2019, blog, Uncategorized, work, work sample, writing

Trick or Treat Blog Post for MedVet

Trick or Treat Raisins

In October, I wrote a blog post about foods pets should avoid eating. We’d found that on social media these pet-education posts, especially seasonally related perform very well. We didn’t have much fall-specific content so I set out to write this blog post.

Who: MedVet

What: Seasonal Pet Education Blog Post

Where: MedVet’s blog on their website and shared on all 25 hospital Facebook pages

When: Written and published in early October 2019

Why: The goal of the blog post is to build trust among pet owners that MedVet is leading specialty healthcare and is a trusted resouce during pet emergencies. We want to increase the amount of time people spend on our website so the CTA at the end of the blog post is to read similar pet education blog posts we’ve written.

When we shared this blog post on social media, our goal is to drive users to our website. Once they are on our website, we want them to learn more about MedVet and keep us top of mind for their pet’s emergency and specialty needs.

A photo of my friend Becky's cat name Pumpkin
A photo of my friend Becky’s cat name Pumpkin (or as I called her, Plumpkin)

Trick-or-Treat: Test Your Knowledge of These Deadly or Delightful Foods for Your Pet

 

Fall is such a festive season but it can be a bit of a tricky and scary time for pet-owners. How can I keep my dog safe this Halloween? What do I need to keep out of reach of my cat? MedVet’s team of board-certified veterinarians want to educate pet-owners about how to keep their dog and cat safe this fall.

Let’s play a game of Trick-or-Treat! Guess if the food listed is a treat that’s safe to give your pet or if it’s a trick, meaning something harmful you should not give to your pet.

(On the live blog post, these are hyperlinked to take you to the right spot on the page.) 

Grapes

Trick or Treat?

 

Raisins

Trick or Treat?

 

Pumpkins

Trick or Treat?

 

Chocolate

Trick or Treat?

 

Sugar-free Candy

Trick or Treat?

 

Apples

Trick or Treat?

 

Peanut Butter

Trick or Treat?

Trick or Treat Apples

 

Answers:

 

Grapes

Trick

Even a small amount of grapes can cause a cat to show symptoms of lethargy, diarrhea, abdominal pain and decreased urination. It can even cause kidney failure in dogs and cats. Each pet reacts differently to grapes and the exact toxicity levels are unknown. We recommend avoiding grapes all together.

If your pet eats a grape-flavored product (found in some pet products and synthetic grape-flavored medications) no need to worry, that’s not toxic. Most products are made with diluted grapes, not enough to cause any alarm.

 

Raisins

Trick

Like with grapes, raisins are not safe for cats or dogs. Raisin toxicity can cause severe kidney damage leading to acute kidney failure with lack of urine production. If a pet has consumed raisins, they might show symptoms of vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, foul breath, lethargy, or loss of appetite. Make sure to keep raisins in a sealed container in a locked drawer or pantry, out of reach of your cat or dog.

 

Pumpkin

Treat

Both raw and cooked pumpkin is safe for dogs and cats. Pumpkin is a great source of fiber and can help relieve constipation and diarrhea. Adding a tablespoon of pure pureed pumpkin to a pet’s regular food can be beneficial for pets with upset stomachs. But, do not give your pet the leftover jack-o-lantern or the pumpkin stem, skin or pulp. Pumpkin stems and leaves are covered in little sharp hairs which can cause irritation in your dog’s mouth and intestinal tract.

 

Chocolate

Trick

Chocolate can be poisonous for both dogs and cats. Even in small amounts, chocolate can cause serious health problems if ingested by your pet. Chocolate toxicity can result in vomiting and diarrhea in addition to tremors, increased heart rate, heart failure, seizures, and in some cases, death. Generally darker chocolates are more dangerous than milk or white chocolates. Keep your trash out of reach of sniffing noses because chocolate candy wrappers can also be a serious hazard.

 

Sugar-free candy

Trick

Sugar-free candies contain a chemical called xylitol, which is harmful to pets. This artificial sweetener is highly toxic to dogs and can cause low blood sugar and liver failure. Xylitol is found in some chewing gum, mints, baked goods, cereals, jellies, jam, pudding, toothpaste, and mouthwash.  Always read the label carefully because you’d be surprised what products have xylitol in them. The effects of xylitol in cats are not fully understood so we recommend not giving your cats sugar-free candies.

 

Apples

Treat

Apples are an ideal snack for pets. Apples are a good source of antioxidants as well as Vitamins A and C.  They are high in fiber, which can help with a dog’s digestion. They are great for overweight or geriatric pets who may have a lower metabolism. Make sure to remove the leaves, core and seeds from the apples because they can contain cyanide. Also be sure you’re using fresh apples. Consuming rotten apples can be harmful to dogs.

 

Peanut butter

Trick or Treat

This answer is a bit more complicated. Must dogs absolutely love peanut butter. However, make sure the peanut butter doesn’t contain xylitol, which is a chemical that’s highly toxic to dogs. Look for unsalted peanut butter with no added sugars. Peanut butter can be a great treat, high in protein and healthy fats. Like with any treat, make sure to give peanut butter in moderation.

Leave the peanut butter for your dogs. Cats should not be given peanut butter.  It’s not toxic to them but it doesn’t provide them any nutritional benefit. Your cat is a carnivore that wants to eat animal-based protein, not a plant-based protein, like peanut butter.

 

 

Make sure food in your kitchen is stored out of your pet’s reach. To discourage pets from exploring in the kitchen, don’t feed pets table scraps or allow them on the counter.

If you suspect your pet has eaten any of these Tricks, call your family veterinarian right away or find your nearest MedVet emergency hospital.

 

Additional Emergency Pet Care Articles that May Be of Interest 

 

 

2019, august, social media, Uncategorized, work, work sample

Sharing the news of MedVet Chicago’s brand-new hospital on Facebook and LinkedIn

Last week I traveled for work to Chicago to support the opening of a brand-new state-of-the-art veterinary emergency hospital.

Another Marketing team member and I drove to different referral partners (this is what we call veterinary practices that refer patients to MedVet’s emergency and specialty hospitals) around Chicago. We told the staff about our new hospital opening up, explained the phone number was staying the same and how we were expanding our services.
I admit it was outside of my comfort zone a bit because I don’t usually have a lot of face-to-face interactions with veterinarians, practice managers or our referral partners. I prefer to stay behind-the-scenes as support, but I can certainly muster up the courage and extroverted side of my personality and talk to new people. I learned a lot from the team members I was with about how we speak about MedVet to referral partners and how MedVet is perceived by others.

We were able to take a tour of the new hospital in Chicago before it opened to the public and I was blown away by how large it is. I believe it’s 6,000 square feet. The old hospital was comprised of two different buildings with multiple floors so doctors and clients had to do a lot of walking up and down flights of stairs. This new hospital is all one floor, which I’m sure the staff is very excited about.

The day the new hospital opened, I set into action my digital marketing plan that I’d made with the Chicago Regional Marketing Director to update the hospital address across our digital channels. I updated our address on our:

  • Facebook page
  • Yelp page
  • Google My Business listing
  • Apple Maps
  • Multiple spots on our website

Updating an address online is important but this felt more important than normal because the stakes were higher. We needed to ensure that no one accidentally drove to the old hospital, especially during an emergency with their pet.

As part of this plan to tell our audience about our Chicago hospital moving, I worked closely again with the Chicago Regional Marketing Director and the Marketing leadership to write a press release that was shared on our website and distributed through PR Newswire. 

I posted on Facebook and LinkedIn. I wanted to take a moment to talk about how well those two posts did.

We posted on the Chicago hospital’s Facebook page about the move and boy, did that post explode. I mean, it was a positive explosion of engagement.

chicago medvet hospital facebook
This Facebook post had the most engagement in MedVet’s history. I admit I wasn’t expecting this strong of a reaction from our Facebook audience to this news. I should’ve expected it because at Volunteers of America, I’d actually experienced something similar where a post about the grand opening of our new Pickerington thrift store has uncharacteristically high engagement. I learned that social media posts about new locations tend to go viral. 
page analytics facebook medvet chicago
You can see we gained 479-page likes in just one week; a huge increase from our normal growth. More importantly than the increase in page likes, we saw a 537% increase in Post Engagements.
facebook likes increase chicago medvet
Before this post, we had 4,624 likes. After the post, we has 5,099 page likes. That’s a 475 increase!
chicago medvet facebook likes
Showing the increase in Page Likes through a visual graph. 

 

We also shared the news of the new hospital on LinkedIn and again, our audience was very excited, resulting in high levels of engagement.

You can see the copy of the LinkedIn post is very similar to the Facebook post copy but we chose to use two images rather than just one.

Screen Shot 2019-08-31 at 1.26.12 PM
In our LinkedIn strategy, one of our goals is to gain more engagement in the form of comments so we were pleased to see six comments on this post where we usually only see 1-2 comments on a post. 

Screen Shot 2019-08-31 at 1.26.29 PM

linkedin analytics medvet
You can see here how this post had significantly higher engagement and impressions that our previous posts.

 

 

2019, blog, blog post, Uncategorized, work sample

A blog post I wrote for MedVet

I wanted to add this blog post to my online portfolio, here. I worked with our MedVet marketing team to create this.

This piece of content started when I reached out to our resident content pro, marketing team member, Debra who is a veterinarian. She’s like our subject matter expert. I asked her if she could help me write a blog post about how ibuprofen can be toxic to dogs. I’d heard from friends and family that people were giving their dogs ibuprofen, intending for it to relieve their pain, but instead, realizing it can be harmful to dogs. Debra wrote up a draft, chock full of valuable information to pet owners. I made some edits to the post to try and make it more targeted to pet-owners, rephrasing some of the technical terms and using laymen’s terms. Then the post was also revised and edited by my boss and my boss’s boss.

I reached out to our marketing team to ask if anyone would be willing to photograph their dog next to a bottle of ibuprofen, for this blog post. Jenn sent me these awesome photos the very next day. She assured me the seal was still on the pill bottle, so no dogs were harmed in the making of these photos. I love using photos from our team rather than stock photography. It helps distinguishes our content and helps us be a thought leader.

Here’s the blog post: 

 

Is Ibuprofen Toxic to Dogs?

The most common cause of ibuprofen toxicity is a well-meaning owner trying to alleviate pain in his dog.

Some commonly used medicines that are safe for humans are very toxic to pets. Ibuprofen is helpful to humans but harmful to dogs. Remember to always consult your family veterinarian before giving your pet any medicine, especially if it’s from your own medicine cabinet.

What is ibuprofen?

Ibuprofen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (commonly referred to as an NSAID- pronounced with the letter n-said). Ibuprofen is a popular and effective over-the-counter medication available to treat pain and inflammation in people.

What are other names of ibuprofen?

Human formulations of ibuprofen include: Motrin® (McNeil), Advil® (Whitehall-Robins), Haltran® (Lee Pharmaceutical), Midol® (Bayer), Menadol® (Rugby), PediaCare (Pharmacia & Upjohn), and various generic forms of ibuprofen.

What is ibuprofen toxicity?

For dogs, ibuprofen can easily exceed toxic levels. Ibuprofen has a narrow margin of safety in dogs. Signs of toxicosis can occur when as little as half a 200 mg pill is given to a 25 pound dog.The most common cause of ibuprofen toxicity is a well-meaning owner trying to alleviate pain in his dog. The owner administers a dose he thinks is adequate without knowing that it’s a toxic dose. The most common toxic effects are to the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, kidneys or liver.

Ibuprofen in dogs eventually lead to kidney failure and, if left untreated, can be fatal.

What are the signs of ibuprofen toxicity?

In as little as 12 hours, signs of toxicity can begin to appear. The initial toxic effect is bleeding stomach ulcers. In addition to ulcers, increasing doses of ibuprofen eventually lead to kidney failure and, if left untreated, can be fatal. Symptoms of ibuprofen toxicity in a dog may include not eating, vomiting, black tarry stools, abdominal pain, weakness, lethargy, increased thirst and increased urination. Signs can range from mild to severe.

How does a veterinarian diagnose ibuprofen toxicity?

Diagnosis of ibuprofen toxicity is generally based on a veterinarian performing a physical exam and obtaining a history of access or exposure to ibuprofen. Blood tests are done to determine the overall health of the dog. If ibuprofen was ingested, blood tests may reveal anemia from a bleeding ulcer or abnormalities secondary to kidney damage.

How is ibuprofen toxicity treated?

Treatment will depend on the dose ingested and clinical signs. Veterinary care can include hospitalization with continuous intravenous fluids for one to two days. All steroids and NSAIDs need to be discontinued immediately. Activated charcoal may be given if ingestion was recent (less than two hours). Blood transfusion can be recommended in dogs with severe anemia due to bleeding ulcers. Stomach protecting medications are commonly given.

How do you prevent ibuprofen toxicity?

The best preventive care is to give your dog medications only if directed by your veterinarian.

If your dog appears to be in pain, talk with your family veterinarian who may be able to prescribe you a dog-safe NSAID such as Dermaxx (also known as Deracoxib), Rimadyl (also known as Carprofen), or Previcox (also known as Firocoxib.)

Call the Pet Poison Hotline at 855-764-7661 and your family veterinarian immediately if you think your dog or cat has ingested any ibuprofen. They will be able to provide life-saving advice and treatment for your pet.

 

2019, social media, Uncategorized, work, work sample

How a Facebook Post Can Evolve Through Teamwork

I wanted to highlight a recent example of how a Facebook post went from concept to publishing and the beauty of how that idea evolved and changed through collaboration.

Concept: Hurricane Barry was barreling right into the path of our New Orleans and Mandeville MedVet hospitals so we were concerned about pets being displaced.
The Regional Marketing Partner reached out suggesting we post on Facebook if lost pets are brought into the hospital. The hospital was set up to temporarily shelter any found pets during the storm. I agreed this was a great idea and set out to make a “found pet” template in Canva.

This was my first draft. I knew it needed to have the pet’s picture, pet’s information and be on brand. I wanted a simple and straightforward design.
This is the second draft, that the Regional Marketing Partner made. I was really impressed by the sense of urgency this post conveys and the icon in the top left corner which could add consistency if we used this template on multiple posts.

Based on feedback from my manager, and from consulting our graphic designer, the post was revised a third time. The background color became lighter, the top left icon changed and we used our brand’s emergency color which is red.

So, after a couple days of back and forth and making three drafts, we needed to use this post template.

This dog was displaced in Hurricane Barry and we used the social post template our team created to find her owners and get her back home safely.

Over the weekend, a female chocolate lab came into our Mandeville hospital. We posted on Facebook about her, using our new template, and it worked! She found her owners.

2019, social media, Uncategorized, work sample

MedVet Facebook Posts I Created

I’m proud to share some of the Facebook posts that I created for all of the 24 MedVet Facebook pages recently. My goal with the content creation has been to engage our audience while still maintaining our commitment to leading specialty healthcare for pets. I’m learning that our audience loves to interact with us, whether it’s sharing pet photos or answering our questions. I made these graphics in Canva and wrote the copy.

This informative post was targeted to cat-owners looking to learn more about what symptoms of arthritis to look out for.
We’re fortunate to have a strong base of digital cheerleaders who leave MedVet glowing 5 star reviews on Facebook, Google, Yelp and other sites. I wanted this post to thank our supporters as well as subtly encourage others to leave us a review.
Here’s another informative post we did to help pet owners protect their pets from snakes. With the temperatures rising and more dogs outside this time of year, the hospital emergency rooms often see an increase of pets coming in suffering from snake bites. I wanted this post to give practical steps a pet owner could take to snake-proof their life.
I was proud of how clever this post was. I’d like to repurpose it again closer to Halloween and Valentine’s Day too.
To increase engagement, I created this post asking our audience to guess the name of this dog. I struggled to think of a hint that would be helpful but not too easy. My hint ended up being “4+2=” and most people correctly guessed his name was Six. Our audience loved this post, not only because they got to interact with us and each other but also because they got to learn more about a police dog.
This post was a two-for-one engagement driver. Not only did we ask people to comment True or False, we also asked our audience to visit the blog post on our website to learn more about skunks. (Oh and the answer is True.)
This post drove engagement and educated pet owners about micro chipping. Polls on Facebook Pages are a relatively new feature and I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to ask our audience a simple question and try out this type of content.

The postings on this site are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of MedVet.

2019, blog, blog post, blogpost, Uncategorized, work, work sample

Blog Post I wrote for Volunteers of America Ohio & Indiana

For Volunteers of America Ohio & Indiana, I wrote a blog post essentially about how to be the best at donating to a thrift store. I was inspired by my own personal experience of donating to a thrift store. When I would gather up the clothes in my closet to donate, I wondered things like “Should I wash them first?” “Should I tie shoelaces of shoes together so they stay together?” “Should I keep jewelry untangled?”  I wanted to answer these questions for our donors and I knew that answering these questions would help our SEO too. With people asking more and more long-form questions in search, your content needs to answer what people are asking.

I had learned a lot of these answers from responding to questions on social media and by speaking with our thrift store managers. I double-checked these tips with the managers to make sure I wasn’t giving false or misleading information.

 

11 Tips to Maximize Your Thrift Store Donation

11 Tips to Maximize Your Thrift Store Donation
I made the graphic in Canva

Is your New Year’s Resolution to get your life organized? Perhaps you’re tidying up your home, inspired by Marie Kondo and her life-changing KonMari method. When you get organized and declutter your home that creates piles of unwanted stuff that needs to be donated to the thrift store.

With every donation that you make to Volunteers of America thrift stores, you are giving hope to families, veterans and individuals in need. Your stuff is sold in our thrift stores and the revenue is used to fund our community programs across Ohio and Indiana. Thank you for donating your items to Volunteers of America, a 100% non-profit thrift store.

CHECK OUT THESE TIPS TO MAKE YOUR NEXT THRIFT STORE DONATION QUICK AND EASY:

Capri donating her stuff to Volunteers of America

Wash clothes before donating

Toss them in the laundry one last time before donating them. This will ensure the clothes are clean, fresh smelling and ready to be sold in our thrift store.

Check your pockets

Double-check that you’ve removed any coins, business cards, receipts, keys, notes or important items from your clothing. Once donations start going through our sorting process, it becomes hard to track them down again. So, as much as we would love to find a $20 cash donation in one of your pants pockets, make sure you check your pockets.

Tie your shoes together

Keep shoes as a pair by tying shoelaces together or putting a rubber band around the shoes. We need both shoes in order to sell them in our thrift store. Have you ever seen just one shoe for sale in any of our thrift stores? Now, that would just be sad.

Tape the controller to your device

If you’re donating a TV with a remote, be sure to tape the remote to the TV so it stays together. The same goes for video game systems or other electronics. Keep all pieces together. Pay it forward to the shopper who will buy your TV and give them the remote.

Keep like items together

If you’re donating a set of dishes or like items, pack them in the same bag or box so they arrive at our donation center together. Y’know what they say, dishes of a feather, flock together.

Sort your donations into two categories

You can help us out by sorting your donations into two easy categories: Clothing and Household Items. Place all your jeans, shirts, socks, dresses, linens, and anything that has fabric into one bag. In the other bag, place the kitchen, household and miscellaneous items. Bonus points for labeling your boxes or bags! This will help us when we sort your donations.

Keep jewelry untangled in small bags

Place jewelry like necklaces and bracelets in individual bags so they don’t get tangled up together. Nothing is worse than a big ball of tangled up jewelry, right?

Label your fragile donations

Mark on the box if items inside are fragile. We don’t want any of your stuff to be broken!

Double-check your donations before you drop off

Before you load up your car or contact us to schedule a free home pickup, check our list of items that we do pickup and our list of items that we do not accept.

Note that we’re not able to accept donations of certain items like mattresses, pianos, beds, chemicals, or large appliances.

We also can’t accept broken, hazardous, toxic or recalled items for safety reasons. Examples of these items include old paint, cribs, car seats, or fire extinguishers.

When we receive donations of items that we don’t accept, we have to spend money properly disposing of those items. This means, less money to help veterans in our community.

If you’d like to donate something that we do not accept, you can reach out to another non-profit thrift store or your local trash company, and they might be able to take it away. Often you can contact their customer service center to schedule bulk item pickups. In Columbus, Ohio you can contact the City of Columbus Customer Service Center by calling 311 or 645-3111, or online at www.311.columbus.gov

Marie Kondo and her life-changing KonMari method of tidying
One of my favorite Instagram posts from @voathrift

Schedule a hassle-free pick up

Scheduling a home pickup is the best way to avoid driving around for weeks with your old stuff in trash bags in your trunk. We’ll pick up your donations, no problem. Schedule your free pick-up by calling us at 1-800-873-4505 or emailing us at askthrift@voago.org.

Be sure to leave your items out in a spot that’s visible to our truck drivers. You can leave your stuff on the curb, on your porch or any spot that a driver would easily be able to see.

We can pick up anything on our list of accepted items that one man can lift.

Get a tax-deductible donation receipt

When you drop off your donations at one of our thrift store locations, be sure to ask an employee for a donation receipt. This will come in handy if you choose to itemize your taxes and would like to deduct your donations.

Tip: Take a picture of your items before you donate them. Show your tax professional the picture for help in determining the value of your items.

The value of your donations depends on the specific items and their condition. Be sure to use the current fair market value to determine their value. The IRS has a handy guidebook to help you determine the value of your donated stuff.

If you forget to grab a receipt, that’s not a problem. We are happy to send you one. Give us a call at 1-800-873-4505 or email askthrift@voago.org

When you donate your stuff to a non-profit organization like Volunteers of America, you can easily help your community thrive. So clear out your closet, find a Volunteers of America thrift store near you, and do your part to make your community a brighter place.

SCHEDULE YOUR FREE DONATION PICK UP TODAY

social media, work, work sample

LinkedIn Paid Advertising

After merging with Indiana, Volunteers of America Ohio & Indiana has been growing at a rapid pace and we have a lot of job openings right now. To assist HR with finding qualified applicants for these positions, I ran a paid campaign on LinkedIn from 12/27 to 1/2/2019, targeting people in Evansville, Toledo, Fort Wayne, Bloomington, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dayton, and Columbus with the listed job function of Community and Social Services. (These are the cities we are hiring in.)

For the Text Ads, since you could have multiple variations, I used this as an opportunity to do some A/B testing with the language, the links and the creative.

Three of the Text Ads took people to: https://www.voaohin.org/careers  and three of the ads took people directly to the job listing page. I used a Bitly link to shorten the job listings page.  The top two performing ads pointed visitors to https://www.voaohin.org/careers  

Sponsored Content on LinkedIn. I made the image and wrote the copy.

We ran 5 versions of Text ads on LinkedIn and it’s clear the one with “We’re Hiring” in the headline performed best.

The Text Ad variations. The top performing ad had over 20,000 impressions and 14 clicks.

I definitely want to do more paid advertising on LinkedIn to recruit applicants and to do more A/B Testing.

2019, email, work, work sample

January 2019 Donor Email Newsletter

I wrote and designed this donor email newsletter for January 2019. I was inspired by an email I got from the epic Lori Jacobwith. It caught my attention because she used my name in the subject line and addressed me like an old friend “Hi Debbie.” I honestly did a double take when I read this email, like does she know me? I think the lack of images and simplicity of the email stood out. Inside the email, it read like we were best friends and she was speaking directly to me.

The email that inspired me

My first draft of the donor email was more text-heavy and included a call-to-action for donors to become monthly donors.

First draft of the email.

I shared the email draft with my team and our Director of Development noted that we should just say thank you and not ask for money in this email. We did include a subtle “PS” asking readers to watch our Faces of Hope video.

After changing the email, when it was sent out, several Volunteers of America staff members responded saying how much they appreciated this email and how it made their day.

A great way to kick off the year, by taking time to appreciate.  Thanks & will share the inspiration with my crew!

Grove City thrift store manager
 
Subject line: Name – Thank you!
Hi Name,
At the end of the year, do you ever take a moment to reflect back on the year? Do you ask yourself if you made a positive difference in your community? 
Let me assure you that, yes, you made a difference in 2018. Your support of Volunteers of America Ohio & Indiana has led to so many amazing things.

Mothers found sobriety.
Families achieved well-being. 
Homeless veterans established housing. 
People were given second chances.
And they all thrive … because of you.  

Every day, I’m humbled to be surrounded by your kindness. On behalf of Volunteers of America Ohio & Indiana, I sincerely thank you for allowing us to be an extension of your heart and hands, helping people reach their full potential and for helping our community thrive. Many wishes for a happy and healthy New Year.  

John R. von Arx III
President & CEO 
Volunteers of America Ohio & Indiana

PS – Watch a snapshot of how you’ve changed lives in 2018.

Screenshot of the email, sent Monday, January 7, 2019 at 7 a.m.
2018, work, work sample

Giving Tuesday

Happy Giving Tuesday!   aka That-Day-Every-Nonprofit-Asks-or-Begs-For-Money

TL;DR: I was disappointed that we didn’t see more engagement on Giving Tuesday but now we have a new opportunity to do better with our upcoming End of Year giving campaign. 

I admit Giving Tuesday was a bit anti-climatic, what with all the hype starting, back in the summer. I subscribe to a lot of non profit marketing newsletters and I can’t count the number of emails and webinars claiming to spell out the perfect Giving Tuesday strategy. It’s like Black Friday for retailers.   (Side note to retailers: Cyber Tuesday is not a thing. Let us have this one day.) 
For this year, I admit we didn’t spend as much time as we could’ve strategizing about how to differentiate ourselves among the #GivingTuesday herd. We used a lot of the images that National (voa.org or Volunteers of America, versus the affiliate Volunteers of America Ohio & Indiana that I work at) provided to us. I made a couple of unique images for us in Canva.  I didn’t use the copy from National exactly because I felt it wasn’t uplifting, donor centric or on-brand for us. I wrote my own variations. 
I spent like half of Monday last week sitting down, and scheduling out in AgoraPulse all our Thanksgiving and Giving Tuesday social media posts. We’ve got two Twitters, two Instagrams, a Facebook page plus 9 thrift store Facebook pages- oh, and LinkedIn, so it’s a lot.  By the end, I was really proud of myself. I had laid out and scheduled in advance these important posts across all our channels. And, I did some boosting of posts and events on Instagram and Facebook as well as ran some Facebook Ads. We spent about $100. 
In my head, since I put so much time and effort into these posts and thought I did a great job, I naively expected to be overwhelmed with Likes, Comments, Shares and Messages saying “Wow this social media post changed my life!” (Just kidding on that last one. I’m not quite that delusional.)
Alas, it was pretty much crickets.  One woman did comment how she didn’t want to donate on Facebook and that she would donate “thru her nank.” I think she meant to say bank. Yeah, not the engagement I was hoping for.  

I told my boyfriend Nate about this on the phone today and saying it all out loud helped me realize that I can’t get bent out of shape over people not engaging or responding to my posts. That’s social media, ya’ll. That’s life. 
Keep in mind, these were mostly posts about giving, donating, fundraising. These were not the most hilarious, shareable, viral posts. 
Thinking more about it, we don’t typically do these hard-asks of “Donate Now!”  of our audience. I try to share meaningful and positive posts, celebrating our amazing supporters. I try to do the Jab, Jab, Punch method of sprinkling, or jabbing, helpful content and then here in November and December we do more punching with the Give Back posts. 

When one campaign ends, another begins. Giving Tuesday is out and now End of Year giving is in.  Okay, in an ideal world of butterflies and rainbows, I’d already have this campaign all figured out, but we merged our affiliate with Indiana this summer, I got a new boss, our team has grown and things have been hectic across the organization. All I can do is focus on the now. Today, I used a Creative Brief template that my old boss, Stephanie, came up with and that we used before. It’s helpful for me to use to spell out the

  • Goal
  • Objective
  • Tone
  • Creative
  • Deliverables
  • Look & Feel
  • Assets

 of the campaign.  I like to say that it helps me get my ducks in a row (this is my new favorite phrase. I just like picturing a bunch of scattered ducks and me herding them into a single file line.) 

On our nine thrift store Facebook pages, I shared this post to let folks know about Giving Tuesday and to ask them to donate online or on Facebook. 
2017, debbie, images, may, social media, work sample

Hidden Creek social media posts

These are some potential social media posts I created for Hidden Creek Landscaping. 
My Advice: 
-Be Humorous 
Don’t shy away from puns and plant-humor 
– Add a Call-to-Action to the employee recognition posts
“Comment below if you’ve had the pleasure of working with any of these great employees” 
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Finally we are almost done with worrying about frost. The crocuses are popping up. Can’t wait to welcome spring! #firstdayofspring #march20
Important Question We Need to Ask: If a plant is sad, do other plants photosympathize with it? #planthumor #lol
Plants grow from a combination of water, sunlight and food. Hidden Creek Landscaping grows from reading your feedback. Please take a moment to review us today! http://ow.ly/5BeU306hEbe
When you do good work, you’re proud of it. Using our landscape expertise, we  crafted a personalized and pristine space for The Palmer House, right over in New Albany. See what we can do for you today! http://ow.ly/7V9E307PsYH 
Want to join our great team? We currently have openings for our landscape installation and landscape management divisions. #joinourteam #jobopening To see job openings visit: http://ow.ly/5riM307Pwei 
Want to beautify your property without breaking open the piggy bank? Hidden Creek Landscape is the solution. Our residential landscaping services will make your neighbors green with envy
All content created by and property of Debbie Gillum. All rights reserved