Fri, July 20 2007

Top Five Nonprofit Website Mistakes

Katya Andresen's avatar

Author, Robin Hood Marketing

Filed under:   Social Media •

Here are the five deadly sins we commit:

1. TOO EGOTISTICAL: The home page is too often simply an About Us page. It should not be an electronic brochure with your mission statement. It should speak to the user’s values, interests and desires.  It’s not “about us,” it’s “about them.”

2. TOO MEEK: There is often no clear call to action on nonprofit pages.  Grab a friend or relative, sit them down in front of your website home page, and count how many seconds it takes them to find and click on your Donate button or find another way to do something.  If it takes them more than two seconds, you need to place your button in a far more prominent position.  Make it central to the page.  Make sure it is above the fold.  Make it big.  Make it colorful.  Make it impossible to miss. 

2. TOO LAID-BACK: Too often, there’s no reason to act no – as opposed to later, or never.  You want to inspire someone to act right now, but that can be hard to do if there’s not an urgent crisis to address.  Create a sense of urgency for donating by creating a campaign with a goal and deadline, matching grant, or appeal for specific items or programs that are highly tangible. 

4. TOO DODGY:  People want to know where their resources will go if you support them.  You must inspire trust.  Where will the money go?  What impact will result? What lives will be saved, what credible goal will be achieved?

5. TOO SHORT-SIGHTED:  You need a lead generator.  Recognize that getting clicks requires cultivation.  While you want someone to take action right away, it’s important to remember that it takes time to cultivate people.  Be sure your website includes a way to capture the email addresses of visitors so that you can build a relationship with visitors and turn them into donors in the future.  A newsletter is not very exciting; give people a more compelling reason to surrender their email addresses. 

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