On Friday, July 16th Mashable shared How Non-Profits Can Maximize a Foursquare Account. There is some great information on the site about how some nonprofit organizations are utilizing Foursquare’s API, creating a brand page, and offering special badges, discounts, or mayor specials.
These examples are pretty high end for most organizations. So here are 4 easy steps to integrate Foursquare into your Social Media Plan today:
1. Create Your Nonprofit’s Foursquare Account
Go to www.foursquare.com and click “Sign Up”. You are required to submit:
First Name: Post the Full Name of your nonprofit in this field and skip the last name. (Foursquare abbreviates the last name field which would display Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra as Indianapolis Symphony O. Not ideal in my opinion.)
Email Address: I recommend using the most common email address for your organization. I’m talking about the email used for e-newsletters and general announcements, such as “email@example.com”. This will help any Foursquare user with Gmail find you if they use the find friends feature (Step 4 below).
Current City: Use your organization’s city and state
Upload a Picture: It’s not required, but you should definitely upload the nonprofit’s logo or twitter avatar for consistent branding.
2. Claim You Nonprofit’s Listing
Sign in to your account and search for your organization. It should show up under “venue” if it has been created by another Foursquare user. If it doesn’t show up, you can add your nonprofit’s venue by clicking here.
The biggest bonus for claiming your venue is the rich data that is provided:
- most recent visitors
- most frequent visitors
- the time of day people check in
- total number of unique visitors
- histogram of check-ins per day
- gender breakdown of customers
- portion of foursquare check-ins broadcast to Twitter and Facebook
- … and more coming soon!
Think about all the good prospects for volunteers, donors and advocates you’ll identify!
3. Build Advocacy By Adding Tips
Tips are the easiest way for your nonprofit to engage on Foursqaure. After you’ve set up your nonprofit’s account, you can easily add tips to any venue in Foursquare. Your followers will see those tips when they view your profile page (not your venue) and the tip will pop up in their mobile app when they check in at or near a venue you’ve tagged. Extending yourreach further, anyone that looks at the venue will see the tip your organization has left.
Add a tip at the venues of your sponsors. “@ Target: Tell the staff thanks from us for outfitting 50 students with school supplies.”
Follow National Wildlife Federation’s lead by adding educational tips to venues. PS- They have a brand page, but you can accomplish the same results with the account you created above.
4. Connect With Supporters & Build Your Followers
How would you know if your supporters are using Foursquare? The easiest way is to start by adding the people you follow on twitter. Start with the organization’s twitter account, but I also recommend using your personal Twitter account to find other friends who may like your organization.
Please note that Facebook Connect feature will only connect with an individual’s profile, not your Fan Page… or at least for now.
Finally, you can import email addresses from your database or email program to a new Gmail account. Once you connect Foursquare to a Gmail account it will easily identify any contacts that use this site. This is pretty easy and effective way to find contacts on Facebook and Twitter as well.
Is this really worth your time? Yes. Will you raise money? Indirectly, though there are examples of some that have.
The Fund Raising School teaches organizations to build support through Linkage, Ability & Interest. Actively engaging the community and your supporters in meaningful way will increase their linkage and interest in your nonprofit adding extra transparency.
After you implement these 4 Easy Steps, email firstname.lastname@example.org (get it, foursquare + charity…) to have your nonprofit highlighted. All Indiana nonprofits with accounts will be listed on this site. Please let me if you would like assistance with these steps as I’d be glad to help.
Stay tuned for more creative ideas, best practices and examples for nonprofits on foursquare!