Designing a Non-Profit Website

We posted this on our Facebook not long ago, but thought it worth-while to share in our newsletter as well.

With the influx of information and the flood of social media and mobile technology, the manner in which information for non-profits is shared online has been changed to be sure to catch the attention of easily-distracted online donors. The key? Simplicity.  Here are 5 important things to keep in mind when designing your non-profit website.

Photos and Videos

Limit the amount of words you put on your home page. Instead, fill the top section with photos and maybe a video to capture the attention of browsers and are relevant to your mission. Keep the bulk of your text on secondary pages which can be easily connected to from your home page.

Consistency

Traveling from one page to another on the same site, only to find a completely different set up can be so jarring that a potential donor may just click out and not come back.  Keep your secondary pages consistent with the home page. This means, match your color scheme, font style and size and layout and be sure to place your social media links and “Donate Now” buttons on the top right corner of each page. The eye travels to that side of a website naturally, so capitalize on that tendency.

“Donate Now” Button

Branding your “Donate Now” button with your website and even logo will make it more appealing for passing-through donors.  But that won’t do any good if it’s not easy to find or if your donation page is cluttered or the 2nd or 3rd page a person has to click through. Set up your button to go directly to the page that collects contact and credit card information and be sure to put your “Donate Now” button on every page of your website.

E-Newsletter and Text Alerts

If your non-profit sends out an e-newsletter or group texting alerts, keep the sign-up for it prominently featured on each page.  The subscription process should be as simple as possible. Only require the individual’s email address and, at the most, their first name. You can provide the option for them to fill in other information, such as, last name, snail mail address, phone number etc, but be sure the only required field is for the email address. Also, only make it mandatory to enter a zip-code if you plan to email or text message based on regional location. And by no means should you require an individual to create a user-name and password to sign up.

Page Titles for SEO

If the acronym “SEO” is completely foreign to you, check out this quick, descriptive video for the basic idea: What Is Search Engine Optimization / SEO.  Now that you have the basics under your belt, you can see just how important it is to making sure your website is being found through search engines.  Because tags and key words have been abused by so many SEO specialists, search engines are giving more and more priority to page titles for their results. Be sure to give each page a unique title. On your home page, include your organization’s name and your tagline.  This and having fresh content are increasingly important for good search results.

If you would like some more pointers, go to the original article found on Nonprofit Tech 2.0 Blog.

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This article was featured in our monthly newsletter, Bridgeworks Connect.
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Accidental Techies, or Necessity – the Mother of Invention

Many people who work in a non-profit organization or small office comment on and may even take pride in the fact that they wear multiple hats. In the increasingly technology-based society, some non-profit staff may wear the Techie Hat out of necessity rather than out of expertise or even desire. These wonderful people have the title of “Accidental Techie.”

Robert Weiner points out that there are actually two kinds of Accidental Techies: those who want to be more than accidental and those who would rather not. Non-profits should take into account the desires of both people and give roles and titles accordingly. For those who would like to move up to a Technical Leader, here are some tips and qualities to be a success.

  • Ask yourself if you understand the big picture of the issue and then communicate clearly with your co-workers. How do they learn best? Use that method to speak clearly about what is happening or what needs to happen.
  • Know yourself and be honest with others about the things you don’t know. You can always research and find out more, but don’t fake it. Convey the need to constantly learn.
  • Demonstrate a proactive and service-oriented vision and be clear about the positive outcomes of what you’re doing.
  • Understand how your organization works and how decisions get made; understand what the leadership values.
  • Develop a professional network of colleagues and friends who can help you when you need it.

Skills in technology do not mean the same as technical leadership. A technical leader will tie technology to people, mission and strategy. Technology skills can be learned but people skills are harder to come by.

Find the complete article here.

You can learn more at our upcoming Technology and Non-Profits training, May 25th, 2011. You can register online.

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This article was featured in the May 2011 issue of our monthly newsletter, CDP Press.  
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Have You Heard? – Jumo

On Tuesday, November 30, 2010, Chris Hughes, one of the co-founders of Facebook, unveiled a new social networking site specifically for non-profits and charities. The site, called Jumo, was created in order “to speed the pace of global change and meaningful action.” A non-profit itself, the name comes from the Yoruba language in West Africa and is a verb meaning “together in concert,” conveying an action within community. The purpose is to connect people with political movements, non-profit organizations and other causes.

You may wonder why this site is needed when organizations are well-able to set up pages on Facebook and get their information out there. Facebook has a plethora of pages to be “liked” and “shared” but anything can become a page. Even as a non-profit, there’s no way to easily connect your “fans” to donating to your organization. With Jumo, non-profits will be able to do all it can on Facebook and provide access to quick donating. Not only this, but organizations can be searched by category of impact and cause. The primary seven categories are: Arts and Culture, Education, Environment and Animals, Health, Peace and Government, Human Rights and Poverty. Each of these has subcategories to make it easier for people concerned about a particular cause to find the organizations currently active within it.

For now, people joining Jumo have to have a Facebook account to sign up, but the same is not true for non-profits. The only qualification is that the organization be 501(c)(3) and provide its EIN to receive donations on the site through a partnership with Network for Good. Non-profits can link their existing website, blog, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, etc to their Jumo page to maximize social involvement. Users will find the latest news and updates on the organizations they “follow” right on their Jumo page, much like the Facebook News Feed.

Jumo is still in its beta stage, as shown by the result of overwhelming response on its release day; the site was down for most of the day as the Jumo team sought to strengthen the site and server for heavy traffic. It has a lot of growth to do, but promises to be an exciting tool for the non-profit world.

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