In today’s hyper competitive economic environment, businesses, including those operating within the nonprofit world, are under intense pressure to increase their effectiveness to attract and maintain the funding they need to continue to meet or exceed their mission. Fortunately, the internet, a key bridge-builder connecting nonprofits (NPOs) with the donor community, plays an incredible role in facilitating dialogue between NPOs and their supporters and, or donors. Though most charities are exploiting the limitless opportunities presented by the internet to connect and interact with donors, the quality of an NPO’s website is key to its competitiveness when it comes to attracting new donors while maintaining existing donors.
Websites do not only provide updates to philanthropists about where, how, and why their donated funds are being used. They foster trust, which, in turn, translates into sustained funding streams. As such, a well-designed, user-friendly website with consumer-centered contents can have exceeding impact on user satisfaction while presenting a priceless chance for NPOs to disseminate information about their mission-fulfillment activities and their impacts. The effectiveness of a website is a critical marketing and public relations tool to attracting and retaining charitable donors, as well as fostering donor loyalty.
Here are a few things to carefully consider when designing your NPO website for continued user-engagement:
- Easy to navigate
- Easy to understand
- Easy to search for information
An engaging website, with glossary to explain complicated or confusing terms, enables users to feel a connection to the site’s contents which facilitates understanding and serves as a conduit for trust-building among the NPO, its beneficiaries and funders. Interactive features, such as a feedback section for users to have a say, a frequently asked question section, a “contact us” button, audio-visual contents and a “donate now” button are best practice measures to enhance a nonprofit’s marketing, PR and fundraising. It is also imperative for NPOs to regularly update their websites to keep their donors informed about progress made possible by their philanthropic donations.
Regularly update your site with compelling written, interactive and audio-visual contents. By doing so, you will not only be satisfying your goal of a great online presence; the goals of your site users of an easy-to-navigate site and readily available contents will be equally satisfied. Most aggressive NPO websites have several interactive features such as an eye-catching, easy-to-use, clickable “donate now” button displayed on every web page within their sites. Also, by linking the social media sites to the organization’s main website, backed by a sound social media strategy can attract potential new audiences.
Here are three model nonprofit websites:
(a) Amnesty International https://www.amnestyusa.org/
(b) The One Campaign https://www.one.org
(c) Stuf United Fund Inc. http://stufunited.org/. Stuf United Fund Inc is a membership nonprofit organization.
The websites of all three organizations are user-friendly, easy to understand, and easy to navigate. However, the website of The One Campaign is more engaging and visually-appealing. It contains concise, easy-to-understand written contents, backed by audio-visual contents. The website is also user-centered. For example, there is a section where users, donors or supporters, can refer to for progress updates, among other mission-related activities. There is a section where the organization’s financial statements are made readily available for public scrutiny.
Moreover, The One Campaign website provides users with deeper insights into the organization’s programs and activities through a FAQs section. The website has interactive features, such as “contact us” and “Join the Fight” buttons, which empower users to have a say or become a part of the NPO’s mission-achievement process. The site also has embedded links to the organization’s various social media platforms, which is an indication that the NPO is taking serious advantage of the immeasurable opportunities the internet has to offer in enhancing its online fundraising, marketing and public relations.
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