Web Watch: Seedco
This month we’re looking at seedco.org, the Web site of Seedco, a national nonprofit that creates new and sustainable economic opportunities for low-income Americans. We anticipated a site that reflects the organization’s principles of community, progress and results. What we found was one that offers solid information about the organization itself, but lacks some of the more compelling aspects of online engagement that inspire a donor to invest.
Let’s look at Seedco’s homepage from a donor’s point of view. Sections labeled “About Seedco,” “Our Work” and “Our Partners” offer a topline view of the organization, with its main program areas (workforce development, asset building, business assistance and community finance) highlighted along the bottom. There’s a map of the United States with stars that display city locations and link to specific pages of Seedco’s local offices, a listing of recent headlines from Seedco’s media hits, and content titled “What’s New” that isn’t really (it highlights what appear to be older publications, with no real news).
Finally, on the right, we get a taste of Seedco’s personality through a smallish image of a client and a video about the organization. As first-time visitors and would-be donors, we gained a high-level overview of the organization’s work areas, locations and core publications, but very little that sparks an emotional connection. It all sounds impressive, but where are the stories about people and impact? And where’s the “Donate Now” button? It seems we’ll have to work hard to make a donation.
The 2006 Annual Report (downloadable as a PDF from the homepage) includes “Success Stories,” which offer more inspiration and personal connection. There are other stories on the site, too — if you’re willing to dig for them. Why not push this content up to the top of the homepage to make it more accessible? Perhaps using pictures or videos of the people in the communities served?
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).