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The Best Non-Profit Intel

Online Marketing: 10 Things Nonprofits Should Consider

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It’s hard to know if you’re doing everything you can to maximize your online marketing efforts. Let’s start with these 10 ideas to cover the basics.

1. Does your homepage inspire action?

You have a very finite amount of time to prove why someone should remain on your website. People are easily distracted. In a matter of seconds your website needs to answer, “Why should I care?” and “How can I help?”

2. Personas help you personalize your messages

A persona is a mock profile meant to represent a specific group of your organization’s audience. Personas help you write personalized communications that speak more directly to each type of volunteer, donor and member. See an example persona.

3. Which channels do your donors prefer?

Your donors have different ways they prefer to engage with you. Here are some examples of different personas and how they might interact with your organization:

  • A widow wants to set up a scholarship fund in her husband’s name. She prefers to call a development staff member.
  • A young professional RSVPs online through your event calendar after a friend shares on Facebook that she is attending.
  • A retiree prefers to give time instead of money to your organization. She wants to sign up for a committee online.

Also, remember to focus on what your organization does well. For example, if you don’t have someone to properly manage a Twitter account, then don’t establish a Twitter profile. (This sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised by how many organizations bite off more than they can chew.)

4. Are you making it convenient to donate?

Are you meeting the needs of each persona in terms of how they like to donate? Some ideas that might be new to you:

  • Create a crowdfunding campaign for a specific project.
  • Allow donors to send money with apps already on their smartphone, like Venmo.
  • Launch a text-to-donate system.
  • Enable more frequent, smaller donation options.
  • Offer to invoice corporate donors.
  • Develop an auto-recurring membership level.
5. Is your donor experience mobile-friendly?

51% of people who visit a nonprofit website do so on a mobile device. Responsive websites automatically adjust the appearance of web pages to the size of the phone screen or web browser.

How to test your donation form:

  1. Open your donation page in a web browser on a desktop computer.
  2. Click and hold the right side of your browser window.
  3. Narrow the browser window to phone screen width (approximate is fine).
  4. What happens:
    1. Does the content adjust to the width of the narrower browser window?
    2. Does a scroll bar appear at the bottom of the browser window? (Note: responsive sites do not have scroll bars).
6. Are your emails mobile-friendly?

Did you know that 54% of nonprofit emails are read on mobile? All online interaction with donors must work on a smartphone.

7. Count the clicks to donate

Pretend you are a donor who wants to sign up for a recurring donation.

  1. Count how many clicks it takes to get to your donation page from your home page. It should take one or two clicks.
  2. Every field you ask your donor to complete reduces conversion rates. Eliminate any fields that are just “nice to have” information.
  3. Open the donation form on a phone. Are the buttons and field names readable and easily clickable?
8. Reconsider stock images
  1. Websites look less professional when they have a large range of photographic styles. On large brand web sites, it looks like the same photographer took every picture because of similar lighting, tone and color palette. Aim to select photos with a consistent visual look, or take your own!
  2. They usually look generic. Your potential donor might feel less of a connection to what makes your organization unique.
  3. Your competitors could be using the same images.
9. A picture is worth 1,000 words

An infographic can quickly tell your web visitor why they should support your organization. But be careful when designing infographics— make sure the overall message is easily understood on desktop and mobile.

10. Instill trust with donors and Google

While most nonprofits have SSL (secure sockets layer) certificates for their websites, some pages within your site might be only partially secure. If a page has insecure images or content, users will not see the secure padlock icon on their web browser. Remember: secure sites rank higher in Google search results than non-secure sites.


This article by was originally published on Nonprofit Hub. Read the article here.

Amy Hufford is a Technologist at MembershipWorks. She has worked in nonprofit technology for more than 20 years and has experience with a variety of donor and member management software platforms.