In part one of this 2-part series, I talked about the problems with many nonprofit websites that are driving potential donors away. In the second post, I’m going to give you 5 changes you can make to your website to increase your online donor conversions.
5 Minor Changes You Can Do Today
1) Strengthen your Call to Action
The last thing you want is for a visitor to come to your website looking for a way to get involved and not being able to find the information. Your site needs a clear call to action that asks visitors to become members, donate, or register for an event.
Make it as simple as possible for your visitors to convert into supporters on your website. Identify the actions your site visitors take on most often and least often. Then, log out of your site and go through each of those actions from a visitor’s perspective.
As you go through the sign-up process, ask yourself, “How easy is it and how long does it take you to complete a transaction?”, to help you figure out how you could make the process better
Test both the most and least popular actions and then compare the experiences. Sometimes, this activity reveals ways that some actions are complicated and time consuming for visitors and that’s driving potential donors away.
3) Move Your Email Newsletter Sign-up Above the Fold
“Above the Fold” is a term for the portion of a web page that you have to scroll down to view. Think of “the fold” as ending about where you might fold down your laptop screen.
According to another study by Jakob Nielsen, content below the fold is only viewed by about 20% of your total site’s visitors. This means that any content you place below the fold is only going to be seen by 1/5th of your visitors. Important items you want to have above the fold include: your email newsletter sign-up form, a clear call to action, a strong headline and links to find out more about your organization.
4) Give Donors What They Want
Donors want to know more about your nonprofit before they donate. They also prefer to go online to research information about your organization themselves before making a decision to support your mission
Donors want information that communicates what your organization does, how you spend donations and who you have helped.
If you also have memberships, then you want to also consider that new members want to know about member benefits, costs, and find out about programs and events you have for your members.
Learn more about creating engaging content for your website in the presentation Writing for the Web by Katrina Esco, Account Executive on Schipul’s Creative Services team.
5) Use Digital Media to Create Compelling Stories
You know you should use storytelling to share your NonProfit’s Mission and Vision to attract new donors. Crafting great stories can be a challenge. Take photos and videos from your events, of your volunteers and staff, and of the people you’ve helped.
For example let’s look at the homepage for Camp For All, a camp program for kids with a variety of different health problems:
The Camp has a photo of a kid swimming on their homepage and just look at how happy this kid is. This photo shows new visitors that Camp For All is making a difference in children’s lives and that’s far more powerful than if Camp For All had used text to say the same thing.
Tendenci websites include all the tools your nonprofit organization needs to create a website that will attract donors, volunteers and members and make it easy for them to get involved.
According to a study published in the NonProfit Trends, 34.8% of last year’s online donations occurred after October, November and December. For most nonprofit organizations, the Holiday Season are when you generate the majority of your annual online revenue from donations, holiday gala fundraisers, and membership renewals coming due.
Is Your Website Ready for the Holiday Rush?
If your nonprofit’s online fundraising isn’t performing as well as you’d like, you aren’t alone. A recent Usability Study of nonprofit websites found that it is 7% harder, on average, for someone to make a donation than it is for them to make an e-commerce purchase.
In this two part blog post, I’m going to share the research on which elements are frustrating and driving away potential donors who come to your site and can’t find what they were looking for. The second post will give you 5 minor changes you can quickly make that will get your website ready well to attract new donors just in time for the holidays.
Nonprofit Site User Experience is Falling Behind
The usability study, led by noted web usabilty expert Jakob Nielsen, tested common activities that a visitor to a nonprofit website might do and found some surprising results:
Making first-time and repeat monetary donations on nonprofit websites – on average, online donations tooks 7% longer than a typical e-commerce site’s shopping cart check-out. 17% of the nonprofit websites made it extremely difficult for visitors to even find the online donation option.
Donating tangible items like furniture, canned foods, and used clothing online – this received the lowest user experience rating of all the tested activities and in nearly all cases, site visitors went to multiple nonprofit websites before finally finding an organization with clear and complete information on how to go about donating.
Researching how to volunteer online – communicating Volunteer information was the one thing most nonprofit websites are getting right. The study gave this the highest user satisfaction ranking and reported that the one item most nonprofits forget on the volunteer pages is way to contact the organization.
Researching nonprofits on Facebook – the study found that people don’t like to donate on Facebook and that visitors except a nonprofit’s website to have far more content than your Facebook page does. The report explains that potential donors go to a nonprofit’s Facebook page to read the stories of the people who benefit from the nonprofit’s work.
The study showed that over 53% of the nonprofit websites had missing and outdated content and 47% of the websites were not designed to be intuitive and user-friendly. The report states that you could increase your online donations by 10% or more just by making some minor changes to your site’s usability and improving your content.
A 10% increase is almost $14,000 if you fall within the median online revenue earned from first time gifts*.
If your nonprofit site is chasing new donors away, this means you’re missing out on thousands of dollars in online donations.
Is Your Website a Donor Magnet?
If your nonprofit organization’s website is one of the roughly 50% that is unknowingly chasing off site visitors, then we’re going to fix that starting right now. You can use the study’s recommended best usability practices with your Tendenci website to give your site visitors a great online experience and increase your donations, memberships, and volunteer applications.
The key is to have content on your site that potential donors are looking for that is easy for visitors to find and tells the visitors how to donate and why they want to donate to your organization.
Crafting the elements within your site that will attract new donors requires time, research, and lots of creativity!
In Part Two of this series, I’ll give you 5 seemingly minor things that you can change on your site that will increase your online fundraising efforts and get you ready for the holiday fundraising rush.
Houston’s Google Field Team joined our NetSquared Meetup Tuesday night for our June event. Nimi West and Sade Ayodele spent the evening answering questions about the Google for NonProfits Program. Google for NonProfits helps nonprofit organizations increase your fundraising efforts, optimize your organization’s operations, and expand your reach to grow your list of supporters.
Google Apps You Wonder About
During the introductions at the meetup, I asked everyone to share either the Google Application they had the most questions about or their favorite Google App to use. I was actually a little surprised by some of the answers.
Top Google Apps Folks Had Questions On (in no particular order):
Google Hangouts – Many members wanted to know how to use them to improve communications with remote staff and volunteers. Google Hangouts is free web, voice, and video conferencing in one package. Recently, Google rolled out Hangouts on Air as an added bonus to allow free live broadcasting to an unlimited online audience.
Google Alerts – Many people haven’t heard of Google’s secret weapon that lets you monitor the internet in almost real time and receive alerts about any topic(s) you are interested in. I personally use Google Alerts to receive notifications whenever anyone is talking about Tendenci and Brand-related topics so I can know who is interested and sharing our Brand online.
Google +Most people just want to understand the value of adding another social network to their already overwhelmed content marketing to-do list. We learned more about the differences between Google+ and other social media platforms and the reasons why Google+ was part of an overall market strategy focused on earning money for your organization, not just making new online friends. (I’ll pit Facebook against Google+ below and explain the differences.)
Most favorite Google App:
Google Search – I was surprised by how many of our group mentioned Google search as their most favorite tool at Google and something most admitted to using multiple times a day. I wasn’t surprised that they all listed it as their preferred search engine. The fact that so many people like to use search and use it multiple times a day should tell you to keep tackling your website’s search engine optimization as part of your web marketing efforts.
The Unheard of Google App (sadly, this app was cancelled):
The Google Wonder Wheel – Here’s a great post on The SEM Blog explaining what the Wonder Wheel, (in case you never had a chance to use the Wonder Wheel). The reason it was cancelled? According to this article on Search Engine Land, this Google tool was taken down due to being an enormous pain for Google to maintain the application.
Google For NonProfits
Nimi and Sade gave the Houston Netsquared members the inside scoop on the Google for NonProfits Program and how to apply, who’s eligible, and what you get once you’re accepted. Google’s tools are developed to help nonprofit organizations be more successful at increasing your funding.
You have to first apply for membership with the Google for NonProfits Program. You can learn more about the eligibility requirements on the program’s website and here’s a quick rundown to help you figure out if your organization is eligible:
There are a few exceptions to the program: Government organizations, hospitals and health care organizations, and schools do not qualify for the Google for NonProfits Program. Google does have a Google in Education program specifically for schools, universities, and other academic institutions, however.
What You Get Once You’re Accepted:
Free (if you have less than 3,000 users) or discounted version of Google Apps for your organization.
Eligible to Apply for Google Grants and a chance to receive Free Adwords advertising
Once you are accepted into the Google for NonProfits Program, you can apply for the Google Grants program to receive free, online advertising and give your nonprofit organization more advertising dollars each month.
Google Grants is Google’s in-kind donation program that awards free Google AdWords advertising to nonprofit organizations that are accepted to the program. If you apply and are accepted, you can receive free AdWords advertising credits and the amount given can range from around $300/month to $10,000 a month. The amount depends on the performance of your selected keywords.
Google Grant Awardees can use their free online ads for a variety of online advertising activities including targeted fundraising campaigns, recruiting volunteers and/or staff, increase cause awareness, and expand your reach online. Google has more information here: Getting Started with Online Advertising using Google AdWords.
In order to qualify for Google Grants, you must meet a few requirements, in addition to also being a member of the Google for NonProfits Program.
Until about a month ago, I was in the same place most digital marketers are – asking what’s the big reason why Google+ is relevant to my online marketing strategy? I started doing more research and talking to Nimi and Sade and I changed my mind.
Check out my blog post on the Schipul Blog with the results of my research and how Google+ helps businesses increase their lead to sales conversions to learn how I came to my conclusion on the value of Google+.
Since I’m also a volunteer for a number of nonprofit organizations, (including Houston NetSquared), I wanted to find out from other nonprofit marketers how they felt social media platforms compared. So I did a little informal survey at NetSquared about how they felt about the value of content being shared by their networks on Facebook.
Here are the results:
Pretty much everyone agreed that Facebook presents you with socially relevant content – content that is directly about your friends and family.
The group majority also agreed that Facebook content isn’t necessarily content that is useful information – most people wouldn’t share the majority of the content from their Facebook network on their organization’s Facebook page or with people in their professional network who aren’t in your personal network.
Compare this to the content being shared on Google+ which is both socially relevant and enables targeted content sharing using Google+ Circles. With Google+ Circles, you can segment your social and professional contacts and selectively share content to the people that will find it most useful, instead of sharing all your content with everyone in your network.
Here’s a great article on the Business2Community blog on how to Hide Your Google Plus Circles that explains how to protect your different Google+ Circles from the public.
What this means to Organizations, both for profit and not for profits, is that when you share content on Google+ , it has a higher chance of being shared to a targeted audience that is more likely to find it relevant and useful, and thus increase your engagement with new people online.
Want More Google?
Here are some upcoming events and additional resources to get your organization up and running successfully on Google’s online tools:
Join Schipul – The Web Marketing Company and the Houston Google Team for this FREE, hands-on workshop at the Houston Technology Center next Tuesday, June 19th. The workshop includes lunch, followed by an hour with these Google experts at computer workstations to guide you through your biggest Google set-up questions. Space is limited so register online today: https://www.tendenci.com/events/878/. (nonprofits and businesses are both invited!)
Last week, I attended SURGE Day 2012, a day-long graduation celebration for 10 new Technology Start-ups that just graduated from the SURGE Accelerator incubator program.
Jason Dorsey, noted author of “My Reality Check Bounced” and expert on communicating across generations, was the morning keynote speaker. Jason shared his advice on how to gain a better perspective on how each of the other generations view the world.
StartUps and NonProfits
I often think that startups and nonprofits have a lot in common. In both cases, the founders are incredibly passionate about their ideas and missions, incredibly overworked, and spend a lot of time asking people to give them money for their organization.
At the heart of both startups and nonprofits, funding and passion are the keys to success.
As Jason talked about the best ways managers and executives in older generations could support and get along with the younger Gen Y crowd, I saw correlations beyond just the workplace.
A recent study by the Kauffman Foundation shared that more than 54% of Gen Y’s are either already entrepreneurs or plan to start their own company and one thing Gen Y definitely has in abundance is passion!
Gen Y’s Spending Power Now and in the Future
On the other hand, most Gen Y’s don’t have an abundance of money – something that’s been true for all generations when they’re still in their 20’s. Gen Y startups often seek outside funding from angel investors and VCs before seeking to bootstrap their ideas. As Jason explained this trait: “Most Gen Y’s are willing to take a substantial paycut just to get their idea off the ground – after all, their parents are still supporting them.”
Gen Y’s Catching Up Fast
Jason Dorsey’s company, The Center for Generational Kinetics has done a number of studies across generations to identify the key traits that distinguish each generation from the others. Gen Y is the fastest growing demographic in the energy, software, and marketplace and by 2017, Gen Y will be outspending Baby Boomers.
Until now, no other generation has matched Boomer spending. Boomer spending accounts for 94% of spending on consumer packaged goods, 80% of luxury travel spending, 62.5% of annual new car sales, and they even account for the majority of online spending according to a report by boomer marketing expert Nancy Padberg
Gen Y is going to have a significant economic impact in the U.S. in the coming years. There are some absolutely great tips on Jason’s blog “What the Gen” about Gen Y’s consumer purchasing habits and I encourage anyone selling something to check out the blog.
Capture Gen Y’s Attention
The key to reaching Gen Y’s to grab their attention and motivate them to spend money with your organization is to communicate with them in their space. Jason Dorsey shared Gen Y’s most preferred ways to communicate:
Gen Y’s most preferred method of communicating is text messaging
Gen Y’s 2nd most preferred method of communicating is email
Gen Y’s LEAST preferred method of communication is talking on the phone
A really interesting fact about the my generation is that 51% of Gen Y’s are more likely to trust the opinions of a stranger who shares a review on a social media network than if their friends and family verbally make a suggestion. This is a significant difference from other generations, who tend to be more skeptical of the people they run into on the Web.
Generation Y trusts technology more than previous generations, and we trust the people who are using technology the same way that we are more than past generations would. Organizations that recognize this and customize their messages to Gen Y differently from their other constituents and donors will see better results from the next generation.
Here’s 5 Tips to Increase Donations from Gen Y
Even though NonProfit organizations aren’t specifically selling something, you are asking for money in exchange for the benefits you offer your donors and members. Give your fundraising a boost by using these tips to talk to Gen Y’s in their language this year.
1) Keep Donation Amounts Small and Flexible
Gen Y is cash-poor and we aren’t known to save money typically. A donation of even $50 is daunting to Gen Y’s so offer smaller donation amounts. You can also include a “Suggest a Donation” field and let us decide how much we want to give.
That’s one of the reasons that we included the option to allow your donors to suggest the payment amount on Custom donation forms in Tendenci.
2) Accept Credit Card Donations on Your Website
Most Gen Y’s have credit cards and a debit card. Most of us do not have a check handy and we really aren’t fans of having to pay with cash. Make it simple for us to give you money when we are ready and accept online donations via credit cards. The easier you make it for us to donate, the more likely we are to do so.
3) Share Your NonProfit’s Stories on Social Media
Studies show that people don’t like to go to their Facebook Wall or Twitter feed and see organizations asking them to donate. The most successful social media campaigns for nonprofits revolve around storytelling and sharing what you are doing to make the world a better place. Use your social media channels to highlight the kids you fed, the puppies you rescued, and the people who have a better life now because of your work.
Then, make it easy for them to find your website so they can donate and support your cause. Once they’ve donated, let your Gen Y supporter tweet or +1 or “Like” your organization and share that they donated to their network. Talk about others, and let others talk about you for greater results.
4) Don’t call Gen Y’s – Use Text and Email
Remember Jason Dorsey’s report saying Gen Y’s preferred text messaging, followed by email for communicating and save the personal phone calls for your boomer supporters. You’ll need to get permission before you text and email, and then you’ll have a far better chance of getting your message through to Gen Y’s.
Gen Y’s often just don’t have the financial resources to give money to a cause. Many of us are still finding our talents and way in life and if you believe one of your Gen Y supporters has skills that could help your organization, ask them to volunteer. We are always surprised and honored by requests to help and our time is something we usually have more of to give than our cash.
Gen Y’s are also more familiar with technology and can help with your email marketing, website, social media, and with text messaging. NonProfits often struggle to find the resources and funds to manage their technology, so find some Gen Y’s who are passionate about your cause and ask if they’ll donate tech and web support!
We have some exciting things happening over here. First, come check out this past week’s software updates for Version 5.0.78 and find out the latest features and functionality added to make it easier for you to manage your website.
Here’s the highlights from this week’s updates:
1) Sortable Fields for Reports – Reports now have sort options using the field headers.
2) Tendenci first will check if an email address is associated with an existing user before it creates a username using the available email address during a membership import
3) WYSIWYG Rich Text Editors have been added for Organizer, Location, and Speakers on the Event Add form
New Summer Training and Events
We are adding several new training webinars, workshops, and events to our Tendenci Training Calendar. We are always looking for suggestions so if you don’t see a topic on the calendar, leave a comment below or contact us with your suggestions!
As summer approaches, my inbox is filling up with event invitations to different organizations I participate in. This time of year is really busy for event marketers as you try and boost participation before your members head out to the beach for summer vacations.
It is tough for me to decide what to say YES! and RSVP to and what to respond with my regrets to and I’m sure for most event planners, you want to know how to get your core volunteers, sponsors and supporters to say Yes! to your event instead of other events filling up email inboxes.
So, I thought I would share 10 things you can do that will increase the chances that people will click to register for your event instead of one of the other hundred events going on in your community. Then, in honor of our upcoming Google+ for Business webinar and Google+ for Nonprofits Houston NetSquared June Meet-up, there’s +1 more tip to boost your event ticket sales.
10 +1 Tips to Increase RSVPs
1) Send Shorter Invitations
More and more people are reading their emails via their mobile phones. Keep your initial email invitation short and sweet with the basic event details: when, where, what and most importantly include why this event is important to your registrants and how much it will cost.
2) Link to the Event Summary
Instead of sending all the details of your event in the invitation, just include a link to your Tendenci Event page where people can go to click and learn more. Use Campaign Monitor’s reporting tools to track who clicks for more details and measure against your registrations to follow-up on those who read more and don’t register.
3) Include an Obvious Call to Action
In this case, you want intended guests to register for your event so include an obvious clickable button that someone could click from a mobile touchscreen and go to register and pay for your event.
Here is a great article from Smashing Magazine on how to design better Call to Action buttons that you can add to your email invitations.
4) Show Your Sponsors They’re Loved
Include your sponsors logos and a link to their site in your event emails. Then, use the link tracking reporting tools included with Campaign Monitor to measure and generate reports to your sponsors that show them who and how many event attendees are clicking from your email to visit their website. This demonstrates the value of supporting your organization and you can use this data to increase future sponsorship dollars.
5) Segment and Personalize Your Invitations
Segment your subscriber lists to send personalized email invitations and event announcements and post-event summaries.
Customizing event emails increases the chance that the recipient will open and register for your event.
Here are some different suggestions you can use for segmenting your subscriber lists:
Segment Guests who attended from those who didn’t attend the event
Segment by the role each person has in participating for the event: Staff, Volunteers, Attendee, Sponsor, Board Member
Segment by the event type that each guest attends more often
Remember that you can include one person in multiple list segments if they fall into multiple categories
Check guests in at the events and then send separate post-event updates based on those who made it versus those who didn’t make it to the event. Keep track of who has registered leading up to the event and boost last minute registrations by sending those who still haven’t RSVP’d an email with a special discount code.
7) Make Paying Really Easy
Once a recipient has decided to click through your email to register – make sure they can easily pay for and register for the event. Integrate your Tendenci website with one of our online merchant payment gateways to accept credit cards. Use a shorter registration form for them to register and pay that takes the basic details. Then send more information in follow-up emails about your event along with the registration confirmation.
8) Ask Invitees to Bring Their Friends
Make sure you include social sharing links and a “Forward to a Friend” call to action button to make it easy for your guests to share the event invitation with their friends, family and colleagues. Tendenci’s event registration form includes options for people to register guests – let people know when they register in your email invitation to encourage them to bring a friend.
9) Take Photos and Video of Your Events
We can’t say this often enough – take photos and record video at your events and share them on your website to show people what your organization’s events are like. Link to past event wrap-ups with digital media embedded in your email invitations to boost registrations. Send event attendees the photos and videos from events afterwards to increase engagement and build your relationships with your guests so they’ll keep coming back to future events.
10) Optimize Your Event for Search
Add keywords related to your event page on your website and your event will show up to new people who may not know about your event or be on your email or member lists. Here’s an easy 3-step way to figure out the best keywords for search engine optimization:
Think of what your event attendees might use to search for an event like yours
Then add your keyword phrases to your Tendenci Event on the Edit Meta Page to drive organic traffic to your event registration
+1 Drive Registration from Social Media Networks
Add social share buttons on your event page and share the event on your organization’s social networks. Tweet, post on Facebook, and +1 on your Google Plus Page with calls to action to register for the event.
Don’t forget to share it on your own personal networks and encourage your staff and volunteers to share the event details on their social media sites.
And don’t forget to RSVP for our upcoming Google+ events and other web marketing and website training events on the Tendenci Events Calendar.
Talk to Us!
Do you have any great tips on boosting event registrations? Share your comments and questions below or shoot us an email and tell us how you are using email, social media, and your website for event marketing.
We’ve all heard the saying “A picture is worth a thousand words”, and this couldn’t be more applicable when we are talking about your nonprofit organization’s website.
Visual storytelling is key to engaging your donors, members, and community online. Last week, I wrote about how to use online video to tell your organization’s story. This week I want to talk about how to use Photographs and Tendenci’s Photo Album module to share your organization’s stories and events and engage with your online audience more effectively.
Photographs Say the Most Awesome Things!
Photos help you share your organization’s stories, people and mission. Your photos also make your website more visually appealing to new visitors. Here are some great ways to use a photograph to say something awesome about your nonprofit and examples of how some of our nonprofit clients are using their Tendenci Photo Album module.
Photos Convey the Human Perspective of Your Mission
Flip through the photos on the Houston Art Car Parade website where they show off their incredible art cars and, more importantly, how the organization introduces you to the people behind the automotive works of art.
Photos Introduce and Promote the People at Your Organization
Your staff, volunteers and Board members do so much and you can show your appreciation using photo albums to showcase their hard work and efforts. You’ll not only make your biggest supporters feel appreciated – you’ll also increase your online donations since studies show that potential Donors are more inclined to give if they can see what your nonprofit’s team is doing relevant to spending donations that effectively advance your mission.
Photos from Your Past Events Increase Registration for Your Upcoming Events
When you post photos from past event that show your members, sponsors, supporters, donors, and staff having a great time – you are showing new site visitors what they have been missing. This will increase attendance at future events.
Photos can be used to show what your organization is capable of and what your facilities are like to build trust and increase the chances that a new visitor will become a fan, participant, and donor. For example, Camp For All’s photo tourof their camp facilities shows parents and their children what they can expect during one of their camp programs and this increases both camp registrations plus support from donors.
Photos Bring More Press
The Media needs great visuals for their stories and they love free photos. Create a page on your website and link to your photo albums that are most news-worthy and about your organization’s mission. Tendenci photo albums even include easy copy and paste html code for each photo you upload to an album that allows you to embed the photos in other places on your website. Share the code with your press releases and make it easy for journalists to pick your story and photo.
I wanted to leave you with one last reason photo albums rock out your website and that’s search engine optimization. Make sure when you are adding your photos that you use the title, description, and tag fields to boost your rankings and attract new visitors. Learn more about optimizing your photos and other content on your Tendenci website in this great article at The SEM Blog on Optimizing Your Tendenci Website for SEO.
Got Questions and Comments?
Share your comments below or contact us with your questions.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been creating and uploading new training videos to demonstrate how to use the newest version of our open source CMS software. You can find these videos on our website in the Tendenci Video Gallery.
The video gallery uses one of our newer plugins and allows us to embed online videos from YouTube, Vimeo and other video sharing platforms directly onto our website. The plugin also gives us tools like tagging, a WYSIWYG editor for the description, and customizable categories for organizing videos.
The ability to add and customize plugins is a feature we implemented with Tendenci 5.0, our newest version of our nonprofit CMS. Over time, we will be releasing additional plugins and we are in the middle of implementing a program for outside developers to share and sell Tendenci plugins.
We have built several custom plugins for our clients and now, starting with the Videos plugin, we are going to share them with all of our Tendenci users.
Get the Videos Plugin Now – For Free!
Later this year, new Tendenci sites will automatically include our Videos plugin when they are created. We want to thank our current clients by offering you the plugin via a manual installation now so you don’t have to wait for it.
Head to the Tendenci website to find all the details and get the videos plugin installed on your website plus help files on using the Videos plugin.
Please Note:Only Tendenci version 5.0 sites support and can use the plugin architecture. If your website is on a prior version, then you can refer to this help file that explains how to embed single videos inside of your site’s pages.
Create Compelling Stories Using Online Video
Storytelling involves communicating your organization’s personal stories to your audience to increase engagement. For nonprofits, your audience consists of your donors, Board members, volunteers, and a way to reach out to find new potential members. For profit organizations use storytelling to generate leads, create partnerships, and build their Brand.
For most marketers, including myself, storytelling can be a challenge – you are trying to be interesting and talk about yourself at the same time. Storytelling was a trending session topic at NTEN’s 2012 NonProfit Technology Conference in San Francisco last month, and I wanted to share some of the advice and tools I learned about specifically to using online videos as a medium for crafting better stories.
See3’s session gives great step-by-step advice on how to plan and write the script and produce a video that shares your nonprofit’s stories effectively. The session was also geared towards organizations that already were producing video content and were looking for ways to take their video campaigns further in the next year.
I find that most nonprofits and organizations are only just beginning to look at using online video in their marketing and often have just one or two people and a low budget to produce the videos. You may have very little experience writing scripts, producing and editing video and using YouTube and this can make video storytelling a daunting task.
I thought I would share my recommendations for getting started with video storytelling and then you’ll be producing awesome online videos you’ll be able to upload and share on your website with the Tendenci Videos plugin.
1)Videos take more time to make than you’d think. A 5 minute video can easily take 60 minutes to edit and finalize. Keep this in mind as you write your script and keep your first videos shorter in length to make them more manageable.
2)You’ll want good camera equipment, and that doesn’t have to cost as much as you’d think. I recommend checking out CNet’s Digital Camcorder Guide for reviews on affordable camcorders and make sure you get one that films in high definition. You’ll also need a good microphone and I recommend a tripod. Surprisingly, HD video quality from iPhones and Droid smartphones are rapidly becoming excellent options for online video recording too.
3)Try out different video editing software before you buy. You’ll be spending more time at your computer editing your videos than you will writing your scripts and recording your videos combined. There are some great free and inexpensive software options but I don’t recommend you make your decision based on the lowest price. Make sure the software you select is easy for you to use and does what you need it to do.
4)Watch examples of other online videos. Take notes on what you really like and what you don’t like, and use these examples as guides when you begin writing your video scripts. However, don’t try to force your own story into someone else’s video script. Find your own style and voice that represents your organization to effectively share your story.
5)Focus on making just one video. The first one is the hardest. Once you’ve written, recorded, edited, uploaded, and shared the video in a tweet – you can relax and see what happens. You will learn and get better with each video you make and creating the content is the most important step for successfully integrating videos into your marketing strategy.
Additional Resources on Crafting Videos and Great Storytelling Tips
There is so much more to say on the topic of online videos and I’d love to hear your questions and comments on what you wish you knew how to do to create more awesome online videos. Share your comments below or contact us with your questions.
Could Your NonProfit Organization Use a Little Extra Dough?
Ok – that is a trick question because of course you’d love to earn more this year for your nonprofit or association! I’m going to share a secret and give you some simple steps to follow to make this year your nonprofit’s best financial year yet.
What’s the Secret?
Step 1 to increasing your online revenue is to integrate your website with an online payment gateway. You’ll want to apply for a CNP Merchant Account, (CNP stands for card not present), which will allow you to accept online credit card payments from your site visitors, donors and members easily.
Credit cards are fast and secure, making them the preferred payment method for your site visitors’ online purchases. If you don’t have a merchant account and are accepting online payments, then you are probably using a 3rd party like PayPal or Eventbrite to direct your site visitors to when they are making a purchase.
These 3rd party providers are great options for smaller organizations or the one time event, but for nonprofits with membership dues and renewals, regular event registrations, job posting fees, and other online payments coming in – you really will want to consider comparing payment gateway options and accept payments through your own website. In most cases, a Merchant Account will end up being cheaper than using a service like PayPal or Eventbrite in the long run.
Applying for a Merchant Account is actually pretty simple to do, and is the first step towards increasing your nonprofit’s online revenue. By integrating payment processing with your website, you also will have more control over the purchasing experience that your site visitors and members have. This will let you customize and personalize your website better so your site visitors will love coming back to your site.
Here’s some more information about the different merchant account providers that Tendenci integrates with and I recommend. There are links to the different pricing plans, FAQs and getting started guides for each of the different companies to help you make the best decision for your nonprofit.
What’s the Next Step?
You’ll want to determine what your organization has to offer of value to your community to better understand your current and potential sources of additional revenue.
Take out a piece of paper and a pen, or open up a Word or Google document and just start listing out all the things you are either charging for, or are doing for free that people ask for more of. Add things to your list that you’re not currently doing and getting requests to do too. Brainstorm with your staff and volunteers and let them add their ideas to your list. You may be surprised by how long your list grows. Non-profits often overlook their value and the opportunities they offer that they can charge fees to provide.
It is a common myth that the majority of a nonprofit’s revenue comes from donations and contributions.
Non-Profits Earn Revenue from Fees for Goods and Services
Don’t just take my word for it. Take a look at this chart below that displays revenues earned across different Tendenci modules for the past 3 years. Tendenci’s software integrates each of the different core modules with your merchant account payment gateway to accept online payments through your website. We compiled data from the last 3 years for the total revenues earned by nonprofit organizations’ Tendenci websites segmented by the different modules including event registrations, memberships, job directory listings, product sales (cart catalog), donations, training courses, and more.
These graphs display revenues earned as a percentage of the total in years 2009, 2010, and 2011:
The results of comparing this data tells us that the fees nonprofits earn online from event tickets and membership dues far exceeds fees earned from donations year after year.
If you want to earn more revenue online this year, host more and better events, focus on bringing in new members and increasing membership renewals, offer training courses and consider adding an online store if you have a gift shop. Offer more services and products for sale and focus less on asking for donations.
Looks Easy on Paper – How Do You Create and Manage These New Services?
If you are feeling a little overwhelmed right now – you are not alone. Start small, take your list that you made and put stars next to three items on the list that you think your organization has the budget and staff to accomplish this year. Start with those three and measure the results of their revenue generation this year as you implement them. Be sure to save your list, keep adding items to it, and return to the list when you’ve accomplished all three of your starred items. Pick three more things from the list and try those.
I also recommend you utilize technology to help you collect payments, manage your events and members, and report results of your activities so you can make better decisions on what worked, what didn’t work, and what you can improve upon and do more of next year. I also highly recommend you checkout TechSoup’s website, where you’ll find great reviews and special pricing for software exclusively for nonprofits as well as a Learning Center and a Community Forum where you can find help using unfamiliar technology.
Find creative and innovative ways to add value to your organization’s offerings. To help you get started, I’ve prepared a great presentation and online webinar to give you some creative ways to use your nonprofit website to earn more this year. You’ll find new ideas to use your website to promote your services, manage registrations, membership applications, job postings, training courses, and more plus collect payments and automatically generate invoices and receipts.
Find a copy of the presentation on Tendenci’s Slideshare plus additional presentations that show nonprofits how to create more effective online marketing campaigns.
We also have a free 30 day trial where you can start setting up a Tendenci website and try out some of these revenue generating ideas yourself. Tendenci enables you to create custom pricing for things like membership dues, jobs board postings, event registrations, and donations so that your nonprofit is able to generate the funds needed to grow without having to feel overwhelmed. If your current website isn’t doing enough for your nonprofit, come give Tendenci a try.
Check out these resources to help you create and set-up a Tendenci Community website:
Tendenci Training Videos – short videos that walk you through setting up the different modules included with your Tendenci website.
7-Step Guide with Help Files and Videos to take you through the first week of setting up a Tendenci website.
We also add new content weekly to our YouTube and Slideshare pages, so follow Tendenci and get notified when we add new webinar presentations, video and help files, and more resources to help your nonprofit shine on the web!
Come Find Tendenci at These Events!
We would love to meet up with you in person to answer your questions about Tendenci and get to know you and what you are doing to make the world a better place. Let us know if you’ll be at one of these upcoming events and want to hang out with us!
For a long while, we’ve been posting Tendenci’s software version updates here on the blog. We decided to move those updates onto our Tendenci website moving forward. You’ll still find the updates we’ve already posted on the blog here forever and always, and head to Tendenci Software Updates to find the new updates starting with this past week.
From the Tendenci Homepage, just scroll down to the footer and you’ll find the new link to our weekly version update announcements:
We’ll still share some of the highlights of our weekly software updates here on the blog with you – for example, this week we have made some great updates to Tendenci that make it easier for you to manage your corporate members and set permissions controls!
Corporate Membership Updates
The corporate representative page now displays a list of all members associated with that corporation.
The creator and owner of a Corporate Membership can add additional representatives under this Corporate Membership.
The creator and owner of a Corporate Membership can also assign new memberships.
Added permission control settings to ensure that Anonymous users cannot be assigned to a corporate membership.
Better Permissions Control Viewing
I’m really excited about this update!
We widened and updated Tendenci’s Group and Profile Permissions Control View to resolve the issue with some permission settings being truncated and unclear.
Import Your Members from Your Old Site to Tendenci Faster
We made some improvements to our member import with clearer error messages, better file and application mapping, and now membership fields are no longer case-sensitive in the import CSV file. You can also separate membership fields with spaces, underscores, or dashes without interfering with the import.
The next time you are looking for support for your website – Look Up. We moved the support menu from your website footer up to the admin navigation bar that sits at the top of each page of your website. The new Support drop down menu lists all the helpful links you need to learn to use your website, contact our Support team when you have a problem, search our Help Files, and make a payment.
What is This Tendenci Guide?
We also added a new Support tool to the menu – a Tendenci Guide. This walk-through tutorial shows you how to use the different features and tools included with your Tendenci online membership management software. This nifty guide is a mini-version of your website and is designed to quickly and easily show you how to add new pages and articles, update your home page, create photo albums and more with your association’s Tendenci website.
Easily Update Your Home Page Content!
Find Tips that Will Drive New Visitors and Revenue to Your Website!
Looking for More Tendenci Training and Support Resources?