In order to be competitive nonprofit organizations, just like any other business, must develop and cultivate an online presence. The internet has become an integral part of daily life to almost everyone. Nonprofits now have unprecedented opportunity to recruit supporters and cultivate loyalty to their respective organizations. Because the internet has provided these vast fundraising and marketing opportunities, it’s critical that nonprofit organizations embrace technology and develop a strategic plan for an online presence immediately.
New nonprofits should begin developing a strategy for online presence as early as possible. An ideal date to begin is when the entity is beginning the process of choosing its name. The choice of an organizations name is part and parcel with developing an effective online presence. The process of securing an appropriate domain name also coincides with the choice of a nonprofits name. It would be disappointing to choose and publicize a name for an organization only to discover that any and all possible domain name options that closely match the organizations name choice are unavailable. Choosing a domain name that matches the organizations name as closely as possible will allow potential donors to find the organizations website more easily.
Well before launching a website a specific objective should have already been determined. The sites purpose should be clarified as to whether the intention is to solicit donations, recruit clients or volunteers, or provide information to the general public. Whatever primary objective is selected will determine the focus of your sites design and focus.
Whatever objectives an organization hopes to achieve, the website should always include a clear and concise description of the organization, its mission, and who or what benefits from the organizations work. An opt-in email list is a great way to keep interested viewers informed of the organizations activities and events as well. Including statistics, program details, and various anecdotes demonstrating the work the organization does are also great hooks to maintain the interest of web surfers and ensure they come back.
Once the organizations website is launched the real work has just begun. While the organizations web address should already be publicized efforts at search-engine optimization should still be attempted and maintained perpetually. SEO efforts should be targeted to enhance its position under certain relevant search terms in order to drive traffic to the site. Not everyone will have an organizations web address handy while searching the internet and in many cases potential donors and volunteers use search engines to locate unknown organizations for opportunities.
Social media marketing efforts are a great place for an organization to raise awareness of its work and to solicit donations. Facebook, Twitter and other social networking hubs provide a vast array of opportunities for organizations to advertise. In many cases the advertising is completely cost free.
One of the most important reasons organizations should develop their online presence is that it is now very easy for an organization to solicit donations online. Reaching people from the comfort of their homes and inspiring them to participate in organizations efforts has never been so easy. Small organizations now have access to the type of ad campaigns that multimillion dollar companies paid millions for. Nonprofit organizations have everything to gain from developing an online presence and so much to lose if this valuable resource is ignored.