Turning Fundraising on Its Head
From there, Hope now uses several website design best practices, with a search bar and telephone number in the upper-right corner; headers including "About Us," "Programs," "About Autism," "Ways to Help," "In the News" and "Contact Us"; as well as more navigation features below and in the footer, including an e-mail newsletter sign-up and other ways to take action to support the institute's mission.
The layout is clean, easy to navigate and sticky, with each subsequent page providing plenty of detail and engaging stories. Social-media badges are also prevalent throughout the website, making it easy for supporters to follow the Hope Institute on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
One of the best ways to drive traffic to the new, shiny website is through e-mail. When Brown joined the Hope Institute, the organization had begun looking for an e-mail marketing tool to help propel its e-mail strategy. In February 2010, Hope selected Constant Contact, using its e-mail and events marketing tools.
At the center of Hope's e-mail strategy is its Hopeful Futures monthly e-mail newsletter, which launched a year ago. Once a month, subscribers receive the newsletter in their inboxes detailing a story of one of the children the Hope Institute serves. This "Hopeful Futures" story is the main message of the newsletter, detailing where the child is from, the troubles and struggles that his or her family had before finding the Hope Institute, and where the child is today.
"The very first thing that recipients see is that story of hope," Brown says. "We typically put about the first half of the story inside the e-newsletter as a teaser and then provide a link to the rest of the story on our website. Everything is designed to get them to come back to the website."