ronn torossian foundation

Sharing Dos and Don’ts for Nonprofits

Facebook is a world of cat photos and Instagram is a world of lunch photos. It’s something we all love to joke about. But sharing the right stuff, the right way, and at the right time is crucial when it comes to nonprofit organizations.

Here are some tips to help you figure it all out:


Get permission. Never share information without having obtained permission from those in question, whether it’s a person you refer to by name or a photo of a volunteer. Don’t share details about or photos of minors without parental consent. Don’t share gossipy news about people without making sure you can back up what you write with sources.

Even if you recount a story without naming names, you’re better off obtaining permission. If you think they won’t give you permission if you ask, maybe don’t write it in the first place! As for posting info on or photos of kids, you may very well be in violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). This is not a headache your organization needs. Getting permission first protects you and your organization, not to mention the children or people in question.

Get to know your followers. Each social networking venue has its own type of user. Learning about the social spheres at these varied websites takes time and lots of engagement. By learning about the circles on the different sites you’ll get a better handle on what type of stuff to post on each website. It can be a help to study how other nonprofits are using these social networking websites. Events may be better shared on Facebook while updates on fundraising efforts may be better received on Twitter.

Engage users by making them useful. Giving your followers a task or a tip can help energize your nonprofit’s social media campaign. For instance, during the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the car donation charity, Kars For Kids, held a coat giveaway campaign for kids left without suitably warm clothing for winter as a result of the storm. Using the hashtag #HurricaneSandy on Twitter in conjunction with a call for volunteers to help with the giveaway could be an effective way to engage the public and make it take note of the charity’s work.


Spam with too much sharing. There’s a fine line between sharing and spam. People like to keep abreast of what your nonprofit is doing, but if you take over their newsfeeds with post after post after post, they won’t thank you. More likely, they’ll unfriend, unfollow, or unlike you or your nonprofit’s page. One 2014 study found that of 1,528 Facebook users who “liked” a page, 630 of them subsequently “unliked” the page because of its nuisance value after a campaign or giveaway was concluded. That’s 38%, nothing to sniff at. Make sure your posts are interesting and relevant. If not, stifle the urge to post. It’s just not worth it.

Break the law. Anyone who opens a social media account checks a box to show they agree to the website’s Terms of Service Agreement (TSA). Most people don’t actually read those terms. As a nonprofit, however, it’s your duty to not only read the TSA, but to follow it unswervingly. You don’t want to be liable to a nuisance lawsuit for some silly infringement that could have easily have been avoided. Hate legalese? Have your nonprofit legal team read it for you and give you the lowdown. You’ll find that each social networking venue has a slightly different agreement. It’s important to keep these distinctions in mind when running campaigns.

Delete or ignore negative comments. You may not like that comment sitting on your nonprofit’s page, but delete or ignore it at your nonprofit’s peril. Addressing complaints makes people feel you give a hoot. Ignoring or deleting them gives your nonprofit a bad rep. Validate the complainant and offer your assistance. Answer all feedback, no matter what form it takes.

All in all, social media can be a powerful force for branding your nonprofit and engaging your public. But there are dangers in misusing social media. It behooves every nonprofit to use social media wisely, so as to reap the benefits and avoid the pitfalls.

PR Keeps Top US Nonprofits in the Black

Slashed donations force top US charities to get creative. Charity PR can be a tough sell in a down economy. 5WPR like most PR Firms understand that with less to go around, nonprofits are feeling the sting like never before. Even the top charities in the nation are tightening belts and searching for innovative ways to increase donations. Some are borrowing strategies more often implemented by a for-profit corporate PR agency.

Great PR keeps top US non profits in the black.  Take a look at how three of the top ten charities in the US are implementing a marketplace mentality to thrive when donations are down.

YMCA—Rebranding a bold, successful move

Conventional wisdom says a down economy is the right time for a charity to circle the wagons. To trim the fat and tighten belts. Pick your cliché and I’m willing to bet none of them is “engage in rebranding.” But that is exactly what the “Y” has chosen to do. And it’s working. Even through a recession and a rebranding, the “Y” sits at number nine in Forbes list of Top American Charities.

Feeding America —Fundraising efficiency encourages trust

How many times have you sat at your own dinner table and thought: “Gotta make this dollar stretch.” That’s exactly what Feeding America is doing. And they are doing it very, very well. Of the top ten charities they are number one in efficiency. Their score of 98% efficiency attracts donors interested in knowing exactly where their money is going.

United Way—Diversifying to stay relevant increases value

The United Way is the largest charity in the United States. It is also one of the most diverse. By branching out into many areas while still allowing donors to pick what they support, the United Way increases its relevance while recruiting new donors and volunteers.

These strategies have proven to work, even in a rough economy. Borrowed from corporate America, the success of these charity PR strategies provides actionable lessons  for a corporate PR agency like 5WPR directed by Ronn Torossian. So which might work best for you and your organization?

Celebrity Sponsorship Drives Non-Profit PR

Celebrity Sponsorship Drives Non-Profit PR

It’s not secret these days that most if not all charities, whether local or national, are seeing reduced incomes and weakening cash flow. Some have had to close their doors. Others have allowed operations to be absorbed into larger organizations with more stable cash flow. Still others have gotten creative in their fundraising efforts, adding ancillary services such as parking for restaurants and museums. But for some of the largest non profit organizations on the planet, there is one tried and true way to not only establish the “face” of a charity but to also create reliable income streams…celebrity sponsorship.

 When thinking of celebrities lending their names and faces to a cause they believe in, one of the first organizations that comes to mind – and for good reason – is PETA. The animal rights group has, for many years, leveraged sexy superstars from the worlds movies, TV, music and sports to encourage people to “go naked rather than give up fur.” Elisabetta Canalis, Evelyn Lozada, Olivia Munn, Wendy Williams, Eva Mendes, Dave Navarro, Christian Serratos, Bethenny Frankel, Tony and October Gonzalez, and Christy Turlington were among many stars that signed up to bare all in what continues to be one of the most publicized charity PR efforts ever.

There are also less blatant and, potentially, more mutually beneficial ways non-profits can engage celebs in their missions. Take the case of a recent Habitat for Humanity auction. Celebrity designers from Extreme Makeover: Home Edition was on hand, minus their pink hard hats, to lend their support. Celebrity sponsorship and appearances are a terrific event marketing strategy. As a Celebrity Expert on ABC News, Ronn Torossian spoke about what it takes for a celebrity to turn their name into a brand.

This strategy can also be seen in multiple benefits, galas and banquets across NYC that attract A-listers from music, movies and politics. A good PR firm, no matter what its area of specialty, will encourage its clients to not only pursue profitable business practices but also create culture that encourages giving.

ronn torossian foundation event

The Hottest Fundraising Events to Draw a Crowd

In the fast paced and high energy world of PR, there is no room for routine if you want to stay competitive and take charge of your success. At 5WPR, our team members leave mundane at the door and engage in ongoing brainstorming sessions in order to ensure that our marketing campaigns are unforgettable and are etched in the mind of our target audience. PR agencies in New York need to be creative when promoting the interests of their clients, and it’s no different when the client is a not-for-profit charitable organization.

In today’s world of philanthropy, the fundraiser gala, auction, charitable walk/run and food drives have fallen by the wayside. These monotonous events have stepped aside and paved the way for novel and exciting social gatherings that are centered on participation activities. Charitable organizations in NYC are drawing more crowds – and therefore raising more funds – by coordinating rousing events that create buzz and include new ways to get involved.

These days, everyone is a foodie. So it’s necessary for a PR firm like 5WPR to capitalize on this trend and promote events focusing on culinary interests. Our event planning department loves planning these types of get-togethers, and our non-profit clients eagerly anticipate attending. Wine tastings with food pairings are increasingly popular, as guests enjoy trying the dishes while learning about which vintage to serve with different cuisines. One of my new favorite fundraising efforts involved hosting a celebrity chef demonstration. Food TV personalities are very generous when asked to contribute time doing something they love for a great cause.

There are countless charitable organizations in the NYC area, and all of them are in direct competition when it comes to motivating potential donors to contribute time or money. With this goal in mind, 5WPR recognizes the need to be innovative in our marketing strategies and event planning in order to draw their attention. After attending several galas per year and running one 5K per month, potential donors are looking for a unique way to become involved. Together with our non-profit clients, we give them an exceptional experience that they genuinely look forward to.