Have You Been Seeing Fewer Posts from the Meso Foundation in your Facebook Feed?

Meso Facebook LikeIn recent years, social media has become a valuable tool used to assist nonprofit organizations in raising awareness of their cause and programs. The Meso Foundation has been taking advantage of a number of platforms for this purpose, and is currently present on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. We use these social networks to connect with our community, provide news and information, promote upcoming events, fundraise, and simply to discuss mesothelioma and raise awareness of this cancer. We have found that Facebook, in particular, is an ideal social media tool for our purposes, and we have been using it extensively.

However, as a business, Facebook is focused on making money.  Recently, in an effort to do just that, Facebook engineers have made changes to the way posts are displayed on your news feed. Just a few months ago, those of you following our Facebook page would see our posts regularly. Now, however, Facebook shows our posts to only about 10% of you. The goal for Facebook is to increase the amount of money they make from organizations using paid advertisements. As a nonprofit organization, we don’t have the luxury of spending much money to promote information that should be accessible to you for free, and for this reason, we need your help!

In order to give our posts more visibility, Facebook wants to see first that our content is interesting. This is gauged by the number of likes, comments, and shares a post receives. So here’s how you can help out:

  • Interact with us! If you see a post that interests you, click “like” and leave us a comment.
  • If you think your own network of friends will like the post, share it.

Not only will this allow us to hear your thoughts and opinions, but it will give our content more play by telling Facebook that our posts should be released to more of our followers. The more you interact with our posts, the more people will see them.

To break it down, here’s an example: The Meso Foundation posts an article from our blog on Facebook, and it is seen by about 200 people. If each of those 200 people like, share, or comment on the post, it will be seen by the friends of each person! This gives our content a much larger reach, and in turn, gets the word out about mesothelioma.

Through social media, we are given the opportunity to directly connect with our community members. We want to hear your questions, comments, concerns, and thoughts on the content we post. Even if you have nothing to say, a simple like or share will go a long way in getting our content out there to more people. Through these efforts, we hope to raise mesothelioma awareness while building an online community dedicated to the mission of developing effective treatment and a cure for mesothelioma patients.

If you haven’t already, be sure to like the Meso Foundation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Social Media Moment: Hiding Your Friends on Facebook

We have talked before about the importance of not sharing everything on your Facebook page. What tends to be the most common mistake in social media (regardless of the platform) is sharing too much or simply sharing with the wrong people. So it’s always good to take precautions.

Did you know, though, that you could be sharing without realizing? This unknown, and sometimes unwanted swapping of data is due to the default settings of your Facebook account. Once you have signed up, created your online identity, and logged on, Facebook already has you sharing more than just your favorite photos and current check-in’s. It’s also sharing those people in your network.

Why is this important to control?

You may want to be open and public with your own opinions, but there is the matter of friends you may want to keep hidden from the same public eye. You may not want to openly share with the world the people that populate your network. With your Friends list complete open to the public, anyone — anyone — can go through your Friends gallery, click on any name, and request a connection. If you know that you have a friend that may be a touch shy and unwilling to meet new people on a whim; or if you are protective of your network and wish to only share its membership with people you really know, protecting your Friends on Facebook is quite easy.

  1. Go to Facebook and log in (if you are not logged in already).
  2. Go to top-right corner of your Facebook page, there is a menu there that has your name, Find Friends, and Home. Single-click on your name. (You may also see your name under the “Facebook” logo at the top-left of your screen. You can click that, too, as that link also takes you to the right place.)
  3. You should see your “Friends” gallery to the right of your Statistics (your job, where you’re located, where you went to school, etc.). Go on and single-click your Friends gallery to enter it.
  4. At the very top of your Friends list, you will see towards the upper-right (just underneath your name) two buttons: “Edit” and “Find Friends.” Single-click the “Edit” button.

  1. A window appears that reads “Who can see your full friend list on your timeline?” and also shows (by default) a small icon of the world. Single-click the “globe” icon to reveal your options.
  2. In this drop menu of options, you can either have your Friends be:
    1. Public: This means everyone is visible to people who are friends with you and with casual people just looking at your webpage.
    2. Friends: Only your approved Friends will have access to your Friends list.
    3. Only Me: This option will make your Friends completely Private, so you and only you will be able to see your network.
    4. Custom: This takes a bit more planning but here you can make your Friends visible to the people in your network, just you, specific lists you create, or people tagged in photographs. Another option offered here is you can hide your Friends from specific people or lists in your network.
  3.  Choose your option and the “Edit” window closes automatically.

This is how you can keep your Friends and your network secure from unwanted attention. By locking down your network (the tightness of that lockdown clearly up to you), you can now protect your friends from unwanted or unwarranted contacts. At the Meso Foundation we know how serious you take your privacy, and if you are concerned about the privacy of your friends, as well, we are here to make sure when you update a status or share a photo, you do so safely and securely.

That addiction to Farmville, however…no, we can’t help you there. Sorry.

For more information on available resources and online communities, visit our website at http://www.curemeso.org.

A Social Media Moment: Knowing Boundaries

Our nurse-practitioner-of-infinite-awesome, Mary Hesdorffer, brought to my attention that on our Facebook page there has been more and more activity appearing, people ranging from mesothelioma survivors to those surviving loved ones lost. She mentioned to me that she got an impression from some new to Facebook that they were not sure what is appropriate and inappropriate to share on the Facebook platform. For many of our users, the visit to our online group or fan page is their first foray into the social network. Where do you begin to figure out the rules of engagement, as it were?

Well, your answer really is in what Facebook is all about, isn’t it? Facebook is a social network, so it’s all about being social. While completing your profile (which I suggest you do because the more complete profile, the easier it is to connect and interact with people) is important, it can be a bit daunting, especially if you classify yourself as a private person. The thing to keep in mind with Facebook is it is very much like any social interaction: you have boundaries, just as others do, and you must respect them.

This may sound funny, particularly from the guy who just last week was telling you to “Share! Share! Share!” Trust me — there is a method to my madness. Continue reading “A Social Media Moment: Knowing Boundaries” »

6 Tips on Planning Your Own Fundraiser

All the way from the Southern Hemisphere, the Meso Foundation received a question from Katelyn Yates:

“Hi there, I am wondering if you have any suggestions for raising money or awareness for this terrible disease? I am very keen to help in any way.”

Perhaps the best way to raise money and awareness for mesothelioma research is, not surprisingly, a fundraiser. Mesothelioma research fundraisers of various kinds happen not only in the United States, but around the world. Just recently, the third annual Miles for Meso South Florida 8K, organized by Meso Foundation volunteer, Larry Davis, brought together hundreds of runners and raised nearly $50,000 for mesothelioma research. This weekend, James Brennan, the Meso Foundation’s own Endurance Events Volunteer is running a 100 mile Ultramarathon in order to raise awareness for more research into mesothelioma while honoring his father who is a mesothelioma patient. Erica Ruble just organized a poker tournament benefiting mesothelioma research and the Meso Foundation. And many other events are already in the works in anticipation of Meso Awareness Day (September 26)

Whether it is something as epic as a 100 mile Ultramarathon, as simple as a letter writing campaign, or as creative as a writing a cookbook, the Meso Foundation believes that fundraisers serve two purposes: they raise money for research, and raise awareness. Fundraisers are also a chance to expand your creativity, putting personal resources, interests and skills to the test in developing a success.

But where to begin? And what do I do after Step 1?

Here are a few tips from the Meso Foundation on putting together a successful and fun fundraiser.

Decide on the kind of event you want to host and if the event will help you reach your goals. This is the part that is usually the most fun, but also the most infuriating — what do you want to do to raise money? Ideas bandied about between friends can be in endless supply, but eventually it should come down to one fundraiser (with a handful of others set aside for a follow-up if your first outing demands it). What you need to find is the kind of event where donors will (eagerly) give their money for something in return. Some of the more successful fundraisers have included, but are not limited to:

  • Runs/ Walks
  • Silent Auctions/ Raffles
  • Sporting events (golf tournaments, soccer games, etc.)
  • Poker Tournaments

The important thing in fundraising, whether as an individual or as part of a group is finding something that appeals to you. For example, one meso volunteer is an avid kayaker, so he is kayaking the Hudson River to honor his young daughter Linda, who was diagnosed with meso at the age of 16. The event can truly be anything you want it to be, provided it is clear for what organization or cause the money is being raised.

Give yourself time to plan. Fundraisers should never be planned on a whim. There are many factors to consider — date, time, location, publicity, and (of course) goals. All of these factors come into play when planning a successful fundraiser. Your planning should begin with a “To Do” list and “Timeline” for you and your team, or just yourself, in order to keep your fundraiser on track and on schedule. A planning schedule can be anywhere from two months to half-a-year, depending on the resources and scale of your fundraiser.

No matter how solid your plan appears, have a contingency plan in place. When planning your fundraiser, make sure your budget has a reasonable, manageable buffer in case of unforeseen expenses. If your event is reliant on the weather, find out if you can plan for a rain date. Try to imagine every worst-case scenario you and your support staff can think of, and then try and prepare for the problems you least expect.

Give your event a realistic goal. Telling people that you are trying to raise $25,000 is better than saying we are trying to raise as much money as possible, but make sure that your goal is reachable. You don’t want to have your goal be too modest (Raising $1,000 is easier than you might think.), but you also don’t want to make your goal unobtainable. ($500,000 isn’t a million dollars, but it is still half a million dollars.) Having a goal will motivate people to help you get there. If, perchance you find yourself reaching the goal early, discuss with your group the good and bad of increasing your goal; and, as mentioned before, let people know how those dollars will be spent. People like to know where their hard-earned dollars are going.

Publicize. Take advantage of any and all appropriate publicity opportunities to get word of your event out there. Press releases to local papers, free public events listings, email lists, public service announcements on local and university radio stations, and social media all work together to publicize your event. It is important to check in advance for deadlines of listings to ensure your event is publicized, and publicized at the appropriate time. We at the Meso Foundation are also happy to help spread the word through our own website, emails, newsletter, and social media channels, provided we are given proper notice. Again, this goes back to planning and time needed to properly publicize your event.

Contact our Community Fundraising Co-Chairs. Erica Ruble and Shelly Kozicki have been there and have done that. Between the two of them, they have raised nearly half a million dollars (that’s $500,000!) for mesothelioma research through events like trivia nights, golf tournaments, quartermanias, letter writing campaigns, poker tournaments, roller hockey tournaments, community garage sales, triathlons, and partnering with local grocery stores. They look forward to helping you hit the ground running and get your event started. If you would like to learn more about being mentored by one of our Community Fundraising Committee Co-Chairs, please email Jessica Barker at jbarker@curemeso.org.

There are still other things that you can do to plan for your mesothelioma research fundraiser, and we at the Meso Foundation offer you checklists and other resources to make sure your paperwork is in order, the donations are recorded correctly, and that the money reaches the right people.

For more information on planning your own fundraiser, contact Jessica Barker at (703) 879-3819, or email her at jbarker@curemeso.org. You can also find out more information on becoming involved by visiting www.curemeso.org/events.

A Social Media Moment: The Importance of Sharing on Facebook

With my arrival to the Meso Foundation, I have decided to offer a new segment from time to time here on the blog. With “A Social Media Moment” we offer a quick tutorial and commentary on getting the most out of social media in order to raise awareness in the pursuit of a cure. —TM

.

At the Meso Foundation we are all about mesothelioma awareness, and in our social media initiative one of our most powerful and influential tools is Facebook. With both a Group Page and a Fan Page, we are reaching out to the world with our message and advocacy, but in the brief time I’ve been on board I have noticed a trend that tends to go overlooked in one of our most powerful platforms. What I see is people going to our respective pages and “Liking” what they see (which is great – please keep doing that!) but not sharing what they like.

What’s the difference? Quite a bit, actually.

First, you’ll hear many seasoned social media experts go on (and on…) about the importance (or, no kidding — Return on Investment) of a “Like” on Facebook. The “Like” is very important in that it is easily trackable, and when you like a page or a news item — be it our own Foundation’s page, a friend’s funny picture of the day, or a song shared via Spotify — it is a trackable statistic. At a glance, you can see how many times your page or news item has been liked, and your own profile page lets your network know that you have liked something today. Continue reading “A Social Media Moment: The Importance of Sharing on Facebook” »