“Sell” With Your Nonprofit Website - Part 1
With every communication, including your website, you're "selling" your mission whether you realize it or not. Whether you like it or not.
As a nonprofit you're in a very competitive industry. This humble copywriter - along with any savvy marketer - recommends you recognize and accept this basic fact. And then capitalize on it. Today I focus on websites as part of your selling arsenal.
The comments I share are certainly from the perspective of a copywriter. But they're also from the viewpoint of an outsider to your organization . . . a potential donor coming to your site for a visit to learn about you before I decide whether to donate.
First recommendation: On your home page have a very simple paragraph on how you help people. Eliminate the corporate lingo. Just have three to five sentences a sixth-grader could easily understand on what you do and why it's important.
I literally mean a sixth-grader! No exceptions. And sorry if this offends you, but for many nonprofit organizations this eliminates your mission statement. Bury that somewhere else.
I have an example to help illustrate my point. And yes; I have permission to use them as an example: sotterley.org
I'm pleased the home/landing page doesn't have an ambiguous mission statement written by committee. (Can you tell this is a pet peeve of mine?) However, I couldn't find a straight-forward summary of who they are and what they do anywhere. They touch on this on the Membership/Volunteer page. But nothing to directly answer these questions:
- Why do you exist?
- How do you help people?
- How do you make our world a better place to live?
- Why should I support you?
Your visitors and potential donors have a very strong need: They must have these questions answered before they take any action favorable to you.
Second recommendation: I believe every page of your website should include a way to donate. Or some other call to action you want to highlight.
On the Sotterley website the only opportunity I found was on the Membership/Volunteer page. And then I had to first download the membership application form. This may be a business decision they've made.
But I believe they're missing opportunities by burying the opportunity to support them so deeply in the website; and also by not giving more than one way to support them. Don't treat everyone the same. People are more likely to respond when they can find a choice they're comfortable with.
And be creative! PLEASE don't limit yourself to "click here to donate."
Take another critical look at your website. Are you making it very easy for your visitors to understand what you do, why you do it, and how they can help you? Easy for them to donate?
Remember. You're "selling" your mission and few people will buy until these basic questions are answered to their satisfaction.
Next issue I'll include tips on driving more traffic to your website.
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Just for fun - a quote for you
"If you haven't any charity in your heart, you have the worst kind of heart trouble." (Bob Hope)
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COMING SOON to a website near you!
Just letting you know about a new development on my website: the Resources page.
Here you'll find upcoming events of interest from the nonprofit and fundraising industry; a list of recommended vendors; and articles I've written along with some from guest industry experts. All of these tools and resources are intended to make your life a little easier.
Check it out - it's "live."