4 Free, Time-Saving Social Media Schedulers We Love (and How to Use Them)

4 Free, Time-Saving Social Media Schedulers We Love (and How to Use Them)

Growing your nonprofit…

It’s like being on a fun, frustrating, exhilarating, challenging, scary, exciting, loop-de-looping rollercoaster you (for some crazy reason) choose to stay on.

Sure, you could hop off at anytime, but you’re committed to the mission—and that’s what makes you so awesome!

For many nonprofits, social media is a big part of their growth strategy. But an additional, oft-overlooked aspect of growth is time management.

After all: You can grow the biggest social following in the world, but if you’re spending all your time on social media, how are you going to make time to do the world-changing work your followers are invested in seeing you do?

Social media scheduling apps to the rescue.

What is a social media scheduler?

Social media schedulers allow you to create lots of social content at once, assign times and dates to that content, and have the content posted to your social media accounts automatically at those times.

The idea is that, instead of spending time updating your social media accounts multiple times per week, you’ll save time by spending just 1 or 2 days a month writing all those posts out at once, after which you can spend the rest of the month doing the millions of other important things your nonprofit needs to do.

If you decide to try a scheduling platform, you and your team will find a content creation cadence that works best for you, whether that’s creating content once per week, once a month, or even quarterly.

Do I really need to fuss with social media in order to grow my nonprofit?

The short answer: Yes. Generally speaking, there’s a lot of value in leveraging social media for growth, as more and more people turn to social media to keep up with their favorite nonprofits’ events, activities, and fundraisers than ever before.

In the end, there’s no one Most Correct™ way to grow. Behind every nonprofit, big or small, there’s a different (inspiring!) story surrounding how they acquired their donor base.

4 Free Social Media Platforms We Love (And How to Use Them)

There are so many scheduling platforms out there. Some with tons of bells and whistles (and a big price tag.)

But we’re going to keep it simple and just stick 4 that have the option for free accounts. (Our platform is free—shouldn’t these be?)

  • Zoho Social (our favorite)
  • Hootsuite
  • Later
  • Buffer

Also, we’ve posted links to tutorials below each list of pros and cons. That way, if you’re at all worried about losing time fumbling around on these things due to a learning curve—well, don’t!

Zoho Social (our favorite!)

Why we like it:

  • Unlike Hootsuite, you don’t need add-ons or extras to use some of the more popular social networks
  • Built-in URL shortener (no need to navigate away to Bit.ly or Google’s URL shortener)
  • Live previews of your content (so you’ll know what they look like before you post)

What we’re iffy about:

  • Can be tricky to learn
  • Can’t upload posts in bulk (must be done one at a time)
  • If you want more than 3 people working together on the platform, it can get pretty pricey.

Tutorials: Note that these tutorials cover most of the features of Zoho Social, including some that aren’t in the free version, so look out for that. In any case, there are two we think you’ll want:

For the first one, New to Zoho Social, the “New to Zoho Social” section will probably be the most relevant. To see how to schedule and publish posts, you’ll want the publishing and scheduling overview.

Hootsuite

Why we like it:

  • Free version lets you manage a max of 3 accounts, but you aren’t limited to just Twitter and Facebook! LinkedIn, WordPress, and others are there too
  • Pro version is only $10 a month
  • Easy to see how your posts are performing and collect analytics data

What we’re iffy about:

  • The pro version can get really tricky, according to some users (But “complicated” really just means “robust” and “flexible!”)
  • Can’t respond to post comments via the platform or interact with followers—you’ll have to log into your social platforms individually to do that
  • Posting to some social networks (like Pinterest) require “add-ons” or can even cost an additional fee

Tutorial: Hootsuite Beginner Tutorial – How To Manage Your Social Media Accounts

Later

Why we like it:

  • Popular among Instagrammers (though Twitter and Facebook are also there) it can help you curate a pretty Instagram feed!
  • Provides a clear, birds-eye view of your posting calendar
  • You can either post automatically or request a notification prior to a post going live, so you can “okay” it

What we’re iffy about:

  • Not very intuitive (a tutorial is a must) and limited to Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter
  • If you post to more than one social account (ie., you have two Twitter accounts) you have to log in again to post to the other one
  • Free version only lets you schedule about 2 weeks of posts

Tutorial: Full Demo of Later – Again, very Instagram heavy. But they get into Twitter and Facebook about 4 minutes and 30 seconds in.

Buffer

Why we like it:

  • Free for up to 3 social media accounts, including most social accounts (like Pinterest)
  • Easy to see how your posts are performing, and easy for other team members to come in and add posts
  • Clean interface

What we’re iffy about:

  • Can’t post to Instagram automatically (you have to “okay” it first)
  • In spite of the clean, pleasing interface, some users report trouble figuring out how to use it without some help
  • Team members can add posts, but you can’t discuss them or comment on them within the platform
  • Upgraded version can be expensive for some teams at $99/month

Tutorials: Here’s a great walk-through straight from Buffer’s website. Additionally, this tutorial on Udemy is free (and great), but requires you to sign up.

When should you schedule your posts?

According to research:

  • Facebook use increases on the weekends.
  • For Instagram, Wednesdays around lunch and dinner time are highest.
  • Weekends are actually the worst time to post on Twitter.

Our advice, though?

Prioritize engagement, and grow your donor base by creating content that people want to share, comment on, and react to.

For that, here’s some research-based advice:

  • People are most inclined to share content from other people, brands, and organizations whom they feel a connection with. So craft your brand and your content as if you were an individual trying to make friends with a certain type of person.
  • Take heart: You’re at an advantage. 84% of people say they share content as a way to support causes that mean something to them. So publish compelling stories about the work you’re doing, your needs, your progress, and your vision.

Don’t forget to take a few minutes here and there to reply to comments, engage in conversations with your followers, and share others’ content too.   

How to promote your Giving Assistant fundraising page fast using your social media scheduler   

Once you’re all set up with a social media scheduler you like, turn to your Giving Assistant dashboard. There, you’ll find lots of time-saving content  you can easily copy and paste into your scheduled posts.

  1. Click Fundraising Tools, then Messaging on the left-hand side of your dashboard.
  2. Click Facebook (also great for Instagram captions) or Twitter, and cycle through the different messages available to you. Click “refresh” to see other caption options.
  3. Copy the messaging you want, then paste it into your social posts with your favorite images. You can also use a free web-based app like Canva to easily and quickly create graphics to attach to your posts!

Tip: Consider writing at least one original caption or Tweet promoting your Giving Assistant page—but this time, tell your followers how their cash back microdonations can add up to help you in big ways over time. Tell them what small donations of $2, $5, or $10 can do for you and the community or cause you serve.

Additionally, raise more by looking out for Giving Assistant deals (like these), coupons, or Double Cash Back events they might be interested in, and schedule those into your social media calendar as well.

Share the love (automatically)!

Social media schedulers make it even easier to raise more cash back donations by sharing your Giving Assistant fundraising page more often, and will ensure all your followers feel included, valued, and capable of getting involved on a regular basis—no matter how much time or money they might have.

Keep Connected with the Best Tech Gifts of 2016

Keep Connected with the Best Tech Gifts of 2016

In a technology dependent society, it is certain that a gift of technology will be a winner! Take a look at these really great and affordable technology gifts for the holidays.

For the one that is always on the go, this AUKEY 20000mAh portable mobile battery pack charger from AliExpress will be a life saver when they need to recharge!

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This Propel RC Cloud Rider stunt drone from Office Depot will be fun for adults and kids alike! Any kid, or an adult who is a kid at heart, will be thrilled to receive this as a gift this holiday season.

 stunt drone

Many people choose to listen to music or watch movies from their home computers. More storage space for music, movies, and pictures would be a great gift for those who are into home entertainment. This My Passport Ultra Metal Edition external hard drive from Best Buy will be all they need with a full TB of extra storage space. This external hard drive is also portable for those who are on the go.

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The Roku 3 streaming media player from Target will be the ideal gift for those who enjoy relaxing with a good movie or TV show. This media player has access to over 250,000 different programs. It also features voice search and a headphone jack for private listening.

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Check out this Nook GlowLight Plus from Barnes & Noble for your favorite book worm. They will love this e-reader that is suitable for reading in daylight or at night. With access to thousands of books, they will never be without something to read no matter where they are! This Nook features a built in Wi-Fi to download books from anywhere.

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This Microsoft Arc Touch wireless mouse from Staples will be a great gift for your boss or co-worker. They will love the comfortable design and precision of this mouse that is made to fit right or left handers.


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Who doesn’t like to proudly display photos of their family? This 7” Supersonic digital photo frame from Fingerhut will display 100’s of cherished family photos. This frame features many different settings to fit anyone’s taste and style.

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If you are looking for a great gift for the gamer on your list, then this Sades 7.1 Surround Sound USB Gaming Headset from GearBest will be just what you’re looking for! They will love how the high quality sound immerses them in their gameplay. This headset also features a voice activated mic and led light to enhance their game.

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This Midland X-TALKER T51VP3 2-Way Radio set from Tractor Supply will be an awesome gift for the hunter on your list. This radio set will help them keep in contact with their hunting partners easily. With hunting season right around the corner, now is the perfect time to give this wonderful gift!

handsets

Just about everyone has more than one device that needs charged. This 4 port USB charging hub from Bed Bath & Beyond will give them the extra charging space they need to charge 4 things at once without the clutter.

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This Acurite Weather Station from Kohls will help them be prepared for any type of weather. This weather station features a full color screen and provides information for indoor and outdoor conditions. weather-station

Do you want to save even more? You can cut down on your holiday costs by earning cash back through Giving Assistant at these stores and many more. Head over to givingassistant.org for many cash back offers, coupons, and money saving tips to make the most of your holiday shopping.

Holidays Gifts for Him that Won’t Disappoint

Holidays Gifts for Him that Won’t Disappoint

I don’t know about you, but I always have a hard time figuring out just what to get the men in my life. Don’t waste another moment trying to figure it out! Use this holiday gift guide to find all the men on your list the perfect gift.

You can’t really go wrong with sunglasses no matter who you are shopping for. Something every man can use year-round, and looks good on anyone! These Dragon Vantage sunglasses from Backcountry would make a great gift for the difficult to buy for. These sunglasses come in 8 different colors to fit any style or color preference that you are looking for.

glasses

For the DIY man in your life, check out this Makita 6.5-amp top handle jigsaw with case from Home Depot. He will be prepared to take on any project or chore with this popular saw in his collection.

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Give him something to help him feel clean and refreshed over the holidays with this Mankind Dopp kit from Macy’s. This fragrant kit smells great and comes with the bag, spray, after shave, and shower gel.

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Do you have a gamer on your list? If so, then this Kraken 7.1 Chroma surround sound gaming headset from AliExpress may be just what you are looking for. Powered by cutting edge virtual surround sound technology, this headset will immerse them in their gaming experience for hours on end!

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The fitness buff will enjoy receiving this Fitbit HR activity wrist band from Sears as a gift! This activity wristband will easily help them keep track of daily steps, calories, sleep, and more. The simple design and basic color will blend into any style perfectly.

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Look no further than Staples for a great gift for your boss or co-worker! This gorgeous Howard Miller alarm executive desk set clock is the perfect gift. This desk set clock also doubles as a pen and business card holder. With the beautiful rosewood finish, this piece will look great on any desk.

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You can help him stay warm during the chilly winter months with this Merino wool hat and gloves set from Ralph Lauren. This stylish set also features touch screen compatible fingertips so he won’t have to remove his gloves to use technology.

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Who doesn’t have a coffee lover in their life? This holiday coffee brewing set from Starbucks features a Bodum Chambord 8 cup coffee press with 1 pound of Starbucks Christmas Blend 2016. This tasty gift will hit the spot with your coffee lover this holiday season!

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The NFL watch and wallet gift set from Kohl’s is a great gift for the man that loves sports. There are many different teams to choose from so you’re sure to find his favorite.

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The outdoorsman on your list will appreciate this Northface apex chromium thermal jacket from Moosejaw. Windproof and water resistant, he will thank you on cold, winter days!

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The business man on the go will be able to stay organized with this Bellino briefcase from eBags. This briefcase has plenty of room and pockets for organizing. It includes a shoulder strap, and a space for carrying a laptop. Save on this and more with eBags coupons.

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You can cut down on your holiday costs by earning cash back through Giving Assistant at these stores and many more. Head over to givingassistant.org for many cash back offers, coupons, and money saving tips to make the most of your holiday shopping.

Barnes and Noble Holiday Present Ideas

Barnes and Noble Holiday Present Ideas

Do you have a bookworm or word nerd on your list? How about a film lover, incessant doodler or aspiring brewer? Don’t give a lump of coal–show your friends and loved ones they’re on the “nice” list with a gift that suits their interests from Barnes and Noble. Don’t forget to grab a 10% Off Barnes & Noble Coupon & 6% cash back at our store page.

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Holiday Spirit for the Small Screen

Give a gift that will get everyone in the holiday spirit–a holiday movie! A Christmas Story is sure to get friends and loved ones of all ages laughing. It’s a Wonderful Life is a heartwarming tale that will give a sense of perspective amid the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.

BuddahBoard

Give Zen, Get Zen

A Buddah Board makes a cool, zen accent for an office or room. Dip the brush in water and create a unique pattern on the board. As the water dries, so does the design, eventually clearing to a fresh, blank slate. This is the gift of a serenity!

TheGivingTree

Young Readers

There is perhaps no better gift for children than books. They’re more than entertainment or education–they can be a portal to a whole new world. A classic book like Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree, Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden, or Dr. Seuss’s Oh the Places You’ll Go! never goes out of style. Or, give a gift that will keep your young reader entranced well past the end of your holiday gathering with a box set like the Harry Potter Paperback Box Set, which includes all seven Harry Potter books.

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Turn Those Tables

For music lovers who appreciate retro cool, give Crosley’s Chalkboard Cruiser Turntable. This three-speed turntable has built-in stereo speakers, RCA outputs and a headphone jack. The outside is a chalkboard, so the lucky recipient can doodle and customize the outside.

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Arts & Crafts

If you’re looking for a gift for an artist, consider the Pencil & Pastel Wooden Art Case. This 54-piece set comes with everything a budding artist needs to create a whole range of projects. From colored pencils to soft pastels, charcoal to graphite, plus essentials like a sponge, pencil sharpener and brush, this is the perfect gift for a creative friend.

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Brew Something Special

If you have a true beer connoisseur on your list, why not give him a set for him to try his hand at his own brew? The American Pale Ale Home Beer Brewing Kit comes with everything he’ll need to create a crisp, hoppy, bitter pale ale. If pale ale isn’t his beer of choice, you could also gift a Hefeweizen Craft Beer Brewing Kit or a Dry Irish Stout Craft Beer Recipe Kit.

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Happiness in the Kitchen

For a gift that keeps on giving, why not give a cookbook? Barnes and Noble has a huge range of culinary bestsellers. Give Make It Ahead: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook to a friend who loves to cook and entertain–and doesn’t want to spend all his time stuck in the kitchen at his own party. Or, if he’s looking for recipes that are big on taste but low on calories, try The Skinnytaste Cookbook: Light on Calories, Big on Flavor, written by the author of the wildly popular Skinnytaste blog.

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E-Book Worms

is a great gift for a voracious reader. The crisp, bright display makes it easy to get lost in a book. This e-book reader has a 6-inch display, 8 week battery life and lightweight construction. From curated collections to book recommendations, plus access to over 3 million titles in the NOOK Store, this gift ensures the reader will always have a new book at her fingertips.

Now go, gift and make merry!

The energyEGG is an Eco (and Wallet) Friendly Must-Have

The energyEGG is an Eco (and Wallet) Friendly Must-Have

With the look of a gadget straight from the future, the energyEGG is ready to be your household helper. Find out how this innovative device can save you big bucks on your energy bills and prevent the release of CO2 into the atmosphere.

 

After making waves in the U.K., TreeGreen’s energyEGG is gearing up to take U.S. retailers by storm. The energyEGG promises to drive down energy costs and improve household safety with ease, but does it really help? Happy reviewers are claiming “YES!”

Why energyEGG?

This device has one job: to turn electronics on and off as people enter and exit rooms. It sounds simple, but this one action can be crucial to drastically lowering energy costs in your home. A few saved watts here and a couple more there seriously add up in the blink of an eye.

save money with energyEGG

This concept is similar to smart thermostats that lower HVAC usage when no one is home. We all tend to get caught up in our busy lives, and so we often forget to make energy-saving choices.

Think about the many times you’ve finished watching TV, left the room with your hands full, and neglected to turn off those devices and lights for hours! energyEGG steps in to rectify that.

TreeGreen promises that the energyEGG:

  • Improves home safety: Never worry about leaving the iron on again.
  • Reduces energy consumption: Lower your bills by turning off what you’re not using.
  • Is easy to use: It’s automatic and can be controlled via remote.

energyEGG how to

How energyEGG Works

The energyEGG is a sensor that wirelessly controls a number of specialized plugs. The EGG itself uses “SitStill” technology, a motion sensor that detects when people enter and exit a room. It turns devices on instantly and off according to a preset timer. It also cuts so-called “vampire” or “stand-by” power from devices that draw energy even when they’re turned off.

How many plugs can the energyEGG control at once?

The basic energyEGG unit controls up to 10 wall plugs, and you can expand its usefulness by connecting the plugs to surge suppressors instead of individual devices. This makes it easy to customize what gets turned on and off. The unit can also be controlled manually using either a remote or a button on the EGG.

But Does It Really Work?

What consumers are saying about energyEGG:

The energyEGG has had wild success in the U.K. Users love how easy it is to control, even from a distance. It’s even found itself a niche market for people with limited mobility who struggle with out-of-the-way plugs. If your TV and cable box are left on for even a couple hours a day, the energyEGG can pay for itself in just 12 months and prevent the release of hundreds of pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere.

energyEGG reduces CO2

The energyEGG website offers a calculator that estimates your savings, and users attest that the projections are accurate. If you really want to see the difference energyEGG can make, snag a home energy monitor from New Egg and watch how much your savings compound over time!

Sounds Great! Where Can I Get One?

The energyEGG is available through Amazon. Everything you need to set up your EGG, even batteries, is included. The basic package will include the EGG and one wall plug, and extra plugs will be available for purchase. In less than 10 minutes, you can be set up and saving energy with your very own energyEGG!

Self-Chilled Wine Glass Review: Trendy & Convenient

Self-Chilled Wine Glass Review: Trendy & Convenient

Hosting a dinner party at your place can be loads of fun, but it can also mean hauling around clunky ice buckets and serving rather watery alcoholic drinks. Sure, your friends will politely smile and say the wine is delicious, but what good is fancy wine if it’s gradually warming up and watering down?

Take the hassle, expense, and mess out of your parties by allowing a self-chilled wine glass, such as the Host Freeze Cooling Wine Glass, to stay perfectly cold and full of flavor for your (genuinely) delighted guests!

How Does the Self-Chilled Wine Glass Work?

No need to station cumbersome, unattractive coolers at your event. These glasses stay chilled for over an hour. Simply grab the freeze chilling glasses out of the freezer, deliver them to your guests, and let the party begin!

about self chilled wine glass

Key Attributes of the Self-Chilled Wine Glass:

  • Thermal cooling gel encased in tough acrylic
  • Insulated rubber grip
  • Holds at least 8.5 ounces of wine
  • Chills to as low as 6-11 degrees Celsius in the freezer
  • Chills to as low as 14-17 degrees Celsius in the refrigerator

Benefits of the Self-Chilled Wine Glass

1) Doesn’t shatter like glass.

The self-chilled wine glass is perfect for both indoor and outdoor parties.

2) No more drinking watered-down alcohol.

3) Save money and time.

The cost of buckets of ice adds up, and who has time for all that set up?

4) Less mess.

Ice melting in heavy buckets is a serious pain to clean up post-party.

5) No need for coasters.

The self chilled wine glass can sit on most surfaces without a coaster – dining tables, buffet bars, or picnic areas! Never stress about careless guests leaving drink ring marks on your table tops again.

6) Rubber grip means no frosty fingers.

Holding a freezing wine glass for hours can lead to very numb fingers! No more.

7) Made with BPA-Free plastic.

BPA – a chemical found in plastics – can seep into food and drinks and has been linked to many health problems, including: breast cancer, obesity, prostate disease and cancer, miscarriage, and impairment of the immune system.

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Use the Self-Chilled Wine Glass for Other Drinks, too!

You don’t have to limit the use of these nifty glasses to wine sipping. Try pouring beer, juice, tea, and water into them for long-lasting cold drinks. This is a major plus for guests who don’t drink alcohol. They’ll fit right in with virgin cocktails in these thermal-insulated handheld coolers!

Potential Drawbacks

1) For large events, you’ll need several sets.

2) Not ideal for parties lasting much longer than 1 hour.

3) Require hand washing (can’t go in the dishwasher).

The Takeaway 

When used properly for shorter and smaller events, the self-chilled wine glass is a trendy, convenient alternative to hefty buckets of ice and watered-down wine.

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Where to Find a Self-Chilled Wine Glass Set?

You can find the Host Freeze Cooling Wine Glass at Amazon. Another wonderful choice is the brand Soiree Home. They have a Dimple Glass Self Chilling Glassware Set, available at Nordstrom. Party on!