Five things therapy horses can teach us about social media

Credit: Justin Houk, Flickr

Although social media can be confusing and overwhelming at times, there are a few basic rules that our therapy horses know instinctively that apply for this type of communication. We’ll start with the top five:

1) One size does not fit all

Just as you match the horse to the rider, match the media channel with the message.

How and where you say something can be as important as what you say.

2) There is always something new to learn

A good therapy horse has the ability to learn new things through verbal and non-verbal language and then apply it to previous knowledge.

The tools and technology are a starting point but success will be how to keep learning ways to understand and relate to your audiences.

3) Relationships are reciprocal.

Just like a pat on the neck, a kiss on the nose or carrot go a long way, letting your audiences know you appreciate them for sharing your cause, spreading your story, making that donation, volunteering their time helps build two-way relationships.

4) Stay calm and carry on

Things that you don’t expect or plan for will happen. Fight the urge to flee. Stick around and work through hiccups.

Making an impact takes time and progress may not be perfect, but you’ll gain respect of your audiences that you stayed with them.

5) “Not everything that counts can be counted, not everything that can be counted counts”

Just as counting the number of minutes a student spent in a ring or what color their shirt was for the day doesn’t equate progress, social media success goes well beyond the numbers of “likes,” “friends” or “+1s.”

Qualitative results are more important than quantitative results – measure the breakthroughs for each unique relationship.

 

Are there other rules that should be added?

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Organization Snapshot: Bravehearts Therapeutic Riding and Educational Center

BraveheartsMission

BraveHearts provides equine-assisted activities and therapies with teams of expert staff, dedicated volunteers and therapy horses at multiple safe and caring facilities. In addition to serving children and adults, BraveHearts provides innovative services to meet the needs of military veterans and their families.

By utilizing a faculty of national experts, BraveHearts is a center of excellence within the therapeutic industry through its unique efforts in programming, education and research.

Soundbite

“…I saw kids who were completely non-verbal begin to use words for the first time. Kids with autism became more focused and attentive. I watched people whose lives were spent looking up from a wheelchair develop a new sense of confidence as they smiled down from the back of a horse. I marveled as people who started out with almost no core trunk strength improved so dramatically that they could actually post a trot with little or no help. And I also discovered the true reason that God had brought beautiful horses into my life, and had helped me survive a catastrophic illness. He had a plan, and that plan was BraveHearts.”

~Marge Tautkus Gunnar, Founder

Services offered

  • Family Program
  • Summer Camp
  • Adaptive Riding
  • Therapeutic Carriage Driving
  • Veterans Programs

Location:

Harvard and Poplar Grove, Illinois

Website

http://braveheartsriding.org/

Photo, graphic and information Credit: BraveHearts Therapeutic Riding and Educational Center

Google+ now available for non-profit organizations

Google+ has long last rolled out the release of its brand Pages for organizations and non-profits.

Pages will have many of the same features as Google+ personal profiles or as those on Facebook Pages. Organizations can share information, photos, and videos as well as links and background and contact information. One of the true game-changing features of these new groups is the power it plays in Google Search; web users who type the + prefix before an organization’s name on a Google search are taken directly to a group’s profile page.

The following are a few great summaries on how to get started:

Once you’ve read this guides and determined this is something that makes sense for your organization, get building.

After you’ve built your page or are still on the fence about taking the plunge, a great resource to check out is the Google for non profits Google+ Page and consider adding it to your circles (screen shot above).

On this page, Google promises to “post community questions, host hangouts so you can meet the team & hear from experts, share tips & engage users in an ongoing conversation about nonprofits and technology.” Sign me up.

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