Web Watch: Seedco
Seedco might extend the shelf life and value of important publications through a more interactive approach — a direction more and more organizations are adopting. For example, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation offers a great example of an interactive annual report. Rather than simply offering a downloadable PDF or even a Web-based version of the same content in its printed publication, the Knight Foundation takes it a few steps further. Visitors to its online annual report can:
* see stories of the organization’s impact;
* comment on the content;
* apply for support;
* examine financial information, including 990s;
* access previous reports; and
* e-mail the report to a friend.
Seedco’s relatively robust Press Room offers contact information for an actual staff person (a must if an organization wants to use its site to build relationships with members of the media), along with press releases from the past five years, success stories, bios of spokespeople, videos, photos and event information. But what if a donor wants to stay informed about newsworthy moments without coming back? How do we get on Seedco’s e-mail list? We’d like to see a “get our newsletter” button on every page, backed up by monthly, content-rich e-mails for subscribers.
Seedco offers a lot of good information throughout its Web site. To help visitors process it, the organization might consider a more Web-friendly approach to copy, such as using shorter paragraphs, headlines and subheads, and bullets. Most visitors will scan rather than read content word for word, so pushing the big ideas up to the top would help, too. (Check out Big Duck’s free podcast on this topic.)
We also found a lot of places where Seedco falls into the treacherous “jargon trap.” (See more on this topic here.) Visitors to Seedco’s site should be inspired, not confused or bored. Using industry terms might appeal to professionals and major funding institutions, but individuals connect to language that is familiar and reflective of their feelings and values.
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).