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

ManagingTechBookcover
 "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:

PART ONE: PLANNING AND PEOPLE.

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)

PART TWO: THE TOOLS.

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 Amazon.com

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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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