#npau TweetChat – not-for-profit websites

The #npau tweetchat is a fortnightly Twitter based conversation that discusses topics relevant to the not-for-profit and community sectors. The Tweetchat is identified by the #npau hashtag and services such as TweetChat (www.tweetchat.com) provide the ability to easily follow and contribute to the conversation.

Today’s topic was not-for-profit websites, discussing the technology that is used, as well as the purpose of a web presence.

The first question, ‘what purpose does your website serve‘ provided an opening discussion around the experiences and expectations of a web presence. While there may be several reasons to develop and maintain web presence, it is important that organisations treat a website as a marketing tool. A website should reinforce the organisation’s brand, key messages and should have a specific call-to-action.

@syneka: A website is a marketing tool – it should reinforce your brand with a clear call to action #npau

The call-to-action is particularly important as this is the desired response from a website. For example, if you are seeking volunteers then the call-to-action would be where a website visitor makes contact to become a volunteer. If the call-to-action is encouraging donations then the desired action would be the transaction of donations via the website.

The call-to-action should be easy for someone to undertake. Therefore, contact information should be readily available and accessible if the call-to-action is to recruit volunteers or payments should be easy to make if you are encouraging donations.

The second topic discussed social media and websites and the potential for integration.

Social media tools, such as Facebook and Twitter, provide a way for people to remain connected to your organisation. It is important to engage your online community using their preferred method of online communication. Integrating a website with social media ensures that someone can remain informed on the activities of your organisation, regardless of whether they connect via email, Facebook, Twitter or other tools.

@syneka interconnectedness is critical with #socialmedia – you should engage using the visitors preferred mediums #npau

If your organisation uses a blog it is also possible to integrate comments with social media, this means someone can follow and participate in the conversation through your website or through the Facebook page or Twitter. This approach provides maximum opportunities for participation, while also reducing workloads since content is automatically integrated.

The third question asked about the platforms that were used for website design.

WordPress, which is the platform typically utilised by Syneka Marketing, appeared to be particularly popular given that it can be extended to meet the needs of an organisation. The right choice of platform is particularly important because you want a system that can adapt as an organisation evolves. Custom made platforms are unable to accomodate
signficant changes without heavy customisation, resulting in a website that is difficult to update.

The fourth question sought feedback on the desired improvements an organisation would like to see to its website. The need for mobile versions was discussed, as was the desire for further integration with social media.

@syneka Q4 think many websites need to fully incorporate #socialmedia for comments rather than just recent tweets & the FB page #npau

One of the strengths of social media is the discussion and community engagement it provides. This means that social media should be more than a simple Facebook Like or a Twitter feed on a page, but also provide the ability to interlink comments and discussion.

Question five asked ‘what challenges do you face when it comes to your website?

Discussion included the need for resourcing and we’ve often found that organisation’s need to understand the importance and goals of their website.

@syneka Q5 one of the most common challenges we’ve seen is making sure there’s collective understanding in the importance of the website #npau

A website needs to be reflect the branding and key messages of an organisation and complement other marketing activities. Websites need to be kept up-to-date to ensure their relevance and to assist visitors in finding the information that they need.

Browser compatibility is another important issue, many organisations do not run the latest web browsers. While support for older web browsers such as Internet Explorer 6.0 can be time consuming, it is still used by a number of not-for-profit organisations that haven’t upgraded their computers and by governments or large corporate systems that are on fixed deployments.

@syneka: Q5 browser compatibility is always a challenge – many organisations don’t run the latest browsers or software #npau

Accessibility is another challenge and websites need to improve their adherence to accessible web standards. Images should have a text description and content should be easy to read.

Today’s tweetchat stimulated a lot of discussion with #npau trending as a hashtag in Australia, demonstrating how Twitter can be a useful tool in sharing knowledge and expanding the capabilities of organisations.

Connecting Up holds TweetChats on a fortnightly basis each Wednesday afternoon. For the full archive of this conversation please visit storify.com/connectingup/npau-tweetchat-not-for-profit-websites

Alex Makin

Author Alex Makin

In a career spanning over fifteen years, Alex has been instrumental in transforming, reinvigorating and growing the capacity of businesses and not-for-profit organisations. He is a visionary who understands the big picture. Alex's expertise is a Certified Practising Marketer and as Chair of the Victorian State Council of the Australian Marketing Institute. Alex is also an accomplished speaker, author and mentor and former Mayor and Councillor for the City of Maroondah.

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