARAL Pro-Choice America march when I was only 2 years old! (And here’s the photographic evidence to prove it!)

Screen Shot 2015-05-29 at 1.52.03 PM

(AS): The interest in reproduction rights seems to be growing. Why do you think that is?

(RW): This is one of our most basic, fundamental human rights: the right to decide if, how, when and with whom we have children. Anti-choice politicians have been trying to chip away at that right at exceptional rates, and people are outraged by that.

(AS): What do you wish other people knew about your nonprofit?

(RW): NARAL Pro-Choice America is an organization full of exceptional people who are dedicated to reproductive freedom and full equality in their very core. Everyone here cares a lot about not only birth control and abortion access, but also about maternal health, equal pay and social justice.

(AS): What do you think will change about NARAL over the next five years?

(RW): NARAL is in the midst of a huge culture shift, which has allowed us to be more and more open to trying new things in the online sphere in order to make it clear that 7 in 10 Americans support reproductive freedom and want politicians to quit playing doctor, which is really fun to be a part of. We try to respond to things quickly and aren’t afraid to try new things.

(AS): How has your strategy / options about Facebook changed over time?

(RW): We did a huge dive recently into what were the optimal times to post, how our audience responds to certain posts, and what performs well. As a result, we’ve been able to get to know what our audience likes and responds to, and post content that will do really well for us.

(AS): What do you find most challenging about your job and the cause you support?

(RW): I think the most challenging aspect of my job is that the content on the Internet and the potential of things you can do on social media is vast and never-ending; there’s always so much more to explore! As far as the cause: when I first started, I found the anti-choice comments to be a little challenging; nothing can prepare you for the extreme, horrible things that anti-choice activists say about women.

(AS): Tell us a bit about your Facebook Page (What’s the audience like, what kind of content do they enjoy the most, how often do you post?)

Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 2.22.56 PM

(RW): Our Facebook audience is super involved and passionate about our issue, which is amazing! They love links to articles, and we try to post between 4–6 times per day during the week; 3–4 on weekends.

(AS): How do you use social actions, from ActionSprout, compared to traditional form-based actions on your website?

(RW): We use ActionSprout for all our petitions on Facebook, and it’s really upped our number of action-takers that we get from social media overall.

(AS): Tell us about a successful action. Can you tell us what went into creating the Action?

(RW): One of our most successful actions came from this past month, when the House of Representatives passed a 20-week abortion ban. We really capitalized on the anger and outrage that so many were feeling about what was happening.

(AS): What did you learn from this success more broadly? Is there anything you do differently now?

(RW): Broadly speaking, we discovered that sometimes, it’s the most simple and basic appeals that have the most impact.

(AS): What did you learn about your audience from this success?

(RW): We learned that when it comes to these basic human rights, people are ready to do whatever it takes to protect them.

(AS): How did you measure the success of this action? What metrics did you focus on?

(RW): We focused primarily on the number of action-takers we had and the engagement on the Facebook post itself.

(AS): Do you have any advice for other nonprofits based on your learning?

(RW): Don’t be afraid to try something new! You never know when it might work out in your favor.

Key Takeaways:

Dive into the data! Take a deep dive into your Facebook Insights and learn what’s working for your audience. What types of content gets them engaged? What are the best times to post? The answers to questions like this will allow you to greatly engage with and reach your supporters.

facebook insights reproductive rights

Don’t be afraid to post. Rebecca states that she posts 4–6 times a day and 3–4 times a day on weekends. Depending on your Page, that may seem like a lot. Believe us, it’s not. Each time you post, you’re only reaching a portion of your audience. Posting often and consistently enables you to reach and engage more of your supporters.

Act quickly. Timely stories and news tends to perform the best, regardless of Page or audience. The hard part is catching trends as they are rising. Keeping your eyes and ears open, and being in the practice of being ready will pay serious dividends in reach and engagement.

Need more social mojo?

Reach more supporters, cultivate donors, and increase Facebook engagement with ActionSprout today.

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Interview: Policy Reform Through Social Media

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alex_shashlo Policy Reform Through Social Media

How the Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform Influences Policy Reform Through Social Media

Since 2011, the Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform (CCPR) has organized, energized, and empowered people to stand up and advocate for reform in cannabis policy. They work with the public and legislators, developing responsible solutions through legislative collaboration, public education, and ballot initiative campaigns.

Alex Shashlo, from Joe Trippi & Associates, currently advises CCPR on their social media strategy and campaigns. We recently had the chance to sit down with Alex to talk about giving activists a voice, how he engages supporters from all walks of life, and influencing policy reform through social media. Here’s what he had to say.

ActionSprout (AS): How long have you managed social media communications and where did you get your start?

Alex Shashlo: I’ve been with Trippi since the end of the 2012 cycle. I’m fortunate to be able to build and mobilize some amazing movements—particularly online. Joe’s been a pioneer in the online activism space since the early days of the Internet, starting with Howard Dean’s groundbreaking online campaign.

(AS):The interest in legalization seems to be growing… Why do you think that is?

Alex: It’s such a varied and diverse movement, so there are a lot of answers to that question. For a lot of voters, Colorado and Washington opened the door, showing that legalization is not only possible, but incredibly beneficial.

(AS): What do you wish other people knew about CCPR?

Alex: The growth of the movement has been amazing. CCPR has been holding roundtables across California and the grassroots participation has been incredible. We’re always getting questions about when the next one will take place, and that speaks to how strong the base of the movement really is, and how many Californians are ready for reform.

ccpr logo Policy Reform Through Social Media

(AS): What do you think will change about CCPR over the next five years?

Alex: Well, in the next 18 months, we’re building a movement in California that we expect will carry us toward legalization in 2016. It’s time to end the backwards prohibition on cannabis consumption for adults. Beyond 2016, we expect that movement to continue growing across the country.

(AS): How has your strategy / options about Facebook changed over time?

Alex: Facebook has always been a great place for sharing—and now, more and more people get their news from the platform, especially their political news. I wouldn’t call it a shift; users are still excited about taking a stand for the causes they believe in, but the growth of Facebook as an information platform beyond just a social network is exciting.

(AS): What do you find most challenging about your job and the cause you support?

One of the most interesting parts about campaigns like this is always: how do we deliver our message most effectively to our target audience? That means figuring out three buckets: the message, the audience, and the delivery method. It’s a fun puzzle to put together. And with CCPR, we’re fortunate to have such a strong base of support that wants to hear from us regularly.

(AS): Tell us a bit about your Facebook Page (What’s the audience like, what kind of content do they enjoy the most, how often do you post?)

Alex: CCPR’s Facebook Page is unique in that it’s got supporters from all across the political and ideological spectrum that all support the organization’s vision. We get the best engagement on posts that allow these diverse supporters to share their voices—sometimes it’s news from a state that has recently made a breakthrough in legalization, sometimes it’s a personal story, and sometimes it’s a call to action that really galvanized the base. The thing that ties it together is that our supporters are all ready for change, and many are excited to share their voices as part of our movement.

Policy Reform Through Social Media facebook

(AS): How do you use social actions, from ActionSprout, compared to traditional form-based actions on your website?

Alex: The big difference with ActionSprout is that we’ve got our audience right in front of us with Facebook, and our supporters don’t need to leave the platform to help us grow.

(AS): We love your poll actions. Can you tell us a bit about them?

Alex: One of the biggest developments in the past few years in the movement has been the clear signal from both California and the rest of the country that a majority of us are ready for change. Poll numbers—like the growing percentages of Californians and Americans nationwide supporting legalization—are a great way to show progress. And people are excited to be part of the growing movement.

(AS): How did you measure the success of these actions?

Alex: We love seeing social shares—beyond what we put out—because it means people buy into our message enough to put their names to it and share it with the people they care about in their networks.

(AS): What did you learn from them?

Alex: I think we’re still learning. But it’s clear that content with compelling, simple asks has performed the best.

(AS): Do you have any advice for other nonprofits based on your learning?

Alex: It’s important to see your supporters as an organic, diverse movement rather than a monolithic base of support. They’re here because they believe in the cause, but they each have their own reasons for that belief. It’s our job to engage them by connecting with them on their terms.

Key Takeaways:

  • When thinking about how to effectively deliver your message to the right audience, remember the three buckets: message, audience and delivery method. What message will move your supporters to action? What type of language do they respond to? Who is your ideal audience? What’s the best way to reach them—email, Facebook? These questions will help guide you and shape your delivery for maximum effect.
  • More and more people are receiving their news from Facebook and social media at large. If your nonprofit can tap into this, it will pay serious dividends. The key is to position yourself as the trusted source of information for your supporters on everything related to your cause.
  • Folks engage with your content for personal reasons: to further their voice, to share content that reflects their identity, or to make themselves look good to their network. The more you can tap into this, the better, as your cause gets to go along for the ride.

Need more social mojo?

Reach more supporters, cultivate donors, and increase Facebook engagement with ActionSprout today.

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