Non-profit organizations continually face an up-hill battle for funding and support. In part 2 of this 3-part series, I share some additional tips on how organizations can connect with their audience and make getting the word out about their cause and needs a lot less dependent on internal resources, and much more enticing and easy for online users to carry out on behalf of their favorite non-profit.
4) Make email newsletter sign-up simple, easy and prominent.
Newsletters are key for non-profits to deliver news to members who have opted in for regular updates about the organization. Make sure your sign-up form is simple and easy to you use. The call to action should say “Sign Up” or “Join our Newsletter” instead of the generic “Go” or “Submit” buttons commonly seen. The newsletter area should also tell the user what they are signing up for. For example, a brief description could read “Learn more about our news and events with our monthly online newsletter” or “Keep up to date with our bi-weekly digital newsletter.” We have found that asking for just an email address versus a first name, last name and email will generate more opt-ins.
Once the user signs up, direct them to a page that confirms their request to receive the newsletter, thanks them for subscribing, and gives them the option of viewing the current newsletter along with other information about your organization. You could also provide a link so the member can instantly Tweet or share on Facebook about having signed up and can encourage others to do the same. Make sure the font in the text field is large enough to read, so the email is entered correctly.
5) Be consistent and timely.
If there is one thing that makes a great website, newsletter, user interface or digital outreach program outstanding, it is consistency. Consistency is critical for users to believe in the organization and build trust. If a user signs up for a monthly newsletter, your organization needs to deliver. If your firm plans to implement a social media strategy, it must be consistent, interactive and ongoing. Most importantly, if you plan on having news and information on your homepage, make sure your news is fresh and not more than two weeks old. Consistency and timely content are critical for making users trust that your non-profit is active and working hard to serve the community.
6) Simplify the online donation process.
The number 1 request from non-profits is a LARGE donation button. Donation buttons are great, but keep in mind many users still send in checks or want to provide other means of giving a donation. After all, when was the last time your non-profit received a $100,000 donation via a website? What about a person who cannot give financially, but is willing to volunteer time? Make sure your donation page clearly gives your users those options. With that said, always keep the process simple and with as few steps as possible. A user should be able to donate in less than 3 steps. Once a user donates, give the user the opportunity to access Facebook to talk about the donation or link to Twitter to tweet about how s/he supports a particular non-profit. Similar to an endorsement, this will encourage others to donate online knowing that the recommendation to do so came from a familiar and trusted source.
7) Create viral programs.
Viral programs are a great way to raise awareness about your non-profit. They are a form of marketing in which you use social media to promote your cause by allowing users to easily replicate your message or carry out your requested action, and prompt others to do the same. As stated earlier, brand enthusiasts are great for creating and syndicating content about your non-profit. To create a viral campaign, simply offer a one-click or extremely easy method to help users share information about your non-profit. These programs, for instance, ask users to change their avatar or profile picture on a particular social networking site. Others might place a badge or share button on an engaging story that your non-profit supplies. Whether you are planning on promoting your organization or a particular event, viral programs are a great way to let others spread awareness about you.
The web is a great resource that provides organizations with tools that not just reach out, but as discussed above, are tried-and-true means of letting users reach in. In my final post, I’ll look at trends and best practices that will help organizations understand and measure why online marketing efforts pay off.