Website Content and your Community
Keeping website content up to date is a challenge for nonprofits of every size. Smaller organizations are especially impacted, as they often do not have staff with the technical expertise to implement changes in content or design. It is important to note that there is a difference between lack of resources and general neglect of a website. Far too often, nonprofits choose to ignore their website because they don’t see it as a worthwhile investment.
This choice is often tied to the fact that the population the organization serves may not be active in the digital space. This attitude can greatly undermine your goals as your target audience reaches far beyond the individuals that your organization serves.
If your nonprofit is dedicated to supporting an elderly population, your audience isn’t just those individuals. While it may be true that the majority of the people that your programs directly benefit may not be active in digital space, their children or caregivers are often looking for information online. If your nonprofit is working with a low-income or transient population that usually lacks consistent access to the internet, it doesn’t decrease the potential impact of your website. Some individuals are looking for information on a phone or at a library while others may have family members doing research on potential programs and services.
When you evaluate your organization’s website content and design, you should ask yourself the same questions you ask prior to writing any communication piece. Who is your intended audience? What do you want them to get from this content? Who is going to read this? Who is our potential audience one year from today? Looking beyond the target audience, your website can help achieve other organizational goals. Are you looking to increase income from sponsorships or grants? Those institutions will view your website to better understand why you deserve their funds. If education, advocacy, or community awareness are important to your mission, having up-to-date website content available is critical. How many people reach your website from a mobile device? How easy is your mobile website to read? A cursory review of your website analytics will help you understand how people are getting to your organization and what they are searching for.
While lack of time and budget is always an issue, don’t neglect your website due to a false assumption. It doesn’t just set you up to fail, it hurts the constituents you’re serving.