An open letter based on dialogue with an agency we did some volunteer work for recently…
So! You registered a domain and directed traffic to a WordPress or Wix (wherever) website. Perhaps you’ve even built Facebook pages and are thinking about Twitter.
You’ve established a toe-hold in the process… consider these thoughts as you pursue development of your Web Presence.
If you’re an NGO/NPO — you’ll always need to design from the perspective of Succession Planning. If you use personal tools, it will be clumsy to transition to the next volunteer or director. Generic identities built upon email forwards and list management tools online like MailChimp.com or EventBrite.com are indispensable.
For an NGO / NPO – the identity of the franchise drives development of all of the web properties and this branding needs to be consistent across all aspects of internet tools. NOT those of the leader — their personal style and character evaporate after they leave.
- Facebook will require a bit of fitting before implementation and small bit of effort to connect, and then some instruction on publication / use. There are some “agency” best practices operating for NGO/NPO — that helps answer the successor issue. We shouldn’t be using personal page login credentials but be posting as the Page. — I know, confusing.
- Learning the fundamentals of page and post attributes and using the media library, the CMS, and other page content / menu processes will require effort.
- Content generation and refinement for the Static pages is not urgent, but it’s critical — long run. If your English isn’t excellent, you’ll want to find a good, fast copy editor.
- If you’re considering a Twitter feed, same subset of issues as Facebook.
- A weekly rhythm of posting should begin just prior to site “Launch”
In all these cases and others, the site needs to reflect your vision.
So, these Items require an investment of time. Put in the hours that will result in a significantly disruptive change for you – something people will notice and be moved to follow. Bear in mind, you’re moving from never operating a web presence to launching a really good one.
So what, in a nutshell, do you intend to accomplish with your site? Begin with that clearly in view, and you’ll move the ball forward.
I know your schedule is cramped. And as site owner, the initiative to push ahead / timeline is yours to manage. A consultant can help!
Launch: At some point you’ll want to consider what kind of a “Launch” you want.
“soft launch” is normal — just go live (toggle out of sandbox mode) and circulate email.
But also, your launch could be optimized into a full-blown media blitz, with count-down clock culminating in cocktail hour and live event push with a tight focus on snagging followers / subscribers in the moment. These can be really fun and generate buzz.
- Embed an EventBrite widget sell tickets to fundraise — the app can be used to manage your email contacts list and capture new ones.
- A couple of months is a good planning horizon.
By the way, your launch method can be a combination / some measure of both.
Email campaigns – there is a whole range of list management and contact / relationship tools you should begin to incorporate – principally owing to your diligent consideration of successor planning in the NGO/NPO space. Your personal contacts can’t be readily “handed off” — and retain any sense of history. This is an area you should find some time to address. A consultant can help.
Conversely, it’s worth mentioning – by realizing these simple facts – that you haven’t spent a great deal of money, and very few even know you’ve begun. Therefore, if the bubble of work required to satisfactorily accomplish an attractive / professional presence isn’t feasible — you’re not harmed so much if you just let things go.
But you could be harmed if your site is launched and is full of errors (text, for instance – nothing is more off-putting to contributors and sponsors than poor use of English.)
In some cases – consultants are asked to use their experience / awareness of your context and best practices in your space to set things up. Then folks live with it for a few seasons. A consult can be responsive to your needs and will / can continue to do so if you feed content to them, and help iterate improvements so that your vision is reflected.
We strongly suggest you find an intern / volunteer that can assume some or all of the content creation and maintenance aspects. Now is an excellent time to appoint that person into the role. Who within your membership has a son or daughter in HS or fresh out of college?
We hope you hit a home run with your effort.