Sunday, March 2, 2008

Nonprofits and websites - use your brand to create a visually appealing site

These days when you want to find a movie time, employment, news stories, or the latest trend you search the Internet. The web is our window to the world in the comforts of our own home and has become the first stop for fast information.

Nonprofits should not only use the web to create "calls of action" for easy on-line donation opportunities, they should use their brand to create a visually appealing, user friendly, reputable site - especially their home page.

Searching the web for Columbus nonprofits organizations I came across a few examples.

The first is Mid-Ohio Food Bank - http://www.midohiofoodbank.org/. This is a great, reputable local organization that dedicated to feeding hungry people by collecting and distributing food and grocery products, advocating for hunger-relief programs, and collaborating with others who address basic human needs. For over 26 years they have served the needs of central Ohio's hungry families by providing food to over 550 food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and other charities. However, what's lacking is that their site's home page visually does not reflect their good work. The actual site is full of information but because the home page seems dated, and flat visitors could turn away before digging any deeper or before making a donation. They did have various on-line giving opportunities, one being a donation button on the home page which is an excellent call to action.

The second is Kids 'n Kamp - http://kidsnkamp.org/. This is a great, reputable local organization that provides children who have been diagnosed with childhood cancer with unique programs and services that focus on their emotional, educational and social well being and enable them to engage in family recreational activities. Kids 'n Kamp began in 1982 and touches the lives of more than 350 children and their families each year. Their site's home page is visually alive, neatly laid out, user friendly. It makes you want to explore the site and learn more about the organization and even donate. However, I never found an on-line giving opportunity. This organization is lacking a huge call to action and could be missing out on quite a bit of extra revenue.

The third is Life Care Alliance - Meals on Wheels, Help at Home -http://www.lifecarealliance.org/ . This is a great, reputable local organization that leads our community in identifying and delivering health and nutrition services to meet the community's changing needs. LifeCare Alliance, Central Ohio's premier Meals-on-Wheels provider for thirty years, continues to serve older adults and the chronically ill residents of Franklin and Madison counties 365 days a year. This website has the best of both mentioned above. Their site's home page is visually alive, neatly laid out, informative and user friendly. They also offer on-line donation opportunities not only throughout the site but on the home page as well.

The nonprofit world is extremely competitive. Organizations are fighting for donor dollars and donors are more savvy with their giving then ever before. They will research to find a reputable organization and will use the Internet to do so. Your web site must make a great visual imPRession, your home page needs to come alive and it must offer immediate calls to action. Is your nonprofit website visually appealing?

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