Online reputation management has become a critical tool for businesses competing in the modern economy. Online reputation affects customer relationships, employee morale, and overall profitability. For any for-profit business, it is easy to calculate the return on investment from Online Reputation Management.
For non-profit organizations, the impact of any form of marketing is harder to calculate. Rather than using simple tools of revenue and profit, most charitable organizations have more nebulous measures of success. But the benefits of a professional ORM effort are still visible even for an organization that does not try to generate revenue.
Online reputation management for non-profit organizations can provide tangible, measurable benefits in both financial and non-financial terms.
Why Online Reputation Matters For Non-Profits
Non-profit organizations are even more dependent upon their reputation than for-profit businesses. A business can expend more in marketing to overcome a negative brand image. A non-profit will quickly die if it loses the support of its top donors. Even worse, a non-profit that has a negative reputation among members of the public will often be prevented from providing service to the community.
Online reputation management offers a way for non-profit organizations to defend against sporadic mistakes and improve long-term image. The best ORM campaigns will allow an organization to expand a base of supporters while simultaneously increasing revenue.
Quick Online Reputation Management Tips For Non-Profits
Although a professional online reputation management company offers the best results, not all non-profits are in a position to pay for expert help. Even a do-it-yourself effort at ORM is beneficial for organizations of any size. Three basic tips can help any non-profit organization improve online reputation:
- Have an Official Website. Every legitimate non-profit organization must have a website. In the most basic sense, any organization that lacks a website lacks credibility with members of the public. Before you can ask for public support or solicit donations, your organization must have public evidence of its existence. An organization website confers legitimacy and enables even the smallest entity to educate the public about its mission.
- Maintain at Least One Social Media Account. While a non-profit website is a great first step, the modern internet has outgrown static webpages. The new technologically-savvy generation expects authentic organizations to engage in regular communication. Non-profits should choose at least one social media platform, establish and account, and respond to feedback. Not only does an active social media presence allow individual donors and service recipients to provide feedback, but the mere presence of such public communication generates additional support.
- Notify Local Media About Major Events. Local media companies are constantly on the lookout for new story ideas. Running stories about for-profit businesses requires a delicate balance between news and advertising. As such, stories about non-profit organizations offers the perfect solution. Since non-profits are not trying to get media attention just to make more money, newspapers, television, and radio can provide full coverage without fear of excessive commercialism. But if local media outlets do not know about a non-profit and its efforts, they cannot provide any coverage. A simple emailed news release to the editor of a local news website can generate consistent, positive publicity for an organization.
How Non-Profits Can Gauge Online Reputation Management Results
Traditional ORM campaigns run on behalf of for-profit businesses use return on investment as the primary gauge of success. If an ORM service generates more revenue for a business than it costs to run, then the ORM effort was successful.
For non-profit organizations, using this standard measure is shortsighted. While increasing revenue through donations is a laudable goal, it should never be the only purpose of an organization. Rather, other goals such as approval of donors, number of individual supporters, and beneficiaries served are also relevant.
A proper online reputation management effort can help non-profits engage with the community and enhance the general feeling of goodwill associated with all successful organizations. For non-profits working with a outside online reputation management firm, a basic system of analytics can establish a baseline for even intangible goals and track results.
Even the most basic websites can support data collection and every social media platform offers analytical tools. Any non-profit that employs an ORM strategy should also develop a way to track performance.