By: Laura Iancu, 123ContactForm
When it comes to communicating with your audience, every nonprofit has to find its own way. For some, social media can do wonders; for others, in person communication is the key to success. No matter the situation, each and every one has to have an updated website. Owning a website is a core point of a nonprofit. It makes you reachable, it puts you out there on the vast ocean of the internet and provides a chance for people to find you.
Moreover, with the proper management, a website can be turned into a powerful tool to build a community and engage it. And, every website has to contain several ingredients to have a real impact. Adapting them to your unique cause and style can definitely help you gain the most out of your website.
Blog – creating content for your community gives you a channel to distribute news and engage. Mark W. Schaefer wrote in his B2B blogging e-book that people perceive blogs as credible, as they are written by officials. Moreover, it is a place where you can react and share your views without limitations, a place to tell your side of every story. Make sure you enable comments and you encourage interaction. In this way you will receive feedback and you will know how to adapt your content.
Social sharing – if you have accounts on social platforms, don’t forget to link them to your website. Place the website URL in every description available in your accounts and enable a widget on your website main page to have social sharing buttons towards your social media accounts. In this way, you create a circle that brings together a community from all the channels. Moreover, it is highly recommended to have social sharing buttons with number indicators on your blog. It is proven that they trigger more interaction.
Contact page – highly important for every NPO, it’s a must have on any website. Provide your public several methods of contact by adding your email account or a contact form to manage messages easily. While emails may seem a more personal approach, contact forms allow easy data management, creating a simple way to track all your inputs. You can use it to increase direct interaction with your audience and open a window of opportunities where you might receive collaboration proposals. You never know from where a donor might come, so be reachable and open to new ideas.
Polls and surveys – as simple or as complex as you need them, they can be a way to gather information about a specific topic or a place to start an ample market research. You can choose the topic and use it in your advantage to find all about your community and your subject of interest.
Combining these ingredients, you can create a complex network where your public becomes your community and it is accessible to share information and engage. Here are some hints on how to use them together to grow this community and make it stronger:
- Use all information to make a helpful and informative newsletter. Include top viewed and commented articles, results from polls or survey if relevant for your community and add contact information or a link toward your contact page.
- Use the information you collected through polls or surveys to put together a blog post. You will create buzz around a subject you are sure your community is interested about.
- Publish one of your comments from the blog on a social channel to start a discussion and share ideas in a controlled manner.
- Create infographics and reports based on your market research to provide valuable information.
Keep in mind that there is no perfect recipe that can be applied with success in all cases. Everything has to be adapted, as even the meaning of engagement can differ. Engagement has a broad spectrum and has to be a practice, not a goal.
So how do you engage with your community? What’s your secret recipe?