Most Popular Websites & Why Nonprofits Should Care

It’s important for nonprofits to know which websites on the internet have the most traffic. It helps them understand where people are online so they can be sure they are participating on the most popular sites.

Alexacom I am a fan of®, the web information company that ranks websites with the most traffic by country and by category as well as providing data on audiences. While the data you collect on your stakeholders online behavior, through website, email and other analytics is the most important, the data about activity on the greater web helps steer your online strategy.

As sites decline in popularity (as MySpace® seems to be doing, though it still has a lot of traffic) nonprofits may want to think about putting less effort into those channels. This of course depends on your website traffic statistics – if MySpace® continues to be one of the top 20 referrers of traffic to your site you likely want to maintain your presence there. If not, you may want to reduce the resources you expend on maintaining a presence on that channel. I recommend you check out this ranking once a quarter, just to see what sites are rising/falling in popularity.

For example, Twitter has moved from #9 to #7 in the past month. YouTube is now the #2 search engine on the internet after Google and visitors average almost 20 minutes when they visit. Are you on YouTube? Getting familiar with Twitter? You likely should consider it.

Besides statistics by country, you can look at the statistics by category. Under the heading “Society” there are listings for Activism, Philanthropy, LGBT, Issues and more. Under Philanthropy, the top 6 sites are:


2. The Animal Rescue Site

3. Caring Bridge

4. The Hunger Site

5. Food and Agriculture Organization

6. Idealist

As of August, 2010, here are the top 20 sites with the most traffic in the United States. The links take you to the detail page on the site:

1.  Google

2.  Facebook3.  Yahoo! 

4.  YouTube


6.  Wikipedia

7.  Twitter


9.  eBay

10.  Windows Live


12.  MSN

13.  Myspace

14.  Go

15.  Bing

16.  AOL

17.  LinkedIn

18.  CNN Interactive

19.  ESPN


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Creating a Social Media Plan for Your Nonprofit

CVNLM 4 Social Media can be time-consuming and confusing, so what is the best way to make effective use of your limited resources? Have a plan!

Join me on Wednesday March 31st in San Rafael, CA for my workshop Social Media 201 from 9am to noon. 

This workshop is presented in two parts – a theoretical and best practices piece followed by an interactive session where you will learn to build and implement your organization's social media plan.

PART 1: What Works? 
Learn how nonprofits are diving deeper into social media with specific examples of successful uses of social media tools. What combinations of strategy and tools produce results? Includes a review of several successful social media/person-to-person fundraising campaigns, including their results and lessons learned.

 Takeaways include:
• Six Strategic Goals for Implementing Social Media 
• Real World Approaches and their Results 
• Specific Examples from Nonprofits

PART 2: Creating and Implementing A Social Media Plan
Building on the examples from morning we will look into what is required to make these campaigns and strategies work. We will explore an example of an organizations social media plan that includes priorities, schedules and staffing. How do you decide what your priorities should be and where to spend your time effectively? Participants will be encouraged to discuss their ideas so they can benefit from feedback and suggestions. The last third of the session will be set aside for starting work on your own plan, so bring your questions and ideas.

Takeaways include:
• Elements of a Social Media Plan 
• Social Media plan example 
• Suggestions on your ideas/plans

This workshop is most appropriate for those with a basic understanding of social media who are ready to take those activities to the next level.

For more information and registration CLICK HERE.

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Excellent Website Content: Testimonials

TestinmonialChanel Johnson Whenever I do a training on effective websites, I always talk about constantly updated content and how testimonials are some of the best content you can have. 

I love testimonials because they are real people speaking in their own voice about why they like your organization and its work. It is one thing to hear from an employee about the work they do or what they have accomplished, but it is almost always more powerful to have a person who is not an employee speaking from their heart. It also provides an opportunity to showcase the diversity of supporters and stakeholders that like the organization. People don't just relate to concepts – people relate to people.

I often use the example of having someone with a digital camera that records video go around at an event and ask volunteers, board members and even donors "why do you donate your time/money to this organization?" "what do you love about this organization" . Once collected, these testimonials can be uploaded to YouTube and integrated in a variety of ways to your online presence. 

NancySchwartzlogo Last November Nancy Schwartz on her Getting Attention! blog, posted a great article "The Most Powerful Marketing Copy in the World – Testimonials" which provides examples, gives advice on getting testimonials and in part 2 of the article gives her "Seven Steps to Compelling Testimonials".

Here are some video examples I have run across lately from both small and large organizations using testimonials in various ways:

Autism Speaks:  On YouTube

Bishop O'Dowd High School: On their website (scroll down) ; On YouTube

Duke University: Video about annual giving on their website

Performing Arts Workshop: On their website ; On YouTube

Student Conservation Association: On their website  ; On YouTube

Texas Organ Sharing AllianceOn YouTube

Even the smallest organizations can benefit from using these in their marketing materials and in their online presence. They can even be included in social media plans, uploaded to YouTube or Facebook, linked to from Twitter, etc. I encourage all nonprofit organizations to read Nancy's articles and work on collecting testimonials. It is an effective and inexpensive way to augment your marketing and online presence.

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Effective Online Communications Released

 "Effective Online Communications" is the chapter I wrote in the book from The Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN) Managing Technology to Meet Your Mission (2009, Jossey-Bass/Wiley), released today.

In this chapter I cover planning for and executing strategies to support an effective website and email communications in nonprofit organizations.

An organization's online communications via their website and email form the foundation of an effective online presence. In order to take advantage of social media and web 2.0 technologies, organizations first need a solid foundation. I cover planning, elements of engaging websites, using email to drive traffic to the site and tracking results to improve results.

There are a host of distinguished nonprofit writers that also contributed great chapters to the book covering the spectrum of technology management:


Chapter 1: Mission First: Achieving IT Alignment (Steve Heye)
Chapter 2: Managing Technology Change (Dahna Goldstein)
Chapter 3: Measuring the Return on Investment of Technology (Beth Kanter)
Chapter 4: How to Decide: IT Planning and Prioritizing (Peter Campbell)
Chapter 5: Finding and Keeping the Right People (James Weinberg, and Cassie Scarano)
Chapter 6: Budgeting for and Funding Technology (Scott McCallum and Keith R. Thode)


Chapter 7: The Foundation: Introduction to IT and Systems (Kevin Lo and Willow Cook)
Chapter 8: Where Are Your Stakeholders, and What Are They Doing Online (Michael Cervino)
Chapter 9: Effective Online Communications (John Kenyon)
Chapter 10: Donate Now: Online Fundraising (Madeline Stanionis)
Chapter 11: Where Will We Be Tomorrow (Edward Granger-Happ)

The Editors

Purchasers of the book have access to premium content available online, which includes bonus materials and posts from the authors.

The book is available on the Jossey Bass/Wiley site and on

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Final Version of Nonprofit Technology Professional’s Principles

Based on the feedback and discussions over the past few months, here is the final version of our principles. Thanks to everyone who contributed to the discussion. 


Nonprofit Technology Professional’s Principles/Code of Conduct

We, as technology professionals serving nonprofit organizations, pledge to:

1.    Do No Intentional Harm to Data or Devices Containing Data

2.    Appreciate, Respect and Adapt Our Approaches Appropriately to an Organization’s Culture, Mission, Context and Resources

3.    Focus On Solutions Appropriate in Both the Short and Long Term to an Organization’s Culture, Mission, Context and Resources

4.    Explain/Demonstrate Technology Strategies and Tools Using Clear, Non-Technical Language

5.    Understand and Communicate the Applicable Excellent Practices, Legal and Technical Requirements Related to Our Work

6.    Engage in Continuous Learning Practices to Maintain Our Skills and Knowledge

7.    Regularly Participate In and Share Our Knowledge With Our Community

8.    Maintain Ethical Practices and Declare Any Conflicts of Interest

9.    Provide Recommendations and Not Directives, Communicating the
Reasoning Behind those Recommendations, Ensuring the Decision is Always
the Clients

10.    If We Charge for Our Services, to be Transparent About Product Pricing and/or Project Costs

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Using Humor to talk about Immigrant Rights

At the recent Nonprofit Technology Conference, I met Will Coley, the writer of a short video that uses humor to talk about immigrant rights. I strongly believe that nonprofits must try to step outside their traditional communication boxes to find new ways to talk about their issues and this is a great example. This is part of Movement Vision Lab’s $1000 Video Contest: Community Values & Immigration.

This video lampoons the government’s bureaucratic processes and attitude towards immigrants. One viewer of Will’s video said "great video. i currently am in the process of bring my fiancée here
from the Philippines. That is exactly how it seems to be. no help, no
answers and always kept in the dark. it takes 6 months to approve a
packet that takes 15 minutes to review."

Watch Will’s video and vote for it! (Contest ends March 31, 2008).

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Interviewed by David Wilcox

While attending the UK Circuit Riders Conference 4.0 last month, I was interviewed by David Wilcox, a consultant, writer and trainer specializing in community engagement and cross sector partnerships. He writes about social media, engagement and collaboration.

We talked about the importance of online presence and how it relates to funding opportunities. See the video interview below or on YouTube and read David’s blog post about it.

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