What are the main online platforms and how are they used effectively by NGOs? What determines the success of an online campaign? Viktória Doró, a member of the PET Kupa management team, and Balázs Ormándlaki, owner of Drive Online Marketing Agency, discussed these and similar topics. The discussion was moderated by Anikó Porkoláb, NIOK Foundation.
Constant communication and campaigns
According to Balázs Ormándlaki, a website and a Facebook page are now like a business card, they are essential. A website is a great place to publish material on a larger scale, while Facebook is a great place to connect on a daily basis. This is true despite the fact that a post reaches on average only 1-10% of followers without major costs. That said, the online marketing expert notes that organisations are spending too much time and energy managing Facebook, and it is enough to post 2-3 times a week. Organisations can monitor reach through Facebook Page Insights. In addition to constant communication, periodic campaigns are also important. The PET Kupa Association uses these occasions to showcase the lesser known side of the organisation. The summer competitions have a good media coverage and are well known, so the campaigns try to showcase a moment of their year-round activity, such as litter picking in the Tisza tributaries. They also organise Facebook or Adjukössze campaigns around such events. In the campaigns, they often introduce their volunteers so that prospective members can see what kind of community they can join. This personal touch is also important in a fundraising campaign, but care is also taken to set a specific visible goal.
The newsletter is not evil
The newsletter is a divisive issue, according to the participants of the discussion, for some reason no one has a clue about it, but according to the marketing expert it is still worth dealing with, and it is not as complicated as many people think. If an organisation can produce enough content for social media and the website, the newsletter will be no problem. It is not necessary to create a new account, it is enough to adapt the Facebook posts a bit. This is the platform where organisations can reach supporters directly and not rely on the algorithm of another medium. Organizations can communicate not only about themselves - which would be impossible all year round - but also about topics of interest to their members. To do this, of course, they need to know their target audience and the issues they care about. This is something to keep in mind throughout all communication.
It is often the case that an NGO does not have a communications team, but not even a single member of staff dedicated solely to communications. In this case, it is worthwhile for the organisation to ask its volunteers to help make their work easier by involving more people. As Viktória Doró points out, trust is very important in this case and it is not a bad idea to include a control step, even before publishing posts or articles written by a volunteer. Of course, volunteers cannot only be involved in the communication of the organisation. The PET Cup Association effectively involves volunteers in much of its work. A good example of this is when they recruited hands to build a River Rescue Centre. According to Balázs Ormándlaki, it is often easier to mobilise people for live work than to donate money.
Website - custom development, DIY, or Wordpress?
Website development is another area where volunteers can help a lot. Although it may seem like a good idea at first to have a website developed in-house by professionals, there is often not enough time or money to maintain it. It is therefore worth asking around again among supporters to see if someone has experience in website management and can help the organisation to create a Wordpress website, for example. But what should be displayed on the interface once it is up and running? An introduction to the organisation and a vision statement are the basics. It's worth making it easy to join, whether that's a membership scheme, volunteering or donating. You should also keep the section on ongoing projects fresh and introduce and thank your supporters and volunteers.
When producing content, you need to know your target audience, who are not just current members of the organisation, but anyone who might be interested in the organisation's cause. Therefore, we need to find topics that may interest them in relation to us. In the case of the PET Cup, this could be, for example, an article on home bottle squeezing, which, although not directly related to the cause, could engage members. In addition, it is also worth looking at the statistics on the Google search network to see what people have already searched for.
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