Beginner’s Steps to Claiming Your Online Presence for Non-Profits

I’ve recently began to work with a small non-profit to setup their online presence. After consulting with them, I wrote up this short document on how to get started claiming their presence. They provide a service with a physical location, so that’s pertinent to their plan. I’d recommend setting up a website before you begin, but if you can’t do that, you can start with the following steps.

First Things to Do

  • Do an inventory to see how your business is displayed right now on the web. Keep this as a reference for later.
  • Create a Google account just for the non-profit.
  • Emails to this account can then be forwarded onwards for monitoring. A semi-official looking email address which isn’t someone’s personal one looks better than
  • Use that account to claim the Google My Business profile (then you can see how many times people search for you per month).
  • Create an official Facebook account so you can create a page. If there’s a default one generated by Facebook, this one should take its place within a short time.
  • Go through and update contact information everywhere to be accurate. Refer to your inventory spreadsheet to see where you need to go. You’ll likely need to claim your non-profit in order to update the information.
    • The contact information you should have at minimum is your email address and a phone number if possible. Do you have a P.O. Box? You’ll need that too. A website address would be great, but just starting out, you may not have one. Try to correct this ASAP.
    • Have a short blurb describing why your non-profit is special and why people should care about your work.

Keep Track
When I’ve worked for clients, I created a Google Drive folder which contained all the information and spreadsheets I generated during my work. In this case, it’d include the inventory spreadsheet, photos and logos, login information, beginning text for creating a website, etc.

Basic Information for a Website
Later, you’ll want to put your purchased domains to good use and set up your official website. Everything connecting from that as their hub will make authenticating this easier. At this point, I’d suggest even having a one-pager with general information would be better than leaving yourself with no official web presence.

  • Address
  • Contact Information
  • Prices (if applicable)
  • General description of services available
  • Photos
  • Why choose this non-profit

Direct Mail Tips

I attended a Direct Mail class from the local SCORE group. I’m not feeling up for formatting it correctly right now, so forgive the mess. The main takeaways:

* There are two types of Direct Mail from USPS:

– Retail: no permit, but with a limit of 5,000 items per zip code per day

– Business: buy a permit ~$250 and you can send more items. This is for people sending direct mail all the time.

* The process:

– Your mail object needs to be within a certain size.

– You need to print the default stamp and mailing address on your items (your printer does this for you usually)

– You go online to and enter a zip code.

– Then you can use the table tools to look for people based on income, family size, and ages (info from the Census)

– You can pick the exact route you want to send mail onto. The site tells you how many households that is and how much it’ll cost. You can pay online or at the post office.

– Once your mail piece is printed, you need to bundle it into stacks of 100s and 50s. Then you use their provided facing slip (get off the website when you place your order) to wrap the bundles. Each facing slip says how many slips you have for that route.

§ If you have 268 mail objects for route X, you would organize your bundles like so:

§ Two stacks of 100

§ One stack of 50

§ One stack of 18

– USPS is responsible for sending the mail onwards within 48 of delivery (I think this was the message)

– You can save money by taking your bundles to the post office which services that zip code.

– You can go to Irresistible Mail, which is USPS’s site for more inspiration

– The main thing is to try and send your mail to the people who are most likely to be interested.

– You can go to Town Hall and ask for a list of people who have dog permits. Then your grooming business can send mail to only them.

– This sounds crazy to me, but the guy said that’s what he does for his clients.

– Never send your mail first class. Send it standard to save money.

Photo in the Newspaper

Photo by Amy Laughlin

Photo by Amy Laughlin

Not my best work ever made in the hectic weeks ahead of the website launch, but the photo plus the photo manip is my handiwork. :-)

Other potential backgrounds was various racetracks, the Sochi Olympics, and other temples. The image I used is by Sam Valadi under CC BY 2.0 with the main change being mirroring it and using just the top portion.

Courtesy of Darien Library

Courtesy of Darien Library