Nonprofits tackle society’s toughest tasks. They save sick children and help them to learn. They march for cures, preserve the planet and build homes for the homeless, not to make a buck but to make a difference.
But since most of their resources go into leveraging change rather than piling up profits, there is often little left over in their slender budgets to market themselves effectively to the world — especially to potential donors. Yet nonprofits rely on public donations and government funding; an effective and professional presentation of their services and activities is therefore of paramount importance.
In this Internet age, your nonprofit’s primary point of contact with people is your website.
Let me share with you 7 Simple Keys for effective communications Online.
1. Your website is your online presence. Be sure it’s well-designed and tailored to your nonprofit’s mission and message, not some outdated, cookie-cutter template that makes you look like everybody else. You never get a second chance to make a first impression; the first few seconds a potential donor’s eyes land on your site will determine whether he reads on or clicks away.
2. Check your site’s loading speed. No one wants to wait for a website that takes forever to come up onscreen. Many nonprofits use Shared Host to run their websites; this can cause very slow loading, particularly during high-traffic hours on the Internet. Since you could easily miss donor inquiries because they just couldn’t get through to you.
3. Make giving via your website as easy as 1-2-3. Donors should be able to give using just three clicks of the mouse. Clicking on a Donate Now button should take them directly to a simple form where they can enter their vital information — including the amount they want to give — and an interactive email or message box for any comments. They next click Submit, which takes them directly to a PayPal page to enter their credit card information. When they click Donate, an automatic email thanking them for their generosity should be on its way.
4. Make your website user-friendly. Websites that are confusing to navigate — too much information, getting lost toggling back and forth between pages — are frustrating to users. Most people won’t put up with this; they will move on. Smart navigation structure that keeps web pages simple and easy to use is the key to attracting and retaining new visitors to your website, which translates into more new and repeat donations.
5. Make your website easy to edit and update. If you are using old HTML code or a non-CMS platform, it’s time to upgrade because you can’t easily change or add new information to your site as it occurs. Content Management System (CMS) is the most popular platform and widely used today because it’s scalable and adaptable as the website grows. It is more cost-effective to start out with one of the widely-used CMS platforms, like Drupal, Magento and WordPress.
6. Keep your content current. You must maintain your website with content and features that are timely and up-to-date, keeping pace with changing trends and circumstances. This may be challenging for nonprofits, whose budgets may not accommodate professional IT supports. But here’s the good news: there’s an inexpensive way to do it.
Nonprofits can ask businesses in their area to sponsor the website maintenance fee in return for a banner ad on their website. This is both an opportunity and a tax write-off: a win-win situation for nonprofit and business.
7. Use social media — it’s free marketing! Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest — such outlets are expanding, and are excellent ways to spread the word about your programs and activities.
Our Twin Cities web design firm has served many nonprofit organizations and take pride in helping them to stand out professionally while telling their unique stories to the Web-viewing public. If you are a non-profit seeking to enhance your public image and jump-start your fund-raising capabilities, contact us at [email protected] or at 612-590-8080.
Terms of Service
We ask for a small banner advertisement, near the bottom of your website, that states “Free Web Design for Non-Profits” and is linked to ProWeb365.com. This will help make other non-profits aware of our supports for them.
Your Non-profit is required to host its website with us for the first two years. After that you can move your web hosting to any company you wish. We would like to see that you use our website design work/support for the right purpose and to make sure you get a chance to experience our stress free service for at least two years, through our outstanding web design and tech support team.
Because we are donating our website design services, we require non-profits to provide enough information, quickly, in order for us to complete their website in a timely manner. If this doesn’t happen it can lead to projects dragging on for far too long.
To encourage punctuality during the process, we require non-profits to make a deposit for their website design up front. Then once the organization meets the project’s timeline requirements – at the time of the completion of the website – we return the deposit in full.
This is how the process works: first we provide you with a timeline to complete your project. If you do not provide enough information, in a timely manner, for us to complete your website on time, we will treat your project as those of our regular business clients. This means, we will not refund your initial payment deposit. Here’s an example: If we promise your project will be done in 6 weeks. During these 6 weeks we ask for your information (content, graphic files) to put onto your website. You are responsible for getting that information to us, in a timely manner, in order to complete your website at the end of 6 weeks. If the website cannot be completed on time because you did not provide us all information, in a timely manner, then there would be no refund of your initial deposit. At this point we would give you another 2 weeks to send all necessary information to complete your site. If after that 2 weeks you still have yet provide us the information, we reserve the right to cancel the whole project and no refund will be given.