There was a time when just having a website was enough to set your organization apart from the rest. That time has passed. In 2016, 92% of the more than 4,000 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) participating in the in the Global NGO Online Tech Report indicated they had a website.
So how do you stand apart when everyone has a website? By making a website that matters. A website that educates. That offers compassion. That inspires action.
It’s no secret that many nonprofit websites are geared toward the big, hairy goal of raising more money. The good news is that it seems to be working! Nonprofits have seen a steady growth in online giving since 2014, including an increase in the number of people giving online in general and an especially big increase for small organizations. Another fun fact: nonprofits are raising $654 for every 1,000 visitors to their website. Attracting website traffic really matters.
But there’s a catch. You don’t want just anyone coming to your site. A lot of traffic doesn’t mean much unless those visitors are engaged and taking action. You want the visitors that are naturally interested in and care about your cause, regardless of whether or not they know your nonprofit’s name. This is why nonprofit marketers are increasingly turning to content marketing, the idea that creating and sharing great content attracts the right people to your organization. Maybe you’ve heard the term inbound marketing?
Why Content Matters
If you’re wondering how this type of marketing works, think about how our society consumes information. These days, people use the web to do their research before ever talking to another human. Retailers estimate that 82% of customers conduct research online before making financial decisions, doing their due diligence first by looking for reviews and comparable products. Swap out “customers” for donors, advocates or volunteers and you can see where we’re going with this:
The supporters you’re looking for are already actively searching the web to find a cause like yours. And they will make decisions about their time and money based on what they read.
These people might not know your organization by name, but finding you in search engine results and clicking around your web content is an important part of their journey to getting involved and making a gift. (We won’t talk much about search engine optimization in this guide, but it is a natural next step when you’re ready to boost your content skills!)
In essence, an outdated or bare minimum website puts your relationships at risk, pushing people to move on and keep searching for an organization that, at least a first glance, better meets their needs and interests.
So where do you begin? How do you make sure your organization’s website is ready and welcoming? One of the keys to success is to invest your time in putting together great content that’s fresh, relevant and useful to your target audience.
If you’re ready to create great website content, let’s keep going!
This page is Chapter 1 in our Beginner’s Guide to Nonprofit Website Content.