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Content is king—we’ve all heard this before. And it’s still true. But it might be more accurate to say, “context is king.” Without context, your content is meaningless.
Context is about providing information that’s relevant to your online visitors. It’s not enough to just have words on a page. Your content needs to connect with your audience or it won’t accomplish anything, for you or for your visitors.
Content typically takes the form of articles, blog posts or white papers. But it can also be FAQs or some other resource heading. Here’s the difference between content and copy: Copy guides us around on a site, like the section headers and page headlines. It’s necessary, but doesn’t have a lot of meaning attached to it. Content, on the other hand, is the soul of your nonprofit website. It tells people about your organization, your people and your cause.
One organization that does a fantastic job of providing relevant content is the Nonprofit Risk Management Center. They help other nonprofits manage their risk online. They have a very diverse audience and do a great job of delivering content for the wide variety of users they serve.
Another great example is ChildrensRights.org. There are many great resources on this website—the content is seemingly endless, but it’s organized in a way that makes it feel accessible. Visitors can find exactly what they want very easily.
Now here’s the million dollar question: How do we get our content on to the website in the first place? Three words—content management system. A great CMS makes it possible for us to click on a button, a page or a section and say, “I want to update this here,” or “I want to add some text there.”
We should be able to manage content with point-and-click simplicity—just drag and drop this here or that there without going through a gatekeeper (i.e. your local go-to geek or web developer). Ideally, there should be two or three people able to manage the content. The days of giving just one person access to the CMS are gone. It’s important to have someone monitor the content, to make sure that it stays true to our mission and our brand. But restricting content management so that it all flows through just one person is so five years ago.
If your current website is not built on top of a CMS that’s easy to use and accessible to a team of people in your organization, I would encourage you to make that a priority for the next version of your site. It’s the single most important thing we can do to create viable and engaging websites for nonprofits.
For more on these elements, check out this in depth video on what goes into the perfect nonprofit website.