I was recently looking through many of the non-profit industries websites online. Just a random google search of about 200 sites. What I found was pretty disturbing. Of the roughly 200 sites I viewed I found only two that were designed well and had content that even applied to the services they were intending to push out. So what’s up with that? Do they not notice…that big elephant? If your in the non-profit industry and your website isn’t bringing in donors, then what is the point?
When you think about what type of content to put on a non-profit website, first consider this:
1. Who is your target audience
2. What is the main purpose of your organization
3. If you were going to a website – how would you want to find the information
Knowing your audience
The focal point of your non-profit site needs to be centered around those who can benefit from your service and those who can help volunteer or donate to your organization. When I was looking around, a good majority of people were seeming to target all sorts of people. If you want to let people know that you can assist with their utility bills for instance, SAY THAT! Don’t give information about schools in the area that will assist people with transportation to a voting booth (especially when there isn’t even an election going on). Remember to consider that if your target audience is not wealthy or well off, that they may be viewing your website on a library computer. You want to get to the point quickly on the home page so that a reader can qualify if they are on the correct site.
What is the main purpose of your organizataion
When I say this, I am referring to your organizations purpose on the web. Are you trying to get more clients to know who you are? Are you hoping to get resources to individuals? Are you looking for sponsorship? Do you expect people to “do something,” once they reach your site? Is it clear what they should do “next?”
If you were going to a website – how would you want to find the information
When developing your content for your website, remember to CALL THINGS WHAT THEY ARE! If you are distributing bikes to those who do not have transportation, rather than having that content hidden behind a button that says “Investing in the communities future,” Why not have a simple button that says, “Wheels for the Boston community,” or even more simple, “Need a Bike for free? Click here.”
Really, none of this is rocket science. But sometimes when we create websites, we get caught up in the “Glitz and Glam,” of our competition. I challenge you as you design and redesign your website to consider the average user and those who does not know you. Think about it from their standpoint. How would you want to find information if you had no idea who a company was? If you are talking about your company, PUT THE INFORMATION UNDER THE ABOUT TAB! If you are wanting a donation, PUT A BUTTON ON EVERY PAGE THAT SAYS DONATE NOW with a link back to what the donor will receive and why they will feel good about becoming a sponsor.
Lastly, remember to put google analytics or some other brand of analytic software on your website so you can measure each page on your site and know where people are exiting. If everyone is going to the contact page, but no one is contacting you…well, maybe you should re-evaluate the number of fields on your contact form. Or perhaps you are finding that everyone leaves once they read your about page. Maybe it’s time to freshen up that data so that people continue moving through each page of your site.
You can do it – Good luck!