Net Neutrality and Nonprofits

The current presidential administration has shown interest in changing the net neutrality regulations and this could have a surprising impact on nonprofit organizations.

What is net neutrality?

“The principle that Internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favoring or blocking particular products or websites”

What happens when net neutrality is lost?

Those with less resources, like many nonprofits, are unable to keep up with other businesses on the internet. An example of this would be one website taking much longer to load than another. Christopher Worman, senior director of alliances and community engagement for TechSoup in San Francisco, believes that nonprofits will be at a disadvantage because these organizations are already on tight budgets. Nonprofits have been leaders in using social media because it is “low cost and a means of connecting with the next generation of supporters” but with the possibility of restrictions and regulation, there may be less access to those important tools.

What should nonprofits do?

Christopher Worman thinks that “organizations should try to understand the effects of net neutrality now as opposed to having a reactive conversation in the future.” Woman suggests brainstorming possible courses of action for a situation like everything taking twice as long to load online and how that would affect the nonprofit’s ability to continue their services.

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Andy Segedin. “Possible Net Neutrality Changes Will Block Access, Cost More”. The NonProfit Times.

 

5 Tips for Nonprofit Website Creation

2016-03-30 09.09.10
Amanda Neumann

Creating a website for your new or existing nonprofit organization can seem like an overwhelming task. There are so many options to choose from and even more guides aimed at helping you decide what your website does, or does not, need.

Here are five tips for creating a website for your nonprofit organization:

Tip 1: Use a well-known host website like WordPress or Square Space

There are countless website hosting sites but I suggest using a well-known host such as WordPress or Square Space. Both are very user-friendly and allow for website customization with little skill needed. Using a well-known host will also make it easier for new volunteers or employees to assist in website management.

Tip 2: Register your domain name 

A domain name, or specific web address, is vital to your website’s success. Most website hosting services will give you the option of keeping their domain name free of charge (i.e. pcnrc.wordpress.com) or paying a yearly fee for a unique domain name (pcnrc.org). The fees are generally between $20-$100/year. Having a unique domain name makes it easier to find and share your website.

Tip 3: Ensure all pertinent organizational information is easy to find

It’s important to ensure that all of your organization’s important information is easy to find. Many people will leave a website if they can’t locate the information they want quickly. Important information generally includes: organization name, address, phone numbers, services offered, hours of operation, and upcoming events.

Tip 4: Determine your content

Is your website a hub for organizational information? Do you want a regularly updated blog portion? Whatever you decide, it’s important to have a plan in place. If your organization wants to create a blog, it’s important to keep the content engaging and consistent. 

Tip 5: Have an easily-accessible donation button

Online donation are quickly becoming one of the most important aspects of nonprofit website. Services such as Paypal.me and First Giving  allow for easy online donation by creating a website button.


Sources & Resources

A Nonprofit’s Guide to Building Simple, Low-Cost Websites via Tech Soup

How to Start a Website for Your Organization via Network for Good

WordPress via WordPress

Square Space via Square Space

 

Who’s your hero?: Storytelling from Crown Jewel

Justin Sheehan, from Crown Jewel Marketing, last month gave a presentation about storytelling. He asked questions such as

  1. How do we stand out?
  2. How do we cut through the clutter?
  3. How do we get the attention of our donors, volunteers, and the community?

His answer was by a solid brand that is anchored by a clear and compelling message. Simple enough, right?! It can be. However, we must remember that the definition of ‘brand’ is every experience and interaction your audience (aka the hero) has with your organization. It’s the way you answer the phone, the way your facility looks, etc.

For the remainder of the presentation, Justin walked the audience through multiple stories identifying the hero, problem or need, the guide, plan, success, failure, and the call-to-action. As a group we then applied this storytelling model to a few nonprofits in the room.

Conversations at the Coffee ShopCheck out Crown Jewel’s website for Justin’s PowerPoint presentation and story guide. In addition, Justin is offering free one hour consultations, “Conversations at the Coffee Shop,” to help your nonprofit fill out it’s story guide.

Branding – Marketing Seminar Series – July 21st

You are invited to the third and final Marketing Seminar Series of 2016! Join us to get answers from professionals and connect with your peers.

justin sheehan
Justin Sheehan

Who: Justin Sheehan is the owner of Crown Jewel Marketing, a Fort Wayne-based marketing agency for small businesses and nonprofits. Justin’s has a passion for helping people and organizations reach their dreams and full potential. Through his work at Crown Jewel, he is able to share his client’s vision and values with the customers whose needs they hope to meet.

Justin believes that starting with a solid foundation of storytelling and brand creates the most effective marketing campaigns. This foundation develops the best experiences for customers.

Justin’s work has taken him all over the U.S. and world including the Europe, Asia and Central America. He hopes to share his vision with organizations beyond his home town. Justin is married to his beautiful wife, Alethea, and has lived in Fort Wayne his whole life.

What: Brand is the foundation for your nonprofit’s marketing, storytelling, and fundraising efforts. Your brand is not only the “promise to the customer” – it’s every experience and interaction your audience has with your organization. From how your website looks and functions, to the style of business cards, or to the messaging in a donor letter.

By refining your messaging, identifying your organization’s story, and updating your marketing materials and channels, you can accurately reflect your brand which will improve your nonprofit’s marketing effectiveness.

Here are your take-a ways:  (1) your brand, (2) creating your organization’s brand script, and (3) implementing your brand scrip into marketing channels/materials.

Where: Allen County Public Library, Meeting Room C

When: Thursday July 21st, 2016 11:30 – 1 pm

Format: Lunch and networking from 11:30 to 11:45, presentation from 11:45 to 12:45, and then Q&A, networking, and filling out evaluations from 12:45 to 1:00.*Please note you are welcome to bring your own lunch. Lunch will not be provided.

How: Sign up here to attend.

Social Media Tips for Nonprofits

2016-03-30 09.09.10
Amanda Neumann

There is no singular way to effectively utilize social media. Every organization has to find ways to capture and engage their specific audiences.

While many nonprofits use email as the primary form on communication, social media is rapidly taking its place. Why? Because social media allows for more engaged and personal communication.

Many organizations are creating and implementing social media policies. A social media policy is a document that contains strategies and guidelines for your organization’s social media presence. These policies can be especially beneficial when multiple employees or volunteers share social media management duties.

Regardless of if your organization has a social media policy, it should have some type of social media strategy

When creating a social media strategy it is important to keep it simple and direct. Focusing on engagement, frequency, and visuals when writing social media posts can drastically improve your organization’s social media presence.


Engagement

Social Media isn’t a one-way street—communication has to go both ways.

When writing social media posts, it is vital to remember that you are doing more than marketing. Social media should be used for more meaningful, and individual, interactions. This can be as simple as liking Facebook posts or tweets from friends and followers or quickly replying to comments on your organization’s social media pages.

Tip #1 : Use push notifications on your smartphone or internet browser to stay current with your organization’s social media interactions 

Frequency

It’s important to maintain a presence while not overloading your connections with posts and information.

There’s no perfect number of social media updates to post per week. The most important thing is to post regularly without overloading your audience. Posting once per day on popular social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter is becoming expected from all organizations and businesses. However, it’s important to note that every post does not need to be published on every site (i.e. every Facebook picture doesn’t need to be shared on Twitter or LinkedIn)

Tip #2 : Create a Buffer account to manage social media posts 

Visuals

Remember to make your posts visually interesting!

Including pictures or info graphs is a great attention grabber. Too much text can be boring and easy to overlook. Further, adding photos of employees, volunteers, or events can be a wonderful way to engage your organization’s online community.

Tip #3 : Create a file of “extra” photos to share with text posts or by themselves 

 


Sources
How Nonprofits Use Social Media to Engage with Communities via Nonprofit Quarterly
Social Media for Non-Profits: High-Impact Tips and the Best Free Tools via Buffer
Creating a Social Media Policy via Tech Soup

Marketing Program on PSAs

You are invited to the second Marketing Seminar Series of 2016! Join us to get answers from professionals and connect with your peers.

Eugene
Eugene Gussenhoven

Who: Eugene Gussenhoven, Public Access Educator at Access Fort Wayne

What: Mr. Gussenhoven will be speaking about what Access Fort Wayne can do for your nonprofit and steps involved in creating a public service announcement.

Where: Allen County Public Library, Meeting Room C

When: Thursday May 19, 2016 11:30 – 1 pm

Format: Lunch and networking from 11:30 to 11:45, presentation from 11:45 to 12:45, and then Q&A, networking, and filling out evaluations from 12:45 to 1:00.*Please note you are welcome to bring your own lunch. Lunch will not be provided.

How: Sign up here to attend.