Part 2 in a series.
In our last post we outlined five steps that nonprofits can take to enhance the value of their websites for fundraising, building public awareness and engaging communities. Now, let’s go a bit deeper in terms of marketing, communications and technical strategies to really generate a return on investment for your organization.
6. Provide transparency and clear benefits to your audience groups.
Instead of solely presenting a story from your organization’s point of view, communicate from the perspective of your users—specific ways they can help, what their donation will mean to them, what the volunteer experience feels like. Show donors their impact at a micro or individual level (e.g., your $50 donation = 50 meals provided). Show “donations to date” or funding goal updates, preferably in visual or graph form—this motivates your audience to help reach the goal.
7. Give your audiences a reason to keep coming back.
Post fresh news and content regularly—via your blog, event calendar, social media updates, and news section. Become an educational and community resource by posting available research, white paper reports, articles and other materials that demonstrate and expand on the value of your cause. Encourage RSS (Really Simple Syndication) subscriptions—news feeds that allow users to get updates on your organization delivered directly to their desktops. Encourage key officers within your organization to participate consistently on influential blogs in your field. At the same time, provide opportunities for your own audiences to engage with your organization through vehicles including social media commenting, opinion surveys and contests.
8. Track and review your site analytics.
Know who’s visiting your site, where they’re coming from and what they’re viewing: Install Google Analytics. Free and simple to add to your site, it provides data on page popularity, average time spent on the site, which sites have sent traffic your way, bounce rate, page views, and more. By extracting insights on your audience, you’ll be better able to target your message and add relevant content.
9. Capture data about your audience.
Wherever possible, add widgets (example here) that encourage users to “Subscribe,” “Like,” “Follow,” or “Share” content on your site. Learn about your audience’s interests in order to customize messaging for them. Inexpensive e-marketing platforms like Constant Contact and MyEmma can be integrated within your website to capture email addresses and maintain ongoing communications segmented by audience group.
10. Improve your ranking and increase SEO.
For better search performance, ensure that your site has relevant meta tags, keywords, page descriptions and H1 header formatting. Use free tools like the Google AdWords Keyword tool to determine which search terms your target audience is using to find sites like yours. Strategically place these keywords within your headlines, page titles, copy and links. Increase quality inbound links to your site by providing the most valuable, relevant content possible within your field.
With a bit of investment upfront in terms of web design, content and programming, your organization’s website can become the communications centerpiece you had always hoped it would.