Nonprofit webinars will build trust, boost traffic and more!Human contact is perhaps one of the most effective ways to reach out to others. It's also a solid way to create brand awareness. Still, it can be a challenge to get people in the same room.
Enter the webinar.
A webinar — short for web-based seminar — is a real-time, online presentation. Participants can ask questions and share information as though they were in the same room as the presenter. Webinars are a versatile tool for nonprofits everywhere, especially when staff, volunteers, board members and others are spread over great distances.
Consider the benefits
Webinars offer obvious logistical benefits for important meetings, such as saving precious time and money on travel. The greater benefits, however, are much higher reaching. You can use webinars to:
- Tell your story. Use webinars to showcase your organization's expertise, knowledge and unique approaches to issues.
- Give your organization a human face. Webinars allow participants to interact directly with your nonprofit's experts and front-line staff.
- Generate high-quality leads. People who register for a webinar are already interested in your nonprofit and are willing to take time out of their day to listen to what your organization has to say. Use the webinar as an opportunity to build on that engagement.
- Increase your reach. To attract the broadest audience, consider partnering with other prominent organizations or individuals in your field — perhaps as panel participants or moderators on a given topic.
- Boost traffic to your website. Direct participants toward relevant content on your site before, during or after a webinar.
- Gain insight into your target audience. The questions or feedback you glean from a webinar may help inform everything from projects and services to the types of articles to include in your newsletters.
- Build trust. Integrating what you learn from webinar participants into your daily work can increase trust in your nonprofit.
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You can host webinars using various platforms or tools — and at various price points. Tools that offer the ability to host webinars for free are widely available. Depending on your budget, the expected number of participants and other factors, you might consider investing in more specialized tools.
Get the word out
To advertise a webinar, you might:
- Place a banner ad on your home page
- Send an email invitation to potential participants, such as volunteers, donors and past webinar participants
- Ask co-presenters or invited guests to spread the word among their own networks
- Talk it up on social media
- Feature it in your blog or print and digital newsletters
After the fact
Place a recording of the webinar on your site after the event, for those who missed it and those who want to view it again. That's not the end of the story, though. You might also:
- Create blog posts based on topics covered in the webinar
- Include webinar highlights in your print or digital newsletters
- Tweet quotes from the webinar
- Create a Facebook discussion on the webinar's topic
- Apply to speak at a conference using the material from your webinar
- Thank participants for their input and invite them to be involved in future sessions
Repurposing content from webinars for different channels also has the knock-on effect of driving more traffic to your website. For example, when you create a blog post on the key points discussed in a webinar, you can then promote the post through Twitter or other social media channels.
Elegant Themes: The 15 best webinar software products from around the web by Nathan B. Weller (2015)
HubSpot: How to repurpose campaign content for different channels (and never waste the leftovers) by Kevin Barber (2014)
Webopedia: Webinar (web-based seminar) by Vangie Beal
WebinarNinja: Building trust through webinars by Nicole Baldinu
HubSpot: Get more bang for your buck: How to repurpose webinar content by Katelyn deDiego (2014)
IMPACT Branding & Design: Why you should use webinars to generate leads (& who’s doing it right) by Tom DiScipio (2015)