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We learned a lot at this year's Nonprofit Technology Conference — so much that one post couldn't contain it all! If you haven't already read our day 1 coverage, be sure to take a look.
Alberto Cairo is the Knight chair in visual journalism at the School of Communication at the University of Miami. He showed how nonprofits can benefit from powerful, mostly free tools to communicate big ideas in simple ways. Thanks to the software and services listed below, your organization can pool its big data and easily turn it into engaging visualizations for use online and in infographics.
Cairo uses and recommends using
Also, when you're designing a data visualization, think of the tasks your graphic is supposed to enable or the questions it's supposed to help people answer.
Andy Norris, Microsoft's partner business evangelist, gave a brief walk-through of the suite of Microsoft's Azure services. He broke down the digital transformation of recent years into four priorities:
"The transformation that has occurred is nothing short of a fourth industrial revolution," Norris said.
Azure aims to help you accelerate innovation within the cloud. It helps you power decisions and apps with insights, allows you to build services freely and deploy them anywhere, and provides an additional layer of protection for your business.
To see the whole presentation, check out our Facebook Live video.
Yesenia Sotelo of SmartCause Digital has magically made the data and reports within Google Analytics into something very approachable.
Her three-step formula for growing your audience includes
So where does Google Analytics come in? It can provide your organization with insight into all three of these steps.
You can get information on effective outreach by seeing how many visits your pages get, or on effective content by seeing how long visitors remain on your pages. You can discover your audiences' interests by seeing where they came from and where they go when they reach your pages.
Sotelo covered a lot of the basic terminology and concepts behind Google Analytics. If you're looking for strategy, be sure to sign up for her free online guided tour and the other resources she provides on SmartCause Digital.
In the most futuristic presentation at NTC, Shahed Chowdhuri from Microsoft showed off the HoloLens. This headset device allows users to experience augmented reality by projecting virtual objects in their fields of view and letting them interact with those objects.
Users can speak, "bloom" (open their palms), and "gaze" (look in a particular direction). Plus they can "air tap" (make a mouse-click movement) to engage with the world they see through the wearable screen.
Nonprofits can use HoloLens technology to present an interactive, engaging world to potential donors, re-create sceneries for users who can't travel, or survey disaster areas with the help of drones.
See our short interview with Chowdhuri to get a glimpse at Microsoft's next big thing.
Debra Askanase of Community Organizer 2.0 gave practical tips to help social media professionals to optimize their practice. She highlighted the importance of tracking metrics and KPIs and measuring what matters. Here were her suggestions.
Organizations need to determine which metrics are the most important to track, which should be the ones that will help you make strategic decisions about your organization. It's important to compare metrics like open rates to your own activities, not necessarily to industry best practices. For example, if there is a time or day that is more effective for your organization, send emails during that time.
A calendar will help you schedule, track, and analyze how different channels and campaigns perform. Your dashboard doesn't need to be complex; you can use an Excel spreadsheet. The most important thing is to track how you are progressing on your own goals, then other metrics.
A great social campaign creates an emotional connection with your constituents. It should have a good story and narrative arc and include visual mediums and memes. The campaign should be connected to a larger cause.
It should also be time boxed — social campaigns shouldn't be too long. Be clear on the purpose of your campaign — is it fundraising, advocacy, or further engagements?
Using these tips, social media professionals can bring their social media presence to the next level, by engaging, motivating, and connecting with their constituents in a meaningful way.
Unfortunately, TechSoup could only attend a handful of sessions, but there were dozens more! Let us know what you learned in the comments.
Be sure to also check out NTEN's collaborative notes on every session at the conference in case there's anything you missed.
Kathryn Svobodny contributed to this blog post.
Image: Wes Holing
Wes is a Web Content Developer at TechSoup.
This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 International License.