There are a group of widgets designed to spark conversation or interactivity on your site or blog. These include voice messages, IM widgets, audience polls and others. Audience poll widgets seem to be more widely in use by nonprofits. Some good polling widgets include Vidzu and PollDaddy.
- You can do a general reader survey, such as the nonprofit tech blog
- You can connect it to content in a post such as the Bamboo Project
- Or you can connect to the key goals of your blog, say, Save Guimaris
There are many widgets that allow you take content from one site or location on the Web and easily republish it elsewhere. The best examples are the widgets or badges provided by well-established services such as Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, and others. If you are already using one of those services and want to integrate content onto your blog or website, check on their website first. They might not be calling it a widget. Some refer to them as "badges." Simply look in the "help" section of your favorite social site.
Fundraising is the life's blood of nonprofits and is another area of active experimentation using strategies called "personal fundraising." Think citizen donor, citizen philanthropist. Widgets, charity badges, blog fundraising plugins allow your supporters to become messengers for your cause. The shift is now from the organization raising money to the supporters taking on that role/responsibility. The widget just helps people track their commitment and shows progress being made.
Sucessfully using widgets to realize outcomes is a matter of experimentation and learning. Above all, the widget needs to be connected with your blog's or website's content, readers' interests, or to amplify conversation. The best way to get started is to pick a few widgets, install them, and track them over a period of a month or so. Figure out if your strategy is bringing in new traffic, generating more comments/activity on your blog, or making visitors take action. If not, don't be afraid to ditch it.