As promised, below are my notes from Andrew Nibley’s presentation, EDonors: Fundraising in the 21st Century, from Monday’s Westchester Not-For-Profit Leadership Summit:
To maximize exposure of your nonprofit’s web site, use search engine optimization techniques. (While this function is often handled by marketing, I handled this area while working as IT Director at Cross-Cultural Solutions.) This should be a part of every web site redesign.
Manysite visitors don’t realize the difference between organic search engine results (which result from search engines analyzing content on your web site) and sponsored links, where organizations pay for their site to show up when relevant searches are done (even though sponsored links are usually clearly marked in Google’s results).
Promote your web site address everywhere: email signatures, offline materials, brochures, ads etc.
‘Share a story’ that relates to your mission, with photos if possible – and invite site visitors to submit their own stories.
Important content on your web site should be no more than three clicks away; this becomes especially difficult as the amount of site content increases.
When someone finds your web site, visitor registration should be top priority so you get their email address. Don’t ask for anything more than email address. Too many required fields will discourage visitors from completing registration.
Use information about your donors to customize web site and email blast content. (I’ve often heard vendors encourage this, but seems like many organizations aren’t able to make it happen.) It’s helpful, for example, to customize donation forms based on a donor’s previous giving history. Papilia has an interesting approach to this.
Search for your organization on sites like MySpace and YouTube to learn whether your organization is listed. Use these mediums to supplement what is on your web site since many constituents may look there first. Similarly, find out what’s on Wikipedia and, if necessary, get someone outside of your organization to update the entry.
Andrew also suggested participating in social networks, such as Care2, Gather, LinkedIn and Eons (the 55 & older population are the fastest growing group of Internet users).