Strategic Web Communication Principle #1 of 5

Find your ministry niche that can be transferred online.

As non profit fund raising professionals, Pathmaker Marketing often starts by asking our clients, “What is unique about your ministry or non profit organization that separates you from the rest?” Isolate that area of differentiation and then determine the ways you might convey that uniqueness online. One idea for accomplishing this objective is to think about the ways you already provide ministry:

* Do you have a radio show? Then place your radio broadcasts online in MP3 format.
* Do you preach sermons? Then have your messages converted into MP3 format and upload them online for people to hear 24/7.
* Do you have a television ministry? Then convert your TV programs into QuickTime or Windows Media file formats for online viewing. You can even upload your shows to YouTube or other online video portals.
* Do you have a drama ministry you can videotape? Then do the same.
* Are you a prolific writer? Then consider:
* Publishing your books online as e-books or using print-on-demand processing.
* Developing white papers on subjects of expertise for you.
* Creating an online library replete with articles on various topics of relevance to your audience.
* Starting a blog.

The key here is to isolate what ministries or services you provide offline, particularly those that are especially unique, and then determine if you can provide or enhance them through non profit marketing online. Here are some examples of the way this has worked in real life.

www.hearandplay.com

Here is a great example of transferring an offline service online. In this example, the business owner used to provide personal piano lessons. However, he was limited in the number of lessons he could give weekly-until he wrestled with the question, “How can I give piano lessons online to expand my business?” Once he resolved that question, he began experiencing a growth spurt in his business. Now he currently reaches more students and provides more lessons by marketing online, than he ever could have through private lessons. 

www.oneplace.com

Here is a different example. OnePlace.com offers a service to ministries with radio programs. Through their site, you can publish your radio program online, and then link to it from your website. By doing it this way, you eliminate some of the technical challenges of publishing audio on your own site, and you also partner with numerous other broadcasting ministries that help drive traffic to the site. This is a good example of finding a niche in the non profit marketing arena.

www.whitsend.org

Here is an example of a children’s ministry that enhanced its services online. Focus on the Family does a children’s radio program called Adventures in Odyssey, and one of the characters, Mr. Whit, owns an inn. As a play on words, the official website of Adventures in Odyssey is Whit’s End. When Focus on the Family placed Whit’s End online, instead of just the radio programs, they took it a step further by adding games, podcasts, and other interactive features that make the site of interest to children and their parents. Because the program airs on a regular schedule, people are constantly coming back to the site to interact with Whit’s End. I’s also a good example of non profit marketing.

www.Mysecret.tv

In this case, the church involved is based in Edmund, Oklahoma, and has been recognized as one of the most innovative churches in America. Their website, www.Lifechurch.tv, is worth a review for many reasons. But one of the niftiest things I liked was the innovative way they have provided for people to confess their secrets online in anonymity at www.mysecret.tv. This is a great example of finding a niche in non profit marketing and transferring that ministry online.

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