News from the NTEN Connect Blog

Landing Page Optimization 101

Submitted by Brett on Wed, 07/23/2008 - 2:04pm

Nick Allen, Donordigital

Your website may educate and motivate your supporters, but its main purpose is probably to encourage them to take action-- send a message to Congress, attend an event, download a report, buy a t-shirt, or donate all their Google stock.

"Optimizing" your Web pages, especially the ones where you want people to take an action, can dramatically improve your conversation rates, persuading more visitors to actually take the action you want them to take.

What seem like very small changes on a page can sometimes make a huge difference. For example, when we removed just the title (Mr., Mrs., Dr., etc.) and suffix (Jr., M.D.) fields from Amnesty International's donation page, conversion improved 30%!

Building a Website with Hosted, Integrated Platforms

Submitted by Brett on Wed, 07/23/2008 - 1:08pm
Laura Quinn, Idealware

These days, it seems like everyone's talking about open source content management systems. These packages -- like Joomla, Drupal, and Plone -- can be a great way to go, but they're far from your only options.

For many nonprofits, strong features in areas such as online donations, event registration, and email newsletters are as important as the website itself -- and integration between these components can be a big issue.

If this is the case for your organization, consider a hosted, integrated platform.

Search Engine Optimization and Paid Search for Nonprofits

Submitted by Brett on Wed, 07/23/2008 - 12:57pm

Kevin Lee and Bill Snyder,

Many nonprofits are using Search Engine Optimization (SEO) as a free way of driving relevant traffic to their websites from Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft searches. They often find the process to be time consuming, but this doesn't need to be the case. By integrating best practices into the standard operating procedures for your various teams, you can achieve significant SEO benefits without investing large amounts time.

To begin with, those writing website copy and press releases must understand how to write for humans and search engines and how external and internal links improve site visibility. Put the punch about what makes the page or press release important right up front. As for links, press releases need to include ones that anchor the text not only to the homepage but also directly to related website content. These links will drive traffic AND improve SEO-- especially when they're reprinted on other sites.

Web Traffic Spikes: When You Need Attention NOW

Submitted by Brett on Wed, 07/23/2008 - 12:42pm

Jonathon D. Colman, The Nature Conservancy

The rise of "web 2.0" has forever changed the game of online marketing. Sure, with enough time and money on your side, you could always draw customers to your site with impersonal ads, affiliate promotions, and expensive broadcast media. But if you're like me (and I am) then you're not made of money and your budget doesn't have room for surprises.

With social media, you can take direct, personal action to find new niches and leads within the most popular, dynamic sites on the web. The services are all free, getting set up is easy, and -- as you'll see -- your results are completely measurable.

Oh, and the people will come -- so many, in fact, that you might just crash your web site with all of the attention you receive. So while your IT staff may not be so happy with you, your ED will be quite pleased.

We Are Media: Who's Telling Your Story?

Submitted by Holly on Tue, 07/22/2008 - 10:50am

Flickr Photo: luiginterI used to give a workshop about storytelling in online mediums. Back then, it focused on email and websites -- that's all there really was. In true nerd fashion, my metaphor for the workshop was Star Wars.

But I digress. The main point of the workshop was to get folks to articulate an emotional need they could address with their stories. Stakeholders will act on our behalf only if they feel an emotional investment in the outcome. They have to want us to succeed.

This week in We Are Media, we're focusing on storytelling. The number of outlets for nonprofit stories has exploded: email, websites, blogs, video, photos, twitter and more are all part of our communications universe now.But the fundamentals remain the same: How do you tell a good story, despite the medium?


Submitted by Holly on Tue, 07/22/2008 - 8:47am

There's a great post today from Michael Gilbert: Online Social Networks Are Not Mailing Lists.

I love it because a) it's true and b) he ties it to the larger issue, RESPECT. He argues that thinking about how to use social networks as communications channels is disrespectful. It undermines the community your stakeholders want. This line sums it up:

The genuine respect that is the key to success takes this form: First use your resources to build community and only secondarily use community to build your resources.

Do You Have Google Questions?

Submitted by Holly on Mon, 07/21/2008 - 4:26pm

Around here, one of the best indicators of success is the G word: If we put Google in a blog post, webinar, NTC session, or Ask the Expert call, we know that not only will you show up, you'll practically devour our offering. You can't get enough Google, and we can't answer your questions about their nonprofit offerings fast enough!

Luckily for us, the folks behind the Google for Nonprofits initiative have kindly set up a Nonprofit Google Group where you can ask questions and get answers to your heart's content.

Of course, we'll keep trying to satiate your Google hunger. We've got an Ask the Expert Session scheduled for August about all things YouTube. More Google Grants/AdWords content is on the horizon as well.

Meet the Author: Brian Reich

Submitted by Anna on Mon, 07/21/2008 - 2:32pm

Even if you haven't had the chance to begin reading the book, Media Rules!: Mastering Today's Technology to Connect with and Keep Your Audience, by Brian Reich and Dan Soloman, you can still benefit from our "Meet the Author" session with Brian, July 22nd at 11am PST/2 pm EST.

> Register Now - Free for NTEN Members!

Brian will touch on the following key themes of the book and answer your book questions:

  • Everything is fragmented and blurred.
  • Small can be big.
  • We are all connected.

NTEN Members Online Round-Up: Free Kittens and Other News in Nonprofit Technology

Submitted by Annaliese on Mon, 07/21/2008 - 1:40pm

Flickr Photo: El Negro MagnificoWe like to hear about our members in the news and acknowledge their activity online. Last week, I happened to see the following about NTEN members:

> NTEN member Nancy Schwartz, of Getting Attention, announced the 12 nonprofits with the most votes in her 2008 Nonprofit Tagline Award Competition, including NTEN members UNICEF and the American Lung Association. Congratulations! Look for her full report on nonprofit taglines in September.

> Several members were cited in the recent NonProfitTimes article about Facebook's Causes: read about how Network for Good, Rick Christ of NPAdvisors, PETA, and the American Red Cross have incorporated Causes into their fundraising and outreach strategies.

> Convio's Connection Cafe highlights NTEN member Farra Trompeter and her relatively new firm, Big Duck.

> Convio gets some love in the news, too, with the announcement that Susan G. Komen for the Cure is deploying Convio's SaaS tools to integrate their communications, fundraising, and relationship management.

> Two members weigh in on what "open source" really means when it comes to deploying FOSS software at your organization. Michelle Murrain, current coordinator of NOSI (Nonprofit Open Source Initiative), says open source solutions are usually free, as in "free kittens", while Randy McCabe, founder and CEO of MPower, an open source CRM provider, takes a crack at defining what "open" really means when it comes to open source CRM solutions for nonprofits.

> If you didn't get to attend the 2008 BlogHer conference, NTEN member Amy Sample Ward has you covered. She couldn't go either, but decided to connect via Second Life. Amy did some live blogging to keep you all tuned in.

NPTech Code of Conduct

Submitted by Anna on Mon, 07/21/2008 - 10:24am

Flickr Photo: kota2006The NPTech Professional Principles Affinity Group has been hard at work these last few months. Led by John Kenyon, Nonprofit Technology Strategist, the group has tackled a different topic each week to create a code of conduct that will show the world that we, as nonprofit professionals, follow the basic tenants of ethical service, whether as staff, support orgs, consultants, or vendors.

The need for these principles also arose out of a desire to have a standard most of the field could agree on to help connect us to one another.

The following is the result of the discussion: