Nonprofit organizations need to put just as much strategy into designing a website as their business counterparts. By setting clearly defined goals, a charity can measure the success or failure of digital marketing efforts.
Define nonprofit website goals
- Raise awareness of the organization and clarify its mission.
- Connect the organization’s services with people who need them.
- Activate possible donors and volunteers.
- Engage followers with ongoing news and events.
Reaching the public online
Henderson Media recently completed a comprehensive web marketing strategy for a charity that had never had a website previously. Safehaven Now operates food pantries and thrift stores to meet the spiritual and physical needs of people struggling in rural communities.
The organization historically operated using only pen and paper for record keeping, and they only accepted cash or check for donations.
During the pandemic, one of the board members realized that Facebook posts were not a sufficient way of keeping in touch with clients, volunteers, and donors.
Matthew with Henderson Media listened toured one of the two current locations, asked lots of questions, and learned as much as possible about the Christian organization’s hopes and challenges. He then designed a plan to create a website that accomplished four main goals.
Often a nonprofit starts as a small idea and grows, slowly over time, into a much larger concept. Organizers are so busy identifying needs, implementing solutions they have little time to focus on marketing, public relations, or even fundraising innovations.
Many people may be unaware that charity even operates in the community. And if they do, they may have an incorrect or outdated view of the organization’s mission and scope.
Safehaven Now’s volunteers were doing a good job of networking in their small towns, but the web design process offered an opportunity to refine the public messaging.
When planning a marketing product for a nonprofit, ask these questions:
- Who does this charity help? Are you accepting new clients? How do people sign up for help? Also, who owns and operates this nonprofit?
- Where does this organization operate? Do clients have to go to the physical location? Are there housecalls? Is there a virtual option?
- When is this organization available? What are the business hours? Does anyone answer the phone or respond to messages after hours?
- How can people support this charity? Can people donate online? Does it accept physical goods?
Gathering and writing this information may be difficult for charities that are understaffed or lack professional writers.
To solve this problem, Henderson Media interviewed the founder of Safehaven Now on camera for one hour and produced a three-minute video featuring the best sentences that described the charity. The short video was placed on the new web site for the public to watch. The rest of the interview was transcribed and used to populate the written content on the rest of the website. This text was edited and polished for marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) purposes.
Connect services with people
The new web design also allows people who are looking for help to find the information they need to decide if they will reach out to Safehaven Now or look for a charity that is a better fit for their situation.
The website clearly states who they help and how they help. It also states the hours of operation. Since people facing poverty often have limit transportation options, we want to make sure they show up when the locations are actually open.
Potential clients may now fill out an application for assistance online 24 hours a day, something that was previously only done on paper during business hours.
Activate donors & volunteers
The web also allows people to donate and sign up to volunteer online – for the first time. Much needed funds can now flow to the nonprofit during the day or in the middle of the night.
Engage the public
When someone visits your nonprofit website, keep them coming back.
- Invite website visitors to submit their contact info to your newsletter database. Then send them emails and snail mail to keep them interested in your organization.
- Invite them to follow your social media accounts.
- Post news articles (or blog posts) to the website and then share them on social media, thus driving more traffic back to the site.
Evaluate your nonprofit website design to see if it meets these four main charity website goals. If it doesn’t, make a plan to solve the problem. If you don’t have time, outsource the marketing effort to an experienced marketing agency like Henderson Media.
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