How nonprofit websites get messy

You’ve seen those nonprofit websites that don’t know what they’re for. They seem to be aimed at the news media, with lots of links to press releases. Or maybe it’s researchers, because of all the links to detailed information about the cause. Possibly it’s just a branding vehicle, because it’s full of abstract phrases and images but no calls to action. Oh, is it supposed to raise funds? There’s a DONATE button.

Websites turn out that way because the process used to create them never forces clarity. It encourages everyone to say everything — and end up saying little at all.

The MarketingProfs Daily Fix Blog has some thoughts for avoiding this mess, at Six Steps to a Nonprofit Website That Works:


  1. Include stakeholders at appropriate times and contexts, but focus them on what’s actually important.
  2. Clarify exactly how the website will become an expression of the organization’s offerings, priorities, and target audiences.
  3. Identify who the website is really for.
  4. Take actual data into account.
  5. Articulate how the organization is positioned within the “nonprofit marketplace.”
  6. Recognize that a website will need consistent care and feeding after its launch.

Like any “publication,” websites need to start with a clear purpose. Don’t let the fact that it costs nothing to add stuff confuse you into throwing everything out with equal weight.


Comments

4 responses to “How nonprofit websites get messy”

  1. Love this! A marvelous website is an intricately interwoven net (work). It takes concerted effort to create a web that will be effective. That being said, there is no one right way to make a great website. The website your board members tell you is fabulous may not be fabulous for you. Just as each kind of spider makes a different kind of web, each nonprofit must assess the kind of website they want and are capable of spinning. If your resources are limited, focus them. If you want to attract insects (or donors, clients, volunteers), less may be more.

  2. Love this! A marvelous website is an intricately interwoven net (work). It takes concerted effort to create a web that will be effective. That being said, there is no one right way to make a great website. The website your board members tell you is fabulous may not be fabulous for you. Just as each kind of spider makes a different kind of web, each nonprofit must assess the kind of website they want and are capable of spinning. If your resources are limited, focus them. If you want to attract insects (or donors, clients, volunteers), less may be more.

  3. This is great advise, lots of fundraising sites can be over run with images and links out to other sites and people looking will miss the entire point. I too work in modernising fundraising and ensure fundrasiing can be a part of the internet age. we have come up with a few fundraiser ideas for the internet age, one of which is getting non-profit and charity organisations to register their cause or charity with us, then followers and supporters also register and everytime they shop on-line the companies they buy from give a small amount to their chosen cause or charity. no bake sales for us! just a suggestion for all school, churches and larger community organisations to try.

  4. This is great advise, lots of fundraising sites can be over run with images and links out to other sites and people looking will miss the entire point. I too work in modernising fundraising and ensure fundrasiing can be a part of the internet age. we have come up with a few fundraiser ideas for the internet age, one of which is getting non-profit and charity organisations to register their cause or charity with us, then followers and supporters also register and everytime they shop on-line the companies they buy from give a small amount to their chosen cause or charity. no bake sales for us! just a suggestion for all school, churches and larger community organisations to try.

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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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