Being a small charity in today’s economic climate is no mean feat – securing funding is one of the main hurdles that many not-for-profit and charitable organisations have to cope with, along with a drop in donations from the public in the wake of the recession.
A lack of funds doesn’t however have to mean a lack of promotional activity. A number of charities have chosen to build a free website with Moonfruit, for example. Coupled with social media, this is a fantastic way to promote your charity online.
With big charity events taking place last month, such as Comic Relief in the UK, we thought it would be a good idea to get to know our charity and not-for-profit websites, so we made them our Group of the Month for March.
We spoke to three charity and not-for-profit Moonfruit sites that stood out to us. Find out about them below, along with their top tips for other charities.
What they do: Work to improve the educational opportunities for orphaned, neglected and abandoned children.
Where they’re based: Tegucigalpa, Honduras
We like: The way their website is organised – the layout is clean and easy to navigate, providing lots of information on what they do without overwhelming visitors with too much text. Their call-to-actions such as the Donate now and Sponsor a child buttons are gentle nudges to send visitors in the right direction and are visible on every page. Their content is really engaging too – the list of past projects tells visitors about the work they’ve been doing, brought to life with lots of images.
How they promote their site: ‘Most of our promotion is through word of mouth, but we also use Constant Contact (an online marketing company) to keep in touch with our donors. This makes our communications more professional and it also drives people to our site. Through this service, they (the donors) also have the option to forward the communications to other people they feel might be interested – that definitely helps too.’
Plans in the pipeline? ‘We plan to update the website soon – improving the picture galleries using the new Lightbox Gallery feature. We still have some pictures in the old format and the new scrolling option is a definite benefit.’
Their top tips for other charities: ‘Keep the big picture in mind when building a site. Don’t get bogged down with the details first off – start simple and add more details as your site develops. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for feedback from family and friends. Constructive criticism is useful and honesty is what you need – remember, the whole world will have access to your site as soon as it goes live!’
The Charis Project
What they do: Support at-risk orphans by providing a home, education and a self-sustaining model with the aim of encouraging and enabling the children to become entrepreneurs in the future.
Where they’re based: Thailand
We like: The video that outlines what the charity does, using hand-drawn sketches to show their detailed plan of action. Coupled with the moving soundtrack, it’s a very watchable piece! We also like their use of the shop feature to sell handmade gifts and their branded merchandise – it’s a cost-effective way to spread the word about the charity and also raise some extra funds.
How they promote their site: ’We spread the word about our site largely through Facebook and other social media. Our earliest supporters grew out of a blog audience. Many of those readers were bloggers as well and to this day help direct traffic our way through putting buttons linking to our website on their own sites. It’s really a community supported effort.’
Plans in the pipeline? ’To finally see a world fit for human habitation where the throwaway children of this current generation are equipped to be the leaders that transform their communities, and the world. We intend to take The Charis Project’s model for self-sustaining orphan care and community development global, and watch as the kids we care for today, change the world for the better tomorrow.’
Their top tips for other charities: ’Have a vision big enough to draw people in, and concrete enough in application to demonstrate its practicality in dealing with actual situations. Tell the story of what you’re doing with everything you put on your website: words, pictures, images, don’t waste any of it. Make it all compelling.’
Africa on the Ball
What they do: Recruit and sponsor teams of young African girls and boys to join their recreational football teams. The thought behind this is that team sports help to educate and teach life skills to young people – giving them a focus in life.
Where they’re based: Zambia, Africa
We like: Their logo instantly gives visitors a flavour of what they’re about and provides the basis for the colour scheme throughout the rest of the site. The fact that they have a Twitter feed on their hompage means the site is updated daily with news and pictures of their latest work. The ’Get involved’ section is a great way to attract new helpers.
How they promote their site: ‘We’re heavy users of social media for driving traffic back to our website. By developing large support bases on Twitter and Facebook we’ve been able to notify a large audience of any news and updates on the organisation very easily – posting a link back to the site where they can learn more about our work.’
Their top tips for other charities: ’There are some excellent tools on Moonfruit that can make your lives really easy. For us, the introduction of the shopping tools made selling merchandise infinitely easier and the set-up is so simple. You can be really creative with how you use it and the fact that it’s linked with PayPal has definitely helped us bring in more money for our cause.’
What do you think of our featured charities? Did you find their tips and advice helpful? If you have a charity website that you want to share with us, tell us about it in the comment box below.
Have you been inspired to build your own website with Moonfruit? Go to our homepage to find out how.
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