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What does Web 2.0 Mean For Your Nonprofit?

first_imgDon’t worry – If you’ve heard the phrase “Web 2.0” and wondered how much that software upgrade is going to cost you, you’re not alone. Truth is, while the phrase certainly conjures up ideas of a technical upgrade, Web 2.0 was coined to describe the significant recent shift from static, information-only Web sites to the demand for an interactive, participatory user experience. Whether you’re advocating for change, managing members, raising funds, or marketing events, services, or products, it’s critical to understand how to leave the hype behind and best leverage your Web experience for maximum success.To fully understand where the Web is moving and how this impacts your marketing strategies, let’s dive into some specific nonprofit examples.The Fundraiser or Membership DriveLet members design their user experience – When members register with you, give them as much power to customize their membership experience as possible. For instance, you can give them the option to opt-in to specific interest-related list servs or news groups.Gather donor data – Use a simple form to gather basic data from each donor that you can use to drive future fundraising efforts (try to limit to 3 questions or so). Find out their basic demographics, their reason for giving, how they found out about you, etc. You can also use this information to determine how you keep donors informed about your organization’s impact, what it will take to keep them giving year after year, and how you can leverage their support to find even more donors that fit a similar profile.Advocating for ChangeMarketing social change or a cause is one of the toughest jobs out there. Let’s face it, you’re trying to promote invisible benefits that people may not see or experience until years into the future. Advocacy and cause-oriented nonprofits now have a wealth of tools available to leverage the Web and social marketing networks to significantly boost public awareness of their issue, as well as to influence direct action.Go viral – Viral campaigns use pre-existing social networks (blogs, YouTube, FaceBook, MySpace, etc.) to produce an increase in awareness for a brand, an idea, or a cause. posts a hall of fame each year of viral campaigns – This is a great tool to understand best-practices and to get the ideas flowing.Leverage social media – Whether you start a blog or create a community forum on your own Web site, social media is about creating an interactive, user-driven experience that has value to your target customers and keeps them coming back. Compare that to a print newsletter or ad placed in a major newspaper – not only is the cost of the tactic significantly cheaper, but when done right, social media can drive more quality traffic to your site, and the interactive experience helps you gather important customer data.Creating community experience on your site – Attaching ourselves to a cause is all about creating community. Think about how you can create an interactive customer experience on your site where your advocates can learn about the cause, take a specific action, and even visualize or experience the impact they and other advocates have had.Promoting Services or Products Gather customer data – Whenever you take a step to enhance or even recreate your Web site, it’s critical to think about it as a tool to learn as much about your customers as possible. Think about your Web site as a tool for starting a conversation. If you haven’t done so already, integrate a simple lead-capture tool on your site (ask for a customer’s contact information in exchange for signing up for your e-newsletter or to download a valuable article).Focus on enrollment rather than action – If purchasing your services or products involves a significant commitment from your customer, likely they won’t be ready to buy the first time the visit your site. Focus on enrolling site visitors through an e-newsletter subscription, offering a white paper or article they can download, or other offers depending on what’s most appropriate. Remember, enrollment is about using tools to find out what that person’s needs are, and using this information to continue the conversation later.Let site visitors experience your services/products – Upload video, customer testimonials/endorsements, personal stories, etc. to fully engage the user in the experience of what you offer. If you run a child care center, this could include a video tour of the facility, video of the kids interacting with the providers, and parents endorsing the facility.Regardless of the specific tactic(s) you choose, the key point to remember is that your Web site or social media tools like blogs or viral campaigns should only be one component of an integrated marketing plan. A Web site alone, in other words, may not get you where you want to go.Putting all of the hype aside, integrating the new Web experience into your site is really this simple: just keep thinking how you can engage the user, enroll them, and keep the conversation going.Tiffany Meyer is president of Numa Marketing, and the author of Writing a Results-Driven Marketing Plan. Find more information about her nonprofit marketing services, register for her affordable nonprofit marketing e-courses, or sign up for her monthly e-zine The Smart Nonprofit at ©2007 Tiffany Meyerlast_img read more