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Online Strategies for Non-Profits

We’ve had the pleasure of working with some great non-profit organizations this year. Following are some questions you might want to ask yourself if you are thinking of redeveloping your organization’s website in the coming year.

Is social media important to my organization?

Social media can be helpful, but only if you’re using it for the right reasons. For non-profits, social media is about building relationships, raising awareness and keeping your ear to the ground. Listen and engage! This may not convert directly to new donations or new volunteers, but it may be hugely valuable to developing your next ad campaign, learning about public opinions and educating people about your cause. Ask yourself exactly what you want to accomplish via your social media channels and develop a strategy before you jump right in.

What is e-governance?

Your Board of Directors is an incredibly important asset to your organization, but are they operating efficiently? Board portals allows board members to log in to view meeting agendas and minutes, confirm meeting times, participate in committee workrooms and much more with much less administration than the usual rounds of group emails and hours required to keep everyone up to date and in the loop. There are expensive software solutions to this end or you can start by having a password-protected page where Board members can access information, requiring much less admin time for your staff.

Who will update the new website?

Make sure your new site is built using a content management system! (CMS) This means once the site is built, your developer hands it over and you have the ability to make updates and changes in-house without incurring extra charges. There are many solutions out there, depending on your needs. At ZenHouse Media, our preferred CMS is Wordpress, an internationally renowned and sophisticated platform known for its easy-to-use back-end and huge availability of community-developed themes and plug-ins, allowing for rich customization. A system like this allows you or your staff to independently update the content of your site. You just won’t have to pay a developer or company to do things like post pictures from your most recent gala fundraiser or add an FAQ section about volunteering in Bolivia. Unless of course you want to ;)

Who is my audience?

  • • donors
  • • alumni
  • • members
  • • volunteers
  • • parents
  • • government agencies
  • • corporate sponsors
  • • grant makers
  • • potential volunteers/board members/other stakeholders
  • .

    Write down all that apply, and all the ones we’ve missed, too. Who do you need to reach out to more than anyone else? Be very clear about your target audience when you start redeveloping your website and bring this list to the table when you meet potential web developers.

    What am I trying to accomplish with my website?

    Make them FIND you. Consider SEO and online marketing to make sure your beautiful website gets found!

    Make them STICK to you. Once a user comes to your website, do you have updated content? Fun stuff like videos? A slideshow? Relevant, current content? If not, those folks are going to leave your site within 30 seconds and they might not come back.

    Make them JOIN you! Use call to action buttons that make it easy for viewers to sign up for the e-newsletter, sign up to be a volunteer, or donate through Paypal.

    Make them TALK about you. And make it easy for them, too! This means share buttons, Facebook like buttons so that people can spread the word effortlessly. Post interesting information. Become an authority on your cause so that people come to your site to learn.

    Web design and user architecture standards will help you navigate this terrain and come out with a website that is working effectively for your organization, whatever its needs. Let’s get started!

    Create and Build your own Updatable Website Today


    We are offering a one day course to teach you how get your website up and running in a hands-on workshop. Learn how to register a domain name, set-up hosting and install a robust content management system using Wordpress to customize and control the look and feel of your self-updatable website. We will briefly discuss how to integrate simple e-commerce solutions, Search Engine Optimization for high google ranking and the role of Social Media in your website. Whether you want photos and text, PayPal buttons or a Twitter feed, we can show you how to do it. Updating your website is as easy as writing emails if are willing to learn. The best part is this saves you money and gives you a long term skill, perfect for a start up business, or a portfolio site. This is a $2000 value. If you have any questions, please email us. Cost of domain name registration and hosting not included.


    Saturday, May 14th 10am - 4:00pm
    $495 plus tax
    Only 5 spots available

    We are a web design company in Vancouver. To see our portfolio go to www.zenhousemedia.com
    Taught by our web developer Miranda Ting, who has a degree from UBC and The Art Institute in Web Development. She has been working at ZenHouse since 2009.


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    Vote for us!

    ZenHouse Media has entered the Scotiabank Small Business Big Impact Challenge to be recognized for our community-oriented work. In order to win, we need lots of votes and you can vote up to once per hour until April 30th!!

    As you may know, we have worked along with the Granville Island business community in conjunction with the GIBCA since May 2009 to support this wonderful and diverse community in an effort to see it be maintained and grow into the future.

    Visit this link to VOTE FOR US: http://bit.ly/gOfcug

    Thank you for your support!

    From all of us at ZenHouse Mediaimage

    Have You Been PuShed? PuSh Int’l Performing Arts Festival Pushes Vancouver Into its 125th Year With Yesterday Evening’s Opening Gala



    This year’s PuSh Festival is a salutation to Vancouver’s 125th birthday celebration, looking at questions of urban experience, the everyday, our history and civic identity. Last night’s gala was a snapshot of what audiences can expect from PuSh this year: diverse, genre-bending, multi-disciplined, startling and original performances from the mysterious ladies in white to flamenco to the charged performance by The Zolas.

    We checked out the Vancouver is Awesome installation about Vancouver’s neighbourhoods. Seems like everyone is asking this question these days. What do you love about your ‘hood?

    The gala took media one step further with digital and video content lining the walls of Five Sixty, where the event took place. We’re talkin’ walls, photo booths and yes even the bathrooms had video content running next to the mirrors. PuSh is clearly a happenin’ festival that is staying true to its mandate to “engage and enrich audiences with adventurous contemporary works in a spirit of innovation and dialogue.”

    We can’t wait to see some of the acts this year with artists from home as well as from Australia, Argentina, France and beyond, from video installations to free dance performances in the street and post-performance talkbacks at Performance Works on Granville Island.

    Congratulations to everyone at PuSh from ZenHouse Media, we love what you’re up to. As executive director Norman Armour says, “the arts have always been, and always will be, right here at the centre of civic life. One only needs to look, listen, read.” With the Olympics gone and a significant birthday upon us, Vancouver is craving this stuff and now is the time to remind ourselves what it is at the centre of civic life that makes a city tick. Go get ‘em, PuSh!

    For more info, tickets and programming visit http://pushfestival.ca/

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    A few of us at ZenHouse Media attended the Art to Boot fundraiser last night at Granville Island Brewery to support our friends, Charity and Dianna of I Heart Van Art. It was a total blast with incredibly creative boot designs and the auction raised a good sum of money, which will go straight to I Heart Van Art to support the local arts community. We were happy to see our boot submission, the Fire Flyers go to a good home and thoroughly enjoyed all the other fantastic boot designs too!

    We enjoyed live music by Shine’ on didgeridoo and other local musicians including Kat Hendrix, Thomas Morgan, Blake Havard, Katrina Mae and a special performance by music legend Jim Byrnes, whom we got the pleasure of meeting and getting our photograph with.

    The photobooth was a blast, complete with props and was a source of endless entertainment! Thanks to Blundstone Boots for putting on such a great event in support of a very worthy cause, to help local Artists to thrive, especially in the face of government funding cuts and keep contributing to the rich cultural fabric of this fine city!

    Biennial International Miniature Print Exhibition (BIMPE)

    Beautiful, varied, inspired art from around the world, wine and cheese, speeches, a raffle, ladies in extravagant hats and men in kilts- what more could you hope for at an art opening? A few of us from ZenHouse attended the opening for the 6th annual BIMPE at the Federation Gallery on Saturday. It was a great success and an impressive show featuring a juried selection of 300 miniature prints selected from over 10,000 entries from all corners of the world. ZenHouse Media helped sponsor the event by designing the catalogue, posters and postcards, as well as selling raffle tickets at the opening!

    From traditional techniques of etching to contemporary digital processes, this exhibition is an exciting competition of inspiring printmakers from around the world. BIMPE is held every two years in Vancouver, British Columbia and receives tons of submissions and juries each print before showcasing it into the collection of only 300 pieces.  If you’re in Vancouver, be sure to check out the exhibition at the Federation Gallery on Granville Island.

    This year there are 3 venues:

    September 7th – 26th, 2010 at Federation of Canadian Artists Gallery on Granville Island

    Month of October at Dundarave Print Workshop on Granville Island

    Month of November at SNAP in Edmonton, Alberta.

    For more information, visit the BIMPE website.

    A manufacturing company shows their personality with a cutting edge website design!

    Fairview Conveyor Services Inc. gets a web presence with style! They will certainly stand out in their industry, where manufacturing companies tend to play it safe, or don’t give much thought to brand image and marketing. ZenHouse Media designed and developed the new Fairview Conveyor website with this in mind, really exploring and expressing the manufacturing company’s dynamic personality and unique approach to business in the company’s fun and colourful brand image. The founder of the company, Marcel Fournier, is known for his impeccable three-piece suits in an industry where coveralls are commonplace and jackets and ties are rare. Equally impeccable are the products they produce, from conveyor belt systems to bucket elevators and other stainless steel machinery primarily manufactured for the food industry, all custom built and installed without so much as a fingerprint blemishing the final product. Fairview Conveyor takes pride in the quality and ease of use of their final products, characteristics they were happy to see reflected in their brand image and website.

    Fairview Conveyor Homepage

    ZenHouse Media also created a playful animation on the homepage to show Fairview’s potential clients how many different kinds of products they are able to provide custom solutions for. A snappy video shot and edited by ZenHouse Media displays the machines in action and custom photography showcases the work that Fairview Conveyor has done to date. The whole site is built using ZenHouse Media’s powerful in-house content management system that allows the client to update the site easily themselves.

    We are excited to launch this fantastic new website and we are looking forward to witnessing the continued growth and success of this unique company!

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    ZenHouse Media launches a new website and video for OpenRoad Scion!

    OpenRoad Auto Group is welcoming Scion vehicles to Canada in September with the construction of two new dealerships, OpenRoad Scion Richmond and OpenRoad Scion Port Moody. They asked ZenHouse Media to build a site to tell everybody the good news and to feature their modified Scion xB, O-zilla, which will be roaming the streets and various events throughout the summer.

    ZenHouse created a video featuring the “Birth of O-zilla”, which demonstrates some of the endless possibilities of how far you can go to customize your own OpenRoad Scion. We had a blast with the editing and custom sound design for the video, which had our audio engineer, Erin Hope-Goldsmith recording a few of us ROARING into a microphone! Can you guess whose ROARS we used?

    The site also features custom social media integration with an Events feed that links to RSVP on Facebook. A Facebook “Like Box” encourages fans to join OpenRoad Scion on Facebook, and the contest entry form is powered by Google docs for simple, yet powerful contact management.

    Tonight, join the OpenRoad Scion Street Team at the Summer Night Market in Richmond! Come check out O-zilla in person! The pop-up LCD TV’s and rear DJ booth will blow your mind!

    ZenHouse Media is cooking up some exciting ideas with I Heart Van Art for a city-wide LOCAL ARTS and CULTURE initiative. Check it out:

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    Support Haiti, buy art!

    Lotus Land Arts Group (www.lotuslandarts.com) is exhibiting at One World Art Show & Haiti Fundraiser, which aims to continue awareness and support for Haiti’s relief. “One World” with 65 exhibiting artists and over 40 sponsors takes place at Science World – 1455 Quebec St, Vancouver, BC, this Saturday May 1, from 7:30pm-1:30am.

    100% cash from the silent auction and sponsored live paintings is
    donated to Haiti’s relief through Safewater Nexus.

    Buy your tickets today! http://ow.ly/1DM65