3 creative ways to keep an eye on what’s being said about your nonprofit organization

What’s the buzz about your charity and your programs?

Today it’s easy to keep your ear to the ground. Here are three new ideas plus an oldie:

Twitter – check out the tweets that mention you.

Type the names of your organization, main programs, and frequent variations of each into the search box. That’s the gray, oval-shaped area at the top of the page, to the right of center.  You’ll get a list of tweets mentioning your organization.

Google alerts – go to http://www.google.com/alerts to set up an alert that will generate an email to you with a link to things Google finds that include the phrase you set up.

Not only is the service from Google free, you can set up as many alerts as you want. Set up an alert for each variation of your name or acronym.

The hit rate for alerts is spotty. I have several alerts set up watching for references to my blogs. I post frequently but get alerts on my posts only occasionally.  The hit rate for my posts is probably around 5%.

On the other hand, I have an alert set up for a CPA who committed felony insider trading. I’ve gotten those alerts within several minutes of when articles of interest hit a website.

Google News – Their news page, https://news.google.com/news/advanced_news_search, allows for a sophisticated search. You can specify an exact phrase, find articles with several specific words, specify a range of time, or a specific source or location. This is good to look for coverage of an event or certain issue.

I find it helpful when looking for emerging stories I’m really interested in. The advanced search features let me exclude older news I’ve already looked at or filter through thousands of hits.

This could let you find coverage of a specific event or issue affecting your organization.

Facebook – Okay, make it 4 ways to listen. Obviously you are already reading all the comments and likes on your Facebook page.

Why bother?

Just a few reasons:

  • Keep a general eye on what your supporters and fans are saying.
  • Watch for criticism and negative stories. The sooner you know about adverse comments, the faster you can respond. Stories can hit an exponential growth within a day. Jumping into social media with your side of the story gives you a fighting chance to stop the negativity.
  • Watch for fundraising efforts from your fans you didn’t know about. Then you can make sure the funds arrive and in the amounts expected.
  • Compare the messaging from your fans to how you want things said. Might be able to redirect poorly worded messages.
  • Maybe pick up a few good stories you could incorporate into your communications to constituents.
  • If you have sensitive operations, you can keep an eye out for messaging you’d like to discretely have pulled. If this applies to your organization, you know what I’m talking about.

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