Tag Archives: non profits

What’s all the buzz about? Amazon Smile.


If you’re active on social media, and I pray to George Clooney that you are, you’ve probably seen a few tweets or posts about Amazon Smile this week. If you haven’t had the time to Google it, Amazon Smile is a new initiative where Amazon will donate 0.5% of your (the customer) total purchase to a non profit of your choice. It’s easy donating, a great way to give back this holiday season, and it’s going to be an excellent way for your non profit to boost its profits this holiday season. Cool, right? You wanna sign up, right? How do we get those donations, right?

Let me show you.

Amazon Smile for Customers

Categories for shopping with Amazon

Amazon Smile is exactly the same as Amazon. The only difference is that instead of shopping at “www.amazon.com,” you’re shopping at “smile.amazon.com.” Apart from that it’s the same prices, same products, same payment method, etc. All Amazon has done is said “we’ll donate 0.5% of your total to a charity of your choice.” You, the customer, just have to choose a product that is “eligible for Amazon Smile.” There are over one million charities on Amazon Smile that you can choose from, which is pretty cool for the consumer, and apparently tens of millions of eligible products. Oh! And if you’re signed up for Amazon Prime it still applies. Which is awesome, because nobody wants to wait more than two days for new stuff. You use the same Amazon account that you use for your regular purchases and it’s just as quick and seamless as the original website.

Some things to note: you have to choose your organisation before making a purchase and because the donation is made through Amazon you are not eligible for a tax deduction. This is important for you to know, as social media marketers, because I’m sure that most people will be weary about using something new.

Amazon Smile for Non Profits

According to the FAQ, in order to be eligible for Amazon Smile you must:

  • Be public charitable organizations that are registered and in good standing with the IRS as a 501(c)(3).
  • Be located in one of the 50 U.S. states or the District of Columbia.
  • Not engage in, support, encourage, or promote intolerance, hate, terrorism, violence, money laundering, or other illegal activities
  • Adhere to the AmazonSmile Participation Agreement to maintain eligibility.


So that’s great! I actually did a trial run for United Planet and it seems pretty easy to sign up. You basically go to this website to sign up with an account that’s registered to your non profit (don’t use your personal Amazon account). We actually already had an account with Amazon because we use Amazon Ads, so we’ll be using that account. They use electronic transfers to send you the money, and they are “transferred approximately 45 days after the end of each calendar quarter”.

Oh hey – here’s something really important: Customers can donate to your cause if you’re not signed up already. From my understanding, if you don’t register your non profit for Amazon Smile (and your funds aren’t claimed within a year) then the funds will be distributed to other registered non profits. So make sure to sign up ASAP!

How to Market Amazon Smile

Amazon Smile is going to be a crucial part of your “holiday” marketing campaign. Do a quick Twitter search and you’ll see that non profits are already tweeting out messages about donating to #amazonsmile.

Amazon Smile Hashtag

It should be integrated into your all of your social media platforms, blog, website, and email marketing. I would suggest writing a blog post about what Amazon Smile is, or maybe even include it in your holiday email, and then ask people to consider donating to your cause this winter. You should only begin advertising with social media once you’ve explained what it is.

I’m not sure if you’re aware of how important Google+ is to appearing on search engines results, but I would absolutely make sure to post on your G+ account. When doing so, make sure to keep it visual. G+ posts do a lot better when they contain a picture.

Here are some other ideas on how to integrate Amazon Smile into your holiday marketing plan:

  • A Facebook (and Google Plus) header with a CTA that leads to your Amazon Smile page.
  • A blog post about the 10 coolest things you can buy this Christmas… With click through links to Amazon and your Amazon Smile page.
    • For United Planet, we might make a list of things that volunteers could use on their volunteer trip. We’ve already got a Pinterest board dedicated to the topic so we might just draw from that.
  • Use of the “#amazonsmile” hashtag. A tweet might look like “This holiday season shop @AmazonSmile and support XXX Fund! http://linktoyouramazonsmilepage.com #AmazonSmile
    • You could also start tracking keywords or phrases on Hootsuite like “I don’t know what to buy” or “Christmas Presents ?” and suggest that people buy their presents on Amazon and donate to you.
    • Make sure to add pictures to your tweets. Reports have shown that tweets that contain pictures do a lot better than those who don’t. This probably has something to do with how pictures are now being shown on users timelines.
  • A Pinterest board of cool things that you can buy on Amazon Smile that will donate to your cause. Make sure that the click through link on the picture leads them to YOUR Amazon Smile Page.
    • You could also do this with your Instagram account (collages?) or Vine account (stop motion videos). Notice how a lot of these ideas are visual. Visual marketing is key!

Do you have any other cool ideas for how to integrate Amazon smile into your marketing plan? Let me know! I’d love to hear about any other ways that your non profit is using Amazon Smile.

More Reading

If you need to do some more research on Amazon Smile in order to present the idea to your company here is a collection of articles that I found helpful.

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Getting Started with Google Analytics (Part 1)

It’s end of the month, and I know that all of you are filling out your marketing spreadsheets. At least, I hope you are! If you’re not keeping track of your monthly progress (Facebook likes, Twitter followers, etc) read this article by Hubspot on using Excel to your advantage.


But monthly progress isn’t just measured in an increase of Facebook likes or Twitter followers. It can also be measured in how successful your campaigns are in directing traffic. Kind of like measuring your ROI. Google Analytics can help tell you how many people were directed to your website via Facebook or Twitter, and sometimes (through Hootsuite) which Tweets/Posts drove that traffic. Then, based on that information, you can plan your next social media campaign.

Am I making sense? Maybe an example will make this a little clearer.

As you may or may not know, I work for a small non profit based of Boston. I started working for them mid-October and my official position is “Social Media Coordinator.” I’m basically in charge of their entire social media presence. Last week, I was filling out the Hubspot spreadsheet that we use to track our social media presence and I noticed that a lot of traffic was coming from Tumblr. Hmm. How curious, I thought, since the previous Marketing Director hadn’t mentioned Tumblr at all. I immediately logged onto their Tumblr and noticed that they had a pretty sad presence on the site. So, I decided to re-vamp their profile (check it out here!) and am now actively updating their page. Within hours of using Tumblr, we received three questions in our “Ask” box asking about volunteering with us. WOW! And that’s all because I paid attention to Google Analytics.

So how can you use Google Analytics to your advantage?

First and foremost, make sure that Google Analytics is set up correctly on your website. Here’s a great video that Google put together on how to set up Analytics.


Second, use Analytics to see what social media platforms are important to your Non Profit. In order to do so, you’re going to want to go to “Acquisition” and then “Channels.” What this is going to do is show you how people are finding your website. Google breaks it down into six (or more depending on your settings) categories: organic search, direct search (typing the website directly into your browser), referral, paid search, social, and email. The one that you, as a social media marketer, are going to focus on is social. At this point, it’s best for you to make sure that you’re viewing the results from this past month. You can do so by adjusting the dates in the top right hand corner. As you know, social media is constantly changing. If you’re going to be “on top” of your platforms, it’s best to analyse month by month.


Once you click on social you’re going to see a list of social networks with the number of visits that the network has given you.

This is a great way for you to see what networks are working, what networks aren’t, and even more importantly which ones you should be using that you aren’t. Like I mentioned, it was a huge surprise to me that United Planet was popular on Tumblr. But because of Google Analytics, I was able to add Tumblr into my daily projects. Be sure to check back monthly to keep track of what platforms are driving your traffic, and to see any improvements your campaigns might have made.

ImageThird, you should definitely explore the keywords section of Google Analytics. According to this article, “Keyword research is one of the most important, valuable, and high return activities in the search marketing field.” I talked about how important it is to use the right keywords in my SEO blog post, but just to remind you: using the proper keywords can really help in your where your website ranks in a Google search.

So, what does Google Analytics show you? The “Organic Keywords” page is a list of keywords that people are searching online to get to your website. These are the keywords that you’re going to want to use in your blog posts, on your website, in your Google adwords, and/or all over your social media.

Again, refer to my SEO blog post for more information on how to increase your websites popularity.

Pay attention to both the long term (adjust the date to explore the past year) and short term (monthly) keywords. Why is this important? It’s important to see what words people are consistently searching to get to your website, but it’s also important to track any monthly changes. For instance, United Planet (the non profit I work for) sends volunteers to 30+ countries for various projects. Naturally, our keywords mostly consist of the word/phrases “volunteer” and “volunteer abroad.” However, when I checked our Keywords for October, I noticed that a lot  of people are searching “medical volunteer abroad” and other variations of that phrase. So, I immediately informed our blogger and other members of the marketing team so that we can start creating content related to our medical trips. Do you see how that works? I’m creating content based on what people are searching. I’m giving the people what they want! And I would never have known that if I hadn’t explored our Google Analytics reports.

So, in summary:

  1. Set Google Analytics up properly
  2. Track what social media platforms are driving traffic to your website, and up your presence on them.
  3. Check your Keywords monthly and adjust your content to “give the people what they want.”

Google Analytics is an extremely powerful tool that will dramatically change how you and your marketing team design your social media presence. Be sure to check in for “part two” to learn more about how to use Google Analytics to your advantage!

P.S – I just uploaded this Google Analytics powerpoint that I created a few weeks ago. Check it out!

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You know what’s really cool? Google for Non Profits.


It’s also an absolute must for any non-profit with an active online presence.

Google launched Google for Non Profits in 2011 for non profits in America, but has recently (I think earlier this year) made it available to England and Wales. The service basically allows charities to use Google products that businesses would usually pay for for free. But more importantly they give money in advertising credit to help promote your cause through Google.

Charities that sign up for Google Non Profits are granted free access to Gmail, Google Talk, Hangouts and Drive. They also receive up to $10,000 a month in advertising credit for Google Adwords to help them reach potential donors.

That’s crazy, right? I still remember the first time I found out about it. My jaw hit the ground. I don’t think I’ve ever signed up for anything that quickly before in my life. Of course, signing up for Google for Non Profits means providing proof that you are actually a registered non-profit. I’m currently going through the process with the nonprofit I work for, United Planet, and it’s a bit of a pain.

You also gain access to the premium features of YouTube, Google Analytics, and Google Earth Outreach. And what makes it even better is that Google will take you through how to use all your new programs!

Naturally, HubSpot is already all over this. They’ve got plenty of helpful articles that will walk you through how to sign up for Google Non Profits and how to maximize your grants.

So, my question for my readers is, are you taking advantage of Google Non Profits? Is it worth signing up for?

P.S – I’ll be adding a tutorial on how to use specific Google for non profit features once I gain access to it. Stay tuned!

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