Lancaster Yeshiva Center
Unlike print, online communications can instantly communicate to the world at a relatively low cost. In the past 10 years, organizations with fairly specific audiences (for example, those serving a particular neighborhood, faith or point of view) have been able to welcome the world to their (virtual) doorsteps.
The mission of the Lancaster Yeshiva Center, which operates with an annual budget of approximately $227,000, according to GuideStar, is to “provide post high school age students with Torah education and vocational training.”
We were fascinated by the idea of a Jewish enclave doing vocational work in the midst of Amish Country in Lancaster, Pa., and decided to check it out. With a little digging, we discovered that Lancaster Yeshiva Center helps Jewish boys who have lost their way find it again, through the combination of learning a trade and studying Torah.
Ultimately, this small organization is all about having a transformative impact on a specific audience that needs help. Sound familiar? This is a story many organizations strive to tell, so let’s see how Lancaster Yeshiva Center is doing at telling it online and what other organizations can learn from it.
The organization excels with its warm and welcoming images. In fact, the photography on the site is probably its strongest aspect, particularly on the homepage and staff page. Staff members look friendly and approachable, which is important to reassure parents and prospective students alike, especially since the school is “live in.”
We’d love to see this same warmth in the copy throughout the site — perhaps shared through success stories, profiles or testimonials from past students. Communicating the “warm fuzzy” of the organization, particularly through individual storytelling, has been proven effective to raise money — but many smaller organizations often overlook this simple opportunity.
Here are a few other low-cost suggestions Lancaster Yeshiva Center (and other small organizations) might employ to make the site more welcoming in other areas and, therefore, reflective of its transformative work: