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Welcome To The Nonprofits On The Web Forum


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#1 BillSlawski

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Posted 02 January 2008 - 02:46 PM

One of the areas that we wanted to explore more this year at the forums involved nonprofit organizations, and how they interact with others on the Web.

A number of discussions behind the scenes of the forums, and a number of new friends who are involved with nonprofits led us to believe that this would be a good way to call some attention to the efforts of nonprofit organizations, while also providing people who market, design, develop, and consult on nonprofit sites to share ideas and information.

We changed our tagline a couple of months ago as part of the initiative that launched this new forum, to "Building Better Web Sites Together, For a Better World."

Many of the discussions that take place at Cre8asite do focus upon small business, and commercial activities. We do believe that commercial-based activities where people share ideas and support each other is a positive step towards achieving something positive.

We hope that the addition of a forum that is aimed at nonprofits will encourage even more discussions about efforts to build a better world,

With that said, welcome to the Nonprofits on the Web forum.

#2 rynert

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Posted 02 January 2008 - 02:53 PM

Good idea - lots of similarities between profit / non-profit but some stark differences as well ;)

#3 Wit

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Posted 02 January 2008 - 03:13 PM

Um... if a website does not belong to a business but still has adsense slapped-on -- is it still a non-profit thing?

Hehe I can recall Zeal directory (remember that one?) wrestling with that dilemma ;)


PS: and what if I spammed the forum with a site about Huntington's Disease, would that be acceptable or unethical?
Questions, questions, I know.............

#4 BillSlawski

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Posted 02 January 2008 - 03:40 PM

and what if I spammed the forum with a site about Huntington's Disease, would that be acceptable or unethical?


We're assuming that a nonprofit wouldn't want to be perceived as spamming anyone. ;)

So, if someone wanted to introduce their site about Huntington's disease, and tell us a little about what kinds of efforts might have been made to build it or market it that other nonprofits could use, or ask for some ideas on marketing or design or building a community, that would be ideal.

Um... if a website does not belong to a business but still has adsense slapped-on -- is it still a non-profit thing?


A nonprofit can make money, and use things like adsense. What's done with the money is what makes the difference. But, people who work for nonprofits make salaries, and the organizations have bills to pay, too.

On the opposite side - advertising by a nonprofit instead of showing advertisements, Google has an interesting program going on:

http://www.google.com/grants/

Designed for 501©(3) non-profit organizations, Google Grants is a unique in-kind advertising program. It harnesses the power of our flagship advertising product, Google AdWords, to non-profits seeking to inform and engage their constituents online. Google Grants has awarded AdWords advertising to hundreds of non-profit groups whose missions range from animal welfare to literacy, from supporting homeless children to promoting HIV education


Good idea - lots of similarities between profit / non-profit but some stark differences as well


It's going to be interesting exploring some of the similarities and the differences. Thanks.

#5 kulpreet_singh

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Posted 02 January 2008 - 04:15 PM

Great effort! I fully support it. Most of my research in Internet Marketing is to benefit some non-profit orgs with which I work on a regular basis. A major incentive of my paid employment, although I really enjoy internet marketing and integrated marketing communications, is the potential benefits that my knowledge and experience (whatever I have and gather as time goes on) could provide to social welfare causes.

Edited by kulpreet_singh, 02 January 2008 - 04:15 PM.


#6 tam

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Posted 02 January 2008 - 05:17 PM

Cool :D What an interesting idea, I look forward to reading the discussions. I run a non profit rabbit rescue site/forum :)

#7 SEOigloo

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Posted 02 January 2008 - 06:08 PM

I'm looking forward to learning new things from this forum, Bill.

So far, my only experience with non-profits has been with the deer site everyone here was so helpful with last year (fotwd.org).

Unfortunately, we've found it difficult to make a concerted effort on that project because of a general lack of organization in the group. Beyond our basic SEO efforts which have gotten good rankings for some important terms related to the cause, and one attempt at digging the story which didn't result in much, there hasn't been much 'action' so to speak with the site. Nevertheless, it does provide a good resource for the local community to keep abreast of the issue involved and we enjoy maintaining the site. We volunteered to do this because we felt strongly about the issue.

That's one thing I've run into in the past with non-profits that seems to have been a problem. They are often not well-funded and, so, unless the webmaster wishes to make a gift of his services to the cause, the time/money factor can be prohibitive. We get approached from time to time by organizations that want a domain, website hosting, web design and webmastering done for free because they are a non-profit. My suggestion has been to find someone who is really eager to promote their cause, for free, and has the spare time to do so. Particularly with a firm as small as ours, we just don't have the time to take on charitable work if we want to keep on eating every month:)

I'd be interested to hear if this is the common consensus of experience in this forum. Do most non-profits expect free services?

Looking forward to learning more!
Miriam

#8 Feydakin

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Posted 02 January 2008 - 07:15 PM

I'd be interested in hearing other people's experiences in working with non-profits.. Back when I did networking and tech I had several large charitable organization clients.. After 3 years it devolved into a very nasty experience on my end, and even worse for the guy that came in after me..

This was not a small organization.. Their own 2 story office building.. 60 offices and 3x as many people.. At first getting paid was easy.. But as time went on getting paid got harder and harder.. To the point where I just wrote it all off as a charitable contribution, got a receipt, and stopped answering their phone calls and emails.. It was a very depressing experience.. And one I was pretty sure I did not want to repeat..

Now I can imagine that a smaller organization would be easier to work with, but they tend to not have enough money to pay for services.. At this point if I do any work with a non-profit it's as a non-paid volunteer.. Less mess and easier to walk away from.. :D

#9 BillSlawski

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Posted 02 January 2008 - 07:21 PM

I'd be interested to hear if this is the common consensus of experience in this forum. Do most non-profits expect free services?


An interesting question. I'm not sure that they do, and I've done some work with some nonprofits that were fairly well funded.

But definitely, many expect the mission of the organization to come first (which it likely should) and if they can get free services, I suspect that many would be happy to explore that option.

#10 Respree

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Posted 02 January 2008 - 08:27 PM

Many people are under the mistaken impression that a non-profit organization cannot make a profit.

Actually, non-profit is a tax status in which the organization is exempt from paying taxes (at least in the US - the laws may differ in other parts of the world). Most people start a business solely for one reason, to make money. They build an organization, which hopefully turns and profit, in which case the owners can then extract the profit (or a portion of it) for their own financial gain.

In a non-profit organization, from the start, the entity is organized in such a way that the profits of the organization must stay within the organization. Ownership interests essentially are meaningless within the context of financial gain.

Typically non-profit organizations include:

- Certain corporations organized under an Act of Congress
- Certain corporations organized and operated exclusively for:
- Religious purposes
- Charitable purposes
- Scientific purposes
- Purposes of testing for public safety
- Literary purposes
- Educational purposes
- Artistic purposes
- Health care and public health
- Fostering national or international amateur sports competition
- The prevention of cruelty to children or animals
- Civic leagues or organizations not organized for profit but operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare
- Local associations of employees, the membership of which is limited to the employees of a designated person or persons in a particular municipality, and the net earnings of which are devoted exclusively to charitable, educational, or recreational purposes
- Labor organizations
- Agricultural or horticultural organizations
- Business leagues
- Chambers of commerce
- Real-estate boards
- Boards of trade
- Professional football leagues
- Clubs organized for pleasure, recreation, and other nonprofitable purposes
- Certain fraternal beneficiary societies, orders, or associations
- Voluntary employees' beneficiary associations providing for the payment of life, sick, accident, or other benefits to the members of such association or their dependents or designated beneficiaries
- Teachers' retirement fund associations of a purely local
- Certain benevolent life insurance associations of a purely local character
- Cemetery companies owned and operated exclusively for the benefit of their members or which are not operated for profit
- Corporations chartered solely for the purpose of the disposal of bodies by burial or cremation which are not permitted by their charter to engage in any business not necessarily incident to that purpose
- Credit unions without capital stock organized and operated for mutual purposes and without profit
Insurance companies or associations other than life if the net written premiums for the taxable year do not exceed $350,000
- Corporations organized by certain association for the purpose of financing the ordinary crop operations of such associations
- A trust or trusts forming part of a plan providing for the payment of supplemental unemployment compensation benefits
- A post or organization of past or present members of the Armed Forces of the United States, or an auxiliary unit or society of, or a trust or foundation for, any such post or organization
- Legal services corporations
- Trusts for the purpose of satisfying liability for claims under Black Lung Acts
- Multi-employer trusts created to pay any amount described in section 4223 or (h) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974
Corporations or trusts organized for the exclusive purposes of acquiring and holding title to real property for the benefit of a qualified pension, profit sharing, or stock bonus plan


I don't know if most non-profits expect to receive free or discounted services. Fact is, everything costs money. I think there may some charitable organizations that receive pseudo-funding from volunteer services.

I think one should not automatically assume a non-profit has no money and always relies of the generosity of others. There are well-funded non-profits that are fully capable of paying for their operating expenses. To take it to an extreme, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (charitable organization), as an example, has $40 billion in assets (that's not a typo), more than the GNP of some small countries.

Edited by Respree, 02 January 2008 - 08:29 PM.


#11 tam

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Posted 02 January 2008 - 09:00 PM

Speaking as someone that goes on the scrounge for charity, I always ask for a discount, deal, trade prices etc. and most companies I've approached have been really helpful. It's like any business I guess, money you save in one area you can spent in another.

Non profits can have other things to offer than cash too. You can get a link into a community with often very targeted, dedicated members who see the non profit as an authority in their area - if they are willing to plug your company/products in exchange for your service that can be a pretty good marketing opportunity.

More specific to the topic of web design, I've had more than one lead from charity work where the person has recommended me to friends, family, work colleges etc.

Tam

#12 Guest_Autocrat_*

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Posted 03 January 2008 - 06:00 AM

Interesting topic... is there a real difference between working for a non-profit client adn working for a profit based one?
All pro-bono work should be treated identically to profitable work (apparently), and that is how I tackle it.

The main difference is whether you are going to be charging full rate, special rate or gratis.
Do you offer different payment options, use a contract etc.?

Also, is their a difference between not-for-profit, non-profit and charity?

#13 tam

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Posted 03 January 2008 - 10:41 AM

In the UK at least you have to be registered to call yourself a charity, if you act like one but aren't then you're a non profit. You have to be careful to make sure peope don't get the impression you are a registered charity otherwise you can get into trouble.

Tam

#14 cre8pc

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Posted 03 January 2008 - 11:26 AM

Tam, I know your rabbit site has been around for awhile. If you wish, please start a new thread and tell us about it. I'd love to hear your experiences and lessons as a non-profit. If there's anything you can teach us or share, I think we'd all benefit from your experience :)

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Posted 03 January 2008 - 01:45 PM

I'd be interested to hear if this is the common consensus of experience in this forum. Do most non-profits expect free services?


I've done a fair amount of work for non-profits, and I have not found that they expect anything for free. They are sometimes cash-strapped, and have limited options: but I've never yet found one which actually expected anything for free.

However, I know perfectly well that there are non-profit organizations out there which do have that kind of expectation. It has a lot to do with the attitude of the individuals contacting you, I think --- there are members/employees of organizations who are fanatical on the topic to the degree that they fully expect others to contribute. This isn't a bad thing, necessarily: these are also the people who may argue the hardest for making certain that a significant percentage of contributions actually goes directly to support their causes.

Non-profit organizations frequently have to be very careful balancing their expenses towards promoting their cause and directly pursuing their cause. Although the promotional and educational aspects of a website may be incredibly supportive of the cause, it won't necessarily be perceived that way by the board of directors or by major donors --- it's an issue they need to be constantly aware of.

#16 Kal

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Posted 03 January 2008 - 06:47 PM

Wow this is a fantastic idea guys. The challenges faced by non-profits are unique and it makes perfect sense to create a unique forum in which to highlight and discuss them. I'm looking forward to learning from the stories here and hopefully helping the education process along too. Kudos to you! :notworthy:

I forgot to add - I had NO IDEA Google Grants existed so my education has started already! Thanks for sharing Bill.

Edited by Kal, 03 January 2008 - 06:48 PM.


#17 MaryKrysia

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Posted 04 January 2008 - 03:34 PM

Thank you very much for posting the information about Google grants for non-profits. I have created several web sites for smaller non-profit organizations and am very aware of their constant struggle to raise awareness as well as funds to continue their work. I will be passing this information along to these worthy organizations.

Mary :flowers:

#18 send2paul

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 04:58 PM

I work for a "not for profit" organisation. It is funded by media organisations. They pay our salaries - we provide a service to the media industries. It does make a profit - but this is turned around back into the business in order to provide a better service in what we do for the media industries.

We are, at the moment undergoing a website change :D

#19 AbleReach

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 06:49 PM

Non-profit organizations frequently have to be very careful balancing their expenses towards promoting their cause and directly pursuing their cause. Although the promotional and educational aspects of a website may be incredibly supportive of the cause, it won't necessarily be perceived that way by the board of directors or by major donors --- it's an issue they need to be constantly aware of.

In part because of an intensified need to budget time and money, web design goals may need to be made into smaller step by step chunks that will fit the resources available. This also gives time for the organization to experience first hand some of the benefits of developing an online educational resource.

It's hard to explain to someone who hasn't been there how solid information can be seen, found and appreciated on the web -- on the site of an Important Foundation, or on a little web site across the world somewhere. Online visibility has a different take on hierarchy: in the right circumstance for the right site, a little good link bait from a reliable and visible source can blow old media assumptions right out of the water. Without having experience that includes the online world, I think it's more likely that web sites be seen from a perspective of old media -- like brochures and portfolios.



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