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Is Your Website Working For You? Why Nonprofits Need Flexible Websites

One of the best things about digital marketing is how flexible it is. Not sure what copy would resonate most? Tweet it twice. Promote the tweet that performs better. Want to see which button color drives the most donations? Create an A/B test and see which one makes more money. The flexibility of digital marketing is one of its greatest strengths – yet not everyone in the nonprofit world can harness this if they’re working with a website that’s unnecessarily limiting. 

There are all sorts of reasons why websites may not have the flexibility needed to do what you want with it.

Here’s what we think you should be able to do easily (and how we think about building websites):

  • Create a landing page to promote a new campaign or event
  • Add a CTA button within the page to promote an event, campaign, or email sign-up
  • Choose to add content, images, and videos to fit your needs
  • Update a form to choose which email entries are sent to 
  • Add new fonts and styles

Why speed matters for website updates

If you’re not able to do this, you’re either unable to take full advantage of your website as a critical communications tool, or you’re having to expend additional resources (time, money or both) every time you want to do something new. This means you may not be as efficient with your resources, or as responsive. For example, when the Coronavirus Crisis hit, was your team able to quickly whip up a landing page and donation form to collect donations? If not, you may have missed a valuable window during which people first opened their wallets to help.

The importance of proactively participating in cultural moments 

It’s not just during times of crisis that your ability to quickly respond to opportunities to update your website is important. In today’s fast-moving media environment, there are opportunities for your organization to respond to current events and conversations in popular culture and beyond. For example, many environmentally-oriented organizations will have the opportunity to decide how they want to participate in the Earth Day conversations coming up on April 22. Maybe you want to put up a landing page that communicates your organization’s philosophy and what Earth Day means to you, with a CTA to donate. Or maybe you have a bigger activation idea you want to promote. Having the ability to create a beautiful, well-functioning landing page based on your current needs will help you capitalize on current moments. 

Perhaps the most mundane: making fixes in a timely manner 

This is the least exciting, but may be the most important. If your team isn’t able to quickly make changes to your website, you have to bleed out longer than necessary. For example, what if someone identifies an issue with the page layout that may be affecting whether users complete the form or not? The longer you have to go until you get it fixed, the greater the opportunity cost. In a time when consumers are more impatient than ever, creating negative experiences on your website may turn people away from your organization. 

A potential larger problem

One of the less-obvious repercussions that comes from a website that’s rigid and difficult to make changes with, is the potential impact on culture. You implicitly send the message that your website doesn’t matter – and that even if an employee identifies an opportunity for improvement, it may not matter, because their change may or may not be implemented. Over time, employees may tire of the uphill battle they have in realizing fixes and stop elevating them altogether. This can result in apathy for website issues and even an acceptance of website mediocrity. It may sound like a small issue, but when you consider that your website works for you 24/7 to communicate your values, educate users, generate leads, and inspire donors and volunteers, the value of a strong website cannot be understated.

The good news: it’s possible to have maximum flexibility & control

We advocate for clients to have maximum control because we know your needs vary and you need the flexibility to be able to respond to the current moment. That’s why we build our websites thinking about what the client needs to be successful not just on launch day, but on an ongoing basis (without necessarily constantly needing our help – although we promise we’ll be there for you if you do). Our websites come with a UI Kit of branded modules that fit your content needs. You can think of it like a toolbox you can go to whenever you want to do something on your site. You have the ability to create pages using these modules based on whatever layout/combination you need.

An example of UI kit elements: PSI’s many header options

We’re thinking a lot about flexibility right now as we help Population Services International (PSI) redesign their website. Flexibility to create different layouts using different design elements is a key need for this organization, which works in nearly 50 countries across the globe on a variety of healthcare initiatives. Here are 6 different headers we designed for them – now they will have many options when determining what works best for a particular page.

 

Header – Text: Title, Background Image (B&W), Content
Header – Image and Orange Block: Title, Background Image, Heading & Content
Header General Alt: Heading, Background Image, Content
Header General: Heading, Background Image
Header Slider: Heading, Background Image*, Content, Button Title, Button URL

If you’re looking for more freedom in how you use your website, and want to talk about what that would look like for your organization, feel free to shoot us a message.

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