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Creating a Digital Marketing Strategy for Charities and Effective Tools to Use

By | Charities, Digital, Marketing | No Comments

For charities, the marketing team must be capable and able to adapt to the ever-changing and advancing technologies. After all, it is in marketing that the charity depends on to get the support it needs to keep its programs and advocacies going, may it be in terms of donations or volunteers.

In this day and age, traditional marketing efforts are mostly obsolete and ineffective. Gone are the days when charities could rely on non-digital methods to get their message across effectively. Digital marketing is, by far, the most effective way to go now for charities and organisations alike. With digital marketing, the reach and scope of efforts are much bigger and can reach target audiences faster than ever before. The potential for engagement and response is also much bigger.

For your charity to be effective at digital marketing, your goals should be crystal clear from the very beginning. Say maybe you want to involve more people and increase the number of volunteers you would like to tap, or maybe your charity needs a boost in the donations it is receiving? It is very important that your charity is clear with the marketing goals it has in mind. Should you have more than one goal, try to create a list so you know what marketing strategy to do with which.

Once you are clear on your goals, the second task to do is to take note of what marketing strategies or programs are already in place and what resources are available to you. Try to see what systems are already in place and if they are effective. If not, maybe it is time to make an effort to update or upgrade systems to adapt to the changing times.

Lastly, create content that will do three very important things:

  • Teach – create content that will help the audience know about you and what you are all about.
  • Talk – content should encourage conversation. It is great when your audience engages and is paying attention
  • Touch – the goal of your content is to touch people and make them want to take action.

At the end of the day, the goal of digital marketing for charities is to increase both awareness and action.

Moving on to another equally important factor to successful digital marketing for charities is the tools and programs used. They should be able to handle the needs of the charity and be able to deliver. As marketing is constantly changing, it is important that the charity’s digital tools adapt as well to the advancements of technology. A lot of thought must be made with regards to what tools to use, especially since there are many marketing tools that offer great deals (sometimes even free use!) to charities.

Let’s take a look at some of them that are widely used by charities:

  • Canva – Using this, it is easy to create an array of graphics and social media easily. What is even better is that Canva offers Canva for Non Profits so that Charities can use the premium version free of charge.
  • Slack – This is a great tool for digital marketing companies to always be on the same page. This communication platform allows teams to coordinate and collaborate on projects easily. This is a must-have for any digital marketing team as it also integrates with other tools like Google Drive, Trello, Google Calendar, Dropbox and many more. An even bigger advantage is that Slack is free to use. The paid version is also inexpensive, and they offer discounts for eligible organisations and non-profits.
  • Hootsuite – This is a social media management tool for both scheduling and getting data and analysis on the performance. It is a great tool for teams and Hootsuite offers discounts for eligible non-profits.
  • Mailchimp – this is a great email marketing tool that charities can use. The great thing about it too is capability-wise, the free version can accommodate the email marketing needs of small charities.

Digital Marketing is a must for charities now. You need the right strategies and you need the right tools to be effective at it. Having both at hand and having a well-equipped marketing team can really help the digital marketing efforts of charities.

 

-This article was written by Abby Villarica from Green Box

The Pros and Cons of Custom Websites

By | Custom Websites, Responsive Web Design, Web Design, Website Development | No Comments

For businesses, it is a must in this day and age to have a website. It is your home base and your business address in the virtual world.  Having a great website can actually help or hurt your business. A great website will reflect on your business, helping it gain more clients and become more successful.  A poorly made one will look messy and unprofessional, turning off clients even from the very start.; and this is not great from a business perspective.

In the process of getting a website for your business, there are 2 very big decisions you have to make–whether to use a template type of website or have a custom one built.  Each one has its own pros and cons and it really depends on you, your needs and available resources as a business.

Template websites are those that are pre-designed and basically pre-made. Coding has already been done for you so all it will need is a bit of time to get your information in and some tweaking and customization from your end. To cite a few benefits of choosing these types of websites, they are 1) very inexpensive (and they can even be free!), 2) they are pretty much plug-and-play and you can do all the customization on your own and will have no need for a website developer or third-party company to help you, and 3) they are very quick to do so you can have your site up and running in as fast as a few hours.

There are drawbacks though, to this kind of website. More often than not, it is very easy to see that the site is a template site and it lacks the professional look that your business may need.  It will also look very similar to other sites since templates are readily available. These sites may not stand out and may not function as well as you would like since you would be limited to the features and plug-ins available to you.  More importantly–and this much be stressed as very important, template websites may not be as secure as you would want them to be since the code is easily accessible. Website support, SEO and marketing tools, and analytics are also quite lacking for template websites.

Custom websites, on the other hand, are those that are basically built from scratch.  They are your idea and your concept made possible through collaboration with a great web development team (should you not have the skills yourself). Custom websites are unique and created specifically for your business needs.

Looking more into custom websites, we can cite some pros and cons.

PROS:

They are created solely for you so they are uniquely yours and have the full functionality you need.

This means that the site is planned, created and built just for you and your business. Everything from conceptualizing, planning and building of the site is geared towards your business needs.  This also means that there is a lot of focus on showing your brand personality and you can be sure that your website will look very unique and professional.

Your web development team will take care of the building, optimizing, maintaining and keeping your site safe.

Most website development teams will work with you from the conception of your website, to making sure that it is optimized for SEO, to maintaining and updating your site and making sure that your site is kept secure. This is something that template website providers lack in, or should they offer these things, will add on more costs and fees.

Custom websites are fully tested before launch.

This is great to make sure that your website performs well and is available to all browsers.  Also, any necessary software integration and capabilities of your website will be tested to make sure that everything is working well.

Custom websites grow with your business

One of the biggest advantages of having a custom website is that there is always room for growth as your business grows and changes. You need not be stuck with a site that is obsolete because your business needs have changed or you may have new offerings as a business;  you have decided to use new software. Since your custom website is built from scratch, you do not need to create a whole new site to accommodate your needs as you grow.

Let’s now take a look at the biggest cons when opting for custom websites:

CONS:

They can get pricey

Unless you have the skills to code and create a custom website yourself, the general process is to find and hire a reputable web development company or team that can help you get your brainchild online.  Hiring a good company costs quite a bit more than template sites and you would need to make time to find a team, draft a contract, and then brainstorm and collaborate with the team to create your website. 

They take time

Custom websites take much longer to build than template sites which can be up and running within a few hours.  Since a custom website is built from scratch, the time needed to build, test and make sure that the site is running well is much longer. This can take weeks, if not a couple of months.

It may be hard to communicate your vision and ideas

This is especially true if it will be your first website for your business.  There may be some difficulty being able to share your vision and your idea to the website development team. Again, relaying back and forth ideas and concepts may take more time.  A good website development company will be ready for such situations though and will be able to guide you through the planning and concept development process.

Though more tedious and time-consuming, custom websites–when done in collaboration with a good website development company, is more than worth the time, effort and cost.  If done well and made to suit your business perfectly, a custom website will help you put your best foot forward and give your website the edge to succeed from the time it is up and running and for years to come.

 

-This article was written by Abby Villarica from Green Box

Buddypress – How to add group types

By | Buddypress, PHP, Wordpress | No Comments

It can be useful to have group types sometimes for example, maybe a University might want to have 2 group types for staff and students. So they could have staff groups and student groups ( and a directory for each eg staff would list the staff groups and student groups would list the Student Groups ).

This is easy todo in Buddypress:

 

you can then have links like this to view the group directory:

 

/groups/type/staff/

/groups/type/students/

Why Charities Need to Learn the Art of Digital Storytelling

By | Charities, Digital, Marketing | No Comments

We all love stories.  It has been ingrained in us as humans from the time of our ancestors, where the elders used to tell their tales to explain and influence and impart knowledge.  Stories are a reminder to us that we are connected, that we share common things and common experiences.  Stories make our lives richer and they make us connect with others on a deeper level that compels a change in thought or a move to act. It is because of these that it would be a compelling argument that Charities utilize storytelling in their marketing efforts.

With so many charities around, and even more coming up every day, being able to stand out and reach your audience and compel them to act is a big feat–especially for small charities that do not have the funding for big marketing campaigns.  It is here that storytelling as a marketing tool will be a help in engaging with their target audience and create opportunities for action.  Digital storytelling is also a great tool to utilize because just about everyone can do it, uniquely and in their own way.  As humans, we love stories—we love to tell it and we love to hear about them.  Charities would be wise to utilise this in trying to further their programs and advocacies.

Here are some of the reasons why Charities need to learn the art of digital storytelling:

Digital storytelling makes your charity more relatable

Charities can sometimes come across as stiff and all business, especially if your charity is for rare or uncommon medical conditions or lesser talked about issues.  Having a strong digital storytelling marketing campaign can help in making a shift from the condition itself to the stories of the people living with and suffering because of it.  It makes your charity and what you are striving for something audiences can relate to.

Digital storytelling puts a face for your charity.  It makes the goals of your charity more real and relatability is very important to reach your audiences and make your charity efforts more effective.

Digital storytelling communicates how your charity impacts your advocacies

Digital storytelling is your opportunity to show your audiences how their help and their donations impact your charity’s beneficiaries.  It is a chance to let your audiences have a peek at what you are doing and how your charity affects change.

More and more stories of this kind can boost your charity’s moral.  They are “feel good” messages that confirm to your audience that their actions and their support has an effect. It can really make a change and encourage your audiences that being both active and supportive of your charity by volunteering or by donating is worthwhile.

Digital Storytelling compels audiences to act

As mentioned in the beginning, we all love stories.  It is interesting to know about how a charity is really making efforts and touching others’ lives with the programs and the actions it undertakes.  It is in these stories, and the emotions they bring up, that charities can use to compel audiences to act and to share.

Digital Storytelling is a very powerful tool that charities can utilise in marketing their programs and strengthening their advocacies. With so many tools to further enrich the storytelling experience–may it be by the use of pictures, videos or even data and facts; as well as 1st hand stories from those touched by charities themselves, it is a very good idea for charities to use this in their marketing campaigns.  It not only is a way to share the goals and programs of the charity, but it is also a way to reach more and more people because interest is raised.

We all love stories.  They are raw and they are candid, and they are real. It is important that charities know how important and powerful a tool digital storytelling is and find ways to use it to their advantage.

 

-This article was written by Abby Villarica from Green Box

Why it’s important for charities to have an online presence

By | Charities, Digital | No Comments

Many charities have started making their online presence high priority. Creating an online home and go-to has proven to help in making the charity more visible and accessible to the public. For many charities though, there has been some difficulty in transitioning to a more digital presence. Many have had difficulties adjusting and going with the flow of technological advancement. To be honest, change is difficult –maybe more so for organisations that have long done their processes a certain way and are now faced with the reality that they must slowly adjust and put importance to a website and presence online. It is a necessary move though since the advantages are too many to just put aside.

So, why is it important for charities to trudge on and create an online presence? Let me give you a few reasons why:

 

Being online much improves the possibility for audience reach

If for anything else, improving a charity’s audience reach is reason enough to focus on getting a great website and strengthening its online presence. Being a charity, having a bigger audience available to it and in support of its advocacies and goals is a great advantage. A great website that is designed well can help with that. A bigger audience reach also makes it possible for charities to host and hold bigger events for their cause. Overall, a bigger audience reach can help a charity succeed even more.

 

An online presence makes it possible to reach the right audience

Very much related to an increased audience reach, more specifically, having an online presence and website makes reaching the right audiences easier and more attainable. Having a wide net is great and it gets the attention of a lot of people, but making sure that the right people pay attention is even more important. Charities that have their websites made well and strong online presence set up have a bigger probability of getting the right attention from people that can help and support the charity and its cause. It can also reach the right people who need their help the most. It very well done website also allows people that have, in the past, problems with getting the help and support they need a chance to be seen and heard and noticed. An example of this is how those that may have challenges for travel or mobility can be allowed to reach out and receive the services they need. 

 

An online presence gives an opportunity to create and build relationships

It makes sense –bigger reach means a bigger audience, and a bigger audience means a bigger chance to touch base with the right people for the charity. Connecting with the right people, more importantly, gives the opportunity for charities to create and build relationships with them and 1) be more available and attuned to their needs, and 2) learn more about how to improve what services the charity provides. The other side of this is that it allows, too, for charities to connect and build relationships with more people that are willing to help.

Having a custom, well-designed website also adds a more personable and approachable “face” for the charity. Creating a relationship with its audience allows it to be perceived as less daunting and stiff as it would be if the charity were viewed as just an organisation. This has been shown to have a positive effect on the people interacting with the charity and is an advantage in itself.

 

Marketing and fundraising becomes easier and it becomes easier for people to give

One very important reason for a charity to have a great website and an online presence is that it opens doors and channels for marketing and fundraising. Presently, there are many available services that charities can utilise to help them in raising funds, or a page or a part of the website can be dedicated to helping people better understand its cause and make them more open to share and donate. Merely having the means to donate present on the website of a charity does wonders in helping raise funds for projects and advocacies. Utilising other channels such as social media creates even more possibilities for charities to be known and to raise funds.

Having an online presence for charities should very well be at the very top of their priority list. The advantages are many and it would be good not only for the charity but also for the cause that they serve. There may be challenges to making this possible and finding a great partner to work with for custom websites is a must. Having an online presence now is a need for charities. It is a need that must be addressed for charities to better succeed.

 

-This article was written by Abby Villarica from Green Box

SQL for use in migrating a Drupal website to WordPress

By | Drupal, Drupal to Wordpress Migration, SQL | No Comments

Currently I’m working on migrating a Drupal 7 website to WordPress, in the process I’ve learned alot about the Drupal database schema. So this post is a place for me to store handy queries and notes. Its a Work in Progress so I’ll add more over the coming weeks.

Content types in Drupal are similar to post types in WordPress where fields can be added, however in the database how the fields are handled is very different from WordPress. In Drupal fields are added as separate tables.

SQL to get multiple images ( stored as a collection item field in Drupal)

The field is called field_images stored in the table field_data_field_images table. Because the field is collection there is only 1 value stored in the field_data_field_images table ( the collection id). To get the individual items of the collection (images in this case), we need to join to file usage table on that id then to file_managed table on the fid. Then we have the information about the images ( filenames etc ).

select n.nid, n.title,  m.* from node n
left join field_data_field_images f on n.nid = f.entity_id
left join file_usage u on f.field_images_value = u.id
left join file_managed m on u.fid = m.fid
where n.nid = node_id

Get all fields on a content_type 

eg for content type ‘bobs_tyre’

SELECT field_name FROM field_config_instance ci WHERE ci.bundle = ‘bobs_tyre’