Nonprofits across the country can identify with the struggle to keep up with rapidly advancing technology. Lacking sufficient staff and funding, many nonprofits are unable to optimize their online presence in such a way that it draws enough attention from potential donors and volunteers.
Although the story of the stretched-thin, long-suffering nonprofit is age-old, nonprofits shouldn’t assume that they should simply get used to their plight. In fact, organizations can utilize their current volunteers and recruit additional volunteers to fill in the digital gaps that their staff and funds can’t cover. Placing skilled volunteers in the right digital positions can boost a nonprofit’s online presence and yield impressive results.
If you're a nonprofit who could use help distinguishing your online presence, we’ve collected some practical tips that, when put together, can become an effective plan of action for you and your organization.
Recruit the Right Volunteers
If you have corporate partners, you can more easily recruit tech-savvy volunteers from their pool. These are people who not only have the right skills, but they also have an interest in donating their expertise to their employers’ nonprofit partners. Besides corporate partners, you can also can tap the skills of your junior board members, who might also have the marketing or graphic design skills necessary for the job. Finally, if you can't find the skills needed in your current list of volunteers, you should consider posting volunteer opportunities on www.volunteermatch.org. Opportunities can be listed for in-person or virtual positions, and they can be great ways to find fresh, skilled volunteers looking for new ways to give of themselves.
Measure Web Site Traffic
No new strategy will be effective if the target audience isn’t measured first. Finding skilled volunteers who can measure web site traffic will help shape future strategies and maximize their results. Such volunteers can look at traffic on nonprofits’ web sites, analyze how users engage on their social media pages, and determine what devices they use. Then, they can use that information to design plans for future marketing efforts.
Find a Social Media Whiz
These days, there’s no denying how quickly people share information, articles, and graphics, and how quickly these things are re-shared. Simply having a staff member post notices about upcoming events or fun memes related to the cause won’t cut it. A nonprofit's online presence needs to be broad, catchy, and strategic. “A skills-based volunteer can help identify your target audiences, tell your most engaging stories in engaging ways, and create trending hashtags, so your stories are seen, heard and shared,” writes Catchafire contributor Kimberly Dulin.
In addition to posting content on social media, Facebook now offers a Charitable Giving option, which allows nonprofits to inform target audiences about their cause and fundraise at the same time. Asking a volunteer with this sort of experience to get behind the social media wheel will get more people clicking, sharing, donating, and connecting.
Maintain Guidestar Profiles
If target audiences click on a nonprofit’s social media post, they might soon find their way to a Charitable Giving page, which may link to the nonprofit’s Guidestar profile. Or, an individual might go straight to Guidestar to research the viability and background of a nonprofit.
Guidestar is a trusted resource of financial and other statistical information on nonprofits, which enables organizations and individuals to learn more and make informed decisions. You'll want to be sure to keep your Guidestar profile up to date, as this ensures financial transparency to potential donors and connotes a high level of quality and professionalism. Plus, an organization’s profile describes its mission and the cause it serves, which, as the 2017 Millennial Impact Report is showing, is more important to the most populous group of donors than the organization itself. Skilled volunteers can be helpful in writing web copy for annual program initiatives and results for nonprofits’ Guidestar profiles.
Improve Your Website
A quick way to make a potential donor or volunteer turn away is to present them with a clunky website. A nonprofit's online presence begins with their website, so the design should be attractive and user-friendly. This is where skills-based volunteers are not just helpful but essential.
If you can't easily recruit skills-based volunteers from corporate partnerships or within your organization’s regular volunteer pools, you should consider posting virtual volunteer opportunities on www.volunteermatch.org or networking with local colleges. Talented young professionals and students might need the practice, they can produce excellent work, and they can provide portfolios and references if needed.
Building an online presence is an essential factor of success for any nonprofit. Those who cut corners in this area will have a much harder time recruiting and retaining volunteers, attracting new donors, and generating a buzz about their good work. It’s in every nonprofit’s best interest to think creatively about how they can utilize a consistent volunteer or team of volunteers to help optimize their organization’s online presence – and then help it grow.
Learn more about how MobileServe can help your nonprofit manage your volunteers by clicking on the link below!