In Part 1 of the series, we answered questions on who, what and why of having a website. In Part 2 of the series, we will be discussing on a much bigger question, HOW!

We know the who is our target audience, what is the cause and why is the mission. Now, the how is the solution to making these questions come to life with the help of digital tools!

Choosing a framework or CMS has become relatively hard these days considering the wide number of options that are out there. Sometimes, its easy to just pick one up and play around with it. Other times, its like a fight.

As a non-profit, we just want to get the website out there as quickly as possible. I totally understand that. But that right there, is a huge problem!

STOP!

Time, money and resources are very important. Time well spent on getting things done correctly the first time will lead to less pressure on money and resources.

As a UX Designer and Consultant to non-profits, I always recommend looking at the problem from ground-up. It’s never a good idea to go with a tool that you’ve heard of or told about, without looking at the smaller picture first. Maybe that’s not the right choice for your kind of website? Maybe that would need more investment of time, money and effort than you expected? But we’ll talk about that later in a separate post. Let’s get the answer to these questions first:

  1. What is your content strategy?
  2. What are the features your website provides?
  3. What is your timeline?
  4. Is it a redesign or a new website?
  5. If it’s a redesign, what is the reason behind it?

Time well spent on getting things done correctly the first time will lead to less pressure on money and resources.

WE ARE DOING IT ALL WRONG!

Let’s answer the questions one by one.

What is your content strategy?

Most of the times I’ve seen and have experienced this myself, that we jump straight into building a website without having a proper plan for the website. You hire a team of designer and developer but then, they end up waiting to be given the content, which leads to waste of money and resources and of course, the time lost. Content is utterly important for any organization. The content is the story which will bring traction to your cause, and who would know better than you.

If it’s a redesign, most of the content is already there, but I would highly recommend at that point to have a content audit and then move forward.

What are the features your website provides?

By features, I mean forms and functionalities of the website. As a non-profit, the main purpose is to provide:

  • Donation Form
  • Volunteer Form
  • Join the Team Form
  • Contact Us Form
  • Share on Social Media
  • Blog

If you know this well ahead in time, choosing a framework will get that much easier.

What is your timeline?

Usually, as a non-profit organization, we tend to take the easy route by not having a set date for the launch of the project, even if it is a small one, which leads to frustrations and a lot of useful time of marketing lost. Even if you hire a designer/developer on pro-bono basis, make sure you have a timeline.

Is it a redesign or a new website?

Simple question to answer and I don’t believe I need to write anything on this. If it’s a new website, all of the above questions pertain to this question, but if it’s a redesign, let’s move forward and answer the following question.

If it’s a redesign, what is the reason behind it?

If you’ve thought of getting a redesign, there has to be a reason behind it. Is it because,

  • your website design looks dated?
  • missing functionalities or features?
  • tough to maintain and update on your own?

These are very valid concerns and reasons to go for a redesign. But sometimes, there are cases when a redesign has caused issues leading to less conversion rates. It’s best to work in iterations in this case and slowly bring out the changes to your target audience without losing the original feel.

The bigger question is when its all of the above! In those cases, its best to look at it from these reasons point of view and come up with a solution.

WHAT DID YOU GAIN?

By answering the above questions, you’ve gained a clear picture of what is that you need to do and how. By having these answers ready, you can start doing research, compare all the solutions out there, and hire the right person for the right job without wasting time, money and resources.

In part 3 of the series, we’ll discuss what to look for in a CMS, how to compare and a few option currently out there from a non-profit perspective!

NOTE: Please don’t forget to share, like and comment on the post to let me know your thoughts! If you are looking for design consultation, click here to contact me.

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