Monday, May 3, 2010

Website Best Practices for Nonprofits

It's always good to go back over the basics when it comes to website design and functionality.  Antoine Dubeauclard points out some basics we all should be thinking about.  I particularly like the idea of thinking about functionality.  Can I get the information I need easily and quickly?  How many times have I been to websites that "bury" content and then become frustrated trying to find what I want.  Also, if I want to donate money to your organization, will you make it easy for me?  Bunnie

Website Best Practices for Nonprofits
By Antoine Dubeauclard, President of Media Genesis

Keeping pertinent and updated resources readily available to people is what many nonprofit organization hope to achieve with their website, yet many still fall short.

Using Focus: Hope as an example, I would like to point out some best practices for nonprofit websites.

Focus: Hope is a Detroit civil and human rights organization that has constantly worked to bridge the racial divide in southeast Michigan. In March, the organization not only celebrated their 42nd anniversary, but also the launch of their new website. Below I have highlighted some features and functionality of Focus: Hope’s website that are key for any nonprofit.

Updated and well organized content

First, it’s important to deliver relevant content to the several and varied, audiences of non-profits. You want to give people a reason to come back. If your website has stale information and doesn’t engage the users – guess what – they won’t be returning. Creating a vibrate, easily updatable and engaging website was in the plan from the start – everything from the structure to design to functionality. Media Genesis built Focus: Hope’s site to have a custom content management system (CMS), so anyone within the organization can update the information. Now, content, videos, news and pictures can all be easily updated as often as needed– giving users something new to come back to. Having an organization of content is also very vital. Focus: Hope may have a lot of content, yet it is labeled and structured in a way that people don’t have to hunt for the information they are looking for.

Donations

A strong donation system is essential to keep any nonprofit up and running. Keeping this in mind, donors should not be left out when it comes to picking out your top audiences for your website. Remember, as a rule, don’t make people search. If you are actively seeking donations, make it easy for people. On Focus: Hope’s website a “Make a Donation” button is prominent on every page. We also customized their third party donation system so donors no longer have to leave the site to make a donation. This is key as it allows visitors to the site to make a donation, yet still browse and engage with the site content afterwards without ever leaving.

Social Media

Using social networks such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are great ways to share videos, start a discussion about an interesting fact, or spread the word about an event. It also portrays more transparency and lets people observe a more human aspect of the organization. Focus: Hope has links to their different social networks on every page, making it easy for users to peruse.

Correctly identifying your audiences, assessing the needs of your organization and finding ways to engage users should all be best practices when it comes to planning and developing any nonprofit website.

Contact Antoine Dubeauclard at Media Genesis

5 comments:

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