Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Content Strategies for Nonprofit Websites

Is your nonprofit looking for ways to improve your website and increase traffic? Tech4Good Denver hosted an excellent and extremely informative group panel who shared true and tested content strategies when designing or managing your nonprofit’s website. Here are the key takeaways from the session:
1.    Leverage that expertise…in ways they understand.
  • Be sure to convey your passion & expertise in a language your audience will understand. Don’t get too technical.
  • Use visuals and graphics to turn complex data into easy-to-understand pictures.
2.    Don’t be afraid to ask your audience for help
  • Having trouble figuring out your audience’s language? Survey your friends and family to see how they describe all the wonderful things your nonprofit does.
  • Don’t know how to reach out to your audience? Ask them what they prefer…while some may like Facebook, others may be better with email.
3.    Find a key message that will truly stick
  • Create a key message that closes the gap between what your audience knows and what you want them to know.
  • Good messaging is
    • Concise
    • Memorable
    • Consistent
    • Repeated Often
4.    Make every page a home page
  • You never know where people will end up, so say who you are and what you stand for on EVERY page.
  • Try to keep the number of pages to a minimum.
5.    Share stories
  • Storytelling will bring your website and your cause to life.
  • Don’t talk about what your nonprofit does for others; let them tell their own story!
6.    Measure, measure, measure! (hyperlinks to all these sites)
  • Tools like Google Analytics, hootsuite.com, and crowdbooster.com can help you analyze what is working and what is not.
  • Choose keywords that you can use on ALL pages by testing them out on Google Adwords.
7.    If you fail, try try again!
  • Remember, creating the most valuable website content takes time.
Here at VisionLink, as we plan to improve our own website content, we will use these techniques to reach out to all of our favorite nonprofit partners…you! To discover how we add these tips to our own website, sign up HERE to receive a website release notification.
Georgina Douglas
Marketing Associate
VisionLink, Inc.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

PostSecondary Success

VisionLink's Lois Ann Porter and myself are participating in the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's gathering of their grantees and contractors focused on improving postsecondary success for students. 

Stan Jones, of Complete College America is speaking now about the fact that more than 50% of students entering community colleges and more than 20% of those entering four-year colleges require remediation coursework. Worse: only 15% of these students actually successfully complete their remediation sequence in the first year.

Clearly, the nation's need to develop a more qualified workforce, and individual and family desires to pursue quality and personally fulfilling occupations are severely blocked by the need for remediation and the poor rate of college completion. Thus, the Gates Foundation's focus on postsecondary success and completion is part of their U.S. domestic agenda.

The good news is that there are in fact success stories at the ready. Expert practitioners have built successful course pathways, reduced the cost of math remediation by $5,000 per course, worked together to jointly author textbooks (increasing quality and reducing duplication), and created articulate programs of study; many other examples exist.

Bottom line, community colleges need to shift their mission from open access for all students (which they achieved well), to a new focus on completion, graduation, and skills aligned with the demands of the labor market.

To learn more, follow #StudentSuccess, and checkout TAConnecT.org.




TAConnecT is another partnership building effort from VisionLink, funded by the Gates Foundation and others, designed to connect Department of Labor TAACCCT grant award winners with experts in the field to speed the scale and scope of reform.

Onwards!
Dr. W. Douglas Zimmerman
President,  CEO