SmartCause Digital

What’s the key to an “easy” nonprofit website?

Aug 19, 2014

 

When I was little, my dad would convince me to eat more fruit by serving it to me already cut up, peeled and arranged on a plate. I remember feeling excited and grateful that I didn't have to fight with him and I could just say "Yes, I will eat more fruit."

My dad knew how important it is to "make it easy to say yes".

This is one of the most powerful lessons that you can apply to your nonprofit's website and digital strategy.

Make it easy to say yes

In July, over 6,900 people donated to a Kickstarter campaign to make a potato salad. In August, thousands of people have taken the Ice Bucket Challenge to raise money and awareness for the ALS Association. Both of these campaigns have left a lot of us scratching our heads as we try to understand their success.

I believe that these campaigns have been successful because they “make it easy to say yes”.

  • They’re simple to understand.
     
  • It’s easy to become a part of their community.
     
  • They make people feel so good that they share the campaign with their social networks.
     

You can use your nonprofit website to make it easy for your visitors to say yes. Here’s how:

 

Make it easy for a visitor to... understand what you do

Options include:

  • List your mission on your homepage
     
  • List your mission in your footer
     
  • Keep your mission to three sentences or less
     
  • Use real pictures of your staff or programs in action to demonstrate what you do
     

Make it easy for a visitor to... become a part of your community

Options include:

  • Include an email signup form on your homepage
     
  • Include an email signup form in your footer and/or sidebar
     
  • Explain what subscribers will get if they subscribe to your email updates
     

Make it easy for a visitor to... feel so good that s/he wants to tell other people

Options include:

  • Send a warm, encouraging welcome email to new subscribers and ask them to share on social media
     
  • Create a introductory page that helps new supporters and ask them to share it on social media (for example, “Get started as an animal rights supporter”, “How to help end childhood hunger”, “Become an environment protector in your community”)
     

 

But what if my nonprofit's mission is too serious for me to “make it easy to say yes”?

I believe we can apply this principle to any mission. I used to work for the ACLU of Illinois, whose mission is rather serious - to protect the Bill of Rights. We had tons of introductory materials that invited new supporters to get familiar with the Bill of Rights. Some of the most popular campaigns and materials were in the most non-serious formats: postcards, bookmarks, sketch comedy shows, comic books and animated videos.

 

What else can I do to improve my nonprofit’s website?

I invite you to check out my online course Smart Nonprofit Websites. I created it to help nonprofit professionals like you learn how to understand and improve your website’s Content, Conversions and Analytics. Registration for the course closes on August 31st!

 

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About the Author

Yesenia SoteloYesenia Sotelo is the founder of SmartCause Digital. She works with nonprofit professionals like you to build websites and launch online campaigns.

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