Charity Draws Bigger Donations With Redesigned Web Site

Posted on January 31, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

It seems a lot of nonprofits realise that their websites are not as effective as they could be but when they look into the cost of redesign or redevelopment of the site thye just can’t justify the expense. However, this article is a good example which shows what Compassion International has been missing out on by sticking with it’s outdated site.

It is important to understand the opportunity cost of having an ineffective site, and to weigh this up against the short-term cost and long term gain of committing to redevelopment. In this age of technology, organisations who don’t keep up will be left behind. They will be unable to sustain their supporter base as other organisations who are using technology to great effect take over market share.

Food for thought…

Kathie van

Charity Draws Bigger Donations With Redesigned Web Site

Until this summer, Compassion International had a Web site in need of a makeover. The Christian aid charity hadn’t redesigned the site since 2003, and in the world of online communications, eight years is a long time.

As a result, the organization faced a series of limitations that are common among groups using outdated Web tools. Staff members had little control over the site’s content. And its system for collecting online donations was dated, which meant the organization was missing opportunities to raise money from viewers.

“We always had a lot of ideas, but our content-management system at the time really limited us in what we could do,” said Dustin Hardage, the charity’s Web and interactive director.

But thanks to an update in June, the number of visits to the site has grown by 25 percent, traffic from search engines has risen 28 percent, and page views have increased 9 percent. The number of people who visit every section of the site has increased as much as 350 percent on some pages, Mr. Hardage said.

And the new site is also helping the organization raise more money online.

While the number of total donations has decreased slightly since the charity went public with its new site, the average donation made by each visitor has increased by 55 percent. The group attributes this jump in part to a new “shopping cart” donation system that allows people to donate to the charity and pay for a “child sponsorship” in one transaction.

Here are some of the features Mr. Hardage looked for in a new system, and what that meant for the charity. The new system:

Gives employees more control. The redesign allows the charity’s Internet marketing staff to handle tasks that it previously needed the group’s technology department to handle. With the new site, the marketing team can change layouts and add code for measurement and testing.

Adds testing capabilities. The staff can now test two versions of the same page to see which performs better. Within two weeks, the organization recognized patterns that allowed it to make better decisions about how to display information.

“We already changed the landing page for one of our products because we saw an increase in our conversion rates, and that has just continued,” Mr. Hardage said.

Attracts search engines. The new site has allowed the organization to win more attention from Google and other search engines, Mr. Hardage said. “We were really able to personalize that to an extreme.”

The new content-management system—which runs on a platform called Tridion by the company SDL—also includes a tool that tracks what similar sites are doing to attract search engines and visitors to make sure Compassion is competitive online.

Source: Charity Draws Bigger Donations With Redesigned Web Site –
Author:  Cody Switzer

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How to use microsites to better tell your nonprofit’s story

Posted on January 24, 2012. Filed under: Effective Website Design, Storytelling | Tags: , , |

This insight into how microsites have been implemented by 3 organisations gives good examples of how you may be able to implement similar microsites for your specific topics or causes to help cut through the clutter and get to the heart of your message, aiming the microsites at specific segments of your target audience.

This article is a very worthwhile read, thank you for sharing Carla!

Kathie van Vugt –

How to use microsites to better tell your nonprofit’s storyHow to use microsites to better tell your nonprofit’s story

Microsites can be a powerful tool for online fundraising and marketing

Let’s face it: Nonprofit websites often suffer from multiple personality disorder.There’s the “program” side that wants to tell you all the amazing ways your programs help save homeless pets, feed the hungry, find cures, protect our children, or empower women. There’s the “events” side that must sell tickets. And don’t forget the “communications” side, whose press releases and news items help raise awareness. While often a complicated web of messaging, it’s a necessary evil when many departments must relay information using a single corporate website.

So as fundraisers, how can we tell the real story – expose the true heart of an organization – when our messaging is only one part of a huge multi-dimensional website? The answer is simple: Create a microsite that allows you to focus on a particular topic, present specific calls to action and, with the help of social media, reach large numbers of people much more quickly than a traditional website.When done correctly, a microsite can be one of the most powerful storytelling tools available to fundraisers. But don’t take my word for it, here are some examples of wonderful and highly effective microsites.

3 examples of successful nonprofit microsites

Abolish Child Trafficking
Abolish Child Trafficking
1 Covenant House is the largest privately funded agency in the Americas providing food, shelter, crisis care and essential services to homeless and at-risk kids. In an effort to mobilize their existing activists and acquire new ones, Covenant House developed a microsite that digs deep into the issue of domestic child trafficking.

Through the stories of four young victims, the A.C.T. microsite raises awareness of a crisis that affects thousands of American kids each year and issues an urgent call to action. Clear, concise information, bold statistics and striking graphics help further engage the audience and dispel the misconception that human trafficking is a trend confined to foreign soil.

While the content makes a strong case for giving, the main goal of this campaign is to use the broad reach of Facebook, Twitter, email and free infographics to help raise awareness. There is a valuable lesson to be learned in this strategy. Microsites do not have to be used solely for fundraising. Even though microsites cost money to develop, there are times when building a solid warm-prospect list is a legitimate goal that deserves the investment.

NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund
NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund
2 Problem: How do you educate people about racism in the post-Obama era? For the Legal Defense and Education Fund (LDF), America’s first and foremost civil rights legal organization, the solution had to be educational, factually accurate and, most importantly, compelling enough to remind people that the fight for equality is not over.

LDF decided to tell the story of minority Americans – in 38 states across the country – who still face obstacles at the voting booth. Their microsite revealed documented, widespread threats to voting rights in America and effectively weaved localized challenges into a broad picture of the problem.

Any one of these local challenges may be too small to spark a national call to action, but when combined, they serve to rally a renewed commitment from LDF’s constituency.

This microsite allowed LDF to take a complex issue like voting rights and break it down into small, easy-to-understand pieces. The site also enabled the Legal Defense and Education Fund to break out of its normal website messaging mode and dig deeper, providing more detail, substance and emotion. The Voting Rights microsite shows that often the greatest impact is made with a singularly focused story.

Making AIDS History
Making AIDS History
3 Dedicated to ending the global AIDS epidemic, American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR) has invested nearly $325 million in innovative research and awarded grants to more than 2,000 research teams since 1985. It has increased the world’s understanding of HIV and helped lay the groundwork for major advances in the study and treatment of HIV/AIDS.

While finding a cure for AIDS is the driving force behind amfAR’s work, their motivation comes from the sum of 50 million personal stories of heartache, courage and triumph over adversity. To help mark the 25th anniversary of their founding, amfAR decided to share a handful of these stories on the Making AIDS History microsite. With compelling video and a simple call to action – a $25 gift in recognition of amfAR’s 25 years – this microsite encourages a renewed, collective commitment to the organization.

Making AIDS History is an example of how a microsite can complement its parent site and act as a powerful fundraising tool at the same time. While the main website establishes amfAR as a world leader in HIV/AIDS research, their microsite connects donors to the people who have benefited from the research.

Is a microsite right for your organization?

There is no question that microsites allow you to effectively tell the story of a single compelling issue – one that is important to your organization and the people you serve. They can easily take off, gathering new supporters for your cause and generating many types of action. They are also just as effective for mobilizing your existing base and serve as a starting point for engaging people in social media conversations.

But don’t jump on the microsite bandwagon just because other nonprofits are doing it – make sure you put some careful planning in before deciding if a microsite is right for your organization. Only use microsites when you have something urgent to say, when you feel a specific topic or area deserves specialized attention and when you’re willing to set aside or reduce your core messaging. It’s true that microsites allow you the freedom to break away from your normal brand – but remember, you have to give a microsite as much attention to detail as you would a flagship site. You need to create a good design, you need to do keyword research and SEO, you need functional/practical on-site navigation and ultimately you need to have a compelling story to tell.

We are all looking for innovative ways to reactivate our existing audiences and cultivate new ones. The more we can provide constituents with interactive ways to connect with us, the better we will be in growing our communities. While microsites are an investment, they are a powerful tool in the new age of online fundraising and marketing.

Source: How to use microsites to better tell your nonprofit’s story –
Author: Carla Chadwick, Creative director, SankyNet
Image: Microsite built for The Center for Reproductive Rights by SankyNet.

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