Posted by Jay Wilkinson

One of the keys to building a viable web presence is to make sure that everything on your nonprofit website speaks to your mission and your cause. This is called positioning, or the “voice” of your nonprofit website. It’s all about the look, feel and tone—not just on the front page, but the entire website.

Here’s where some nonprofits struggle: They don’t create a voice that’s consistent throughout their whole website. Consistency is huge. You need to find your voice and stick with it. Your mission should come across loud and clear on every page so that each one of your online visitors gets a clear understanding of who you are and what you do. If you fail to create a nonprofit website with a clear and cohesive voice, then people may get confused or lose interest and never come back.

Why is the voice of your nonprofit website so important? Because the way that we relate with people today has largely shifted from face-to-face meetings to digital communication on websites, social media and mobile devices. When you’re talking with someone in person, it’s easy to verbalize what you’re passionate about—your voice and personality are evident. But when people shift their communication to the web, many times they lose their voice, and they become stiff and lifeless.

If you want to have a viable nonprofit website, you need to make sure your voice is alive, consistent and you, in everything you put out there. If it helps, pretend that your website is a one-on-one conversation with your most important constituent. Don’t create content as if you’re speaking to a group—write it as if you’re having an important conversation with your top donor. You wouldn’t speak in generic terms with a lifeless tone and a robotic voice.

If you’re not sure how your nonprofit website comes across, then ask. Have friends, volunteers or other nonprofit cohorts read through the pages on your site and give you feedback. Is your mission clear? Your cause compelling? Your nonprofit’s personality obvious?

You’re not a generic organization—you have a unique personality, a clear position and an important mission. Be sure your nonprofit website does as well.