Crazy talk, huh? However, there was a day when websites were something only big companies had and the internet wasn’t this ubiquitous entity that was connected to our lives in so many ways. The cautionary tale is there was a time when someone said, “We don’t need a website” and they were wrong and they were entirely late to the game.
Fast forward to today and this type of rhetoric still happens. There are statements made like “we don’t need [fill in the blank]” or “we don’t do [fill in the blank]” and you really need to ask yourself, “Why don’t we?”
Below are four examples of such statements which should be looked at closely:
1. “We have online giving but we don’t promote it.”
Many of you can remember a time where online giving seemed optional for a nonprofit. Maybe you were an early adopter – maybe you were late to the game – no matter how you got there the important thing is you have it now.
How are you communicating that it is available? Are you hesitate to promote it? There are many ways to share that online giving is available without coming across as a “money grab.” The simplest way is to ensure that every piece of communication you send communicates the fact that Online Giving is available on your website. It can easily be worked in with your other header or footer information. This is critical because you never know when a piece of communication with your donors is going to trigger their desire to give. These are the moments which move them to action, you can’t miss out!
Review the types of communication pieces you have sent out over this past year. Looking them over and see how easy it is for your donors to find out how to give. Do they have to turn through several pages of a mailing? Is it tucked in at the bottom of your email newsletter, or maybe there is no mention of it all? How many clicks does it take to get to your Giving Page once they make it to your site? This exercise will help you see how easy (or difficult) you have made the process of accepting money from your donors. A good idea is to ask someone you know who may never have interacted with your organization’s communications/website and ask them to give you feedback on their experience.
2. “We don’t do Social Media”
When I hear nonprofits, ministries, or churches say, “We don’t do social media,” I cringe. This is a huge misstep and here is the research to back it up:
Pew Research Center shows that as of January 2014, 74% of internet users are on social media. That is a massive number! Take a look at the graphic below – check out the age group of 65+. Comparatively speaking, they use social media the least; however, nearly 50% of them are on social networks.
90% are 18-29, which is probably the least surprising number. However, this is your new donor base! This is the age group you need to be connecting with and inviting to engage with your organization’s story. What better way to connect your mission to the hearts’ of these potential donors than through social media. You’ll be speaking their language!
Remember – donors can easily take your posts and share. Make it easy for your raving fans – young and old – to share and talk-you-up among their followers, family, and friends. They are powerful advocates for your cause so make it easy for them.
For those of you who are not yet using social media, sit down as a team and figure out why not. I think often it just comes down to getting started and often it’s that “one more thing” that just gets put to the back burner. There are tons of resources available to help you get started. Below are few articles to help kick-start your conversations:
3. “No, it’s not on our website, but I can email it to you.”
Your website should be the central focus of all your communication efforts. Does your website make it easy for your supporters to find out your latest news? Does the information provided feel fresh and inviting? Remember, this is how your donors connect with your story, your mission, and cause. In addition to clearly communicating these things, they should be able to find out how they can be involved. The first thing that comes to mind for many is donations and this is a critical piece of involvement, but don’t forget to let them how their time or personal gifts/abilities might be used.
Maybe Social Media is something your team knows you need to get involved with but you have no idea where to begin. Ask for help! While there are tons of free resources online (several in the links above), you might be surprised at who is passionate about your organization and has the know-how to help you get your social media campaign off the ground.
- Take a moment to review the information on your website to ensure it is current
- Make note of what information needs to be updated or is missing completely
- Does your website clearly communicate your story, mission, and cause? Is it compelling?
- Check with your front office to see what types of questions they answer most frequently and ensure the answers to those questions on available on your website
- What are the needs you have right now that you may not have the funds to hire for? Are those needs something a qualified individual might be able to volunteer some time and help get the project off the ground? You never know till you ask!
4. “Our website doesn’t work well on mobile devices”
In January 2014, for the first time in history mobile internet use exceeded that of the desktop computer. Your website needs to be powerful in a mobile format. How does your website look on a mobile device? Is it easy for your donors to find the information they need? Can they submit a donation with ease from their phone? Remember, first impressions count and often potential new donors hear about you from their friends and family. And what do they do next? They pull out their phone and go to your website to connect with you. What does that first impression leave with them?
- Look at your website from your phone and ask the tough questions: How does it look? Ask your colleagues around the office to look as well and give you their feedback. Text some close friends or family members who you know are web savvy and ask them to take a look and give you some honest feedback.
- With the data in hand, connect with your web developer and provide them with the feedback you received and see what it would take to implement those changes to create a better mobile experience.
Answering the question, “Why don’t we?” isn’t always easy, but there is value in answering it. So be bold! You might be surprised at your results.