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Blog Posts

Nonprofit Trends

Understanding Your Audience

Posted by Alissa Ruehl at Mar 16, 2012 06:00 AM CDT
Categories: Nonprofit Trends, NPtech, Technology, Usability

The start of a new year is the perfect time to focus on a user-centered strategy for your website. How well do you currently understand your users? Google Analytics can show you a lot you might not have realized about your visitors.

Use these five audience insights available through Google Analytics as you develop and adjust your web strategy. 

Who are they?

Google Analytics won’t tell you the names and email addresses of site visitors, but it will tell you about their technological profile.

What to do with this information: Create technical requirements for your site based on screen resolution, browser versions, connection speed and mobile devices so that your site displays well for the majority of your users. Revise yearly. (This should be in addition to accessibility requirements.)

Where are they?

Another important thing you can learn about your visitors is their physical location. Regional organizations may be surprised to see traffic from another part of the country and national or international organizations may find areas with fairly few visitors.

What to do with this information: Know the geographic concentration of your visitors. If this is surprising, consider adjusting your marketing and events strategy accordingly. Look at this at least quarterly.

Why did they come to your site?

Google Analytics can show you what search terms people used to get to your site, and what links they followed in your emails or on other sites (if you have set up tracking properly).

If you set up site search tracking in your Google Analytics instance, you can see what people searched for once they arrived. This can help you decide what to focus on in your homepage.

What to do with this information: Investigate what people are looking for when they come to your site. Design your homepage to focus at least 50% on what your visitors are already looking for (with the other 50% showing them new things they might not yet be aware of).

Where do they go on your site?

Google Analytics can also show you which pages are popular. This shows both what people are interested and what the architecture of your site leads them to. If two pages are equally promoted on the homepage or in emails but one receives significantly more traffic than the other, you can tell something about your audience’s interests.

What to do with this information: Find links or topics that are prominent on your homepage but do not get traffic and remove them from your homepage to make room for the items that people are looking for.

How frequently do people come to your site?

Do your visitors stop by weekly to read updates, or do they come by once a year to sign up for an event or donate? Google Analytics can tell you how many people come at which frequency.

What to do with this information: If visitors come infrequently, ask yourself if that makes sense for your organization. Sometimes it is fine to have constituents who visit infrequently but donate or participate in events. If you think people would be interested in frequent engagement, brainstorm ways to create unique content on a regular basis and use social media to engage people daily or weekly.

It’s important to keep focused on details that involve your audience and in turn give your constituents the best service in all areas, including online. Harnessing the power of Google Analytics to be a more data driven organization will benefit you, your constituents and your community.

This article originally appeared in the Georgia Center for Nonprofits' March 2012 newsletter. For more information, check out the first in my blog series on Google Analytics.

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Backin' up the Smack Talk

Posted by Robyn Mendez at Mar 14, 2012 01:13 PM CDT
Categories: Fundraising, Nonprofit Trends

I’m the world’s worst smack talker. Just ask my husband or close friends who love to rip on me about my beloved Fightin’ Texas Aggie Football Team, who has a 31.4% win rate against our rivals, the Texas Longhorns.  

I struggle with “talking smack” because it’s hard to argue against the truth.  No matter how passionately I might feel about my team, we lose to UT in 2 out of every 3 games.  There is not much room for smack talk when the stats clearly communicate who is the leader.  There is no better way to speak the truth than by looking at the numbers.   

Last week the Run Walk Ride Fundraising Council, an independent group focused on supporting the non-profit fundraising event industry, released its 2011 report of the top 30 fundraising events in the US.   I'm really proud to say that Convio TeamRaiser remains the undeniable leader in the special event fundraising industry.  This is just fact, I'll let the numbers speak for themselves...

Online Solution Provider  Count of RWR 30 Events
TeamRaiser  17
Friends Asking Friends  6
Custom Solutions   7

2011 RWR 30 Pie Chart

2011 RWR Fundraising Pie Chart 

If you are interested in learning more about how your event stacks up against other Convio clients, check out the P2P Benchmark Report.

If you are interested in digging a little deeper in the 2011 RWR 30 data set, check out the Top 10 Fundraising Events Infographic from my friends at Event360.

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Advice for Women Leaders

Posted by Patricia Hume at Mar 08, 2012 08:58 AM CST
Categories: Nonprofit Trends, Productivity

According to the US Department of Labor, in 2010 "the median weekly earnings of women who were full-time wage and salary workers was $669, or 81 percent of men’s $824."

However grim that may sound, another stat is encouraging: "Women are projected to account for 51.2 percent of the increase in total labor force growth between 2008 and 2018."

That said, ladies, we have a lot of work ahead of us.

To celebrate International Women's Day today, my colleague Sara and I would like to share our bits of wisdom to the next generation of women leaders.

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Gear up: Event homepage must-haves

Posted by Taylor Shanklin at Mar 07, 2012 11:00 AM CST
Categories: Constituent Empowerment, Content Management, Fundraising, Nonprofit Trends, Usability

Feet Gearing UpSpring is in the air. (Breathe it in.) Can you hear the pattering of feet hitting the pavement, or smell the Gatorade as it splashes into rows of cups at the “fuel stations”? That’s right – event season is well upon us! While your participants are airing up their tires or breaking in their new pair of running shoes, there may be some tune-ups you can make to their experience with your event website.

If you are gearing up for an upcoming event, there are five essential elements you should have on the homepage of your event website. Check out the list and then check out your event homepage. If you don’t have these items front and center, add them. It will make things easier for your participants AND you.

  1. Action buttons/links: This includes links to register, donate, donate to a participant, join a team, start a team and a login to fundraising center (if available through the software your org uses). If you have these actions in your website’s navigation, that may not be enough. Include them, also, front and center within your event homepage content. The easier these actions are to find, the more likely your constituents will find them (and click on them)!
  2. Event date: When is this inspirational walk, run, or cycling event happening? I’m a constituent interested in participating, but if I don’t know what day it is then I can’t check to see if it works with my calendar.
  3. Event location: Where, again, do I need to show up at 7am? It’s 5am the morning of the event and I need to check the website again to see where to go. I hope it’s easy to find so I can get out of the door and on my way.
  4. Event start time: Don’t make your participants go digging for this information the night before the event. Simply list it on your homepage so it’s easy to find and they can move on with their race preparations and get plenty of rest.
  5. Event details (learn more): Do you have a course map? Parking information? Other important details that your participants need to know about for event day? If so, be sure to include links (or buttons) to a page with more information

If your event is just around the corner and you don’t have these items on your event homepage, I would still urge you to add them. There are plenty of folks who will register last minute or, like stated above, wait until the last minute to check for details on where to go and at what time.

Happy running, walking, cycling, swimming, climbing and jump roping!

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Small Effort, Big Difference

Posted by James Burden at Mar 05, 2012 03:33 AM CST
Categories: Nonprofit Trends, NPtech, Social Media

Imagine you're in the queue at the car park pay-on-exit machine. You become aware that a young mum at the front of the queue is talking to the assistant. She has no cash and the machine won't accept credit cards. The assistant's voice over the intercom insists: "No, you can't pay with credit card. You have to pay with cash," "No, there's no cash machine," "No, you'll have to walk all the way back to the shopping centre and find a cash point," "No, there's no other option."

You have cash in your pocket so you pay her ticket rather than see her struggle down six flights of stairs with two children, a pushchair and several bags of shopping. Her gratitude is disconcerting. "How can I pay you back? Why would you do this?".

"I know what it's like to go shopping with children" you say. She grins. You don't need to say any more. A true story.

It's these small opportunities to make a difference to our customers, our supporters, our patients, or to strangers;  this is what marks us out as human. And in a world of big organisations, a world of people short on time, it's crucial that we grab every opportunity to show that humanity. Social media is one tool that makes it easy for us to do that.

Did you hear about the international flower company that monitored their twitter feed and sent bunches of flowers to random Twitter users that need cheering up? Or the cracker producer who tracked down fans of their product and took a whole pallet to their door? (Read more about these random acts of kindness.)

So how are you being human with your constituents? Do your thank-you emails really express your gratitude? Do they deepen the relationship? Do you ever send a hand-written note? When people engage with your twitter feed or your Facebook page are they met by someone who wants to make their day better? Someone who wants to show that their organisation is about people - not income? This is what will entice your followers to want to give you their email addresses, to pay more attention to what you're saying, to spread your brand, your mission. That's real ROI on social media.

I suspect that next time that young mum is in a car park with someone in front who's struggling she might just reach into her pocket to see whether she can create a disproportionate difference with a small amount of effort.

Social Media. It's called social for a reason.

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