Lunchtime Links: Trying to Do Too Much With Your Website?

When your website design is a hindrance to your members. Plus: why raising your overhead costs is a better idea than you probably think.

Scrap all the bells and whistles; simple websites make for satisfied members. How to make your association’s website user-friendly, and more, in today’s Lunchtime Links:

User focus: If your association is considering redesigning its web presence, it may be tempted to go for the site with the fancy video and multimedia applications and functions. That’s well and good—so long as you keep your users in mind first, writes Sitefox CEO Samir Balwani for Association Media & Publishing’s blog blurb. Balwani offers up five reasons why your members hate your website. His top offenders include unnecessary add-ons, such as auto-play music, or what he calls, “[T]he equivalent of forcing every visitor to take part in an impromptu flash mob.” Also, unnecessarily artistic fonts. Scrap the cursive and replace it with clean text, dark on light or vice versa. It’s OK to be creative, but keep things simple. Your members will thank you. What changes have you made to your association’s website, and how have your members responded?

Prove it: Your marketing team swears up and down that your social media campaigns are working to engage your members while saving your organization time and money in the process. But can they prove it—with, you know, data? Writing for CMSWire, business reporter Dom Nicastro offers three ways digital marketers can better demonstrate social media ROI. Analytics, such as Facebook’s free Page Insights feature, can help demonstrate when fans engage with your content. But, as Nicastro points out, it’s not all about the numbers. When using analytic programs, don’t forget to weigh in and target demographics, he says. Where have you seen your demographics grow—or shrink? “If you’re targeting the wrong people, and your messaging doesn’t reach the people you’re targeting, you’re wasting your money,” Nicastro writes. How do you measure the impact of your organization’s social media programs?

Don’t be afraid to spend: Some 62 percent of Americans think nonprofits spend too much money on overhead, according to research. Writing for Quartz, VolunteerMatch President Greg Baldwin says the majority isn’t always right. Rather than pinch every penny, Baldwin suggests these organzations evaluate programs and backend systems and make planned, well-thought-out investments that will help them achieve their front-end mission. “[P]art of the myth of the nonprofit world is that somehow righteousness will ultimately triumph over limited planning, crappy systems and a general scarcity of resources. But that is not the way the world works,” he writes. Skimping on costs and limiting your overhead will only make for a shaky foundation. “Even a three-year-old knows that if you cut corners and build your house out of straw… you’ll be sorry,” he adds. “The same is true here for nonprofits: spend the money, build a solid infrastructure, go with the bricks.”

Where should your organization be spending more money? Tell us in the comments below.


Emma Beck

By Emma Beck

Emma Beck is a contributor to Associations Now. MORE

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