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Top Five Things the Accidental Techie Needs to Know Right Now

Does this sound like you?  Majored in Social Justice.  Took a job at a nonprofit out of college to ‘get your feet wet and make a difference’.  Decided to create a blog for your advocacy department because it seemed ‘like it would be fun’.   Upper management now considers you to be the expert on using social media.  Your job title doesn’t reflect the technical work you do.

Things Are Getting (More) Complicated

Ah, 2008…remember when all you needed to do was send out a few email messages and update the home page?  In just a few short years we’ve added social media, CRM and smart phones to the mix.  We know how you feel – it’s tough to stay on top of it all.

Here’s our take on the top five things that the Accidental Techie should be working on today.  Can’t work on them all?  Pick one and go deep.

5. Add (or Promote) Sustainer Giving

The growth of sustainer programs has been explosive.   It’s not just great for the donor – it is a stable source of revenue that your organization can count on month after month.  A strong sustainer program will be made up of your most loyal supporters, making it easy for you to communicate with them effectively.  If you don’t already have one, add a monthly giving option.  If you’ve got one and aren’t seeing growth – promote the heck out of it through your online communication programs.

4. Create Cross-Platform Integration

We used to be able to blithely send our supporters away from our websites, basking in the glow of branded online tools for actions and transactions.  Today, nonprofits are increasingly using more complex technology to bring that online functionality into their website.  This integration work takes planning and has data considerations.  If you want to start small, add a Facebook or Twitter feed to your website.  This creates fresh content for your site and can pave the way for more sophisticated integration projects later in the year.

3. Basic Best Practices Matter

Planning, testing, and checking your metrics may not seem as sexy as adding single sign on – but they are still essential to success for the Accidental Techie.  In your quest for the bright and shiny, don’t forget the basics like creating a communication calendar to prevent collisions, paying attention to your opt-out rates, adding source codes to track gift data in your database of record.

2. It’s OK to Ask for Help

The typical Accidental Techie prides themselves on being up to any challenge!  Toss enough late nights at something and there’s nothing you can’t figure out on your own.  To this we say:  give yourself a break.  Find an internal champion and make the case for getting some paid professional help.  Document the return on investment as well as what it could be costing your organization not to do it (in lost supporters, missed opportunities, losing ground on your competition).  Be sure your selected technology partner will train you to do your own upkeep.

1.  See What Your Supporters See

We don’t want to freak you out, but right now your website visitors are using mobile devices to look at your website.  They are trying to take action, make donations and access your awesome content.  Do you have any idea what they see when they read your email appeal on their smartphone?  Round up some phones and tablets.  View your site, your forms and your messages.  What looks okay?  What looks really bad?  You’ll know right away which things you must update and those that can wait a bit.

This was our take on the top five – what would you add to the list?

Want some high-quality, affordable help and training?  Contact us!

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