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.

The Best Tech Gifts of 2019

The Best Tech Gifts of 2019

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.

1. AUKEY 20000mAh portable mobile battery pack

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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2. Propel RC Cloud Rider stunt drone

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

3. My Passport Ultra Metal Edition external hard drive

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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4. Roku 3 streaming media player

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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5. Nook GlowLight Plus

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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6. Microsoft Arc Touch wireless mouse

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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7. Supersonic Digital Photo Frame

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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8. Sades 7.1 Surround Sound USB Gaming Headset

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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9. Midland X-TALKER T51VP3 2-Way Radio set

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

10. Four Port USB Charging Hub

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.

charging

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.

The energyEGG Review: An Eco (and Wallet) Friendly Must-Have

The energyEGG Review: 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.

chilled wine glass outside

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.

2 self chilled wine glass

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!