Web Watch: Recovery.gov
In the video, Obama asks people to share stories, but even those who don’t want to spend the two minutes it takes to watch the video can participate via an easy-to-find “share your story” feature. Even though the site doesn’t yet say how those stories will be used, this invitation goes a long way in making people feel like they’re involved in the process.
Navigation along the right side of the site makes it easy to find information about individual states and governmental agencies. So if you want to see how, say, the Department of Education is spending its stimulus money, you just need to click through to its site. The same is true for individual state spending, with easy access to state recovery sites. These sites rarely have the same clean design of Recovery.gov, but mandating that each state and federal agency creates its own recovery page serves an important dual purpose: It encourages accountability from each department and state, while simultaneously building a culture of cooperation. In other words, each state or each department is part of a larger single effort. Recovery.gov seems to take this “e pluribus unum” concept seriously.
What does it mean for fundraisers?
Unlike the Obama campaign site, Recovery.gov has no fundraising component at all. So why are we discussing it in a magazine called FundRaising Success? How does it apply to your nonprofit site, particularly where fundraising is concerned?
The answer is simple: audience, audience, audience.
Every feature of Recovery.gov is about the audience. Many nonprofits, when writing for their Web sites, speak in organization-centric, internal language, instead of speaking directly to their audiences. This can alienate donors and participants, and during a challenging economy, the last thing any of you can afford to do is alienate your audience, particularly donors.
Never forget who your Web site serves. Remind yourself as you create every page of it. Use your site to engage your audience. Speak in clear, direct language — through video or copy — to let your audience know how it benefits from the site and your work in general. The Obama team has been masterful at audience-centric communications, and Recovery.gov is no exception.