Is your nonprofit organization’s website content consistent with your brand messages?
If your nonprofit has a brand messaging platform, your website content should reflect it. But rolling out your brand can be a long-term process, and a proper web content overhaul will take some time. For now, there are a few pages or sections into which you can quickly infuse your brand messaging.
Mapping your nonprofit’s key messages onto existing website content
I’ve previously written about constructing your key messages on a framework of IDENTITY, WHY, HOW and IMPACT. Using this framework, you can easily map your brand narrative onto web pages and sections that are standard on many nonprofit websites. I’m offering starting points, but you’ll need to refer to your organization’s messaging platform to incorporate relevant details and supporting messages.
Your full suite of key messages (your entire brand narrative)
I’ll get into individual key messages below, but first, think about weaving your overarching brand narrative throughout your About section. Start with your About Us page.
- About Us page: Ensure your “About [the organization]” page encapsulates your entire brand narrative or, in other words, your full suite of key messages. For help with this, see my seven-step formula for writing nonprofit About pages, which shows you how to incorporate your key messages and a couple of additional content items.
Convey your brand identity in your About section.
- History page: Some nonprofit organizations have a brand identity firmly rooted in their founder’s story or other interesting origins. If this is the case for your organization, ensure your history page includes more than a timeline and conveys any IDENTITY key messages about your origins.
- Team pages: You probably have pages such as “Team,” “Staff,” “Board of Directors,” and “Volunteers” — or other pages that describe your people. If your nonprofit’s brand IDENTITY includes messages about your employee, volunteer or leadership teams, move beyond photos and bios to convey those messages. For example, if your staff’s expertise or your board members’ lived experiences are critical elements of your brand IDENTITY, refer to those strengths in the page introductions.
Ensure your website features content that explains WHY your issue or cause matters. Display your organization’s subject matter expertise and help visitors understand the need or context behind your work — all while improving your SEO (search engine optimization).
- Issue (or Cause) page: Does your organization seek to be the primary source of information about your cause or issue – or, at a minimum, a source of valuable critique and commentary? Then your website should have at least one page that introduces and summarizes the topic. Use the WHY key message from your brand narrative to shape the content for this page.
Make it easy for visitors to understand your nonprofit’s approach to addressing your WHY (your cause or issue).
- Our Approach page: You might call it How We Work, What We Offer or something else. Update this page by drawing from your HOW key messages to relay relevant points about your nonprofit’s model and approach and describe the connection to your WHY.
- Pages for activity areas: Depending on your nonprofit’s model, you might have additional pages or sections for each branch of your offerings, such as Programs, Services, Advocacy, Research, or Granting. Pull from your HOW key messages to explain why you deliver these offerings, including the evidence, lessons, and insights that inform your work.
- Pages for individual programs or offerings: Your website might have pages for individual programs and offerings. For example, you might have separate Training, Support Groups, and One-to-One Mentoring pages in your Programs section. If so, articulate each offering’s connection to your HOW key messages.
Note: I’ve highlighted a few opportunities to quickly reflect your brand in your website content in existing spaces and places. However, none of my tips should be interpreted as recommendations for your website navigation or structure. When planning your website, you should always start with a content strategy. Also, see Wired Impact’s Common Website Structures for Nonprofits to help structure your website according to your nonprofit’s model.
If you have followed my key message structure, you have at least one message about your nonprofit organization’s impact. Ensure there is a space on your website to deliver that message.
- Impact page: On your Impact page (usually within your About section), draw from your IMPACT messages to explain the difference your organization is making – or is seeking to make. Feature the most compelling information you have available to illustrate your impact, from qualitative and quantitative data to testimonials and videos to annual reports.
After the quick fixes, create a strategy for your website content overhaul.
I’ve listed a few crucial pages you should update to convey your brand. However, as I mentioned in my previous post about using your nonprofit’s key messages, visitors should be able to pick up the various elements of your narrative as they navigate your website. Every content element you create and publish should be infused with your key messages, positioning, and personality.
If you’re ready to revamp your website content completely, start with a content strategy informed by your brand messaging. However, that process takes time and may lead to more significant changes and decisions about your site’s structure, navigation and content gaps (which could take even more time). For now, or while you start the more extensive process, update the pages I’ve listed here for instant brand alignment in prominent places.