The #1 Reason Nonprofit Websites Fail and How to Fix It Immediately | npENGAGE

The #1 Reason Nonprofit Websites Fail and How to Fix It Immediately

By on Apr 23, 2012


crowdfunding ideas and tips

Nonprofit Audience GroupsEveryone gets excited about redesigning their website.

It’s a chance to start fresh.

New ideas, a fresh design, new technology and a renewed focus on your online presence – all factors that drive peoples excitement.

There’s one problem though.

Your focus is in the wrong place.

Too much time is spent looking inwards at what needs to improve rather than on the primary focus of the site – that is, appealing to and engaging your supporters.

Put another way – too much time is focused on what your leadership thinks is best for the website.

How do you solve the problem of building your website for the wrong audience?

Audience analysis.

By reviewing your key audience segments early in the design process, the website design and architecture can be constructed to not only meet the vision you have for your new website, but also to appeal to the group that matters most – your constituents.

Here are four steps you can take to ensure you perform proper audience analysis:

1. Identify Your Audience

Start with your database and website analytics. Gather all the data you have and use it to help you identify the primary groups that frequent your site.

Next, do a few interviews with a group of your highly engaged supporters and volunteers.

Once you’ve gone through these two activities you’ll have a much more clear idea of whom your site should be designed for.

2. Outline Primary Tasks

Each of your audience groups has things they’ll want to accomplish on your website (we call those “tasks”) and those tasks will each have a defined path that people need to take in order to complete them.

A parent visiting a school site may, for example, want to access information on their student’s classes, grades, and assignments while a volunteer will want to quickly access new volunteer opportunities.

Find out what these tasks and paths are by watching your audience interact with your current website. Make sure to record their sessions and take detailed notes.

The information you collect here will be instrumental in the eventual wireframe and design of your site.

3. Organize Tasks by Significance

Once key tasks are identified, you’ll find that many of your audience groups share common tasks.

Using the previous example of a parent accessing a student’s records, it would also be in the interest of the student to access their current assignments. These “current assignments” would be a task common to both the parent and student audience segments, and would therefore carry more weight in priority of content on your website than a task only one group cares about.

Tally these common tasks into a condensed list of tasks being performed on your site.

This prioritized list of tasks helps you understand what your new website should focus on.

4. Design Your Website Based on Common Tasks

Now you’re working with a solid understanding of the way your constituents use your website.

At this point, your findings from the previous three steps can be applied to the design wireframes, ensuring that the site is designed with the most important tasks that your audience needs to accomplish in mind.

Wrapping it up …

When you browse the websites of nonprofits, it is often clear who has spent the time and effort on a real audience analysis and who has not.

For those that have done a thorough audit of their audience, the website resonates with the intended audience and accomplishes audience and organization goals.

Content is easily found, tools available on the site are frequently utilized, and engagement with the site’s audience is increased.

When your site is based around constituent engagement, it is absolutely crucial that you take the time and resources to perform a thorough Audience Analysis to ensure you’re creating a website that’s not only new and nice-looking, but also strategic, engaging and impactful.

Join Us!!

Learn more about building an objective website through strategic design during our free Guide webinar Series the week of April 23rdRegister now!



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