Editor’s note: Becca Bloch from Elevation—a web solution agency that works primarily with nonprofits—offers her take on how any nonprofit can develop a successful digital strategy.
For many people out there in cyberspace, if you don’t have a digital presence, your nonprofit does not exist.
Technology has opened many new outlets to engage supporters, motivate volunteers, persuade donors, and raise awareness for a cause. But without a clear digital strategy, all that opportunity is going to waste.
Think of it this way—your digital strategy is the blueprint of your technology-enabled outreach. Your online presence is the end result. No strategy, no presence.
Here’s the good news. If you build out your strategy and focus on these four areas, you can significantly increase your presence and online reach.
Responsive Website Design
Your nonprofit’s online presence starts with your website. This is the first interaction your future supporters will have with your organization. In the mobile world we live in, making sure your website is responsive so that every visitor has a good user experience, no matter what device she’s using, is critically important. In fact, we’re already at a point where more people use mobile devices than desktop computers to view websites.
Google has responded to the mobile trend and your mobile friendliness now affects how high your site appears in searches conducted on mobile devices.
If your solution to mobile viewership is to create two sites—one for desktop and one for mobile—don’t do it. Multiple sites are going to negatively affect your SEO. Google doesn’t like content repetition. (Which is also why you shouldn’t repost identical content from other sites, even if you have their permission.)
Moreover, SEO goes hand in hand with UX or User Experience. A positive UX makes your content more sharable. This opens up more channels and outlets for your nonprofit to get noticed and advocate for your cause. If you don’t create a site that is adaptable to all browsers and devices, you’re shutting out a big audience and reducing the opportunities for your content to spread through new networks of people.
There are approximately 2.5 billion email users. Why? Because it’s the simplest, fastest way to get information to a specific person or group of people.
Your nonprofit is likely already soliciting donations, recruiting volunteers, promoting events, or providing useful content via email. But ask yourself: Are the right people getting your emails?
It is important to focus on building a list of responsive followers to ensure optimal success. Thanks to a handful of extremely effective broadcast email providers, email marketing is more straightforward than ever. You are able to implement list segmentation, integrate with other applications, encourage sharing, as well as view and analyze the effectiveness of your campaigns.
Here are some simple email marketing tips:
●Keep it short and simple—people are skimmers.
●Craft a catchy subject line to lure your readers in.
●Timing is everything. Schedule emails for when people are most active on the web.
●Be a regular. People like consistency (and it boosts your credibility).
Keep in mind that however you decide to approach email, you’ll want to test your ideas to be sure they work and adjust your approach as you go.
Social media is a powerful interactive tool for sharing your nonprofit’s mission and accomplishments. There are more than 2.1 billion social network users around the globe. To be part of the digital world, social media is a must!
When tackling the social media part of your strategy, your first step is to understand and evaluate how your current supporters use their online platforms. This will allow your nonprofit to effectively serve and engage its current and future followers.
Second, take the time to set goals. Are you looking to raise awareness? Engage members? Retain donors? Whatever it may be, make sure your nonprofit has an objective in mind.
Third, assess your networks. As a rule of thumb, pick 2 – 3 online platforms to start out with. You don’t want to spread yourself too thin across too many networks. It is better for your nonprofit to provide quality posts on fewer networks, than mediocre posts on all networks.
Social media is essential to your online presence. Take the time to use it to foster deeper engagement with your community.
What does blogging have to do with your online presence?
●Builds trust, credibility, and authority within your community.
●Boosts search engine rankings.
●Drives traffic to your website through donations, volunteers, and supporters.
●Provides opportunities to engage on social media—more blog posts mean more content to share!
Your blog is the heart of your website—continuously providing valuable information for your supporters.
When developing your blog’s content strategy, consider the kinds of stories and information your supporters value. Some nonprofits use their blog as a place to share the human side of the organization. Others use it to delve deeply into issues or provide additional information about a major news story. Still others focus on practical content—events, news, updates. Whatever approach you take, remember that the goal is to create content that will generate action, that can be shared, and that ultimately drives new traffic to your website.
This involves time and energy, which let’s face it, can often be tough to find. To get started, gather a team and brainstorm a big list of blog post ideas. This will allow you to plan ahead and schedule a diverse range of posts for times when they’ll make the most sense. It will also alleviate the stress of scrambling to fill the blog with content on a regular basis. Just remember, you’ll need to lead these brainstorming sessions regularly, otherwise you’ll run out of content and again be scrambling.
As a nonprofit, it is extremely important to convey your organization’s mission clearly. By taking the time to create a digital strategy, you can be sure your nonprofit will have a reliable online presence that has the potential to engage with your supporters in new and exciting ways.
About the Author
Becca Bloch is the communications & partnership manager at Elevation Web, a full-service nonprofit website design agency. As a lifelong volunteer for nonprofits, Becca has taken her passion to the next level, assisting nonprofit organizations in developing an online presence in order to influence greater change within their community. When she isn’t working, Becca enjoys snapping photos, Netflix movie marathons, and catching up on her favorite blogs.