When you send an email, do you have a permanent signature on the bottom? If you do, YEA! If you don’t, why not?  Even if it is your private email, you are  missing opportunities to promote yourself. My email has the following signature:

Info at the end of an email

My email signature

If you are uncomfortable with the idea of promoting yourself, think of it as providing a service to others. Frequently, I need to find people’s websites, blogs, or other online information. It is so easy if they include that information in their email. If they don’t, I have to search for it, which can take several minutes.

Here is a short list of easy things I believe we all should be doing to become more searchable and to promote ourselves-not in a spammy way, but in a professional, appropriate, and helpful way.

1. Email Signature (as mentioned above)

As you can see above, I include a tagline and links to my LinkedIn profile, this blog, and my Twitter account. Once I have a website up, I will link to that, which will include my blog. You can certainly include a phone number, an email address, Facebook page, or any of your other online accounts. I always thought including email was redundant. But it isn’t incorrect to do so.

2. Comment on Blogs

When you read blogs, do you leave comments at the end?  I make it a point to comment on blogs for a number of reasons.

  • It is a way to acknowledge that you appreciate the effort someone took to write that post. We all can look at statistics to see that people are visiting our sites, but it is the comments that really provide the proof that folks are reading and thinking about what they read–that we actually had an impact with our writing.
  • Great conversations can result from commenting. It gets me thinking and understanding the issues more thoroughly or from a different perspective.
  • Commenting on blogs increases my “search-ability” on Google. Yes, really. Comments show up and move you higher up in search.

3. Complete Profiles on Twitter, LinkedIn and Elsewhere

A Twitter profile without a bio or a link to a site means I generally don’t follow them back. That bio and site link give me back ground information so I know a bit more about who he or she is. Plus, why skip an opportunity to promote your website or your blog? LinkedIn is also an incredible way to promote yourself appropriately. Websites, blogposts, volunteer experiences, skills. People are looking at your profile. Why withhold information that may help them hire you or promote your work for you?

There are most certainly many other actions we can all take to promote ourselves without appearing promotional. What did I leave off of this list? Remember, if you comment, it’s great for your “search-ability.”  😉

www with screwdriver tool“At the juncture of tech and nonprofits.” That is one of the descriptions I put in my Twitter bio. It is a relatively new place for me. I am not really a highly skilled techie type. However, living in this space has exposed me to a boatload of folks doing all kinds of great tech work for nonprofits. And much of what is available is for free. Yes, you read that right. For free. There are almost an overwhelming number of outstanding tech resources available for nonprofits that are totally free. I have never seen a list of all of these resources. So I decided to create one that includes the best of the best. The folks who run these initiatives are rockstars who you should not only know, but talk to about how they can help your organization. Please share any I missed in the comments. And hurry up and take advantage of all of these great opportunities!

Creative Cares

Connects nonprofits to creatives (photographers, writers, graphic designers, etc.) for pro bono project work.

EPIC

Advertising and design professionals in Chicago work on rallies, (8 week campaigns) to create programs and materials for nonprofits. Limited to organizations that focus on education, children, and families.

FreeGeek Chicago

Provides free recycling of electronic waste (like old computers) and incredibly low priced refurbished computers and other hardware. Their Earn-A-Box training program teaches participants about the workings of computer hardware as well as the environmental impact of e-waste. Graduates of the program can earn a free computer.

Google Apps

Communication, collaboration, and publishing tools, including email, all using your own domain name. If you aren’t a Google Apps shop, why not? It’s easy to use and will elevate your efficiency and productivity as an organization.

HandsonTech Chicago

Founded by Handson Network, Google, and Americorps Vista to help nonprofits deliver their services more effectively through the adoption of new technology. They have chosen 33 nonprofits in the Greater Chicago area for assessment and implementation of technology. They are also doing technology workshops for nonprofits and classes for low income community members.

Mobile Citizen

Cutting edge mobile Internet service for nonprofits and schools, including equipment, service, and access to the Internet. Yearly Internet charge is $120/year. Yes, per year! RUN IMMEDIATELY to sign your nonprofit up for this service.

NetSquared

An initiative of TechSoup Global (see below.) From their site: “Enables social benefit organizations to leverage the tools of the social web.” As an organizer of the local (Chicago) NetSquared meetup, I tell people that we focus on tech, innovation, and social good. If you aren’t attending your local NetSquared meetup, you are missing out on some of the coolest people in your town. They are heavily focused on building community and impacting social good.

NTEN/NTC

Nonprofit Technology Network. Focused on helping people use technology to benefit their nonprofit organizations. They are a membership organization and hold a very large conference each spring, called NTC-Nonprofit Technology Conference.  

Salesforce

This tool is used for customer relationship management (i.e. donors, volunteers, sponsors, etc.) Receive up to 10 free licenses (10 users) for your organization.

Serve.Illinois.Gov

Provides great information on volunteerism, including volunteer opportunities, a volunteer management network, resources on managing volunteers, and more. A highly under-utilized resource. (This is the link for Illinois residents. Check it out for your own state.)

The Analysis Exchange

This unique mentoring program strives to increase the number of people who know how to correctly do web analytics. They provide pro bono analytics for nonprofits. That’s free analytics for your website.

TechSoup Global

A global nonprofit that has created a network of people working to create and share innovative technology solutions. Through TechSoup’s partnerships with large technology companies, nonprofits can receive donated hardware as well as advice about which tools to use.

Volunteer Spot

Online sign up sheets, volunteer scheduling software, and volunteer management software. Loads of folks swear by them and are very satisfied. I love founder Karen Bantuveris. Especially great for schools.

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What did I miss? What are some of the other great free technology resources available to nonprofit organizations? Add them to the comments. And if you have worked with any of the above, let me know how that went.