Building a Nonprofit in the Social Media Era

by | Nov 16, 2021

If you’ve ever wondered how to leverage social media, influencers, and your network to boost your impact, don’t miss this…

You know that social media is important, right? But does it ever feel like it “just doesn’t work” for you? Have you ever wondered how to leverage the audience of influencers to raise your profile and grow your impact?

If so, then catch the most recent episode of A Modern Nonprofit Podcast. Krista Kleiner joins us to talk about how she leveraged her network and a social media “challenge” to launch a successful new nonprofit, from scratch.

Krista Kleiner is the Founder and Executive Director of The One Heart Movement. The One Heart Movement exists to foster unity and well being through the power of community love. They work in partnership with people from a wide range of backgrounds who are coming together in support of our vision of a kinder and more unified world.

In this episode, Krista will show you…

Why networking is important for increasing growth and awareness (5:10)
Why people are reluctant to reach out to influencers or influential people (7:30)
How to get in touch with influencers (9:52)
How to build your nonprofit’s social media presence (12:34)
Krista’s advice for increasing engagement on social media (15:39)
How to build and keep the momentum on social media (18:36)

As a published author from the age of 16, Krista has become known for creatively bridging culture and community, media and entertainment, philanthropy and advocacy, telling stories through her writing, TV hosting and public speaking as a way to foster understanding and compassion. Her reach quickly expanded after winning the Miss Philippines International title in 2010. She has worked in influential roles including being spokesperson for nonprofit organizations such as the National Diversity Coalition, National Asian American Coalition, Asian World Film Festival, Miss Philippines Charities, The Philippines Foundation, Club 42, The Red Whistle Campaign and more.

Thanks for joining us! For more nonprofit accounting resources check out
http://www.thecharitycfo.com

 

To learn more about Krista and The One Heart Movement:
Instagram: @Krista Kleiner @TheOneHeartMovement
https://theoneheartmovement.org/

🎥 Click the video below to watch the episode on YouTube.

🎧 Click here to listen to the Podcast on AnchorFM or Apple Podcasts

👇 Or scroll below the video to read the full transcript of our conversation

 

 


A Modern Nonprofit Podcast

Building a Nonprofit in the Social Media Era

11/16/2021

Tosha Anderson:

Hey friends, welcome back to another episode of A Modern Nonprofit Podcast. My name is Tosha Anderson, and I am here today with my friend, Krista Kleiner. Really excited to have this conversation Krista, because you come from such an interesting background, and you have so many things that I think you could talk about and you can share from your own personal story, the nonprofit that you were a founder of, as well as how you’ve been successful in your own right, and the different ways of your business. So Krista, thank you so much for joining us. I’m really excited to have this conversation today.

Krista Kleiner:

Well, Thank you so much for having me Tosha. I’m such a fan of how you’ve turned your work into a way of connecting and giving back. And obviously your background allows us to have a different type of conversation. So, thank you.

Tosha Anderson:

I guess I’m not like most accountants. I like to have conversations with people that aren’t financial, and usually as financial people like to congregate with other people that are financial and have really nerdy, numbered conversations. But I’m actually a- funny story, confession of mine that, although I’m an accounting major and obviously work in financial services, my real passion and love is marketing, branding, and the psychology around what makes people interested in what you’re doing and what you’re selling, and how we can almost entertain people, and how we can get their attention to bigger causes Krista. And that’s one of the things that I found really interesting about you. So, I’m not going to spill it for you. I’m going to let you tell your own story, but I want to hear a little bit more about how you came up with your organization, the One Heart movement and how that got introduced to the world. So please share.

Krista Kleiner:

Absolutely. So, you’re mentioning my background earlier, which is primarily entertainment, media, a bit of right as well, TV hosting. And I found that over the years, especially after I won Miss Philippines, that I was being approached to be a spokesperson or an ambassador for a lot of brands and nonprofits and causes, and I was really happy to do so. I think philanthropy, humanitarian work has really been ingrained in me since I was young. My mother took me to the Philippines, where she’s from, when I was six. And when I saw the poverty and I went to children’s hospitals, I was so moved. And I’ve always wanted to find a way to give back. And so I found a lot of joy in lending my voice to other causes over the years, but it was during COVID that I was moved in a very deep and different way.

Krista Kleiner:

I was seeing the impact on nurses and in particular Filipino American nurses. And I said, wow this is my background, these are my people. And so I started digging and digging and realizing the impact on not just Filipino American nurses, but all nurses around the world that COVID had. And I felt compelled to do something. And I know I’m not the only one that this time of COVID of being locked down, and having life really changed on all of us as created the opportunity in the room for us to kind of look at ourselves and our lives and the world in a different way. And so like many others I started digging deeper and I started to ask myself, what can I do to help? How can I make a positive impact to help others?

Krista Kleiner:

And so, what started off as a care for nurses really became this journey of creating awareness on the new many different issues that our world, our society is facing. And so, I began reaching out to a lot of incredible people in my life to run ideas by them, get their thoughts. I started making PowerPoint X of my research. I was such a nerd. At one point my longest deck was 70 pages, just all these ideas. But I was really lucky to get the support of other people who wanted to do good as well. And so what happened was, initially I was wanting to do some sort of fundraising event that would go under another nonprofit that I’m an ambassador for, but I was told by a lawyer and a friend, who’s now a board member and our lead donor, that the idea that I had was really its own nonprofit, and that I should just start my own.

Krista Kleiner:

And within one minute of the lawyer advising this and my friend on the board, agreeing that we should do this, I found myself accidentally almost starting this nonprofit. And I’m so grateful that I got that support, but our mission is to foster unity and wellbeing through the power of community love. And I chose that because I realize that the root of most of our problems, comes from this lack of connectivity of us coming together. Because like any relationships, there’s bound to be issues and bumps and things, because we’re all very unique and different, but it’s the attitude and the willingness to compromise, or to find our common ground so that we can find solutions. And I felt that I, wanted to do something that would foster that because it could lend itself to be a solution, to many different problems and issues, challenges that we have along the way.

Tosha Anderson:

I love that. What an interesting story. So, you had mentioned reaching out to your network and having a conversation. So, in your mind, or especially in your experience. Why is networking so important increasing the growth and awareness of nonprofits? I mean, yours just so happen to create a nonprofit, but even taking that from like creation now to actually running the organization, what would you say networking has done for you? Or why is that important to other organizations?

Krista Kleiner:

Networking or another way to say it, I like to see it beyond networking, is having a really tight group of supporters who you can count on to give you fair feedback, who believe and trust in you enough to connect you with other people. There’s different layers in depth. And so, sure it’s easy to go around and network and meet people, but who’s really going to go out on a limb for you. You know what I mean? To me, you can’t really expect that from people, if you don’t create a deeper connection with them.

Krista Kleiner:

And so beyond networking, I think that creating really deep relationships meant everything to me. I tell people all the time, the success that we’ve had in such a short amount of time, is really a reflection of the wonderful people I have around me. It’s not easy to start a company, life in general is not easy. But to take on an extra feet of starting a company, it can be really overwhelming. And if I didn’t have the support system that I do, which came started from networking, there’s no way that I would’ve been able to start this company and grow it. And so, that’s one of the things that I emphasize to people the most.

Tosha Anderson:

It’s so funny to me how you had mentioned that you reached out to people, and initiated those conversations. And I have people reach out to me occasionally and asked me to help with a project, or to speak on behalf, or be an ambassador for, and it’s really kind of flattering for me. And in many cases I say, yes. And I know that you’ve been approached, like you were saying that you’ve been approached to speak on behalf of nonprofits or specific causes. And you’ve certainly agreed to do that. So, which kind of leads me to the next question. And I think people have this uncertainty, or this lack of confidence or unwillingness to ask people, especially influencers, or other people that have pretty significant public- they’re just big public figures. They’re afraid to reach out to them and to ask them for support, especially, and including on social media.

Tosha Anderson:

So, what would you say to that? Have you seen some of your colleagues, or your friends, or people within your circle, are they willing to speak up on behalf of these causes and should we be afraid to ask people?

Krista Kleiner:

No. I can understand that it can be intimidating for sure. Especially, you don’t know this person, you don’t have the energy in the room to work off of. But we never know unless we try. And so for me, I find it much easier to reach out to people when having a really good cause. Because it’s not this “Hey, support me with my me, me, me project” it’s “Hey, here’s something that matters in the world. Here’s why, here’s other things that can validate that. And here’s an opportunity for you to make a difference and also show your following that you care and that you have a heart and that you’re doing good things in the world” which I think is also very important for influencers to show that side of them.

Krista Kleiner:

So, I think so much of it is how we frame it in our own minds. And if we can realize that we’re actually giving them a value proposition for them, that can work both ways. And I think it helps balance out the playing field. And it’s on us who is approaching, to see if it will resonate with that person. I believe in doing our homework. See if this person care about children, or the environment or what matters to them, or asking them, and giving them different options like a menu like, “Hey, we’re doing it. These two things, what resonates with you?” And then saying that we’re happy to create a campaign for you, and give you materials to make it easy, and give you the messaging. Just make their life as simple as possible. I find that these are things that have helped us.

Tosha Anderson:

Good. So, now I have to ask you the loaded question. How would someone even get in touch with someone that they might consider an influencer? Do these influencers actually check their own Instagram DM’s? How would you, if you to say, this is amazing, I have the perfect person. I have no idea how to get in touch with these people. Is there like a secret?

Krista Kleiner:

Well, I think it circles back to your first question on networking. So, so much of the success that I’ve had comes through personal connections, and someone making another connection, which has helped open doors. Because you’re right. Sometimes these people don’t check emails. So for the bigger relationships, they came from a referral. So for example, how we got to the D’Amelio’s, who are one of the biggest social media families on the planet, is a friend who had been my mentor for a years, connecting me with a top person at entertainment industry who ended up joining our board. And again, it’s all about the great impressions as well. That person connected us with the CEO of Treloar which is- sorry, airplane. Maybe we should wait for it to go by.

Tosha Anderson:

You’re good. I can hear you perfectly clear.

Krista Kleiner:

And so after that connection, the CEO of Treloar had the opportunity to present our cause. And then he had the team join a call the next day. And then that team went out and shared it with all the influencers that they managed. So, that was one approach. Is working with a tech company and their team, because they have a way to reach influencers. Another way is to work on getting verified on Instagram, that verification gives some credibility. So, when you do reach out it has a little bit more weight when you DM or when you comment, sometimes people don’t check DM’s . So, I recommend also commenting, and letting them know that you reached out, or sending them emails-

Tosha Anderson:

Tagging them or something.

Krista Kleiner:

Yeah. Commenting on their post so that they could see, sometimes they check. There’s so many different ways but I say try it all. DM them, comment on post. And then if they have an email attached to their social media, email them, link them, like whatever way you can, their website. Because you never know what will get their attention or what they’ll check. So, it’s really so much a game of persistence. Don’t give up, don’t get disheartened, but just keep trying, and then see if anyone in your network knows that person and can connect. There’s also things on Instagram. I think it’s less known, but verified groups. So, once you are verified group, you can get invited into one of these chat groups and that’s helped a lot too.

Tosha Anderson:

That’s interesting. Who knew? So, you gave us lots of tips, but are there any other tips that a nonprofit can build their online presence in general, not necessarily targeting influencers to get them to support their cause, or to bring awareness to their cause. But what other ways can they build just a social media presence in general?

Krista Kleiner:

Absolutely. So, that’s really what we focused on when we launched, because you realized that when people go online and look at an account on social media, they use it as a tool to see if this group or this person is credible. And so since we were brand new, we’ve launched with this social media campaign, and we launched with a challenge. And I think that’s a really interesting idea of not only learning how to create a presence quickly, but to also create engagement. It wasn’t us just posting static pictures? You know, it was, “Hey, working off this challenge, and we want you to show your heart. And we want a way that we connect with people around the world.” We made it exciting. We made a narrative and we put it around a holiday, Valentine’s day to show community love.

Krista Kleiner:

Like, do you support community love? Show us your heart. So, we had a whole campaign around it. And one of the things I love when I look at the one heart movements page is seeing so many different types of people, so many different types of things for all over the world.

Krista Kleiner:

And so instead of posting our own content, which we did a little bit of initially just to give instructions, but we made it a community platform. So, we were all about showing other people. And I think that that helped a lot in getting engagement, people to participate, people to follow, was that not only were we asking them to do something, that we were going to highlight them, and we were going to show them to our community. And also the tone of our page was really important. And we were mindful of that. During COVID, there’s a lot of bad press and like heavy things in our world. So we said well, what can we give that’s positive and bright? And so we were really mindful of setting a tone that we would personally want to see, cause it’s so happy, and uplifting and positive. So, all of this is important to think about

Tosha Anderson:

Really great tips. I think sometimes social media seems like an afterthought for many organizations. It’s just like one more thing. And I can’t tell you, I was talking with a couple different CEOs and like, well, social media doesn’t actually drive donations, but we don’t actually make any money doing that. And I just thought I actually have some really successful clients, that use fundraising through social media as their main source of revenue. So, I really challenge anybody listening to this that it absolutely does not have to be an afterthought, it shouldn’t be an afterthought to your point, your whole launch, all of this press that you’re getting, all of the engagement, awareness about what you’re trying to do, and donations that came in because of a really well thought out social media campaign.

Tosha Anderson:

So, we work with really small organizations, we work with larger organizations. And it’s really the small organizations that it’s usually one person split five different ways with many different jobs. And one of them might just happen to be to post randomly once a month on social media just to keep it alive in some way. What advice would you give to these people on how to increase their user engagement on social media, if they just had not had any people that are liking their page, or engaging with their page? Any tips on that?

Krista Kleiner:

I mean. Of course what I was saying earlier still applies. Creating some sort of challenge to motivate people, to do things, letting them-

Tosha Anderson:

something interactive.

Krista Kleiner:

Yeah. Something that’s interactive and also showing that you will share other people, because people want to be shared on social media oftentimes. So, those are good things to start off, actually engaging with people. So, when you do get comments, write back to them, like their comment and write back, ask them a question, also commenting on your followers posts as well. It’s a two way street. So, it’s hard to expect a lot of people to take the time him to write and comment on your page if you’re not doing it for them. So, I think it’s good to lead. Lead with love, [Crosstalk 00:17:43] and show people that you care. And oftentimes people like to reciprocate. So, I think that’s really important. Using hashtags as well is helpful, just to get new eyeballs of people who are interested in the subject that you’re posting about.

Krista Kleiner:

And another way too, is because it’s really complicated, and I speak to Instagram because it’s what I’m most familiar with. The algorithms that are changing all the time. So, with how many people are posting on wall posts, it’s easy for them to disappear. So, once I have a wall post up, I wait a number of hours, maybe if I did an afternoon, I’ll wait till the evening to just get a different set of people who are checking it. And I’ll share that post onto a story on the IG story, because sometimes people check the IG stories and I’ll be able to use a GIF or something and say, “new post” and like put a link to the post to direct them to the wall post in case they missed it on their feed. So, these are all little tricks that help

Tosha Anderson:

And they all add up it sounds like. So for example, I have a client who, because of COVID many organizations shifted to online platforms for their events, they did kind of virtual events through Facebook live, and had a bunch of buzz and a campaign and that was a one time thing, it was wildly successful. We had never done it before. And then as soon as that’s over, it was like crickets. Like we had all this momentum and we lost it. And I’m worried with COVID, we were all forced to be really creative, and we all went to digital spaces and we posted a bunch of things. And as the world seemingly, it will someday return back to some sense of normalcy. I’m afraid that some of that digital presence is going to be lost, or that moment is going to be lost.

Tosha Anderson:

So, you had a really big event and you were successful. What would you say about keeping the momentum going or how do you keep the momentum going after you have a really big win or circumstances? Like in the case of the one example I gave kind of forced us to think outside the box and use social media, but we’ve kind of fallen asleep now.

Krista Kleiner:

I mean, I’ve always been a big believer of not getting too comfortable. Like celebrate the wins, but be thinking of what’s coming next ahead of time, be planning ahead to keep the momentum going. And so for us, we knew that this was just one stepping stone, and to create the awareness, to gain the following, to get the engagement, to have the credibility, but to do what? And so we knew that it wasn’t just about having a big following or big social presence. It was about creating impact. And so already I was in discussions with people of different ideas that we could do, and things are bound to not work out, especially with how weird things are with COVID restrictions, but we had multiple ideas. And so I think that’s really important so you don’t get stuck in any rut.

Krista Kleiner:

And so we had a new initiative that we launched, a World Environment Day. We launched an initiative to plant trees on behalf of every life loss to COVID. And so that gave us something to talk about, press releases. So, I think having new topics to share with your audience is important, and that could be new initiatives, or it could be articles and people talking about it, could be interviews, just keep it interesting. And that’s, I think a challenge that we all face with our own individual profiles or presence, and with the companies. But by doing interesting things, it allows us more opportunity to share interesting things. So, I like to begin with that, start with the base and then you can create creative content out of that.

Tosha Anderson:

Absolutely. And I know this kind of holds us accountable. I have social media platforms and I have to force myself, Tasha you must do something interesting or come across something interesting to be intentional about sharing those interesting things with the people that follow you. So, not necessarily me creating it, but me sharing it or as I come across it just be really intentional about collecting it all up and re posting that for others to see. So, I think this has all been exceptionally helpful. As I mentioned, I’m actually a CPA by training, but I’m kind of a marketing social media junkie myself, although I’m not as active certainly as most people are, but I really love how much it can bring people together. It can bring people to view your cause, and especially in the nonprofit space, what better way to bring awareness to our cause than using these platforms for so many people are on anyway. So, thank you for all of your words of wisdom Krista. This has been really informative for me and hopefully really helpful for the nonprofits to listen.

Krista Kleiner:

Well, thank you. You have an awesome mixture of your interest. And we can make giving back, and doing good fun and exciting. We’ll get more people to join. So, let’s keep that in mind and thank you for making this conversation fun.

Tosha Anderson:

Good. So Krista, people wanted to find you certainly on Instagram, anybody could find Krista on Instagram. But if you wanted to hear more about Krista’s organization, and follow her journey and see what she’s doing, I guess Krista, the easiest way would just be going to your website @theoneheartmovement.org. Is that the best way? And then what other ways can people follow you and see what you’re up to?

Krista Kleiner:

For sure. My personal Instagram is Krista, K-R-I-S-T-A underscore Kleiner, K-L-E-I-N-E-R. So, I post a lot of things there, and we have our @theoneheartmovement. And that would be the best way to keep up to date with what we’re up to, and of course, reach out to me through either of those.

Tosha Anderson:

Perfect. Well, we’ll put those in the show notes for anybody that wants to take a peek at what Krista is doing. And Krista thank you again so much for joining us until next time. Thanks everyone.

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