“What’s the ROI of social media?”

What’s the ROI of your mother?

I hate that quote. People love it but I think it’s just stupid. I am however here to demonstrate the actual ROI of social media, specifically Twitter. 

Since I joined almost 9 years ago, Twitter has been the best networking tool for me. I have made many friendships on Twitter. I have learned a ton of information from some of THE smartest people in the nonprofit sector. 

With Thanksgiving approaching, I wanted to introduce and say thank you to some of those people. Specifically, my IRL (in real life) friends.

Moving Online To IRL

For the last 4 summers (planning the fifth as I’m typing this), I have visited numerous cities in North America. I’m not just vacationing. I make a point of reaching out to Twitter friends in those cities and asking them to meet. They are gracious enough to take time out of their busy schedules to join me for a beer/coffee/ice cream sundae. I believe that you create a better connection when moving online to face-to-face. I’m lucky enough to now call them real friends.

So each day this week I’m giving thanks: I’m going to introduce you to my friends, experts in various niches of the nonprofit world. ALL of them are worth following on Twitter and engaging in conversation. They are happy to help and share their smarts. And humor. And snark. (You know who you are!)

BIG HUGE NOTE: I am singling these people out because I have met them in person. I am going to do another one of these posts in the future: people to follow on Twitter who I haven’t met yet but hope to someday. That list is, holy hell, loooooooooong. But it’s a great who’s who of sector professionals and specialists.

P.S. Many thanks to Clay (who I’ll intro you to tomorrow) who gave me this idea!

My New England Gang

You can take the boy out of New England but you can’t take the New England out of the boy. I may live overseas but my heart is still in the small town of New London, CT where I grew up. As my Twitter friends know, send snow pics! 

Lemme intro you to some of New England’s nonprofit finest:

Ephraim Gopin and Joe WatersJoe Waters is THE cause marketing person in the U.S. Whenever someone asks me who to speak to about corporate responsibility, I send them right to Joe. Joe may be my favorite Masshole but inside that tough exterior is a guy who wants to help. I know firsthand: When I come to Boston, Joe graciously gives me an hour of his time. And after that hour, I’ve got 20 business ideas to pursue. He’s wicked ahesome! P.S. To let you know Joe’s coolness factor, he was the 11th person I followed on Twitter when I joined. Damn, that’s a lot of his tweets I’ve been reading!


Ephraim Gopin and Robin CohenRobin just makes me laugh. Her tweets about life in Beantown crack me up. But know this: Robin is one of the smartest fundraisers I know. Talking shop with her is a pleasure because she knows WAY more than I do. I love getting updates about her work for Fenway High School which she’s unbelievably passionate about. I am thankful for her friendship and really appreciate her sector knowledge.


Ephraim Gopin and Meg HoffmanMeg Hoffman is one of my favorite fundraisers. When I first met Meg on Twitter about 9 years ago, she was taking the brunt of the jokes during #fundchat because she was usually the youngest participant. Yes, we poked a bit of fun at the “clueless” millenial. But trust me: I have had many conversations with her and watched her move up the corporate ladder because she’s a passionate, dedicated and very very savvy fundraiser. Absolutely worth connecting with her.


Ephraim Gopin and Nick SavareseNick Savarese, Executive Director of the Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation for Autism, is my kinda guy. Sports nut, fundraising and management expert and plenty of sarcasm to boot. Nick was one of the first people I followed here on Twitter and it’s been an enjoyable ride. I first met him when he was working with Special Olympics and this past summer had a chance to hear an update about his current gig. Fun fact: During game 7 of the Bruins-Canucks 2011 Stanley Cup Finals, we were both participating in #fundchat. Poor Nick gets really nervous during big games, which led to my alltime favorite tweet.



Ephraim Gopin and Mary CahalaneIf you ask anyone in the nonprofit sector about Mary Cahalane, you’re going to hear that she’s the nicest, kindest person and is a top-notch copywriter and fundraiser. I can testify that all of that is true, true, true! I first met Mary somewhere off the highway outside of Hartford 5 years ago at my favorite restaurant: Friendly’s. Bonding over Reese’s Pieces sundaes is the best! Mary is not only a friend but someone who has been helpful to me professionally more than once. I rely on her smarts and insights because I know I’m going to receive the best advice. Mary is a MUST follow on the Twitter!


Ephraim Gopin and Robin CabralLike Mary, Robin Cabral shares my love of ice cream. When I met her IRL 2 summers ago, it was before 8am which meant we had to settle for drinks at Dunkin Donuts. Robin is a fundraising coach, consultant and strategist par excellence. Ask people who download her ebooks, take her courses and use her advice to advance their fundraising efforts. And I can tell you that in person she’s even more cheery and fun to converse with than online. We may be on completely different continents but one of these days our paths will cross again and much ice cream will be consumed!


Ephraim Gopin and Jenn BogardusNew England. Boston sports. Passion for helping nonprofits. Wicked smaht. Down to earth. Meet Jenn. I’d known Jenn online a long time but 2 summers ago I told her I’m coming to the Cape to meet IRL. Jenn was the best host: Took me to the beach along the Atlantic. For me, major slice of childhood! Had a chance to just talk about life, work and everything in between. Hell, she was such a good host I went to the Cape again last summer to say hi! Jenn is one of those smart NP tech people you should be following. Just don’t mind our Sunday conversations about the Pats games 🙂 


Ephraim Gopin and Allison CostaEver been to Pawtucket, Rhode Island? Me neither. But on my way to Boston last summer, I made sure to stop at a bakery and meet Allison. Sure, you “know” someone online but then you meet in person and you find out they are WAY cooler than their online persona. Let’s see: I think we covered philanthropy, work, family, travel, sports and wine in an hour. To say I had fun would be an understatement. I love meeting people who are passionate about the sector, storytelling, fundraising and everything in between!

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s installment of giving thanks. We’re traveling along the Left Coast and through Pennsylvania.

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