Liyaqat Mugjenkar, Seasoned Java Developer and Special Events Coordinator at the Madina Institute, gives us some practical advice on how NPO’s can kickstart their digital efforts and start gaining some momentum in the Digital Space. From free website builds to digital marketing guidelines, find out how you can give your NPO the boost it needs!
Have you ever asked yourself, “How am I making a difference to others? Am I only doing this for myself?” I know I have and it is not just me, we see a growing trend amongst young professionals with regular day jobs volunteering their spare time for the betterment of society.
In essence, a Non-Profit Organisation is a regular business with regular people doing amazing things. The only difference is that many times the employees are not paid and time allocated to “work” is limited to after hours or weekends. Due to this NPOs have struggled to keep up with the trends and what has differentiated many have been hard work and even harder online marketing.
How we have taken steps to change this
Within Madina Institute of which I have been a part of for 5 years, I have seen real changes in the market. More and more staff and colleagues of all ages and backgrounds have taken to pushing efforts on various social channels.
A perfect example occurred not too long ago; We were at the operations venue of our mass feeding programme, which involves cooking large amounts of food and distributing to the needy. While we were all hard at work with food preparations, a woman in her 50s shouts out loud “If you are taking pics, please post on social using the following these hashtags…”
The point I’m trying to make is that NPO’s have realised the power of social and other digital channels. These platforms allow us to educate the world on our efforts and attract more volunteers and people who could aid our causes in big or small ways. The more people that approach us offering help means, the more good we can give back to the community as an organisation.
10 Tips to Kick-start your NGO’s online presence
In today’s day and age, most organisations have websites. However, if your NPO doesn’t have one and there is no budget allocated for this, the good news is that there are lots of developers willing to help with this task. Events are held all over South Africa, dedicated to this cause, one of the most popular events is the WordPress Do Action Hackathons. Here they bring experts together who design, build and push a website live for a few causes. More info on this here
For those of you who have websites, and are looking for a boost in visibility, here are a few tips from the Madina Institute to get you going.
- Basic Understanding of SEO
Ensure you have a basic understanding of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and those posting to your platforms understand that SEO exists.
- Track It!
Ensure you have tracking enabled, even if you have a basic site
- Target Market
Understand your target audience, who are your key donors/sponsors. Sometimes those making the decision differ to the person actually paying or supporting. A typical example of a teenage son encouraging his father to support a cause.
- Appropriate Platform
With the target market in mind push your content out, I know I use it but Facebook works better for the mature audience while Instagram seems to be much more happening with our youth. So use the appropriate platform for the appropriate audience.
Mailing Lists – Signup interested individuals to your mailing list, if you have under 2000 email addresses Mailchimp works well. Please don’t SPAM though; it isn’t cool.
- Keep Those Stats
Capture how people found out about your cause at all your events/ programmes, this helps you identify what works. We realised printing posters cost us time and money and are not that effective.
- Accepting Payments
We have several options these days, SnapScan, PayPal and a myriad of local payment gateways available. Many are quite easy to plugin to your site. Be sure to check out if your gateway of choice has a “cause account” I know PayFast has and saves us about 1% on transaction fees.
- Keep it Simple (KISS)
In most cases things don’t need to be complicated, contact details, regular updates and a capable response team is all you need. An emphasis on a capable response team as this can make or break things.
- Get More On-Board
With time of the essence try to get more people to understand SEO, Marketing themes, DO’s and Don’ts with posting to Social Media. All of this will help your organisation seem more organised and professional.
- Be Sincere and Have Fun 😜
Use this opportunity to bring out your creative side that is sometimes kept in a box in the bottom drawer of your office desk. I always consider the saying “Saving one life is as if you have saved the entire humanity”.
Seasoned Java Developer and Volunteer Special Events Coordinator at the Madina Institute
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About the Author
A Senior Java Developer with 10 years’ experience who wants to make a difference when I grow up (one day…) an aspiring entrepreneur that believes us South Africans can make things better for all. Special events coordinator at Madina Institute – A religious based Educational NPO aimed at enlightening our community through education with compassion.