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Mandate Media: Internet Strategy for People Changing the World
Our Blog for Tips, Tricks, and News: Politics + Technology

Netroots Foundation: How to not ruin your website

How do you get a beautiful new site that meets your needs, on time and on budget? One of the first things we recommend people do is read up on the latest web design trends. See Frogloop and Mashable articles for what’s hot in 2014 and 99 Designs for what’s hot in 2015.

Share Progress: Top 4 A/B Testing Myths BUSTED

Maybe you’re not so sure about A/B testing, or you have a coworker with some questions about it? We’ve listed four common myths about A/B testing, and what the truth really is for each one. Myth #1: You and your supporters like exactly the same stuff. You like the environment. Your 80-year-old supporter Dolores likes the environment. You guys have a lot in common already! So maybe she’s been retired for 20 years, and lives in Fort Meyers, Florida, and subscribe to Birder’s World. And maybe you’re 24, and live in Brooklyn, and get most of your news from Vice’s Snapshot stories. But if you think something’s funny, she’ll definitely think it’s funny too, and then share it with their Facebook friends. You do both like the environment, after all.

New York Times: Facebook Use Polarizing? Site Begs to Differ

For years, political scientists and social theorists have fretted about the Internet’s potential to flatten and polarize democratic discourse. Because so much information now comes through digital engines shaped by our preferences — Facebook, Google and others suggest content based on what consumers previously enjoyed — scholars have theorized that people are building an online echo chamber of their own views. But in a peer-reviewed study published on Thursday in the journal Science, data scientists at Facebook report the echo chamber is not as insular as many might fear — at least not on the social network. While independent researchers said the study was important for its scope and size, they noted several significant limitations.

Social Media Today: Social Advocacy and Politics: Twitter and the Candidates on Day One

We now have four official candidates for the 2016 presidential nomination, three Republicans and one Democrat. Each of them used Twitter to promote their announcements. How they used it varies tremendously among them. It is too soon to tell if their initial Twitter splash (twash?) is indicative of things to come, but the contrasts in tactics and results are striking. Why does this matter, you might ask? Indicators from the last presidential primary season suggests that there is a correlation between who dominates social media and who leads in the polls at any given point in time. While this is not necessarily a predictor of final outcomes, it certainly affects media coverage and public attention at any moment in the campaign cycle.

The Washington Post: Why would Hillary Clinton join LinkedIn? Is it even still a thing?

To political junkies whose social network of choice is Twitter and who haven't touched their LinkedIn profile in years, Hillary Rodham Clinton joining the Internet's "professional" social network on Thursday might seem a little weird. Does anyone care she's on LinkedIn? Is there any political benefit to be reaped from it? Is it even still a thing? There might not be a strong overlap between LinkedIn users and people in politics or media, but the site has 115 million users in the United States, according to the company, and 28 percent of all Internet users are on it, compared with 23 percent on Twitter, per Pew, so yes, it's still a thing. It's just not a thing for getting news.

Social Media Today: Start A/B Testing if You Are Not Doing It Already

The A/B Testing is a wonderful way for businesses to effectively test their online marketing strategies and get the best out of their existing traffic. With A/B Testing, you take the guesswork out of website optimization and validate that any prospective change to your website is improving its conversion before you move on to change your site code. Testing and measuring the effectiveness of the online promotional and marketing strategies can make a big difference in your marketing efforts. At the end of the day, it’s all about hitting the sweet spot, and maximizing return by persisting with the changes that convert best. For those who are new to A/B testing, we have listed a few basic concepts you have to consider in order to ensure better results from your campaigns.

Social Media Today: Social Advocacy and Politics: Can Social Media Increase Political Efficacy?

The long presidential campaign season is upon us and the media is filling up with stories about how social media is changing politics. And perhaps because bad news always seems to sell better, many of these stories take a dim view of the impact. They focus on the risks candidates face from getting caught saying bad things on video; how those videos can spread like wildfire through social media. They point out how social media may be trivializing politics. But few of these articles talk about the potential for social media to increase political efficacy. And that is something the media should consider covering. Poltical Efficacy is the people's belief in their governmentPolitical efficacy occupies a corner of the larger notion of “trust in government.” Efficacy, when it comes to politics, is the degree to which citizens feel that the government is responsive to the will of the people. Research reveals two levels, internal political efficacy and external political efficacy, both of which comprise the whole of political efficacy. External efficacy is the degree to which citizens believe that the government is responsive to the will of the people, at large. Internal efficacy is the belief that the government is responsive to “me,” as an individual citizen.

Care2: Is There A Correlation Between Paid Marketing and Donations?

Last week, we updated you about why tracking your nonprofit’s growth can make or break you. We supported our claim with the recently released 2015 M+R Benchmarks Study that featured stats from 84 nonprofits. We promised a follow up with highlighted findings on website engagement. We’re here to deliver!! Let’s start with some good news. Overall website visitors per month increased 11% since 2013. Unfortunately website donations went down in the nonprofit sector. Check out the stats.

We're Hiring!

Do you know the ins and outs of digital advertising? Ready to change the world from your desk in Portland? If so, we've got a job for you. We're looking for a Digital Advertising Strategist who is smart, happy, and creative to join our team. Get all the details here.

USA Today: Cool chart: Political Twitter is a whole different world

The Republican-leaning data analysis firm Echelon Insights produced a fascinating graphic over the weekend suggesting that the Twitter conversation of political junkies and journalists is completely different than the Twitter conversation in the rest of the nation. Echelon co-founder Patrick Ruffini explains: “There are a very small percentage of people (on Twitter) who are producing a lot of the political content.”

USA Today: Pew: Millennials get political news from Facebook, social media

For the younger generation known as “millennials,” social media — particularly Facebook — has replaced local television as the biggest source of news about politics and government, a new poll says. A little more than six in ten millennials — 61% — “report getting political news on Facebook in a given week, a much larger percentage than turn to any other news source,” reports the Pew Research Center. The news habits of the”Millennial Generation” — those born between 1981 and 1996 — differ quite a bit than those of “Generation X” (born between 1965 and 1980) and the highly-populated “Baby Boomers,” who entered the world from 1946 to 1964. For Internet-using Baby Boomers, 60% said local television tops their list for political news, Pew said — very nearly the same percentage as Facebook-using millennials. How many Baby Boomers rely on Facebook for politics? Only 39%.

Netroots Foundation: How to launch your organization online

It’s spring, and it’s the season of new growth and renewal! Whether you’re a rather famous political leader running for President, or a future Executive Director launching a brand new organization, here’s some tips to make it a successful one. The phase between “thinking about it” and launching is crucial. What you do now can give you the boost you need for a successful launch. 1. Your list is the heart muscle of your organization. So strengthen and build it as much as you can before you launch. I’m talking about your list of donors, prospects, volunteers and supporters. Even if you’re starting from scratch, you have a list: your friends, family, coworkers etc. Now is the time to be combing through stacks of business cards and inputting the info, getting your personal email address book, work email address book, and your cellphone contacts all synched. You’ll wind up using at least parts of this list for your announcement email (filter out the people who wouldn’t be interested), and also potentially for initial fundraising call time sessions to fund your organization.

Change.org: How the internet is changing politics

Ahead of the UK’s 2015 General Election, we asked our users who they planned to vote for, what the most important election issues are and how they think politicians and the electorate could connect with each other more effectively. What did we find? 7 million people are using Change.org in the UK - starting a two-way dialogue with decision makers on the issues that matter to them and winning an average of 10 victories a week.

Care2: 9 Things To Do After A Donor Donates

Acquiring a new donor is just the start. Developing long-term donors who contribute year-after-year should be the goal of any fundraiser. Donor acquisition takes a lot of work. What can you do to improve your donor retention rate? Consider these nine ideas: Say thank you. A “thank you” is one of the easiest things you can do, but it’s often forgotten. People remember thank yous, especially if they’re personalized and inventive. Just watch how the ONE organization thanked its volunteers and supporters. Celebrate donors as they give. Use social and other platforms to thank them publicly and to welcome them to your organization’s community. Don’t forget to include top donors in annual reports—they look for their names, so mention them.

epolitics: Online Fundraising Best Practices: Maximizing Your Digital Donations

The first and most important principle for online fundraising for non-profits and political campaigns: You must ask! Most people are not going to wake up this morning and think to themselves, today they should give to your campaign or organization. You need to go out and ask them to give. But this doesn’t mean you should overdo it — it’s better to send a strong fundraiser once in awhile rather than bug your most dedicated supporters every day until they tune out. But don’t go years without asking, either. (Note the rules may be a little different if you’re a campaign right before election day, where burnout is less of an issue.)

New Republic: A Better Name for Baby Boomers: "The Laziest Generation"

You’ve all heard that millennials are basically the worst generation of all time—entitled narcissists who care about nothing but finding new apps to sext with. But this is all a lie. The worst people in the entire world are old people. From now on they should be called by their rightful title: the Laziest Generation. The New York Times’ Ashley Parker reports that Lindsey Graham is not the only sitting U.S. senator who doesn’t use email in the year 2015. John McCain and Chuck Schumer don’t either; Orrin Hatch uses it “not very much.” What’s worse is that these men are unashamed. “Maybe once every four months, I do one email,” Schumer told the Times with “evident relish.” This is the eye-roll of an entire generation.

Netroots Foundation: 5 tips for redesigning your website

So, you hate your organization’s website and are desperate to redo it. Welcome to the club! In all of my work with nonprofit organizations I have encountered exactly one organization that was happy with their website. And that organization had just finished a redesign. Websites are one of those things that are really hard to get right—especially when you’re on a budget. Embarking on a redesign can be exciting, overwhelming and treacherous. Here are six tips for getting it right.

Mobilisation Lab: 5 things we learned by analysing lots and lots (and lots) of Facebook data

Last year, our friends at Crowdtangle offered to let MobLab dig through some of their aggregate data about the performance of individual posts on public pages to see if we could find anything interesting. We jumped at the chance, looking through every post in the month of April from 572 different pages — 107,657 total posts — with an eye toward any interesting trends or takeaways we could find.

Washington Post: In politics, a great e-mail list still trumps a buzzy social media account. And it’s not close.

What a political campaign would do, if it could, is send someone to your house to sit down with you and talk to you for an hour, get to know you, meet your kids, and convince you to go out and vote on the first Tuesday after the first Monday of the appropriate November. Barring that, it loves at least knowing where you live, because from there it can figure out how often you vote and who you live with and, after cross-referencing with some databases neatly compiled by massive consumer research organizations, knows what you buy and how you think. (Within a certain, probably-smaller-than-you-think margin of error.)

Connectivity: Why Social Media Habits Matter

Most associations and advocacy groups have questions about their social media program. Where do we put our time, energy and money? Do we need to be active on multiple platforms? What are the people we need to reach using? The answers will hinge on many factors, but there is some data that can help. The Pew Research Center released a pair of studies, one on internet usage and one on media habits, that have some strong indicators. And the answers might surprise you.

Looking for more? Check out the full archives of our blog entries and news stories.

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