The days of meetings, conferences, or training sessions needing to be held face-to-face are long gone; webinars have been part of your communication lexicon for decades and they’re an invaluable tool in the battle to make people aware of and engage with your nonprofit’s causes.
Below I’ve covered off what webinars are, why it’s so important that your nonprofit knows about them, and given you guidance on how you can incorporate them into your strategy. Read on to get your nonprofit webinar ready.
What are webinars?
Put simply, webinars are seminars that are conducted over the internet. There are a number of different types of workshop that you can hold through a webinar, among them are:
- Training sessions
If that’s not clear enough, the excellent video below sums up exactly what a webinar is in just two minutes…
While your webinars can cover a range of different topics and will be very different to the webinars created by many other nonprofits, there are some features that are common to most webinars:
- Display slides
- Stream video
- Talk to your audience
- Call to action
While those are some of the most common features of webinars, you can add a variety of different qualities to the webinars you create for your nonprofit. For a great example of a webinar in practice, give the video below a watch.
Not only does it show you how the features work in practice, its topic is how nonprofits can get the most out of social media – a double winner for you…
Why should your nonprofit tune in to or host a webinar?
You can either get involved in webinars by conducting them or by viewing them. Both hosting and tuning into a webinar is a good idea, and these are the benefits to each:
Why you should tune in to webinars
- Expert knowledge – As the video above showed you, there’s a huge amount of information that you can pick up by giving just a little bit of your time
- Educational tool – Many webinars are not just informative, they’re part of an educational or training scheme. This means that you can train yourself and your nonprofit’s staff just by tuning in to a few webinars, adding a greater range of skills and specialisms to your nonprofit
- Cheap, cheap, cheap – Face-to-face conferences might come with catering, but they can have a hefty entry fee attached and even if they don’t you’ll almost certainly have to pay transport costs. Webinars are free of travel costs and any fees for their viewing can be offset against the fact that multiple people can watch them at the same time, making them great value for money
Why you should hold webinars
- Build-up contacts – If your nonprofit is just starting out then holding a webinar is a great name to put your organization out to your target audience. If you’re a well-established nonprofit then a webinar gives you a chance to thicken out your contact book
- Position yourself as a thought-leader – Holding regular webinars gives your nonprofit a opportunity to get your views and expertise out there. Creating informative and unique webinars can help you stand out against your peers, or competition
- Capture donors/contributors – Many webinars make it a requirement that viewers register before they view. Doing this means that you can gain access to an array of data on a range of potential donors/contributors to your nonprofit. You can then use this data to market and advertise the value of your nonprofit’s cause at a later date, while also impressing it during your webinar
Things to consider before hosting your own webinar
Let’s face it, why would you not hold a webinar? They’re a cheap way to sell the value of your nonprofit and a tool that your peers and competitors will definitely be using. But before you rush into setting up your own webinar, there are a few things for you to consider first:
- Who are your audience? You must know exactly what they’re expecting from you and why they might have an interest in your nonprofit – this includes people who currently would be interested and casual viewers who are not yet sold on the value of your nonprofit
- Who is going to present your webinar? Presentation is crucial for your nonprofit’s webinars. You have no limit to the number of presenters that you can employ, but your audience does have a limit on what they will listen to. Consider Aristotle’s three modes of persuasion (ethos, pathos & logos), then select the speakers who fit this criteria
- How will your audience access your webinar? Make the barriers to entry as limited as possible. To this end, while running live seminars is a great way to grab people’s attention and secure their engagement, don’t rule out recording it to publish at a later date. You can then add it to your non-profit website so that the voice of your nonprofit is represented exactly how you want it to be
Hosting your own webinar
It’s important that select the best webinar software for your nonprofit and your audience. MaestroConference is a great example of user-friendly webinar software that makes it easy for you to create the perfect online seminar for you and your audience.
It comes with a free trial and a whole host of useful features. Check out the video below to get a full run through of the benefits that it has to offer…
Marketing your webinar
Now you’re well-versed in what webinars are, and understand how to set up your own, it’s important to know how to let your audience know about your webinar. That’s where marketing comes in…
There are a number of brilliant tools that you can use to advertise your webinar to your audience, here are a few of the best:
- Trello– This is a content marketing dream. It helps you to manage the marketing of your webinar and keep on top of all tasks and individuals involved in promoting it
- Hootsuite – If you can’t get your social media promotion right then you’ll have very little chance of a successful marketing campaign for your webinar. Hootsuite gives you social media automation and access to social media influencers
- Google Analytics – If you don’t already have this setup then you’re missing so many tricks – not just from a marketing angle, but from a general site performance side. Check out the video below to see just how valuable Google Analytics is and how you can get it up-and-running…
Some excellent nonprofit webinars
There are plenty of fantastic nonprofit webinars on the web and you may already have a long-list of favorites.
The wonderful WildApricot have kindly found 24 must-watch free nonprofit webinars and we can’t recommend making your way through them strongly enough. Have fun and pick up some useful tips that you can apply to your own webinars.
Webinars are a vital tool that your nonprofit can take part in by watching and by presenting. While there is always more that you can learn about the art of creating a winning webinar, this article has given your nonprofit all the needs to know information that is required to get you started. So, what are you waiting for? Get started!