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No Communication, No Relationship: 5 Ways to Make a Great Website

June 26, 2012

Tell me and I’ll forget, show me and I may remember, involve me and I’ll understand. It may be an old adage, but for non-profits seeking to connect with supporters, sponsors, donors, and volunteers, it’s a good one to keep in mindPeople are busy. They’re out there taking care of their own needs and if you want their attention you’d better have a compelling story.


Shouting about how great you are, no matter how big your megaphone, isn’t going to do it. You need to buildrelationships. Building relationships means communicating. No communication, no relationship.


Yes it’s hard. Resources are stretched and it’s a dilemmatrying to decide which communications channel mattersmostIn person is best but hardly feasible all the time. So do you send email blasts, direct mailor spend time updating your Facebook and Twitter feeds? Or maybe you should start a blog? And don’t forget mobile!


The fact is, no one communication channel is a silver bullet to success; you need to share your story across multiple channels if you want to get noticedWhy? Because it’s highly unlikely that your stakeholders are all sitting around together at your local Timmy’s waiting for your email to arrive or monitoring your Facebook feed. They’re busy and they’re not going to spend time looking for you which means it’s up to you to figure out how to reach them.


These days, most non-profits find an active Facebook page and occasional email blasts are effective tools for letting people know what you’re up to. But your website is still your most important digital presence. It’s where people go to try to learn more about you and is often the first encounter people have with your brand—so the welcome mat had better be out!

Still have doubts about sprucing up that site? Studies show that most donors visit a non-profit’s website before deciding whether or not to donate. According to a 2010report by Cygnus Applied Research*, 72 percent of Canadians give online. What’s more, a whopping 90 percent of Canadians under the age of 35 indicated that they would make online charitable donations that year. The researchers conclude that online giving has surpassed the tipping point in this country.


So how is your website looking? Most nonprofits believe that their websites are not quite up to par and, havingviewed hundreds of well intentioned but poorly executedsites languishing in cyber oblivionuntended and neglected, I agree. It’s not pretty out there.


So what makes a good website? First of all, you can’t do anything unless you know who you are, what you’re trying to achieve and who your target audience is. Then share your vision and inspire others by creating a compelling story about your organization or cause. And never forget that a good story has a hero your audience can relate to.People give to people, not organizations, and yoursupporters and donors must feel that they are part of your story.


Then, consider the following:



Overall impact and appearance. Looks aren’t everything, but if your website is having a terminal bad hair day, you’re going to have a hard time attracting new friends. Take the time to do a little research. See what everybody else is doing, discover what others are doing well and then do it even better.



ContentProvide good, well written content (i.e. no spelling or grammar errors!) created with your target audience in mind. If you want to persuade people to join your cause, think about what it is about your story that will matter to themAnd switch things up frequently. Why would someone visit more than once if your content never changes?



User Experience. You can have the most beautiful site in the world but if your audience can’t find what they’re looking for, you may as well go home. Includesearch engine and clear navigation so people can find their way around.



Findability. If people can’t find you, then, well, it’s over before it begins.



SociabilityIt’s all about relationships, right? So have a team page with friendly photos of the gang and tell people who you are.


And one more…



Optimize your site for mobile devices—iPhones, Androids, and tablets—and make sure you show people where to find you on Facebook, Twitter, via email, etc. so they can socialize, connect, and share ideas and the passion you have for your cause.


*Source link:


This post was originally published on the Ontario Trillium Foundation’s Sector in Conversation

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  1. Four Steps to a More Engaging Website | The Girl Writes

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