Does Your Charity or Community Organisation need an Online Presence?
My simple answer is: YES!
We now live in a digital world where a website is not only necessary but a requirement by every business or small charity and community organisation; big or small. The need for charities and community organisations to grow an online presence is now more apparent than ever if they are to survive. Though there are other ways in which a charity or community organisation can grow their online presence and tap into World Wide Web benefits/audience, having a website is still the most fundamental one.
We all know that charity organisations depend on the generosity of the general public through donations of money, goods and time to carry out their activities or provide services. Given the fact that donations are dwindling and competition getting stiff, majority of the charities especially will have to double their efforts if they are to continue in existence.
Now more than ever, it is crucial for charities to raise awareness, encourage donations and maintain good relationships with their supporters to keep the all-important funds flowing – and that’s why CHARITIES need websites more than ever before.
In an environment where the top 1,000 large fundraising charities receive over 50% of all fundraising income, how does a small charity like yours with little or no fundraising budget tap into other 50% of this donations pot?
Yes, a well designed and functional website will not only help your small charity compete with the large charities for donations but also will help you achieve the following;
Information dissemination and creating Awareness
Charities play a great role in creating awareness, education and information dissemination, but unfortunately, there are hundreds of charities that still struggle to get their message heard. A website is a perfect way to reach out to your target audiences and let them know what you do and why you do it.
Informing your audience what your objectives are or what your charity is trying to achieve is crucial if your charity is to appear relevant and attract support. Better still, if people search your charity up to find out what you do, where you are, and what impact you’re making in the community, they should be able to find you.
A website allows you to educate, engage and inform your audience about what you are trying to achieve, and also to solicit support in the form of donations
Encourage donations online on your website
Putting forward a clear message on what you are trying to achieve is one way of connecting with your audience but clearly highlighting what you want to achieve, how you want to achieve it, and how their support will help you achieve your objectives on your website makes it easier for you to ask for support and get it.
Use real-life stories with images and videos on your website to emotionally connect with your audience and encourage them to donate to your cause.
A well designed website with an ONLINE DONATIONS FACILITY can easily enable you receive donations from your audience at no cost to your charity.
Encourage Sign-ups to your email list
Email is still the strongest and cheapest digital marketing and fundraising channel out there. Some charities use Facebook,Twitter and other social media platforms but why put all your eggs in one basket. You may reach a wide audience with social media platforms but you will lose control over who your message can reach and your relationship with your audience won’t be spared.
Having an email marketing platform with well integrated opt-in forms into your website can help you collect legitimate email contacts which you can then use for your promotions and awareness campaigns.
Sharing Good News
A good website to represent your charity gives your organisation credibility. A website gives you the opportunity to tell the whole world or better still your audience the good things you are doing to the community and why they should support you.
You can do this by proudly displaying testimonials from satisfied consumers of your services or by using BLOGS or ARTICLES to showcase the good work that your charity does, and let the public know how your work has had a positive effect!
Sharing good news speaks louder than anything else and can make your efforts of reaching out to a new wider audience much easier.
Recruitment of volunteers and staff
Your website is a useful marketing platform for promoting and recruiting volunteers and staff. Not only can your charity website be the central platform for advertising and promoting vacancies, but it can also be an effective recruitment tool with the possibility of integrating complex recruitment systems and online application forms.
Promoting charity fundraising events
Volunteer fundraising is still a good way to drum up support, encourage donations and get your supporters involved, no matter the nature of your charity and the services it provides.
Your website is the perfect place to advertise these events, and encourage more people to attend. Integrated sign-up or a booking form into your website can easily help you multiply the number of attendees and also measure the success of your event by knowing how many people attended the event or by requesting feedback
Offering advice and support to your audience
Most charitable organisations exist to offer help or advice because at the heart of every charity are people in need of that help and advice; whether it is victims, patients, children, families or even animals. More often than not, people turn to the web to look for help, support, guidance and advice. As a charity supporting those people, you have assumed responsibility of providing advice, support, help and reassurance to these people.
By offering knowledge and expertise in your chosen field, your website can form a support network and community platform for these people.
Engage and inspire people to make a difference
Making people feel as though they are part of something big will inspire them to want to get involved. By assuring your audience that their help and support will make a big impact on the charity and reaching the end goal, it will give them a sense of importance and increase the likelihood of engagement.
Maintain and grow relationships with your supporters
Maintaining and growing your relationship with your donors and supporters in my view is very important if your charity is keep its doors open. Thanking your supporters for their donations and continued support is important, moreover, it is much easier to get a donation from someone who has donated to you before than a new one .
Making someone feel appreciated can go a long way and turn a one-off donation into a loyal supporter and ambassador. With permission from your donors, putting their credentials on your website and thanking them for their generosity is one of the best ways of expressing your appreciation for their support especially corporate donations.
It is more important than ever for any charity or community organisation to have a strong online presence with a website as their central gateway into the digital world if they are to attract support and continue in existence.
A website hasn’t only recently become one of the greatest fundraising tools but also the best gateway to the web that has a far wider reach than any other form of platform. Your website should be the centre of your charity’s online presence strategy.
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