For most non-profits, the crucial question is no longer whether to build a web site. Today's challenge is how to effectively align their web sites with the organization's mission and communications strategies.

It's important to remember that a website is an additional tool for the promotion and communication of your organization and its mission. A website should convey a look and feel that is appropriate for the organization and for the content the site contains. Today's database technology allows sites to be proactive, to reach out to their audience and to ensure that visitors return again because the information is always timely and relevant to their work. It's vital to keep in mind that you are establishing a long-term relationship with an important business partner when selecting your website developer. You want to establish a relationship with a firm and clear understanding of what you do. Make clear your communication needs and the unique context in which you work as a non-profit.

A growing number of organizations are taking hard looks at their current web sites to determine how to best use them to build online communities, gain supporters, educate the public and sharpen their fund-raising efforts.

In an article from Fund Raising Management, Miles Fawcett, Founder and President of Interactive Applications Group said, "The Web is no longer just for those on the cutting edge. It is rapidly becoming the norm for communications. In today's fast paced culture, the last thing we need is difficulty reaching people or locating information. Non-profit professionals require accurate and timely information, with the ability to establish and maintain an on-going dialogue with their colleagues."

Fawcett elaborated, "If you currently have a web site, you need to evaluate it for its effectiveness. Above all else, web sites need to be user-friendly, functional, simple to navigate and easy to maintain."

This article was taken from Fund Raising Management, June 1999

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