Does Your Charity Website Leave Users Guessing?

Nearly every charity shares the goal to grow. Your charity’s website offers one of the best platforms for the world to learn about your organization and support you in achieving  that goal.

While websites have proven to be an excellent, cost-effective tool for marketing and communication, providing audience-driven content can ensure users (visitors) are not left guessing nor turn away from your cause. Ultimately, content must be clear and engaging for your target audience that encourages them to take action.

As I review charity websites 3 common questions often emerge that, if addressed up front, can help educate the general public and respond to your inquisitive donor and stakeholder. Where is the organization headed? How are resources being used to get there? What leadership team is in place?

In response to these questions I have shared some tips below to improve web content:

Share you plan for the future. It’s important charities promote their mission and vision.  Providing more detailed narrative about strategic goals and your pathway for the future can help create a bridge between intent and clear action. People generally gravitate to causes that resonate emotionally and have realistic and well-articulated plans. By posting your board approved strategic plan and a call to action for the audience it can help take the guess-work out of how and when potential donors can lend support.

Along with the sharing of documents, dedicate space to highlight key initiatives, such as capital development, program innovations and/or new communities you are aiming to serve. Information on how, when and what support is needed should be linked to your on-donation or volunteer pages and be a key stroke away.

Be transparent about financial health. General visitors, nonprofit professionals and potential donors like to know how funds are being used to achieve the desired social impact. For this reason it’s imperative your site shows the most current audited financial statements, annual reports and a description of the charity’s impact.

While some sites have a list of current and past documents dedicating space to connect your financial data and the program performance in easy-to-understand pictograms, graphs and charts helps reader interpret your story. Providing 3 or 5-year historical data charts can help visitors understand your charity’s performance over time and save them from extracting data from numerous documents themselves.

Posting brief explanations for any year-over-year notable variances in the data, like significant increases and decreases in program offering, clients reached and financial performance, helps donors understand the challenges and successes facing your organization. It’s not a perfect world, so erase any possible doubt about your financial performance by being proactive and transparent in your narrative.

Profile the organization’s leadership team. The most common approach I have found is that organizations simply list the executive team and governance volunteers, while I hoped that I could see detailed profiles on each (e.g. affinity to the cause, professional background, scope of responsibilities within your charity).

Providing 3-4 statements about each person would save your visitors from arduous Google searches. By sharing profiles you can increase leadership transparency and build confidence with your potential donors and stakeholder groups. It can also help your recruitment efforts for volunteers and staff as so many people like to know more about the team they might join.

By addressing the common questions and the tips above I am confident you will garner more favourable responses from your website users.

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