Friday, October 10, 2008

Wow! Websites Work.

OK...I know the title is a little lame. It has a purpose, though. WWW. I know--lame tie in. Anyway, I got to looking around the web at different non-profit websites and thought "Hmm. What is it about this one I like better than that one? What is making me linger on this one or making me want to make a donation?" The answer should have been clear to me from the beginning. It's not the cause (although it was the original reason I looked for the site) but the site itself.

An organization's website is key in today's internet based world. It is often the first place a potential donor will get any real information about your cause and get a "feel" for how your charity works and its "culture." Remember, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. (Where have I heard that before?)

I began narrowing the field down to a few essentials after sifting through a lot of information. Then, I thought, "Hey. These look cool and useful and added those to the list.

1. Home Page: Please...make it relevant to your cause. A Christian website should not have Marilyn Manson music playing or images that might be offensive to your audience. On the other hand, a boring page won't do you any favors.
2. About Us: Telling people what you are about is key to building a relationship with your public. Make sure you are telling people what you want them to know in a way that is consistent with the image you want to portray.
3. Donate: You want people to donate, right? Making it as easy as a mouse click helps.
4. Members: A place for people to sign up for website/organization membership gives you an automatic way to update your database for newsletters and the like.
5. Up to Date: Another big one. Nothing is more annoying than taking an interest in a cause and then finding out the organization isn't interested enough to keep the website current!
6. Gadgets: Admittedly my favorite part of the websites. Having the right gadgets greatly increases the involvement of people looking at your site.

On that note, I'm going to share my favorite gadget. It's Google Earth. I simply love how non-profits are using it to make a visual impact. It's one thing to tell people about what you want to do and quite another to show them what it entails.

Crisis in Darfur

Gombe Gorillas

It is essential that an organization make their online presence or "face" relevant, easy to navigate, interesting, and keep it up to date. First impressions, right? Still, let's keep them coming back for a second, third, fourth......

No comments: