Sophisticated digital projects used to seem out of reach to all but the most tech-savvy of nonprofits. However, thanks to skills-based volunteers, it’s easier than ever to amplify your organization’s online presence. These volunteers are passionate professionals ready to donate their skills to help your nonprofit increase its impact.
Oftentimes, nonprofits feel they lack the manpower and expertise to both prioritize and expand their online platforms (e.g. gain a greater social media following, optimize website traffic and create a communications strategy for their website). Already stretched thin, tackling these projects can feel exhaustive and a bit overwhelming, but skills-based volunteerism offers nonprofits the opportunity to connect with, learn and benefit from digitally-inclined professionals.
If you’re looking to take your nonprofit’s online presence to the next level, here are four ways a skills-based volunteer can help.
Telling Your Digital Story
According to the Pew Research Center, 41% of adults share images, articles and other information with their online communities. As the market for social media engagement grows every year, it’s more important than ever to be able to powerfully communicate your story to your online community. “If you dip your toe into social media, the chances are you’ll get your leg bitten off,” says Tom Ollerton, marketing director at We Are Social.
So, how does one navigate these uncharted territories? A skills-based volunteer can help identify your target audiences, tell your most compelling stories in engaging ways and create trending hashtags, so your stories are seen, heard and shared.
Take Donna, a skills-based volunteer and New York-based graphic designer and illustrator interested in all things smart, strange and creative. She’s collaborated with organizations working on everything from educational initiatives in California to fighting human trafficking in Southeast Asia.
Donna worked with the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board to create an infographic describing the complicated, archaic and intimidating process of foreclosure that lacks general public understanding.
This infographic can be shared through social media, UHAB’s website and marketing initiatives, helping paint a better picture of the work UHAB does and build out their digital story.
Putting the Fun in Crowdfunding
Crowdfunding is a direct way to not only promote your cause, but also share your brand with hundreds of new donors and engage them in a personal way. However, as Ben Lamson, co-founder of WeDidIt, points out, “[L]ike any form of fundraising, it’s hard. It’s no silver bullet, but if executed correctly, it can (and should) be far more cost-effective than your current fundraising methods.”
A skills-based volunteer can successfully guide your nonprofit through the crowdfunding maze. Whether you need help defining your campaign, choosing an obtainable goal or creating a promotional video, these volunteers are ready to roll up their digital sleeves. Beyond the hands-on execution, a skills-based volunteer can be a teacher too, training staff and sharing tips and tricks so that that a campaign is easily replicable in the future.
Building Buzz with Analytics
How are people finding your organization? If people can’t find you online easily, it will be much more difficult to spread your story and gain supporters.
Data—web and social media, donor, volunteer and customer—is generated on a daily basis. With better data and analysis, you can better gauge the success and impact of your efforts and how to improve. It’s possible to access that data on a relatively small budget by using tools such as Salesforce CRM, Google Analytics and Google Fusion Tables.
But, what does this mean for your organization? And, how do you even begin to learn how to use these tools?
For professionals working within the digital marketing sector, SEO, Google Analytics, CRM and Salesforce customization are part of their daily vocabulary. These professionals looking to donate their tech skills can help you create opportunities to drive traffic to your site through content marketing, link development and simple features like Google Adwords. Get ready to fall in love with data through the help of a skills-based volunteer.
Transforming Your Website
Gardens for Health International (GHI), a nonprofit combating chronic childhood malnutrition in Rwanda, needed a modern website that established their credibility and made taking action easy for visitors. Nobody on the GHI team had the necessary web design skills, so GHI partnered with Nicole Mortimer, a freelance web designer, to create a website that uses infographics and visuals to clearly communicate the organization’s mission.
The updated GHI website offers multiple opportunities for visitors to interact with the site and is optimized for mobile use.
Eve Deveau, GHI’s US operations manager, was thrilled with Nicole’s work. “We’ve received positive feedback from board members and stakeholders that are excited we have a new image online…People are staying on pages longer and engaging with them more. We are even getting inquiries through our new contact form and know that people are learning about us and reaching out on our site!”
Whether you are hoping to generate new donors, engage with long-time supporters or share successes with your social network, your organization’s online presence is a key component to your success. With the help of talented digital professionals, your online presence will grow as your organization does too.