By: Sekinah Brodie, Hopeworks Content Creation Specialist

In today’s world there is no denying that social media has completely taken over our phones, our businesses, our entertainment, and in some cases our minds. It’s rare that you see any person within a certain age range without their phone glued to their hand at all times. With this in mind, businesses all over the world have had to pivot and adapt to the ever changing social landscape. 

Nonprofit organizations, many of which have had a stigma of being behind the times have also found themselves adapting. By engaging in social media promotion, nonprofits are finding ways to raise awareness, gain donations, and grow their network. Here are 5 easy ways your organization can boost social media engagement.

  1. Create A Content Calendar and Post Consistently

Being intentional about the content you create and post is what separates the social media giants from the amateurs these days. With a content calendar you have the ability to plan and strategize what you will post, why you are posting it and where you will post it. By having your content created and planned in advance, you can spend time doing other things during the day. You also now have the ability to post more consistently which only helps grow your audience and brings more eyes to your cause.

  1. Paying Attention to The Correct Data

Depending on the goals of your organization, certain data metrics may be more important than others in your long term plans. Likes, comments, and retweets are often great indicators of awareness, but they may not convert into partnerships, donors, etc.

According to there are actionable metrics that you can focus on that will likely be more helpful in sustaining your long term engagement strategy. Here’s what you should pay close attention to:

  1. Be Careful With Usage Of Hashtags

Using hashtags has been defined by some as a now useless engagement tactic, however there are still ways to make them work. This will take a bit of research on your part along with some experimentation. 

Check out what other influencers and organizations in your industry are using for their hashtags and begin to incorporate them as you see fit. Also, making sure that the hashtags you use regularly are active is incredibly important. Non relevant hashtags do absolutely nothing to grow the reach of your post so be mindful of that. Lastly, making your hashtags as niche as possible is best for reach. The more people that use the tag, the easier it is for your post to get lost in the crowd. Make sure you stand out as much as you can!

  1. Tell Stories

For the most part, the intrigue of nonprofit organizations are the causes they support and their overall missions. People are drawn in by wanting to help change the world in their own little way and they admire those who dedicate their lives to doing so. With this in mind, your social media platform is the best way to capture the attention of your audience with storytelling. 

For example, here at Hopeworks we help young people in underserved communities advance their education and build professional careers in tech. Our social media displays the stories of those young people, struggles they’ve overcome, and the way the program has changed their lives and future. This not only engages our current audience, it draws in new supporters, donors, and youth who are eager to make the same changes. 

  1. Build A Relationship With Your Audience

The best part about social media for any business is the ability to put a face to a name for your customers, clients, supporters, donors, etc. This allows you to build with them on a human level in a way that wasn’t as possible in the past. You can easily have conversations with your supporters through your social media channels and have the power to keep the conversation going. It’s important to engage as much as you can on your posts by  - following up on messages and comments in a timely manner, replying to tags or mentions, and sharing stories related to the topic of the post.

With all of these methods combined, you will be well on your way to boosting your nonprofit’s social media engagement. Stay as consistent as possible and just watch your presence continue to rise daily, weekly and monthly. Keep track of your vanity and actionable metrics to gauge what is working and what is not working. And as always, have fun communicating with your audience as you never know where that like, comment, or follow will lead!

When Jili walked through the doors of Hopeworks she had just lost her management position at Checkers and her sister told her she should come to Hopeworks. Her sister, Alejandra, was already a Recruitment Intern and working to obtain her High School Diploma. Jili admits that when she first started the training she felt lost, but when she earned her Training Room Internship she started to figure out all the opportunities that could further her education and career. "I know I will accomplish my goals by getting my car, my own place, and starting my career in Medical Assistance or Google IT, or Entrepreneurship".

Jili says that she learned patience while working in the training room something that has caused her to lose jobs in the past. Her proudest technical skills were learning how to code. When asked to describe Hopeworks in one word she replied,  "Hopeworks to me, means success!"

Last month we introduced one of our newest trainees at Hopeworks, Blake Banks. Since then, so much has been happening in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder, events that effect Blake and his community deeply.  While struggling to stay focused on his own goals, Blake shared his feelings about racial justice and to the police response to the protests.

The most frustrating aspect of the murder of George Floyd for me, and I feel as though it is for many other people, is the fact that he and hundreds of others murdered at the hands of police, have little chance of getting the justice that they deserve. The police, since the inception of this problem, have been handling it horribly and they expect civilians to handle it better than they do when they're professionally trained for these situations. They're putting us between a rock and a hard place. How are we, who feel targeted and with no professional training, expected to keep our cool at a time like this? How are we expected to handle these situations with more care and responsibility than the people who are paid to protect us. It's unfair and not right. 

What I feel needs to happen for things to continue peacefully is for total reform and an overhaul of the entire system. There are far too many policies that are protecting police and allowing these injustices to continue. We shouldn't have to march, riot, yell, scream, and loot for the smallest action of justice to be carried out. We shouldn't have to struggle and fight for hundreds of years for basic human rights that everyone should be given. The only way for justice to be achieved in a corrupted and broken system is to call for a complete overhaul and reform of the system.  The American penal system has been organized almost from its inception to stigmatize people of color and minorities and we're tired of it and we want change. 

It's important to be angry because it can drive you, but it's also important to keep your anger in check because a fire not controlled can burn everything to ash. I'm keeping myself attentive but also distracting myself with things I love when being angry is just too much.

Michael Cassel joined the Hopeworks Web Department as an intern early this year after completing the training and brought valuable skills to the UX (user experience) team and adapted quickly to working at home.  Shortly after shifting to remote work, Michael’s housing situation was unexpectedly interrupted due to the pandemic and he was forced to make an abrupt move.  But this didn’t deter Michael from his goals, rather it reinforced his desire to change his life!

Michael proudly tells us, “Throughout the COVID-19 crisis I have endured many challenges and distractions. First, I would like to thank the Hopeworks staff for literally holding my hand throughout my training process and then into my internship.

During COVID-19, I experienced having to make a sudden move to another state and found myself in an unexpected place in life. Hopeworks, even though impacted by COVID-19, remains productive and supportive to its youth.  Because of this, I was able to call on Hopeworks staff and within days they had my living situation handled.  I have settled into my new housing location and struggle with internet problems. There are moments while I’m  working when I might lose connection. It is very frustrating and difficult to focus on work when you're constantly running into internet issues. Additionally, my supervisor was having difficulty contacting me while I was having connection problems, and I then lost an important file in the process!  Once again I was able to ask for help and we are working to fix the problems as I write this. 

COVID-19 took everyone by surprise, but I never let it, or any obstacle, discourage me. 

One of my long term goals is making it on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list. But before I get there, I need to achieve my short term goals. I would like to develop a physical therapy app first and then create a clothing line. 

Lastly, I would like to get my Bachelor’s  in Exercise Science while becoming an entrepreneur. So with big dreams to chase, there are going to be a lot of late nights and difficult challenges. But COVID-19 is adding to my determination and desire. I already wanted to accomplish these things and COVID-19 really made me more flexible and resilient.  And, I improved my self-care. I even had time to start a garden!”

"If there's one word to describe Michael Cassel, it's positivity. His work on the UX team is valuable, but even more important is his sunny attitude and willingness to support his peers. No matter how much work pours into the department, Michael is sure to keep us going!" ~ Annie Rose Webb, Hopeworks Web Director

Even though few youth come to Hopeworks with a college degree, once in a while a young person recognizes the need for in-demand skills in addition to a degree. Patrice Ingram came to Hopeworks, after completing college, with a desire to learn skills that would lead her quickly to a living wage job and a sustainable career path.

Patrice shared, "My time as a trainee at Hopeworks was insightful and exciting. As a Rowan University graduate with a degree in Psychology, the technology world was foreign to me. I couldn't be more thankful for how well Hopeworks has prepared me for the position I am in now. As a Communications Intern, I am responsible for social media content creation and maintaining the company's website. I appreciate that my job challenges my newfound skills and strengthens them. Working from home has pushed me to think of new ways to do my job. I try to present a new idea each week to my supervisor during our weekly check-ins. My goal is to capture the mission of North10 through the work I create.

During this time, I have been exploring different career paths in technology. Of all the skills I learned at Hopeworks, design is my favorite. My Life Readiness Coach, Melinda, provided me with resources to get more practice when preparing for my internship. Now, my goal is to gain more experience in Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator. I want to use these skills to do freelance work, helping brands and organizations build an identity. 

Being a part of the Hopeworks family is rewarding and fulfilling. I am so fortunate to have such an amazing organization that is Hopeworks as support. I am excited to see what my future holds in store!"

“As our Communications Intern at North 10, Philadelphia, Patrice has been a great addition to our team. During these trying times, Patrice has been instrumental in putting out content via our Social Media outlets that has been meaningful, useful and relevant to our Community and it’s members. With her thoughtfulness we can continue to provide resources virtually in a fun and creative way!” ~ Supervisor, Sumi Blodgett

When a young person wants to change their life it doesn't matter if there is a pandemic.  Hopeworks needs to be here for them. And this month, we were here for 3 new trainees. We are happy to welcome Erin Rodriquez, Blake Banks, and Achu Elvis who didn't let COVID-19 stop them from going after their dreams! 


"I was referred to Hopeworks through by a  friend who went through the program. He told me about the training he received and I asked him to get me in contact with anyone in charge there. This program is teaching me job skills that I will need to move into the field that I want. It gives me a clear goal and marks my progress objectively, it is exactly what I need to focus my energy on in times of this crisis." ~ Erin Hernandez
"I'm a young man who has always had the zeal and desire to get into information technology and believe Hopeworks will bring out the professional skills in me and get me ready for the job market. I believe that by the end of my training at Hopeworks, I'll have the knowledge and skills needed to get into the IT department." ~ Achu Elvis
"I've always lived and have been raised in low-income areas and haven't had the resources to take control of my life, but Hopeworks is giving me a chance to do better things for myself and the people around me. Hopeworks gives me the power to not be a statistic." ~ Blake Banks

The training room team has quickly found ways to keep current trainees engaged in their learning from home and continue to make progress in the program.  Youth continue to complete training modules and hold virtual website and portfolio presentations. Jilimarie Mojica not only completed the training, but interviewed remotely and was hired as a new training room intern!  Jilimarie is filling a new role and providing outreach to those youth who have struggled to remain engaged during our changing circumstances. She is doing an outstanding job of making contact and getting youth re-engaged in the training.  

Meantime, other training room interns are assisting trainees via video chats to help them work through difficult modules and have been setting up video conferences for advanced training sessions. This week, the whole team is working on a new virtual tour of Hopeworks.  Virtual tours will be available Tuesdays and Thursdays beginning next week. If you're interested in joining one, contact us at [email protected] or fill out the contact form below.

We’re super excited to have this new tool as we continue to recruit more youth to our Recode Your Future program - even NOW!

This is a hard time for everyone -- families, organizations, and, of course, the youth and their families here at Hopeworks. However, even in the midst of all of this, we are also grateful and excited right now!  Thanks to our amazing supporters, partners, and clients, Hopeworks youth continue to grow, thrive, and earn wages during this stressful time.  When many of their families have lost jobs and income, our youth continue to bring home critical paychecks and stipends to help out.  They have also adapted to the "new normal" with incredible agility and have been super productive working remotely.  

This happens only because everyone in our ecosystem has made it possible for us to be flexible and continue to help youth change their lives, even under extraordinary circumstances.  Thank you for making the stories in this newsletter possible.

With gratitude,

Dan Rhoton
Executive Director

Our youth -- and their families -- are the first to be impacted by this economic downturn. Already, both our youth and their families have been hit hardest by the first wave of layoffs in the service and food industries, and the situation continues to worsen.

At Hopeworks, we have been able to keep our youth working and earning wages, sometimes the only person in their household doing so right now.  With current client projects and the ability to work remotely with virtual supervision, our interns continue to produce quality products for our clients.  

But the longer this health crisis lasts, the harsher the impact on the entire community.  Small businesses and nonprofits will be left severely financially restricted and unable to pay for important services that will help them rebound from the economic impact of COVID-19.  Here's how you can help keep young people earning critical wages while helping the community recover and move forward!

Donate to Hopeworks COVID-19 Campaign for Community and help grow the Camden Capacity Fund (CCF) so we can offer our services and products to community organizations. Check out information about the Camden Capacity Fund so you'll know how your dollars will keep Hopeworks youth working for the whole community!

Like organizations across the country, Hopeworks is working to respond responsibly to the Coronavirus outbreak.

What is Hopeworks doing?

Beginning on March 18th, alongside the Camden City School District, Hopeworks is closing our operations in Camden to help our staff and youth maintain appropriate social distancing.

What about Hopeworks youth?

We know that the economic and social challenges facing our youth do not end with the beginning of this outbreak. In fact, they may get even worse. Thus, Hopeworks is taking several steps to help our youth during this time. This includes:

What about client projects?

For our clients, I am proud to share that we anticipate being able to continue our work on your projects with a minimum of disruption. As a tech-focused organization, Hopeworks is perhaps better prepared than most for this period of social distancing.

Please reach out to your project contact as usual; you will find them responsive and ready to move your project forward.

How can I help?

Like many organizations, Hopeworks is working to make sure that we do not cut the hours or pay for our young people since that income is particularly critical at this time. Please know that we need your support more than ever! If you would like to donate, please click here

If you have a website or GIS project that you need to be completed, this is a great time for us to help you get it done!

When will Hopeworks return to the office?

Hopeworks is following the guidance of the Camden School District. We will reopen when they reopen.

808 Market St 3rd Floor
Camden, NJ 08102
(856) 365-4673
Hopeworks is a 501(c)(3) non-for-profit organization, EIN: 31-1660671.
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