Tue, June 24 2014

Why your nonprofit’s URL matters

Caryn Stein's avatar

VP, Communications and Content, Network for Good

Filed under:   Branding • Websites and web usability •

As someone with a common name that’s spelled a bit differently, I’m all too aware of the confusion and errors that happen because of a unique moniker. When people are expecting Karen with a K, I’m forever spelling out C-a-r-y-n. For me, this typically only causes minor inconvenience and some interesting conversations about names. For your organization, though, an unusual name, unconventional spelling, or indistinguishable acronym could negatively affect your marketing efforts.

The same can be said for your nonprofit’s domain name. Having an easy-to-remember (and difficult to mess up) domain name can help supporters quickly find your organization online and reduce confusion when you’re telling folks about your nonprofit on the phone, in person, or in print.

How do you choose the right URL for your nonprofit? Marc Pitman of FundraisingCoach.com offers these tips on choosing a good domain name:

1. Keep it simple.  Make sure it’s easy to remember and understand, especially when saying it out loud.
2. Avoid numbers when possible. When you substitute numbers for words, it’s more difficult for your supporters to remember if your web address contains the numeral or the number spelled out.
3. Also register variants of your name. If there are common misspellings or typos that might lead your supporters astray, consider registering those domains as well, so you can point those visitors in the right direction.
4. Get the .com, and other extensions. Most organizations will want to get the .org of their chosen domain name, but cover your bases and register other extensions of the same domain name. Soon, you’ll also be able to register .ngo and .ong thanks to the folks at Public Internet Registry.

Network for Good is partnering with Public Interest Registry to help get the word out about the new .ngo and .ong domains. These domains will give nonprofits and other non-governmental organizations worldwide an opportunity to secure a new top-level web address. Since Public Interest Registry will manage a validation process to ensure that only genuine NGOs are granted these new domains, having an .ngo or .ong address will help organizations reinforce trust and credibility.

The new domains will be available early next year. So, what can you do now? Sign up to submit your Expression of Interest—you’ll receive updates about these new domains and be the first to know when .ngo and .ong are available. For more details on submitting your Expression of Interest and to sign up, visit www.globalngo.org

Do you plan to secure an .ngo/.ong domain name for your organization? Share your domain name questions and experiences in the comments below to join the conversation.

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Tue, April 29 2014

What’s in a name? Change your terms to change perception

Melissa Raimondi's avatar

Content Producer, Network for Good

Filed under:   Branding • Marketing essentials •

During an NPR pledge drive in February, a Philadelphia-area radio host (apologies that I haven’t been able to find him) mentioned an online debate over the origin of the term crowdfunding. According to Social Media Week and Fundable, modern-day crowdfunding began around 1997 when a British rock band raised funds online for a tour. (Wikipedia takes us back to 1884!) But our local radio host had a different opinion, saying that thanks to pledge drives, NPR had been crowdfunding long before that.

When I picture a pledge drive, I see people manning the phones. But when I picture crowdfunding, I see the Internet and cool causes.

So what’s going on here?

The answer is simple: Sites such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and CrowdRise have rebranded “pledge drives” to be more fun and cutting edge, and with that came a new name. The truth is, simply changing a name is a great way to develop a new brand identity and connect more successfully with a target audience. Have you heard of Quantum Computer Services or BackRub? That’s AOL and Google, respectively. (Can you imagine “BackRubbing” last night’s final Jeopardy question?)

Is the name of your nonprofit hard to pronounce? Do you have trouble getting it all out in one breath? Does it only mean something to the people within your organization? If the answer is yes, consider how you can tweak it to fit the work, personality, and impact of your nonprofit.

Don’t like the terms? Change them!

Perhaps changing your name is going too far. Maybe you love your name and have a great reputation, but you can’t get anyone to come to the “Saturday Morning Cleanup.” Try repackaging events to focus on the fun aspect, such as the “Reservoir Preservation Walk” on Saturday mornings, when volunteers relax with each other and beautify the local reservoir.

Think about the terms you use to identify your nonprofit and your programs. Making some smart updates can significantly improve your marketing efforts and refresh your branding.

Have you implemented a name change to breathe new life into an initiative or make a program feel more inviting? Share your experiences in the comments below!

 

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Fri, April 11 2014

4 questions to help you stay true to your brand

Caryn Stein's avatar

VP, Communications and Content, Network for Good

Filed under:   Branding • Marketing essentials •

Most organizations go to great lengths to carefully craft a mission statement, outline a vision, and develop a tagline to clarify their place in the world. But it’s important to remember that these elements aren’t meant to be stored away as archived material in your annual report. These core beliefs should be an everyday yardstick for all of your communications.

As you work to react to changes in your community, crises, and fundraising ups and downs, it can be tempting to try anything to see what may stick. Something similar happens when there’s a marketing trend or a new channel to explore, like a new social network. When you feel this urge, it’s important to think about how you answer these four questions:

1. Who are you?

2. What is your purpose?

3. How do you accomplish your work?

4. What are your values?

Answering these four key questions will ultimately help you answer a fifth:  are your actions and outreach consistent with your organization’s core identity? If not, it’s time to take a step back to ensure everyone in your organization knows and understands your brand—and how you bring it to life.

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Mon, March 24 2014

Free Webinar: Take Charge of Your Nonprofit’s Reputation

Caryn Stein's avatar

VP, Communications and Content, Network for Good

Filed under:   Branding • Marketing essentials •

Do you know how supporters feel about your organization? What are people saying about your cause online? 

All too often organizations are so busy promoting their next campaign or event they fail to pay attention to managing their reputation. If you’re not actively monitoring and managing how your nonprofit’s brand is perceived, your fundraising and marketing efforts will suffer. 

This week, we have a must-see webinar for anyone working in the sector. Dr. Dionne Clemons, nonprofit communications expert, will join us for a free webinar all about understanding and managing your nonprofit’s reputation. She’ll show you how to create a plan for actively managing and safeguarding your brand. If you need some help planning for crisis communication, brand monitoring, public relations, or social campaigns, you will not want to miss this.

Take Charge of Your Nonprofit’s Reputation
Tuesday, March 25, 2014 1pm ET
Register now.
(If you can’t attend the live session, go ahead and register so you can get the recording and slides delivered shortly after the event.)

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Thu, February 20 2014

How Millennials can help you boost corporate sponsorships

Allison McGuire's avatar

Marketing Associate, Network for Good

Filed under:   Branding • Cause-related marketing •

Millennial Guide

We’re pleased to announce the release of our new guide, Engaging Millennial Employees. While the guide focuses on helping companies understand how social good can help them win over young talent, this ebook is packed with facts that nonprofits use to better engage Gen Y supporters, staff, and volunteers—as well as strengthen their value proposition to corporate sponsors.

Here’s a tip from the guide that can help your nonprofit effectively integrate Millennial employees into your culture and fundraising goals.

Myth: Millenials don’t care about communities

A recent American Psychological Association (APA) study purports that Millennials are selfish, close-minded, and greedy. Somewhat unsurprisingly, MTV—arguably a Millennial-made network—came to their defense by rebutting some of these claims about “Generation Me.”

In the APA study, only 36% of Millennials supported “participating in a community action program.” MTV posed the same question in different words. When asked the importance of “helping those who are less fortunate in your community,” 66% of Millennials responded affirmatively. This, of course, is great news for your cause.

Fact: transparency rules

The “MTV Generation” (Gen X and Gen Y) believes in companies that are aligned with charity. A full 83% of Millennials trust socially responsible companies, and 74% are more likely to pay attention to that company’s message because of its deep cause commitment.

What to do:

Help your corporate partners demonstrate a meaningful alignment with your cause by co-branding campaign communications. Showcase their financial support via impact metrics (think: donation thermometer, images of who you’re helping, testimonials, seals of approval) on your website. In turn, ask the company to display your nonprofit’s logo on their corporate social responsibility and/or community pages with a link back to your site.

Why this helps your cause:

Millennials searching for jobs look to the company’s nonprofit partnerships to guide their decision as to whether or not the work is authentic. By building a meaningful corporate partnership, you lend credibility to the company’s portfolio and attract Millennials who are passionate about working for a cause.

For more facts and myths about Millennials, download the free guide: Engaging Millennial Employees: Recruit and Retain Top Talent with Cause.

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