Friday, January 8

Nonprofit Websites--The Good, Bad, and how to Improve

Jakob Neilsen recently demonstrated that many nonprofit websites fail in the ability to connect their potential donors.

Neilsen's biggest critique was that not enough organizations provided the "mission, goals, objectives, and work and how the organization uses donations."
It is interesting to take this analysis and look at some of the big nonprofits. For example, the American Red Cross does well on demonstrating their work, and has a simple easy to see donate now button in the corner. Mission 75% accomplished according to Neilsen.

What about some local and nonprofits we see on a daily basis?

Take a more political website like Wisconsin Family Action. I was impressed to see the contribute button on the left. Nice start. They also had a clear definition of what the mission and goals of the organization. I think the hardest and most complicated part is to connect the donation explicitly to the work being done. In some ways Their sites still has a "html" 90s style to it, but that is as much a matter of style then substance. I essential elements are their.

Even an organization like Goodwill that is involved primarily though physical donation rather than monetary, did a good job of clearly showing on their front page how to "donate" and what their mission is (e.g. Our Mission).

Even a college like Beloit College Alumni here in Wisconsin did well in getting a simple "Give Now!" button up on the site. How the donations were used and what the objectives of the organization were tended to be much more vague. A student was profiled on the home page. Did they help here with a scholarship? It didn't say.

Smaller nonprofits like the local Mabel Tainter however could learn. They need donations. Why not have an easy link on their home page. We find front and center on the home page how to become a fan on facebook, but fail to have a link to donate. The mission is there and we can easily see what the donations would probably be used for my guess is that they will not recieve much until they ask.