Web Best Practices Non Profits

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Golden rules of visitor engagement

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Web Best Practices Non Profits

  1. 1. CHRISTINA STANFIELD strategist www.LinkedIn.com/in/cstanfield Best Practices for Non-Profit Websites July 3, 2009
  2. 2. 8 Rules to visitor engagement 1. Carve Out Unique Positioning 2. Help Volunteers and Mentors Self-Select 3. Offer ‘Spender’ Friendliness 4. Build Donor Appeal 5. Show Interesting Visual Measurement 6. Become an Education Destination 7. Leverage Network Marketing 8. Infect the Viral Web Christina Stanfield, Strategist
  3. 3. Getting to unique web positioning • Consider your ‘competitive’ set and make a list of the top 15 – Who services the same constituents? – Who offers similar services? – Who else do your donors/volunteers support? • Visit the set’s websites and look at what they’re saying • Group your peers’ main messages into four buckets – Which competitors sound alike? – Which are dissimilar? • Consider these four buckets a ‘continuum’ and graph them – Figure out where your organization’s current message fits – Decide where you’d like to move… preferably into OPEN space Christina Stanfield, Strategist
  4. 4. Example of a competitive perception map Christina Stanfield, Strategist
  5. 5. Rule 1: Own your differentiator! • People spend very little time looking at a web page and absorb much less than they do from print, so choose ONE message to own • Once you decide your unique positioning, make sure that everything you communicate - your language, look and user experience - all reinforce this one message Christina Stanfield, Strategist
  6. 6. Volunteers • Being able to search for opportunities based on lots of criteria is best practice – Interest – Location – Date / 3 month calendar of events and service opportunities – Greatest need • Testimonials, videos of clients/volunteers/sites, and teaser activities like a ‘Match Your Passion Quiz’ draw people in • Connecting offline for orientation and site visits increases connection and lets long- term, committed volunteers self-select • Volunteer Match is tied into United We Serve and offers a great way to attract people who might not find you on their own. Consider partnerships of this sort • Building out a volunteer section may require creation of new content and organizational coordination – Job descriptions – Databasing – Intake procedures, training and offline event planning Christina Stanfield, Strategist
  7. 7. Some great volunteer sites and functionality Christina Stanfield, Strategist
  8. 8. Mentors mentoring USA has a simple, thorough process: Step 1: Make a one year commitment for one hour a week Step 2: Choose three locations in order of preference that meet your interest and schedule Step 3: Complete the mentor application and provide three references Step 4: Attend a New Mentor Training and get fingerprinted Step 5: Site placement within three weeks of training and background check completion Christina Stanfield, Strategist
  9. 9. Online applications Again, length and depth select out people who are not committed. Include personal information, education and training, language skills, volunteer experience, site preferences, essay question(s), three references, personal history, and background screening information Christina Stanfield, Strategist
  10. 10. Rule 2: It’s all about fit! • Training volunteers and mentors takes a lot of time and resource you don’t want to waste • People volunteer and mentor for different reasons. Make sure you know exactly who you want and give people enough information about the experience they’ll have that they can decide if they’re a good fit before they walk through your doors Christina Stanfield, Strategist
  11. 11. ‘Spender’ friendliness • Donations are another way people choose to part with their hard earned money • Non-profit sites should strive to provide the same user enjoyment and buyer satisfaction as do retail sites – When the experience is easy, pleasant and maybe even a bit thrilling, people return more often and spend more each time – The visceral and interactive nature of the web allows the act of donating to become extrinsic-ly, as well as intrinsic-ly, satisfying • Legacy planners are a way to appeal to an older and more established online donor. Consider including a way to donate directly from your IRA Christina Stanfield, Strategist
  12. 12. Emulate fabulous retail experiences Criteria include: – Ease of use, navigation that clearly identifies site content – Ability to find what you want, a functional search field and site map – Feedback from other customers – Online and offline contact options like phone and email – Colors and imagery make the site! Cite: The Webby Awards; National Retail Federation; Web Marketing Association; Time Magazine Christina Stanfield, Strategist
  13. 13. Retail sites people love Christina Stanfield, Strategist
  14. 14. Rule 3: Raise the bar! Strive to meet the criteria that make for the easiest user navigation and best overall web experiences – Not just competing with other non-profits – Another signal that your organization is unique and innovative among its peers Christina Stanfield, Strategist
  15. 15. Donor turn-ons What donors want from charity websites: 1. Your Mission (on homepage) 2. How their money will be used (on homepage) 3. Photos of people they will be helping 4. A ‘donate’ button 5. Donations to date 6. A funding goal 7. Ways to keep in touch 8. Other ways they can help Cite: Jakob Nielson's Alertbox, March 30, 2009. Donation Usability: Increasing Online Giving to Non-Profits and Charities Christina Stanfield, Strategist
  16. 16. What those could look like Christina Stanfield, Strategist
  17. 17. Donor turn-offs In a study by Jakob Neilson, people reported abandoning a possible donation for the following reasons: – 47% were usability problems relating to page and site design including unintuitive information architecture, cluttered pages, and confusing workflow – On 17% of the sites users couldn't find where to make a donation – 53% were content issues related to writing for the Web including unclear or missing information and confusing terms Christina Stanfield, Strategist
  18. 18. Rule 4: K.I.S.S.! • The big problem is bad content usability • Speak plainly and answer donors’ main questions, the first two on your homepage Christina Stanfield, Strategist
  19. 19. Visual measurement • We know that potential donors want to know your donation goal and want to be able to see how you’re doing along the way • Think of it as ‘gaming’ • If we make it interesting, they may come back • If we make it really interesting, they may tell a friend about it Christina Stanfield, Strategist
  20. 20. Rule 5: Use tell-a-friend worthy visuals! Christina Stanfield, Strategist
  21. 21. Rule 6: Destination, learn! • Acting as a resource will bring more people to your site and will make you more credible to the people who visit • Visitors to this section might include press, students, individual donors, foundations and volunteers • A robust resources section would include – A POV on current local and federal issues, updated at least quarterly – Downloadables like presentations and charts – Links to other resources and partners – RSS feeds Christina Stanfield, Strategist
  22. 22. Network marketing • Facebook is the most popular site, with MySpace and LinkedIn distant seconds • Second Life has an entire Non-Profit world where you can test what attracts and introduce a broader group to your organization and work Christina Stanfield, Strategist
  23. 23. Rule 7: ebay Giving Works works! • Getting listed is easy. People can opt to donate to you as they sell, and buyers can search for things that benefit you. A no- brainer for immediate action Christina Stanfield, Strategist
  24. 24. Rule 8: Infect the viral web! • Beyond emailing something to a friend, the ability to post to ‘rating’ type sites like DIGG, MIXX, and Yahoo! Buzz is important for constantly attracting new attention • If updated regularly, RSS feeds are a great way to keep top of mind and reinforce authority. A feed for updates to and news that affect your constituents would be ideal • Offering permalinks to material on your site will encourage others to repurpose your content, thereby increasing your visibility online • Blogging can be effective if done by a staff member who works closely with clients and can contribute on a daily basis. But if you can’t commit to keeping it current, it will do more harm than good Christina Stanfield, Strategist
  25. 25. You’re off to a great start… Best wishes for a wonderful response to your website If you have questions, please get in touch: www.linkedin.com/in/cstanfield Christina Stanfield, Strategist
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