I wrote an article for the Lasa Knowledgebase website recently. Here it is: What To Prioritise If You’ve Only Got Limited Digital Resources and copied below for prosperity 🙂
What To Prioritise If You’ve Only Got Limited Digital Resources
Digital is a very broad area so it can feel overwhelming to get started if you or your organisation is relatively new to the topic. Laila Takeh lists the main ingredients to consider for a comprehensive digital presence.
This article comes with a big healthy caveat. As with all things you should talk to your target audience/s first to see what they’re using. It might result in your list being quite different to this!
1 – An up to date website
Having an up–to-date website for your organisation is still the topmost priority; without one your reputation may be damaged as most people (including potential supporters and funders) will check who you are by searching online. If you don’t have much time; it doesn’t need to be lots of pages, or constantly updated, as long as it’s clear, has contact details and other info that won’t date.
2 – Email newsletter / list
Email is still important, even with the explosion of social media, email is often how existing supporters and beneficiaries like to be kept up to date. And each email has a longer lifespan than a tweet or a Facebook post (it can be as low as 15mins according to Edgerank Checker).
Capture email addresses wherever you have touch-points with your target audiences, making sure you use the appropriate data protection opt-ins so you can regularly send email. And then, actually send email regularly. Once a month is enough, and it doesn’t need to be long.
An email address ages quite quickly as people move jobs or change accounts. Sending a regular email means your contacts are more likely to remember you both in terms of getting involved but also when they move their email address.
3 – Analytics
Knowing how people are using your website and email is critical in making plans for what to do next, not just digitally but also in your wider work.
You can setup Google Analytics for free by inserting a small bit of code in your website and emails. Once you’re set up make sure you spend at least 30 minutes a month looking at the results and sharing them across your organisation. See also the knowledgebase article Reading Web Statistics.
If your website and email are very busy and more complex you’ll need more time. It’s worth it as it can help you decide where to best spend your resources moving forward.
4 – Facebook
The largest social network in the UK is still Facebook. Having a presence on thenetwork means a greater exposure for your organisation. It can be very time consuming but there are ways to constrain your efforts if needed.
The most obvious way is to make your Facebook page volunteer led, establishing yourself as the coordinator / facilitator. You’ll need to recruit volunteers into Facebook admin / ambassador roles and provide the appropriate guidance. You should then check the page and check-in with your volunteer/s once a week or more regularly.
If this still sounds like too much time in your already busy job, set aside up to an hour a week of your time. With an hour a week you should be able to do just enough; post a couple of times and reply to people who have posted on your page.
Whatever you do, you need to be able to keep doing it. A Facebook page left alone for too long will simply dry up and might give you a reputation problem.
5 – Google Grants
Around 90% of the searches done in the UK are done on Google. Hopefully your website will already be listed against a few relevant keyword searches but you can also buy search adverts to make sure you appear wherever you think relevant.
Fortunately Google offer a grant to charities so you can get access to search advertising for free. Once you’ve got the other priorities sorted you should apply and (hopefully) when you’re approved you can start to setup search advertising to get more people to your website.
You’ll need to put aside a bit of time to keep monitoring and updating your search campaigns once they’re live.
See the knowledgbase article How Google Grants Can Help Your Charity.
6 – YouTube
After Google, YouTube is the next biggest place people search. Setting up a YouTube channel for your charity is a great way to be found. Luckily Google (who own YouTube) also offer a charity channel account for free, and you can apply online for this too.
Once you’ve got a channel some simple videos explaining your organisation, and / or projects that have created impact, are the best way to start. They don’t need to be fancy if you don’t have the resource, interviews with supporters and beneficiaries are often a good format.
With a charity channel account you’ll be able to include overlays and links out from your videos. Make good use of these to capitalise on the exposure you’re getting.
See the knowledgebase article An Introduction To Effective Use Of Video On The Web.
7 – Twitter
Still not as big as Facebook but with a growing audience, Twitter is a great way to publish quick updates to easily tell people what your organisation is working on . There’s lots of journalists, bloggers and politicians using twitter to listen out for stories or political views. So gearing your efforts around engaging influencers can be a good place to start if you have limited time.
With political engagement the same rules apply as elsewhere, a large supporter endorsement (e.g. through retweets or posts on a specific hashtag) will help convince others that it’s an important issue.
See the knowledgebase article To Twitter or not to Twitter?
8 – Google+
Google+ (G+) is Google’s social network offering; it has some similarities to Facebook but also quite a few differences. There’s still uncertainty about G+ and its effectiveness. But with the integration of G+ with other Google products there is value having a G+ page to get the extra benefits on those other Google products, particularly in search results.
Checking your G+ page once a month might be enough if you don’t have lots of people following your page.
About the author
Laila is a self confessed digital geek who has been working in charity digital roles for over a decade. She is also the London Barcampnfp organiser, an unconference event for anyone interested in technology for non-profits – find out more on twitter@barcampnfp. You can find her tweeting @spirals and blogging at SpiralForms.