Is your Website Causing you to miss out on Funding?
Money, something that is not at the forefront for not-for-profits, but is something that is always in the background. This is especially true when you don't have enough of it to start that new initiative. You know the one with the delayed launch. Ya, that one. It's okay, the economy is still tough and grants are not a guarantee. Here’s the thing, you can use your website to stay ahead of other not for profits.
Getting more people to your site, ensuring your content is current and reaches out to the right people, and creating a great user experience will improve your chances of getting more funding.
To get people to your site check your SEO and make sure you rank on the first page of the search results when people search for keywords or phrases related to your cause or organization.
Check and update your content. Make sure your content is current, proves an immediate need, speaks to the people you want to reach, and proves your organization's credibility.
Finally, you want to check your user experience. Make sure your calls to action work properly and are leading people to your targeted pages. Also, you want to ensure that your site is quick and easy to navigate.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Grant agencies and donors both use the internet as a tool to search for potential candidates, but is your organization visible to these people? Search Engine Optimization or SEO is an effective way to ensure you are being noticed. Part of a good SEO campaign is knowing what words and phrases people use when their search relates to your cause and then strategically using them in your content. Being on the first page of the search results is crucial to being visible. The chances of people viewing your website go down dramatically if it doesn’t appear on the first page. So not being on that first page could significantly hurt your funding opportunities.
Content and Personal Connection
Maybe people are visiting your website, but they aren’t donating? Don’t worry it is not the time to hit the panic button. Take a close look at your content. Grant agencies and donors look for:
causes that create a personal connection with them
causes that show an immediate need with a high social impact
Causes that are able to show good stewardship
Potential contributors want to feel a personal connection to your organization. Your organization needs to speak to people. It needs to create an emotional experience that makes people want to donate to your cause. To create this experience, organizations need to know their target audience. Creating donor personas is a great way to this. Personas will give you an idea of what type of people make donations to your organization. Once the personas are done you can create content that specifically targets these people. Also, sites need to use media that shows why the cause is important. Giving contributors visual examples provides a personification to the cause making it more relatable.
Donors and agencies want more than a personal connection, they look for not-for-profits with a current need. In today’s world, people want to make an immediate impact and feel a sense of instant self-gratification. This means not-for-profits need to add current content that is relevant to their cause. Current content gives donors a reason to stay and continue to resonate with your cause, while old news is a reason for them to search for another organization. The longer people stay on your site the more likely they are to make a donation. or give a grant.
Website content is only effective if it is factual. Donors only make donations to credible organizations. They don’t like to be scammed. The slightest hint of a scam and a donor is off your page. Your website needs to prove good stewardship to potential donors.To achieve this your organization needs to prove its credibility. A clear message of your cause and what you want to do is necessary. It is the first thing people want to see and gives an idea of who you are. Additionally, the site should mention previous initiatives and show their impact.
User Experience (UX)
Okay, so now you have people coming to your website and the content is being viewed but you’re still not getting donations. Don’t stress, you just need to change your website’s user experience. User Experience or UX is the way visitors interact with your website. In a sense, with good user experience, an organization can direct visitors to pages that you want them to see. Optimizing your calls to action and site navigation according to your user personas are two ways to improve user experience and help to increase your organization's donation opportunities.
Calls to action are made to provoke a response on a website. You see them on most websites. Whether they are asking you to sign up for a newsletter or telling you to buy now, calls to action are everywhere. Any organization can use donor personas to create calls to action that give visitors clear paths to targeted areas. Just their ability to engage visitors makes them the useful tool for not for profits. By showing contributors where to donate or giving people a place a chance to sign up for the newsletter are calls-to-action that get people where you want them to go.
How easy a website is to use can separate a great website from a below average website. Ease of use means the site is easy for visitors to navigate and allows people to quickly find the information they seek. Whether it be blog posts or more information about your organization people do not want to spend time searching all over your site. They want to find the information and they want to find it now. The last thing you want is for potential contributors to get confused and frustrated and leave your site. Remember, you want to keep people engaged on your page(s) for as long as possible.
When it comes down to it, if you want to get more donations and improve your chances with grant applications, you need to check and tackle the three concepts:
If you work with this checklist, you will be better off going forward and improve your chances of receiving more money.
Cheeky Monkey Media has a lot of experience working with non-profit organizations. Check out the work we did with the San Francisco SPCA as an example. If you have a non-profit website that needs a redesign give us a call!
Want to learn more about planning a website that speaks to your audience, and inspires them to take action? Download our new guide: The Nonprofit's Guide to Planning a Website.
Know your website needs some help, but not sure where to start? Send your website for a Drupal & WordPress Code Review, and we'll tell you exactly what's working and what isn't, so that you can start focusing on the stuff that will make the biggest impact!