Engagement planning worksheets to engage your users and move them to action

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Engagement mapping worksheet

How can you use the web to engage your members, supporters or the public, and move them towards a specific action?

That's a common question from nonprofits who are diving into social media. Whether you're looking for your online visitors to contribute photos, forward your issue alerts, make a donation, or contact policy-makers, social media can be a powerful way of engaging your audience and driving them towards action.

But it's often hard for nonprofits to figure out how they can engage people effectively online. It's hard enough to get visitors to your site or social media presence, let alone drive them effectively towards action. In our session at NetSquared today, we used Social Actions as a case study in engaging online community participation, and shared two strategy tools that can help you make your nonprofit site more engaging. Today, we're releasing those tools to the nonprofit community under a Creative Commons attribution/noncommercial license.

  1. User profiles

    "Nonprofits", "seniors" or "businesses" don't visit your web site, log into your online community or post photos; individual people do. Sarah, the communications director of that nonprofit across town, logs into your web site. Kim, a grandmother living in Oregon, posts photos of the pothole in front of her house. Luisa, who owns a small deli, leaves a comment on your blog post. When you're trying to reach or engage an audience, you need to think in terms of the individual users who will be using your site, and look at your online presence from their perspective.

    Our user profile worksheet helps you get to know your target users. Download the worksheet, and complete at least one worksheet for each type of user you want to engage in your site. We find that getting inside the head of a typical user can help you identify the best ways of bringing them to your social media presence, and the content, tools or relationships you can offer to get them engaged.

  2. Engagement planning worksheet

    Engagement is a process, not a destination. It's helpful to think of a ladder of engagement that begins with your target audience finding your organization or site, and then moves them to a higher level of interest until they are ready to act.

    Our engagement planning worksheet helps you identify the steps that move your target audience from casual site visit to active participation. Complete a worksheet for each of the users you've profiled in the user profile worksheets. Each "rung" on the ladder should specify 1-3 content features, tools or activities that will appeal to the user you're targeting.

Together, the user profile exercise and engagement planning worksheet help you see your social media presence from your users' perspective. By offering the content, tools or relationships that your audience members care about, you can move them towards the actions and results you need.

Need help? Let us help you find your engagement opportunities.

The Social Signal team can help you identify the social media approach or features that will engage your users and move them up the ladder of engagement. Complete a user profile worksheet and an engagement planning worksheet for up to three different user types, and send them to us for review. We will:

  • review your web site or social media presence to assess your online message and focus
  • analyze your worksheets to understand your audiences and target actions
  • schedule a call or video meeting to review your engagement planning worksheets and discuss the steps you have envisioned for moving your users to action
  • deliver a memo summarizing the 3-5 social media promotions, tools or content features that will be most effective at moving your target audiences from interest to action


sharon says

May 28, 2009 - 10:10am

Thanks Alex, Social Signal and Social Actions!  We really enjoyed creating "Helen", our user profile for a non-profit program manager at atcaa.org. It was eye-opening to have all of the group brainstorm Helen's needs in new ways. Thanks for sharing your process, contacts and ideas -- great stuff!


Brent MacKinnon says

July 9, 2009 - 10:50pm

Hi Alexandra,

Thanks for sharing those two tools and all the thinking that went into them. I can see how I might use them with some of the work I'm doing with non profit groups and networks. There is growing interest in more social media for non profits in my area (GTA - York Region). The notion of nurturing/supporting communities via online community building is becoming more a reality as community leaders see the potential for reaching their communities via social media. There are many challenges going forward but your tools are practical, logical and clear. Well done. I will keep the fee scale in mind as I work with these local organizations.

Brent MacKinnon

Marc-Oliver Gern says

August 26, 2009 - 12:20pm


Its just aweseome whats on your web site. You provide so many useful notes and documents. I would like to take the opportunity to add a link to a document I created just lately which also deals with Personas and "User Profiles" (2ndly with User Profiles, cause you can only have them, when u have an existing web site. In this case you prob need a content audit as well). So lets start with Personas. Dont forget about the people who have some sorts of disabilities – with that in mind you can create a much better user experience design and will notice that video content is not always useful for everybody. Ok – here we go.


Sunny Wishes from Gene at Main Street.

Marc-Oliver :: http://rosetta-orbit.com

User Strategies are also a great Method: http://johnnyholland.org/magazine/2009/08/user-stories-a-strategic-design-tool/

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