Any nonprofit can face a difficult struggle when trying to bring relief to, or even cope with, a site of widespread devastation. The World Wide Web can be an extremely useful resource.
Rick Christ, managing partner of NPAdvisors.com, visited New Orleans. The city is still far from recovery, but Christ offered recommendations for utilizing the Web to stay operational that were presented to New Orleans nonprofits but that could have universal application.
The recommendations are:
- Think cheap and quick. There are plenty of free Web tools, but don't use any that take too long to learn.
- The Web was created for man, not man for the Web. A small nonprofit with no budget or tech staff that is literally digging itself out of the mud needs only to "do" online what produces real and immediate benefits. If there is no short-term gain online, don't do it.
- Get the fundamentals right, forget the rest. Focus on usability, on value to the Web user and on fundraising. Integration is only a problem if you have a lot of data.
- Web must follow mission. Only do online what furthers your mission (this week). If your mission is advocacy, the Web can help. If it is bringing people together, think chat rooms.
- Everyone wants to help. Ask. This can be true primarily along the Gulf Coast, but to an extent it's true among all nonprofits.