25 Percent Off Summer Discount

We’re rewarding the proactive this summer with 25% off.

Take advantage of the “web developer’s low season” with a 25% off discount on your new website or make-over*.

For nonprofits, summer is either the time to finally get the website upgrade taken care of, or it’s a time to blow it off until—whenever. But if you’re in the first group, we’ll reward your proactive resolution with a substantial discount, along with the added attention that naturally comes when our workload is minimal (and we’d rather extra-fine tune your site than play another game of internet backgammon).

Simply contact us for a free consultation, and to get your favorable price quote.

* Website development/make-over must commence by September 1, 2017, and is for charitable nonprofit organizations only.

CMS compared for nonprofits

WordPress Compared to Joomla and Drupal

Content Management Systems (CMS) has been the choice for website developers ever since they metamorphosed from its humble beginnings as Dr. Glen Barry’s “blog” in the 1990s, to the web platform that is now powering the vast majority of all websites on the Internet. Though there were many startup CMS choices just a few years ago, the field has narrowed to three main competitors: Joomla, Drupal, and WordPress.

Currently, WordPress is by far the dominant choice. An astounding 59.1% of all CMS sites are from WordPress (or an even more amazing figure of 28.1% of all websites within the worldwide web). Trailing far behind is Joomla with its market share of 6.9% of CMS, and Drupal with 4.7% of CMS.

WordPress, Joomla and Drupal have their key technical features in common:

  • they’re open source content management systems,
  • they all support the MySQL database, although Joomla and Drupal allow for support with other database systems,
  • and, all of them use pre-developed themes and plugins (modules that extend features) to enhance functionality and showcase content.

 

Taking a closer look…

Installation and Use

WordPress is relatively easy to install. If you understand the basics of uploading files to a server and configuring the database (MySQL), then the process will take just a few minutes. (Although, WordPress comes with its “famous five minute install,” unless you are a professional or have prior experience, you better budget in a few more minutes.) Once you’re set up, you’ll be introduced to the Dashboard (control panel) where prime settings are adjusted, new Pages and Posts are made, and customization with the plugins are achieved. WordPress is quite intuitive—and, given its dominance in the market, very familiar to many website managers.

Joomla is also rather quick to install, but not as fast as WordPress. The control panel is a bit more complicated to navigate. Drupal’s installation is also fairly similar to WordPress and Joomla. Its post installation can be a bit complicated for beginners, and knowing how to make changes are not as intuitive. Overall though, they are all intuitive and should work fine for you once you’ve familiarized yourself with the chosen system.


Support

Because of WordPress’ popularity, there are more free support options available. Plus, WordPress has a massive support community through various forums and through WordPress.org. Joomla and Drupal also have support communities, although not as vast.


Plugins and Themes Availability

Where the real benefit of WP is over the other two, aside from a larger market share and user base, is its access to more than 38,000 plugins, which are free within the WordPress.org plugin directory. These are, of course, in addition to the “premium” plugins available to WP systems for a nominal cost.

Joomla and Drupal also have many templates and plugins that work with their respective systems, but they are not nearly as plentiful and the quality tends not to be as high.


Security

For many operators of CMS sites, security ranks near or at the top of concerns. All three provide for a respectable level of security, with quick remedies to counter hacks, and backup systems for when you need to re-install part or all of your website. Overall, there is no clear winner for the average CMS website in the security department. However, since WordPress is the bigger dog in the yard, hackers tend to focus on WP first. That said, all three CMS platforms have equally good response times and fixes for when security breaches are realized.

Two of the less talked about and more vulnerable aspects of a CMS framework, according to Randy Morris of Releventure, are plugins and themes. These prolific and popular elements provide a quick functionality fix, however oftentimes at the cost of security, as they usually have very few developers and not very frequent updates.

In general all three platforms have similar release cycles and robust communities. The key with each of these platforms will always be to follow proper security policies, maintain vigilant updating, use well-maintained monitoring and scanning services (such as Sucuri), have solid backups, and recover processes in place.


Winner?

The overall winner then? Well, since all three CMS are reliable and have adequate access to themes, plugins, and support communities, and each resolves security issues; it comes down to what your specific needs are. But if those needs are sufficiently addressed in all three (which is likely), then it comes down to user friendliness. That said, since WordPress has the natural advantage of being the most popular CMS, with its very user-friendly control panel (Dashboard) and its far greater percentage of users (e.g., staff and volunteers who are familiar with the system), this, in our view, puts WordPress on top.

 


Sources: PC Tech Magazine, WP for Beginners, W3Techs, Sitepoint, Quora, Randy Morris.
8 fundraising tools 2017

Nonprofit Fundraising Tools to Watch in 2017

Source: Nonprofit Tech for Good

Digital payments are going to make a big impact on social and mobile media in 2017, but there are some new fundraising services and niche tools and apps that speak to current fundraising trends in the nonprofit sector i.e., the decreased of use cash, the rapid rise of the app economy, and gaming for good. That said, launching a fundraising start-up is not easy and the odds of making it long-term are slim. Your experimentation with at least one of the tools below (or from the 2016 list and 2015 list), would be greatly appreciated by their founders.

Read the entire article here.

Setting Up Google Ad Grants

Nabbing Google Ad Grants

You may have heard by now that Google has a program that benefits nonprofit organizations: Google for Nonprofits (clever naming, ea?) What you might not have know is that within their program options, there’s an offer to enroll into Google Ad Grants. And, if approved, you will be awarded with $10,000 (that’s not a typo) per month in Google Ad credit. And… should you exhaust that budget, two times within a six month period, you can then apply to receive the $40,000 (that’s not a typo either) per month Ad Grant (Grantspro).

What does this mean to you? Well, you’ll no doubt get more traffic to your website. So when someone Google’s the phrase (for example): “Giving to the Homeless During the Holidays”, instead of coming up on some secondary (organic) results listing, you can float to the top where the paid Google Ads are. More visits to your website means more immediate donations, or more sign-ups to your mailing list—thus resulting in more long-term stakeholders to your organization.

Who can apply? Ad Grants if for select non-institutional 501(c)(3) nonprofits. However, the following type of organizations are not eligible: government entities, hospitals & medical groups, schools, childcare centers, academic institutions and universities.

“Okay, I’m sold!”, you say. “How do I get on board?”

The process, though somewhat elementary, does take a bit of time and know-how with respects to preparing your Ad Grants application. (It’s less of a formal application then the ability to prove that you understand the ad placement mechanism and will actually fully engage yourself in the program.) But once the application process is done, you’ll be ready to begin creating your ad Campaigns for immediate placement.

Here are the basics to understand:

  • First, you will have to apply (and be approved) for Google for Nonprofits (https://www.google.com/nonprofits) For that, you’ll need to have your:
    • organization’s Employer ID (EIN), which is also your charity ID number. (Example: 20-1234567)
    • organization’s full legal name that is associated with your EIN
    • organization’s legal address
    • organization’s mission statement
  • the approval process for Google for Nonprofits is generally very quick—sometimes within minutes.

Setting Up Google Ad Grants:

  • Once accepted into the Google for Nonprofits program you will need to return to the above link, get yourself over to the Enroll in Exclusive Products for Nonprofits screen, and select “enroll” under the Google Ad Grants
    • You will have to create your first “Ad Campaign” and “Group Ad” (this, however, takes some know how. Google has people who can help you with this if you have been approved for other Google for Nonprofit products—otherwise, you’ll need some private help).
    • Finalize your submission. (Approval can take between 2-10 days.)


>>If you need help with the Google for Nonprofits and/or Ad Grant application process, just contact us.

 

giving tuesday 2016

Giving Tuesday 2016

#GivingTuesday is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. It’s an opportunity for your nonprofit organization to raise funds for your important work.

Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving.

One of the best ways to get involved is in your own community. GT has created a directory to help people find your organization within their own community.

Learn more about Giving Tuesday by visiting: www.givingtuesday.org

internet things and fundraising

5 Ways the Internet of Things Could Transform Fundraising

Source: Nonprofit Tech for Good

By the year 2020, over 26 billion things — cars, appliances, roads — will be connected to the internet. Known as the Internet of Things, our digital and philanthropic lives are about to transform. In the coming years the social good sector will launch#IoT apps that will empower real-time giving while watching TV or listening to radio through your refrigerator. These new fundraising apps will use new payment systems, such as Samsung Pay and Apple Pay (or your Facebook or Twitter login), and fundraising will transcend to level never even imagined by The Jetsons.

Read the entire article here.

Non profit bridge numbers

What Your Nonprofit Needs to Know About the New BRIDGE Numbers

Source: Nonprofit Tech for Good

Launched on February 4, the new BRIDGE Registry is a database of more than three million nonprofits, NGOs, and charities worldwide and each one of them has been assigned a new BRIDGE Number. This new numbering system is a huge leap forwardfor global philanthropy and may one day enable individuals to donate online to any nonprofit with a BRIDGE Number – not through the BRIDGE Registry itself, but rather through an online or mobile giving service that uses the BRIDGE numbering system. Here’s what your nonprofit needs to know about the new BRIDGE Numbers:

1. Odds are your nonprofit has a BRIDGE Number.

There are estimated to be more than 10 million nonprofits, charities, NGOs, ONGs, and CSOs worldwide, but the majority are not yet online and do not have a digital footprint. If your reading this now, then your nonprofit is likely online and does have a digital footprint and therefore is likely to have a new BRIDGE Number. Conduct a search and take note of your number.

Read the entire article here.

6 Things Your Nonprofit Website Can Be Doing Now For the Holidays Giving Period

Traditionally, the holiday period is when many supporters decide on which charity to support and how much to give. (More than 30% of donations processed through Network for Good’s occurs in December alone.) Well before Thanksgiving you’ll want to ramp up your fundraising program, starting with your website.

We offer these suggestions:

First, and foremost, can your website process online donations securely and quickly? If not, Network for Good, Qgiv and AffiniPay are just a few prime examples of donation services that specialize in processing credit card donations to nonprofit organizations.

1. Showcase the Need

Create a new Post/article showcasing the issue at hand (e.g.: For the homeless, winter is most difficult;  Family service needs increases during holidays; Affordable housing solutions for families year-round, etc.). This Post should be given priority placement on your Home page with a strong, inviting, title.

 

2. Highlight the Giving Opportunity

family-campignProvide the opportunity, a call to action (CTA), for your website visitor to give to your program (per above examples). Throughout your CTA, broadcast your success with the funding amount raised to-date, and how much further to go to reach its goal.

  • You’ll want to make sure that, at the very least, your giving options page is responsive to mobile devices. About 10% of online donations are made through mobile devices.
  • Brand (tailor) your giving page to that of the CTA with suggested amounts and with captivating images.
  • Make the case! How will their donation be invested? (E.g: “A $50 donation will provide 2 medical exams for persons without health care options.”)
  • Post a copy of the article and giving request in your Facebook and other social media avenues, and ask that people Share the content within their networks. (Replace your regular background image with that of the CTA’s.)

3. Add Donate Now to Facebook

Facebook recently added a “Donate Now” option to their call-to-action buttons. Take advantage of it.

4. E-letter Early and Timely

Send out your e-newsletter before the crunch (such as the first week of November and December). And remember, about half of all emails are now read on mobile devices. You’ll want your e-newsletter formatted to view well on these smaller screens.

5. Gifts for the Givers

Many businesses supportive of your organization will gladly provide gift certificates and other products for you to give out as donation incentives. These free dinners, movie tickets, music CDs and whatnot can induce a $10 giver to give $40 or more.  Giving benefits are a great way of maximizing everyone’s participation.

6. The Final Push

Don’t forget the final push to give in the last week. Send out e-update on the CTA’s success, and that this may be their last opportunity to be a part of this solution for this giving cycle.

10 blog ideas for nonprofits

10 Blog Content Ideas for Nonprofits

The following is an excerpt from Nonprofit Tech for Good. It’s original source is credited to Mobile for Good: A How-To Fundraising Guide for Nonprofits.

Nonprofits are familiar with writing blog posts that provide program updates, tell success stories, comment on breaking news and current affairs, and promote calls to action. This type of blog content is standard in nonprofit communications and should continue to be reported on regularly; however, some of your most shared, retweeted, and +1′d blog posts will be those that are out of the ordinary. With more than 250 million blogs in existence and countless online news outlets worldwide, your new media manager must excel at writing and have the ability to expand their storytelling, marketing, and fundraising content beyond traditional blog writing. The rise of mobile and social media has profoundly altered how journalists frame and format their stories, and the same is true for nonprofit bloggers.

1. Write Numbered Lists

Formatting your nonprofit’s cause(s) and programs into numbered lists is guaranteed to grab the attention of your donors and supporters. Since most readers now scan online content rather than read it thoroughly, listing and bolding content in a numbered format ensures easy reading and piques curiosity. Examples of numbered lists include, “Five Reasons Why Conserving Wildlife is Important,” “Ten Simple Ways to Serve Your Local Community,” “Nine Powerful Stats about Domestic Violence in America,” and “Six Reasons Why You Should Read to Your Children.” Numbered lists have broad appeal on mobile and social media and are often read by individuals who have never been exposed to your nonprofit.

2. Photo Essays

Due to most readers now scanning content rather than consuming it in its entirety, photo essays have emerged in recent years as a powerful means for telling a story. Your photo essay should include at least five images, and each image should fill the entire width of the page. Photos should include large bolded captions that explain what’s happening in photo. Additionally, all photos should be the same size and include a border. You should also preface your photo essay with one or two descriptive paragraphs and close your essay with a call to action.

3. Summarize Research Reports and Studies

Making a habit of summarizing the key findings of recently released research reports or studies is good strategy. Quite often the nonprofits or think tanks that release the report will promote your article or blog post. Since most reports and studies are released in association with a hashtag, you can promote your summary and gain access to new readers by using the hashtag on social networks. When summarizing a report, be sure to bullet-point at least five of the most important stats mentioned in the report. Then when distributing your summary, tweet or post one of the stats with a link to your summary. By including at least five stats in your summary, you can then distribute your summary up to five times over a one or two week period.

4. Share Resources Relevant to Your Cause

The Internet is a vast repository of resources. A simple search will reveal countless articles related to health, lifestyle, family, and popular culture. In addition, after breaking news and current affairs, it’s the articles related to daily life that are the most popular on mobile and social media. Creative new media managers will expand their ideas about what their nonprofit can write about and experiment with publishing blog posts that share resources and useful advice. For example, a health organization could write a blog post about the benefits of people consuming less salt. An environmental organization could write about which commonly bought food packaging items can be recycled. An organization whose mission is to support education could write a post about how parents can instill in their children at an early age the desire to go to college. Or an arts organization could write about the top 10 museums to visit in a lifetime. Very few nonprofits create this kind of blog content, but those that do have come to understand its power and integrate sharing resources into their long-term content strategy.

5. Show Donation Impact

Your nonprofit should regularly write blogs post about how donations are being used and the impact they have had. For program milestones, illuminate how the funds that were raised helped you achieve the milestones. You should mention the amount raised and how many donors gave. In the process thank the donors and encourage others to give so your nonprofit can continue to move forward and achieve new milestones. You can also write about how your nonprofit decides which programs to assign a high priority and provide a timeline of the fundraising benchmarks that allowed your nonprofit to implement its programs. For example, if your nonprofit raised $10,000 to provide emergency supplies in the aftermath of a disaster, list all the products bought and delivered. Donors are much more likely to continue giving if there is concrete evidence that their donations are making an impact. You can also ask donors to submit statements about why they choose to give and integrate their quotes into your donation impact articles and blog posts.

6. Tell the Story of a Community Served

Evoking empathy is essential when telling the story of the communities or individuals that your nonprofit serves, or hopes to serve in the future. People who donate to nonprofits are empathic or they wouldn’t give away their financial resources. They are motivated by simply knowing that they are making a difference or that they have the possibility to. Your challenge is to communicate the need though text, images, and video with dignity and respect for your communities, but in a way that also makes it clear that these communities and individuals are real human beings who are acutely affected by poverty, injustice, violence, or circumstances often out of their control. When telling their story, include quotes or video clips from community members and photos that do not objectify their need and wants, but rather illuminate how their needs and wants can be or are being met. Hope and possibility should be interwoven throughout the storyline. Otherwise donors will feel like the need is too great, and they may hesitate to give. A decade ago the storytelling of communities in need was meant to shock a donor into action. But with today’s 24/7 news cycle that focuses on sensational and often depressing news, that style of storytelling no longer makes an impact in the nonprofit sector. Many donors have become numb to desperate pleas for help or feel overwhelmed and disempowered by them. Focusing on the positive that exists in even the most unfortunate of situations is much more likely to trigger a giving response.

7. Interview Donors and Volunteers

It’s rare that a nonprofit interviews donors to give them the chance to share their thoughts and feelings about why they give. If you want to create a community of long-term givers who are more than just a collection of faceless database entries, then at least four times a year send a set of questions to donors willing to be interviewed, and ask them to include of photo of themselves that best represents who they are. Your donors will find it interesting to see the faces of other donors and read their stories and online supporters who not yet donated may even be inspired to give. The same is true for volunteers. Potential volunteers want to read real stories based on actual volunteer experiences, not just marketing materials. For both donor and volunteer interviews, you can ask unique questions beyond the obvious to add more personality and character to the interviews, such as the next country the want to visit and why or how would they react if they won the lottery. In truth, for your content strategy to work, it has to expand beyond traditional news writing and blogging or your readers simply will not take much notice of your content, much less share it with their social networks.

8. Go Behind the Scenes

Many donors and supporters want to see what happens behind the scenes at your nonprofit. Take photos of important meetings and solicit quotes from staff about key takeaways from the meetings. Record a video of your office or facilities. You can also interview staff and volunteers as they are preparing for an event. Though donors are primarily concerned with the cause(s) you advocate, demonstrating how hard your staff works behind the scenes can further cement their commitment to your nonprofit.

9. Write Book and Movie Reviews

Writing reviews about popular books and movies whose plots and characters are related to the cause(s) your nonprofit advocates is an easy way to tap into pop culture. It’s often perplexing when you read a book or attend a movie that evokes powerful emotions ranging from empathy to outrage, and the book’s conclusion and the movie’s closing credits rarely suggest how individuals can take action. It’s a missed opportunity to foster social good and one that nonprofits can fill by occasionally writing reviews and commentaries on bestselling books and box office hits. Before distributing your reviews, search for popular hashtags representative of the book or movie.

10. Feature New Mobile and Social Media Content

When your nonprofit launches a new infographic, video, or e-book, for example, write an article or blog post that features the content. Often nonprofits will launch a new video, but simply link to their YouTube channel when distributing the video on social networks. This is a missed opportunity. By embedding the video into your website or blog and providing some background information on why and how the video was made, you’ll likely get more video views and website traffic. The same is true for infographics. They should be featured on your website in proximity to a donate button, e-newsletter and mobile alert opt-in forms, and social network icons rather than being hosted on a third-party website. Infographics are very popular on mobile and social media, and converting infographic readers into donors, e-newsletter and mobile alert subscribers, and social network followers should be the dominant strategy behind creating an infographic. Also, if your nonprofit creates an e-book or online report, never directly link to a PDF version on social networks. Rather, create a summary on your website or blog about the e-book or report and then link to the PDF version in the website article or blog post. Even better, digitalize your e-book or online report directly inside your website. Finally, if your nonprofit launches a presence on a new social network, then write about your goals and ask your donors and supporters to help grow your new community.


Nonprofit Tech for Good is a great source for technology information and ideas for the nonprofit sector. The above article is reprinted by permission and can be read here.

mobile devices lifeline for homeless

Mobile Devices Become Lifeline to the Poor and Homeless

As surprising as it sounds, tablets and smartphones are fast becoming an essential item for the millions of homeless and poor people in the US, who are increasingly using handheld devices to access services and resources in a way never seen before.

This trend towards smartphone dependency, which has been well-documented in a number of recent studies, is having a profound impact on non-profit organizations. The need for a responsive website (one that provides the optimal viewing experience for users whether they’re on a laptop, tablet, or smartphone) has become an even greater priority for non-profits if they are to continue to meet the needs of those they serve via new media.

Service providers everywhere are realizing the importance – and benefits – of communicating with their audiences effectively via mobile devices, as increasing numbers of disenfranchised people turn to smartphones and tablets to access health care, legal services, shelter services, food programs, and potential employers.

For many poor and homeless people, the smartphone is their only means of accessing information, getting online, and connecting with those who can support them, whether they are friends and family or social service providers. Low income and less educated Americans, young adults, and non-whites are more likely to rely on their smartphone for services and information. 15% of smartphone owners say they have limited options for going online other than their cell phone (source: Pew Study 2015). So for those in need of support from non-profit organizations, their tablet or smartphone is fast becoming a survival tool.

The rising popularity of mobile devices has undoubtedly changed our lives; the use of smartphones and tablets among Americans alone increased from 56% in 2013 to 64% by the end of 2014 (source: Pew Study). And where the use of these handheld devices had once been the clear domain of the middle and upper classes, the low-income sector (those making $30,000 a year or less) are now catching up, with usage reported at 50%. What is striking are the figures for those who fall well below the poverty level, namely the homeless, who are completely reliant on their mobile device for Internet access, with 62% of homeless teens making up that share (source: USC Study).

Take-Aways:

Healthcare: 62% of smartphone owners have used their phone in the past year to find information about a health condition (source: Pew Study 2015) and 71% of Emergency Department patients experiencing homelessness own cell phones (source: Yale/New York University Study).

Ethnicity: Smartphone dependency rose dramatically among non-whites, with 12% of African Americans and 13% of Latinos smartphone-dependent, compared to just 4% of whites (source: Pew Study 2015).

Employment: 18% of smartphone users have submitted a job application (source: Pew Study 2015) and 36% of homeless teens use the phone to call current or potential employers (source: USC Study).

Resources: 39% of smartphone owners have used it in the past year to access government services or information (source: Pew Study 2015).

With responsive websites achieving greater conversions rates, being given Google rankings priority, and providing a more user-friendly experience overall, a mobile-device optimized website should now be the greatest priority of non-profit organizations.


Author: Laura Garton | Chaffington Marketing Communications