If you're still putting out annual reports the old fashioned way—pulling stacks of statistics, rounding up designers, blowing your budget on print copies, etc.—this post might be an eye-opener for you. Not only are annual report websites generally less expensive, they're also easy to fill with impactful media, easy to deliver, and easy to track. Plus, they're much more conscientious of the planet.
Letting your web team produce a professional site for this year's accomplishments could be a great step into the future for your non-profit—but don't take our word for it. Check out these reports from businesses and organizations who've already adopted the process to impressive results:
gridalternatives.org/annual-report-15 GRID Alternatives' adopted an online annual report format a few years ago and now simply updates the stats, graphics and stories each year with new information...saving time and money. Their annual report is styled in a familiar, almost print-like layout.
echoinggreen.org/2014 Echoing Green's 2014 report used floating side navigation to make it easy for visitors to jump to the information they were most interested in.
shopify.com/2013 Shopify's 2013 report summarized their news with an interactive timeline.
mailchimp.com/2012/ MailChimp's 2012 report featured an interactive element that allowed visitors to browse user statistics by demographic.
lemonly.com/2016report Lemonly encouraged visitors to interact with their 2016 report, using a circular beam of "light" to reveal facts.
2016.flama.is/ Flama laid out their 2016 report as a click-through slideshow.
one.org/annualreport/ One's bold use of color and typography combined with compelling photography and language really makes their annual report shine.
Styles may vary, but all successful annual report websites have two things in common: professional presentation and convenience. Sounds like a win, win! Need help with your next Annual Report? Drop us a line!
It's been more than a year since Drupal 6 was abandoned by the open source Drupal community, leaving major security vulnerabilities in its wake. If it hasn't already cost your organization, it will—and in more ways than one.
What Drupal 6 End of Life (EOL) Means
Drupal 6 is open source software, which means it was developed and maintained by a community of developers. Unfortunately, as of February 24th, 2016, that maintenance has come to an end. The software is no longer updated.
Why Drupal 6 Websites Are Vulnerable to Hackers
You and your team have worked hard to build relationships with your supporters. Earning their trust took time—but it will only take a second to lose it.
Due to security vulnerabilities, user information can easily get stolen. Whether it's through form submission or user accounts, your supporters' privacy is at constant risk. In fact, we would venture to say if your Drupal 6 website haven't already been hacked, it's only a matter of time.
Why Drupal 6 Support Is Expensive
If it were just announced that 99% of mechanics would no longer service the type of vehicle you own, what would it mean for you? Your choices would be severely limited, and they would have the freedom to raise their rates exponentially—same thing with Drupal 6.
Open source software is tested by a ton of users, and the best solutions come from group thinking. Once you eliminate that option, you're left with little choice, great expense, and solutions less rigorously tested.
Why Drupal 6 Websites Are Slower
New server operating systems are being developed all the time, but Drupal 6 can’t take advantage of those technologies. Its outdated code won’t “talk” with the new server technology, leaving its users stuck in the past. Let's not forget:
Statistics show you have fewer than 2 seconds to load your site before most users leave. Think of those missed opportunities!
Search rank with Google and Bing are now directly tied to website speed. If your website is slow, you’ll be pushed off of page 1 and attain far less traffic.
How Drupal 6 Harms Your Progress
If you and your staff are constantly forced to deal with website problems by scrambling to find a developer (assuming they will return your call during an emergency), it negatively affects your long-term goals.
With all of your energy addressing emergencies, who has time to create new ideas and strategies that forward your cause?
We know you have enough on your to-do list. Do you need to start your day dealing with an emergency website crash?
Why Now is the Time to Migrate to Drupal 7
You have a choice. Continue running around with your hair on fire, or invest in your digital marketing program.
The process can be involved, but is manageable when you break it into simple steps. That’s why our team has created a four-step process that makes it easy.
The process addresses:
the amount of content and the content structure
the functionality and how pages are built
the design of your website
the Drupal modules
In the end, it’s a choice between your website being a liability or an asset for your organization. As we all know, websites have become a critical part of our brand identities and programmatic goals.
If a short-term investment can save you long-term costs and present more opportunities in the long run, why not go for it?
We're back with our 2017 favorite examples (in alphabetical order) of what a great non-profit website looks like and what makes it stand out. Our hope is that by emulating these exemplary non-profits, you'll soon be able to provide an even greater user experience for your own site visitors—generating all the support you need!
acumen.org: Acumen’s color palette is energetic and modern. Their use of angled boxes gives a flare of visual interest, further making them seem like a forward-thinking, innovative and compelling organization. Acumen also does of a good job of showing both the qualitative and quantitative nature of their impact through engaging story-telling and simple, yet bold infographics. Their incredibly strong and authentic photography is the final piece that really sets this website apart.
amnesty.org: Amnesty International's website combines news site-like feel with clear nonprofit impact. Their home page uses large, compelling photography with an action-oriented visual language. Their newsfeed allows visitors to filter by topic, region/country, and resource type. Combined with directive and clear iconography, this website takes bold and engaging to a new level.
care.org: Care’s website does a great job of showing visitors the various ways they can take action, get involved and share content. Their site illustrates a campaign focused, impactful layout through the use of engaging infographics with clear calls to action. Care’s bold use of iconography and mapping, takes their visual language to the next level.
charitywater.org: Charity Water's website is well-organized and illustrates ‘hope’ in its truest form. Clear water, happy faces and bright photography are used in perfect balance with simple iconography, impact numbers and well composed calls to action. Lastly, their color palette and typography are both welcoming and approachable and once navigated to, their donate page is simple and unintimidating, making it easy for visitors to support their work.
farmland.org: The American Farmland Trust uses a vibrant, earth-tone focused color palette that feels warm, engaging and modern. They display information in some unique ways such as their navigation dropdown taking the form of a full-page color overlay, their challenge statement is displayed through interactive statements paired with colorful infographics and impact numbers paired with compelling photography. Their internal pages display layers of information on a single page through clear hierarchies and language.
feedingamerica.org: Feeding America's use of bold colors, large photography and unobtrusive text overlays is simple, direct and to-the-point. Their content strategy is excellent—they know their audience(s)— headlines like, “No one can thrive on an empty stomach,” are extremely compelling and give site visitors an engaging introduction to the importance of their work.
gatesfoundation.org: The Gates Foundation website stands out with an extremely clear and well organized site navigation. Though they utilize a more minimalist approach with a mobile-focused, pop-out menu, site visitors are able to quickly and easily expand sub-menus to see the full depth and breadth of this organization. Their typography is also an excellent example of classic and modern, serif and sans-serif well combined for a sophisticated legibility.
girleffect.org: Girl Effect's about page guides you through a carefully crafted narrative. They clearly and directly explain why they exist, what the issue is that they solve and the impact statistics that support their work. Girl Effect’s writing is engaging and easily digestible, inspiring site visitors with their energy, optimism and ambition.
globalfundforwomen.org: Global Fund for Women combines striking visuals with bold color and modern typography, creating an engaging and sophisticated home page. Their ‘grant-making’ ‘voice’ and ‘join’ triad illustrates an ideal content strategy and information architecture—guiding site visitors from understanding their work to a clear call to action. Internally, in addition to traditional monetary gifts, the Global Fund for Women's donate page encourages support in a variety of forms, i.e. cause marketing, corporate matching, etc.
KIPP.org: KIPP’s website utilizes a vertically oriented, color block layout that offers succinct information about their work. Small animations are included to give a sense of light-hearted professionalism. Color overlays, tabbed interfaces and a variety of sliders are used to conserve space while allowing site visitors to smoothly peruse content more deeply.
namesforchange.org: Names for Change has a visually appealing, masonry layout with a unique and compelling interactivity—it truly makes you want to ‘play.’ Their color palette is vibrant, warm and accessible with clear contrast. The site’s simple language and modern typography gives a sense of innovative social change. Furthermore, Names for Change’s use of page overlays rather than click away pages allows users to quickly and effectively absorb information before returning to the main landing page.
nature.org: The Nature Conservancy’s home page is an excellent example of large, beautiful photography, sophisticated typography and a modern layout that is approachable, engaging and has an excellent page hierarchy. Their minimalist use of iconography, combined with a back and forth grid format, ads visual interest without over-crowding the white space. Finally, The Nature Conservancy hosts a carbon footprint calculator as a content offering to drive traffic that may not be as familiar with their work or website.
onedrop.org: One Drop’s website has a sophisticated modernity illustrated through its blue-centric yet warm color palette, action-oriented typography and compelling photography. The site makes good but sparing use of animations, clean and directive information architecture and bold infographics to help site visitors move smoothly throughout the site and engage more deeply.
oxfamamerica.org: Oxfam Foundation’s visual language has a youthful vibrancy all its own. Taking a different approach than similar organizations, their color palette is bright and endearing, using a chunky paper cut-out motif for iconography and typography.
pawschicago.org: Paws Chicago’s home page illustrates well-crafted, meaningful information sharing. Their header bolsters their impact numbers by tying them to navigation right off the bat. Rather than using a slideshow, they have a nice News & Features carousel that highlights import information directly below the first ‘fold’—giving it weight and allowing site visits to jump into what’s new. Continuing down the page, site visitors are given a clear understanding of Paws Chicago’s work is important, what they do and ample opportunities to engage, learn more and donate.
possiblehealth.org: The Possible Healthcare website is a very simple brochure. It does a very good job of staying extremely lean and making good use of 3rd party softwares rather than trying to have the website do its own heavy lifting (Classy for donations, BambooHR for job postings, and clever use of Medium for blog posts and the spreading of their work on a more international platform). A newsletter popup with a compelling photo and tagline captures visitors' attention on Possible Healthcare's site
wcs.org: The Wildlife Conservation Society’s home page is full of bright images of animals, yet still finds a way to give your eyes space to rest along the way. Their left-hand menu is stationary throughout and though it takes up slightly more real estate than a top, horizontal menu, its ‘stillness’ and color palette are welcoming and calm in contrast to the activity of the page content. Internal pages again have bold photography and modern typography with the navigation tucked away into a mobile menu.
By focusing on certain website elements (i.e. navigation, layout, forms, opt-ins, calls-to-action, content offerings, etc.), nonprofits like these have been able to generate swells of interest and support online. If you haven't already, you might consider giving some of their techniques a try!
Nonprofits ask us all the time: “how can I raise more money through our website?” Although there are many moving pieces to the answer, there are several donation page best practices that will help raise more money online.
Our team has compiled a list of features from the best nonprofit donation pages on the web so that you can create a donation page template for your organization that rocks!
Use Compelling Imagery on Your Donation Page
To put it simply, do not make the donor read your page. Compel them to support your mission with imagery.
Preferably use a human that is looking directly at the camera. Studies show that website users are immediately connected to humans. So, an image of humans will draw the donor in and reinforce why they are donating in the first place.
Your Donation Page Title
The headline on the page should be short and catch your attention.
The purpose is to get the donor to read the initial content on the page and start a flow of working their eyes down the page.
First Two Sentences
The first two sentences of the page are critical to orienting the donor and reinforcing the donation process.
The copy focus on:
Reinforcing the donor’s initial intentions to donate. Remind them what they are doing
Reminding the donor of the impact their donation will make
Reminding the donor of the larger problem that they are solving by supporting your organization
Donor Quotes and Testimonials
Quotes and testimonials support the credibility of your mission and organization. They can also speak to the impact that your work has had on their lives.
Quotes are best if they come from an individual that is impacted by your work, or a well-known or well-respected person (maybe a celebrity) that supports your work.
Donation Page Security and Privacy
Remind the donor that you respect their privacy and personal data. More than ever donors are aware that their personal and financial data is vulnerable online, so make sure they know they can trust your organization.
It’s critical that your donation page is served over https.
You can also reinforce this by ensuring donors that your organization does not sell personal data to any 3rd parties.
Include a Form on a Branded Donation Pages
Include your donation form on a branded donation page. Do not send donors to a third party page that has different layout and design from your website.
Donation pages that have the same branding as your website generate 6x more donations than those that don’t.
When donors go to a page that looks completely different from your site it is jarring, and often creates issues with trust. Both of these issues will lead to increased drop off rate.
Provide Recurring Donation Options
Always give the donor an option to make their gift recurring on the donation form. Recurring gifts help provide your organization a steady flow of revenue.
Also, research shows that donors that give recurring gifts versus one-time gifts usually end up giving more over the course of the year.
If a donor considers a donation to your organization as part of their monthly budget, it is a clear sign they are advocates for your cause. They can be your most valuable donors.
Establish Trust on the Donation Page
Reinforce that your organization is responsible with your donor funds.
Use banners or badges from watch dog organizations like Charity Navigator, GuideStar or the Better Business Bureau to prove to your donors that their funds are going to good use.
Mobile Responsive Donation Pages
According to research, mobile donations made up almost 18% of all online donations in 2016. More importantly, this number is growing rapidly each year as consumers become more comfortable making purchases on their mobile devices. Allowing users to donate on their mobile devices is critical.
Remove Navigation From the Page
Navigation will distract users (Squirrel!). Remove your main navigation from your landing page so that prospective donors don’t leave.
One Step Further...
Your donation page is one very important part to raising money online. But, there are additional pieces as well. Download our guide to building a whole website that will help you raise more money online.
We don’t talk much about food and drink on Rootid’s blog, but when you’re getting ready for a 3 day trip to New Orleans for the NTEN conference, you have to plan accordingly.
If you’ve been to New Orleans, you know that the Crescent City has some of the best music, cuisine and bars in the world. If you haven’t been there before, and you’re planning a trip, then you’re in for a treat!
I’ve been fortunate enough to visit on several occasions for conferences, and have put together this list of amazing local eats, cafes and bars.
If you’re going for a conference, then you’re likely going to be located near the conference center. This list is curated to ensure that you can easily access these spots within a 20-30 minute walk depending on where you are staying.
A Map of Our Favorites
You can’t leave New Orleans without heading over to Cochon Butcher. Butcher, as it’s commonly referred to, is connected to the world renowned Cochon restaurant, run by James Beard award-winning chefs Donald Link and Stephen Stryjewski.
The menu is a take on an old world butcher with a cajun flair. Items range from a the muffaletta (my favorite) to the hot boudin. All the meats are smoked or cured in-house. They also have a great selection of beer and wine. I also love their homemade pickles!
Butcher is a perfect place for a quick conference escape since it’s is within a short walk of the convention center.
If there’s no other place you make it to, go here.
Willie Mae's Scotch House
Nothing says soul food like fried chicken. Wilie Mae’s Scotch House holds the Food Network and Travel channels title belt for the best fried chicken, so don’t miss out on this one.
This New Orleans gem is run by 3rd generation Seaton family members, and they still use the original recipes. If you don’t want fried chicken, there are a wide variety of other soul food classics to choose from.
Just make sure you get here early. A line starts to form before the restaurant opens, so if you don’t plan accordingly, you might miss your next conference session (it would be worth it if you did).
Johnny's Po-Boys doesn’t look like much from the outside, but what they’re cooking inside might change your life.
Johnny's is the oldest family-owned restaurant in New Orleans. You can smell the love when you walk in the door. It features classic southern cooking in a red plaid plastic tablecloth setting.
The menu is large, so you can come back over and over if you want to try different features like alligator sausage po-boy, crawfish po-boy, or an oyster po-boy… oh yeah they do have other incredible dishes that aren’t po-boys too.
Nothing says New Orleans quite like a freshly fried beignet with a pile of powdered sugar on top. Hey, I never said eating in New Orleans was healthy!
Although most people are familiar with the world-famous Cafe du Monde, I prefer the more reserved Cafe Beignet located in the French Quarter. It feels more like a neighborhood cafe with a quieter atmosphere, and fewer tourists hawking over you while they wait to steal your table as soon as you take your last bite.
This isn’t that close to the conference center, but it's worth the trip. Plan an early morning planned to make sure you get your fill of this classic. Order your beignet with a cappuccino for the full experience.
The Courtyard Brewery
If you like beer, then don’t miss out on this funky little spot close to the conference center. When you arrive, you might think you’re lost. The brewery looks like a little shipping container plopped down on a vacant lot. It actually might be....
Despite its appearance, The Courtyard Brewery is quickly becoming one of the places for beer geeks to frequent with its wide variety of brews. In addition to serving beers they brew on location, Courtyard has a great list of other breweries from across the country.
Stop by and have a few in their outdoor “courtyard” with friends or soon-to-be-friends.
The Rusty Nail
An urban oasis that was carved out of a rough looking building, the Rusty Nail sports a beautiful outdoor patio that is perfect for those warm New Orleans evenings. It’s located close to the convention center, so you can take the edge off after a day of sitting in seminars.
Their drink list features a number of classic cocktails with a twist, or enjoy one of their several beers on tap. They always have a good line up and can provide something for everyone no matter your preference.
The Spotted Cat
Of course, you can’t have a Best of New Orleans list without mentioning music. There are literally hundreds of places to choose from when it comes to live music in New Orleans. I’ve been to many of them, but for some reason, I always like the Spotted Cat - the quintessential New Orleans Jazz club.
For some reason I have a soft spot in my heart for The Cat. Perhaps it is because it's one of the first places I visited my first time in New Orleans.
Are there better venues? Yes. However, The Spotted Cat always has a great atmosphere, and a small enough space where you’re basically standing right next to the band all night. It just feels good.
Check it out. They have free live music there 7 nights a week.
Your website visitor's data is at risk. If you haven't heard about the legislation altering Internet privacy protections that recently passed through Congress, and is likely going to be signed by President Trump, now is the time to get up to speed.
Website encryption has been slowly increasing in importance with search engines, and has popped into the news from time to time due to data breeches at major international companies. Now, there is new reason to be concerned about website users' data being protected.
About the Congressional Vote on Internet Privacy
News outlets have been reporting that any data not encrypted that comes across the wire is going to be fair game for internet providers to collect and sell to anyone that wants it and there is nothing that individuals will be able to do to opt-out or prevent this from happening. While the time to switch to exclusively serving your site with https has long come and gone, this is one more good reason to do so.
Switching your website to load on HTTPS will encrypt the content of all communications between your website and the user accessing the site.
Safeguarding your customer's privacy is vital, since not just advertisers will be able to buy this data. Companies that are concerned about whistleblowers may purchase the internet traffic history of their employees, see what sites they visit, and any actions they took online.
Even when it's not as dramatic as that, this personal information being up for sale to anyone means that all of your users internet traffic is essentially public, and not everyone will want the organizations they donate to be public information.
How Does HTTPS Protect Your Users' Data
The good news is, there's never been more options for getting HTTPS/SSL set up for your website.
Rootid recommends our clients host their sites on Pantheon, and if that's where your site is then using the free SSL from CloudFlare is a quick and inexpensive option for getting your site traffic encrypted.
CloudFlare can be installed on your website server no matter where you host your site, in fact.
Best part: it's FREE!
If you run your own server you can use the certbot provided by Let's Encrypt, which is also a free option.
If you're on a shared server your options there a lots of options to purchase and install an affordable certificate. Generally, you can get one for $20-$30 per year.
Get Started Installing an SSL Certificate on Your Website
So when should you start?
The process to get a certificate setup is usually quick easy to complete.
Are You Losing Donations Due to HTTPS?
Statistics show that HTTPS drastically increases the amount of money that your website can raise.
Donors have more trust in sites loaded over HTTPS, and feel more secure in trusting your brand.
There are a lot of other ways to increase your donations. When Rootid has implemented these simple strategies for our clients, we've seen increases in online donations by over 100%.