More Bang For Your Buck: Nonprofit Web Design Principles

22 01 2010

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More Bang For Your Buck

Nonprofit Web Design Principles

As a nonprofit organization, you’ve done so much with so little for so long that I’m betting you can do just about anything with nothing forever. Here are a few simple Web design principles to stretch your buck and flex your NPO muscle.

Keep it simple: First thing’s first, pretend like you know nothing about your site and consider how readily apparent your intent is. Is your purpose clear enough that a first time visitor, with little knowledge about your organization, can find your site and move to act?

Be sure to let them know what’s in it for them upfront. Spell it out for your audience so they don’t miss an opportunity to the dreaded “curse of knowledge.”

“Pare down your homepage content and give them a concise, yet clear and accurate taste of what you’re about.” – Network for Good.

Enable users: Next, enable your users! As a nonprofit, you need all the help you can get to cut down the costs of overhead. Make sure your site is readily accessible for interested parties. Ensure easy to find links, tabs or widgets for your respective needs.

Make your Site contribution-friendly: If you need volunteers or donations, ensure you have a tab that streamlines the donation process. The Salvation Army puts the bucket in your face; they won’t make you look for it – hopefully. Also, don’t limit your visitors to monetary gifts. An anecdotal story for your media kit might be worth more than a fistful of change.

For instance, the March of Dimes’ Shareyourstory.org allows users to donate experience instead of monetary contributions. This allows a sense of community and volunteering without exhausting member’s wallets and it reduces the cost of content.

Make your Site media-friendly: While you are at it, throw a media link up on your NPO’s Site. If you have a talented writer, throw in a media kit. If you have a fancy Web guy, throw in some digital media to lure in the press or an NPO-friendly blogger.

Use free resources: Actually, since we’re on the subject, don’t over work your Web guy. Why not use the free applications that already exist? Want to host a photo-petition but don’t have the storage space? Why not enlist Flickr? That’s what Oxfam did according to Britt Bravo’s blog, Have Fun, Do Good.

There seem to be plenty of low budget methods out there if you’re creative enough, just don’t forget the first thing you learned in college economics. Actually, it’s something that anyone with a bank account already knows – resources are scarce, and the cost of every expenditure is the price of the next best option foregone. Even if you have the resources to spare, it’s better to make every penny ride as long as it can in this market. Simple Web design can increase the effectiveness of your nonprofit.

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7 Easy Twitter Commands Every Rookie Should Know

19 10 2009

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TWIT-101 95?:

Seven Easy Twitter Commands Every Rookie Should Know

In the age of quickly evolving media and trend hopping journalists, it’s rather difficult to stay abreast of the social media curve. While I was researching a simple class assignment, I quickly noticed a lack of readily available Twitter codes. After a couple of simple Google searches I had yet to discover a simple list of basic Twitter commands. To remedy this, I gathered a basic, novice level list of esoteric Twitter lexicon.


Okay, so let’s start on the assumption that if you’re looking for commands, then you probably have an account and can at least post a 140-character comment. We can further deduce that if you’re an entry-level tweeter, then most of your content is nothing more than mediocre everyday nothingness. Now, let’s get you a little more advanced.


Replies – When you see a post you would like to reply to, select the swirling arrow “reply” icon under the trash icon, or select The Jetsons looking “Sprocket” on the user’s profile page. Twitter will automatically generate a “text field” in your comment section with the “@” sign, followed by the user’s screen name so you can reply. (i.e. @user) Once you’ve typed your message, it will insert a link to that user in your post and post it in their feed.

Direct Message – (DM) You can message other Twitter users directly without public posts by selecting “Message” on the user’s profile page in the “Actions” section on the right side of the profile.

Hat Tips – (HT) The Hat Tip is the Twitter code to acknowledge a user’s post, specifically one of particular achievement or in recognition of informative value. It’s the literal likening to the proverbial tip o’ the hat.

Hashtags(#) You can use the hashtags on Twitter by affixing a tag, or “key word,” to your comment. To do so, place the pound sign character (#) next to the word you wish to tag, without a space between them. This tag links your comment to a specific group of similar tags and even the “Trending Topics” section of Twitter if the topic generates enough popularity. Hashtags, when affixed and shared to a group of users, are useful in lumping in group tweets for a specific purpose.

ReTweet – (RT) When a Twitter user wishes to repost, or retweet, they may do so by citing the original tweeter. Do this by simply affixing an “RT,” then “@” and then the username of the original message, followed by the original post. Of course, the 140-word character limit still applies. Most veteran Twitters stay well under the 140-character limit to allow space for RT attribution so you can cite them.

Overheard – (OH) Overheard is an anonymous re-tweet – Use “OH” to re-post a tweet when the user wishes to hide or protect the tweet’s originator.

Heard Through – (HT) Use this command to re-tweet something heard in life from a twitter user. To do so, affix “HT,” the “@,” and the username. Then feel like a nerd for retweeting a real life conversation.

Okay, someone needs to say it; that last Tweet-Trick ranks as the ’40-year-old-virgin’ comment, on a scale of one-to-nerd. Also, is it just me, or does that Twitter bird remind anyone else of a hastily drawn Snow White style Disney animation knockoff? Speaking of mistaken, was anyone else’s mind blown when they realized that the Disney ‘D’ wasn’t a ‘G’?

Be sure to HT@longo05 when you bite one of those last quotes. ; )

For more information on Twitter: There is a 13-step beginners’ guide from TwiTip, a social media approach from The Spinks Blog, and even the simplest YouTube explanation of twitter by CommonCraft.