This article was taken from our Galaxy Digital blog's inaugural 2019 post, but these tips can be used any time of year!
Happy New Year, Connect site managers! We hope you’re as excited about the new year as we are! At Galaxy Digital, we’re looking forward to a great year of helping clients like you find success in engaging volunteers, attracting new donors, and making a positive difference in your communities. We posted our 10 New Year’s Resolutions for Nonprofits recently, and now our focus is on helping you, the Connect platform site manager! Is your site ready for 2019? Here are some tips help ensure that you’re ready for success in the new year.
Review your ongoing needs
While most of your site’s needs may be date-specific, you probably have a few ongoing ones as well. In Galaxy Digital lingo, an ongoing need is one that is not date-specific. As such, it never expires. While this can be a convenient setup, it also means that current needs may include outdated or stale information. Check on those needs that were first posted three months—or three years!—ago, and reach out to your agency or program managers with a friendly reminder to update (or deactivate) as needed. The result? You’ll say goodbye to those needs that are no longer relevant, and your newly updated needs will appear front and center in your needs listing, giving your volunteers fresh exposure to your ongoing opportunities.
Reach out to disengaged users
A volunteer signs up for your platform so they can respond to a need … and then they never return. Has this happened to you? If it has, you’re not alone! Most site managers have at least a small percentage of users who created an account and never came back. This doesn’t mean that those users aren’t volunteering, or that they aren’t interested in new opportunities. Maybe some of them even want to volunteer more in the new year! Your email blast tool includes a filter for users who haven’t logged in before a selected date. Use it to identify those who haven’t visited in a while, and send an email inviting them to give your site a second look.
Reach out to agencies with incomplete profiles
Imagine you’re a volunteer, and you’ve visited your local Connect site to find an agency that champions the causes you’re passionate about. You click on a recommended agency … but there isn’t much there. Maybe the contact information is absent, or there’s nothing written about the agency’s mission or programs. What’s a volunteer to do?
As a site manager, help prevent this from happening by accessing your Incomplete Agencies area, which lists all agencies on your site that have incomplete profiles. With the click of a button, you can send the listed agencies a friendly reminder to complete their profiles. It’s easy to do; in fact, it’s not a bad idea to check for incomplete agencies regularly.
Check for pending hours
What happens when your volunteers submit hours but no one approves them? Not only does your impact-reporting suffer, but agency data and volunteer resumes are affected as well. Take some time to do a bit of administrative work and see how many volunteers’ hours are still awaiting approval. You can approve the hours yourself, or reach out to agencies who haven’t done so. This is a great opportunity to educate new agency managers who may not have been aware of the approval feature.
Revisit your notifications and customize accordingly
When is the last time you’ve visited your library of automated notifications? Have you been wanting to tweak a message by adding a branded signature or personalized note? Now is a good time to review your notifications to ensure that they’re up to date and reflect your organization’s personality and values. You should also check to see which default templates Galaxy Digital has updated (we do that occasionally to reflect product upgrades!), and reset your templates as needed.
Update your Connect home page
Your Connect home page is the first thing your visitors see, and you want it to be attractive and engaging. Check out your spotlights--are any of them out of date? Do you want to remove some old photos from your “Our Community” area and replace them with new ones? You might even take a fresh look at your site’s banner or background image. If it’s been a few years since you last updated these visual elements, consider giving them a touch-up for the new year.
Be legally compliant
Does your site require waivers for certain agencies or opportunities? With Galaxy eSign, you’ll be certain that all of your i’s are dotted and your t’s crossed. This newest Connect feature allows volunteers to electronically provide their names, initiatives, and sign dates on interactive, eSignable waivers. In 2019, join the growing number of Galaxy clients who are using this simple new tool.
Forge new corporate partnerships with User Groups
Corporate volunteerism is a huge trend in the nonprofit world. With your Connect site’s tools, you’re poised to develop and maintain new partnerships with the for-profit organizations in your community. Begin by checking out your Top 50 User Group Prospects report, which lists the email domains that are most common on your site. You just may find some valuable information: the corporate domains most represented among your site’s users. You can then reach out to those organizations, point to the great work their employees are doing, and start a conversation about more formalized corporate volunteering with user groups. Chances are, they’ll be excited about the impact-reporting and change-making possibilities your site offers!
Establish volunteer goals with benchmarks
Are your volunteers resolving to make a positive impact in your community in 2019? Cheer them on by recognizing them when they reach your site’s goals for volunteerism. Use benchmarks to set the goals, and your Connect platform does the rest, checking hours each night and rewarding volunteers by email accordingly! Resolve to take time time to set up your site’s 2019 benchmarks and badges. Plus, when it’s time to thank your most active volunteers later on, you’ll have all the data you need right in front of you!
Set Up Google Analytics … and review it regularly
Is your site using Google Analytics? This powerful tool provides valuable data on page views, andn site visitors, popular times for site traffic, and more. If you haven’t set this up yet, make it a goal to do this early in 2019 so you have accurate data for the whole year. Not sure where to start? We recommend beginning with this Google video for Analytics beginners. If you need assistance setting up this tool for your Connect platform, our Customer Care team stands ready to help!
Take a review training
When was your last training on your Connect platform? If your answer is, “When we purchased it,” then you may be missing some things. (Unless, of course, you purchased it yesterday!) Galaxy Digital adds new enhancements to your platform every few months. In 2018 alone, we upgraded the Service Learning Module (SLM), added volunteer scheduling, implemented the Check-in Kiosk, added a waitlist option, and introduced Galaxy eSign. In addition, we’ve made new reports available and incorporated new features to increase efficiency and improve reporting. If you’ve missed any of these, consider taking a refresher training. You may be surprised as how much more you can do with your site!
Take it easy
Ready to take on these suggestions? Great! We recommend not trying to do everything at once, though. Instead, set a goal of tackling one or two a week until they’re all done. Your site will be refreshed before you know it! If you’re not sure where to start, reach out to our Customer Care team for ideas, or check out the Help Center for step-by-step instructions.