My Association Journey – Starting a Member Based Organization in 90 Days

As I posted yesterday, my journey has lead to starting .orgCommunity (www.orgcommunity.com) where professionals who work for associations and nonprofits can network, collaborate, gain knowledge in association management and receive mentoring.

Through .orgSource (www.orgsource.com) we provide consulting for organizations on how to move their organizations forward using technology. We have witnessed the biggest struggle for most organizations is moving quickly enough or inability to think out of the box in order to be innovative.

Today, I am writing about how quickly and cost-effectively your organization can create new opportunities for your members with little or no money. After we came up with our mission and vision for .orgCommunity, we quickly moved forward with the concept, marketing plan, pricing model, product offerings, educational calendar and more.

We purchased a customer relationship system and QuickBooks online for a nominal fee. We set up a Facebook page (www.facebook.com/orgcommunity), established e-commerce through Facebook (Amazon is also a consideration), created a blog on WordPress (https://associationjourneydotcom.wordpress.com/), created pre-announcements on LinkedIn all of which were free. We identified partners to provide us with a community platform, broadcast email solution and website design and branding. With little effort, we explored various technology platforms that would provide us with a way to reach our audience including promoting our launch party through Evite and Facebook (for free).

Within 90 days, we were able to register the new company, create a brand identity and online presence, gain members and sponsors.

It is easier than ever to quickly go to market with new products and services! With some creativity, willingness to take some risks, and a little research on free or inexpensive online technology resources, your association can create new opportunities for your members too.

From fundraising to tech to creative, here are just a few offerings.

AmazonSmile

Online mega retailer Amazon’s AmazonSmile website allows shoppers to donate money to eligible charitable organizations of their choice when they shop. The AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5 percent of a purchase price to the organization of a shopper’s choice. To be eligible, organizations must be registered and in good standing with the IRS as a 501(c)(3).

Google Ad Grants

Eligible organizations (check your organization’s status with Google here) can receive up to $10,000 per month in free advertising through Google Ad Grants’ AdWords advertising program. Participating organizations can build and manage their own AdWords accounts and can run keyword-targeted text ads that appear on Google search results pages.

Google Apps for Nonprofits

Google also offers a suite of business apps such as Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Drive free for all members of Google for Nonprofits. The suite includes cloud storage across Gmail and Google Drive, and members receive free 24/7 technical support.

Microsoft Office 365

Similar to Google Apps, Office 365, Microsoft’s answer to cloud computing, includes the Microsoft suite of products, including the Outlook.com email client. Basic Web apps are free for eligible 501(c)(3) nonprofits. The nonprofit plan also includes online document sharing and collaboration through Microsoft OneDrive.

DreamHost

Qualifying nonprofits can receive a free website hosting plan from DreamHost. Users would only need to pay for domain name registration.

Budgets for creative projects within nonprofits are notoriously strapped. Organizations can take advantage of free or nearly-free services for the following creative needs:

Stock Photography

For a relatively small monthly fee, StockUnlimited provides subscribers access to unlimited downloads of stock graphics, images, icons, buttons, backgrounds and more.

While users of flickr know the site as a place to store and share photos, many might not be aware that it also can be a place to find free photos under its Creative Commons license. Some of the photos on the site are free for organizations to use for noncommercial purposes, but be sure to carefully verify which photos meet that requirement.

Enhanced Digital Experiences

The Layar Creator feature of augmented reality and interactive print specialist Layar allows organizations to enhance marketing materials such as postcards, flyers, packaging and more with interactive content, including Web links, video messages and music clips. The site offers lower-than-average, pay-as-you-go pricing.

Freelance Help

For organizations looking to hire freelancers for certain projects, fiverr, an inexpensive, online freelance marketplace, may be the answer. Hire creative professionals to do anything from designing a banner ad to building website pages starting at as little as $5 per job.

These are just a few of the many free or discounted resources available to nonprofits. Start taking advantage of them today. And for assistance with your marketing digital communications needs, call upon .orgSource, leaders in IT and digital strategies for more than 10 years. I can be reached at sherry@orgsource.com.

Join our exciting new network at http://www.orgcommunity.com today!

Sherry Whitaker Budziak

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