The Digital Doorway


I just got off of a webinar hosted by The Nonprofit Times and Rachel Clemens of Mighty Citizen that was chock full of great reminders and new ideas about what a nonprofit website should include.  I would venture to add that some of these tips that Rachel shared would also translate nicely for small businesses.

Here is a summary of my takeaways from the session. Things and ideas that really hit home for me when it comes to simple ways to maximize your website, your digital doorway to your organization.

There’s no getting around it: more and more people are using the website to donate, especially using their mobile phones.  Some clear questions about how easy is it for that visitor to give you money and in some cases, how easy is donating to your organization if they are using their phone.  The more work they do, the less likely they are going to do it.

The messaging of you are conveying on your site must hit three points:

  • Why are you doing what you are doing?
  • How is it making a difference?
  • What can I do to help?

One point that Rachel shared stopped me in my tracks: your website is NOT a tool to use to bring awareness to your organization.  There are other things that do that by bringing people to your site. Once there, the job of the site is to get them engaged based on what you prioritized as the key message point.  What the real question is, why do you need to grow awareness?  This ties right into your ‘why’!

I was also fascinated to hear her recommend that those (pesky – my word) sliders or rotating images on websites are actually a real no-no because they are too distracting to visitors.  I know from my own experience, I’ve been sucked in to try and recapture one of the passing images and clicking my way to find it, temporarily why I even came to the site in the first place. She shared a URL to check out to make the point. Click here to check it out.

There were several other great ideas that were shared in today’s session.  Here is a link to their summary of the best websites they have spotted this year. You can also easily navigate to other pages on their site to learn more about their services. Start with this general information today to get your digital doorway ready for your next visitor. If I can be of service, please drop me a line!





Social Media

My leveraging your message on a social media channel that makes sense for your work in the world, you can build an audience through engagement.  Different channels are used for different purposes and we can come up with a strategy that works for your mission or services. I look forward to talking with you about your options!

The Basics of Your Website

Without a doubt, no matter what the size of your organization is, you must have a website.  I recently read that 55% of people will search online for reviews and recommendations before making a purchase with 47% visiting the company website. If you do not have a web presence, you are missing out on a lot of connections.  Your website is your digital front door and in order to do business, you must have one.

The following are the key ways to create the best digital presence:

  • Have a least a basic website
  • Make sure it is visually appealing
  • Must be usable on mobile devices
  • Make transactions as simple as possible
  • Your content must be interesting and updated on a regular basis
  • Engage with the community on social media

Hiring someone to build a website for you doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg to get your digital presence established.  There are several website builders that offer an assortment of visually appealing designs.  It is also important to invest in a domain name that represents your work in the world. Some basic things to include in the design is placement of your logo, the colors and fonts you use, and quality photography.  All of these things lead to an exciting first impression for visitors.

Social media channels are also a must when building awareness about your services and mission.  There are several channels out there and some work better for certain types of services.  For example, if you are a property manager or real estate broker, Instagram is a must, where as if you are a consultant, LinkedIn is your best bet.

As you start creating your digital presence, have a clear idea of what kind of messaging your are trying to convey in your images and your text.  There are many options for people to check out but the first step is making sure you are in the (digital) neighborhood!



Creating A Website That Keeps Them Coming Back For More

Sometimes it is a challenge to keep up-to-date on the latest best practices when it comes to your website.  I am always looking at ways to improve my client’s sites to be more engaging and to boost their SEO.

Photo by Crew on Unsplash

If we all had a million dollars, we could hire someone to work on that stuff 40 hours a week (and if you do have a million bucks and are looking to hire someone to help with your digital presence, please drop me a line!) but the reality is, most small businesses or nonprofits don’t have that kind of capacity.

That leads me to the purpose of this post: what are some of the easiest things you can do to at least be in the game of relevance?  Well, I look to the internet myself to find new ideas and I want to share them with you here.

I came across this site – Double the Donations – that offered some solid common sense on the topic and here is a bit of a summary for you, but to read all the details, here is the link.

#1 – Get a CMS
Bite the bullet and invest in a content management system so you know how to connect with the visitors to your digital front door in a thoughtful way. It will help you manage your data so you can do more of what you really want to do.

#2 – Be Mobile Friendly
I don’t know about you, but if I am looking up someone’s website on my cellphone and I can’t read it because it sin’t formatted for such a device, I just close it out and move on.

#3 – Make It Easy
Another thing I look for is how easy it is to click around a website and if the tabs or menu is a challenge to find, I feel frustrated and might you go looking elsewhere for my information.

These are the top three points made in the online article.  There are 11 more tips to consider as well.  Read the entire article here.

There is no getting around it: every business and nonprofit MUST have a website and it MUST be user-friendly.

“A successful website does three things:
It attracts the right kinds of visitors.
Guides them to the main services or product you offer.
Collect Contact details for future ongoing relation.”
― Mohamed Saad

Book: Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World

I heard about Gary Vaynerchuck’s 2013 book, Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World, while listening to the RISE podcast by Rachel Hollis.  She spoke so highly about it that I checked it out of my local library to see what I could use as takeaways for my own work as a content creator.

Here is a summary of what I lifted out of the book that might be of interest to you as well.  Admittedly, his style of writing didn’t engage me very easily but I did learn a few things which is the point, right?

There are so many social media channels out there and a whole bunch of new ones being created as you read this!  What I liked in this book was Gary’s simple explanation of how each of these channels are best used:

  • Facebook is all about making friends. Sharing content is the best way to gain a presence.
  • Twitter is the channel to share news and information. It is all about the hashtags.
  • Tumblr is for the artsy crowd.

He writes that ‘social media is the fastest growing marketing sector getting people’s attention.’ That was five years ago and I suspect it is still very much the case.  Bottom line: if you are a business owner or a nonprofit, you have to engage in social media.

Some key suggestions he shared:

  • Keep your call to action simple and easy to understand.
  • Craft content for all types of devices.
  • Respect the nuances of the channel being used to convey to message.
  • Look for topics that are trending and incorporate in your posts.

Native content is key.  What we put on those channels needs to look and sound like other content that is appearing on it. And, as always, good storytelling is a non-negotiable.

Whether you can spend 40 hours or 40 minutes a week on social media, come up with a plan that makes sense for your organization.  If your business or service is a visual one, then Instagram is your best bet, for example.  My tip:  craft a calendar of activities so you are regularly engaged on your channels.  This includes your own posts but also remember to interact with other activity on the channel, too.  No one likes it when you talk too much.



Your Organization’s Front Door

I work with several clients who own small businesses.  It is a one person shop so they don’t have the resources to hire a full-time content creator to manage their website and social media, let alone produce a podcast about their services.  In my role, I review their websites for link issues and write blog posts to up their SEO presence.  There are many ways (and many hours to do them) to up your SEO game, but small businesses don’t have the bandwidth to dedicate resources to that effort.  However, your website serves as your digital front door for anyone in the world to access your organization’s offerings. But if they don’t find, how can they knock and stop by for a visit?

My philosophy is, if you just do a few things, it goes a long way.  You have to keep updating your site so it relevant in the ever-changing digital landscape.  And, from what I hear, Google adores fresh content. Content also represents your brand, your message to potential clients.  Don’t get me started on algorithms! Using keywords and tags will also deepen your presence on the internet.

If you are looking for support for a website audit, blogging, or social media support, drop me an email.  I’d like to talk with you about some strategies that may help your business!


Class: Now What? Getting ready to produce your podcast and take over the world

Podcasting is a great way to share information, whether it has a local or global perspective.  If you have just starting producing your show – or you are thinking about launching one – this is going to be a very helpful session for you!

I have over two decades’ experience in the world of radio and producing other audio content.  A few months ago, I launched an audiozine called Artclectic New England. It spotlights arts, culture, and lifestyle in the region.

You can listen to it here:

This two class session will feature tips and tricks on how to rock your podcast because it is all about the planning, the execution, and the distribution so you can share it with the world.  Here are some of the things we will be talking about: interview prep, working with a co-host, creating an editorial calendar, creating a script – just to name a few.

This class has been cancelled.

Contact Information
Dennise M. Kowalczyk
dmkcreative619 (at)

Note: payments are non-refundable.

My Bio
I got my start in the world of community radio as a volunteer at XPN in Philadelphia, PA and really went to town with my new passion at KBOO Community Radio in Portland, OR. I was an on-air programmer for a women’s music show and a news department volunteer.  The latter led to a role as an actual employee as the Evening News & Public Affairs Director (probably my favorite job. Ever.). Most recently, I host and produce a segment called BroadBand that airs in a show called The Politics of Living.  I also host and produce a new podcast called Artclectic New England.

Podcast Production

Podcasts are a fantastic way to share stories and information about your mission or services.

I have two decades of experience in audio production, interviewing skills, and production.  I would love to talk with you about options to share your story!

November 2019 – I co-founded the RI Podcasters Meet Up.  Are you a podcaster based in Rhode Island? Are you someone curious about starting a podcast? Join us to chat about your ideas, challenges, and successes. It is an opportunity to share information on podcast creation and marketing, too. It will also be a fantastic way to connect with other podcasters as we grow this community of creatives!

Learn more here.

I currently host and produce a podcast called Artclectic New England.  It spotlights arts and culture in the region.

“I had a blast working with Dennise on this podcast — the conversation was in-depth, but felt very free and easy. Dennise asked interesting, informed questions, and that allowed me to dig a little deeper with my responses. I had a great time!” 

— Tyler Dobrowsky, Associate Artistic Director – Trinity Rep

Grant Writing

Creating the tools to best manage your calendar and materials help you be more successful in securing grant funds for your nonprofit.

Reviewers of proposals are not only looking for followed instructions, they are also looking for compelling storytelling to make the case for your program.

I have a decade’s experience in all areas of grant-writing and look forward to hearing from you about your grants needs!