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

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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’

 

Mental Health Awareness for Freelancers

By | Freelance, Freelancing | 2 Comments

Working in an office day in and day out can be grating.  The daily commute to and from work, the dragging on of the hours for the office day to end, the office politics to deal with; and a million other things — all these can lead to a lot of frustration and stress! Wouldn’t this motivate you to just leave it all behind and venture off as a freelancer? After all, all the office stress and what comes with it shouldn’t be good for one’s mental wellbeing, right?

It is this scenario that oftentimes motivates people to get into freelancing.  The thought of being your own boss and being able to be in control of your own time –your own schedules, may be very appealing for those stuck in a rut at work. Yes, freelancing may have its advantages, but many are unaware too that it comes with its own stresses and frustrations that can affect your mental health.

Let’s look at the positives and the negatives of freelancing, and how more often than not, each is a double-edged blade that can work both ways when it comes to your mental health and well-being.

You have control over your time

This is great because ideally, you can control how much work you will take on.  You can work at your own pace and choose the type of work that would be most fulfilling to you.  

On the other hand, most freelancers are quick to admit that though they do have control over their own time, they work more hours as freelancers than they ever did with their regular 9 to 5 job. The pressure is greater to have more gigs and jobs since many office benefits are nonexistent when you get into freelancing. Yes, you have the control, but you really feel the pressure to become successful. 

Financial control

Freelancing can be very lucrative and be a great source of income. Many make a fine living as freelancers and believe they made the right decision in leaving the corporate jungle behind.  It is also a benefit to your mental wellbeing that you can demand what you feel is your worth and be compensated accordingly.

To be honest, though, most freelancers have a more difficult time financially. There is more to think about, too, in terms of getting leads and clients. The downside of this all is that there is greater pressure to meet financial goals since each project solely contributes to living expenses. There are no office benefits or bonuses that you can count on. 

Some deal with this by contracting full-time with just one client, akin to being employed yet being based at home. Benefits may be limited though and there is always a lack of job and financial security. Yes, the potential for making more is higher, but there is pressure to work more and do more. This is something that is always present and puts a toll on the mental well-being of freelancers, too.

A Question of Balance

Freelancing allows you to take control of your schedules and be your own boss in terms of the things you would like to do.  For many, this conjures thoughts of being able to work by the beach somewhere or have the picture-perfect moment where freelancer parents work while being able to be hands-on in the home and kids. A perfect positive for your mental health, right?

The reality though is this is not always the case. More often then not, freelancers have a tough time balancing work and home and family; and oftentimes work even more and have less time to spend time with their kids and spouses. Also, though there is that thought where you are your own boss, the reality is that working with the demands of multiple clients can be highly stressful and lead to long work hours and less time with family and friends. This can lead to a lot of feelings of guilt and frustration that is definitely not good for one’s mental health.

Blows on Self-esteem

It can be such a boost to your self-esteem if you are able to be a successful freelancer.  You are paid what you feel is due you and you are able to choose the projects you want to do.  Being in control of your own schedule and finding fulfilment in the work that you are doing are great too for your mental wellbeing — a definite positive in any book.

But being a freelancer takes a lot of work and can lead to a lot of stresses and blows to your self-esteem as well. Though some freelancers become very successful in their businesses and gain a lot financially, most do work much harder and have much more to think about in terms of overhead costs.  The pressures of having no job security whatsoever, too, can really be a source of pressure and stress–not to mention having to deal with so many different clients and rejections along the way. Things like these can really take their toll on mental health.      

Isolation  

Freelancing gives you the freedom to do things that many people with office jobs can’t do. You can up and choose where you want to work — like say your neighbourhood cafe, even bring your work with you as you plan for that vacation you have always wanted.  The downside to this though is that it can get very lonely, working alone and having less interaction, unlike in an office setting. You really need to adjust and make time to go out and see your friends. Being in a completely different work environment does not help either — your world, your lifestyle and your schedules are so different from most that have office jobs that it is hard to relate and reconnect with friends. Just another thing that can negatively impact your mental health.

Being a freelancer really does have its perks and disadvantages just like any other type of job — may it be office-based or otherwise. It does not spare you from stresses and frustrations, it just gives you different ones.  What is important is to be aware and acknowledge these pressures and stresses and find ways to deal with them from the very start. Maintaining good mental health is important, maybe even more so as a freelancer because everything is really dependent on you.

The lesson here is simple — be aware be proactive in dealing with your mental health wellbeing. Find ways to set limits, create balance and manage yourself and your time well.  Taking note of how you feel and how you are emotionally will be a definite plus.

 

-This article was written by Abby Villarica from Green Box

 

Why link your website to your CRM

By | Customer Relationship Management - CRM, Forms, HubSpot, Marketing Automation, Web Design, Wordpress | No Comments

This post runs over why you would connect a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system ( such as Hubspot) to your website.

Many CRMs now allow you to capture form data on your website and pull this into the CRM, this has the following benefits to you:

  • store users information in your CRM
  • be able to follow up in CRM and have all the interactions in CRM so you can see the history of interactions with that person
  • see what the user has been looking at on your website

 

Hubspot WordPress form integration

The are 2 main ways of taking the users details from your website:

  • a form (standard or popup)
  • a chat box

An example form might look something like above ( this is one I’ve generated in Hubspot , but you can customise and generate your own forms in many ways in Hubspot, manually with HTML or with a tool such as Gravity forms for WordPress, or with other tools). Also remember to make sure you are GDPR compliant if your in the EU.

When the user submits the above form, this is what is will look like in Hubspot.

Hubspot captured lead from WordPress website

 

As you can see the data from the form is recorded in the activity section above and a new contact (Beavis) has been generated in the CRM contacts database. Where you can record all your interactions with this contact ( email , phone and so on ). Emails can also be automatically logged into your CRM and you can automate replies to emails with Marketing Automation sequences. This can be very useful when you have a large number of users (for example your supporters contacting your Charity or Not for Profit Organisation).

I’ve been using Hubspot in this article but the same can be done with others such as Salesforce ( and many others ). I haven’t gone into much technical detail in this post, only why and what are the benefits of this.

CRMs are great for following up and interacting with your supporters, customers, leads and so on. I hope I’ve shown you how you can easily ( and automatically ) put form contacts from your website into your chosen CRM, to make this process easy and save you time.

I plan to write another article on the technical aspects of how todo, what I’ve described briefly ( integrate your WordPress website with a CRM like Hubspot)  in the coming months, but if you’d like help with doing this then please contact us below.

Buddypress cheat sheet

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in Member loop / directory – show xprofile fields

Just find the field in wp-admin and pop into the function above and echo it.

 

Buddypress how to sort Groups page alphabetically by default

By | Buddypress, PHP, Wordpress | No Comments

In this short blog post I’ll run over how you can sort the Groups index page in Buddypress alphabetically by default (i.e. on first load of page they will be ordered by group name).

Edit or override 2 of the Buddypress templates

You’ll need these in your theme:

wp-content/YOUR_THEMENAME/buddypress/groups/index.php

and

wp-content/YOUR_THEMENAME/buddypress/groups/groups-loop.php

If these templates don’t exist in your theme you’ll need to make copies of the 2 templates from the Buddypress plugin  ( find in buddypress/bp-templates/bp-legacy/buddypress ) and pop into your theme directory in a folder called buddypress. You might need to copy from your parent theme if they are used there ( this is because of the buddypress / wordpress template hierachy – you can look that up if you don’t understand this).

 

Changes in groups-loop buddypress template

Before the bp_has_groups function call you need to add:

and then change the bp_has_groups function to:

 

Changes in index groups template

find this section and change to have alphabetical first ( you could also use the selected attribute ):

 

And thats it job done. Remember Buddypress can save your select choices in the session, which can be confusing – so clearing the cache will help in this scenario.