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Online Communication on a Shoestring - for Nonprofits


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Websites, email blasting, and social media can provide small nonprofit organizations with big benefits without a huge investment. In this seminar, we talk through the best practices and the low cost tools that can help you take advantage of the internet to better serve your mission – without breaking your budget.

Published in: Technology, Design

Online Communication on a Shoestring - for Nonprofits

  1. 1. Online Communications On A Shoestring October 2008
  2. 2. Logistics You’re on a muted phone line - we can’t hear you if you speak. Enter questions into the Chat with Presenter box We have great folks standing by for your questions!
  3. 3. Logistics <ul><li>After the session, I’ll send out: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The slides (in fact, they’re at </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Any links we’ve discussed </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Introductions Me!
  5. 5. Introductions Eric Leland Leland Design Colin Delany
  6. 6. What We’ll Cover <ul><li>Your Website </li></ul><ul><li>Email </li></ul><ul><li>Online Outreach </li></ul><ul><li>Strategies and Tools for the three components of Online Strategy: </li></ul>
  7. 7. The Three Components of Online Communications
  8. 8. Three Components of Internet Communication
  9. 9. Your Website
  10. 10. Your Website is You, Online <ul><li>For many online friends, your website is your organization. </li></ul>Does it say what you want it to say?
  11. 11. Does It Say What You Do? <ul><li>Don’t make people hunt to find out what your organization does. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Does It Show What You Do? <ul><li>Make sure your website compellingly shows your activities and the difference you’re making </li></ul>
  13. 13. Why Should People Care? <ul><li>Give stories, numbers, examples – to make a connection </li></ul>
  14. 14. How Can They Get Involved? <ul><li>Give people lots of opportunities to help out, if they’ve been moved </li></ul>
  15. 15. On a Shoestring Budget, Prioritize Wisely <ul><li>Make sure your content speaks to your constituents </li></ul><ul><li>Invest in a solid graphic design </li></ul><ul><li>Make it friendly, clear, and useful </li></ul><ul><li>Ensure you can update it over time </li></ul><ul><li>Look for a tool that will grow with you </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t be seduced by nifty features </li></ul>
  16. 16. The Minimal Website <ul><li>If your budget is exceedingly minimal, consider alternative websites </li></ul><ul><li>But an investment pays off </li></ul>A blog A Facebook Page A piece of another site
  17. 17. Website Tools for a Shoestring Budget Very easy but very generic website-in-a-box. $5-$50 per month depending on number of pages and more . More complex to set up, but offers more options for those publishing articles, news, or content on an ongoing basis. $7 - $12/month Website editing, blast emailing, payment processing, and membership management for small nonprofits. $25-$200 per month.
  18. 18. More Advanced Shoestring Tools Much more advanced than previous, with sophisticated and expandable features. Will require at least someone with a sense of technical adventure, if not a consultant, to get setup. Free to download. Even more advanced than Joomla, especially for multi-site organizations or sophisticated user-generated content, but more complex to setup. Free to download.
  19. 19. Email
  20. 20. Repeat After Me…
  21. 21. Emails are Very Cost Effective <ul><li>Reach out to your constituents to let them know what you’re doing </li></ul>Or ask them to take action
  22. 22. But the Details are Critical <ul><li>Who is the email from? </li></ul>Is the graphic design clean? Does it depend on images? Are there spam-like words in the text? Are any calls to action clear? Does it seem like they know who I am? Is there an unsubscribe link and physical address? What’s the subject line?
  23. 23. Does Anyone Open Email Anymore? <ul><li>Yes. Especially from organizations they know and like. </li></ul>These vary widely based on organization and email 12-30% Open 2-15% Click 5-10% Act .05-2% Give
  24. 24. Where Do The Addresses Come From? <ul><li>Start with your friends… </li></ul>And then build your list through Online Outreach … Ask for emails in direct mail appeals Have an email sign-up sheet at events Consider an email appending service Ask website visitors to sign up for compelling emails
  25. 25. Shoestring Blast Email Tool for 501c3s <ul><li>10,000 emails per month free for 501c3s (after that, on the expensive side). Reliable and sophisticated, though complex in areas. Strong in deliverability and integration – particularly with Salesforce. </li></ul>Outlook is not a blast email tool! <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Now using the Emma platform. Very affordable for large lists, at $29.95/ month for up to 20,000 emails, and $2/thousand after. Great template options – they’ll design you a custom one for $199. Feature rich, but complex in areas. Strong nonprofit support in a sustainable product. </li></ul>Email Now
  26. 26. Other Shoestring Options <ul><li>Electric Embers ( ) </li></ul><ul><li>Similar to Google or Yahoo Groups without the ads and a bit more control. Doesn’t easily support HMTL emails. Starts at $5/month. </li></ul><ul><li>CampaignMonitor ( ) </li></ul><ul><li>No templates, but solid custom fields and deliverability. Inexpensive if you’re not sending many emails , at $5 per campaign + $0.01 per email. </li></ul><ul><li>Constant Contact ( ) </li></ul>Solid and commonly used. Starts at $15/month. However, many report deliverability problems. Outlook is not a blast email tool!
  27. 27. Look for Tools That… <ul><li>Have a track record of getting emails to people’s Inbox </li></ul><ul><li>Allow you to track opens and click throughs </li></ul><ul><li>Help you to segment your list </li></ul>
  28. 28. Online Outreach
  29. 29. A Powerful Part of Your Marketing Mix Online outreach can be a powerful method to reach new people… as part of your overall marketing strategy Online methods tend to be inexpensive but time-consuming
  30. 30. It Starts with a Story and an Audience No marketing technique will work without… A compelling story about your organization and the good you do in the world And a clear vision of your audience
  31. 31. Search Engine Optimization Pay attention to words, headings, and page titles, and try to get others to link to you. Consider Google Ad Grants
  32. 32. Reach Out to Existing Communities Join a niche conversation via email Outreach (gently!) about things important to you
  33. 33. Make Connections with Relevant Blogs Join the conversation by reading and commenting Community and niche bloggers are often eager for interesting things to post about
  34. 34. “Viral” Resources Create something – a report, message, action, video, image, or functionality - so compelling that people share it with others “ Going viral” is more of an aspiration than a strategy
  35. 35. Social Networking Sites Reach out to the (largely younger) audience who spend a lot of time on Facebook, MySpace, niche sites Create a Group, Fan Page, or sophisticated applications to interest current and new supporters
  36. 36. Ask Supporters to Participate Solicit stories, photos, or other content from a wide audience
  37. 37. Distributed Campaigns Ask your staff and friends to fundraise – or solicit other things Personal fundraising pages also allow your friends to link from their own blogs or profiles
  38. 38. Spreading the Word Through Other Sites
  39. 39. What Works for You? <ul><li>Most outreach methods are inexpensive but time-consuming </li></ul><ul><li>Start with your goals, not the tools </li></ul><ul><li>Can you gamble with your time? </li></ul><ul><li>What’s familiar? </li></ul><ul><li>Leverage what you already have </li></ul><ul><li>Choose one or two, try them out – and then evaluate </li></ul>
  40. 40. Three Components of Internet Communication
  41. 41. Assessing Methods Effective and function computers and networks At least a basic website presence Well thought out email strategy Enlist people in spreading the word/ creating content Search engine optimization, outreach to existing communities Start with the most proven strategies first
  42. 42. Learning More
  43. 43. Online Communications for Nonprofits <ul><li>Beth’s Blog </li></ul><ul><li>e.politics </li></ul><ul><li>Idealware </li></ul><ul><li>Progressive Exchange list </li></ul>
  44. 44. Idealware Online Seminars <ul><li>Always high quality information, carefully presented </li></ul><ul><li>Tactical, practical information to save you time and money </li></ul><ul><li>Capped at 22 participants – for effective discussion and Q&A </li></ul><ul><li>$40 per seminar – or $20 for a recording </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  45. 45. Idealware Online Seminars <ul><li>Tools to Manage a Website Without Technical Skills </li></ul><ul><li>Building an Effective Email List </li></ul><ul><li>Understanding Search Engine Optimization </li></ul>Getting Started with Online Donations Tomorrow! Introduction to Website Analytics Thurs, Dec 11th Choosing eNewsletter Software Wed, Nov 12th Choosing a Low Cost Constituent Database Thurs, Nov 6th Getting Started with Online Conferencing and Seminar Tools Thurs, Nov 13th Considering Social Media for Your Organization Wed, Dec 10th And coming up:
  46. 46. Questions?