Tag Archives: Idealware

A Practical Approach to Nonprofit Website Overhaul

Image: Iowaadguy.wordpress.com

I’ve got nonprofit websites on the brain this morning and am passing along information about a great, inexpensive resource to help you improve this critical asset. Idealware, a dot.org that aims to help nonprofits make good decisions about software, has a series of five, live 90-minute webinars coming up that costs only $200. That’s a heckuva deal, and the content looks great.

Websites are on my mind because later today I’ll present my top 10 get-started tips for nonprofit communications and marketing to an independent study group associated with UC Davis’ MBA program. Allan Alday, one of the students, found me through LinkedIn while searching for someone with that expertise.

Overhauling or setting up an effective website is, of course, on my top 10 list. When I met a couple of weeks ago with Amber Stott, the force behind the one-year old California Food Literacy Center, we talked about what communications tools are most effective. “It’s still the website, Facebook and blogging,” Amber said. I agreed.

Idealware’s series is called “From Audit to Redesign: The Complete Nonprofit Website.” The series starts June 4. Even if you can’t make them all – they’re on Tuesdays at 10 a.m. Pacific – it would still be worth participating.

Here’s part of the description, but head on over to the page that describes it for more detail. And PS, although this implies that a nonprofit has an existing website, a seminar like this one could be equally helpful in creating a website from scratch.

Over five Tuesdays in June and July, join Idealware as we walk you through Website 101, review best practices for accessibility, mobile-optimized sites, and reinforcing your organization’s online brand. We’ll also take a look at the content management systems (CMS) that can give even your least tech-savvy staff members the tools to update website content themselves. Finally, we’ll talk about how your website content works alongside your email, direct mail, and social media efforts to create your organization’s communications mix.

Takeaways from the course:

  • Define goals for how your website will serve your audience
  • Learn best practices for designing an accessible, usable, and polished website
  • Compare your content management system (CMS) options
  • How to make sure your website shows up well on search engines 
  • Create your organization’s website action plan with next steps and action items for an improvement process

P.S. I just noticed that Idealware posts “Best of the Web” monthly, a round up of articles worth reading. If you’re thinking about social media, technological solutions (e.g. cloud), data, mobile giving, etc., you’ll find some worthwhile articles there.

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Idealware Facebook research: what it’s best at

Idealware's webinar slide regarding its new Facebook research

See the sneak peek

I’m listening to Idealware’s free webinar, through which Andrea Berry and Kyle Andrei are walking participants through the highlights of their recent research survey of over 500 professionals who were using Facebook for their nonprofit organizations.  Here are a few findings that I found of particular interest:

  1. Organizations that are spending less than 2 1/2 hours a week monitoring and posting on Facebook don’t feel they’re having much success. (See screen shot of slide, below.)  On the other end of the spectrum, at some point there are diminishing returns for time spent, but more than 50% organizations spending 9 hours or more per week on Facebook rate their efforts as successful.  NTEN’s 2010 Nonprofit Social Network Survey of more than 11,000 professionals recently found that the majority (61%) allocate at least a quarter Full Time Equivalent to managing their social networks.
  2. One of the things Facebook does best is drive traffic to websites.  Those who reported success with their Facebook social networking efforts were most positive about FB’s ability to drive website traffic, and move people to action.  Kyle nudged listeners: are you giving constituents what they want to see on your website, or do you still have a website that’s been the same since the 90s?
  3. Facebook is best at generating lower level commitment, especially event attendance.  (See screen shot, below.) “It’s a very good entry point,” reminded Kyle, especially compared to its effectiveness at driving volunteering or donation behaviors.  Andrea chimed in, “They’re there to be social online but also offline,” so events are a good way to engage Facebook fans.
  4. While Facebook isn’t that great at generating donations, it’s a good place to let constituents know how your campaign is doing as another touchpoint.
  5. Facebook does help to raise awareness of an organization or its mission, in particular by enabling people to spread information more widely.  85% of respondents reported “some” or “substantial” success getting Facebook fans to spread information.
  6. Kyle and Andrea recommended Facebook Insights, the free, built-in administrators’ tool, as a starting point on a measurement program.  Unfortunately, they said, most of the respondents reported that they don’t have a formal measurement system for evaluating success.  Kyle also suggested measuring website visits from Facebook referrals through Google Analytics.  “Facebook is one of the biggest referrers to nonprofit web pages,” Andrea echoed.
  7. Surprising, a large number of respondents reported that they weren’t seeing a positive impact from their Facebook efforts.  Andrea speculated that organizations may have unrealistic goals, or they may be measuring the wrong things.  She reminded the group, “Social media is really uncharted territory.”

As you might expect, you can join Idealware on Facebook!

UPDATE:  Here is the link to the full set of slides from the seminar: http://seminars.idealware.org/social_media/Facebook_Research_1106.pdf

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