It is no secret that non-profit organizations have suffered from very ugly designs for their websites. I still come across various not for profit organizations who are really great at what they do, but suffer badly in their online presence.
To be fair, non profits have restricted budgets and when allocation of funds need to be made, their websites are one of those things that just do not make the mark. I understand this. Before becoming the owner of The Creation Studio, I used to work for several non profit organizations and I know how tight budgets can be. When it comes down to funding for a critical program or updating their website, well, the program is fed because it is within their mandate to provide the service that they provide. So, some friend of a friend or family member who knows a bit of html then becomes the web guru. And how awful it is!
Let's be clear on one thing though. When donors are looking to give to a charity where do they often look to research a non profit organization? They look to their website. And that is where a simple principle applies to every non profit organization, or for that matter, small business or large corporation.
The above illustrates two differnet non profit organizations websites. We redesigned the one on the left and are in the process of redesigning the one on the right. As you can see, the website on the left looks great, and the one on the right is quite plain with just an image and text.
The business is concerned with its bottom line and a non profit is concerned with getting funding.
In order to get new business or new funding, the entity needs to present itself well. That is called marketing. Everyone needs to do it. Period. Whether a non profit organization is looking for donors to give to their cause or a business looks to gain new customers each has to put their best foot forward to provide CVP.
I am a current member of BNI - Business Network International, and we have a model known as CVP, which stands for:
People will purchase or give their charity dollars to a business or non profit they trust. They gain that trust through CVP and part of that is through brand loyalty or how well the service is presented. This is also extended to online presence as well. I cannot tell you how many times I chose not to stay at a Bed and Breakfast because of how poor it was presented on their website or did not shop online at a particular online retailer or chose a competitor to purchase goods because of how bad their website was. A poorly designed website that looks really bad reflects poorly on any business or not for profit organization.
This effects one's profitability or their ultimate goal. For the charity, it effects the ability to get new funding from potential donors. Investing in your website is investing in your image and your ability to look as good as you really are.
So, take some time and put together a new fundraising campaign or allocate existing funds and invest in the future of your service by getting a new website that reflects the good works that you do. Like it or not, today's consumers pay close attention to how well you look online. Your next big donor could be that person who gains trust from looking at your website. That is the world we live in today.
Wayne Peters is the owner of The Creation Studio, a website design firm that specializes in providing professional web and graphic design services.