Small Nonprofit Goes Big Online
While all these engagement options are terrific, that piecemeal experience can send a subtle signal to a donor that an organization isn’t fully up to capacity. In our experience, that perception can impact the size of gifts over time, since donors are less likely to invest big in something that doesn’t appear to be fully buttoned up.
(By the way, organizations with deeper pockets solve this problem by either investing in a one-stop-shopping, back-end software solution such as Convio or Democracy In Action, or by investing in custom programming to tie it all together seamlessly.)
Here’s something KCA (and you) can do that won’t cost much money or take much time: Edit your copy for the Web. Many organizations are in the habit of repurposing printed text online, without editing it for the reading preferences of Web visitors. When it comes to reading your material online, people are much more likely to skim. To accommodate this behavior: State your conclusion up front rather than waiting for the end; be concise; use bullets; add detailed (but short) headlines for paragraphs; and generally just make the reader’s job as easy as possible. KCA has done a nice job in how it presents its content on its homepage, but many of the pages within the site are several screens long, which could annoy site visitors or provoke them to leave the site for one that gives them the information they need more quickly.
Let’s talk about design
KCA has set up a very simple, clear structure that lays out the menus and navigational structure in obvious places, which is great. The last thing I need, if I’ve been diagnosed with kidney cancer and want help, is to get frustrated digging around through obtuse navigation.
We suggest adding more “warm fuzzies” here: pictures of real people with cancer — not just black-and-white stock photos — and profiles of real patients, donors, scientists and others who are a part of the KCA community. Bringing in this real element will help the organization connect with its audience in ways beyond the message board and, along the way, cultivate a desire to give back.
Sarah Durham is president of Big Duck, a New York City-based branding, marketing and fundraising firm for nonprofits. She serves on the boards of the National Brain Tumor Society and the New York Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP).