According to data from the Blackbaud Index of Online Giving, online giving is experiencing a growth of over 13 percent year after year. It was also revealed that 54% of non-profit organizations experience results at or above this rate.
The same report also confirmed that 87% of online organizations received at least one gift of over $1,000 in 2011 alone. In other words, there’s potential in online fundraising and you’ll very well exceed your expectations if you can learn to effectively market your non-profit online.
Of course, the first step is to create a website. Having a website for your non-profit can be invaluable and here are some of the reasons why you need a non-profit website:
1. With the right tool, it’s easier to create a website than you’d have expected; it’s not super-expensive as most people would have you think, you don’t need a design that costs tens of thousands of dollars nor do you need to hire a developer. With a tool like Easy WebContent, even a 5-year old kid can create a website.
2. More people can find you online; far more people than you can reach offline. Through the internet you can connect with people from all over the world, from all over the country without them having to visit your office personally. You can get more people to join your cause.
3. Marketing potential is unlimited; You don’t need to spend money you don’t have advertising because there’s unlimited marketing potential online that everyone can benefit. You could create a video that goes viral, write an article that gets shared a lot across social media or invite bloggers to join your cause. There are millions of people with websites and an audience online, much more people than you can reach offline, and you can get them to participate in your cause and get people to support your cause.
4. It’s available 24/7; It’s your virtual office that doesn’t close. Whether you’re getting donations from Australia or from Germany and you’re in the US, you don’t have to worry. Anytime people want to donate, it’s as easy as visiting your website; your website is available 24/7 and people can donate anytime of the day from any part of the world.
5. Control the kind of press you get; The thing with publicity is that sometimes you get the kind of press you don’t want and it isn’t often easy to control this offline – crafting the right message, getting in touch with the right channels, publishing your message etc. – with a website, however, you can control your message. Even if it’s at 2 AM in the night, you can publish a message on your website to clarify things and that’s basically all you need to do.
With that said, the next step is to create your non-profit website.
How to Create a Non-Profit Website
Creating a non-profit website isn’t just about going online and creating something, there are steps involved. You want to choose the right tools, register the right domain name and ensure you’re properly positioned to benefit from your website.
Step 1: Plan your website
Just as you have a plan to effectively run your non-profit organization, it’s equally important to have a plan for your non-profit website.
Even if you have a strong presence offline for your non-profit, you’ll still need a plan to ensure your website launches in the right way and attracts an audience of donors and fans who go on to spread your message.
Some things you want to plan are:
- Being consistent with your brand message; what message do you want to pass across and how do you plan to do that online?
- Using the right tools; you need a website, yes, but you don’t want to max your resources to build a successful website
- Marketing your non-profit; from viral approaches to a content approach, you need to research everything and ensure you have it figured out
You don’t have to panic, though, as the above steps aren’t as complicated as they seem. This article will help you figure everything out by the time you’re done with it.
Step 2: Come up with a domain name
For most non profit organizations it’s as easy as using the brand name, but for others, especially those whose brand name has been taken, you need to be more creative and come up with something that is appealing, easy to remember and passes across the right message.
Sometimes, it can be as simple as your cause; a great example of a non profit website that does this well is Charity Water which has a domain name of the same brand.
Step 3: Create your website
No complicated terminologies. No fancy tools. No expensive resources or things like that.
If you can spend $22 a month, then head over to register for Easy WebContent; it’s self-explanatory and easy to use. With great design and easy customization, videos that make it easy to build a website even if you’ve never built one before, you have everything you need to build your non profit website. You are also able to add the domain name you created earlier to your account.
Several great non profits, like the Minnesota Concert Opera for example, use Easy WebContent.
Step 4: Design your website
The next step is to design your website; this is especially important since you want to be consistent with your brand message.
If you use Easy WebContent you have everything you need for design. You just need to have a designer create a logo that matches your brand; you might have this already and if you don’t, you can get a designer to do it on Guru.com.
Upload your logo to Easy WebContent and customize your website to your taste.
Step 5: Market your website
Once your website is set up, you want to set up social media accounts, create a blog, publish regular content and updates related to your charity and get other people online involved in your cause. We’ll be talking about marketing in a bit.
5 Ways to Get More From Your Non-Profit Website
Now that you have your non profit website, it doesn’t just end there. Here are some steps to help you get the best from it and make people join your cause:
1. Reward people who join your cause: This could be donors and/or people who write about your non profit and tell their friends about it. Look for a way to reward them and encourage them to do more; it could be by having a page where you feature their names or even including the names of top donors on your website – except they want to be anonymous. As small as this sounds, it has been known to have great impact.
2. Notice the best months and capitalize on them: Try to observe trends in online giving and capitalize on them; for example, according to the graph below taken from NPEngage, it has been observed that more people give at December compared to any other month of the year. If the same holds true for your non-profit, capitalizing on this could help you double revenue or increase it to some extent.
3. Give people the inside scoop: Make them feel like they’re really part of your cause; show them videos, pictures and write articles about what their donations is achieving. Let them see the impact they’re making, on a regular basis on your website, and you’d be surprised by how much more they give and how often they’ll rave about you.
4. Publish more content: This could be news about your non-profit, a kind of industry trend or even articles from people who are benefiting from your non-profit and donations from your sponsors.
You don’t want your website to be dormant; you want it to be really active.
5. Analyze: A smart non-profit will observe trends and capitalize on it. It isn’t different online, too.
Track visits to your non-profit website, observe actions people are taking and then focus on what is working.
How to Market Your Non-Profit Website
For your non-profit website to succeed, effective marketing is critical.
Being a non-profit or having a website isn’t enough to convince people to donate to your non-profit; you want to convince them that they’re having real impact. You want to reach people you wouldn’t have otherwise reached and you want to have them join your cause.
While there are a lot of ways to market your non-profit website, here are a few simple steps:
1. Look for ways to get people involved and rewarded: This is very important since you have little to no budget and ultimately limited time for marketing. You want to get results by getting your sponsors involved in marketing and spreading the word.
While you want to get people rewarded for participating, it is very critical to ensure that you don’t make people feel like they’re giving just because of the reward; you want this to come naturally, probably in the form of a mention, featuring top donors or even showcasing a random donor. This has to be creative and unique, but people have to feel involved and rewarded.
2. Work with people to spread the word: This could be bloggers in your niche or websites that advocate a problem your charity solves. Partner with them and get them to write about you.
For example, if you’re a charity that helps the world go green you could benefit from getting green bloggers or environmental bloggers to write about you.
3. Leverage the growing trend of online content: Write content to be published regularly on your website and on other websites and leverage this to shed the spotlight on your charity, what you’re doing and how people can be involved.