Tell a great story. If you’re part of a nonprofit doing incredible work in the world, or your local community, you need to share the story in a compelling way. This is true across all platforms and outlets, but it is especially true with your nonprofit website.
Visitors to your website need to (almost) instantly:
- Feel welcomed and engaged
- Get a strong sense for the work that you do and the demographic you work with
- Understand your mission
- Quickly and easily find relevant information
The best way to accomplish all of this in the few precious seconds that you have to “hook” a website visitor is to approach your nonprofit website as an opportunity to tell a great story about who you are and what you do.
How to tell your story via your website:
- Use sharp, striking images (or videos)
Great imagery is simply the best way to capture the hearts and minds of your website visitors. The photos you use must be sharp, high-quality and they need to strike a chord. The same goes for videos. Find out who owns the best camera among the members of your organization, invest in a good quality camera to have on hand or hire a photographer for photoshoots or for key events. The benefit of having a stockpile of great photos is enormous, as these photos can be used for all types of marketing purposes.
- Get your mission out there right away
I’m a huge advocate for setting out the organization’s mission (or “tagline”, if that’s more concise) right away on the home page. Let visitors know exactly who you are and what you do. If your mission and tagline are wordy and drawn out, consider going through an exercise to shorten them to something catchy and memorable.
Some great examples of this:
UNCF’s “A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste”
Earth Justice’s “Because the earth needs a good lawyer.”
- Build your site navigation around your key audience groups
Identify your key audience groups and build the site around them. Common categories include clients, donors, supporters, volunteers, corporate partners and more. Ensure that each group has easy access to necessary information.
- Continue telling your story throughout your site
The fun doesn’t stop at the home page of your website, continue telling the story throughout the site. Make a creative and compelling “About” page, keep language and “voice” consistent, take time to create a “Contact Us” page that invites participation.
What are the benefits?
What are some of the benefits a nonprofit can expect from optimizing their website presence?
- Through consistency, you can increase brand and organizational awareness very quickly, as folks come to recognize you by look and “feel”.
- Attract great people to join your cause – donors, volunteers, influential leaders, businesses. If you tell a compelling story, folks will want to participate in the work that you’re doing.
- Increase word-of-mouth advertising and social media sharing – Your current members and participants will be more likely to share with friends if they believe that the message will get through clearly and effectively.
- You’ll reach more folks who need your services! Optimizing your website will help you connect with the folks that you’re serving, and grow your reach and capacity.
If you are part of a nonprofit that needs to tell a better story via their website, let’s connect. I spent 15 years working in nonprofits and have since collaborated with numerous organizations to upgrade their online presence and tell a better story.