Anyone who has the passion to start a nonprofit does so with the intent of doing good, but unfortunately the intention to do good doesn’t always come with the ability to run a nonprofit. The big surprise to many founders is that they need expertise and capital to develop the basic foundation to fulfill their mission, making it almost impossible to be noticed in the very crowded world of philanthropy.
To gain recognition and ultimately receive the support of donors, an NPO must be able to create and effectively communicate their vision. There has to be more than passion, you have to share your story in a way that impacts people – enough to want to support your cause! The most cost efficient and impactful way of sharing your message is with a strong digital media strategy. Unfortunately, without a professionally designed website and social media presence, it is nearly impossible to gain the attention of potential donors. Well written content telling the story of your organization and its programs, makes it easier to compete with organizations that have similar missions, more funding and larger staff.
In today’s world of short attention spans, you don’t get a second chance to make a good first impression. Think of your site as a billboard to your online audience of potential supporters, donors and volunteers. And just like a torn and tattered billboard, a dated unattractive website sends a terrible message for anyone who visits and is considering making a donation. By not presenting your organization in the best way possible you aren’t going to attract the ‘right’ people.
There seem to be two prevalent myths about websites – the expensive version where you need to spend a lot of money with a web designer and content writers. And then there are the ‘do-it-yourself’ options, there are countless products and services but you really do need to know what you are doing to create a website that presents your organization as professional and a good steward of the donations you receive. Worst of all you can spend a lot of money with either the web designer or the DYI version and end up with a web site that just doesn’t resonate.
Thanks to the internet, nonprofits have extraordinary access to information and resources that provide fresh content to promote their online presence. With multiple platforms and channels of communication available, organizations have a growing means of spreading their message and interacting with supporters. An outdated web presence with content that hasn’t changed in a number of months or even years suggests to visitors that you are not a serious organization. Potential donors and supporters want to know what’s going on with your organization now, not last week, last month or last year!
But it’s hard to figure out how you are going to create this amazing on-line presence when you have no funds. That is exactly the reason you need an ongoing fundraising plan. Too often charities fear they will be judged solely on the percent of their donations that go to administrative and fundraising costs. Although it is important that the majority of every dollar raised go towards your programs—most charity watchdog agencies recommend a minimum of 75%, it is impossible to survive and thrive without covering the costs to operate your organization. The true cost of ‘delivering’ your service includes the administrative and marketing costs to support and fund the programs.
At the end of the day, the user experience you provide will determine whether your website and social media presence helps or hinders your organization.
To find out if you qualify for The Pledge and an in kind donation towards the purchase of a complete branding and website makeover click here.