Stop Using Canned Nonprofit Elevator Pitches to Raise Money
What’s a Website for? To catch flies? If so, think of yourself as the spider. Who do you want in your web? And why? Bragging rights (we look busy with lots of visitors)? Decoration (it looks pretty this way)? Sustenance (our purchasers of services and donors)?
Jeff Brooks recently posted on the issue of messy websites . He notes: Like any “publication,” websites need to start with a clear purpose. Don’t let the fact that it costs nothing to add stuff confuse you into throwing everything out with equal weight. A website is no place for an ‘everything but the kitchen sink’ mess. It’s a WEB site. Have you ever really looked at a spider web? It’s a wonder of precision and artistry. Nothing messy about it. And this marvel is what draws in the flies.
A marvelous website is an intricately interwoven net(work). It takes concerted effort to create a web that will be effective. That being said, there is no one right way to make a great website. The website your board member tells you is fabulous may not be fabulous for you. Just as each kind of spider makes a different kind of web, each nonprofit must assess the kind of website they want and are capable of spinning. If your resources are limited, focus them. If you want to attract insects (or donors, clients, volunteers), less may be more.
Six key things someone should be able to find within 60 seconds on a great nonprofit website include:
Find your sweet spot. You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. The vinegar may be spicy, but it’s too in your face. It can overwhelm. Honey is soothing. It’s gentle persuasion. It’s compelling. It’s sticky.
When spiders make webs, they purposely put sticky strands into the weave. They waste nothing. They’ll eat broken web strands, digest them, and turn them into new silk. Take a look at your current website. Assess what’s messy and broken. Toss out the vinegar. Digest. Spin again. Create a work of art, and spread it with a filament of sweet honey.
What’s the nicest thing your website does for your constituents?