Not a Project or a Property—Your Website Is a Program

Not a Project or a Property—Your Website Is a Program

July 23, 2020
44 minutes
EPISODE SUMMERY

Ramy Nagy · Creative Director and CEO, Madeo | As soon as Ramy Nagy, Madeo's CEO and Creative Director said, "think of [your website] more as a program," our minds were blown. Then, as his conversation with Justin Wheeler, Funraise CEO and Co-founder progressed, we had to pick ourselves up so we could be bowled over again and again.

LISTEN
EPISODE NOTES

Your website. How do you currently think of it? Is it a Project, a Property, or... could it be a Program?

Madeo, a Webby Award-winning, social-impact-focused creative studio has some pretty clever ideas on how to turn your website into an engagement experience on a par with your programs. With fancy stuff to analyze like KPIs and donor journeys and the "missed opportunity mentality", this interview is a mind-bending game-changer.

Get ready for an incredible listen, with golden nuggets like...

  • How to manage your website with a small budget
  • The value of a "debrief culture"
  • Viewing your tech team as program managers
  • Implementing visionary investment strategies

And last, but not least, Ramy's Top Rebranding Rule: Don't do it. (Yet.)

TRANSCRIPT

Do you treat your website like a program? I sat down to speak with Ramy Nagy, Webby Award-winning designer, the Founder and Creative Director of Madeo Studio. Madeo is a creative studio with a focus on social impact. They partner with nonprofits and socially focused brands. Clients include the Equal Justice Initiative, Innocence Project, Levi's, the NBA and The Smithsonian, to name a few. On this episode, we talk about the importance of treating your website, brand and communications like any other lifesaving program your nonprofit operates. Let's dive in!

"Warning! This is a computer-generated word-for-word transcript, so you may encounter some hard-to-read copy. If you see something obviously wrong, please give us a shout at hello@funraise.org."

Justin Wheeler Hey Ramy, thank you so much for joining Nonstop Nonprofit. We are thrilled to have you on the podcast today to talk about your expertise in all things website and digital for nonprofit organizations. So thanks so much for joining us.

Ramy Nagy Thank you so much for having me!

Justin Wheeler  Before we jump into your company Madeo, I would love to learn a little bit more about yourself and why you started the company in the first place.

Ramy Nagy Sure. Yeah. I mean, I think, you know, I was a creative director already working with a number of nonprofits and one of the things that I noticed is just the relationship around work with so much around specific projects, whether it's creating a website or a specific campaign. So what was really missing is kind of establishing a team that becomes like you're a genuine partner to be working with on a roadmap with nonprofits, which is something that I personally thought was really needed, and that if you really want to be a successful nonprofit, you really need to be kind of constantly planning and changing things, depending, especially with your website, with your brand, and not just do it one time. So I created Madeo. Madeo means, something that is full and integrated and basically, that's what we try to do. We have a team of strategists and designers of developers. And the whole point is that we become a true partner to clients and be able to kind of experiment and plan together and actually work beyond a single project. And it's been interesting so far.

Justin Wheeler So it sounds like you're obviously not just building amazing websites, you're coming in full service, providing strategy, oversight around maybe campaigns, marketing, helping organizations really take their brand and their marketing to the next level. Is that the right way to think about your services?

Ramy Nagy Yeah. Big picture we really care about, how do we help organizations engage better with people? How do we get to make it as easy as possible for people? Understand what our organization is about, why their mission matters, why they are the right ones to be tackling that mission and to hopefully inspire them to take action. Like signing up to something, making a donation, doing something that's concrete and all that kind of work for anybody working at nonprofits, whether it's on the comms team or online fundraising, they probably could tell by now that this work is very connected. So it helps to have your strategists, your designers, your web developers all working together in collaboration with everyone else on all these things that are connected. Because if you have a great campaign, but your Web site sucks or doesn't work, then it's just kind of lost there. Or if everything is great, but your brand is super confusing, then it doesn't work. And so that's kind of the talent that we've brought together onto the team. And our process is to be that kind of multidisciplinary and be working across from building a brand, to how they engage people with that brand through the website and campaigns.

Justin Wheeler In a few minutes, I'm really looking forward to getting more into that brand conversation, because as you're well aware, and I spent 12 years also in the nonprofit space and so many nonprofits just don't prioritize their brand or their story. And I think in some in some regards, it's too expensive to prioritize, which I think is obviously a big mistake. You mentioned before starting Madeo that you were a creative director at a number of nonprofits. What got you interested in working in the nonprofit industry altogether?

Ramy NagyThat's probably like another podcast for us to get in and a much longer story. But I was from like age 10, I was, I got kind of involved and I had my older brother had been to kind of first year of the camp Seeds of Peace which is an international organization that brought teenagers from the Middle East, from Arab countries and Israel, and I'm originally from Egypt, to come together to Maine to meet one another and kind of be the potential future leaders that get to resolve conflict in the Middle East. And so that was my older brother. I was 10 years old. Eventually, I got involved and actually traveled to Israel when I was 10, which was something kind of very unusual for a 10-year-old to begin with. And then I kind of got involved with that organized organization specifically later on. By age 16, I was like giving talks with Bill Clinton, Carnegie Hall and kind of campaigning in the US for their support, and then I kind of I then got involved with other organizations and then I think I just recognized that my personal interest was more on design and storytelling. I felt that it's much more worthwhile to be doing that on things that I care about and things that are just meaningful. When you kind of put your heart and soul in every day into the work that you do. So professionally speaking, got into balancing that between how to become a good designer and then a good storyteller, good creative director, eventually, but at the same time, how do you do that for the things that you care about and want to see succeed?

Justin Wheeler So it seems like that sort of commitment to wanting to be good at your craft has really paid off for your clients. Recently, you guys won a Webby Award. Congratulations for that.

Ramy Nagy Thank you!

Justin Wheeler Can you tell us a bit more about that award and the significance for your client and obviously, of course, for Madeo being behind, you know, the design and strategy of the organization.

Ramy Nagy It's funny, there's a lot of agencies that, you know, kind of prioritize awards as a thing and they spend a lot of their time and energy into submitting their work into awards, investing a lot of money into that. We do not have a culture. I mean, we, a lot of the work that we do with our clients is not really through people that hear about us or in awards. But those particular projects that we work on, I mean, we had two of them that were submitted and thankfully both got nominated. And one of them won. One was the main website for Innocence Project and the other was the main website of the Equal Justice Initiative. Both of these projects were just as substantial and we're so proud of them. And we wanted to specifically we only really submitted them for the Webbys is not for anything else. And why do you think they're important? Because the Webbys is really celebrating, kind of the best of the Internet. And I think that in and of itself is important because it highlights it's not something that's just for people within the industry to get to know about it. It's really elevating websites in the nonprofit space to be an equally important part of the Internet, as you would with YouTubers, all kinds of other fields of things that happen online. So we thought that if they do win or even get nominated, that it would be great spotlight on these organizations and we're exciting to see that. I think it also kind of just, it's a validation, I think, as well. And the industry to people to recognize that websites do matter. You need to evaluate them. Judges look at them. People award them and internationally, the Webbys are kind of, you know, according to a critic for The New York Times, like the highest honor on the Internet, and they're usually called like the Oscars of the Internet. At any rate, it's cool. It's good to see that kind of recognition and something like that to get that kind of validation.

Justin Wheeler Well, yeah. Again, congratulations to you and the team, because that's no small task. And the fact that you guys had two of your clients and in fact, one them a mutual client Innocence Project, and it's been amazing to see and I attribute this to their strong ability to market what they do through email, through their beautiful, you know, web design, they're a top performer in regards to online fundraising in across our clientele and definitely attributed just to the beautiful site. The way that it's laid out, the way that they tell their story, the way that they draw users in to want to be involved and engage and to convert to an actual donor, is very impressive. And so kind of transitioning them or not transitioning, but to piggyback on that, you know, you guys don't work exclusively with nonprofits. You work with some major brands. Levi's, NBA, etc.... what sort of learnings do you take from big brands like that? And how does that inform your approach with nonprofits? Is there any sort of parallels there? A lot of times what you find in the nonprofit space are agencies that are exclusive to nonprofits. I love that you guys are working kind of across industries. So I think there's a lot to learn, probably both ways. But we'd love to know if you found any sort of insight from working with major brands and applying that to nonprofit organizations.

Ramy Nagy A ton! I mean, and it's true. This is very intentional. And we have this conversation all the time on the within Madeo, do we just want to, I mean, majority of our work is with nonprofits. So do we just want to work with nonprofits? And I think it's been intentional from day one. And I think it's useful for us to continue to do that, that we get to learn outside of the nonprofit space. I think there's definitely lessons learned in terms of working with brands like that. It's not even on just some aspects of the process and kind of value behind things around testing and validating things. I think at the end of the day, when you think of it from the perspective of your potential donor, potential supporter to a nonprofit, they're not exclusively interacting with nonprofits. They're interacting with brands probably even more than interacting with nonprofits. Right. They're shopping online. They are using apps. They're using something like Facebook or Instagram. All these are digital experiences that people can distinguish and say well, okay, now when I go to a website and it's a nonprofit, I'm going to excuse them for how that looks like. And that actually is something that people are, you just in your browser, you are flipping between a website or a product that has five thousand people behind it and billions of dollars. And then you go and you're interacting with someone, you have a team of two people and no budget at all. And you're just interacting back and forth and you can tell the difference and you can't tell the difference, that that's what's behind it. But you can tell the difference if something is wrong or they're not on the same levels. I think it was very important for us to continue, and still is, to continue to work with for-profit brands, that are doing good work, but also push us on our standards and validate that what we're doing is an industry-standard and above. And we bring those lessons learned back to nonprofits, which is awesome. When we talk about everything from out from a user experience to the brand itself and everything else that goes along with it.

Justin Wheeler There was a report that came out a few years ago on kind of like the state of user experience on nonprofit. websites. And it was specifically sort of looking at like conversion, like user conversion to donors. And it found that like over 42% of web users didn't donate because they didn't trust, after visiting the website, didn't trust the organization because of how it presented themselves, you know, online and so forth. Exactly what you're talking about, you know going from Levi's to, you know, name a nonprofit. What does that difference in inexperience? So it sounds like you would agree that nonprofits should care just as much about their digital experience, their website, as for-profits, but why do you think there still is so much pressure or so much, it's such a big task for a marketing team and a nonprofit to get the executives on board with whether it's the expense side of building a nice website, the strategy of a digital, nice digital presence. What are some of the objections that you guys see or have to overcome as it relates to nonprofits and the websites and digital presence?

Ramy Nagy It might sound weird and people might think, well, because I work in this industry, that's why I'm saying what I'm about to say. But I really do think nonprofits should care even more than for-profit companies about their brand, about their websites specifically. When you think about it, if you are a big, if you're a major brand, you thew website is just one piece of what you get to spend your money on an investment. But you also have many ads on TV or a significant budget of ads online. You have a huge budget maybe through events. I mean, Covid-19 aside, you'd be spending a lot of money on events, even nonprofits as well. But like, you spend a lot of money on a lot of other things and people will know your brand through a lot of different ways. But when you're a nonprofit, having a website, when you think about it in those terms, your website, is kind of, has thousands of people coming across, coming through it. The only parallel move for a nonprofit is the size of their gala. And it's not even of the size of the gala. Sometimes it's like a football stadium of people that are coming to you. So in that sense, kind of the most efficient way for a nonprofit to be engaging with that number of people on that scale. And without having to rely on staff being there in the room, every single time, I mean every development person that spends their day on the phone and talking to potential donors or essential partners, if they get to have better conversations and let the website do the heavy lifting of the initial kind of introductions and awareness about what the brand is about and the organization is about, then it's just like a, a very smart way to approach it. I think to your point, why do we have still a lot of, you know, nonprofit executives or just in leadership? That approach is just that there's a cost or is an expense. I think, generally speaking, that's an issue within the nonprofit space of kind of people being very self-conscious about investing. Investing to begin with. I think like the culture that if every dollar that you get, you're not directly spending it on the programmatic work that you're doing, then you're not really efficient in a certain way. But I think it takes an investment and kind of a, really a vision. And that's what you rely on, really wanting to partner with the great nonprofits, with that kind of vision that you sure can spend every dollar through directly through the work that you do, than maybe will always be stuck, only being able to help 10 people at a time. But if you were to invest in your infrastructure and all this kind of, these different types of work that are intended for you to be able to scale your work to do bigger and better things, then you're sure it's gonna be a little bit more expensive at first, but you're going to be able to help not some people, but a hundred or a thousand or ten thousand one hundred thousand. And I think that's the kind of strategic vision that is so important. And I think, you know, all of us need to just continue to talk to leadership at nonprofits and kind of try to educate and inform about the value and importance of digital work, which is, people just don't feel it when there's, if there's one hundred thousand people, go through your website. It's not the same if they look out their window and the one hundred thousand people in front of them that are supporting them. So it takes that kind of conversation and education to visualize it.

Justin WheelerTotally, and what's fascinating to me is if you like, compare a nonprofit that's doing phenomenal work that their product is saving lives or the environment or, you know, animals, whatever it might be. It's something that that, like most humans, would feel good about supporting right? And they have this product that they could market in such an effective way because it's so real. It's so compelling. In many cases, you would spend your disposable income on giving to an organization versus buying something if the story was told properly, if the story was presented in a way that Apple presents their products. Right. That's I think so important. And you hit the nail on the head in terms of, you know, just the investment mentality. That is such a problem has plagued so many nonprofits. A board that I set on with a very visionary CEO. Her name's Hannah Song, and she really understands that investments in storytelling lead to just greater impact. And so two years ago at a gala, she really wanted to bring the audience, she wanted the audience to understand what it would be like to live in North Korea. And so she hired this film crew. And it was an expensive project, but it was one of the most powerful, you know, representations I've ever seen. And as a result, you know, over $1,000,000 was raised that night. And so you're looking from an investment perspective that's like 10 to one, right? I get it. For every dollar invested in that video, you're going to return 10 on that. And so if we can help nonprofits understand, you know, when you make a good investment in something, whether it's video or digital, revenue can follow very quickly from it.

Ramy Nagy Everyone a nonprofit needs to remember is that when people spend their money on a product and they're getting a product back, you know, if you're buying sneakers, you're getting the sneakers, right? Yeah. But if you're giving money to a nonprofit, you're not getting anything in that sense. Maybe like feeling good about it. So really, then there needs to be even so much more emphasis on the value of your brand and your story, because that is what they are. People are connecting to is supportorting you on that work. And I mean, that's a great story about North Korea. I think often more than not, unfortunately, they do end up spending and they don't raise the million dollars, right? What happens next shouldn't be that OK, see we should not be spending anything at all. Let's just retreat, retreat! I think they should be doing is asking okay, let's debrief. What did not work about it this time. Should we try something else. And I think that's the culture that the people should also be embracing so that they, they don't just drop it, they don't only just support the things that just worked once and kind of shy away from trying something new that might not work.

Justin Wheeler Totally yeah. Not everything you do on the brand side or the digital has to drive revenue. Right. There's there is a huge significance and awareness building up your base, building up your tribe, investing in your tribe so that when you do have a very clear call to action or when you do need to raise support for something specific, you have already a trusted base of people who you know, who will support you and who will follow what you need. So I think that, yeah, you're absolutely right. It doesn't always have to be immediate donations to follow something on the brand side.

Ramy Nagy 100% I mean, I think a lot of times this is just on that point, something that's so specific to nonprofits that like annual cycle. You see it, too, unfortunately, too often where you have nonprofits that realize before their end of year fundraising that now they need to have brand awareness. Now they need to increase their, you know, their audience so that they now can you know, within the same week or two, we get to a successful end of year fundraising campaign. But the reality is January, if you're a year starts, then this is when it comms should be focusing on how do we grow our audience? How do we grow and tell people and educate them and inform them and raise awareness throughout the year. So that by end of the year, if that's kind of off your cycle, you have people that know what you do, care to support you, and when you say, when you actually have a call to action, they're actually ready to take that action. So and that and that's why the collaboration and just like work between communications and an online fundraising is so important. It's so, so important. And a lot of times in our work, we focus almost just as much on talking about how do these things work together throughout the year. We even go into the details of like, do we have cross-department meetings and calls and all these things to make sure that you have that infrastructure. Otherwise, it's never gonna be kind of like a silver bullet. You know, just one project, one event, one website, one campaign, that's going to make or break something.

Justin WheelerTotally agree. So I want to move onto a couple tactical questions. Any podcast, we do, I like to give out free advice to nonprofits. Some of these questions might be a little bit broad. So, feel free to kind of go in whatever direction you feel makes the most sense. But maybe like starting out, what's the most important things for a nonprofit to consider when building a new website? Like what would you say are the must-haves of a good website?

Ramy Nagy I would say and this might answer might be also equally kind of feel broad but it's very honest. I mean, the way we think of it at Madeo and the way I think of it myself is that you really need to have a great website. Think of it less as a project and think of it even less as an assets, as a property and think a lot more of it as a program, just as you do with all your other programs in your organization. And it might sound like a cop-out answer, but it's a very, true answer in the sense that someone might hear, oh, my God, this sounds like it's expensive. It sounds like we're not going to just build a website that's great and it's e expensive and then put it aside. It sounds like you want to continue to be spending money on this website. And it's money aside, it's just great websites are really the outcome of looking at it as the combination of everything that their organization does as your digital presence. So really, really, a great website serves a lot of different purposes and not just online fundraising in that sense. It can be a great tool for recruiting your best talent. That's why we partner with H.R. teams within the nonprofit and talk about their hiring goals, things that reflection about the culture of this thing. The same goes, obviously, for their events program or programing or like what they're actually doing sometimes. You know, people are applying to these services, maybe their education space, maybe they're in a lot of places where the people that they serve, the people that they're helping, are also the people that are using the website for one thing or another. Where they're applying for something, filling out some really learning directly through the website. So it needs to be this intersection of all the departments in that sense and if it's approached that way from day one, when you're considering kind of a redesign of the website and if it's approached that way on an ongoing basis where every quarterly meeting you have with your leadership or whether it's monthly or whenever that is the website becomes one of the items that you actually bring up on talk about, just as you would with everything else that's happening across the organization. That's how you ensure that it continues to be relevant and continues to do better. That aside, as an approach, you know, there's a lot of kind of I think there's some basic guiding principles that to make sure that your website is actually successful and is good. One of the first things at Madeo when we work with clients, we're very much about the user. First, we're going to be kind of accommodating a lot of different needs, you know, voices, personalities within the organization. But we think of the users and people first. In that sense, you want to make sure that your website is accessible. You want to make sure that the website is in that sense. Do you have an intentionally good experience on mobile, as you do on desktop and vice versa? Are you accessible and inclusive in that sense to people that have slower Internet and also upgrading your experience for those that have faster Internet? One of the things that kind of have been, you know, year over year is getting more and more attention is accessibility from the perspective of ADA compliance the same way in physical buildings making sure that in building those structures, they are accessible, that websites are accessible for people who have colorblindness. For people that have or other visual impairment and rely more on actually having the websites to be connected to a device to read the text. On one hand, you can approach it as compliance, I just need to do this so that I don't get in trouble and a lot of people have been getting in trouble in the sense of people demanding that their websites be accessible to them. But I think it's just also reflective of the organization's culture. Do you want to be an organization that is inclusive or do you want to be an organization that's not. So, these are kind of like the some of the foundational things that we make sure are there when we approach a project and definitely invite people to be looking at them and proactively looking at them, not just when they hear about it after the fact.

Justin Wheeler I love what you said at the beginning about organizations should treat their website like a program, not just another domain or asset. And organizations that have highly effective programs also have teams for monitoring and evaluating, you know, the success of those programs. Are they accomplishing what they were designed to accomplish? So how do you go about helping organizations understand sort of the success of their site? It's not just obviously about donations, but what are some other metrics that you look to, and it's probably different per organization, but how do you help organizations understand the effectiveness of their digital presence, specifically the website?

Ramy Nagy To that point, yeah it is different organization to organization. There are some kind of more health check kind of monitoring that we do on, you know, when we're we're engaged on an ongoing basis, or at least we invite the kind of organizations staff to be doing that, things like just even ongoing basis to be checking the performance of the site. Something that kind of does ensure that there was there continues to be just as accessible, just as functioning. Looking at things like Google Analytics on a monthly basis at least, if not more frequently. You're going to have that in terms of like the data will show you something. I think it gets to be more interesting, you know, when you have things like just one person, for example, going through the site says maybe your traffic hasn't spiked or something, but then because of it, they've done made a large donation. So you can't just one number and ignore the rest. You have to kind of have a full story. One of the things in terms of having it as a program in that sense is just even having the communication that happens on an ongoing basis that also captures the things that are much more anecdotal from the development when sometimes we've designed and developed and launched campaigns and online fundraising components, when you were reported on it at the end of the day through that campaign in and of itself, maybe at some point, remember that and it was low and the organization had hoped that they would raise maybe $10,000, that they raised $6,000. But then because of that conversation, ongoing basis, we actually heard that, you know, they heard from a number of donors offline. They saw it online and then wrote like a $50,000 dollar check for the organization that does not get captured when you are doing that kind of evaluation. But that's how life happens. Like you don't. It's not like the nonprofit's executive director is sitting with someone and then they bring out the checkbook on the table. I met with them and they came back with cash like that. Life doesn't happen like that. But for some reason, people kind of look at websites or digital KPIs or kind of digital indicators like that where they just look at it in and of itself. And I remember that's also in the relationship of like three years ago with social media when people would just look at Instagram and say, well, nobody is donating on Facebook or Instagram, why should we care, you know, so maybe we should drop it. And then the story obviously changed significantly over the last couple of years when Facebook kind of increases donations and all that. So the specific kind of KPI, like a performance like kind of indicators that we would be looking at, we're not as much looking at if you're just in charge of the website, you shouldn't put too much pressure on how many people are then visiting the site, because then that's going gonna be external, like there are some components to your SEO. How optimize the website is to bring people in and of itself. But that's why you need to rely on other programs like your email program, your social media program, press and other things that are going to bring people to know about the website and visit it. We care a lot about then when people land on your website, what is happening. One of the indicators that I invite people to look at is time spent on the page and how many pages did they visit. This is tricky when you just look into the abstract. Maybe your page is so good that people need quick information that visiting one page was good enough. But if it's the type of nonprofits where people get to learn about an issue and go deeper and deeper into layers, you wouldn't be looking at that. If you're seeing that people are visiting your site and 90% of them go somewhere, that there's clear that they're intended to kind of learn about something or take an action, that majority dropped off in the middle of that kind of journey. That's clear that that's when they started with the intention to do. Then you have something wrong there. So then you look at that and you say, OK. Now they're dropping off in the middle or dropping off at this point. And again, that's like a very fix it mentality. And we use that in terms of making sure things are fine. But there's the flip side as well of kind of a missed opportunity mentality or looking at Google Analytics or looking at the numbers proactively to ask, for example, if you're gonna have, let's say, an article, this is a made-up example, but it's very relevant with similarities to a lot of nonprofits. Let's say that you put a lot of effort. You publish things on your blog and then the question is, are you looking at like on a monthly basis or some reporting to see which blog post did well, which blog post did not do well, and to see the ones that did well, kind of have lessons learned. Off-line then to think about whether the structure, was the title, was it the length, was it the topic, was it the time that we published it? Let's learn from that. And let that inform how we write our blog in the future. Or maybe that your blog post in that sense is brought in a lot of people and the after your articles have to do about your mission and your work. Are you having CTAs that somewhere on that blog that actually is making an ask for donations? You know, like if you're you know, people are there, they're reading your article and they're very engaged. They want to learn about it. Are you then taking that opportunity not because something is broken, but to kind of take that opportunity and make the best use of it? So I think that for active ongoing and that's the kind of thing you can do in the center of a project when you launch and then just be hands off. I think that's the kind of thing where you need to be constantly engaged in what topics are people are paying attention to. 2020 is a great year for that. You can see how the topics that people are so focused on this year on specific topics. So this is when you need to realize that you need to equally adapt to what's going on.

Justin Wheeler Totally. I loved what you said. Also, about, and I talk to nonprofits that are all the time say the reason why they don't prioritize, like online fundraising or online ads is because it doesn't drive enough of a return. But it can be really hard to attribute a donation, you know, to maybe a specific ad or even your website, because if someone does take that action offline, there's no way of knowing. And so we get so fixated and, you know, we see these even in our own marketing efforts as a company where we run a bunch of ads, someone comes inbound, it looks organic, search, maybe SEO, but it's actually the result of an ad. We just don't know that because they switch devices or whatever. And I never really thought about that, that's happening all the time for organizations and donors where they're not able to properly attribute it because of these changes or the user changing devices or whatever it might be. And you also said something around just blogging and in keeping your website, you know, dynamic. How important is it for organizations to have a dynamic living website vs., you know, something that maybe gets updated once every six months or so?

Ramy NagyI think it's so important. And I think one of the things that, you know, I think one of the great things about having a website that's dynamic and a blog that, you know, like whether it's your news or your blog for that to stay dynamic and updated is that it is, again, you don't need to just look at individual blog posts and say, oh, we put so much effort into one individual blog post what's the return on that one blog post? I think it's more of a mentality of you are building your narrative across the board. And it is so much more efficient, actually, and so much more worthwhile to be putting that effort today as opposed to repeated every single day in a different email, in a different phone call, in a different manual, repeated way. I think I've seen this with so many nonprofits where someone might be referencing a blog post that someone read from two years ago or from a year ago, or it's ironic that I'm kind of referencing that but it's to say that everything that you're doing from two years ago, a year ago and every day has relevance today and in the future. I think it's more so important to build it into your skillset as an organization. It takes skillset. People think that if you just have a camera, you're a photographer. That's not true. IPeople think that if you have a website and a blog post, now you're publishing, you know, powerhouse. Sure, you have the tools to do it, but you people need to recognize that there's a learning curve, there's a learning curve of their approval process. It's painful to get approval process on everything that's being written for a blog post. It will only get easier as they do with more often. It's not going to get harder when they do it more often and when they learn how to do that, when you're doing that so consistently and so frequently, that's when you actually have a legitimacy of a voice to contribute when special events happen. When people just stay completely quiet off-line for six months and then whether, you know, political events take place, life events and anything that happens, and then they're like, OK, we need to make a statement, you know? And then it not only does it come across as disingenuous, it's actually a lot harder for them to know, how do we roll this out? How do we write this? How do we find our voice? So I think it's definitely just an exercise on, you know, a healthy way of external communication. And it can be a great tool to actually engage. A blog can be a great place for people across programing and different teams outside of just communications or online fundraising to contribute to the overall story of the organization and what they're working on.

Justin Wheeler Yeah, you know what you say there, it reminds me that a fundraiser for World Vision once told me the reason why he was so successful is because he became an expert in the problem that the organization was solving. And so he would go to donors and in his particular sort of realm, water, water, sanitation, he was a go-to expert. And donors trusted this individual because, you know, he was able to speak to all the nuances and so forth. I saw this play out at Liberty I n North Korea as well. An individual on staff that runs our Korea office, he's the go-to source for most media outlets when it pertains to, you know, current events happening in North Korea needs analysis because LINK has spent many years blogging and writing about, you know, what's happening and what this means, you know, and so forth. And so I've seen that play out in a few different ways and totally agree that the significance here is you stay relevant. You become a voice. And when the opportunity comes, you'll remember because of of the work that you that you put in. So, yeah, thank you. That was, I never connected that necessarily to blogging, but that triggered a few memories that I have that I was like, Oh! That's probably what led to some of these successes. OK. So a couple more questions before we wrap up. Thank you so much again for for being here. This has been super helpful. I know it's going to be helpful for so many nonprofits, but for organizations maybe who don't have the budgets to maybe run a full-scale rebrand or brand new website, where should they get started? They're hungry. They want to have a better online presence. They don't have necessarily today maybe the budget for where do they get started? Where would you recommend or advise that they start?

Ramy Nagy My answer to that and again, might not be super intuitive, but really hire the right people first. Even if your resources are very limited, ultimately, I think organizations are gonna be successful when they have the right team in place. Even if they go and kind of fundraise and as their board or get a grant and then have enough money to put it into a website, it really starts with, do they have the right team members. So what that means is it's so much better to have the right person with limited capacity as opposed to the wrong person with a lot of capacity. This is not to say anything negative about, for example, people that are junior or interns in general. We have a lot of great interns. We have a very reliable internship program at Madeo, but you can't just, you know, it would be better for you to find the right consultant, the right agency, the right team that is willing to work with you, even if it's few hours in a given month, but you have the right experts to be partnering with you. And then as your resources increase, then you're increasing, you know, the capacity for those excellent consultants to be working with you. So much better than to say let's just get one junior communications associate and let them wear the hats of a writer and the hat of like a website developer and a designer and they're going to be our, you know, know all, be all of all things. That poor communications associate is just running around trying to troubleshoot everything. They don't have room to grow to learn and if there's any nonprofit that is experiencing those, those junior team members get burnt out and then leave after a year or two and then you have to start all over again, it's because they also have it invested in them to have that kind of mentorship or learning, you know, when you work with the right consultants or work with the right agency, you're also having a lot of influence and exposure. Your team is going to learn from those people in terms of working with them. So a lot of times when we work with a nonprofit, let's say that that has a lot of limited resources instead of jumping straight into the big projects, we invite them where we get to work with them first on an ongoing basis to really investigate one kind of small piece of a program after another. You know, maybe it starts with just looking at what email tool they're using just how their program is. Like we would look at the different programs that are connected. We would kind of focus in on at least resolving some critical issues and then kind of start to ramp up as you validate that we are the right team, that things are working, invest further into a full rebrand or any website. Some of the projects that people look at when they visit madeostudios.com, or like they visit Madeo and they see are our clients, there's a lot more interesting backstory for a lot of them. You know, you look at something like, a rebrand of a nonprofit, a lot of the times are actually nonprofits come to us and say, we want to rebrand and we say, don't. Let us actually work with you with your existing brand for a little bit. Let's figure out why we need to rebrand. Let's figure out the underlying kind of structure of things. We've gone as far as sometimes work with clients for two or three years before we're saying, you know what I think is a good time to actually rebrand now. And there's a lot of support now built up over time within the organization. And it's very clear, laser focused idea of why we need to rebrand and towards what.

Justin Wheeler Man that there is so much gold in what you just said. I have met so many fundraisers that are also in charge of the website, in charge of the copy, in charge of social media. I think that what sets a 21st-century nonprofit apart from the rest are ones who specialize in their craft. And these are the organizations that you are seeing that can compete with brands like Nike or Levi's or, you know, insert any other major for-profit brand. It's organizations who are putting the people in the roles that they deserve to be in, that they are specialized, highly crafted in. These are nonprofits that will succeed in these areas. I just love that point you made there, because I think that is so important. And I also love your guys' approach to rebranding. I mean, and it would be you know, it's so honest, I feel, because the bigger project obviously is going to pay better. But to first say, like, let's see really what's wrong here. Let's understand a baseline of seeing where can we improve? And you know what should we tackle first. I just love that approach. And imagine, you know, it leads to very happy customers because you're getting to know really that the pain points in a very honest way.

Ramy NagyThank you for being very kind. But is very true. It's very, very true. I think it's really just different approaches. Everyone that's joined Madeo is of the mindset that when we work with an organization, we're becoming their partners and we're very select few. We don't you know, it's not like something we just say for every nonprofit, but we're very, very, very, very select few is where we see ourselves building a career. And just like anybody else that wants to actually build a career in a company or organization over the long haul. If that's your culture, that's how you going to approach it. If your culture is, you know, more on the side of like a gig approach of how do I get to accumulate more logos to put on my website of clients and add to my website and portfolio, and namedrop to future of clients, then it's not, then our Madeo approach is not very effective because we take a long, you know, like we work with a few people over the long haul, have that kind of patience that you would if you're really enjoying a company and want to build something for the long term.

Justin Wheeler I love it. So for nonprofits listening, I know they're there like, how do we get in touch? How do we hire Madeo to take on our online projects? So what's the best way for organizations to get in touch?

Ramy Nagy Thank you. Yeah. Any organization that wants to get in touch. Don't be shy. Just go to our website. It's www.madeostudio.com. Go to the contact page. We have an email as hig@ madeostudio.com. And we're also very active on Instagram. We kind of really like Instagram as a medium. It's also very visual. And we share a lot on Instagram, not just featured projects or polished case studies, we actually raise a lot of questions that we're having that we're debating which are work in progress. We share kind of more behind the scenes of what it takes to actually create something so so on Instagram as well. The handle is @madeostudio. But if you look at up online and get in touch, don't be shy. We're friendly. We're always of the mindset of like having a conversation first. Seeing if it is a good fit. We're also very open to listening and kind of sharing some advice, even if we're not officially hired.

Justin Wheeler Awesome. Ramy, thank you so much for spending this hour with us. Lots of lots of gold, lots of wisdom has been dropped. Excited to get this out and share it with the community. So thanks for joining us. And we look forward to following your guys' journey and continuing to work on our clients together. Thanks so much.

Ramy Nagy Yeah. It was so much fun. Thank you. Yeah. Excited.

Justin Wheeler Cool. Awesome.

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