Thanks to Microsoft Citizenship Asia Pacific, I?ve had the great honor to present a series of online fundraising and social media trainings to over three hundred non-governmental organizations (NGOs) throughout Asia Pacific over the last three years. The experience has made me acutely aware that access to information about trends in nonprofit technology, online fundraising, and social media often does not reach small NGOs ? especially those in rural areas. Many lack access to information about how create their own websites, publish an email newsletter, accept online donations, and use social media effectively. It?s not for lack of desire or technical capability, but simply due to a block in information flow. Many small NGOs are also unaware of the services and resources offered to the NGO community by TechSoup Global, SANGONeT, NASSCOM Foundation, Meedan, and FrontlineSMS.
Thus, over the next three weeks I am going to blog a series of fundraising and social media best practices specifically tailored for small NGOs with the hope that I can use my experience and my social networks to be of service. Of course, being based in the U.S., my recommendations are highly affected by my location, my work experience, and limited to those tools and resources that I am well familiar with, but I hope your NGO finds the information useful.
Next week Nonprofit Tech for Good will feature five social media best practices specifically tailored for NGOs in developing countries (subscribe to the e-newsletter in the upper right to receive a copy via email).
1) Launch a new website that is mobile-optimized.
Before each training I review the Web presence for each NGO in attendance. The well-funded NGOs have often a website that is just as good and sometimes better than many nonprofits and charities based in developed countries. However, many small NGOs have websites that haven?t been updated in years and are often not created using a Content Management System (CMS) which makes it very difficult for them to update and edit their own websites. To effectively raise money online, NGOs need a website that makes a good first impression.
Tools such as Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace enable small NGOs to launch modern, well-designed websites that are mobile compatible and easy to update. The website templates include social media integration and fees are as little as a $8US a month for a website absent of advertising and some templates are offered in multiple languages. NGOs can also use WordPress.org as a CMS for your website and download a free or low-cost theme to design a mobile-optimized website. To do so, you?ll need a web hosting service such as BlueHost.com. If that?s too complicated, then your NGO could set up a free blog on WordPress.com which offers numerous, easy-to-install mobile-optimized templates. If you decide to go with WordPress.com, you should purchase a .org website URL and have it forward to your WordPress.com blog. However, .ngo and .ong will be