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Optimising your charity, community group or activity website

November 11, 2015

2009-04-18Over the last few years I have undertaken a few research projects that have required me to collect information about charities, community groups and activities via the internet.

All too often it was challenging to find out detailed information about the charities, groups and activities as websites tended to be created with current users in mind.  They would include lists of members and awards won, and lovely photos of recent events, but they would lack the very basics such as what the organisation actually did, or where it was based, or how to get in touch.

This made me think that a new potential contact would find it difficult to assess whether they could get involved.  They might do a Google search and identify the website of the charity, community group or activity of their choice but then find that any actual useful info was lacking.

  • Imagine you wanted to adopt a rescue cat – identified the website of an animal rescue centre – but couldn’t see where the rescue centre was located.
  • Imagine you wanted to attend a knitting circle – identified the website of a knitting circle – but couldn’t see the time or day when the meetings were held.
  • Imagine you wanted to join an orchestra – identified the website of an orchestra – but couldn’t see what level of skill was expected at rehearsals.
  • Imagine you wanted to donate to a charity – identified a charity you wanted to support – but couldn’t see any contact details.

If this kind of info isn’t easily available on the internet, a new potential contact might give up!

Bad news for the potential contact and bad news for the charity, community group or activity!  These charities, groups and activities could be missing out on linking up with many interested parties.

So here’s my advice.  If you are involved with a charity, community group or activity, have a look at your website and pretend you are a new potential contact.  Think what they might type into Google.  Would you have come up?  Once they had found you, could they easily see the information that they would need to know?

Websites don’t need to be extensive or complicated, but they should include:

  • A short description of the charity, community group or activity saying what you do
  • The town and county where you are based
  • Contact details (key contact name, email, phone number)
  • Meeting details (day, time, frequency, venue)
  • Details about who would be welcome at meetings (age, level of skill)
  • Links to social media

As well as making it easier for potential contacts to get involved, this should also help you to optimise your website for search engines.

Don’t have a website?  No problem, you could set a single page up quickly and easily using free online tools such as Moonfruit or WordPress (or even a Facebook group) – just to get your key info out there.

Don’t let your new potential contacts run off and join someone else with a better website!

 

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