Designing Better Projects

March 15, 2016 in Design, Human Centered Design

Project design is a process that takes years of work to master. From project scoping, planning, design, and implementation there are a lot of areas to master. If you’re interested in creating better projects, that engage more people, increase impact, and are more fundable check out these tips on how to optimize your project.

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EAL content creators are heroes

March 10, 2016 in Communications

One of the biggest parts of our work is with comms officers who do not speak English as a first language or fluently. This particularly true with large NGOs, who need more content for blogs, social media and reports than their central-office comms staff (who usually speak English as a first language) can create. We do a lot of training for content-creators, and there’s an important difference between the advice that someone needs to create content in their first language, and the advice that someone needs to create content in their second (or third, or ninth) language.

First of all, let me be honest. I speak French and Bengali badly, and Khmer just about well enough to be polite (most of the time). But the idea of creating inspirational content, in words, for the attention of anyone who speaks those languages natively, is terrifying. I’d do it, but I wouldn’t dare to ask how it landed in case I discovered I’d accidentally made an obscene joke when trying to talk soberly about clean water or education for all.

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How to Build Trust on Your Nonprofit Website

March 10, 2016 in Strategy, Technology

Trust is a big deal.

No matter where we go or what we do, we are being marketed to. The websites we visit, the television shows we watch, the freeways we drive down, and the podcasts we listen to, are all trying to market to us. We see ads everywhere at every turn.

And because of this, we’ve become desensitized to marketing messages. In fact, as an audience, we are super skeptical of anything that feels even a little bit like marketing. We don’t trust the people talking to us to tell us something useful, or helpful, or engaging. We just expect them to yell at us about their product or cause. We’ve stopped trusting, and so we’ve stopped listening.

As marketers, what can we do about this?

We have work to do. We need a new way to connect to people, a new way to gain their trust. It’s our job to build trust with people again – to connect with them with honesty, transparency, and focus.

I’ve become a huge proponent of blogging as way for organizations – commercial and non-commercial – to build trust, genuinely connect to their users, and create advocates for their cause. There are three principles I think are really important, and really powerful, when blogging this way.

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Why should I care?

March 10, 2016 in Design, Human Centered Design

Imagine you’re searching the internet for a solution to a problem you have. You hit Google and start typing keywords to search, or you might even type in your entire question. Google throws thousands of possible matches at you. As you browse the links, you find a few that look relevant. Clicking through, you land on a blog post, various articles, and websites.

Now think about this: how much time do you give to each of those websites? How long will you allow yourself to look at a website before you move on?

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How to get more donations for your non-profit by nailing the tone of your content

March 10, 2016 in Communications

Your tone of voice is a crucial thing to nail when you’re making a content strategy. It’s one of the two major components of how your audience will understand your organization (the other is your visual identity and design: Jesse’s got a great post about one of the ways he gathers ideas for his designs here). With a consistent tone of voice, you can make sure that every piece of your written content communicates not only the particular thing you’re writing about, but deeper things about who you are and why you do what you do.

Ultimately, this is going to drive donations. People don’t give to causes, people or organizations that they don’t understand. If they feel like they know you, your audience will feel a connection with you.

That means that when you ask them to become part of your work by donating to it, they’ll already be there. It won’t be a request that’s being made by a stranger, it’ll be a suggestion being made by a friend. A trusted voice. And people will give.

How can you create an effective tone of voice? Here’s a few of the things I make sure of when I’m trying to nail a tone of voice.

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