Online behavior forced a wave of digital transformation across all industries and NGOs are no different.
Most NGOs, nonprofits, and charity organizations have limited resources. They cannot afford the luxury of not changing with times to meet the standards set by their potential donors.
Even globally recognized NGOs such as the United Nations-affiliated UNRWA stepped up their game and upgraded their donation platform.
You may have a variety of goals for your NGO’s or charity organization website:
But the fact remains that in 2018 and moving onwards; donors demand a digital experience that reflects value, trust, and credibility.
Here are 8 essential requirements to set up and sustain a digital NGO experience:
The basics never change. Human behavior is simple. We return to what we enjoy and turn our backs to frustrating experiences.
The same applies to your NGO’s digital experience...
Your NGO must focus on becoming user-centric.
Besides making or breaking your NGO’s mission digital success; understanding what motivates your target audience’ online behavior enables you to:
To find out what your target audience expects from your NGO's digital experience you can:
Gathering enough data will enable you to develop segmented persona reports that can give you crucial insight into each persona group of your target audience:
Learning who your audience is and how your nonprofits’ community is segmented based on preferences, age, gender, and other relevant factors will determine the digital experience you need to develop for your NGO’s online platform.
The shift in online behavior has forced entire industries to refocus their services, operations, and entire organizations to be “customer or user-centric”.
This is called digital transformation.
The journey your target audience will undertake in discovering, accessing and engaging with your content needs to be mapped and carefully planned.
Fail to define your users' experience journey and you might as well pack it in.
So, where do you start?
Identifying the aforementioned goal allows you to ask the right questions that will shape your NGO's digital experience:
Such questions can inform your content marketing plan when communicating with for example the “first-time visitors that never donated online before” group of the audience.
You’d be able to identify on which channels or platforms to find them, gaining their attention with what particular content and how to interest them enough for them to visit the appropriate landing page on your website.
Now that you’ve designed a blueprint for an effective digital experience that aligns your NGO’s mission goals with the needs of your target audience; you are able to create a relevant content marketing plan.
Your NGO’s mission promotion and marketing success will entirely depend on how engaging your digital experience is.
Such experiences consist of a variety of content formats relevant to your target audience (e.g.) videos, articles and etc.
Creating engaging and informative content is the best way to interact and encourage people to visit your site repeatedly.
The content you identified as relevant will inform you which content management system (CMS) your nonprofit organization will need to ensure the success of your marketing.
Content marketing related factors to consider when choosing a CMS:
Drupal is an open-source supported CMS that focuses on saving your marketing team’s time and amplifying your reach via on-site SEO enhanced features.
Mobile is no longer a trend.
It has become the norm and is continuously adopted as the default viewpoint of interaction with any website or digital experience.
Google rewards websites the offer digital experiences on mobile by boosting their ranking on their search engine results pages (SERPs).
If you don’t have a mobile digital experience or even if your mobile performance is not up to the standards set, Google will downgrade your rankings as it considers your website to be of no value to users.
Simply put, if your NGO doesn’t offer a mobile-first digital experience to your target audience; you might as well not exist.
Without the ability to scale you defeat the very purpose of an NGO or cause-related campaign: Growth.
Your website becomes slower, performance quality suffers and along with it, your visitors become increasingly frustrated.
While you are assessing your available options to upgrade quickly... online visitors decide you are no longer worth the frustration.
The alternatives are expensive and will take a longer time to deploy.
You can easily create, manage, distribute and personalize content for the growing numbers and traffic in a sustainable manner.
Better yet; you still have a CMS that can only make your digital experience more effective while avoiding any performance-related issues. #winning.
Scalability issues include considering integration.
The more traffic you get, the more appealing marketing automation tools would seem to you.
You will need your digital experience to be immersive and engaging from A to Z across all communication channels (e.g.) social media, email marketing, PPC ad campaigns and etc.
A major indicator of a worthy NGO is its commitment to nurturing trust, earning credibility and overall security.
Donors will not be encouraged to donate or even visit a nonsecure NGO website if the digital experience doesn’t showcase a sense of transparency and security at the same time.
There are various aspects of making your visitors and potential donors feel secure. Here a few key best practices:
Even a minor technical issue that delays page load by a mere second can damage the image of your NGO’s digital brand and repel potential donors.
A seamless digital experience across all devices and web browsers is a non-negotiable condition. This applies to all features on your website.
Interactive forms are an essential feature of an NGO’s digital experience that is aligned with mission priorities such as donations.
They are quick, simple and much more convenient to fill out. Providing a reliable webform feature will ensure a much higher number of registrations and completed forms.
Expecting your visitors and potential donors to download, print and fill out PDF forms was realistic a few years back.
You can use forms to:
Remember that your visitors will expect that they will be able to complete forms just as easily through their phones.
Crafting an effective digital experience for your users and potential donors is one key aspect.
But as with anything else, if you don’t evolve and adapt to the advancements and changes happening in your industry, you risk following behind and losing credibility among your base.
You may ignore the need for ongoing support, but you will come to regret the cost of keeping up when you realize that you need to build another platform with entirely new essential features for your charity.
We highly recommend that you build your NGO platform using a content management system supported by an open-source community of developers to guarantee an unlimited capacity for improvement and customization that will ultimately enhance your digital experience.
Ready-made NGO website templates will not offer you the flexibility you desire in terms of crafting a personalized digital experience in that handles all the aforementioned content formats.
With such templates; you will be limited in your bid to customize your content, user experience and more importantly; scalability.
You must decide regarding how or what it takes to build a digital NGO platform that provides an effective digital experience and drives donations in a secure manner.
What it really comes down to is that digital experience covers the range of interactions that people have with an organization at every touchpoint, and many of those are enabled by web content management systems that organize content and deliver it.