Non-Profits: Successful Online Strategies

More and more non-profit organizations are developing websites to help share information about their mission and programs. This involves strategic planning about the best way to present your image and message online. Once your site is up, your organization also has to be ready to keep information current and to maintain consistent outreach activities. If your group is planning a Web site, consider:

1. How does your organization plan to use your site? Is it for marketing your organization, raising funds, providing information, announcing events, attracting volunteers, starting a discussion group, or something else? Answering this question will help you to develop a site that best suits your group's needs.

2. Who is your group trying to reach? Think strategically about the audience you are trying to target. Are they current or potential clients? Are they donors? Volunteers? A particular group in the community? Tailor your website to speak to that audience.

3. What information do you want to include? Some of the components you can incorporate on your site include: your mission, a list of programs and goals, contact information (staff list, e-mail addresses, mailing address, phone and fax numbers, and directions to your organization), list of special events and dates, organizational history, links to other websites, volunteer opportunities, and press releases.

4. If your NPO wants to engage in online fundraising (and you should!), then carefully consider the following: How will online giving be managed internally? What online forms will you use to gather donor information? How will you ensure security for donor information and credit cards? What offline options will donors have who do not want to give online? Which giving options will be included on the site (ex: planned giving, current campaigns, future projects, etc.)?

Once you've decided on your content, speak to a web designer about the "look" of the piece. The impression that you give offline should be carried into your online presence. Your website is an important tool to reinforce your identity, image, and credibility. In addition to text, you can include full-color photography, your logo, and graphic images. Keep the copy simple and include interesting visual images that show the work you are doing in the community and the audiences you serve.

Marketing your site is as important as designing it. There are many ways to promote your website, both online and offline. Most people who visit your site learn about it from printed material, not from looking it up on a search engine.

For offline marketing, add your URL address to business cards, stationery, newsletters, brochures, fax cover sheets, and so on. List your website on any materials that you hand out at conferences, seminars, and workshops. Put it next to your organization's mailing address and phone number. Send out a card or letter to announce the launch of your site and include an article about it in your newsletter. Send press releases to the local newspapers and to professional publications announcing your website. Make sure that your staff, Board, and volunteers know the site address and can discuss the content.

Online, you can register your home page with Web announce sites, directories, and search engines. Send e-mails to other related websites asking for a link. Send an e-mail to your clients, donors, partner organizations, and volunteers with a link to your URL address. Have staff and board members include this link at the end of the e-mails they send. Announce your site on relevant Internet newsgroups and lists - if you participate in these groups on a regular basis, you will help build an online reputation for your organization.

Another important online marketing strategy for non-profits is to list your organization with Internet charity portals. These websites offer a directory of non-profit organizations. Charity portals include,,,,, and WorkingForChange. Donors often peruse these sites to help them with their research, so it's important to keep your listing up to date.

Internet marketing is a never-ending process. It requires a commitment to send out regular e-mails, keep your site information timely and accurate, update your staff on the latest Internet technologies, and learn about other Internet resources that can benefit your staff and clients. There are countless ways to use your website to bring in and send out new information. As you learn more, you can also use your website as a means to recruit volunteers, raise funds for your current campaign, and encourage activism.

Wendy Gray Maynard is the co-owner of Kinesis. Kinesis specializes in marketing, graphic design, and business writing. Visit for more articles and free marketing wisdom.

Want to harness the power of kinetic marketing? Sign up for Kinesis Quickies, a free bi-monthly marketing e-newsletter:

In The News:

MiBiz Growth Report: July 5, 2020  MiBiz: West Michigan Business News
Web Design Jobs  Southern New Hampshire University
Matchbook Hires Senior Web Developer  Inside INdiana Business
Senior Web Developer  Charlotte Agenda
The Future of Web Development  Business 2 Community

HTML Editors - How to Choose the Right One for Building Your Websites

There are lots of HTML editors on the market, however,... Read More

Guidelines for Web Page Optimization

Below, I have listed 8 simple steps that you can... Read More

How to Build a Database Driven Web Site

If you ever want to create a state directory, article... Read More

Traffic for Webmasters

"If you build it, they will come"; is an age... Read More

Earning From Your Website

Before you start building your site, ask yourself "WHY?". Why... Read More

Dreamweaver 8 Preview

August 8 2005, Macromedia announced a release of Studio 8.... Read More

9 Keys to an Effective Website

Many small companies choose not to invest in a professionally... Read More

Live Support from Your Website? Can You Do It for Free?

I'm a freelance programmer and somehow I managed to get... Read More

How Your Own Website Helps Your Small Business Grow

What do you mean, you don't have a website for... Read More

Achieving Differentiation With Your Website

Internet Marketing is not a miracle marketing strategy ? competition... Read More

A Website Is Not Enough

Your ObjectiveYour small business needs an appealing and professional website... Read More

MySQL Database Handling in PHP

Most interactive websites nowadays require data to be presented dynamically... Read More

Website Conversion Rate: More Keywords Equals More Sales

Your website conversion rate should concern you. This simply refers... Read More

Why do I Need a Website?

Cost Effective Advertising. Online selling. Increased geopgraphic range. Wider... Read More

Track Your Visitors, Using PHP

There are many different traffic analysis tools, ranging from simple... Read More

Are You Being Scammed By Your Web Design Company?

This is a growing concern amongst many business owners. Does... Read More

The Problem with Paypal On Your Web Page

When I set up my website I felt paypal was... Read More

Why A Simple Counter is Never Enough for Your Website

A simple website stats counter is not enough if you... Read More

Building eCommerce Websites that Work - Part 3

An interesting eCommerce success factor that isn't precisely overlooked, but... Read More

Web Accessibility: The Basics

What is web accessibility & why is it important?Web accessibility... Read More

Free Webmaster Tools - 7 Things Every Webmaster Needs in Their Toolbox

Webmaster tools are vital to becoming both efficient and effective... Read More

5 Tips For A Better Website

Having an eye catching website is great, but are you... Read More

Having a Domain Name And Web Site Gives Your Business The Key To The Door

Just like all things in life, the ways to run... Read More

Website Sales: 10 Reasons Why People Dont Buy From You

You've put up a website to promote a product or... Read More

The Evolution Of Search

There have been many significant changes to the face of... Read More