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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

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How to Utilize Technology and the Internet to Stay Relevant and Attract New Audiences
Laurel Mintz

June, 2015

The internet is no longer shiny and new, websites and social media accounts are a must for any company, including nonprofits. You even have someone analyzing your demographics and web traffic. Now that you have the presence, it’s time to create measurable objectives to for your nonprofit. Participating in conversations is only scratching the surface, it is time to take things to the next level. Here are some tangible objectives for creating a strong online presence.

Gain Attention and Brand Visibility – There isn’t one formula for achieving this goal, this is really an overall result of a successful online presence. Take a deeper look into your website and social media, what information is being presented to the viewer? What conversations are being created on your Facebook page? The internet thrives on engagement and as a nonprofit, you need to convey the importance of your organization. Do your best to educate viewers in a concise and relevant manner. Your online presence should establish your nonprofit as a credible source of information for your cause.

Establish Thought Leadership – The key ingredient to this step is content. Content can include blog posts, newsletters, guides, videos, podcasts, and social media posts. Does this sound overwhelming? Start at one place. You don’t need to be an expert in everything, but you do need to create relevant and inspiring content. Blogging, tweeting, liking – this is great but let’s take it a step further. Aim to have people come to you as a source of information. Start by Googling topics related to your cause and see what questions people have been asking. What do people want to know about your cause? Answer these questions in the form of blog posts, tweet replies, host live q&s webinars. Doesn’t matter where you start it as long as you start.

Create Video Content – To really make an impact, video is the way to go. The truth is people don’t read anymore. A heartfelt written testimonial or success story doesn’t have the same effect it used to. Smart nonprofits should be evolving with the times to tell their stories visually in a compelling manner. Remember show & tell in elementary school? It’s a lot like that, people remember visuals better than they remember words. Telling your story visually has a huge impact on pulling donor heartstrings both at live events and on digital platforms. Videos put a face to a name and create a human connection.

Inspire a Community – Turn online friends into real friends. I recently worked with Women Empowered, a nonprofit that started off as a Facebook page to bring women together through volunteerism, mentorship, and networking in Los Angeles. The response was huge, tons of volunteers were asking how they could contribute. It is now a nationwide nonprofit with thousands of members and inclusion requests from brands such as Pine Sol for ad campaigns. Remember that behind every computer is a person looking to make a real, meaningful connection.  Speak directly to individuals online to drive engagement and create real traction for your nonprofit. Do more than responding to posts and liking photos, actually call the person out and invite them to a fundraising event or ask them if they would like to volunteer. Turn an online interaction into a real call to action.

Streamline Event Planning – This is where technology can make a measurable difference for non profits. Last year I helped a non profit implement proprietary software from AES (http://aesauctions.com/), to streamline the registration process and silent auction. Gone are the days of clipboards and Excel sheets since all the information is safely stored digitally. Attendees were able to check in, register their credit card, and bid on auction items while sitting at their tables. By automating these processes, we reduced staffing needs, wait times, and increased silent auction bids. The software allowed people to continue bidding without ever having to get up. The results were phenomenal with a 121% increase on onsite fundraising from the year prior.

Benefit from Free Resources – There are so many websites, apps, companies, and resources available for non profits online, it’s just a matter of finding out where they are. Get free advertising with Google Grants (https://www.google.com/grants/), the nonprofit version of AdWords. If you don’t know what AdWords is, call your digital strategy agency to find out. It’s one of the most important tools for advertising online, and can be free through Google Grants.  Another great resource is Causora (http://www.causora.com/index.php), a company that marries retail consumers with their cause of choice. By creating cause-marketing campaigns, registered nonprofits can receive up to a one to one ratio of retail dollars to donation dollars. Brands can partner with nonprofits to increase sales and donations, a win-win situation for everyone.

Technology is meant to make our lives better so it only makes sense to use technology to help your nonprofit. Think of the internet as just another resource to tap into because there are plenty of resources and communities available online, it’s just a matter of finding them. Creating a strong online presence will help you grow, reach new audiences, and discover new ways to fundraise.

Laurel Mintz is CEO of Elevate My Brand, a digital marketing and live events firm based in Los Angeles. She is a renowned marketing professional with both an MBA and JD. Her company works with global brands such as Susan G. Komen for the CureNestle, and PopchipsShe's an expert on everything marketing/ digital strategy, social media, and events. 

Laurel established her influence as a creative marketing expert in the city of Brotherly Love. She was responsible for the production and promotion of high-profile, buzz-generating special events for Le Bec Fin, Philadelphia’s only five star Mobil and three star Michelin rated restaurant. She developed Public House Restaurant Group’s flagship restaurant and managed the execution of their national marketing campaign strategy.

Upon returning to her native Los Angeles, Laurel took on the role of Executive Vice President and In-House Counsel for Bassett, and subsequently began consulting for beauty, food, beverage and consumer brands. Inspired by the success she found bringing her fresh approach to marketing to a wider group of clients, she founded Elevate My Brand in 2009. 

She now sits on the board of directors for the Fender Music Foundation, One With The Water, Ten X, and the British American Business Counsel. Laurel is also on the Social Committee for the Network of Executive Women, a Recipient of the Los Angeles Business Journal Women Making A Difference Awards 2014, Keynote speaker for the Women and BusinessEnterprise Conference 2014, and runs her own exclusive networking group, ”The Taste Salon”.



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