Posted by Jay Wilkinson

By now, most of us have discovered how to drive people to our websites so we can engage with them—whether it’s to ask them to donate, sign up to volunteer or register for an event. However, many of us are still making this one crucial mistake: Once they land on our website, we send them away.

In other words, we bring them to our website initially and get them interested in doing something to interact with us, but then we send them to Eventbrite to register and pay for specific event or to sign up to get them on the list to volunteer or to PayPal so they can donate or maybe even over to Tumblr to read our blog.

Why? Why would we go to the trouble to bring visitors to our website only to send them away?

The answer is simple: Because we haven’t invested enough in our website.

We may have a website, sure, but it doesn’t have the tools and ability to let our online visitors do what they need to do right there. We haven’t invested in the right technology. Therefore, we rely on free tools from other vendors and websites to help us take care of our constituents. A big word for what I’m talking about is “functionality.” The best websites—the ones that don’t frustrate our donors and online audience—have proper functionality that allows guests to stay on our website and do everything they need to do without leaving.

This is a big issue in the nonprofit industry, and one that I speak on a lot, because so many organizations are using a variety of platforms and tools to build free websites, but in reality, they just end up with a really inexpensive online brochure that lacks functionality.

Or they use WordPress with its host of free modules and components and they hire a developer and probably pay them too much money to cobble together a website that looks okay, but doesn’t work well. They’re not able to create a fully functioning site that allows them to engage meaningfully with their audience—and on top of that, they’re left with a website that only their developer can update and change. It can be a frustrating scenario.

I have nothing bad to say about WordPress; it’s a free platform on which you can pay someone to build your website. But there’s only about 1 out of every 100 nonprofit websites I see that has the functionality to keep people on their site as opposed to sending them elsewhere to meet their needs.

WordPress was not created for nonprofits; it was created for developers.

If you’re going to spend the dollars to build a website and then go to the trouble to drive traffic to your it, please make sure that your site can accommodate your constituents, volunteers, board members, prospects and other visitors.

Invest in a website that has a platform built specifically for the nonprofit industry with the necessary tools and functionality in order to engage with your audience—without sending them away.

Firespring provides beautiful, mobile-friendly websites with built-in fundraising and event management tools that are affordable for nonprofits of any size. You can start your free demo, or get more information by calling 877.447.8941 or email