Charities and non-profit organizations face a host of challenges as they compete for the attention of prospective donors and the media. As the non-profit landscape continues to evolve, a growing number of non-profits are recognizing the need for a high-quality online presence. Below is a look at the key online features offered by successful non-profits and the potential costs of not having a professional website.
How has the online landscape evolved for non-profits?
Before the turn of the century, many non-profits were able to prosper without a strong online presence. However, the number of non-profit organizations is growing by the day, propelling founders of charities and civic groups to swing into action by increasing their online presence.
"For a long time, the nonprofit sector was largely insulated from the pressures of competition common in the for-profit world. As more and more organizations enter the nonprofit arena, however, attention from donors and volunteers becomes increasingly precious...If donors and volunteers are spreading their time and energy across multiple organizations with the same mission, nonprofits might not be able to continue certain programs."
- Spencer Creal, Nonprofit Hub
According to the National Center of Charitable Statistics, there are now more than 1.5 million nonprofit organizations registered in the United States. This number includes public charities, fraternal organizations, chambers of commerce, and private foundations. In order to gain traction in an increasingly competitive landscape, many non-profit agencies are focusing their efforts on developing a website that will motivate prospects to take action. Marketing guru Neil Patel outlines the importance of developing a professional website:
"Every online business wants to increase sales, revenue and customer loyalty. In an effort to do so, companies will offer promotions, create social media contests, and advertise their brand. All of these campaigns are good, but there's one less common way that not many people think about that can help reach this goal: building a trustworthy website."
- Neil Patel, Entrepreneur and Founder of Kissmetrics and Crazy Egg
What online features do successful non-profit websites offer?
1) A summary of the organization's vision or mission
"In many ways, a mission statement is a kind of PR move: a way to position your organization as memorable and unique. What's the one thing you want your organization to be known for in the world? More importantly, what's the message that already resonates with your donors and true fans?"
- Marc Koenig, Nonprofit Hub
2) Case studies and testimonials
- Photos of non-profit members actively helping people
- High-profile donors and influencers who offer specific praise for the non-profit
- The length of time the non-profit has provided services
3) A means of subscribing to blogs and mailing lists
A five-star website will work wonders to help you convert prospects to donors and volunteers. In many cases, this process begins with a prospect visiting a charity's website and subscribing to their blog or mailing list. A website also serves as a library for new and old blogs, enabling visitors to search by topics such as donations, mission trips, volunteer advice, and other industry-related topics.
4) A convenient way to donate online
Every award-winning non-profit offers an easy way for interested parties to make an online donation or sign up for the next volunteer activity. In addition to listing available credit card payment options, many non-profit websites offer prospects the option of making recurring donations on weekly, monthly, or yearly basis. Donations can be completed in a secure manner through the non-profit's website in just a few clicks, making it fast and easy for interested parties to donate.
What are the potential costs of not having a website?
"92% of small businesses predict that they will have a website by the end of 2018. While this prediction may seem optimistic, it points to the fact that the majority of small businesses recognize the value of a website and are at least aware of the missed opportunity of not having one."
- Clutch Small Business Websites in 2017 Survey Results
- Prospective donors are less likely to trust your organization
- Securing donations becomes more challenging
- Supporters have no means of easily engaging with your organization
- You will lose supporters to competing non-profits who offer a convenient online presence
The Bottom Line
Attracting prospective donors and building a strong online presence is virtually impossible without a professional website. Today's most successful non-profit organizations make it easy for civic-minded individuals to find their organization online and make a tax-deductible donation online in a matter of seconds. To learn how you can enhance your online presence with a professional website, we invite you to contact us. Our digital marketing specialists will be happy to talk to you about ways that we can help you develop a stellar website and bolster your industry presence. We look forward to becoming your trusted solution for all of your marketing needs!