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4 Questions Your Nonprofit Website Must Answer to be Successful

4 Questions Your Nonprofit Website Must Answer to be Successful

Your nonprofit website is the digital front door of your organization. It’s a virtual welcome mat, open 24/7 and allowing people to get an idea of who you are, what you do, and how you serve.

After building more sites than I can count, doing client audits, and paid content reviews, several patterns have emerged.

When the story of a nonprofit organization gets shared in clear, concise, and compelling ways, visitors respond. When it’s unclear, visitors miss information about what is important and the impact you’re making.

Your NonProfit Website Must Answer 4 Questions to be Successful

1) Does it connect to the heart?

In short, have you presented information in a way that allows the reader to connect emotionally with the topic and everything shared?

Visitors should be able to:

  • Identify the story behind what you’re doing
  • Recognize the impact you’re making
  • Highlight the tangible needs you are meeting

2) Does it convey the appropriate details?

Essentially, have you shared more than statistics and facts about the next event or that problem you solve? If this is the first time someone has heard of you, do they walk away with enough information to explain what you do to a friend.

Visitors should be able to:

  • Briefly explain the services you provide
  • Summarize the story of a person you’ve impacted
  • Identified your desired next step so they can get involved

3) Is it creatively delivered?

Gone are the days of a boring, thrown-together website. We live in a culture and a world where delivering information is no longer enough. It has to be presented in a visual compelling way that helps reinforce the story of your organization and the impact you are making.

Visitors should be able to:

  • Visually “see” the story of who you serve and how
  • Quickly find data that helps them see the impact you are making
  • View calendar and opportunities for engaging with your organization and your work
  • Donate directly through your site without being redirected to Paypal or a third-party Giving Portal

4) Does it celebrate the win?

If the need is big enough to need a nonprofit to solve it, you need a team of like-minded people working with you. Take every opportunity to keep the mission and need in front of people by sharing the wins, talking about the work, and celebrating the transformation you’ve been part of.

Visitors should be able to:

  • Identify individuals who make the work possible (volunteers, donors, community supporters)
  • Celebrate the impact you’ve made with you
  • See how their gifts can help you continue to serve more people in the future.

As you plan the pages of your website. Be sure to keep those four questions in front of you to guide the story of what you share.

Need help with your Website and Online Communications?

Our team offers website and communication audits.
We’ll review your site content, offering direction on how to better align the story you share online.
Start the process today!

How budget website and email solutions are costing your nonprofit more

How budget website and email solutions are costing your nonprofit more

I recently had a call with a nonprofit leader who had a challenge with their website and email. Things had stopped working and they were in need of a quick fix to get back online again.

The problem was, that they didn’t know what broke the system. And the guy who built it wasn’t available.

As I dove in to help, the issue became apparent. The website and email system were pieced together like a college student’s first car… with duck tape, baling wire, and bubble gum holding it together.

It included a combination of free and budget email and website solutions. Each with its own set of documented issues and problems. So when something stopped working… there was no telling where the root issue was.

With the right solution and setup, his website and email would have been back online in 15-20 minutes with little to no bill. Instead, at the 90-minute mark, we were still chasing bugs with no solution in sight.

As we tried to make sense of the mess, I was reminded of a truth I learned in my early years of nonprofit work…

Budget Solutions Cost More to Implement.

 

Before you throw rocks and mumble under your breath at me… I understand the tension.

Money is tight and every penny of your nonprofit marketing budget counts.

As a result, price is the deciding factor in the solutions you pick for your website, email, communications, and more.

But… these solutions are cheap for a reason.

They require more time, effort, troubleshooting, and management than moderately priced solutions. So they “cost” less upfront, but not in the end.

Look at it this way.

Solution 1 costs $100, takes 20 hours to set up, requires 3 hours a week to maintain, and will last 3 years.

Solution 2 costs $1000, takes 3 hours to set up, requires 1 hour a week to maintain, and will last 5 years.

Which solution do most nonprofits choose?

Solution 1.

Which solution will cost the nonprofit more?

Solution 1.

I get it… You need your email and website to be easy to use, last a long time, and convert people to donors. But the cost of keeping a budget solution running quickly outpaces the initial cost savings. Include the additional life expectancy of quality solutions, and the savings are even greater.

The crazy part is that…

Almost every tech-related call I receive comes down to a Solution 1 issue.

A panicked nonprofit leader is looking to “fix” a problem with their email system or website. They need a way to get the system back online so a fundraising campaign can be sent or a donation page can go live. They’re out of time and need a way to keep the system limping along, despite the challenges.

And then they get an invoice for the “fix” and suddenly recognize the challenge.

A Solution 2 option made more sense and would have helped them:

  • save tons of time
  • focus staff attention on what is communicated, instead of fighting technology
  • serve more people in need
  • cost the organization less money in the process

Instead, they have spent as much, or more, and are still stuck with a Solution 1 setup.

My best advice to you as a nonprofit leader is to…

Stop making price the #1 deciding factor in the email and website solutions you consider.

Look at the life expectancy, expected upkeep, and setup process.

If you’re unsure of which solution is best for your nonprofit then ask a coach or consultant in the space.

Get unbiased input into the best options for your unique set of challenges, and then act on it.

I promise you, even if you have to pay a consultant for an hour of their time, it will be some of the best investments you can make into your nonprofit and save you in the long run.

_______

Have a communication challenge on your website, email, or social media accounts and need input?

Get the help you need with a Communication Quick-Fix Session: https://rad-ideas.com/services/

 

Quick-Fix Communication Session

30-Minutes – $297 $197

Have a communication challenge on your website, email, or social media accounts?

Sometimes, all it takes is a quick fix and you’re on your way. So, don’t waste time trying to find DIY solutions online.

Get the help you need with a 1:1 quick fix session. In 30-minutes we’ll address your communication challenge and guide you to a solution.

4 NonProfit Fundraising Lessons From a Successful Spring Campaign

4 NonProfit Fundraising Lessons From a Successful Spring Campaign

Spring is the launch of nonprofit fundraising for the year.

That means walking alongside nonprofit leaders. Coaching them on what stories to tell, when to share them, and how to connect them to their mission and goals.

It also means pushing them outside their comfort zones, to meet the funding goals they long for but have struggled to reach in the past.

This week was no exception.

In 2021, I helped outline a campaign for a growing nonprofit. They were unsure how the campaign would do and ran it themselves. Implementation fell short, and they missed the goal by 25%. A last-minute donation, in the following week, helped put them over the goal.

For 2022 the campaign goal was 50% higher and they knew they needed help. After reviewing past successful campaigns for them, I built a marketing strategy for the campaign and began tracking engagement.

The result this year was very different. Email engagement, social reach, and video consumption all improved significantly, leading them to surpass the campaign goal.

At the end of the campaign, I sent a quick text to congratulate them on how it had gone…

Me: 109.5% of your campaign goal. That’s awesome.

NP Leader: Last week I didn’t think we were going to make it… I wasn’t sure asking this much would be too much, and we exceeded it!

Challenging nonprofit leaders to meet and exceed their goals, so they can serve more people, is part of coaching.

But so it reviewing the plans to find lessons for the future so they can continue to grow and serve more people.

After reviewing the 2022 campaign, and comparing it to the 2021 version, some interesting lessons appeared.
 

Here are 4 Lessons from the Successful Campaign

 

Lesson 1) Sharing your impact connects hearts

Sharing information and stats about your organization and the work you do is nice. But no one was ever informed to action. Instead, use stories from people you serve to share the direct impact your nonprofit is making on people. This will connect your audience emotionally to your cause and lead them to action.

 

Lesson 2) Clear messaging with a direct ask wins the day

Don’t waste words or make your audience guess about how they can help you. Clearly share the need you have, connect it to your impact, and invite your audience to be part of the solution. Then give them one step they can take to partner with you in solving the problem.

 

Lesson 3) Repetition is a necessity

Statistically, your audience needs to have 7+ interactions with your information before they will act on it. And, they don’t see everything you send out, so the only way to do that is through strategic repetition. So, share your impact and need in many ways and multiple times. This campaign included 6 emails and 22 social posts (some videos, some images, and some stories) to get the message across and drive a response.

 

Lesson 4) Planning ahead sets you up for fundraising success

The winning factor between the two campaigns came down to having the time to implement Lessons #2 & #3. By beginning a few weeks earlier to discuss options, make a plan, and create intentional content, they went from squeaking by to exceeding the goal. As a result of planning, they will be able to serve more people in the coming season.

 

If your nonprofit, or mission-minded organization, is doing great work but struggling to raise funds, I can help. You need a proven plan for sharing your story and impact because your mission can change the world.

With my Mission Minded Messaging process I can help your organization to:

  • Identify what you need to share
  • Map a plan for sharing the story
  • Share your message with clarity

Reach out to me to see how we can work together.

3 Top NonProfit Communication Mistakes and How to Fix Them

3 Top NonProfit Communication Mistakes and How to Fix Them

Have you ever had a conversation where you thought you were being clear, but you later realized the person you were talking to understood the conversation differently?

You both were talking about the same thing, but what was communicated was very different.

Something was missing and you can’t put your finger on what it was.

Unfortunately, nonprofit communications can be this way too.

I’ve had leaders say things like…

  • “We spent a bunch of time and money trying [insert great idea] but it didn’t work.”
  • “We can’t get anyone to respond. There doesn’t seem to be much interest in what we’re doing.”
  • “I can tell you what doesn’t work, but I have no idea what does.”

You’ve got great ideas, and you’re working to connect people, but something isn’t working. You assume the issue is the event or a lack of interest by partners.

The interesting part is, that the “great idea” is seldom the problem. Other nonprofits are doing similar things and having good responses.

So why isn’t it working for your nonprofit?

More often than not, the issue is a communication challenge. What you think you’re saying and what the listener is hearing are two different things.

Thankfully, there are simple fixes to these communication challenges.

 

Here are 3 Top NonProfit Communication Mistakes and How to Fix Them

 

1) You say too much at once

Your volunteers, donors, and partners live busy lives and have limited bandwidth. While you spend all week serving people, thinking about your next event, and fundraising, your partners don’t. They live busy lives and have limited bandwidth.

When you communicate everything at once, they get overwhelmed and nothing sticks. A typical listener can only take in so much information before they shut down and stop listening.

 

Solution:

Be intentional about what you share.

Pick the top 2-3 things in the life of your nonprofit and share them clearly and frequently. On average it takes 7-11 impressions for your reader/listener to internalize the opportunity you are presenting. When you mention something once or twice no one is “getting” it. Use a calendar to plan communications out in advance so you aren’t caught off guard as deadlines approach.

A good rule is… an opportunity needs to relate to the majority of the readers/listeners for you to share it publicly. If it doesn’t, you should find a more direct way to share it with the people it relates to.

 

Example:

Yearly Fundraising Gala Event – relates to the majority of volunteers, donors and partners = Share widely

Donor Appreciation Dessert – only applies to a small percentage of your audience = Find other, more direct way, to share with them

 

2) You only talk to insiders

I’ve been eating at In-N-Out Burger in California for nearly 30 years. But it wasn’t until the past few years that I heard about their “secret menu.

This menu includes creative ways to take their basic ingredients (burger, fries, and drinks) and switch them up for different flavors and portions.

Why didn’t I know about this menu?

Because they haven’t printed the information on the menu board. Their printed menu is so simple, you have to know what to ask for or they will serve it like they always do

Unfortunately, most nonprofits treat social media followers, email readers, and video viewers in much the same way. You assume they have context and understanding about our organization that they don’t have.

So you make announcements and plan events as if the listener sat in the planning meeting with us, knows the backstory, and what action you want them to take.

Your announcements read like:

2nd Saturday of the Month
**Details in the works, stay tuned!**
We still need weekday volunteers.
Email the team.

or…

BTB Information meeting, Tuesday in the AMA meeting room at 6 pm. See you then.

HUH????

In the absence of clarity, people won’t take action. Your readers/listeners need context if you expect them to respond.

 

Solution:

Answer the questions people outside your organization would be asking:

  • Who is this event for? (Expected Audience)
  • What is this event about? (Context and Explanation)
  • When and Where is it occurring? (Location Details)
  • What is the expected Next Step to participate? (Call to Action)

 

Example:

Join us for Mission Night Out. A night you get to experience stories of struggle and life change. Learn how housing and shelter alone isn’t the only solution to the many homeless in Fresno.

When: May 14th
Time: 5:30pm
Where: Peoples Church
Get your tickets below!

 

3) You share details with no heart

The power of your nonprofit is its ability to meet real-world needs in tangible ways.

  • You use horses to help people recover from trauma
  • You teach people about the ocean and its inhabitants
  • You empower students to finish school and stop the cycle of teenage violence

But instead of celebrating the difference, you are making… Your communications focus on the next event and “exciting” ways to get involved. When the communications, and your efforts, fall short and don’t connect you wonder why.

The short answer is, that your readers/listeners approach every opportunity, subconsciously or not, with a mental question…

“What’s in it for me?”

Your audience longs for their lives to have meaning and purpose. They want to know what makes this opportunity something worth considering, and boring announcements with stale details aren’t enough.

It’s your responsibility to show them how they can be part of something bigger and share ownership in the impact you’re making.

 

Solution:

Highlight the impact you are making and the benefit of being part.

Go beyond event details and present examples of changed lives as a result of your nonprofit. Find creative ways to share stories about your clients, volunteers, and donors. Help them see the way your organization has been successful in the past and the difference it can make for others in the future. Then ask them to be part of the solution.

 

Example:

Djenifer is an orphan living in Haiti. She struggles daily to feed herself and grow spiritually. As a part of the Be.Love. ministry to at-risk children, Djenifer is learning skills for life.
Before B.Love. … Djenifer had a life, after Be.Love. she has hope!
Be.Love. currently works with 400 in her community, and plans to grow that to 600 in 2022.
Would you consider a year-end gift to help us impact more orphans next year?

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If your nonprofit is struggling with these communication mistakes don’t worry. There is hope.

You can reverse the trend by doing one thing…

 

Say Less + With Greater Clarity + In Ways That Connect With People

 

Do it consistently and you will see growth in your nonprofit.

Neglect it and you will struggle to connect and retain the people you already have.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below

How to Share NonProfit Stories That Engage People At Deeper Levels

How to Share NonProfit Stories That Engage People At Deeper Levels

What keeps you watching a movie? Turning pages when you read? Or listening to someone share in person about their life?

The stories that keep me engaged, and from ADDing out, are ones I can identify with. Something about the story connects, and the fact I don’t look, think, or sound like the main characters doesn’t matter.

There is a commonality in the themes they wrestle with and I’m pulled into the story.

  • Anne Frank depends on the kindness of others to remain hidden and avoid the Nazis.
  • The Mandolorian faces his own childhood trauma to save the orphaned Grogu.
  • The addict finds strength through a local nonprofit to get free and change their life.

Something about the story engages us…

We haven’t experienced the same life events, but we connect with the story. It draws us in and we want more. So we turn another page, watch another episode, listen intently, and share it with others.

Now imagine if our local nonprofits told engaging stories like this!

Where they shared stories about the impact and transformation happening in their midst. And then cast a compelling vision for helping even more people.

  • As a volunteer, you would understand the importance of your time and efforts.
  • As a donor, you would see the power of your investment and how lives are being changed.
  • As a community member, your understanding of their work would deepen and you would want to advocate for them and share it with others.

But it only happens when the stories get SHARED.

So what is stopping them???

Simple.

They need a repeatable plan to Identify, Collect and Share stories of impact both online and in person.

If you’re a nonprofit leader and ready to see volunteers and donors engage with your organization at a deeper level, then sharing stories about your impact is a must… I can show you how.

Inbox me for details about how the NonProfit Storytelling Accelerator can change the way your nonprofit shares the impact you’re making.