Unless you were trained as a switchboard operator, scribe, or travel agent, you should be thrilled with the new advancements in technology and the doors that it has opened to the average Joe. Ten years ago, your nonprofit would have had to shell out $25,000 to purchase and maintain a decent looking website. These days, you can have the whole package (website, domain name, email accounts) all for $1000 (Social Media for Social Good). Technology has empowered the average citizen to create a professional website without spending a fortune.
So now that your organization can afford a great looking website without having to sell a kidney (get it…), what are some dos and don’ts?
We’ve been over the “squirrel” effect already. Short.attention.spans. Technology has left us with an endless supply of information and over-stimulation that no amount of Ritalin can cure. Your website should be visually appealing, but concise and should present the pertinent information in an easily digestible format. Blocks of text, fancy audio/visual effects, and extraneous information will only overwhelm you reader and will have them and their credit card clicking onto the next website before you can get your message across.
This is not the “Derek Zoolander Center for Nonprofits Who Can’t Write Good And Who Wanna Learn To Do Other Stuff Good Too.” As Heather Mansfield notes in her book “Social Media for Social Good”, website verbiage should be succinct and purposeful. While tweets or Facebook posts can get away with poor grammar or spelling errors, you nonprofit’s website needs to be free of careless mistakes in order to exude professionalism.
Penny wise and pound foolish:
There are a million website suffixes out there, all at varying costs (.net) (.info) (.co). The list goes on. However, if you want your nonprofit to be considered by potential donors as a worthy organization to support, there is only one fit to sit the throne.
Cheap online fundraising campaigns:
Many people are familiar with PayPal. You might think that this familiarity would make PayPal a good option to process online donations via their website. However, past security issues and charity scams associated with PayPal have made donors wary of generic landing pages. Social Media for Social Good cites a study that concluded that donors that go through generic landing pages like PayPal versus “Donate Now” landing pages that offer branding options were 67% less likely to donate again. That is a lot of repeat business walking out the door. While there are a few exceptions for using PayPal, such as for nonprofits located in developing countries or to boost mobile payments, additional mobile payment options are growing and provide a suitable substitute to PayPal. Bottom line is that your nonprofit should do extensive research on “Donate Now” campaigns and should be well-versed in the pros and cons of various Donate Now technology when spearheading online fundraising.
Your website will most likely function as the face of your nonprofit and is a key tool in drawing donors in to both spread your message and support your mission. Technology has made website design easy and affordable. By following the above tips, your nonprofit can capitalize on technological innovations and reach your desired demographic.