By Mary Monroy-Spampinato, Midwest District Operations and Community Manager at Microsoft

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Yesterday in Chicago the Social Media for Nonprofits conference was held at Columbia College with support from Microsoft. This was the fifth stop in a series of nine conferences for nonprofits across the United States.

There were over 200 attendees at the event and there was an incredible atmosphere throughout the day. I spent a lot of time talking with different nonprofits and there was a lot of interest in how they can access software donations for their organizations.

The speakers throughout the day were engaging and provided real world practical tips for attendees that they could use right away.

· Interesting social media tips and information provided included:

· Think strategically, act tactically

· You have to ask to get the action or desired result;

· Use photo or video to tell a good story – remember good story telling allows people to find aspects in themselves

· 85% of U.S. internet users watch video online

· $300B is donated by individuals each year in the U.S. which remains fairly consistent year over year

· When you launch a campaign, learn from it and adjust

· Mapping donations directly to impact is crucial

· Make sure your LinkedIn profile is current and have the volunteer experience & causes section filled out; LinkedIn’s advanced search is the greatest secret weapon for nonprofits in the U.S.

· Don’t get discouraged; use your social media friends to open up their contacts to you so you can expand your network quickly

· If you use Twitter, make sure you use the TWEET methodology – target, write, engage, explore, and track.

The conference ended on a high note with Claire Diaz Ortiz who leads social innovation, philanthropy, and causes at Twitter. She covered topics from her new book - Twitter for Good: Change the World, One Tweet at a Time and stayed for the book signing reception signing copies of her book and meeting attendees along with Darian Rodriguez Heyman and his book Nonprofit Management 101.

The guest speaker list included:

· Darian Rodriguez Heyman – Emcee and Co-Producer, Social Media for Nonprofits and Author of Nonprofit Management 101

· Demetrio Maguigad from Community Media Workshop

· Robert Michael Murray from National Geographic

· Nasser Asif from See3 Communications

· Dave Boyce from Fundly

· Bryan Breckenridge from Linkedin

· Laura Pincus Hartman from Zynga.org

· Kyle Klatt from Groupon

· Evan Bailyn – Author, and Founder, First Page Sage and Good Media Co.

· Patrick Culp - Sprout Social

· Claire Diaz Ortiz - Twitter

You can find more information on the speakers, content links, twitter feeds, and recorded sessions on http://socialmedia4nonprofits.org/chicago/

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Our special thanks to Darian Rodriguez Heyman and Ritu Sharma, Co-Producers, Social Media for Nonprofits for bringing this amazing event to Chicago and all their hard work behind the scenes to make it happen. Darian’s passion and enthusiasm throughout the day as emcee and presenter was so refreshing and engaging for our attendees. As one attendee left, she said “even though I am not a newbie (to nonprofit social media), I learned so much all day and am extremely grateful to Microsoft for sponsoring this event.”

If you missed yesterday’s event, you can still sign up for one of the upcoming events. Use promotion code “MSFT” at check-out to get a $20 discount off of the registration rate.

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