Does Your Website Further Your Mission?

Morgan Schneeberger- 05.12.09

I had the opportunity to represent Blackbaud at the NTEN 09 Nonprofit Technology Conference in San Francisco at the beginning of the month. It was great event and I got to meet a lot of fantastic people that are passionate about their organization and how they can further their mission. One of the sessions I attended was "25 Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Website" given by Allan Pressel, CEO of CharityFinders.

Every day I talk to nonprofits about how they can use their websites more effectively but I was sure I'd learn some new tips and tricks from Allan. (I was correct, by the way!)

 

Here are a few easy and effective tips I recommend (including a few I learned from Allan Pressel) to drive more traffic to your website. 

 

Consistent branding

This is often underappreciated in the nonprofit space. You, as NPO's, are often in direct "competition" with other NPO's for donor and advocate support. It's imperative that you create consistency in branding, both online and off. Make sure your website reflects your offline and online communications.

Allan gave some great examples to drive this point home. First, in the for-profit space, what do you think of when you see the golden arches? McDonald's right? Switching gears, who do you think is the most recognized brand in the nonprofit space? I went back and forth on this one for a bit but ultimately came out with the right answer – The American Red Cross. Think about everything they do - from mailings, television ads, emails, events - the branding is consistent across every medium.

 

Publish your URL at every opportunity

You can do this many places such as (but not limited to) your direct mail newsletter, event invitations, volunteer applications, membership renewal notices, and email appeals. It’s a very easy thing to do and a great return on investment.

 

Have an email acquisition strategy

Allan Pressel called this the “fees and trees” approach. There are four steps to this strategy.

  • First, ASK! Don’t be shy about asking someone for their email at every opportunity.
  • Second, use the “fees” approach. “Mr. Donor, please provide your email address so we can save money on our direct mailing and put that extra money towards our mission.”
  • Third, Allan suggests using the “trees” method. “Ms. Advocate, we’re going green and would like to send 20% less mailing this year via direct mail. Won’t you provide us your email address to help us accomplish our goal?”
  • Finally, provide an easy email list sign up directly on your home page. It isn’t evasive and people often will provide their email address is there is an easy way to do so.  

 

I’d like to end my blog post today with a statement that Allan Pressel used to start his presentation: “Every non profit should have a website that actually furthers its mission – not just describes it.”

 

Okay, now it's your turn…what works well for your organization? Do you drive traffic to your website using any other methods?  Leave a comment and join the discussion!

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