Spitfire Strategies

Smart. Savvy. Digital. (Part 1)

Kerry Leslie

By Kerry Leslie

Today, it is nearly impossible for nonprofits and foundations to reach their potential for change without having at least some digital savvy. But with a constantly changing digital scene, organizations often struggle to keep up with the latest digital news. Knowing how crucial it is for our clients to be smart online communicators, Spitfire works to keep on top of the day’s digital trends to help you get there. We put together a list of a few of the recent changes and trends that we think every digitally-versed nonprofit and foundation should know about.

Creating smarter websites
With over a billion websites in existence – the equivalent of one website for every person in India – it’s not enough for social change organizations to simply have a website; you need to be smart about your website.

  • Google users are changing the way they search online – typing longer and more conversational queries, often asking complete questions. Following suit, Google changed how it responds to searches. It now analyzes the intent of a query and directs users to the sites that best answer their question, instead of sites that include specific keywords. So, instead of loading your website up with keywords like “nonprofit” and “environment,” think about the questions or phrases users will search for that your organization can address. Then, put the answers on your site and use phrases or long-stem keywords instead – the better Google knows what you do, the better it can direct Google searchers to your website.  
  • And as your organization thinks through the best way to get your audiences to your website, consider the device they’ll use to get there. According to a recent Nielsen Audience report, people of all ages use smartphones and tablets more than PCs. And mobile devices are not just for millennials – more adults aged 35 to 49 use smartphones and tablets in a week than people 18 to 34 years old. Earlier this year, Google updated its search engine algorithm to prioritize mobile-friendly websites. We may sound like a broken record here, but if your organization’s website is not mobile-responsive, it needs to be.

Tapping emotions with visuals
Even organizations with the smartest websites need a compelling message to activate would-be change makers. Tapping audiences’ emotions is one of every nonprofit’s biggest challenges and best tools for change.

  • While a picture may be worth a thousand words, pictographs seem to have their own power. New marketing and communication research indicates that our brain processes emojis and emoticons the same way as in-person nonverbal communication (like a smile). For organizations striving to make personal connections with their audiences, using emojis or emoticons could be a way to build those relationships on social and digital media.
  • And to tap the power of visuals to move your audiences, they don’t even have to look like faces. Digital content featuring compelling images averages 94 percent more views than those without any images. Learn how your organization can use visuals to make an even bigger impact through  communications with Spitfire’s Visual Social Media Strategy two-pager.

Need even more digital trends and tips? Stay tuned for Part 2 of our list coming soon. You can also download Spitfire’s Digital S.M.A.R.T.S. toolkit or drop us a note at digital@spitfirestrategies.com and let us help your organization get the most out of being online. 

“This is a truly transformative program and there is no question that it is preparing leaders to be courageous communicators.”

- Colleen Bailey, Executive Director, The National Steinbeck Center

Anticipating (Rather than Dreading) the Future

Kristen Grimm

By Kristen Grimm

I recently attended an unconference in Peekskill, New York at a maker space. With the help of a very astute curator, we did indeed plan an interesting day where I learned about fusion, getting the most reluctant people to vote, and participating in the circular economy where we figure out… (read more)

Decolonizing Narratives and Communicating Justice: Spitfire at ComNet19

Mike Carter-Conneen

By Mike Carter-Conneen

  At the Communications Network Annual Conference in Austin, Texas, Spitfire Strategies was proud to host a breakout session called “Decolonizing Narratives: Authentic Messaging, Ceding Control and Reckoning with Reality.” The panel, moderated by Spitfire Director Nima Shirazi, explored the blind spots of communication professionals, the problematic choices we can… (read more)

Spitfire Spotlight: Lifting up People’s Stories — and Each Other’s Work

  Inga Skippings and Erin Uy have a great deal in common, and it’s not just because they both began working at Spitfire’s Washington, DC office within less than a month of each other this summer. They share a deep commitment to elevating the stories of people who stand up… (read more)

Sign up to receive Spitfire Sparks

You’ll receive our latest smarts on the causes you care about and updates on our free tools.