NGO Development:
Publicizing your efforts online
Publicizing your online efforts

Hari Srinivas

Promoting your organization online is more than just putting up a Web site; it involves finding and posting to appropriate Internet discussion groups, sending emails directly to current and potential customers, perhaps even starting your own online community.... it's proactive, interative, and ongoing. It needs to be nutured and fully supported, just as with all your public interactions. And like those face-to-face activities, it also comes with guidelines.

The Internet is about connecting humans, not machines! Treat it as such. Whatever impression you want people to have of your organization offline, via face-to-face and traditional forms of outreach, is the same impression you should strive for online.

Online outreach and online service delivery should accurately reflect your agency's mission and culture.

"Getting Started: Outreach Via the Internet for Not-for-Profit or Public Sector Organizations"
It is getting hard to trust any website to deliver long-term service without getting very explicit guarantees up front. As the New York Times recently wrote, trusting a website "is like following a helpful stranger in Morocco who offers to take you to the best rug store."

The key finding is that trust is a long-term proposition that builds slowly as people use a site, get good results, and don't feel let down or cheated. In other words, true trust comes from a company's actual behavior towards customers experienced over an extended set of encounters. It's hard to build and easy to lose: a single violation of trust can destroy years of slowly accumulated credibility.

Communicate trustworthiness using design quality, up-front disclosure, conprehensive, correct and current content, and good connectivity.

"Trust or Bust: Communicating Trustworthiness in Web Design"
The information super highway (AKA the Internet) is quickly being "snapped up" by commercial and governmental interests as the place to reach consumers, citizens and constituencies. It is important to organize information so it is easy for others to find; give visibility and impact to your organization's concerns; and reach a vast audience beyond the one you specifically target.

Determine your goals for publishing electronically. Thick about the audience you want to reach. Think about what information resources you already have that you can publish in order to meet your goals.One of the most exciting aspects of electronic publishing is that it provides an opportunity to take something traditionally "static" (printed words on a page), and transform it into a dynamic tool for action, for change, for education. Determine the budget and staff resources available ... and on you go

"IGC's Guide to Electronic Publishing"
The online community of news sites, e-zines, web-zines, news services, announce sites, and web directories represent a collection of media contacts and outlets you'll never find in any traditional PR desk reference. Learning who they are and what they want is a whole new ballgame.

It is important to be able to recognize and find online publicity opportunities; position your site content and message right; use online PR services to contact online media outlets; and understand search engine rankings.

"Why do some Web launches and events get online media coverage, whiles others don't? "
Building a good email newletter is all about communicating with visitors to your website, about keeping people informed, of building trust and establishing a reputation, and proper management. "How to Develop an E-Mail Newsletter"

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