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In fund raising your website really counts

I’ve been developing a philanthropy “health check” tool for a while now and one of the first things I go looking at in assessing how an organisation promotes itself to current and potential donors is that organisation’s website. To quote an excellent line from the blog Inside Philanthropy of 7 September 2016: “if your non-profit wants to rake in gifts, your website better not suck.”

The article refers to a survey of American donors from earlier this year which showed several things. The first was that donors are getting more choosy in what they give to. That is, they are becoming more discriminating about their causes but still giving the same amount.

The second and more relevant point was that donors are carrying out more in-depth research before they make a decision about giving. And the most important thing they look at is the website of the organisation they are considering supporting.

This really reinforced in my mind the importance of cultural organizations having good philanthropy content on their website. I see far too many which don’t. Unfortunately, when I click the “donate now” button on the home page, too often I am simply taken to a donation payment form, whereas what I’m looking for is a persuasive argument as to why I should give, preferably with some examples of what has been achieved with earlier gifts.

Good philanthropy web content for your organisation should tell me what you’re trying to do, why it’s important, and why it’s urgent. Australians and New Zealanders like to see success stories so it’s even better if your web site tells some of those donor stories.

In this increasingly digital era it should be a no-brainer that your website is the primary place a donor will look. Make sure they find something good!

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