Effectively Engaging with Millennials Through Branding

As many millennials share this common notion of making a unique or interestingly crafted mark within the digital space, brands have taken this message into consideration in content production related to their brands. In this sense, many digital advertisers and marketers agree that creating GIFs and emojiis have become a new, image-based language for these young individuals to interact with each other on various social media platforms.

Other marketers agree that the creation of these GIFs and emojiis are accurate representations of millennials expanding their own world of communication with a basis in moving pictures or images to get their message across to others. In terms of devices, both iOS and Android mobile platforms have integrated emoji keyboards into their software, while Tumblr users engage over twenty-three million GIFs on a daily basis.

Unlike generations before their time, millennials, for the most part, have always been exposed to content within the vast digital media atmosphere. From inception, millennials have taken it upon themselves to acquire and mold content in a way that specifically fills their communication needs in that moment in time.

heart eyesTo illustrate, take the GIF as a primary example of this new form of communication that has swept and continues to be heavily used across social media properties. In other words, GIFs are crafted to express anything from political standing, to a positive emotion that is evoked with this individual’s favorite concert tickets are purchased. In this regard, many believe that we are currently living in a world in which millennials are consistently molding our digital space.

With Clinique’s campaign successfully producing an innovative campaign in the UK, brands need to generate stories that would make its mark amidst the endless communities that appeal to thousands of millennials on a day to day basis. This Clinique campaign which received over 600,000 social media engagements, had drawn upon not only emotional connections, but also this notion of the future as an environment to interact with oneself.

For brands still trying to make a huge impact on millennials across social media platforms, a great piece of advice to keep in mind is to evoke a profound level of inspiration when pitching a campaign to this audience. Crafting a product-based campaign that forces this generation to question, challenge and reconnect with specific emotions will create a long-term impact. By sparking this new, innovative conversation, millennials will have no choice but to pay attention to your brand’s tailored message.

The Growing Use of Ad Blocking

A recent report from ComScore has confirmed that around ten percent of desktop users are currently applying ad-software blocking tools or systems when perusing the internet. Though this ad blocking rate on a global scale has been relatively stable from around September to May of last year, it is clear that the likelihood of using ad blocking software is directly tied to generational differences.

The study showed that younger users are more inclined to employ ad blocking tools rather than individuals who are over the age of 34.

ComScore, a public marketing data company who offers analytics to publishers, agencies and large private entities in order to better understand consumer behavior across audiences on different platforms. This marketing data company heavily focuses on constantly examining factors within digital advertising from TV to the new ways brands are engaging with consumers in the mobile sphere.

desktopWith ad blocking increasing in popularity, it becomes more difficult for online publishers to not only yield engagement, but also reflect consumer data when creating strategy or number based plans in comparison with their competitors.

Basically, online publishers are sometimes unable to pull accurate data reflecting important KPI’s such as viewability, completion rate and cost per acquisition in the programmatic sphere.

However, as publishers and companies within the advertising industry alike become more concerned with these ad-blocking technologies, comScore’s data suggests that these trends do not seem to have any immediate impacts.

To illustrate, one survey conducted by Retale confirms that out of five-hundred informants, fifty-seven percent admitted to using ad-blocking tools on their desktop computers.

Meanwhile, a report published last year by Adobe and PageFair, confirmed that U.S. ad-blocking rates were 17% in May and 15% in June, which is nearly five to seven percent more than ComScore numbers. In addition, the companies also estimated that ad blocking tools and software led to $22 billion in lost advertising revenue last year alone.

Regardless of the numerical disparity between these three companies, ComScore’s numbers are actually aligned with various online publishers who have recently seen a decline in revenue due to ad blocking. Although ComScore numbers currently do not encompass ad blocking on mobile devices which is a far less common among consumers. To read more about ad blocking with regard to desktop users please visit this site. 

New Source to Help Nonprofit Fundraising Campaigns

Coming up with new tactics to advance your organization’s growth in the philanthropy can be quite challenging, so it is essential to stay up to date with the latest trends or fresh approaches to secure your charity’s mission. Even if your organization is maintaining its local base or is perhaps expanding to another area of the country, covering your bases to ensure your charity’s mission is seen through at every possible angle is absolutely essential. It is highly important to make sure your organization is coming up with different, new ways to approach enticing volunteers, donors and partnerships as means to make a statement within the philanthropic world.

Matching Gifts
This tactic is probably the most useful, but surprisingly underused way to create a fundamental incentive across the board for your base. Essentially quite an easy process, all your organization has to do is promote matching gifts to your donors and encourage them to submit requests to their employers.

Simple ways to encourage donor engagement on social media:
-embed this message in your emailed newsletters.
-driving engagement on social media
-creating a page on your website that highlights various ways to give back
-stating the matching gift program at the bottom of the donation form.

Volunteer grants

They are monetary rewards that employers give their employees after an individual or team of employee volunteers at a nonprofit for a certain amount of time. According to a recent statistic, 50% of employees who volunteer for the first time in 2016 will actually participate through a program or different type of incentive given within the internal workings of their company. Similar to approaching matching gifts, you can actually apply the same strategy to advertise volunteer grants across the board.

Please keep in mind that many of these grant programs actually require employees to volunteer for a certain number of hours before the money is given to the nonprofit, so keep a lookout for varying hour limits in the organization that interests you.

Fundraising Matches & Challenge Grants

Some companies will not only match the donations of their employees, but they will also match the money that those employees raise for fundraising events that allow people to socially connect or engage with one another.

Next time you host a fundraising event that requires your participants to solicit pledges or donations from their friends and family members, create a short presentation or speech underlining the effectiveness in fundraising matches. This will provide some insight to your fundraisers and their contacts to better understand the overall benefit of this new tactic.

For example, a challenge grant of a thousand dollars might require an organization to raise an initial amount of a thousand dollars before the grant is awarded. It’s important to keep in mind, that generally speaking, challenge grants actually involve regular check-ins with the company to ensure that goals are being met.

This also allows for business development between the two parties in order to gain a better understanding of how your help directly affects the organization. To learn more about an overlooked source of fundraising for nonprofits or other philanthropic organizations, please visit the GuideStar Blog.

Instagram’s New Branding Strategy

As opposed to the nature of social media platforms such as Facebook or Twitter, Instagram was initially created to emphasize activities solely related to sharing visual mediums online.

With over four hundred million monthly users and a growing number of advertisers branding their companies on the platform, Instagram is adding an algorithm that reorders pictures and videos in users’ feeds based on their interests. Similar to a news feed in Facebook or the extensive Twitter feed, this actually allows the constant flow of information to be context specific with the hopes to promote a much higher level of user engagement across the board.

Although marketers claim this inevitable move is a small part in the overall social media evolution, users are becoming more and more wary of the next steps the company will take to secure its innovative edge as the digital industry further expands.

Moreover, as the photo-sharing app further expands its strategy to drive engagement on their photo sharing based platform, Instagram has also acquired new interactive tools in addition to simply just the news feed. Users can now message followers directly, click into link that lead them to product or service landing pages and upload videos showcasing their latest trip with their friends.

insta logoHowever, many argue that this isn’t exactly what the online photo sharing app’s user base was searching for when the platform was first developed in 2010 by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger to socially network via photos. According to a Forrester Research report form 2015, engagement on this platform had declined significantly yet data still showed that the platform still outperformed social media competitors such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Google +.

“Maybe it’s dramatic to call it the death of organic social, but increasingly, we’re telling our clients, ‘If you’re not going to put money behind promoting your content, organic engagement is a real tough thing to produce sustainably,” said Kyle Bunch, managing director of social at R/GA.

According to Instagram analytics, users miss 70 percent of the posts that show up in their feeds, meaning they only see 30 percent of the content posted by users and brands they follow. In turn, this creates a huge informational disconnect between users who are not receiving the content geared towards their interests and the brands attempting to portray a certain message to targeted audiences.

Kyle Bunch, managing director at R/GA states that “I don’t believe Instagram will go full-fledge Facebook with its suppression of all organic reach for content,” she said. “The Instagram community is just different and expects a level of authenticity and accessibility that isn’t reflected on Facebook.”

While this is useful tool that could potentially connect users and brand in a more effective way, some users agree that this could actually have a negative impact on the various ways in which individuals discover new information.


Disconnecting from the Digital Space

The increase of wifi spots across New York City, along with a wide spectrum of global, cosmopolitan cities have all been participating in a digital connectedness as a means for locals, tourists and passerbyers alike to all stay interactive on their devices. While this was primarily initiated to further connectedness on social media platforms, to promote engagement via text messaging and internet browsing, both Olson and Roder of Horizon’s TrendSights have concluded that becoming a “smart city” may not necessarily spark an overall increase in user engagement.

With this in mind, Horizon’s TrendSights has concluded that there is an increase of consumers who have essentially opted to not connect to wifi kiosks or hotspots in order to maintain face to face interaction. In short, the intent on becoming more connected through the implementation of everything wifi has resulted to a response that has produced a quest to for more personal, undistracted personal space from their devices.

Although both Olson and Roder have noticed this trend gradually appearing in consumer and social behavior, they agree that the increased effort on the consumer’s behalf to distance themselves from their devices has been far more noticeable in the past six months. Olson comments on this trend by stating that “Most people have had smartphones for awhile now, but I think people had to kind of live with them for a while and internalize all the effects the phones have on one’s life before they felt this itch to return to a more disconnected life.”

apple products

As this concept of distance from devices has augmented within the last year or so, consumers have been responding in different forms in order to counteract what they feel is the lack of meaningful social engagement.

More concretely, one interesting that has been making a strong statement as an overall response to the digital connectedness as a whole, is the fad of adult sleep-away camps that mandate an environment which calls for no devices or anything digitally related.

An adult sleepaway camp called “Camp Grounded,” has locations from New York to Northern California and offers features like typewriters, stargazing, sweat lodges and gourmet cuisine in the hopes of visitors to take a step back from their busy, digitally occupying lives.

This essentially highlights how adamantly digital consumers of all ages are actively attempting to create more authentic, face to face human interaction in their daily lives. To read more about how consumers are disconnecting from the digital space click on this link.


Charity Paired With Youtube

Unlike a good portion of stars that come from the Hollywood pool of affluent celebrities, there is something quite refreshing about online sensations that work their way up to achieve talent. Comparing these two levels of celebrity could not only be more drastically different within the spectrum of fame. Although these two different types of celebrity interact with their fan base on digital or social media platforms, it is an interesting trend that youtube celebrities have the tendency to socially engage their fans in a more intimate way. On the other hand, Hollywood celebrities are more inclined to maintain social relations with fans, but can sometimes engage them at arm’s length which intentionally creates a level of emotional distance.

Nonprofit organizations and other charitable causes heavily depend on financial resources to not only fund their national or multinational campaign, but also the voice of an influential celebrity who in essence, possesses the ability to fundamentally change the nature of the cause. As many of the present day Youtube sensations come from modest households, it is commonly seen that these online celebrities are more willing to promote or engage in philanthropy. In regards to cultivating a massive, loyal following for a specific cause or charity, it is evident that Youtube sensations have the potential of replacing Hollywood celebrities as the main forefront for generating a following for a cause.

youtube charity

Moreover, pairing the needs of digital influencers and brands alike, the organization called Reelio Cares has been examining the needs of both parties as a means to create a symbiotic partnership between the functioning entities. Ava Kelly, the manager of Reelio Cares, points out some key highlights that her organization has accomplished in regards to this innovative way of combining the power of youtube celebrity and charity in order to complete the goal of helping those less fortunate.

Ava Kelly offers some insight of this trend that could redefine the way we generate philanthropic engagement by stating, “It’s been a great learning experience so far,” “Seeing how far behind the non-profits were when it came to [influencer] marketing and working with digital influencers to educate them about working with non-profits, that’s probably been where a lot of my time has been spent. These digital influencers are very different than Hollywood celebrities.”

Reelio Cares has mastered the art of finding charities’ digital equivalent with YouTubers such as DigDeep, which supports the notion of clean water for every human. The success of this campaign resulted in three youtubers generating social media buzz when they decided to live on no more than four liters of water for a single day. Along with hitting around 1.1 million subscribers, the campaign generated a 9.9 engagement rate which is more than twice the average rate of a branded campaign of this nature.

It is safe to say that charitable bodies can benefit from this advantageous partnership which marries the influencers of Youtube digital entertainment to philanthropy. Check out Forbes’ article that delves deeper into charity and the digital world.


Microsoft’s New Philanthropic Arm

As the digital age reaches more people both domestically and on a global scale, there is sometimes a discrepancy in terms of who can access information through different forms of technology. With the wave of corporate citizenship becoming increasingly popular for both companies and consumers alike, corporations across all industries are constantly reinventing their philanthropic branches themselves in order to demonstrate their commitment to their respective charities.

Microsoft’s new philanthropic arm called “Microsoft Philanthropies” will focus on helping individuals globally. Similar to other tech companies based out of Silicon Valley in California, Microsoft has taken the initiative to further engage and improve their charitable causes in an effort to spread technology to more users globally.

A veteran philanthropically affiliated tech company, Microsoft has participated in charitable causes around the world. In the last year alone, Microsoft in-kind donations of totaled up to around $950 million and nearly $120 million in cash donations. Although there is no question that Microsoft generates tech products rooted in digital advancement, there is a strong discourse throughout Microsoft that calls for advancement in all facets of the company, including charity.

Amidst talk that focuses on the efficiency of the great tech products, Brad Smith, Microsoft’s president and chief legal officer, feels strongly about constantly improving how his company will further undertake the heavy task of philanthropy in the digital age. It is clear that Microsoft intends to take it upon themselves to lessen the digital divide. Smith states that “Great technology alone is not enough,” and “Despite global expansion, increased access, and democratization of technology, the benefits of technology are not yet reaching everyone in the world.”

microsoft philanthropy

In the hopes of aiding students, the primary focus of Microsoft Philanthropies will be to extend various partnerships and programs to assist STEM related education in developing nations. In this sense, Microsoft will work directly with the local and national governments of certain developing countries in order to holistically guide students in the science, tech, engineering and mathematic fields to reach both their educational and career aspirations.

This charitable organization will also report its ongoing progress to Mary Snapp, Microsoft’s first female attorney in the company’s history. For more information about Microsoft’s new philanthropic organization, please check out the link here. 


Top Apps for Giving Back

According to The Life You Can Save, an outreach organization, meeting needs in poverty-stricken regions costs less than in developed countries. Even in our local neighborhoods, a small donation goes a long way. Some of us are so busy that time constraints prevent us from giving. Now, thanks to mobile technology, we can easily give on-the-go. In some cases, we don’t even need to donate money. Here are five apps that make giving simple, affordable, and fast.
1. DONATE A PHOTO – Free for iOS and Android
Helps – Worldwide causes
Sponsor – Johnson & Johnson

How It Works – J&J has compiled a database of over 110,000 worthy nonprofits and schools. When you submit a photograph, the company donates $1 to the cause you wish to support. Your photo can help provide medicine for a baby, housing for a family, or clean water for a village. Each cause remains on the app until its goal is attained. By sharing a photo, you increase awareness of causes that need assistance. Your picture may also inspire others to donate. You can submit one photo each day, which becomes part of the app’s photo gallery. Images are never used for commercial purposes.

2. SHARE THE MEAL – Free for iOS and Android

Helps – Syrian refugee children

Sponsor – United Nation’s World Food Programme (WFP)

How It Works – WFP is raising money to feed children who’ve fled the Syrian civil war. It costs only 50 cents to feed a child for one day. You can make a donation through the app, which indicates where your meal will be delivered. Food is served in schools and may consist of fortified biscuits, cereal, and vegetables. For each meal you provide, you learn about a child who receives assistance. WFP ensures that funds reach children efficiently, with 90 percent directly supporting the work. Money is supplied through a United Nations grant, business donations, and patron contributions. Plans are underway to expand the program to other countries in 2016.

3. CHECK-IN FOR GOOD – Free for iOS and Android

Helps – Worldwide causes

Sponsor – A grass-roots team of people with the desire to connect consumers with causes. The group uses a crowdfunding platform to aid both businesses and charities.

How It Works – A charity enrolls in the program and sets up a fundraising campaign to target their goal. Then the nonprofit asks companies to make a small donation whenever a customer visits their business.

The app identifies donation hot-spots in your area. It could be a restaurant, coffee shop, or sporting event. When you go to the location, you log your attendance on the app. The business makes a donation to a cause, and you receive a promotional offer, inviting you to return to the business. You also have the option of sharing your supportive action on social media. A direct link enables you to learn more about the charity and supporting business.

4. STAND – Free for iOS and Android

Helps – Social causes

vivienne-harr-make-a-standSponsor – Vivienne Harr, an 8-year-old girl who raised money to abolish child slavery by selling lemonade. Customers were encouraged to donate whatever they could afford. In 2013, one year after Vivienne began the initiative, STAND was established as a social purpose corporation. As of June 2015, the company had raised $2.25 million.

How It Works – The app displays humanitarian campaigns. Anyone can create a campaign, termed a “STAND.” Money is remitted to each nonprofit on a monthly basis. The public charity GuideStar assesses each nonprofit, ensuring it functions ethically. Currently, there are 36 different campaign categories, such as literacy, animal welfare, and the environment. App users are divided into two classifications. A STANDer creates a campaign for any social cause. A giver donates to campaigns.

As a giver, choose a category on the app, and you’ll see corresponding STANDS supporting it. Tap on the STAND logo, and select “Give to a STAND.” Then you can choose a STAND to make a contribution. Tap the “Give” button, and you’re directed to a donation screen where you can indicate the amount, and enter your credit card information.

As a STANDer, tap on the STAND logo and select “Create a Stand.” Then you can choose a nonprofit to support, and upload a photo for your STAND. Setting up a STAND requires a donation of $100. If this amount is beyond your means, you can request the financial assistance of friends and family.

NOTE – Another way to support STAND is to purchase Vivienne’s lemonade. It’s now sold in grocery stores across the West Coast. “Make a Stand Lemon-Aid” is certified organic, Fair-Trade, and non-GMO. It contains less sugar than most lemonades and comes in four flavors, original recipe, cranberry twist, tropical mango, and ginger squeeze. For every bottle purchased, 5 percent is donated to six organizations working to end child slavery.

5. GIVE 2 CHARITY – Free for iOS and Android

Helps – Humanitarian and environmental causes

Sponsor – Placed, a mobile ad company providing funds to technology businesses

How It Works – After installing the app, you grant permission to have it track the time you spend carrying or using your phone daily. The time you accrue is allotted points, which are converted into monetary awards. For example, if you amass 1,500 points, you’re awarded $2. If you rack up 3,000 points, you earn $5. You then donate the money to a nonprofit of your choice from a list of participating charities. The app requires activation of your GPS so it can track your location. Data is used in surveys and is protected from exploitation. You can opt out at any time by uninstalling the app.

The Placed company tallies all money allocated and makes a donation to each charity at the end of the month. You can earn extra points by referring friends to the app and by answering survey questions. The list of charities includes Sandy Hook Promise, The Salvation Army, American Cancer Society, American Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, and Humane Society.


A tap on your app is all it takes to help those in need. Consider uploading:

  • Donate A Photo
  • Share The Meal
  • Check-In For Good
  • Stand
  • Give 2 Charity

Isn’t mobile technology wonderful? With your generous heart of gold, so are you!

Animal Haven: Safety and Security Guaranteed

Animal HavenWith the goal of strengthening the bonds between animals and humans, Animal Haven was established in 1967 to find loving homes for abandoned dogs and cats throughout the New York area. A non-profit 501c organization in Manhattan, Animal Haven operates solely on private donations, fundraisers, and corporate sponsorships. Its organizational structure is composed of a governing Board of Directors, an Advisory Board and a dedicated and skilled staff, all with a strong commitment to the ethical treatment of animals and a sense of community pride.

Adopting a dog or cat is a simple process with Animal Haven as long as a few things are taken into consideration:

  • Animal Haven reserves the right to deny acceptance of any animal with a history of aggression or biting.
  • Animal Haven does accept animals from private owners. Before full admission is granted, a comprehensive medical and behavior evaluation is conducted on all cats and dogs.
  • Animal Haven never euthanizes for space and time.
  • Adoption fees cover vaccines, microchips, and spay/neuter.
  • Adoption applications are available online, but will only be accepted in person for processing.
  • Animal Haven has a strict donor privacy policy and compliance policy.

Animal Haven has many ways for interested animal lovers to adopt, including educating people through the Animal Ambassadors program called Caring Kids, This collaboration with New York schoolchildren helps them learn about animal care and allows them to express themselves creatively through arts and crafts, special events, and fundraising activities. Other special events held by Animal Haven include:

  • Fundraising efforts (dinners, concerts, auctions, etc.)
  • Shows and parties (pet costume, fashion, talent, etc.)
  • Seminars and presentations (pet training, pampered pet care, fitness challenges, etc.)

Volunteering and donating to Animal Haven is a simple as contacting the agency via phone, email, website, or social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram). Volunteer duties involve animal feeding and handling, socializing and exercise, cleaning and maintenance, and much more. Donation options include monetary gifts (one-time or monthly recurring), supplies, fundraising proceeds, memorials, planned giving, car donation, and Amazon Wish List.

While the new shelter is under construction, the mobile adoption unit holds events to the public four days a week (Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays).

To learn more about the organization, its programs, and its history, please visit their official website.

How to Choose a Charity

First off, ask yourself what you are passionate about. There are charitable organizations supporting every possible cause you could imagine, and then some. Try to identify two to three causes that you really care about, and then decide upon 3 or so organizations within each niche that you seem to like. Visit their respective websites and soak up as much as you can about the organizations.

How do they approach their cause and how effective have they been in achieving their goals in the past? These are two very important questions you should be trying to answer.

Charitable giving is a type of investment, so you should be doing the proper amount of research before your make your donation.

Charities are a big business. In fact, some estimates estimate charitable giving in the United States surpassed the $350 billion mark in 2014. While the vast majority of these charities are trustworthy organizations working to make the world a better place, there are certainly a few bad apples (as is the case in any industry).

These i121112-GivingWisely-Ribbons-thumb-620xauto-47897ll-intentioned charities seem to pop up with alarming frequency after natural disasters. They have become especially prevalent with the advent of the internet where people often whimsically give to GoFundMe or other crowd funding sites. Keep in mind that if the charity is claiming 100% of donated funds make its way to charity, then it is most likely a scam. This simply isn’t possible with the coordination and administrative costs.

After you have selected a few prospective charities and completed a surface-level investigation on each, it is time to vet them with the online guides. Charity Navigator, GuideStar, and the Wise Giving Alliance (from the Better Business Bureau) are all great online tools. Each service provides financial information letting you know if an organization is trustworthy and has a rating system judging the efficacy of each charity.

Giving to charity is a big commitment. Be sure to take the time to do your research to find an honest organization that supports a cause you are passionate about.