For non-profit organizations, using technology as a means to connect with members is a crucial part of maintaining and expanding a membership and donor base. With the proliferation of technological options for communications there are more ways than ever to reach out and stay in touch with members.
As a first step, consider polling your existing membership through emails, within mailings or informally to find out how they would like to stay in touch, learn of updates or receive requests for giving. Contacting your members in a manner that meets their needs and honors their preferences is the first step to ensuring a positive response. The following are a few ideas for staying instep with the technology curve and keeping your communications current and dynamic.
Increasingly, non-profits are using this method of communication to get in touch with members. Text message notification of an update on the website, an important email or to request a donation are concise but effective ways to remind your members that you are doing great work everyday (and need their support!). Some non-profits text monthly requests to members requesting a small monetary amount that they can donate by sending a confirmation text through their phone. Supporters of an organization send a text message to a keyword with a short code and then make a $5 or $10 donation which is added to their cell phone bill.
This service is provided by a variety of companies who charge non-profits a monthly fee to handle these transactions. Asking your membership to text their lunch money to your cause once a month can be a great way to generate an income stream and starting a campaign that highlights this effort is a good way to spread the word about your organization.
If a picture is worth a thousand words a video may be worth two thousand. Video is a powerful tool for communicating your organizational mission, highlighting the effects of your programming or emphasizing the need for continued support. Non-profits are now posting videos on their websites, on their Facebook pages and to the general public on a variety of Google sites, including YouTube and The Hub. Take a look at the videos posted by nonprofits like, Greenpeace, 24 hours for Darfur or the Humane Society’s Knock out Animal Fighting videos to get a sense of the power of video. These videos can be shared and posted by your membership to spread the word about your organization and your mission.
A wiki is a website that is created to provide a platform for the editing and creation of a number of interlinked documents that registered users can use collaboratively to share knowledge and ideas. Non-profits are linking these wiki sites to their main organizational website to allow their members to collaborate, communicate and share their best practices around the issues and programs that support the mission. These sites also include discussions for the launch of a new program, debuting or testing a video, or mining the membership for contacts or ideas for fundraising or expanding community connections. The possibilities are endless and this method of communication has the potential to create a dynamic, interactive relationship with your membership.