Your website – it’s a pet, not a painting

publication date: Oct 31, 2011
author/source: Kori Brus
Few projects can unite an organization the way a website can. Unlike strategic sessions and board meetings, a new website is an opportunity for every part of the organization - program, communications, and of course fundraising - to contribute to growth that is concrete, visible and exciting. Each area has the chance to make sure your new website, your public face, represents what you do in the most compelling and authentic way possible.

In some ways it's like a family project, a new addition to the home for everyone to love. But this addition needs to be loved, not just admired. Once you launch your new website it should be treated more like a pet than a painting. It needs care, attention, and it needs to be fed - with lots of juicy content that only you can provide.

First impressions lead to first donations

That content will tell your visitors everything about you, more than you'll sometimes think. It tells them what you're working on and what you care about. Increasingly, a visit to your website will be people's first introduction to your organization, and that impression can determine if a first visit leads to a first donation, either now or down the road.

Prospective donors want to know that you'll look after them by putting their donation to good use and allowing them to play a meaningful role creating impact in the real world. If you're not showing them this through clear communications and online transparency, you'll dent your street credibility, and ultimately your fundraising bottom line.

This month's tip

Care for your website like you would care for your pet. Here are three ways you can show your website some of the love it richly deserves.
  1. Include your latest and greatest Take a look at your home page. Does tell your donors about your latest work, or is it two, three or even six months out of date? Your website needs to be up to speed with latest and greatest of what you do, and it should do that through real people.
  2. It's a family affair Websites need a lot of care and attention and they require an organization-wide commitment. That might not be possible, but find one additional person to contribute content on a monthly basis. You won't believe the difference it makes.
  3. Share the love You probably are already engaged on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or other social media channels. Be sure to share your new content with all of your communities, and do it often!
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 also former community manager for Web of Change. Contact Kori.

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