Many nonprofits have already discovered the benefits of creating a separate website for fundraising events. For example, they’ve learned that having a standalone website lets them create unique branding for events and makes it easier for visitors to find information rather than having them click through the organization’s main website.
An event site also gives you an opportunity to strengthen your donor relationships by making attendees feel connected to the event, both before and after the actual event through regular updates.
Standalone Event Site acts as a Landing Page
A standalone event website also serves as a valuable ‘landing page.’ Landing pages are the website pages where visitors ‘land’ after clicking an online ad, or on a search engine result. The more landing pages you have, the more opportunity you have to be found, and the more opportunity you have to convert visitors into donors.
Furthermore, once visitors land on your event site, you can then encourage them to fill out specific web forms, which in turn can be updated to your Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) system – in real-time! No more time-consuming, multiple-steps for you!
If you’re already on board with the idea of a separate event website or if you’re new to the idea, there are some key tips to ensuring your site is effective and enhances their experience with your organization.
Make Your Site Visitor-Friendly
To be effective, your event website design has to be easy to navigate. Now, this seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people get it wrong. The average visitor will spend less than three minutes on any particular website. That means you have to grab them, entice them and get them to act before they leave your site.
Here are five tips for creating an easy-to-use website that will appeal to your visitors:
- Get to the Point: Respect your visitors’ time and give them the information they want quickly and efficiently. For starters, that means not having a ‘Splash’ page with an ‘Enter’ button. Let them see what they came for right away by offering clearly labeled links. And keep text length to a minimum. They came for information, not a novel.
- Choose Color and Font Size Wisely: The event website is an extension of your organization’s image. The site should represent your brand and should be tasteful. No need to start experimenting with a new color palette. As for font size, don’t punish your visitors with less than stellar vision. Aim for 11 or 12 point.
- Use Spell Check: Some people don’t care about typos or poor grammar. Those that do will let you know! What’s more, they’ll get hung up on the mistakes and forget about why they visited your site in the first place.
- Include Photos: Professional-quality photos definitely enhance your site, but be sure to use images that won’t slow down your visitors’ experience. They won’t wait for them to load – guaranteed!
- Make Your Contact Info Accessible: This seems obvious, but again, people get it wrong. Offer visitors a clearly marked “Contact” button that takes them to all your contact information, including mailing address, phone and fax numbers, and relevant email addresses.
Update the Event Site
Once you’ve created an easy-to-use event website, don’t forget to update it regularly to keep your donors engaged in your cause.
Prior to the event, create a buzz by posting little teasers such as celebrity guest announcements or prize lists.
After the event, include a wrap-up of the event, complete with highlights, photos, and a summary of the funds raised.
Designed effectively, and updated regularly, an event website can be a strategic addition to any nonprofit fundraising effort.
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