Making Your Nonprofit Successful: You’re on Social Media, But How’s Your Website?
Nonprofits have the big job of helping their communities. They are the pillars of their communities. If someone is struggling, they are always there to help. So, who assists the nonprofits when they are in need? That’s where great volunteers can come in and save the day. In this virtual age, how do the volunteers know which nonprofits need help if there isn’t a live meeting or a working website? They don’t. Websites play a crucial role in promoting a nonprofit. They are the perfect tools for social sharing and helping people discover its brand so they should never be overlooked. A website that draws people in and grabs their attention can help nonprofit organizations with the growth they need to impact the community.
Having a digital presence is vital for nonprofits, especially in our current environment. People search for everything online, and if they are looking to help an organization but it’s not online, the nonprofit could lose a valuable resource. Organizations with a robust digital presence will be better equipped to find volunteers out in the community. A website that’s easy to navigate, well-constructed, and professionally designed adds to an organization’s credibility and serves as a nonprofit’s chance to make its first good impression.
An essential part of creating a solid digital presence is telling stories that show why the organization is critical to the community. It’s a great way to win the hearts and minds of potential donors, volunteers, and supporters. It’s also a cost-effective and efficient way to create awareness and show the world all the great work the nonprofit is doing.
What You Don’t Know Could Hurt You
If an organization takes the time to create a website, then it must be good, right? Not necessarily. Sometimes, familiarity with a topic blinds us to the possibility of a site looking unorganized and being hard to navigate, potentially giving people the wrong impression. Having your site reviewed by someone else is always a good idea. Professionally built websites can make a nonprofit look more polished and help emphasize its goals. If the mission and goals are easy to find, a nonprofit can expect to reach more volunteers, donations, and people that need their support. Adding blogs that tell strong stories to a website can be incredibly helpful because they are great for connecting with your viewers, who may in turn be inspired to share the story. Valuable blog content will also help to increase a website’s search engine presence, resulting in a larger audience.
Additionally, it’s important to consider making sure your site is mobile friendly. Unfortunately, many outdated nonprofit sites often translate poorly onto smaller screens. Everyone has a smartphone or iPad and optimizing a site that’s viewable on these devices will help improve the user experience for your target audience.
The Old Mighty Dollar
Nonprofits tend to have small budgets and need to make their dollars stretch as far as possible, so a website isn’t usually a priority. But that’s a catch 22. If organizations don’t invest in their website, then the likelihood of receiving grants, federal funding, or donations dwindles. When a website doesn’t look legitimate (i.e., has misspellings or doesn’t give detailed information), people will be less likely to donate. Use your website to inspire people to give money, attend events, and support your organization in various ways.
You’ve Built Your Website, Now Let it Do the Work
The best way to gain your audience’s attention is by creating an informative and engaging website in conjunction with a social media presence and the ability to contact your organization directly. Investing and engaging with your social media account will drive traffic back to your website and further broaden your reach, which is critical. Once you have the attention of a supporter, be sure an email sign-up button, newsletter, blog and/or donate page are in plain view. A study found that many nonprofit websites didn’t offer the option to donate directly online, and because of that, potential volunteers or donations could be lost. If your website already provides these options, test it regularly to ensure it works. A well-designed donation page will help persuade donors or those who are just learning about a nonprofit to consider providing financial support.
Here are a few key take-aways:
- Focus on the functionality of your website
- Tell compelling stories on your website
- Invest in a solid social media strategy and a strong marketing campaign
- Then promote your nonprofit with confidence
Let your beautifully and thoughtfully built website do the rest.
With a background in technology program management and strategy, Sima Parekh supports organizations through transformation, execution, and growth. She is the Director of Operations Strategy and Programs at IHG Hotels and Resorts and also serves as the Executive Director at 48in48. 48in48 is a nonprofit organization that hosts hackathon-style events that create free websites for small nonprofits. Over the past 6 years, she has held various roles at 48in48 prior to taking over as the Executive Director. In the past year, she pivoted the organization from hosting onsite events to 100% virtual events. Her skills in strategy and execution have allowed her to help 48in48 continue to, not only, survive but excel during the pandemic.