Non-Profits – Get your Message Out with Audio Podcasts

Ray Ortega Seminar Notes
DC Social Media Week
February 20, 2013

I am doing volunteer marketing work for two local DC area non-profits looking to improve their social media communications.  I began thinking of podcasts when I realized how much I listen to NPR radio shows such as MarketPlace and Fresh Air in their podcast format when I cook dinner or walk my dog.  Both shows present complex ideas  that I would not take the time to read in an email or blog in an audio format I will happily listen to while doing something else – a true 21st Century American.

What luck to find Ray’s seminar! Ray produces and assists people in learning to produce their own podcasts.  The following are his insights. You can find him at the above website or @podcasthelper.

Length: 20 to 30 minutes is the sweet spot as it is the average commute time that someone would listen into.

Frequency: Weekly episodes is realistic. Doing more will lower your quality, doing less will lose your audience engagement.

Format: Start with Audio only. It is easier for you to produce and your audience to access. Most video ends up watching “talking heads.” Which leads into content.

Content: People love listening to conversations over a long speech any day. Do  a Question & Answer with an expert , round table discussions on a topic of interest, etc. DO NOT SCRIPT. Just have an outline to make sure the important points are covered and not forgot.

Equipment: The ATR2100 USB microphone is less the $50 and will do all you need for indoor, small studio work.  You Ipod headset will let you check the audio as you record and the software is free. Either AUDACITY or GARAGEBAND will do.

Expect a 4:1 ratio of work time to show time. One hour of production and editing will get you 15 minutes of podcast showtime.

I believe  this will turnout to be a faster turnaround than writing a blog or email on the same content that will reach fewer people. Try both ways with a stop watch!

— Carl


Social Media Disrupting Non-Profit Fundraising in Unexpected Ways


The Permanent Disruption of  Social Media by Julie Dixon and Denise Keyes is an excellent article on how social media has not turned non-profit fundraising upside down, but has had an impact none the less. And in unexpected ways.  Social Media according to the authors  provides the means for organizations to leverage their supporters’ social networks in ways beneficial to the non-profit.

My volunteer work with non-profits through the Taproot Foundation is flooding me with overlapping donation requests, time wasting emails, tweets and FB postings – a total overload of communications to someone who wants to help and give.  This never happened in the old days. Back then the charities my wife and I supported  knew our donation level and types of volunteering activities. They limited contact accordingly. They had us pegged, or in today’s lingo “segmented”.

The article’s chart shows how today’s sophisticated non-profits look at supporters’ INVOLVEMENT and INFLUENCE as a grid.


The article suggests the largest social media opportunity for non-profits is   to identify supporters with large social networks of their own that the non-profit can then leverage.  The simplest example is  small donors can have big impact on a fundraising campaign just by forwarding the request to people in their own network.

Unfortunately the article missed the opportunity to relate this to current best practices in lead generation used by private industry, especially Eloqua’s approach to managing prospective buyers.

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