For nonprofits, a functional, convenient website is nearly everything. With finances being spread so thin, there are never many opportunities for costly advertising and promotional on-the-ground campaigns. Rather, people will turn to its website for information regarding an organization, its mission, upcoming events, and opportunities to get involved. Therefore, a sleek and easy-to navigate website is key in generating word of mouth and popularity among its community. My interest in this particular subject has recently been piqued by a nonprofit client I’m currently working with for an internship. Together, my team and the organization’s management committee have come to realize their website needs a complete makeover, which we hope will eventually increase community awareness and support of the organization. This has prompted me to do some heavy research in terms of why and when an organization’s website needs to be redone and how to go about carrying out this hefty task. My search led me to Hannah Gregory’s article, “Top-10 signs Your Nonprofit Needs a New Website”, published on NonprofitPR.org. Applying the insight this article provides helped me draw the conclusion that indeed, my client’s website needs a full-on revamping. If you too are wondering whether your organization or client needs a new website, I encourage you to read the following takeaways I gathered from Gregory’s article:
1. If your website and social media accounts don’t speak the same language and can’t get along. To me, this means that every digital platform an organization is on needs to be consistent and have one unified voice. If you start to get the idea that every account is managed by a different person when sifting through content, it may be time to consider a new strategy. A consistent voice is a critical element in defining your organization’s personal brand.
2. If your website takes more than a minute to load all its content. The window of opportunity that occurs when a person visits your webpage and when they decide to stay on it or leave it is a very small one. That being said, if your website fails to load all of its content in this short time period, a person is going to be much more likely to leave the page than to stay on it, and you’ve lost a potential donor or supporter just like that.
3. If you can’t figure out how to log in to make changes to the website, and its volunteer administrator is seemingly unreachable or unresponsive. It’s probably time to initiate a new website management approach, and a new webpage while you’re at it.
4. If your website looks exactly like your organization’s brochure, with the same pictures and content.
5. If everything is a downloadable PDF file. Again, convenience is going to be critical in website viewership, so if a visitor must take the time to download important information, chances are they’re going to lose interest in the website and therefore, the organization.
6. If the homepage is text-heavy. Our society is headed in a very visual direction when it comes to digital sources. Therefore, your website must align with this idea by featuring mainly compelling images and visual content. If it doesn’t, visitors will get bored at an accelerated rate.
7. If it takes visitors, and you, at least three attempts to successfully click your intended selection on a complicated drop-down menu. It sounds like a small aspect to a website, but if a user cannot efficiently click on a selection, they’re going to get frustrated. Simply put, a frustrated site visitor=lost support.
8. If your website features a fancy flash introduction that makes it look like a video game’s website rather than a nonprofit – and that decreases your traffic. Clearly in this case, advanced technology is not the answer. Keep your website’s introduction simple yet compelling.
9. If your website is outdated compared to the rest of your brand. Gregory gives the example that if you completely redesigned your organization’s logo and look years ago, but your website still features the old stuff, it’s probably time to look into a website redesign.
10. Gregory claims that it’s time for a website makeover if “You are being charged by the hour for a web programmer to make all of your changes and updates even though there are free open-source templates with content-management systems built-in.” To me, this implies that there are much cheaper and more efficient ways nowadays to completely update your website–Both Gregory and myself encourage nonprofit organizations to utilize them!