Embracing Nonprofit 2.0 in Your Organization
With Web 2.0, as with all emerging technologies, there is a fine balance with what to use, what to lose and where to start. What is clear though, is that nonprofits need to embrace these technologies to take themselves to the next level.
I recently had the opportunity to participate in an event hosted by a forward-thinking nonprofit organization that invited its technology partners to an open discussion about Internet trends in the nonprofit industry.
As I prepared for the discussion, I jotted down four key concepts every nonprofit should embrace when thinking about where technology and the nonprofit sector are headed. Adhering to these principles will help your organization succeed with its Web strategy — no matter how basic or advanced it is
Personalize your mission
From companies like Amazon and eBay to nonprofits like National Parkinson Foundation and Clinton Global Initiative — the big winners online have embraced the power of personalization. Saying that people prefer to be recognized and treated like individuals might be stating the obvious, but it doesn’t make it any less true. The organizations that will succeed will be those that transform their mission into personalized experiences for constituents.
Take a look at what your organization is doing online and ask yourself if you’re getting personal. Do you treat constituents like an anonymous mass of unknowns or do you treat them like individuals? Can visitors to your Web site or subscribers to your e-newsletters express their interests and personal preferences? Do you provide content and communication that is meaningful, relevant and individualized? Do you allow volunteers, donors, activists, alumni or other groups to tell their own personal stories online? If not, what are you waiting for? Organizations that have been successful online didn’t adopt a “wait and see” attitude before seizing this important opportunity.
Steve MacLaughlin is the vice president of data and analytics at Blackbaud and best-selling author of “Data Driven Nonprofits.” Steve has spent 20-plus years driving innovation with a broad range of companies, government institutions and nonprofit organizations. He serves on the board of the Nonprofit Technology Network and is a frequent speaker at conferences and events. Steve earned both his undergraduate degree and a Master of Science degree in interactive media from Indiana University.