Website Strategy and Planning for Non-Profits


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You're ready to redesign your existing non-profit website, or you're building a new one from scratch. Before you pick up the phone and start calling web designers, what should you know first? Jen Kramer will walk you through the process of planning your next website, including identifying strategic goals, target audience, and the truly important features and functionality (rather than those just nice to have) that will make your website effective and manageable. You can do all of this with a minimum of geekery!

In this session, you will learn:
Important tips for identifying business, website, and user goals (hint: they're not always the same!)
How to identify your target audience, and how to think about building a website for them (not just you)
How to think about features and functionality for your site. How do you identify the most important items on a tight budget? How do you plan for more features later?
Tips for writing this up in a request for proposal (RFP) that will help get you the designer or firm best suited to your needs
What you should expect when working with a web designer: what's normal? What's typical? What's really awful? And what exactly do they do, anyway?
This session is best suited to those new to website design and redesign work, who need some pointers and tips for working with a web design and development company.

Published in: Technology, Design

Website Strategy and Planning for Non-Profits

  1. 1.  Jen Kramer • May 21, 2013 •
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  3. 3. •“I need awebsite and Iwant it blue.How much willthat cost?”
  4. 4. •Translating your mission and vision to a websiteQuestions you should answer before hiring theweb teamWhat is the job of a web designer, anyway?Finding the right person/firm for the job
  5. 5.  • jen@jenkramer.orgTranslating your mission and vision to a website
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  7. 7. • jen@jenkramer.orgThe American Red Cross prevents andalleviates human suffering in the face ofemergencies by mobilizing the power ofvolunteers and the generosity of donors.
  8. 8. • jen@jenkramer.orgThe American Red Cross, through its strong network of volunteers, donorsand partners, is always there in times of need. We aspire to turncompassion into action so that......all people affected by disaster across the country and around the worldreceive care, shelter and hope;...our communities are ready and prepared for disasters;...everyone in our country has access to safe, lifesaving blood and bloodproducts;...all members of our armed services and their families find support andcomfort whenever needed; an emergency, there are always trained individuals nearby, ready touse their Red Cross skills to save lives.
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  15. 15.  • jen@jenkramer.orgAnd how can you do it?
  16. 16. • Red Cross understandstheir mission and vision. They identified theaudiences they want toserve. They know how the websiteshould support the mission,vision, and targetaudiences.
  17. 17. • Find your mission and vision (and values) statements for your non-profit.o Are they current/up to date? Do they reflect what you’re doing now? What audience are you serving? Now think about how your website could reflect this material.
  18. 18.  • jen@jenkramer.orgQuestions you should answer before hiring the web team
  19. 19. • jen@jenkramer.orgQuestions: What are our mission andvision? What is our purpose? What do we want to get out ofthe site? Who are our users? What do our users want? What experience are we tryingto provide? How will we measuresuccess?
  20. 20. • An x% increase in the number ofvisitors Reduce tech support costs by y% Convey the mission and vision ofour project and enlist sponsors Increase our visibility in themarketplace by establishing ourexpertise Reduce phone calls for hours andlocation Promote events Get grant fundingHow does this support your mission & vision?
  21. 21. • Get as specific as possibleo Good: 18-24 year old malesin urban areas of the USwith shoe sizes 12 and upo Not as good: Young peoplewith fashion sense“Anyone who might beinterested” is not the rightanswer.
  22. 22. • What are their specificlimitations?o Specific website needs:arthritis, wear glasses,colorblindo Type of internet connection:dialup still reigns supremein rural areaso Old computers? Mobilephones? Tablets?
  23. 23. • Be entertained; share photos, stories;reconnect with old friends andcolleagues Donate money Donate time Find out how to sponsor your project Purchase a widget at 11 PM in theirPJs Find the thought leader and see whatthey think about X Tell me more about that thing I readabout in the paper this morning
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  25. 25. • Efficient Simple and straightforward Meandering, wandering Cheerful and peppy… and does that intro movie really support thatexperience?
  26. 26. • jen@jenkramer.orgDeep thought:No one ever says they want to make afrustrating, difficult website.But frequently, under the banner of“branding”, organizations doexactly this.Websites are software, not electronicbrochures. They should bepredictable and easy to use.
  27. 27. • It’s not all about Google Analytics, although this data isimportant.o Review your GA data for types of browsers, hardware, visitorpatterns, search terms, etc. Are you getting what you expect? Think about the goals for your website and write a goal that’smeasureable.o Reduce phone calls about location and hours by 10% over the next 3months.• Associates will track number of calls over next 3 months.o Increase number of donors by 10% and increase average newdonation to $25.• Measureable via donation tracking software.
  28. 28. •Make “store location” more obvious on the home pageo And how will you do that?o And how will you measure the results?Investigate online donation screens for usabilityissues.o And how will you do that?o And how will you measure the results?
  29. 29. • Answer the questions foryour own website:o What are our mission andvision? What is our purpose?o What do we want to get outof the site?o Who are our users?o What do our users want?o What experience are wetrying to provide?o How will we measuresuccess? Find websites that mightserve as a model for yourown site.o The Red Cross ties theirmission and vision into theirsite structure well. Whatother sites do this?
  30. 30.  • jen@jenkramer.orgWhat is the job of a web designer, anyway?
  31. 31. • jen@jenkramer.orgWeb Designers Web Developers
  32. 32. • jen@jenkramer.orgWhat they do Make pretty web designs Improve usability and workflow Write code Provide web hosting Train clients to maintain their ownwebsites Choose the best web technology foryour needs Execute the web portion of yourmarketing plans Determine the links on your siteWhat they do not do Fix your computer Configure your email Configure your office network Develop your organizationalstrategy, mission/vision/values,or marketing plans
  33. 33.  • jen@jenkramer.orgFinding the right person/firm for the job
  34. 34. • Someone has built my exact websitebefore, so they should be experiencedin building:o A non-profit website serving my exact targetaudience and doing the same kind of worko A startup/established/well-established non-profito With a blog, calendar of events, discussionboard, zip code locator, contact form, newslettersignup, polls, surveys…o And they should be able to build this website inmy budget and on my timeline.o And they should be able to show me 3 examplesof this exact kind of work.o And they should be local.o And they should share all of my non-profit’svalues.
  35. 35. • I need to find someone whocan:o Write perfect, search engineoptimized codeo Write all copy for my siteo Manage the projecto Figure out my strategy, objectives,mission, vision, and valueso Pick the perfect technologyo Set up and run my social mediacampaigno Network the office
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  39. 39.  • jen@jenkramer.orgIn 5 Easy Steps
  40. 40. • State your mission, vision,values. Answer the 6 questionsaddressing strategy fromearlier in this talk.
  41. 41. • Why are you redesigningyour website? How will you know yousolved the problem?
  42. 42. • Graphic design Copy writing Social media Marketing plan execution Video Branding and message Custom application Mobile
  43. 43. • How much do you want tospend on this project? When will you start? When does it need to becompleted? Is there a reason it needs tobe completed then?
  44. 44. • Let the designers anddevelopers do their jobs.They are not button-pushingmonkeys. If you have requirements,list them, carefully andthoughtfully.
  45. 45. • jen@jenkramer.orgDo mention “Must integrate with our existingCRM system/donor system/etc” “We want to maintain ourwebsite after launch” “We need best practicesemployed for SEO” “We want to own our websiteafter launch, allowing anyone tomaintain it.”Do not mention {no mention of existing donorsystem or its integration} “Must be built in WordPress/Drupal/Joomla/something else” “We need a blog and backlinksto our content” “We prefer open source solutionsover proprietary solutions.”
  46. 46. • Be clear about who you are. Be clear about the problem youwant solved. Be clear about where you needhelp. Be clear about budget and time. Don’t sound high maintenance. Be careful when talkingtechnical.
  47. 47. • jen@jenkramer.orgJen KramerWaltham, MAPhone: 802-257-2657jen@jenkramer.orgwww.jenkramer.orgTwitter: @jen4webFacebook: available