This blog will help you win loyal friends for your nonprofit organization. I'm Dennis Fischman, and I approved this message.

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4 Things Everyone Should Know How to Do on Facebook

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You’ll “like” these tips!

How much time do you spend on Facebook? Probably, a lot. But do you know how to…

Figure out who can see your posts?  Here’s how you do that. At the top right of your screen, there’s a little picture of a padlock. Click on that. Then click on Privacy Checkup. You’ll see a smaller screen pop up, and it will let you find out–and change–who can see:

  • What you post directly
  • What you post through an app, like Buffer, if you use it
  • The personal information you placed on your Facebook profile, including birthdate, email, and so on.

You’ll have some decisions to make! So, you might want to read Facebook Privacy Guide – Choosing the Right Privacy Settings on Facebook before you start.

Allow or prevent people from seeing posts where you’re tagged? Here’s how you do that. Go to your profile page (my profile is, for example). Next to the words “View Activity Log,” you’ll see three dots. Click there, and then choose Timeline Settings.

You’ll get a chance to choose who can post on your timeline and who can tag you there. If you don’t want anyone to see those tagged posts on your timeline. then choose Only Me. But please note: that means they won’t see it on your timeline. They could still see the tagged post elsewhere. If you want to remove the tag completely, follow these instructions.

See what you liked, commented, or shared? Here’s how you do that. Go back to your profile page. This time, click on View Activity Log. You’ll see the full list, starting from today and going backward in time. Along with likes, comments, and shares, it will also show when you saved a post.

Wait, I can save a post? Yes! If the post contains a link to a story, you can save that story to read later. Here’s how you do that, too. In the upper right corner of the post, there’s a little down arrow: click on that. Choose “Save [the name of the story].” That’s it!

When you want to see that story later, go to the main Facebook page (NOT your profile). On the left, you should see a menu that includes things like News Feed, Messages, Events, and the like. Once you have saved anything, you will have a Saved item on that menu. Just click there to find and read the stories you saved before.

Hope this is helpful. If there were one other thing you’d like to know how to do on Facebook, what would that one thing be?

Never Scramble for an Idea on Deadline Again

Nothing feels more awful than getting up in the morning and realizing you have no idea what to write.  Fortunately, there is a solution. Create a publication calendar and you’ll never have that feeling again.

You can create a publication calendar in five easy steps.

Step one: open up your favorite calendar tool. Outlook, Google Calendar, a specially designed piece of software or a paper calendar with pictures of puppies every month: it doesn’t matter, as long as it works for you.

Step two: think of seasonal topics.  Back-to-school, Fall, Winter, New Year, Spring, Summer. National holidays like Thanksgiving and Independence Day. If appropriate, religious holidays like Christmas, Easter, Rosh Hashanah, or Ramadan. Heating season, if you provide heating assistance.  Camping season, if you do summer camps.  Mark each topic on your calendar at the right time to be talking about it.

Step three: find the hook that will make each topic a real story, one that’s interesting to your audience. Back-to-school is not a story in itself. “What you need to know about your child’s first day at our preschool” is a story! Mark that on your calendar.

Step four: now think of events your organization is holding. Fundraising events, friend-raising events, community forums, advocacy days at the statehouse.  Put those on your calendar too, and find the hook for each one.

Step five: think of campaigns your organization is launching at specific times of the year. Are you registering people to vote? Signing them up for low-cost bank accounts? Creating sports teams? Put those activities on the calendar, too, along with the hook that will make your audience want to read about each one.

Now, your calendar is full of ideas and specific ways to present them.  That means:

  • You can work on them in advance. Get photos, line up interviews, look up statistics…whatever you need for the post can be done ahead of time instead of at the last minute.
  • You can coordinate your messaging. Your blog, your social media postings, your newsletter, and even your face-to-face meetings with supporter can all reinforce the same message, so people are more likely to grasp it and retain it.
  • You can improvise.  It’s easier to improvise when you already have a plan in place. If a hurricane strikes, or one of your issues trends in the news, or if you receive a visit from Michelle Obama or the Pope, of course you can put that into your calendar. You’ll be in the perfect position to decide whether to delay a previously scheduled topic or just post more often.

What do you put on your publication calendar? Is there something that you post about that makes you stand out from most other organizations?

Tell the Story of Where You Are Going

Where do you see yourself in five years?  That’s a classic interview questionStories at Work. But it’s a question that nonprofit organizations should ask themselves too–and the answer should be a story.

Not just a number. Saying “We’re going to serve 25% more people” is fine, but it says nothing about how you’re going to reach that objective.

Not just a statement. Saying “We’re going to offer art education to every student in our neighborhood” is inspiring,” but without a vision of how to get there, it may remain empty words.

Telling the Where Are We Going Story (as Andy Goodman of the Goodman Center calls it) is a way to share your vision, inspire your people, and make them all the heroes of the story. It’s the only way of describing the future that helps create it, too.

Where Are We Going?

I can think of two different ways of telling the story of what will happen if your organization succeeds. One is what the world will look like at the end. The other is the travelogue of how you intend to get there.

Take the statement we made above: “We’re going to offer art education to every student in our neighborhood.”

Story #1: Five years from now, a mom walks into our center. By her side a small boy stands, fidgeting, not meeting our eyes. “My son draws all the time, and he’s good,” Mom says. “But no one ever taught him how to get better.”

“We will,” you say. “Sign up right here. Son, do you draw with pencils, crayons, or computers?”

Story #2: Tomorrow, we’re cleaning up that classroom. Next week, we’re hiring an art teacher. He gets a budget to go buy supplies. In the mean time, we’re going to put the word out with flyers, email, and social media, in English, Spanish, and Chinese, that we have an art program for children who live in this neighborhood.

This year, we’ll arrange with the museum for free field trips. We’ll take children’s artwork and tell their stories to local businesses and raise money for the program. We’ll expand. In five years, everybody will know about it, and we’ll have enough teachers, supplies, and space to serve everyone who wants it. (That’s where Story #1 begins!)


Storytelling around the fire

Businesses Use Storytelling Too

“We’ve never had a policy manual. The way we pass along our values is to sit around the campfire and share stories.”

That’s the CEO of a $1.3 billion company talking.

Elizabeth Weil, in Fast Company magazine, interviewed many business leaders about the power of storytelling. The Where We Are Going story is a basic tool of corporate leadership.

“Leadership is about change,” says Noel M. Tichy, a professor at the University of Michigan Business School and the coauthor of The Leadership Engine (HarperBusiness, 1997). “It’s about taking people from where they are now to where they need to be. The best way to get people to venture into unknown terrain is to make it desirable by taking them there in their imaginations.”

In other words, by telling them stories.