10 May How to ensure your website is funder-friendly
In the UK, if you own a car that is more than three years old it has to pass what’s known as an annual MOT (Ministry of Transport), a test to check for road worthiness. MOT has passed into common parlance to refer to general audits or health checks. On examining you, a doctor might tell you whether or not you’ve passed your MOT.
When a prospective client gets in touch with me to seek assistance with their grants, I do an informal MOT of their organisation’s website so I can get a feel for how they are communicating their story and impact. If it’s difficult for me to find key information or if I fail to find that information, then the same will apply for any funder doing their due diligence. Here are some ways to make sure your website passes its MOT:
Keep news, content and events current
Sometimes I look at an organisation’s website and see past events still being advertised and a lack of recent news and blog post updates. If it’s June and your last news update was the previous December, it doesn’t inspire confidence! Aim to keep your website and social media channels up to date, fresh and dynamic and ensure your messaging is consistent across the different platforms.
Who are you?
Funders are likely to read up on who makes up your executive team and board so be sure to include bios and headshots of key staff and board members. This helps to establish your credentials and is part of relationship building and making meaningful connections that translate to better outcomes for the community.
Purpose, proposition, policies and positioning
Is it easy to find statements around your mission, vision and purpose? Can a funder get a feel for your organisation and what your unique proposition is? Can they easily find information about your governance and structure, your policies and values? If not, there’s some homework for you right there! And if you are an ACNC registered charity, is the ACNC logo visible on your website?
Evidence of impact
Do you demonstrate evidence of your effectiveness on your website? Are you collecting appropriate data and evaluating your impact? Evidence of impact might include numbers of people helped, services or events delivered and how these interventions have improved and changed lives. Testimonials and case studies with direct quotes and personal stories are powerful ways to engage donors and funders, and illustrate anecdotal evidence of impact. No copywriter can capture a story as well as a person who has benefitted from one of your programs.
How are you telling your story?
How did your organisation come into being – what’s your set-up story and history? How long have you been running? Does the character of your organisation shine through? Have you got a compelling narrative? One way to engage hearts as well as minds is to give clients and beneficiaries a voice to talk about their experience in video clips.
I am always surprised when I can’t find an organisation’s annual report! Sometimes it’s buried, and sometimes it’s not on the website at all even though it’s one of the go-to documents any donor or funder will want to peruse. Make sure your latest annual report and financial statements – as well as those from preceding years where available – are in an easy-to-spot place on your website and can be downloaded. If the most recent annual report is, say, FY 2018, then that could be a red flag for a funder. And does your annual report link to your strategic goals?
Do you list current significant donors, supporters and partners across the philanthropic, government and corporate sectors? Funders like to see that you have a diversified funding base, and that you have been successful in attracting and acquitting other funding; they like to be in good (and safe) company.
Information gaps on your website translate to unanswered questions. So aim to make it easy as possible for funders and donors to navigate your website, and access the information they need.
If you’d like to chat about your grant-seeking strategy or require writing support or grants coaching, please get in contact with me on: 0431 865248 or email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.