Sunday, May 3, 2009

Study Shows Nonprofit Websites Still Suck

There has been a tremendous amount of emphasis on online and technology-driven marketing for the past five years it is understandable that with the onslaught of new tools it has been difficult for some marketers to keep up the frenetic adoption pace of consumers. Sure, changing organizational cultures, breaking through bureaucratic red tape, and convincing an out-of-touch top management is difficult. But what disturbs me is the continuing neglect of the online touchpoint by most nonprofits.

Recently, at the Nonprofit Technology Conference (no, I didn’t go, but I heard it was great), ForeSee Results presented the results from their study on Trends in Constituent Satisfaction with Nonprofit Websites. Three key things stood out from their findings that make me want to scream and shout:
  1. Nonprofits have plenty of room for improvement when it comes to online customer satisfaction.
  2. Satisfaction is predictive of future behaviors important to nonprofits.
  3. Key areas of improvement for nonprofit websites, in general, are sites’ functionality and the expression of the organization’s image online.
Too often nonprofits think they can get by with sub-par work and a mediocre online presence. Unfortunately, they are judged by the same standards as their for-profit counterparts by a tech-savvy marketplace. As for those who think that their online presence is just not a priority, the ForeSee study found that investing in a website has a direct link to increases in satisfaction, donations, volunteerism, and recommendations.

In fact, a highly satisfied visitor to a nonprofit website is:

• 49% more likely to donate
• 38% more likely to volunteer
• 57% more likely to have a favorable overall impression of the organization
• 65% more likely to recommend the site to others
• 55% more likely to return to the site

The study found key areas of improvement to be the site’s functionality and the expression of the organization’s image. In other words, the site needs to be easy to use, clear pathways to content need to be present, and the site must effectively bridge the space between on and offline ensuring the emotional aspects of the mission are not digitally lost.

There is just too much good information out there on how to build and manage a contemporary site to allow bad sites to last beyond 2009. Make it your priority this year to move your organization’s web presence to the next level. And for starters, get the ForeSee report – it’s free and it will give you ideas on where to start.

-- David Kinard, PCM

1 comment:

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