48in48 is a nonprofit with a unique mission to connect 48 nonprofits in a chosen area with skilled marketing and technology professionals to give them new, professional websites and a fresh marketing strategy—all in just 48 hours. We asked co-founder Adam Walker what motivates them and how they tackle the unique challenges of nonprofit websites.
What makes a great nonprofit website?
A great nonprofit website has to start with a story. If the nonprofit can’t tell their story within one or two sentences at the top of the website’s homepage, that’s a problem. The second thing every nonprofit website needs is a call to action. It’s great that people are on your website, but what do you want them to do once they get there? Every website user must be directed through the site to find what they are needing. A good call to action will help them to do that. And third, every nonprofit website must have the ability to donate. That is the first place many people go when seeking to donate. If the donation process is too long, or complex in any way, the nonprofit will lose out on that revenue, and that person will likely never return.
What are the key challenges nonprofits face in developing websites?
There are several challenges nonprofits need to overcome to build a website. The first is that they need to own and have control of their domain name. Often a nonprofit will have a domain name registered by a volunteer and have no idea that they don’t even own it and have no control over it.
The next challenge is content. Writing content is tough, and there is often a mental barrier to getting started. The secret to writing great content is first to block out the time to write (uninterrupted) and second to think about who you are writing for and what they want to know. Once a nonprofit can do that, they will be able to at least get a draft of their website content complete and then get other people to help refine and improve it.
The last challenge is technical expertise. Many nonprofits have a website, but have no idea how to keep it up to date.
How does your initiative solve these problems?
We have courses that help nonprofits through identifying where their domain name is registered, walking them through content writing with some coaching, and training them on how to use their new website. We want to enable nonprofits to have full control over their websites so that they can leverage them for faster growth.
What kind of nonprofits are you looking for?
We look for nonprofits with the following criteria:
- Under a $3M dollar budget
- Has 1 or more staff
- Is generally nonreligious and nonpolitical
- Is not on an extreme fringe of a societal issue
What motivates your organization to support nonprofits in this way?
Nonprofits spend all of their time doing good, not looking good. But, with some good marketing, we can help nonprofits look good, and that will help to grow and further their cause in many ways. A new website helps a nonprofit with donor and volunteer engagement. It often also helps them to better serve their community through a heightened awareness of what they are doing.