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In today’s digital age, your website is often the first impression someone has of your organization. Your website is a portal of information that has the ability to convey all the important aspects of your non-profit. Unlike your organization’s social media sites, you are in total control of the design and branding of your website. Embrace it.
A poorly designed website could limit your ability to attract and retain supporters. People are in such a rush that they do not have the time nor the patience to wade through a poorly designed and unkempt website. Don’t lose a supporter because your website is not user friendly. Analyze your website today to identify areas of weakness.

After watching the 6 Tips for Making Your Non-Profit Website User-Friendly webinar, you will be able to assess your non-profit’s website. Highlights from the webinar include:

  1. Create an inviting home page. Are visitors to your site making it past your home page? Maybe not, if your home page isn’t clear, concise and informational.
  2. Make it easy for supporters to donate online. Don’t lose out on donations because your webpage makes it too difficult for supporters to donate online. Improve the online donation experience so donors want to give.
  3. Embrace storytelling. Draw visitors to your site with compelling storytelling. It’s never too late to start.
  4. Think like your audience. Put yourself in the shoes of someone visiting your site. Are they able to find what they need to–and quickly? If you’re not sure how your audience thinks, consider asking them.
  5. Design with intention. Pay attention to details when designing your page. Consistency is key. So is web usability.
  6. Keep information updated. There’s nothing worse than going to a website to look for news or contact information, only to find out it is outdated.

Watch the full webinar 6 Tips for Making Your Non-Profit Website User-Friendly to find out how you can make changes to your website today.

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Danielle Duff is an Employee Engagement Program Manager for the government with five years of communication and web management experience. She is a student at the Public Relations and Corporate Communications Master’s program at Georgetown University.

 

Storytelling will be the number one business skill of the next 5 years? Yep! According to Ira Glass, “Great stories happen to those who can tell them.”  “78 percent of CMO’s think content is the future of marketing.”  Storytelling is where you can display key insight into your organization. Storytelling is quick, powerful, free, natural, persuasive, entertaining, moving and memorable.

Stories and the art of storytelling can play a major role in promoting your organization. Not all organizations understand the importance of developing their story or stories or learning to tell stories in ways that render lasting impact. You can increase your ability to fundraise by leaps and bounds if you knew how to convey what you do and what you need through storytelling!

This webinar will assist you in developing stories from within your organizations’ successes, failures and histories. You will learn “how-to” define and develop your organizational messaging in the form of a story. You will learn to identify the building blocks needed to craft your stories to achieve word-of-mouth and grassroots success in our digital age.

Stories have beginnings, middles and ends. Stories ebb and flow, they contain our context that comes from our struggle and failures and moves toward our climax or point at which CHANGE occurs then they guide us to success and ACTION. Stories have cross cultural themes and evoke emotions that reach beyond boarders and language barriers.

In this webinar you will learn:

  • How to gather story elements – you will be provided with a checklist of items to gather before telling or writing your story. Gathered together, these elements will help you craft good stories.
  • Why a story’s audience matters – you will learn how to keep your audience in mind while crafting your story. We will do this by examining a number of audience types and stories directed to each.
  • What a story can be beyond simply writing – stories are often told through a variety of mediums. These may include music, photography or a mixture of audio visual elements. We will briefly examine the value of incorporating these within your storytelling.

The human brain is wired to understand stories more than memorize facts and figures. We learn by engagement and that is what a story does. It engages an individual and can move them to action. Your supporters are waiting for you to engage them with your storytelling.

Webinar – Defining Your Story

Lee Towns is currently working on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., a graduate student in the PR and Corporate Communications department at Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies as well as a Storytelling Research Fellow at the Center for Social Impact Communications (CSIC) managed by Georgetown University. You can connect with her via www.linkedin.com/in/leetowns.

Twitter takes way, way too much time.

At least, that’s how it can seem. It’s an endless stream of information, and it’s very difficult to pare it down to the information that could be useful to your organization. It can also feel like you are wasting time sending messages out to the ether and never getting the engagement you want.

I get that.

I’ve done nonprofit communications for years and I’ve been in that place. But I’ve since developed a system to minimize my time on Twitter while still getting the engagement I want.

There’s no doubt that Twitter is important. 135,000 people join Twitter every day, and 1 in 5 people use it. That’s a significant audience. However, it’s easy for “tweeting” to fall to the bottom of your to-do list, especially when you’re working at an underfunded, understaffed nonprofit. So, I have developed a system for you to do Twitter well and get the results you want.

1. Prepare your content.

Find out what your organization has to offer. Is it pictures of kids playing soccer? Is it stories of getting people into their first home? Find out what it is. Then sign up for related newsletters (such as the Chronicle of Philanthropy or Nonprofit Quarterly) and Google Alerts.

2. Use the right tools.

Calendars are your best friend. There are tons of social media tools where you can schedule out tweets to save you time and make your life easier. Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, and Sprout Social are all good options.

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3. Respond to engagement.

This media is social. So be social! Value quality over quantity and reach out to people in an authentic way to spark authentic engagement.

4. Evaluate your results.

Without evaluation, we don’t know what we’re doing right (or wrong). The tool you use will be recording your quantitative data, but make sure you’re also paying attention to the qualitative. Saying, “We got a mention this week” is different from, “The mayor tweeted that he loved our new program.” (Want more info on evaluation? See Avinash Kaushik’s blog post.)

So how do those steps translate into action? Well, here are four things you can start doing to use your time most effectively on Twitter:

Tomorrow: Get the right tools, set up systems to get fresh content and write “evergreen” tweets that will always be good to send.
One hour per week: Schedule tweets for the week. Aim for 2-3 a day to begin with. But be warned that pre-scheduling tweets is just to give you a baseline- you still need to engage your audience on a daily basis with the next step.
Ten minutes per day: Respond to engagement or reach out to one follower and send them a personalized message.
One hour per week: Record your qualitative data in an excel sheet.

For more information on these tips and some great examples of what other organizations are doing, watch my webinar.

About the author: Allison Carney is the strategic communications manager for the Nonprofit Roundtable. She is a communications consultant for nonprofits and is a current MA student at Georgetown’s Public Relations and Corporate Communications program. Connect with her on LinkedIn, Twitter, or follow her blog.

The 5 Big Picture Reasons Your Organization’s Blog Isn’t Working

A blog is a communication channel that is particularly challenging for larger non-profits and organizations to use effectively. It can become a wasteland of random content that can’t find a home anywhere else in the organization or a stale stream of uninspired news that fails to hook an audience. It took a lot of staff time and resources to build your organization’s blog — so it’s worth checking in and taking a look at how it’s performing. Is your organization’s blog accomplishing what you need it to accomplish and are you getting a good return on your continued investment?

The accompanying webinar The 5 Big Picture Reasons Your Organization’s Blog Isn’t Working will help you identify why your blog may not be working at its highest capacity and what to do about it. Here are the highlights:

1)      You’ve lost touch with the strategic thinking that led you to start a blog in the first place. This can be particularly true for those who built their blogs during the blog bandwagon 5 to 7 years ago when “everyone was doing it.”

2)      You’ve failed to define and target your audience. Larger nonprofits can fall into the trap of assuming that a very broad audience is interested in their content. That assumption limits their ability to truly engage readers in the blogosphere where niche targeting, personality and point of view define the space.

3)      Your content is, well, how should I put this… boring. Consider employing the principles of op-ed writing to add relevancy, point of view and personality.

4)      You’re using one-size-fits all design. Instead, think about matching design and content in a way that gives you the best chance of engaging your readers in a “call to action”).

5)      You’re not using analytics to your advantage. Don’t think you have time for testing? We all need feedback to do our jobs better. The only way to know what’s working and not working is by doing testing and looking at your blog’s analytics. Google can help–and Mashable will break it down for you.

Your blog is not like the rotisserie oven your aunt ordered from a TV infomercial in a panic the week before Thanksgiving. You can’t just “set it and forget it.” In other words, there’s an investment in time and energy in making your blog work as a social media platform – not just a one directional data dump of the content your boss wants you to “get out there.”

If your blog isn’t pulling in an active and engaged audience, it’s probably not just a matter of adding more content, although more content could help. Your energy is probably better spent pulling back and looking at the big picture issues that could be holding you back. Hone in on your audience, adopt an op-ed approach to writing, use design that encourages action, participate in the larger blog community and then test, test and retest your efforts.

Katrina Blomdahl is a student in the PR & Corporate Communications program at Georgetown University. She is a communications professional interested in brand positioning, strategy and social media.

 

 

In this webinar, you will learn how event marketers can influence two critical areas that can set the event up for success long before any actual marketing begins:
• How the event budget is constructed
• Your relationship with your event owner

Be sure to check out the full webinar, How to Win at Event Marketing Before You’ve Even Sent an Email for more tips and real world applications of these ideas.

THE BUDGET
It’s a familiar situation for all of us – unrealistic goals paired with no resources.

So often, there is internal downward pressure to bring in revenue at any cost. The event team ends up with unrealistic goals that are based on profits, not historical growth trends.

Here are some tips to both get involved with and circumvent the budget process.

1. First, be nice to the number crunchers.
Give them lots of facts. Sometime you can’t say outright that the event goals are unrealistic, but you can paint a picture on a spreadsheet.

2. Second, go around the number crunchers.
Have an informal pre-meeting with the other event staff who are on the hook for making the event budget goals. Make sure that the team is on the same page about what is and is not reasonable for the attendance and registration goals, BEFORE the budget process starts.

THE PARTNERSHIP

It is crucial to understand that at the end of the day, what the event lead says about you can matter almost as much as the quality of your work, or whether or not the event’s financial goals were met.

Here are some tips for working with your event lead and becoming a dynamic duo.

1. Ask your event lead easy questions. What did they think attendees liked best about last year’s event? What do they think is most exciting about their upcoming event? Do they have an incredible keynote lined up? An awesome networking event? A new content track? What does their ideal attendee look like?

It will probably take two or three conversations, but this will help give you a clearer picture of how much the lead knows about the value that the event provides and where their priorities are.

2. Second, you need to educate your event owner about their core attendee. This will help make sure your are both on the same page about your core attendee and who you want to attend the event.

The more time you spend educating your event owner up front, the stronger your relationship will be down the road and at crunch time.

So as we start planning events for 2014 and 2015, try to get yourself in a position to influence the budget, build a good relationship with your conference owner and make your expertise doesn’t go to waste. If you are able to make sure your event has a strong foundation, the beautiful email marketing campaign you put together later will run itself.

Thanks so much and if you have any questions or want to bounce an idea off me, find me on Twitter at @bethludwick or email me at bethludwick@gmail.com.

Be sure to check out the full webinar, How to Win at Event Marketing Before You’ve Even Sent an Email for more tips and real world applications of these ideas.

Beth Ludwick is a graduate student at Georgetown University’s PR and Corporate Communications program. She is passionate about helping clients see the forest for the trees, refine their needs and meet their goals. Connect with Beth on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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