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Hatef Yamini 12 min read

Top Three Platforms Your Nonprofit Should Use

All the nonprofits I work with have one thing in common: they're working overtime just to keep up with the sheer volume of work on their plates. Adding new tools or tasks to their workload wouldn't make me popular, so I've searched high and low to find things that will increase a nonprofit's productivity at little or no cost.
Along the way, I've found three platforms or programs nonprofits should seriously consider. These suggestions aren't sexy but they're free and they can be very powerful tools. Two of them (SlideShare and YouTube for Nonprofits) go a long way to increasing a nonprofit's visibly in Google searches and who wouldn't want that?
The third, Salesforce, is not very well understood and takes some explanation. But it's an incredible value. In fact it's $15,000 worth of software as a service at zero cost to nonprofits.
So let's dive deeper into each of these:
1. SlideShare

What is it?
Social media for professionals and a place to share presentations online.
Why is it important?
You've probably heard of SlideShare by now or even watched a presentation or two. But I don't see many nonprofits taking advantage of this platform. One reason might be that the audience on SlideShare is mostly comprised of business and IT professionals.
I can see why this would make nonprofits shy away from SlideShare. But that doesn't mean nonprofits can't begin to use it. For one thing, it's a powerful search engine optimization tool. It's also experiencing explosive growth - over 100% growth over the past year.

According to Rashmi Sinha, the CEO, SlideShare is the worlds largest professional sharing community. SlideShare gets 28 million unique visitors per month and 80 million unique page views per month. The average time on site is 8 minutes (that's a lot) with an average of 20 slides viewed per visit. All of this translates into a lot of search engine visibility - meaning your nonprofit's slides could show up on Google searches for your keywords if you optimize the keywords for your slides.

What to do:
  • Upload your materials to SlideShare. 
  • Create slidecast webinars by syncing audio to your slides. Easy to do with any laptop with a built-in microphone, for example. 
  • Embed your SlideShare content in your blog posts and on your website. Easy to do with embed code provided on SlideShare.com for each of your slides.
  • Create new content or repurpose your existing presentations, case studies, white papers and brochures on slideshare.

2. Salesforce Nonprofit Edition

What is it?
It's a CRM or customer relationship management platform. Effectively it's a sophisticated and customizable database.

Why is it important?
You may have heard of Salesforce but wondered what it is or how you could use it. You may have even thought that it was expensive (and you would be correct if you were a for-profit). But what a lot of nonprofits don't know is that you can get $15,000 worth of Salesforce service at no cost. Yes, that was not a typo...I said $15,000. 

That's because Salesforce has decided to help nonprofits as part of its corporate social responsibility strategy. With Salesforce CRM product donations, your nonprofit can get up to 10 donated Salesforce CRM licenses. Each seat is worth $1,500 per year.

And because it's a completely hosted, cloud base solution, there's no software to install or maintain. Your data is safe and automatically backed up. Your team can access the system from any internet connected computer. All you need is a modern browser and Internet access. There's even a Nonprofit Starter Pack that's been built from the ground up as customized Salesforce implementation for nonprofits.
What can you do with Salesforce? A lot, but here are some highlights:
  • You can replace all your Excel spreadsheets and standalone databases
  • Track donations and donors and group them into households
  • You can track your Google Grants program and Google AdWords outreach
  • Track your contacts, volunteers, allies, constituents and donors and run reports of their activities and contributions
  • Create dashboards and reports to instantly see visualizations of your data
What to do:
  • Watch the 7-minute program introduction video here.
  • Go here to to learn more and apply.
  • Yes, these are pitchy...but read the Salesforce case studies to increase your understanding of the capabilities of the platform.
  • In addition to the Saleforce for Nonprofit donation program, Salesforce has a grant program. Learn more and apply for a grant here.

3. YouTube Branded Nonprofit Channel

What is it? 
This one's easy because everyone knows what YouTube is. It's the the world's largest online video community.

Why is it important?
Simple. It's really important to make the most of this platform because YouTube is the second most visited destination after Google.

YouTube is a great way for your nonprofit to share its story and get found on the internet. But I've noticed that some nonprofits haven't taken the important extra step to take advantage of the Google YouTube for Nonprofits program. It lets you customize the branding of your channel and gives you additional features and tools:

You'll get:
  • A branded YouTube channel with increased upload capacity
  • A fundraising option with integrated Google "Donate" button
  • The option for a "call to action" overlay
  • A listing on Google's nonprofit channel and nonprofit videos page
  • The ability to post volunteering opportunities on the YouTube Video Volunteers platform
What to do:
  • Watch the introductory video and apply for a YouTube non-profit channel 
  • Brand your channel by uploading your logo and matching the background color scheme to your brand
  • Upload all of your available video footage and tag the content
  • Join the YouTube for Nonprofits Google Group to get the monthly newsletter

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*This article was written by Hatef Yamini, a leader and entrepreneur experienced in developing the Web presence, strategic communication plans, and online marketing campaigns for nonprofits across a wide range of sectors including human rights, energy and healthcare. He can be reached at hatef@simpliconsulting.com or (202) 596-1430



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