FENTON AWARDS $30,000 IN FIRST-EVER SOCIAL MEDIA GRANTS
Grants Draw Response from More than 240 Nonprofits Seeking to Raise Their Web 2.0 Profile in Tough Fiscal Times
NEW YORK - July 9, 2009: An organization that serves low-income high school students, a nonprofit that helps other nonprofits find board members, and the only foundation in the world solely dedicated to funding LGBTI organizations are the three recipients of Fenton Communications’ free Social Media Grants to New York City-based nonprofits.
Fenton first announced the grant offering, which comes with $10,000 in social media strategy and related services, in late May and received more than 240 applicants.
"The enormous response these grants received shows how willing nonprofits are to experiment and innovate – especially in a recession,” said Lisa Witter, Chief Operating Officer of Fenton, the country’s largest integrated public interest communications firm. “Nonprofits recognize that social media can be a powerful and nimble tool for growing membership, raising money, and ultimately, making change. These grants are designed to help them make the most strategic use of this explosive technology for good."
In these challenging economic times, many organizations lack the resources to explore the exciting opportunities of social media tools like Twitter and Facebook. Fenton offered these grants to help organizations harness the power of social media for social change.
About the recipients:
Let’s Get Ready (LGR): Let's Get Ready provides low-income and under-represented high school students with the support they need to successfully complete the college admissions process. Using volunteer college students who act as tutors, mentors and role models, LGR provides its students with intensive SAT tutoring and critical assistance through the college application process. Fenton will help LGR raise the profile of the organization among potential participants, volunteers, and funders by building and strengthening online and offline networks.
Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice (ALFJ): The Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice is the only foundation in the world solely dedicated to funding LGBTI organizations both in the US and internationally. Their grantmaking and philanthropic advocacy programs help lesbians and allied communities work around the world to achieve racial, economic, gender, and social justice. Fenton will help Astraea develop a long-term engagement and fundraising strategy that starts with converting current offline membership to online and then leveraging those relationships to expand the profile of Astraea within the philanthropic and donor community.
Volunteer Consulting Group, Inc. (VCG): Volunteer Consulting Group, Inc. works regionally and nationally to strengthen the governing and management capability of nonprofit boards of directors. Fenton will help VCG clarify brand promise and use new media to help recruit and connect new leaders, trustees, funders, and board members.
Each grant recipient will receive a social media audit and strategic recommendations including:
Social Media Analysis – A review of how their organization and/or issue area is being talked about online, what topics and/or frames are driving the most conversation, and where the conversation around an organization’s issue is most prevalent.
Campaign Development – A specific campaign concept(s) designed to drive conversation and social media engagement through Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and other social networks.
Engagement Strategy – A plan of action to drive social media participation through email outreach, Search engine optimization, online advertising, Facebook, Twitter, blogger relations, and video distribution.
An overview to Fenton’s approach to Social Media Campaign Strategy can be found in our newest guide: WATTA? What Are They Talking About: Social Media, Web 2.0, and Your Online Engagement Strategy.
“Many nonprofits are testing the waters by putting up a Facebook page or Twittering. But these applications have much more potential as research tools that can provide critical insights as to how organizations are most likely to engage people around their issues, where they are talking about their issue, and what outreach tactics should be integrated into a social media campaign strategy. We chose our three grantees because we believe each of them demonstrated a commitment to using social media and a willingness to innovate,” said Dean Hollander, Senior Vice President and head of Fenton’s interactive and new media services.
Due to the high demand, Fenton plans to announce new scalable social media service offerings for nonprofits and will release a report on how New York City area nonprofits are investing and using social media later this summer.
About Fenton Communications – With more than two decades of serving the public interest, Fenton offers integrated communications services to nonprofits, foundations, educational institutions, and socially responsible businesses. In partnership with our clients, we protect the environment, transform markets, improve public health, and advance human rights and social justice. http://fenton.com/
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