Although getting the maximum use out of online tools can be complicated at first, even daunting to smaller organizations, there are avenues that can be helpful.
Rick Christ, managing partner of NPAdvisors.com in Warrenton, Va., an online marketing consulting firm, suggests several resources that can be helpful to any nonprofit. They are:
- MySpace.com. If you're looking for free Web page hosting, with blog tools, room for photos, email and newsletter service, get one that comes with about 100 million other users who are online 24 hours a day.
- Paypal. It is free to set up. It costs about as much per transaction as most donation processing services (and less than many), ant it is a tool of choice for 67 million people whose sole purpose in having it is to transfer money online.
- Text messaging. When the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) failed to provide street lamps and the forms necessary to run search operations in post-hurricane New Orleans, relief workers used text messaging to stay in touch with each other and constituents were able to ask questions and provide updates.
- IM (instant messaging). It is another free way to be "open" for business.
- ThePetitionSite. Com. This is a site for online advocacy, a place to post a petition and drive advocacy.
- Yahoo! Groups. This provides file sharing, group email, calendars and other features.