This is the first in a series of blog posts that investigate the bits and pieces that contribute to a great charity website. We’ll be taking in accessibility, design, navigation, donations and responsiveness - but we kick off with content.
There are over 160,000 charities in the UK alone, all of which are trying to communicate their cause and appeal to donors – so your content is key in reaching these audiences.
When researching a charity, your website is one of the first places potential supporters will look. If done well, your website can bring in new service users, volunteers, support, donors and interest – so it’s imperative you get it right. Here’s some tips on creating great content and some examples of charities that are doing it well.
Your content needs to be useful and interesting. It needs to communicate clearly what your charity does, capture your audience’s attention and give them the belief to take action and make your site the go to place for the information they need.
It is vital that your charity is completely transparent so that people understand where their donations are going, can see the work you are doing and the people you are helping.
Many sites with good content write it in a friendly, welcoming tone and avoid jargon – there’s no point bamboozling your potential supporters with language which might be understood by people who work within the charity sector, but not the general public.
Whether you use humour, hypocrisy, controversy or tug at the heart strings in your content – here’s some examples of charities and websites who are doing it well.
Well known for their work with animals, they engage their readers by keeping the content proactive and up-to-date. One of their strong points is linking into festivals, holidays and special events – their ‘Adopt a black cat’ campaign at Halloween being a great example of this.
And who doesn’t love to watch cute cat and dog videos – there’s thousands of tumblr blogs dedicated to this and Blue Cross have been quick to incorporate it into their site via their YouTube channel encouraging supporters to upload videos of their own pooches and pets – cleverly making the connection between fun, interesting content and a charitable cause.
Again the charity have made the most of getting their supporters involved in their content with their ‘Pap Your Pooch!’ campaign. Creating public involvement is good in helping to make their supporters feel part of the charity – this alongside their up to date, clued up posts makes their content great.
But what if you don’t have a cute Kitten?
It’s true that content can be all the more challenging if you are working for a charity where you deal with a stigmatised community or cause.
THT have a great MyHIV section – it’s no nonsense and cuts to the chase, asking and answering the most pertinent questions facing people affected by HIV. Content around blame, relationships and telling people about HIV is supported by a number of video case studies. Their use of key words in their titles are perfect for SEO and mean good google ranking too.
The learning disability charity Mencap are also leaders in the field of useful and interesting content. Their blogs from people affected by and living with learning disabilities really get to the heart of the matter. Annabel’s blog about her son Freddie who has Downs Syndrome is a case in point, she blogs about everyday things like a typical day at school – a concern for any parent but especially those with children with a learning disability. It’s almost like reading a diary but these blogs are packed full of useful information and reassurance making them dynamite content.
Unicef use multi-media content to keep their supporters attention – video, photos, audio and blogs – and their content is very clear about what the reader can do to help, what work is being done by the charity and where donations are going. The Unicef photo gallery of children caught in conflict is particularly powerful, especially in demonstrating the charities cause and why they need your donations.
Get in touch with your favourite charity websites and if you need any help around your content drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org