There are over 250 environmental nonprofits in the United States alone. And in fact, this sector of nonprofits has only grown substantially every year since 1960.
A small handful of the more prominent ones dominate the minds of most Americans when they envision environmental organization.
But what about the rest of you? How do you distinguish yourself from the hordes?
In my opinion? Have a kick-ass website.
Obviously, there’s more to the success of your organization than that. But we are a culture that is quick to judge. If you’re lucky, a new visitor to your website will stick around for maybe a minute. More often than not, it’s 5 seconds.
So, to make an impression and get your website visitors to do whatever it is you are trying to get them to do, you have to implement a simple two step plan.
- Create an impressive website.
- Make sure the right people are getting there.
How to get the right traffic to slow down a bit
Let’s talk about that traffic for a sec.
We all want more traffic to our websites. It speaks to our egos when people take time out of their busy days to read about stuff we’ve put out into cyberspace.
Most environmental organizations get a small, steady stream of visitors to your website. And that’s great, really.
But how many of those visitors are the right ones? Increasing traffic to your website is great and all, but unless it’s the right traffic, looking for just the desire you can satisfy, then it’s worthless.
It’s better to get 4 good visitors a day than a thousand visitors who stop in and leave.
How do you make sure your website is working for you?
- Self-select. I put this first because it’s the most important step. The best way to make sure the right visitors get to your website is to ensure that you are getting your website to the right people. No longer do people search for your keywords in a search engine and end up on your website. There is a long, complicated courting process that takes place. Invest in this courtship. Lead your donors to you.
- Become a master of the soundbite. Social media is the logical place to begin this courtship. In today’s world, most website visitors arrive at your website from social media – not search engines. Because this is where the majority of your traffic will come from, it’s worth doing it right. For a small to mid-size environmental nonprofit, choose two or three social media sites that you can devote your time and expertise to. Make sure you’re using them to their greatest potential.
- Be unique. Like I said, there are over 250 environmental nonprofits out there in America alone. A quick search of the term “wildlife organization” comes up with over 100 groups devoted to wildlife alone. So, what makes you different? This message needs to be ruthlessly marketed. Not just on your website, but all over your campaigns. Distinguish the great work you’re doing from everyone else out there.
- Check your ego. You may think your homepage is there to describe your organization. But it’s not. Really. Your homepage is about instantly connecting your message with the deep desires, interests and needs of your donor. Focus your message on what your donor might get from you.
- Use the 5 second rule. Test this on yourself. Spend a day or two without looking at your website. Then, set a timer for 5 seconds and bring up your homepage. Seriously. Only 5 seconds. What did you see? What was the takeaway? Assuming you have interests that align nicely with your environmental nonprofit (please tell me you do, otherwise you need a new job), then something will have caught your eye. The traffic that does arrive at your homepage will be looking for something VERY specific. Could they see it in that 5 seconds?
- Don’t let them leave!!! Offer engagement at the outset. In email marketing, the CTA is either sprinkled throughout the message or at the end. But on a website, you should have multiple options for engagement on every page, with one very clear Call to Action that dominates the message on every page. The very best way to get the most out of the person reading your site is to make sure they don’t leave without taking the action you want them to. Donating would be great, but giving their email or signing a petition is just as good in the long run.
There is a certain amount of upkeep necessary for your website. This masterpiece, once created, will continually have to be tweaked.
But… your website can also give you a very high Return on your Investment. Think of it like passive income. A little TLC and the donations will roll in.