Top 10 Facebook Posts for LA-Area Nonprofits, Labor & Advocacy for March 1 – March 7

We decided to take a look a the top ten over-performing Facebook posts for LA-area organizations for the past week. “Over-performing,” for those not familiar with the term, means performing better than average for posts by a particular Page.

A post may overperform by generating ten likes and one share, if the average post by that particular page gets, say, five likes and no shares. Whereas a post with 100 likes, 35 comments and 13 shares may be considered to under-perform, if the page in question tends to post hyper-engaging content that typically generates more engagement.

So, this data is not intended to rank Facebook posts by their overall “quality” or “virality” (yikes – did we really just use that word?). One take-away that can be generalized from these posts is that their respective pages did something right, relative to the status quo for their post overall.

If you manage a page or are in any way involved with the social media presence for one of these organizations, you might get an idea what kind of material your audience finds engaging.

Right now, we’re tracking over 300 pages for organizations, invidivuals, public officials, and campaigns in the LA area. If you want to make sure your page is in the mix for future comparisons, simply email us at or tweet at our chief overall thing-doer @newlinla.

And we’d be remiss to not give a shout-out to Crowdtangle, the tool we use to analyze pages & posts.

Without further ado, here are the posts that dominated the internet in the LA social justice world this past week, ranked by the factor by which they over-performed.

Post #1: Heal the Bay (Overperformed by 21.7x.) Inspiration + creativity FTW.

Weekend inspo via Ocean Reality

Posted by Heal the Bay on Saturday, March 5, 2016

Post #2: Labor 411 (Overperformed by 19x). From the It’s About Time, You Others Better Get in Line dept.

Another reason that I choose Costco every time over the Sam’s Clubs of the world.Posted by Labor 411 on Friday, March 4, 2016

Post #3: Center for Community Change (Overperformed by 13.7x). The post is doing great, so if you’re applying for this job, it looks like you’ve got some serious shoes to fill.

Are you ready to create social change? Check out some of our open positions including a Digital Campaigner and Web Developer. We are looking for smart and passionate people to join our team!Posted by The Center for Community Change on Thursday, March 3, 2016

Post #4: Los Angeles LGBT Center (Overperformed by 12.0x). Celebrity + timeliness (the Oscars) + one of the most pressing issues in LA right now overall + how that issue affects the page’s key audience.

When Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne toured our youth center, he was shocked to learn that an astounding 40% of the youth…Posted by Los Angeles LGBT Center on Monday, February 29, 2016

Post #5: Labor 411, again (Overperformed by 10.1x) Blatant injustice + a call to action.

Tell Mondelēz International to keep the Chicago Nabisco plant open: by Labor 411 on Friday, March 4, 2016

Post #6: The California Endowment (Overperformed by 9.3x) Triumph over adversity = 100% inspiration (and a challenge to conventional wisdom).
(Note: we skipped the actual 6th-place post because it dealt with a very personal tragedy within an organization’s close-knit community.)

The story of Johns Hopkins’ Dr. Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa who went from being an undocumented farm worker outside of…Posted by The California Endowment on Monday, March 7, 2016

Post #7: Homeboy Industries (Oveperformed by 8.5x). Again, inspiration.

This is a great story about the solar panel event that took place today at Homeboy.Posted by Homeboy Industries on Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Post #8: Anti-Defamation League (Overperformed by 8.5x). Useful resources for Women’s History Month.

March marks the beginning of Women’s History Month, so we have compiled all of our Women’s History Month educational…Posted by ADL’s A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE® Institute on Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Post #9: Power my Learning (Overperformed by 7.8x). An infographic about reading that is, well, not easy to read. (Let’s talk about design ?)

30 minutes a day.Posted by PowerMyLearning on Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Post #10: Youth Justice Coalition (Overperformed by 7.3x). Injustice + a compassionate call-to-action & a chance to help.

FYI Fundraiser for protester who was stabbed at Anaheim KKK Rally.Posted by Youth Justice Coalition on Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Overall, we think uplifting messages and inspiration won the week. By the way, our digital strategy clients can get access to our Crowdtangle dashboard for an even deeper look at Facebook content performance metrics. Feel free to say hi!

60-second Digital Media Hack #1: Customize a Single URL Multiple Times Using

This series provides ideas you can implement immediately to add to your organization’s bag of digital tricks.

IMAGE: GIF 60-second digital media hack

We ran into a digital roadblock recently, and thought others might benefit from our solution.

Here’s the problem: you have a URL on your site that you plan to share through various channels – maybe individualized emails to friends and colleagues, Twitter, Facebook, wherever.

And let’s say you want to A) create a compact, interesting shortlink that ends in something interesting – something more like “kittens4evah” and less like “yw8bH,” and B) you’re curious how far each of these sources sends your little link out into the world until it returns as a click on your URL.

You can enter your long URL into, and customize your short URL. But when you do this a second time, hoping to create a different customized short URL, you find that will only let you shorten a link once per account – no multiple shortlinks to the same URL.

The 60-second hack solution: add different UTM codes for each iteration of the URL you want to track.

UTM codes (don’t ask why – this is a 60-second hack) are text strings you add to the end of your URL, starting with a question mark.

For example:


or simply

Try it now by adding “?” plus literally anything to a page on your own site – or any URL – in any browser.

It works.

Now will treat each URL with a customized UTM code as a new URL, and you can customize and track your links in as many different variations as you want.

If this helps somebody, please let us know, because it would make us feel very good about ourselves.

Red Cross Responds to Accusations of PR Focus with PR Fail

If the Red Cross wants to prove the nonprofit is not prioritizing PR over its operations, its own damage control message might be the best evidence yet.

Yesterday, NPR and ProPublica published a damning report alleging that the Red Cross not only botched its responses to hurricanes Sandy and Isaac, but that the organization’s leadership diverted resources from disaster relief for PR purposes.

It looks bad. Really bad. And it’s not the first time the nonprofit organization has come under fire for mismanagement.

So, what should a nonprofit organization do when it finds itself in a communications crisis like this?


Defensive? Check!

First off, the “Myth vs. Fact” format is about the worst you can choose.

The format sets up the content of your message to have a shrill tone. Kind of like shouting, “did not!”

It’s defensive. And what kind of people (or organizations) are defensive? Guilty ones.

So it almost doesn’t matter what arguments you make if you’ve already chosen a template that says, “Oh, and by the way, we screwed up.”

To put it in terms the Red Cross itself might understand:

How does one respond to a natural disaster? Suit up and rush in to the point of greatest need and take on the challenge head-on. You don’t try to claim there was never a hurricane in the first place.

And especially today, when audiences have become attuned to the smartphone Panopticon, deleted tweets that haunt their writers from the grave, tan suits, and FAILs of all manner and proportion, people expect that anyone will screw up eventually, and they expect you to own up to it with class. If you don’t, you invite another kind of storm.

Amplify the accusation? Check!

They list the “myths” they wish to dispel in short, bite-sized, messages in bold red text, and their “facts” in long, dense and wordy paragraphs, so that the “myths” grab the reader’s attention.

If you want to diminish a message, don’t make eye candy out of it.

Inadequate? Check!

The Red Cross might be lacking wheelchairs for survivors with physical needs, but one type of tool they have in abundance is shovels with which to dig themselves deeper.

The first “Fact” they list is not, in fact, a fact: “Our mission is to alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies, and that alone is what guided our service delivery decisions during Sandy and during every emergency.” Readers know, more or less, what the organization’s stated aims are. Starting off a response to a detailed report with a vague mission statement sounds like you’re trying to change the subject.

This vagueness and evasion kills the response elsewhere, too. “They chose not to include our response,” the Red Cross writes. Well, what was your response to NPR and ProPublica’s accusations? Where is a link? The Red Cross chose not to include it.

We’re not trying to bash the Red Cross. We’re not here to defend them, either. We’re not confident that any broad conclusion can be gleaned about one very large organization with hundreds of chapters based on one investigative report and one apparently hastily-written rebuttal.

But they could have done better.

How should a nonprofit organization like Red Cross respond?

  1. Create a response strategy

    To avoid compounding your nonprofit’s problems, don’t respond reactively. Respond purposefully according to a carefully-thought-out communications plan that includes language that is clear, concise, and – this is key for nonprofit communications (or, for that matter, everybody always) – authentic.

  2. Create an honest message

    No corporate-speak. No deflecting. No “Our mission is to…” Acknowledge the problem and take responsibility. You can admit you’re not perfect, and still be proud. (There might even be a useful soundbite in there.)

    Faced with the leak of internal documents in which Red Cross staff detail “multiple system failures,” there can be no denial.

    But there can be a re-framing of the message. For example:

    “Of course, there were failures among the many successes. You’re seeing these reports because we took it upon ourselves to evaluate our efforts, and ask, ‘how can we do better next time? How can we bring more aid, comfort more people, and possible save more lives?’”

    “If we weren’t self-critical and self-improving, there wouldn’t be this report in the first place. When you see these internal documents that we ourselves prepared, you’re seeing us asking ourselves, ‘what can we learn so that we serve the public better and use our resources more effectively next time.”

    The key is to respond in real language like real people use. And speaking of real people…

  3. Put a face on it

    A nonprofit organization can’t look a person in the eye, connect, and convince. Only a person can do that. Get a spokesperson out there, and the higher up the better. A personal response can show leadership. An organizational response looks like the responsible individuals are avoiding public scrutiny.

    Suzy DeFrancis, the chief public affairs officer for the American Red Cross, was interviewed on NPR today.

    Wrong Face.

    CEO Gail McGovern should be out in front of a story of this size.

  4. Own the conversation

    This story is so hot right now, that if McGovern were made available, her message would be everywhere immediately.

    A talking head video on YouTube would likely crowd out the negative messages on social media, or at the very least give them stiff competition for attention.

  5. Leverage your community

    This is our answer to literally everything (figuratively, but also, probably, literally). And it applies here.

    Let’s assume for the sake of argument that the Red Cross is not rotten to the core and that they have touched people’s lives in powerful, positive ways. Right there is their army of spokespeople: volunteers, disaster survivors, and partners.

    If they see the organization acting shady they might be reluctant to carry its message. But if they see the organization being classy, showing leadership and taking responsibility, community members can be encouraged to share their own positive experiences with the nonprofit’s work.

What do you think?

Let’s talk on Twitter. or talk to us here:

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Observations on the LA2050 Grants Challenge and Community Engagement in Los Angeles

NOTE: provided digital strategy consulting services to one competitor, Move LA, who was awarded the Jury Prize in the CONNECT category. We have relationships with a few other applicants but did not participate in their campaigns.

Congratulations to the ten winners of the LA2050 2014 Grants Challenge! I will definitely watch the winning projects unfold in the upcoming months.

And I also hope to see the other applicants continue to seek funding and realize their projects. Some of my friends and colleagues who participated are already moving ahead with their ideas regardless of whether they’re currently funded, and I admire their dedication and vision.

I have a few observations after geeking out over the whole process:

There were 267 project proposal submissions across all five goal categories.

Is that a lot of ideas? No, that’s not a lot of ideas. It’s TOO MANY IDEAS. Seriously, though, that’s a high-class problem for Los Angeles to have – too many good ideas.

IMAGE: LA2050 review AWESOME

And just like with California ballot propositions I may not have read each submission thoroughly before voting. But voting did require a painful choice in some cases. I was torn between mixed loyalties and, honestly, sometimes the relative awesomeness of two awesome ideas is hard to quantify. (I have heard unconfirmed reports of people creating multiple accounts so they could vote more than once, presumably to assuage such internal contradictions, but good luck getting anyone to admit to that.)

There were only five goals.

So we’ve been invited to participate in envisioning LA as a place to LIVE, CONNECT, CREATE, LEARN, and PLAY.

Where is WORK?

We all like to LIVE, CONNECT, CREATE, LEARN and PLAY. But most of us spend our time at WORK.


We’re talking about jobs: Are they available? What kind? Can you live on your wages or salary? Will you retire before you die? What rights do you have in the workplace? Those are questions I have about LA in the year 2050, and those are questions that many in LA are actively working on.

Granted, some of this year’s entries deal directly with jobs. The Downtown Women’s Center won the jury award in the CREATE category for a project to integrate homeless women in the workforce. That’s a beautiful mission and I don’t mean to diminish it, nor other submissions that deal with employment, such as PortTech LAWould Works and, probably, others. (I’m sure I missed some. There were 267 submissions!)

But I would like to see organized labor participating in the conversation. LAANE, a frequent worker advocate, held a vibrant LA2050-branded Twitter Party to talk about income and employment back in 2013. But the original eight “indicators,” which included “Income and Employment,” got subsumed within the five “goals,” and work, somehow, lost focus.

Not everyone played fair

The 2014 Grants Challenge was clearly open to nonprofit and for-profit organizations. But at least one submission came from a for-profit company masquerading as a nonprofit. They checked the “nonprofit” box on their LA2050 submission, and they claim to be a nonprofit on their Facebook page. But after doing a little digging I verified that they are registered with the state of California as a for-profit corporation. Could appearing to be a nonprofit have helped their chances to garner support in the crowdsourced voting? Perhaps. In any case, they didn’t win and there’s no point in calling them out by name.

Some of the winners of the online voting were predictable before the voting started

In the one category that I tracked closely because of my client’s participation, I used a Facebook page post performance analysis tool to watch trending and overperforming posts from the Facebook pages of every organization in the category.IMAGE_social-media-los-angeles


The top three vote-getters settled into place more or less within the first day of voting. And they also had the highest-performing Facebook posts the day before voting began.

Email lists were essential

Certain email campaigns sent by the client and their allies produced marked jumps in their ranking in the online voting. After noticing a similar jump in the ranking of a friend’s organization, I confirmed after the voting period that they had recruited an allied group to send an email to their list.


So if you want to increase your social media reach, your digital strategy should probably place a high priority on building your email list.

What did you notice, or what did I miss?

Let’s talk on Twitter. or talk to us here:

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4 Ways for Nonprofits to Start Strategic Communications Now

The Executive Director for an advocacy nonprofit recently admitted to me, “We don’t have a communications strategy. We need one.” That’s actually a good position to be in. After all, he knows what his organization needs and he’s prioritizing creating a strategy. But once someone realizes they need a strategy, they instantly think they can’t afford it. Here’s what nonprofit leaders can do now to create a communications strategy that makes your organization stand out.



Ideally, a communications strategy that’s integrated with a digital strategy will drive an increase in revenues and won’t cost the organization anything.

I recently heard a speaker say that if your community isn’t aware of what you’re doing, you’re probably not getting funded. You can easily turn that around: if you don’t have the budget for communications, maybe  strategic communications is exactly what you need to reach new donors and inspire existing ones. By thoughtfully curating stories from your community and delivering it to your audiences in a targeted way, you’ll inspire more giving.





Another ED said her organization was thinking of hiring a communications director, but they weren’t sure they had the budget for it. Obviously, right? We’ve all heard the refrain “it’s not in the budget.”

But maybe it actually is in the budget. This nonprofit leader was considering linking up with similar organizations to centralize their communications and PR efforts, and splitting the cost among them – a brilliant idea that I wish I’d thought of myself.

There’s an even bigger idea wedged in the middle of that, though: you are not stuck where you are. No matter what, there is a creative solution.





A friend who works with some of the biggest backers of charities and nonprofits in Los Angeles told me that major donors and foundations don’t mind getting requests for funding. In fact, they want the nonprofits they support to ask them for assistance when they need it. Your backers already support your mission, and they want you to succeed. So if you come to them with a solid proposal for strategic communications, there’s a good chance they’ll be happy to give you the support you need. Oh, and don’t forget to give them credit by tweeting a shout-out or posting a thank-you to your Facebook page – they like that. (But that was already part of your digital strategy, right?)





The ED of a small-ish community organization found out that by switching to a new constituent relations management(CRM) service from the one that they’d put up with for years, they could save several thousand dollars. This proves two things:

      1. The technology and costs are changing so rapidly that it’s worth it to reassess your vendors every 2-3 years.
      2. It doesn’t hurt to reach out to others who might have new perspectives, and to question everything. You never know where you’ll find opportunity.


What creative thoughts do you have about strategic communications for nonprofits? Let’s talk on Twitter., or talk to us here:
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Handshake, some rights reserved, by Aidan Jones, edited from original.
Please Help, some rights reserved, by bixentro, edited from original.
Zenith Z-19 Terminal, some rights reserved, by ajmexico, edited from original.