Your nonprofit’s website is your home on the internet. Your digital store front. Your chance to show the internet exactly what your nonprofit is all about. It’s your sandbox that lets you show what your nonprofit can really do.
So why, if it can act as sop many different powerful tools, do so many nonprofits allow their website to fall into obscurity. All too often nonprofits put updating their website at the bottom of their to-do lists while attending to other tasks. While these tasks may seem more important in the short term, the truth is, not keeping an updated website can prove detrimental to your website both in the short-term, and in the long-term.
Here are 5 ways your nonprofit can start proactively keeping its website, buffed, polished, and current.
Decide when content should be updated
All content has a life span. Some are inherently longer than others. For example, your mission statement likely has the longest lifespan of all pieces of content on your website. But your nonprofit’s events page, for example, will likely need to be updated far more frequently.
Look at each piece of content on your website and decide for each piece what needs to be updating, how often it needs to be updated (once per year, once every 6 months, once per week, etc.), and create a schedule based on what you find. Make that schedule and task your webmaster to adhere to that schedule. Ensure he is able to contact and proactively motivate each of the content owners to update the piece of content they’re responsible for.
Decide who’s responsible for what content
Assigning different pieces of content to different people might seem like a fragmented strategy, but making an individual responsible for updating a piece of content they’re more familiar ensure a richer final product.
For example, having your tech guy update financial earnings is likely not the best strategy. He will have little interest in relaying a potentially exciting quarter of fundraising, and the content on the site will, as a result, be perceivably flat.
It will not always be intuitively obvious what the best way to go about updating a piece of content is. Some areas of a website are by their very nature a little dull. Job descriptions are a great example of inherently bland content.
This is where choosing the right individual to head that department is essential. Creativity must come through when updating this information. Maybe you make a short video instead of a job description, or an infographic, or list a particular job’s duties based on their importance. Whatever the case may be, getting creative is going to be essential to effectively editing your website on schedule.
Train your colleagues
Writing website copy different than writing most other varieties of writing. It requires a certain preciseness and attention to detail that is not easy to deliver on a consistent basis. In addition to the copy writing, there might be some light HTML and image coding involved as well.
Make sure that the individuals you tag as your website content managers are properly trained in this type of writing and have a general understanding of how to manipulate your websites code. Hold a series of training seminars (bring doughnuts), run contests with office prizes for participation, or any other way you can get your employees excited about website editing.
If your team is struggling to come up with new ideas to update the content, network with your peers and find out what they do to update their website. Follow them on social media, or meet them in person whenever possible. Any idea is a good idea that could lighten the load for you and your nonprofit.
Look at the big picture
Your website is your digital face. It is what donors, volunteers and constituents all see, and it is ultimately how they judge the legitimacy of your nonprofit at a glance. If your content managers are not prioritizing their editing responsibilities, and you’re spending a lot of time chasing people around, ensure the importance of this role is relayed to them. Meet with them individually, tell them why you tagged them for the responsibility.