Hunger relief. Plus one.

 All the cool kids online are talking about Google+.  Google has mashed up features of Twitter and Facebook (mostly Twitter, seems to me), added features of their own and created a new social media platform that appears to have reached “next big thing” status. It has reportedly amassed more than 20 million users in less than three weeks. If you’re a professional communicator, community builder, or influence wielder, you might want to be paying attention to it.

Web marketing strategist, Chris Brogan makes a great case for taking it seriously in 10 Things CMOs Need to Know About Google+.  Even if you’re not a CMO.

One of the features of Google+ is the ability to customize content curation and distribution into what Google calls “Circles.” You can create your own circles based on the interests of the members. Friends, family, acquaintances, etc. 

Right now, Google+ is prohibiting brands and organizations, limiting profiles to individuals. Google is saying that will change. But in the meantime, savvy users will build communities around their individual profiles, then migrate them to their organizations when that gate is opened. Which is what I hope to do here.

I’ve created a circle I refer to as “hunger relief–social good,” with the purpose of aggregating connections who are either involved directly in the issue of hunger or who use social media for social good. You know who you are. I probably know who you are.  If you are interested in participating and already have a Google+ profile, add me and let me know you’re interested. If you are currently not using Google+ and want an invitation, email me at ed dot nicholson at tyson dot com.

Let’s all see how this works.



I’ve been two days in anti-hunger conferences in DC: Saturday at the National Hunger Free Communities Summit sponsored by the Alliance to End Hunger, and Sunday at the FRAC/Feeding America National Anti-Hunger Policy Conference.

I love coming to these things, not just because they’re engergizing and educational, but also because they generate connections, many of which turn into steadfast friendships. The discussion is stimulating, informed and passionate. It’s the kind of interaction that should be occuring among the issue’s most serious advocates every single day. You know, there’s technology now that allows that kind of thing.

Three years ago, all full of (perhaps naive) enthusiasm for the community-building potential of social media tools, I posed the question in this blog post, “Where’s the online discussion about hunger,” generally assuming that somewhere people were carrying on these discussions in online communities. At the time I was personally connected to online communities talking about about PR, social media, even guitar collecting (a personal hobby). So I assumed as smart and talkative as this hunger bunch was, they’d be gathering online somewhere. They weren’t. And that’s a shame.

Because this is a tremendous community. We should be connected. And I’m glad to say that in the past year or so, there have been some great strides made. Lots of passionate hunger fighters like Tim Cipriano  from New Haven, Lisa Sherrill from the Bay Area, ConAgra’s Steff Childs, and the folks Share Our Strength  (just to name a few) are connected with each other. Retweeting. Commenting. Sharing Content. Supporting the COMMUNITY, not just using the channels to push spam messages out.

I attended the social media session at the Hunger Policy Conference and was it was really cool to see that there’s a real interest in knowing how to use these online tools. Many out there already in the game, just looking for ways to do it better.

Can I make one suggestion: Let’s support each other. I may not be able to use my bandwidth to talk about your foodbank’s Saturday night event or things that basically have local interest. But if you have a story to tell; if you want to editorialize on one of the big issues; if you have a best practice that might be of interest to you peers around the country; by all means email me, @ me or send me a Facebook message. I’ll do my best to use the channels I have to get you heard.

Let’s connect.

photo: Flickr Creative Commons by Acustance

Guest post: Beth Kanter Interviews Dan Michel from Feeding America on Social Media Measurement

Dan Michel, Digital Marketing Manager, Feeding America Twitter: @dpmichel

Social Media Measurement is this month’s theme on the Zoetica Salon hosted on my blog Facebook page. Last week, Dan Michel offered an intriguing answer to this question: “What form of social media measurement does your organization engage in; Community participation, advocacy (earned mentions, discussions), or donations ($ or time)? ”

I thought it would useful to have a more in-depth conversation in the Zoetica Salon with Dan so we could delve into KPIs for social media. The conversation was fast and intense on Facebook, so that’s why I’m taking the time to summarize out here.

Dan is the Digital Marketing Manager for Feeding America where he oversees the execution of their external digital strategy which includes social media. Feeding America is the nation’s leading hunger organization with a network of over 200 food banks serving 37 million Americans struggling with hunger.

Feeding America’s strategic plan has a broad goal to mobilize the public in three outcomes areas: donations, public policy advocates and brand awareness and foster engagement. One KPI (Key Performance Indicators) they use for their social media strategy is share of conversation. As Dan Michel notes, “Our social media strategy focuses on brand awareness and engagement and is part of an integrated communications strategy. We spend time identifying and building relationships with super-advocates online and engage them — similar to the way you engage major donors or champion advocacy constituents. “

For example, during Hunger Action Month in September, Feeding America created a tab on their Facebook page where people could share a different action every day. The theme was “30 Ways for 30 Days“. Dan says, “We measured that through each action and each was track-able. At the end of the month, we could gauge our share of conversation in the hunger through listening tools. “

Using Radian 6, a listening tool, they do a pre/post share of Conversation about hunger. Says Michel, “We did increase our share of conversation during that month about 150%!” They also track how many fans and followers as a way to gauge how effective their tactics were. Michel reports that those increased during the month of September at a faster rate.

Social media results are also reported to senior management as part of their organizational reporting for their strategic plan. Says Michel, “In this specific case, we share our social media measurement results as part of the overall campaign report. For digital and social, we have a cross-departmental team creating digital goals together with each department acting as a subject matter expert. The team is creating an overall digital dashboard that can be shared with the organization as a whole.”

Feeding America also tracks conversions for donors using Google Analytics so they can follow the path of the donor – from a like or comment on Facebook to online donation form. “It is still a little clunky and requires work but that information is very valuable. We are low on the donation conversions but we are seeing social media become very important in helping with public policy efforts – like the recent Child Nutrition Bill. We saw a lot of interest and click thrus from Twitter particularly.” They used Google Analytics to see where traffic is coming from specifically to their advocacy pages surrounding the bill and looked at Twitter retweets.

Dan also emphasizes that social media acted an accelerator and that it was a multi-channel campaign both online and offline and used both grassroots and grasstops tactics. As Michel notes, The bill passed and our advocacy folks are taking a well-deserved break.

Source: Social Marketing Analytics by John Lovett and Jeremiah Owyang

Feeding America uses KPIs for social media to not only support bigger organizational goals but also measure Dan’s job performance. To come up with goals, notes Michel, “We took a snapshot of the previous and determined a “reach goal” for the next fiscal year.” Michel says you need the rights goals and the right KPIs. Another internal challenge is to get the different departments on the same page about what to measure. This done on the front-end through cross-departmental teams where each department acts a subject matter expert and a shared dashboard that can be shared with the organization as a whole. Michel also observes, “It is important to realize that all these different measurements (donations, constituents, policy actions, conversation) are dependent and can affect of each other, it isn’t an either/or.”

Dan says, “I have been doing web for a long time and increasing unique website visitors was always a KPI. With social media now is that as important anymore? Maybe?” (See this research report from Altimeter on the new social media analytics and the accompanying links from this blog post by Jeremiah Owyang.)

Dan offers this advice to other nonprofits about social media measurement:

Examine existing strategic plans/board outcomes and ask “How can social media support those?” Realize that there may not be an apples-to-apples comparison but examine how your social media efforts are helping you achieve your bigger organization goals. Also, social media is a great way to work cross-departmentally and begin conversations that should have been happening earlier between departments.

Have questions about social media measurement? The Zoetica Salon continues the social media measurement conversation with this excellent discussion facilitated by Kami Huyse “Social Media Measurement: Attention, Attitude, Action

We think you should “like” folks who are doing good work

We’re trying to help The Food Bank for Monterey County (California) get some new friends.  Facebook friends, that is.  So here’s the deal:  For every new “like” they get on their Facebook page for the next week, we’ll give them 100 pounds of food–up to a 30,000 pound truckload. 

All you gotta do is go to their Facebook page, hit the little “like” button at the top, and you’ve donated. 

Don’t use Facebook?  Just leave a comment here and we’ll do the same thing.  Easy enough?

Thanks to uber-connetor Beth Kanter for making the connections and suggestions that got this ball rolling.

Hunger Twitterers


We started this Twitter list almost three years ago with names of people who have been active (online or offline) in the discussion of hunger. Since then it’s grown as more and more people and organizations find Twitter a valid way to bring the community online.   From time to time, I’ll re-tweet the URL to this post. If you’d like your name added to this list, comment here with your Twittername, send Twitter reply to  @TysonFoods, or email me at ed.nicholson@Tyson dot com   I probably won’t add you unless you ask me, so if you want to be added (some folks would prefer their names not be on the list), just ask!

There’s also a comprehensive hunger twitterers list at to  which you can subscribe with one click.

Now. You all go follow each other and talk amongst yourselves.  SOS primary account  Feeding America Billy Shore, founder of Share Our Strength Dan Michel–social media for Feeding America Ellen Damaschino SOS OFL Hall of Fame Chef and blogger Take Action on Hunger  Rock for Hunger Feed Them With Music  David Davenport    Lisa Goddard, Online Marketing Director, CAFB  Karla Cantu, Senior Director of Agency Relations, CAFB Kim Willis, Communications Manager, CAFB Molly Robbins, Community Events Manager, CAFB   Emily Babb, Donor Services Manager, CAFB John Lyon, Faith-Based Capacity Building-VISTA, CAFB JC Dwyer, Texas Food Bank Network, Statewide Advocacy Director, Michael Clark, Mitchell Communications
http://elisemitch  Elise Mitchell, Mitchell Communications San Antonio Food Bank Community Relations Manager  Michael Farver Susan Adcock Photoblogger Ed Nicholson, personal account   A. Zganjar, Share Our Strength Suzy Twohig, Share Our Strength The Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign Tom Robinson, Live Feed (Music for hunger relief, St. Louis) Friends of the World Food Program Cooking With Amy– Hunger Challenge Blogger Genie Gratto– Hunger Challenge Blogger Maria Niles–Hunger Challenge Blogger  Texas Food Bank Network  Michelle Stern Food Bank of ContraCosta and Solano Counties Portland Rescue Mission, Portland, Oregon Judy–Ft. Myers Soup Kitchen  Association of Arizona Food Banks  New Community Mobile Food Pantry, Naperville, IL Mark Arnoldy-focuses on international malnutrition Healthful meals & nutrition education for children Suzanne Lee, Dir. of Communications & Mktg.   Care & Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado  DeCA Dietician Ft. Lee, VA Homewatch Northwest Arkansas    Church World Service Greater Philadephia Coalition Against Hunger  Second Helpings, Indianapolis Miriam’s Kitchen–serving homeless in DC Bread for the City, Washington, DC   Tim Blair, hunger activist Poppy Pembroke Communications Mgr.,Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties  Heifer International  Heifer Portland  Kids Food Basket.  Grand Rapids, Michigan Holly Hight–Bread for the World  WHY  World Food Programme World Food Prize MAZON–hunger relief organization  End Child Hunger, Michael Farver First the Basics (helping people find hot meals) Union Rescue Mission, Little Rock  Kristin–Project Bread–The Walk for Hunger Phoenix Rescue Mission Sarah Hall Emily Bryant Mary Chant  Walk and Knock-annual food drive   Stacy Wong , Greater Boston Food Bank    Hands on Hartford Chicago Shares Timothy Cipriano, New Haven School Systems and Local Food Dude Meals on Wheels Serving Central Virginia A  Joyfull Holiday Lara DiPaola Jeffrey Strain, Penny Experiment  The Volunteer Way Harvest for Hunger Pittsburgh Food Bank Jennifer Stapleton, Bread for the World Bread for the World  Community Center of St. Bernard The Last Show–Karen   Robert J. Teitelbaum  The Dinner Garden Hartford Food System Second Harvest Heartland Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, Orlando  2nd Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara & San Mateo Counties Atlanta Community Food Bank   Arkansas Foodbank Network Bay Area Food Bank    Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank Capital Area Food Bank of Texas, Inc.  Care and Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado   Central IL Foodbank Central Pennsylvania Food Bank  Community Food Bank, Fresno, CA Chattanooga Area Food Bank   City Harvest   New York,NY Cleveland Foodbank, Inc. Community Food Bank of New Jersey Connecticut Food Bank Central Virginia Foodbank, Inc.,  Feeding South Florida, Miami Eastern Illinois Foodbank, Urbana America’s Second Harvest of Wisconsin, Milwaukee Feeding America West Michigan Food Bank Food Bank For New York City Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina, Raleigh Regional Food Bank Northeastern New York Food Bank of Corpus Christi Food Bank of Delaware, Newark Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley, Inc. Food Bank of the Rockies, Denver Foodbank of Santa Barbara County       Food Bank of South Jersey Food Bank of the Southern Tier, Elmira, NY Food Bank of Northern Indiana Greater Chicago Food Depository   Foodlink Food Bank, Rochester, NY Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, Raleigh, NC Freestore FoodBank, Cincinnati Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana, Inc. The Greater Boston Food Bank Capital Area Food Bank, DC Harvesters – The Community Food Network, Kansas City Houston Food Bank High Plains Food Bank, Amarillo Los Angeles Regional Foodbank Lowcountry Food Bank, Charleston, SC MANNA FoodBank, Ashville NC Montana Food Bank Network Mid-Ohio FoodBank  Second Harvest Heartland Northern Illinois Food Bank Food Bank of Northern Nevada Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank North Texas Food Bank   Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina  Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina Oregon Food Bank Ozarks Food Harvest, Springfield, MO Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank Redwood Empire Food Bank, Santa Rosa, CA Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma (OKC) Rhode Island Community Food Bank, Providence San Antonio Food Bank   Second Harvest Ohio  Southeast Missouri Food Bank San Francisco Food Bank Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee South Texas Food Bank, Laredo South Plains Food Bank, Lubbock St. Louis Area Foodbank St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance, Phoenix Tarrant Area Food Bank, Ft. Worth Three Square Food Bank, Las Vegas United Food Bank, Mesa AZ Utah Food Bank Services, Salt Lake City Vermont Foodbank, Inc., South Barre Weld Food Bank, Greeley, CO West Ohio Food Bank Culinary Schmooze The National School Food Drive Family to Family   The Online Carpool for Produce Global FoodBanking Network Iowa Food Bank Association  Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank, Duluth  Good Shepherd Food Bank, Maine  Kim Doyle Wille  Marlita H  Robin and Craig  Jeffrey Goldade Gary Ransome Robin Stephenson, Bread for the World  Community Servings, Massachusetts  Jeremy Lutgen,  Novis International  Here’s Life Inner City  Paladinette Metro CareRing, Denver  AARP Wisconsin  One Less Meal–Double D Diner
Twitter Lists–Hunger Relief (one click following) Share Our Strength (@ShareStrength) is doing a wonderful job of categorizing and

listing its stakeholders involved in hunger relief on the Twitter List tool.