Weave Your Web Wisely
Weave Your Web Wisely
FS Advisor: Oct. 11, 2005
By Sarah Durham and Ali Kiselis
Who knew the success of a nonprofit and that of a spider hang on a common thread? A spider’s life, much like a nonprofit’s campaign, relies heavily on the strength of their Web and how well it integrates into their environment. An intricate Web design takes careful planning and resources, but it can pay off time after time as an effective means to attract and retain visitors. And while we don’t want to spin this comparison too far, our eight-legged friends raise an important fundraising reminder: When you wisely weave your organization’s Web site into a campaign, there’s a better chance of making donors stick.
The range of content provided by a nonprofit’s Web site makes it an effective cultivation and stewardship tool. It must be dynamic, have depth and, most importantly, open up two-way communication with the visitor. When people use the site to get or share information, they’re much more likely to respond to an annual or other appeal. But how do you get them there in the first place?
Tip: Tickle Them
Like a spider’s highly structured web, campaigns are strongest when they integrate all of the resources at your organization’s disposal. Many organizations call it “channel integration” when print, Web and spoken communications support each other. For instance, e-mail is a great “tickler.” Before a campaign’s official kick-off, an e-mail from your executive director or a board member that is concise, articulate and on-message can be a great way to create campaign momentum and steer people to your Web site or get them to take a second look at your direct-mail appeal.
Middletown, Ohio-based Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy, an organization that works to improve the quality of life and long-term outlook for individuals affected by Duchenne and Becker Muscular Dystrophy, is a great example of an organization that maintains two-way communication with its constituents by wisely weaving its Web into an integrated annual fundraising, advocacy and programs campaigns.
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).