More Bang For Your Buck: Nonprofit Web Design Principles

22 01 2010

stock.xchng

More Bang For Your Buck

Nonprofit Web Design Principles

As a nonprofit organization, you’ve done so much with so little for so long that I’m betting you can do just about anything with nothing forever. Here are a few simple Web design principles to stretch your buck and flex your NPO muscle.

Keep it simple: First thing’s first, pretend like you know nothing about your site and consider how readily apparent your intent is. Is your purpose clear enough that a first time visitor, with little knowledge about your organization, can find your site and move to act?

Be sure to let them know what’s in it for them upfront. Spell it out for your audience so they don’t miss an opportunity to the dreaded “curse of knowledge.”

“Pare down your homepage content and give them a concise, yet clear and accurate taste of what you’re about.” – Network for Good.

Enable users: Next, enable your users! As a nonprofit, you need all the help you can get to cut down the costs of overhead. Make sure your site is readily accessible for interested parties. Ensure easy to find links, tabs or widgets for your respective needs.

Make your Site contribution-friendly: If you need volunteers or donations, ensure you have a tab that streamlines the donation process. The Salvation Army puts the bucket in your face; they won’t make you look for it – hopefully. Also, don’t limit your visitors to monetary gifts. An anecdotal story for your media kit might be worth more than a fistful of change.

For instance, the March of Dimes’ Shareyourstory.org allows users to donate experience instead of monetary contributions. This allows a sense of community and volunteering without exhausting member’s wallets and it reduces the cost of content.

Make your Site media-friendly: While you are at it, throw a media link up on your NPO’s Site. If you have a talented writer, throw in a media kit. If you have a fancy Web guy, throw in some digital media to lure in the press or an NPO-friendly blogger.

Use free resources: Actually, since we’re on the subject, don’t over work your Web guy. Why not use the free applications that already exist? Want to host a photo-petition but don’t have the storage space? Why not enlist Flickr? That’s what Oxfam did according to Britt Bravo’s blog, Have Fun, Do Good.

There seem to be plenty of low budget methods out there if you’re creative enough, just don’t forget the first thing you learned in college economics. Actually, it’s something that anyone with a bank account already knows – resources are scarce, and the cost of every expenditure is the price of the next best option foregone. Even if you have the resources to spare, it’s better to make every penny ride as long as it can in this market. Simple Web design can increase the effectiveness of your nonprofit.

Advertisements




4 Easy Steps Towards Bigger Donations

2 11 2009

Photo: Stock.Xchng

Get More Cheese!

4 Easy Steps Towards Bigger Donations!

Do happier donors equal bigger bucks for your non-profit? Well, according to an article written in the Public Relations Review by Julie O’Neil, they do. Most non-profit studies seem to reiterate the importance of cultivating the relationship between the donor and the organization, especially in times of economic distress.

According to the findings of that study, there seems to be a two-year threshold for when donors’ perceptions of trust and satisfaction become relatively high and they begin to increase their donations; however, getting to this stage can be a daunting task for any organization.

Many organizations spend their time mass soliciting the public looking for new donors when they should be focusing on strengthening their ties with familiar donors. In a paper published in the Journal of Communication Management, Richard Waters said that “if an organization want to ensure its longevity, then it should be prepared to dedicate time to developing  relationships with its donors.”

So how do we best cultivate these relationships? Here are four easy steps:

1. Create interpersonal dynamics to generate trust with the donor. A recent Brookings Institution report indicated that donors were most concerned that non-profit organizations did not spend donations wisely. Organizations need to develop trust through transparency. Studies indicate that when a donor perceives the accurate use of donations in a timely manner, they are more likely to donate. This gives the donor the assurance that the donation was needed and used responsibly.

2. Groom your donor relationships with a sense of commitment. Lets face it; you’re not going to ask someone to the prom if you think they might switch schools before the big dance, and donors feel the same way. Donors are more likely to give to causes that display a worthiness of a donation. An organization that demonstrates longevity and devotion to a cause is prone to receive more gifts.

3. Generate a sense of satisfaction for the donor. It’s important to associate positive feelings within the giver. My mother will be the first one to admit that the look in her Black Lab’s eyes brings her as much joy as the treat in her hand evokes in her dog. If the donor is going to continue their support, the benefits must outweigh the costs of charity. The satisfaction of the donor leads to longevity and recommendations among others.

4. Establish a sense of control mutuality between the organization and the donor. Nobody wants to feel controlled. There must be a perceived balance of power and mutual esteem. The organization should strive to reciprocate the kindness of the giver in some form or effort.

These are just the tip of the iceberg examples for cultivating better donor relationships. Even profitable businesses can stand to gain from these relationship maxims.Your NGO or non-profit needs to plan and tailor a personal procedure based on these principles. Greg Fox of DonorPower says that “The future lies with those who serve the donors,” and that “Raising money the old way is getting harder and harder to do.”