Web to the Max
The Web is fast-paced and dynamic. Blogs, YouTube, social media, RSS feeds and online communities are changing the way nonprofit organizations engage their constituencies. But it takes time and resources to maintain an organization’s Web site — let alone implement Web 2.0 strategies. And the progression of Web-based tools for constituency engagement leaves some professionals scratching their heads.
If this sounds like your organization, don’t panic. The great news is that you recognize the Web as a critical part of your fundraising strategy. So let’s start with the Web site and resources you have. You can move your organization’s Web site forward, even by taking small steps at a time.
Design and content
The foundations of a solid Web presence are relevant content, site design, style and tone. The best sites have a clearly defined target audience, but they also may provide information for other constituencies. When using the Web as a fundraising and donor-engagement tool, give donors the information they want from your organization. They shouldn’t have to look elsewhere, such as Charity Navigator or GuideStar, for those details. Make it easy for them to find it on your site.
Along with providing relevant information, your Web site should make people want to stay. A great way to do this: having calls to action, such as contacting their congresspeople, attending a community event, volunteering or finding Fluffy — a new kitten at the shelter — a home.
Another great source of engagement is a “rate this page” feature that allows visitors to tell you whether they found what they searched for on your site. Rating information can provide great direction for making content and site improvements.
Like other forms of marketing, the Web has design aesthetics and best practices. If you’re not a Web-savvy person, find someone — volunteer, board member, etc. — who can give you guidance. The Web isn’t going away, so make costs associated with updates, consultations, redesigns and new tool implementation part of your marketing and fundraising budgets.