Presentation on theme: "What nonprofits and associations should know about launching a social networking community Adam Steinberg Marketing Coordinator www.theport.com."— Presentation transcript:
What nonprofits and associations should know about launching a social networking community Adam Steinberg Marketing Coordinator
Today’s Topic What nonprofits and associations should know about launching a social networking community
About ThePort Social Networking Community Provider for nonprofit organizations Help world’s largest organizations interact & communicate with constituents Most open and customizable platform in the industry Integrations with donor management systems
Before we get started What is a “house” online community? How is it different than Facebook? vs
What is a house community? FacebookHouse Types of interactions Friending, events, games Campaigns, Groups, Chapters, Actions In Your Brandx Integrated with your databases x # of community members Hundreds of millions 100 – 250,000 Deployment time hoursweeks
Sierra Club on Facebook
Sierra Club House Community
Arthritis Foundation Support Forums
Goal Learn how to successfully plan, build and launch an online community built for your constituents.
Today’s Agenda Initial Planning and Research Compare Platforms and Costs Building out your community Deployment strategy Q&A
Stage One: Initial Planning and Research
First and foremost Know why you want to build an online community
What are the challenges you face? via Worldle.com
What house communities can do Bring people together Become information hub Help people collaborate Help constituents communicate Attract new supporters Keep your website up to date
Side Note: Integration Your Community Your donor management system Information about constituents pushed to databases. Enable custom reports & targeted communications
A key question: What do you want constituents to do? – Collaborate – Join events – Share news and causes – Support each other – Raise money
What types of programs can you socially-enable? Campaigns Walks/Runs Education Information Sharing Fundraising Advocacy Something new?
How will you measure ROI?
Ways to measure ROI – More participation among supporters? – New constituents & supporters? – Fundraising dollars? – More subscribers to communications? – New sponsorships & grants?
Integration with website – Branding – Header/footer – Community.domain.com
Database Integration Considerations
Single Sign On and Data Sharing Single Sign On Community Shares Data Back with CMS Constituent management system Online Community
Unique Community Experience for Members? External data
Socially-Enabled Events and Campaigns
Improved constituent data and marketing Create custom reports, targeted communications
Bottom Line Having your own community can help many of your goals and programs. But, community doesn’t happen overnight
Which department will own the project? Via Wordle.com
How much staff can you dedicate? Resources will dictate how much you can do at first Which departments have internal resources to fulfill goals? Which departments can pull in other resources? Who can serve as community manager?
Community Management Short-Term Keep discussions relevant and healthy. Provide a safe place to share passions. Image thanks:
Community Management Long-term Stimulate conversations & improve community – Blog posts – Events – Groups – Newsletters – New community features
Summary of considerations - Who owns the project? - What do you want people to do? - What are your goals? - How will you measure ROI? - Do you want to integrate external systems?
Step two: comparing platforms and costs Remember: What are your goals and ROI expectations GoalsToolsROI
Questions to consider Important questions to consider prior to selecting what tools or vendors you will choose to launch your community
Do you have technical resources on staff? Titles include: – Programmer – Systems Administrator – Web Designer – Database Administrator
Do you need to own your data? Integrated communications Data security
Integration and APIs Do you want to integrate with your constituent management system? Extend functionality of community Build custom widgets Your community will need Open APIs
Do you want your community to be unique? StandardUnique GroupsChapters, Committees EventsCampaigns, Actions Personal InformationCauses you support
Other considerations when selecting a vendor – Is vendor familiar with industry and requirements? - Does the vendor work with organizations similar to yours? - What type of support does the vendor offer? - Technical - Thought leadership
Other considerations (cont’d) What is vendor’s uptime history? – How secure and reliable is their data center? Data centers go down!
Will platform be able to grow with your organization? – Add additional and new features? – Keep up with technology developments? – APIs available for additional customization?
What are your options? Open Source
Pros – ability to customize, cost of actual software is limited, can launch fairly quickly Cons – requires time & resources, requires customization by internal staff, hosting resources, continues development resources to remain on cutting edge, no support hotline, typically no out-of-box integration
Ning Pros – easy to deploy, branding can be customized, requires limited resources, limited cost Cons – don’t own data, no integration with external systems, no apis, limited flexibility in platform, not nonprofit specific, may run ads
White Label Hosted Platform Pros – Out-of-box integration, limited technical resources required, hosting and upgrades managed, vendor works with client to tailor platform, can have Open APIs and flexible platform Cons - No access to source code, reliant on vendor platform and support, not free
ROI What tools will give you the best blend of functionality, ease of implementation and cost savings?
Evaluation Summary Consider Internal Resources Remember Immediate and Long- Term Identify Technology that can facilitate goals Choose platforms that complement staff strength
Stage Three: Building the community Review project spec from vendor – Know who needs to be involved and when they will need to be available – Will you need support from your other technology vendors?
Complete formal configuration document People you’ll need – Systems Admin – Webmaster – Marketing – Communications – Community Manager – Software Engineer (if implementing integration)
DNS – community.yourwebsite.com Setup DNS redirect
Do you want to include any advertising scripts? Supply ad code to implementation manager
Integration/Single Sign On Provide path to your API – May need to work with your database vendor Work with vendor/team to identify mapped fields Connect to community API – Your SaaS Vendor will typically connect integration for you
Design considerations Handled by Marketing or Web team – Header/footer – Styles (fonts, colors) – Featured content – Community blogs or banners
Social Spaces and Custom Questions Do you need a unique space for constituents? – Campaigns, Walks, Chapters Supply properties of each group to vendor Custom properties for profiles? – Certifications, Causes, Purchases
Complete the project timeline Week 1 Technical and creative specifications Subdomain/Integration/Design Week 2 Community Walk Through Submit Modifications Week 3 Final Review Acceptance Week 4 Launch
Stage Four – Community Launch
Launch Strategy 1. Seed the community 2. Recruit evangelists to help add initial content 3. Give people something to do when they visit 4. Get the word out!
Seed the community – give people something to do Active profiles Groups with discussions Upcoming organization events Topics in forums Campaigns to support
Non-seeded Community No one for new members to interact with when they join!
A seeded community
Recruit evangelists to help add initial content Who are your biggest supporters? Who engages you on other social networks like Facebook? What staff members or volunteers are likely to want to help?
Leverage assets to get the word out Annual event – announce community and train Direct mail – include information in all pieces Newsletters – tell all constituents and create community-specific letter Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn – broadcast across networks
Newsletter example Everything links back to community.
Encourage invitations and sharing Use tools such as Addthis, Facebook connect Invitation Tools Invite existing contacts
Continue promoting Offer incentives Earn points and redeem prizes Spotlight bloggers on website or in newsletters Acknowledge community contributors at events
Innovate Continue to innovate As technology evolves, so should community – Activity feeds – Status updates – Social spaces
Wrap-up Plan Goals & Strategy Evaluate Platforms Build the Community Launch and Continue Promoting
Learn more Free resources - Learn how ThePort’s platform helps other nonprofits deploy unique online communities