This week I’ve been catching up with some of the groups that attended our Digital Fundraising course a couple of months ago. It’s been interesting to see their progress and how they’re putting lessons of the course into practice. It has highlighted the importance of getting your website in order as a first priority.
Your website should be the centre of your communications. Everything you do and believe in should be reflected in the content of your website. Your mission should come across clearly on every page, so that visitors can gain a strong understanding of who you are and what you do.
The goal for your charity website is to rank well in an internet search and to appear on the first search page to allow potential supporters and donors to find you easily.
This is called website optimisation, and a well optimized website will:
- Broaden your reach –the public needs to be able to find you online to allow you to raise awareness of your work and get support.
- Engage new and existing donors – the easier your website is to use, the easier it will be to inspire people to give money.
- Expand your database of supporters – an optimised website will efficiently capture your visitors’ information and create a database of people interested in your cause. An up to date email list is an asset when it’s time to request donations and publicise an event.
- Attract new volunteers – websites are the perfect tool for peer to peer information sharing. Your supporters sharing your news with their friends gives you access to a whole new audience of potential volunteers and donors.
So, now you know what the benefits are how can you optimise your website to achieve some of the above?
- Use keywords and phrases in your content to reflect your work which are possible search terms visitors might use to find you.
- Make your website engaging – give visitors a reason to keep coming back. The more often your website is viewed the higher the search engine ranks you will climb. Make it obvious what you do, what you need volunteers for and what a donation will mean to your beneficiaries.
- Make your site easy to navigate – don’t have too many menu options and make their titles a call to action – volunteer, donate, support us, get involved, contact us etc. Your policies and privacy statements should not be main menu options!
- Create entertaining and informative content – change it regularly, especially if you are fundraising – fresh content is the best way to encourage people to visit your website again and again. Use images, good news stories and positivity to attract and retain your audience.
- Optimize for mobile – google penalises websites which don’t display well on mobiles or tablets. In 2017 21% of all online donations were made on a mobile.
- Get active on social media – use social media to drive traffic back to your website and further broaden your reach. Install social sharing tools on your website to allow visitors to share with their networks and friends.