Each month the Web 2.0 jury reviews the website
of a Canadian charity for fundraising effectiveness. To submit your site for
review and coaching from two experts in online communication and fundraising,
contact the Editor. This month's candidate is ADRA Canada.
Ryann. This month we look at ADRA Canada, a faith-based organization that works
internationally to help people affected by natural disasters, famine and
At least, I think
that's what they do. I wrote that after spending 20 minutes drilling into their
website to sort out exactly what their purpose is.
On the surface the site has some nice design elements, and
at first blush presents a simple, easy-to-read face to online visitors.
Unfortunately it's all form over function, leaving a visitor very hard-pressed
to find tangible information about who ADRA is, what they do, and what actions
they need from their supporters - so much so that a valid critique of their
site is nearly impossible.
All of their challenges exist on the level of brand and
audience awareness, rather than website presentation and design. I could make a
list, but here are a few critical issues they need to address.
State mission and
faith up front
First and foremost they need a clear, concise statement of
purpose that communicates their mission to prospective donors. I've offered one
up gratis and they're welcome to it. If it doesn't work for them, they need to
come up with one that does.
Second, they seem shy about stating that they are a
faith-based organization. They don't need to be. I'm willing to bet that this
is a big reason for the donor support they are already receiving, and by being
clear about their values they have a much better chance of finding new donors
who share their beliefs and sense of purpose.
Going further, they also receive financial support from the Canadian International Development Agency
(CIDA), which offers some objective validation on the merit of their work. (For
those not familiar with the sector, CIDA is the federal government agency that
administers foreign aid programs in developing countries). That shows ADRA can
be very proud of who they are and the work they are doing.
Use a consistent
Voice is another huge problem site-wide. They've made
several admirable efforts at humour that almost work, but ultimately lead to
confusion. They offer a gift catalogue of tangible aid items donors can
purchase for needy families - alpaca blankets, gardening tools and seeds to
name a few. But while the catalogue targets buyers and donors, the product
descriptions target people on behalf of whom gift buyers make donations.
Confused? You should be.
Turbo Granny a
You can also support ADRA by purchasing a Turbo Granny DVD.
You don't see Turbo Granny on the site. I'm not sure who she is or what she
does. Nor do I know why I should be interested in film footage covering her
exploits (whatever they are). I might say yes if I knew more.
Last and certainly not least, some deep exploration of the
site reveals that ADRA does some pretty great work. They're bringing relief to people suffering
hunger in the Africa's Sahel region, and they were working in the aftermath of
Japan's tsunami, but I had to download a PDF version of their most recent
newsletter to discover that.
ADRA clearly is doing some amazing work, and they have the
potential to do some very focused fundraising to a clearly defined market. But
they need to get their communications strategy in order first and foremost -
then ensure their website sings along with it.
The site gets a D grade from me, but I'm rooting
for much bigger things. Ryann?
definitely rooting for bigger things. I don't blame you. ADRA Canada seems like
a skeleton to me. And skeletons don't have a heart or soul. Here's the thing
Kori: adra.ca is a wonderful example of a website. There are five rotating
panels/screens on the homepage banner, and every one highlights mission and
fundraising, rolled into a specific program/issue area. Who they are, what they
do, and what inspires them is everywhere. So the good news is that adra.ca
won't have to look too far.
Tell donors why
Their fundraising page lacks the answer to the critical
question, "why." Why would I give? While I like simplicity, this page doesn't
do its job: to get people who are thirsty and standing at the water to drink.
There needs to be more personalization, some images, some evidence of where
donations go. This page has to encourage people to take that last step! It's
the most important page on the website and it's lacklustre.
Regarding engagement, messaging and the voice, Kori really
summed it up when he said "they need a clear, concise statement of purpose that
communicates their mission to prospective donors." That statement of purpose
should then infuse everything else on the site, from the Get Involved to the
Mirror, mirror on the
A website acts as a mirror for the organization. So either
ADRA Canada doesn't have a functional communications strategy, which the
website reflects, or they have one that they don't communicate enough
internally, so it doesn't get translated onto the website. Either way, this
issue needs addressing.
You know Kori, we both visit sites like this all the time.
okay, they have the
mandatory pages on who they are and how to give. But they lack heart and soul.
And in the case of ADRA Canada, that's such a shame because the nature of this
faith-based organization suggests that the people in the organization have
heart and soul! They must be inspired to do this work!
They owe it to potential supporters, they owe it to those
people they help, and they owe it to themselves to address the critical issue
of expressing mission and purpose in their website. I give them a C-. But I
look forward to seeing the new and improved version of this website in the
Ryann Miller is director of nonprofit services at Care2,
where she helps charities and nonprofits recruit online supporters. She is the
former managing director of DonorTrends and was a senior fundraising consultant
at HJC New Media.
Kori Brus is
philanthropic counsel and marketing specialist at Good Works, where he focuses on nonprofit
campaign strategy and online engagement. He's the former communications
director of Ecojustice Canada
and former community manager for Web of
Their websites are www.Care2.com and www.goodworksco.ca - in case you want to pronounce your web jury
judgment on them!