How successful nonprofits approach web content

Google has a grant program that gives qualified nonprofits $10,000 a month in free advertising.

Lorain County, Ohio, nonprofits should focus on effective content.

Nonprofits need effective content to draw more donors and volunteers.

Imagine what your organization could do with that kind of exposure -- recruit more volunteers, bring awareness to your cause, increase donations -- the possibilities are endless.

The program has a number of criteria your organization will need to meet before it will be considered for any grant, and one of them is a website with “substantial content.” Google doesn’t define what substantial content looks like, but by examining some of their success stories, you can get an idea of how much content you need.

Here are three I picked at random.

Compare the sites to each other and you’ll see that each is filled with content. These organizations don’t just share their mission, they share their passion for their mission, which makes the sites very effective.

Even if your organization isn’t interested in the ad grant or you don’t think it will qualify, there is a valuable lesson to be learned from the grantees about how nonprofits should approach content.

Tell your story about your passion for the mission

While it’s important that visitors to your site quickly understand what it is you do, it’s more important that they understand how passionate your organization is about achieving its mission. Too many nonprofit sites boil down to, “We help kids. Please donate.” Telling your story is what will really make a difference. Share individual success stories, provide lots of details about your cause and post pictures of volunteers performing their work. Show people how their money will be used and how it makes an impact.

Look at the links above and study all the different aspects of their organizations they are sharing. New visitors quickly learn what the organization is about, and the volume of content and the options show the nonprofit is organized and has a lot to offer both the people (or animals) it serves and those involved with the charity. It’s an online buzz of energy that immediately makes you want to get involved.

Create an information hub for your nonprofit

The other thing you’ll notice from the sample links is the sheer volume of information not just on the cause, but all things related to the cause. There is a lot of supporting material, links and anything else related to the charity. If it somehow relates to the organization, it’s on there.

Information is available for what they need help with, where you can meet up and who’s doing great things for the organization.

There’s enough information that the site becomes a sort of do-it-yourself kit for remote members looking to help or spread the word. The more information you can provide your potential volunteers and donors, the less time you’ll need to spend answering general queries. It should be a one-stop resource for all things about your cause.

A website with substantial content is a necessity for consideration for Google’s Ad Grants program, but it’s also a necessity if you want to do a good job promoting your charitable organization. By selling your passion for the mission through effective content, you’ll have a better chance for more engagement and increased donations.

Todd Shryock is the director of content at Emerge Inc. If you have questions about how your nonprofit can create more effective content, reach him at tshryock@EmergeInc.com.

Emerge Inc. provides web, mobile, social and content solutions and is based in Avon Lake (Lorain County), Ohio.

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