designer in Tennessee just 14.5 miles south of Knoxville, TN.
can we help you?Email
IWStoday. Contact us
today to schedule your free, no obligation consultation!
Reasons All Non-profits Need a Web Site
Date of publication: May 20, 2003
A non-profit organization can take advantage
of the Internet for at least eight purposes:
Let us look at brief examples of each of these uses in turn.
Good sites gain attention. Attention or awareness is exactly what
all non-profits need... it accelerates fund-raising efforts, and
enhances all the following essential needs:
There's a fine line between grabbing the public's attention and
educating the public about an important social problem or cause.
Whatever the mission statement of your non-profit organization
is, it needs to be presented with clarity to the various "publics"
that all non-profits must influence if they are to be successful.
All organizations have several different "publics" which
they must influence in a positive way in order to achieve their
Some of these "publics" are:
centers of influence
government officials and departments
A properly constructed and strategized web site can reach all of
these "publics" cost effectively and with immediate "calls-to-action".
Large sums of money are now changing hands over the Internet. One
early barrier to online fund raising was the perceived insecurity
surrounding online financial transactions. With dramatic improvements
in online secure data transmission, this is no longer an issue.
Now there are multiple ways for donors to make direct donations
without worrying. Several companies offer secure methods for performing
online financial transactions.
PayPal and Amazon now provide free mechanisms for the proper transmission
of credit card donations to non-profits... eliminating the need
for the non-profit to own and manage their own credit card merchant
account... and saving the organization on transaction fees.
Another advantage of online credit card donations is that they
are usually for larger amounts... and given more often during the
The biggest single benefit of a well crafted
non-profit web site is the fact that you are now opening up the
entire online world... almost a billion users (and growing) worldwide...
to your organizations needs and goals. It is not unusual for organizations
to receive substantial donations from complete strangers living
in foreign countries. These folks will have found you on the world-wide-web,
feel an affinity to your goals... and donate money using your online
form and their credit card.
Building a donor database allows the organization to "go back
to the well" seeking additional donations for specific projects,
needs, or general support.
Volunteer recruitment and management is a well
developed and proven use of the Internet. The Internet allows for
a new and powerful way for people to support non-profits by becoming
virtual volunteers. Virtual volunteers have more control over their
time and the ease of working from home because they take advantage
of the convenience of online communication.
All the factors that motivated volunteers face-to-face
still operate forcefully over the Internet. A spirit of community
and personal relationships thrive abundantly in cyberspace. Of course,
many non-profits have effectively used their web presence for recruiting
volunteers that show up on their premises. Recognizing volunteers...
a vital component of developing a strong volunteer is made simple
and easy through a web site.
Our economy is increasingly based on the timely exchange of information,
All successful non-profits must deliver the right information to
the right person, at the right time.
A web site is a powerful way to deliver services
for those organizations in the business of providing people with
information. Since this includes almost all non-profits, the need
and benefits of a website accessible 24-hours a day, seven days
a week, become obvious.
To mobilize people around an issue, an organization must get the
word out quickly and provide people with convenient tools for responding.
Because it's so easy to update a web site and have the vital details
available instantaneously, the web is a perfect way to encourage
people to act on issues that greatly concern them. Timely action
alerts can be sent via email to various organization maintained
data bases ...instantly.
It's easy to respond to a call for action when one can email one's
legislative representatives or link to other volunteer bulletin
boards on the Internet. Cross linking with other like-minded organizations
provides a "synergy of action" that would be impossible
with a well crafted web presence.
Research may take many forms. An organization may wish to keep
up with legal, political, scientific or other mission related developments.
Alternatively, it may wish to learn about grant getting opportunities.
Two excellent starting points for almost any
kind of searching are Google and Yahoo. Probably the best directory
devoted entirely to non-profit organizations on the web is the Action
Without Border's web site. This includes a page of foundations and
links offering grant opportunities. Cross linking with these organizations
provides a wonderful networking opportunity and usually leads to
additional opportunities for all the linked organizations.
It would be hard to overemphasize the advantages, cost savings,
or numerous virtues of email. Email offers the best of the phone
and the mail. It is as fast and as reliable as the phone, while
compensating for the frailties of human memory by preserving a written
record, as does the mail. Further, email allows for asynchronous
communication, meaning that one can read one's email on one's own
time, rather than having to play telephone tag. Of course, it also
encourages clarity of expression by remaining a form of *written*
Web sites facilitate email correspondence when they make publicly
available the email addresses of organization staff. Sites can offer
options which make sending a message as convenient as filling out
a form. They can also invoke an email mailer on many browsers when
the visitor to a site clicks on the right button. If you are worried
about getting too much email, more than you have time to answer,
consider discarding any mail delivered by the US Postal Service
and using the time you save to answer the few email messages you
are lucky enough to receive. They will likely be more valuable,
more interesting and you will be able to respond to them more quickly
with better results than most of your incoming "snail mail".
In summation... the strong benefits enjoyed by all non-profit organizations,
from the development of a custom website, are many and varied. A
strong web presence provides a solid economic basis for additional
revenues (donations), cost savings, and enhanced services to members,
volunteers, and the public at large. Since most non-profits are
understaffed... the dramatic labor savings and management efficiencies
gained with a comprehensive web site can mean the difference between
success or failure... growth or survival!
Thom Reece is the CEO and Senior Consultant for On-Line Marketing
Group... a Hawaii based Direct Response Marketing Agency and Web
Site Development firm. His articles have appeared in DM News, Home
Base Business Magazine, Opportunity Magazine, Cleaner Times, Profitable
Glass Quarterly, Advertising Express (India), and he is a regular
columnist for Money 'N' Profits Magazine. His website... On-Line
Marketing Resource Center ...( http://www.e-comprofits.com
) is visited by thousands of internet marketers daily. Thom can
be reached at: 808-929-7377, Fax: 808-929-8711, or by email at: