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Posts from the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Using WordPress to build a site

When I work with organizations, one of the first questions I ask them is “Do you have a website?” Common responses are:

“Yes, but we don’t know how to use it.”

“Yes, but we never have time to update it.”

Very rarely do I get a flat-out no. And yet, if you don’t update your site – whatever the reason – you may as well not have one. If your site is difficult to use or update, you need to get a new site…and a simple one.

Enter WordPress.com. Yes, it’s a ‘blogging’ platform but blogs are pretty much websites and WordPress couldn’t make it easier for an organization to get a user-friendly website up and running in a matter of a few hours.

Why use WordPress?

  • It’s easy.
  • You can post via email or text – so if you don’t have time to log-in, you can just send your updates electronically.
  • There is a world of support at your Google fingertips. Don’t know how to do something? Google it. The millions of people using WordPress have no doubt already handled your issue.
  • It integrates well with Google Apps. If you are a nonprofit and not using Google Apps, you are missing the boat.

If you don’t have time to set up the site, email me. I can help you get it going and then turn over the keys to you to maintain.

It’s easy…really.

Small nonprofits can do branding, too

Ready to launch into social media or a website but stuck on where to begin?

Don’t believe the hype that you need to spend thousands on branding and identity exercises.¬†Nonprofits that don’t have a lot of money can still do some branding-related exercises that will help leadership and staff begin to better understand their organization, how they talk about and represent themselves.

The exercises in this document by no means facilitates a full-blown branding project but hopefully will start some conversations and help you get on the right track. Beginning with branding.

What you do in your free time, tells me what tv show you will watch

According to this TED Talk, marketers would be better off asking people what they enjoy doing in their freetime than making overarching assumptions based on gender.

10 things I learned at yesterday’s Nonprofits Technology Conference

In no particular order:

10. Very few people use Twitter. Out of about 800 participants (many of whom you would assume are tech-savvy), only 20 or 30 were tweeting. The lesson: if you want to reach a few early adapters, use Twitter. Want to reach quantities of regular people, use Facebook.

9. There is a lot of fear about security among nonprofit folks. I’m not sure why this is so pervasive but we really need to push through approaching tech from a place of fear and move into a posture of adventure about being online.

8. Nonprofits, unfortunately, spend a lot of money on technology because they don’t understand the whole world of inexpensive options available. Maybe this is tied to the fear issue in #9?

7. The mobile market is virtually untouched by nonprofits. Could be a great niche for someone.

6. Twitter tends to elicit snarky (and often unkind) comments. Maybe related to #10?

5. Best quote: “Nobody knows what your acronym means except you.” I think someone named @coien said that (or at least tweeted it).

4. People come to a workshop for useful information that will help them be more productive and feel empowered. Storytelling is not a good format for a workshop.

3. Internet Explorer is the most popular browser for downloading other browsers. Please…use Safari, Firefox, or Chrome.

2. Blogging is on the downswing. With only a few exceptions, people don’t read websites, they look at them.

1. An overload on powerpoints really can make you feel like death is approaching.

Using hardware to make your life easier

I’m not by any stretch of imagination a hardware junkie. I don’t buy electronics as toys, I don’t spend hours messing around with my computer or on my iPad or phone downloading apps. Instead, I look for simple, functional hardware that makes my life more efficient – and that’s fairly cheap, to boot. Working in nonprofits, efficiency is one of the names of the game and inexpensive is the other.

My opinion is that if you’re really going to dive into social media, you should either invest in a smartphone or a tablet. The good news is that we have increasing competition on both fronts.

iPhone v. Android. The debate continues but with the iPhone coming to Verizon on February 10, many of us have a new set of choices when picking a phone. My fav? The Droid. I have an Incredible and love the functionality. I don’t find the iPhone nearly as user-friendly. Main reason: on the Droid, the apps sit open. I know folks love their iPhones, though, so if you’re looking at smartphones, play around with both of them and see which one you like.

Xoom v. iPad. Apple’s iPad has dominated the market but as early as the end of the month, the Motorola Xoom is coming with the highly touted “Honeycomb” OS. Honeycomb is an Android platform so if you love the Droid, you’ll most likely love the Xoom. I have an iPad. I don’t love it for the same reason I don’t love the iPhone. Rumors have the Xoom showing up at Best Buy by February 24 for $799. That’s a bit higher than the iPad so I’m curious to see what the additional cost brings. Again, you really can’t go wrong either way so drop by Best Buy and pick your platform.

If money is tight, I don’t think it’s necessary to have both a smartphone and a tablet. Consider how you intend to interact with social media. If you’re going to be checking messages and updating on the fly, for example, taking pictures in the moment and uploading them to Twitter, go for a smart phone. If you’re more intentional and want to sit down with social media, try a tablet.

Branding for nonprofits

I spend at least part of my time working for a larger nonprofit organization – a church denomination to be exact.

Folks who hang around organizations like this can tell you that most of them have pretty much lost their identity. They are either trying to be all things to all people or wandering around lost in the desert reacting to whatever happens upon them.

I’ve been recommending that the denomination go through a branding exercise.

The roadblock I keep hitting? “Why?”

“Why should we do this, we know who we are. We know what we want people to believe.”

“We don’t have this much money.”

“That’s too corporate.”

Let me dispel a couple of myths:

1. Branding is not about projecting an image disconnected from reality. Branding is about finding that intersection between what your organization can offer and what your audience is looking for and then honing in on delivering exactly that in all things you say, do, and communicate.

2. Branding does not have to cost a lot. Nonprofits can struggle with spending money on branding and yet it can be the best couple of thousand dollars you spend. At the denomination, the bid for our entire branding exercise is $5,000. With that investment, you will gain far more than you spend. Getting precise about who you are and what you’re doing doesn’t just bring clarity. It brings members, because you’re effectively communicating your mission. It brings donors, because you have done the work to ensure your organization is relevant – and communicating that relevance.

3. You will not lose your nonprofit street cred by doing some good old fashioned branding. In fact, you’ll maybe gain some because you’ll come out of the other end of a branding process stronger, sleeker and more well designed for the current nonprofit world. Street cred doesn’t just happen; it’s earned.

Happy New Year technology

So we get this new video conferencing system installed before Christmas. Because I’m short on time, I hire GeekSquad to help me out with set up. I go to turn the thing on…it’s working! Whew, no follow-up.

I then go and buy online webex, turn on my fantastic new tv and computer. It asks me for the password. Wait. What? I don’t have a password. So much for no follow-up. Now I’m sitting around with this mondo system and can’t use it because I’m missing the magic word.

FRUSTRATING!

Having someone help you with your technology is always a mixed bag. It might get done, but you often have no idea how to make it work because you don’t really understand the system.

Even though I am not a hardware kind of gal I’ve found it’s often better to just tackle the project myself than to bring someone else in from the outside. I guess that’s why I do what I do…help people figure out how to do things for themselves. The old “teach someone to fish” approach.