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10 ways for charities to make their websites work harder

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Research by the New Philanthropy Capital (NPC) has found that six in ten charities will be hit by local council cuts. Dan Corry, NPC’s chief executive, said it was a “time of radical change for charities”, coping with spending cuts and a rapidly changing landscape.

I think that it’s now vitally important for charities to treat their website as their most valuable asset: an accessible online extension of your brand and vital money-raising tool.

1. Make your website transparent.

Encourage your donors to return by uploading regular news stories, pictures and video content evidencing how their donation is being used and the impact it is making.

2. Maintain a user-friendly website.

Ensure your message is accessible to all by designing a website that’s easy to navigate, has links that are easy to identify and branded with easy-to-read text – and consider audio versions of every page.

3. Customise your site.

Design web pages that are in tune with your brand guidelines. See how the repetition of layout and key colours on the British Red Cross website adds impact and a consistent user experience.

4. Keep in touch.

Encourage people to sign up to newsletters, RSS feeds, social networks and other communication channels about your charity’s activities and manage this data using an integrated customer relationship management system. This will help you deliver targeted marketing activities to encourage future donations.

5. Promote donations at every opportunity.

Encourage your website visitors to give money by making it as straightforward as possible. Position your “donate button”, your most important asset, in a prominent position across the site. Why not try some A/B testing to find out the most effective location of the button?

6. Ensure your site is always available to take donations.

Even during your busiest campaigns make sure no opportunity to collect donations is lost. Choose a reliable hosting provider that offers comprehensive support and service level agreements.

7. Offer a secure donation system.

Reassure your donors that online transactions through your website are secure. Victim Support stores its online data in our highly secure UK data centre.

8. Take advantage of user personalisation.

Use a content management system that can target users with specific messages and content based on their previous visits or geographical location.

9. Connect with visitors on-the-go.

Increase your target audience by automatically detecting whether your visitor is using a mobile device and serving mobile-optimised content.

10. Monitor visitor activity.

Use digital marketing tools to measure traffic and visitor interaction. This will give you an insight into the performance of your campaign and effectively tailor future engagement with visitors.

We work with charities including the British Red Cross and Victim Support to develop, maintain and host their websites, to help them improve online services.

John Simcock is Charity Client Director at Eduserv. You can contact him by emailing john.simcock@eduserv.org.uk

Image credit: Flickr

About John Simcock

John joined Eduserv in early 2010 and manages our Charity customers. Prior to joining Eduserv John worked for Computacenter as the Client Manager for a large Government client and for Fujitsu/ICL managing key Partners and System Integrators. John has over 35 years' experience in the IT industry and has a broad range of skills and experience in relationship management, partnering, business solutions and service delivery. When he is not helping customers, John enjoys watching rugby, playing tennis and fly fishing.

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