Guest post from Blackbaud intern, Ben Baker. Ben works on Blackbaud’s Corporate Communications Team, is a Graduate Student at University of Texas School of Advertising (Hook ‘Em) and a Mississippi native. Ben loves his beautiful wife, gripping movies, everything about football and all things social media.

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Have you ever seen a movie or eaten a meal that was so good, so amazing, that you felt like you needed to share it with the world? I distinctly remember several years ago when I first saw Inception. The movie had been in theaters for about a week at that point, and the thriller was all the rage on social media. The unique plot. The high-caliber acting. The “edge of your seat” action sequences. I couldn’t get enough. It was so good, I was sure I was dreaming… Inside of a dream… Inside of a dream. Needless to say, my voice joined my social media comrades and hailed the movie for what it was – a masterpiece. And it brought me satisfaction when I saw people enjoying the movie off of my recommendation. Well, ladies and gentlemen of the nonprofit universe, the time has come again. Nope, not a movie. Nope, not a juicy cut of filet mignon. A social media tool that is going to revolutionize the way that you conduct business. I have seen the light!

If This Then That (IFTTT), offers a creative, unique, free and practical alternative to keeping up with your multiple social media initiatives. This tool has so many mind-blowing applications for non-profits that I just had to share it with the world.

This San Francisco born website began making an impact since its birth and was actually ranked 5th on Time Magazine’s 50 best websites. Essentially, the website takes two internet platforms that you may use on a daily basis and conjoins them to create a “recipe.” These recipes cover a broad range from simplicity to complexity. Connect your Facebook to your Twitter if you want IFTTT to change your Twitter profile picture every time you change your Facebook profile picture. Connect the forecast to your cell phone you want IFTTT to text you every time the weather in your area drops below 40 degrees. Connect your Twitter to ESPN to show your support for the Texas Rangers every time a game starts.

In regards to these unique “recipes,” the possibilities seem near endless. IFTTT currently supports 79 social channels (many of which I’ve never even heard of), and the list will most likely continue to expand. In a list of the most entertaining recipes published by Mashable, one person even requested that a text reading “Be nice to dad” be sent to his phone every time Hewlitt-Packard’s stock fell.

So what does this have to do with nonprofits? Well, let’s briefly explore some of the many options.

  • Perhaps you have a multi-location walk/run planned for your nonprofit and want to take document the events via Instagram. Obviously, if you have one person running social, you can’t be in multiple places at once. Using IFTTT, you could actually take all user-generated Instagrams from the geographic locations of the walks/runs and funnel them into a Dropbox or Flickr account. From there, you can filter the best from the worst and… Voila! The event has been documented.
  • Maybe you are attempting to measure the success of a social campaign you are running by the use of a hashtag. By pairing a Google Drive account with Twitter, all tweets containing that hashtag can be collected on a Google Drive spreadsheet. From here, you can easily measure how successful your campaign was by both the quantity of interactions and the quality of interactions.
  • If you’re a nonprofit who wants to show your supporters that you care about them, perhaps you could link up your Gmail account with your Twitter account. Using IFTTT, every time you receive an email notifying you of a new Twitter follower, your Twitter account sends an automated shout out, welcoming in your new follower.

With 79 social channels and more being added, the possibilities for If This Then That, are nearly endless. And, of course, it’s free. So give it a try one day. I can promise you you’ll find yourself lost in the limitless possibilities that this program holds.

And, who knows, maybe after you fall in love with it, you can rave to your friends about it, too.

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