Engaging websites for non-profits are essential, but creating them can be a daunting task. With so many excellent resources on the web, it is hard to know which are most important and how to use them efficiently. This post is part 2 of a series Tips for Creating the Best Non-Profit Website. If you are just joining us, you might want to start with part 1.

3- Which functions do you need?

oevlx40As much as possible, allow your website to be “home base”. If you are like me, you have set up countless online accounts thinking the service would be “great for the organization” only to discover months later that  your attention was pulled elsewhere and you cannot even remember the log in.

Just like knowing your audience has to be at the top of the list when designing a new web presence, knowing WHICH features are most important to your organization and WHO will manage them comes next. Choosing the right functions is key to creating engaging websites that your users, and more importantly, donors want to come back to again and again.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • do I need an events calendar for my current participants?
  • do I already use a google calendar and want to keep it?
  • do I need a photo or video gallery?
  • do I need to accept forms (other than the website contact form)?
  • do I need to accept payments online?
  • will I be selling any products?
  • do I need a blog? if no, how will I keep my users up to date with current news?
  • do I have a current social media presence: facebook, twitter, google+, linked in?
  • do I want social media posts to display on my website?
  • do I want my post to display on my social media platforms?
  • do I need a membership plugin?
  • do I need my website to integrate with an outside database management system (for example: Salesforce)

If yours is like many non-profit organizations, you may not have clearly defined job descriptions for your paid and/or volunteer staff for each of the items listed above. Now the question becomes, who will manage the day to day updating?

4- Who will manage the functions of your website?

For organizations that depend heavily on volunteers, I suggest assigning a few Roles that will combine some of the tasks. Of course, if your organization has the budget for paid staff, go for it! The one role that I will not discuss here is that of Donation/Financial Coordinator. In my experience, this is best left to a staff member or owner who will be with the organization well into the future.

Here are a few examples of volunteer roles:

Website Manager

  • takes the lead on updating wordpress plugins and making sure daily backups are working
  • works with web designer as website is being built
  • troubleshoots when there is a problem or contacts webmaster
  • received and answers emails related to the website from users and donors

Photo Manager

  • maintaining a central location for all full-size images (Dropbox or Google Drive is an excellent option)
  • web optimizing photos (making them a smaller size which will not slow down your website)
  • uploading photos to photo gallery
  • adding, editing, deleting old photo galleries
  • uploading video to youtube channel
  • adding videos to website (if channel does not auto-publish)

Social Media Volunteer

  • commit to a certain number of social media posts per week
  • find interesting topic-related posts and share or retweet
  • possibly coordinate a small group of “post-ers” who will post on behalf of the organization in their preferred social media. (It rarely works to have someone posting on Twitter to is not a dailyTwitter user!)
  • manage user roles on various social media platforms

Events/News Coordinator

  • Adds, edits, and deletes events from the calendar
  • creates a calendar of when posts will be published
  • assigns blog posts to writers
    (for example: the chair of a committee will write a 300 word description after each Board Meeting)
  • writes post for website before each event
  • writes or collects summaries after each event
  • edits and or writes posts and adds to website

Newsletter Coordinator

  • confirms active integration between website and newsletter service (for example: Constant Contact or Mailchimp)
  • creates and/or edits email newsletter
  • send email newsletters to users, donors, volunteers, etc

Feeling overwhelmed? Step back and remember that all of these ideas and questions would have come up during the design process. By exploring them now, you have the time to think through the requirements and the resources for your specific organization to create the most engaging website possible.

If you have any examples of successful Website Roles that you would like to share, please leave a comment!


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