How to run a small non-profit core processes on virtually no budget? Part 2

Once the base storage and communication processes are in place (see part 1), the next step is, arguably, the most critical one: to optimize the communication with the organization’s supporters.

One key element that we quickly recognized is that people are different also in how they want their news. Some are more email centric (by articles, daily summaries or weekly newsletters), others are all about Facebook, other about Twitter or LinkedIn and some are still hard-core RSS fans. To ensure we would make it easy and effective for people to follow us we had to find a way to target all these in a way that would be effective.

4) Communication to major social sites (and newsletter)

To achieve this we are using a set of (still) free tools:

  • www.ifttt.com – which helps you build automated actions based on event
  • The RSS feature of wordpress.com
  • www.Mailchimp.com free tier of email campaigns

Here is how we set it up in a way that would allow us to post once and target all our digital presences:

  1. Post news on our wordpress.com blog
  2. In IFTTT, create 3 rules that will monitor new blog posts and post these to our Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn Profiles each time a new one is posted
  3. Use the capability of MailChimp to create an RSS-content based email blast. Once a week, MailChimp will automatically fetch all the new articles from the blog since last week and put them in a pre-formatted email (newsletter-looking) that will be then be sent to all the subscribers. Not only MailChimp will build and send the newsletter, it also manages subscriptions and unsubscriptions for us. A true zero-touch newsletter.

    We even used out ufeseattle.org domain to build a friendly URL (news.ufeseattle.org) for people to access the customized sign-up page we easily built on MailChimp.

The only manual process is that there is no (or at least we haven’t found one) automatic way to post in a LinkedIn Group so this has to be manually done.  Therefore, to publish news the steps are:

  1. Create you blogpost, I personally really like LiveWriter as it’s super straight forward and easy to use
  2. Publish it
  3. Use the “share on LinkedIn” button of the published post to share it on UFE Seattle’s LinkedIn Group
  4. All the rest is done automagically: Post on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn Profile (not group), RSS feed, email for subscribers by email to the blog itself, and once a week a newsletter with all the articles in it.

However, as Facebook filters page’s posts and both Twitter and LinkedIn create very large news flows, it’s easy for people to miss some news.

Therefore, we are encouraging people to subscribe to the newsletter, the only way to ensure they will get the info and won’t miss it (unless they never read their emails of course Smile).

<to be continued>

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