Non-Profits: Make Your Website Your Outreach Centerpiece
April 25, 2012
A lot of non-profits think of their websites as afterthoughts –something that they feel they have to do because they are supposed to. Which is not surprising considering most non-profits are understaffed and overwhelmed with helping their clients, spreading their message, asking donors for money, pleasing board members, writing government grants and keeping current donors happy.
I know. I’ve been there. I worked in Homeless, Health Care, and HIV/AIDS charities for nearly a decade. So the last thing on your mind is probably a website.
But a website is actually one of your best investments of energy and resources. Increasingly, Non-profits are turning to the web as an essential way to reach the community with their message and to attract volunteers and donors.
A strong web presence is actually your best opportunity to maximize the work you do. A little effort expended on your website can make a big impact on your organization.
Years ago, one agency I worked at received a letter, out of the blue, stating they were receiving a million dollar bequest. As it turns out, someone, not even from the immediate area, had left the money after having heard about the agency through a news show and then visited our website to learn more about our work. It is not surprising that we had recently redesigned our site. Had the website not been so polished and professional we might have missed this opportunity.
We know that 78% of online consumers rank web design as most important for judging business credibility (Stanford University). The same can pretty much be said for those considering making a donation to an organization. In addition to being sold on the worthiness of the cause, they need to know that their donation is going to be used where it will have the most impact and that the donation is going to a competent, professional organization.
One additional advantage is that your website doesn’t interfere in any way with your day to day activities. It is common to most agencies to have funders require site visits. Your web site is like a virtual site visit, where people from all over the world can come and explore your agency and its work, 24-hours a day without ever having to interfere with your staff or clients.
Now your board might say, “a website is too expensive” or “can’t you get someone to do it for free?” But the real need is not just to have a website but to have a quality website that speaks to your audience and informs people about your organization. It is a true investment that requires quality. Additionally, a website based on a unique strategy, customized to your agency will have broader reach and impact.
For example, consider the marginal cost of developing a quality website versus hiring another staff member. If your company is strapped for start-up cash I recommend doing a web search for one of the agencies that offers free services to non-profits. However, the resources at these programs are usually quite limited and they mostly use the services of inexperienced students who are learning the trade.
If you have even a modest budget for a web project, I would highly recommend hiring a quality professional service such as ourselves that can guarantee a high quality of design and maximize the impact your site can achieve.
Find out more about the full range of services Tectonica offers to ensure that we deliver a site that is successful and will be easy for you to maintain and manage.
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