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Using Twitter Like a Pro

Submitted by Kate on January 3, 2011 - 2:56pm

Everyone—including Richir Outreach—loves to talk about how important social media is to nonprofits and political organizations. You can build your base of supporters, spread the word about your mission or issue, even launch fundraising campaigns. That is all well and good, but if you do not know what you are doing, social media can be a huge time-waster. We've been working on our own Twitter best practices for organizations, here's a peek at what we've got:

Consider your target audience; is your key demographic likely to be active on Twitter?

If your answer is "No," that does not mean you should rule out Twitter immediately, aside from communicating with your supporters and raising money, Twitter is a powerful tool for the everyday activities of an organization. You can connect with other nonprofit or political professionals, get advice on just about everything, and learn how to make your organization the best it can be. By using your time and resources wisely, you can get everything you need out of Twitter without wasting any time.

Boring Forms Are Boring

Submitted by Kate on December 28, 2010 - 2:35pm

Everyone is used to the standard sign-up form; they usually look a bit like this:

Email Address:

What is the problem with that? Nothing really, but it is boring. The whole point of a form is to draw people's attention, so even the small details should be special. Having a form on a pop-up, a slide-in, or even a block is a great way to get noticed and attract followers, donors, and subscribers, and making your form look clean and professional will complete the effect.

Now for the fun part. This is such a simple trick, and it will work with any type of text field you have, whether it is a search bar or a newsletter sign-up. Here's what it looks like:

Creating branded bitly links

Submitted by Kate on December 3, 2010 - 1:52pm

If you have never used bit.ly before, it is a great resource to know, especially if you use Facebook or Twitter. Rather than sharing long links that might break, you can create short links that automatically redirect to the page you are sharing. That keeps your tweets and Facebook posts short and to the point.

With Moms Rising, we took it a step further.

First, we purchased moms.ly as our short URL. A short URL does not have to end in .ly, but can have any ending you like. When searching for a URL to purchase, we looked for ones that were 5 letters or less and in keeping with Moms Rising's focus. For instance, if your organization is focused on animal rights, you might choose a short URL such as paws.us, or anim.al. Be sure that you understand all of the requirements to register a domain, especially one with an ending registered in another country, such as .ly or .al; some countries require that you have a domestic presence before you can purchase their domains.

Who Needs a Website?

Submitted by Kate on December 1, 2010 - 1:19pm

Working with nonprofits, especially small nonprofits, we sometimes encounter resistance to trying new technologies or making existing technology more usable. It is completely understandable from the perspective of these organizations: it can be difficult to visualize the correlation between online presence and growth in terms of either fundraising or supporters. But establishing an online presence doesn't have to be a daunting task. Here are some ways to make it easy and even more useful.

Usability

First of all, let's dispel the notion that online technology is not beneficial to nonprofits. According to this article on web usability, a government organization or nonprofit could get a 22,000% return on investment by making their website user-friendly. That number is no joke.

CRM Email Templates

Submitted by Kate on November 23, 2010 - 1:52pm

Progress Out of Poverty wanted to have a new email template with which to email their supporters. They use a Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) called Convio to process donations, organize donation databases, and maintain their supporter information. CRMs are extremely useful for nonprofits and businesses alike, as they keep everything nicely organized in one place.

To design an email template in Convio, we used an example email that Progress liked to build an HTML document with embedded images, links, and content. We then broke it up into pieces: the header and footer, which became the "Stationery" in Convio; and the text and inline images, which became the email content. The stationery is not likely to change very much from email to email, but the content of each email certainly will, so we want to make sure that the text and images in the content are easy for the Progress staff to edit.

Facebook Share Images

Submitted by Kate on November 17, 2010 - 1:52pm

The problem our client was having was that, whenever a page of theirs was shared on Facebook, the default picture (or the first option) was the cover of a book. They wanted their logo to show up instead.

Even if you are not having the same problem of unrelated images showing up when sharing pages on Facebook, it makes sense to control your Facebook presence by regulating what images appear when people share your links. It looks better, and it creates a unified brand for your organization. Also, it's really easy!

Here's what we did when we set this up for the MomsRising blog:

We grabbed the MomsRising logo from their Facebook page and gave it a nice shadow and border in Photoshop. We also made it 100px square, so it would fit nicely in a Facebook post.


Then, we added this code to the header region of our page by placing it inside header.php:

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