Helping Nonprofits Communicate

message. solicit. impact.

Nonprofit Communications Commandment #2: Have An Up-to-Date Website

Thou Shalt Always Have An Up-to-date Website

Websites can cost your organization time and money.  It’s possible you haven’t updated your website in a year or two because of that very reason. With the explosion of ipads, tablets and the mainstream of smart phones it’s important to do a quick spot check to make sure your website is still effective. Many judge your organization by your website – are you confident in the message you’re sending?

photocred: 123rf.com

photocred: 123rf.com

The rest of this post is in questions – but very important questions – to help you determine if your website is current and up-to-date with technology and marketing trends. Check out the top ten nonprofit websites according to Hubspot and then do a spot-check to compare yours with theirs.  It’s a great exercise.

Try this 15-20 minute spot-check below.

  • Is it clear where you want your visitors to go?
  • Are your social buttons easily accessible?
  • Is your logo visible?
  • Are your sections easy to navigate?
  • What is the most important thing you want them to do (sign up for your newsletter, follow you, donate) – is that front and center? Are you encouraging action and encouraging your visitor to stay on your site?
  • Do you have a mobile-friendly template?  If not, is your website easily viewed on a smart phone?
  • What does it look like? Is it easy to navigate by touch?
  • Can your visitors easily fill out your forms from their ipad or phone?
  • On a smart phone is your ‘contact us’ phone number capable of click-and-call?
  • Are all your links working correctly?
  • Is your contact information up to date?

Make a habit of spot-checking your website on both the computer and mobile devices. You’ll be ahead of the game and your website will show it.

Now, if you are in the process of redesigning your website or are in need of a huge overhaul here are some questions to ask yourself.  It will help streamline your efforts!

  • What do you envision your community/volunteers/donors will be able to find and complete on your site? 
  • What are their call-to-actions?  
  • Is it just a place-marker for your information and a way for them to see your mission and contact you? Or will it be interactive? Donor-based? Community-based?
  • Do you want it to be a place where you provide timely advice (blog)? 
  • Do you want them to be able to donate via your website?  (we suggest: YES)
  • Do you want them to be able to refer a friend? Sign up for a newsletter? Share a blog post? Make an appointment?
  • What color scheme are you interested in? 
  • Do you have a logo or a branding you’re leaning towards?

Social Media: (there’s so much more… we’ll talk social media soon, but let’s start here…)

  • Where does your target audience live? (Facebook, Email, LinkedIn, Twitter, Text) 
  • What time do you have to devote to social networking?
  • What buttons will you have on your website for social media – why? What is your conversion goal?

10 commandments graphic

One last suggestion – stay away from WORDS.  What, you say? Yes, stay away from words.  Images and videos speak louder than anything else! We’ll do another post about how and why to do video marketing – but being aware of this trend is important when discussing your website.  Are you too text heavy?  Could you convey the same message in an image or short video?

Now, remember, this is a hollistic approach to website messaging.  The very basics – if nothing else- to ALWAYS have on your website:

  • updated contact information
  • mission and vision (your WHY)
  • how a donor/volunteer can help

Start small.  Start where you are and continuing growing.  If you need to build a wix.com or wordpress.com website because you cannot afford hosting then do it.  It is ALWAYS better to have an online presence with up-to-date information than nothing at all.

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