I love window shopping. It excites me about possibilities. I can imagine walking into a party in that lovely outfit or creating a tidy desk with all that stationery. But I hate doing it during the January sales, despite the bargains on offer. It’s because the mannequins are undressed, the windows are empty of ideas and the inside of the shop looks like a hoarder’s front room. There may be juicy bargains to be had, but it’s hard to find them. There’s no way to navigate through the clutter and very little inspiration on hand.
We recently talked to a website developer who wanted guidance on what to include in a new look charity website. We realised that many NFPs are struggling to make their organisation stand out for a corporate partner.
Here’s our Top 10 tips to make your website partnership friendly.
Focus on the WHY
Non-profits are gold medal winners at describing how they do things. Whether it’s their theory of change, their program methodology or research model, they can write a book about what they do and how it’s done. But before you dive into the detail, consider if you’ve told a corporate WHY they should partner with you. What are the reasons for them to open their wallets immediately? Look at the way that Black Dog Institute uses this snippet of research “every dollar spent on effective mental health actions returns $2.30 in benefits to an organisation”. Good use of statistics and third-party evidence are critical to building the reason WHY a corporate needs to take action.
Don’t obsess about corporate logos
If you’ve got a number of existing corporate partners, you might want to use their logos to decorate the bottom of a page. It provides some comfort to prospective ones that you’ve got runs on the board and can help some of them decide whether they want to be in the company of their biggest competitor. But don’t be tempted to slather them on the front page or go into detail describing their business. If a business is bugging you for more profile on your website, then you’ve probably got the wrong partner- or you’ve got a start-up that’s using your brand for credibility. The Australian Ballet does this in a sleek and understated way.
Beef up the storytelling
Case studies are king- and especially if you’ve got great pictures. Video trumps text every time. The Picture Superiority Effect means that your brain retains only 10% of the information if it’s just text or sound. If you have still or moving images, the recall jumps to 65%. Remove large chunks of text and replace them with a case study and video instead.
Get some testimonials
Nothing builds credibility better than a corporate partner speaking for you. Get some direct quotes and talk about what you’ve achieved together. Importantly, try to include what it’s done for their business, not just your program or services. It will build a corporate’s confidence in your ability to deliver for them. You want a prospective partner to be inspired to say, ‘I want one of those’.
Meet the team is a mixed blessing
Definitely include contact details so a corporate knows how to make contact. A picture of your team is a nice touch to humanise the engagement. However, I wouldn’t recommend trying to include a bio and profile of each one. It’s hard to make them sound sufficiently different, so it can be repetitive. You’re just providing a free service to recruitment agencies or other NFPs looking to poach some talented partnership people.
Make the partnership information easy to find
I know that it’s a struggle to get space on a website. You’re competing with other departments and your website may be set up to sell stuff, like tickets to a performance, or provide vital health information. Just make sure the partnership information is in a logical place, within a dropdown menu. Don’t make your prospective partner hunt through 20 clicks to find it.
Highlight some key assets
Corporates are on the lookout for NFPs that meet their strategic needs. If you’ve got some particular strengths or attractive assets, then this is a good place to mention them. The World Vision site highlights their social media reach of 750,000 people and actively engaged supporter base of 700,000. You may not have such big numbers, but you’ve got some key assets you can highlight here.
Outline ways to partner
Provide some useful guidance on ways they can partner with you. You might include volunteering fundraising, advocacy or events- but make it relevant and succinct. Again, some well-chosen images help to make the options appealing. Don’t do what one NFP did, which is a paragraph of text inviting corporates to “be known for creating infinite value”. No, I don’t know what they mean either!
Use your website to reinforce your credentials
We advise NFPs to create a credentials document that will inspire and excite a corporate prospect. Your website is a digital extension of credibility building. Make sure you’ve got your greatest hits on display.
No one likes a gas bag. Trying to share an encyclopedia of information about your NFP and its history is a sure way to send your corporate prospect to sleep.
Your website is a window into your charity and what it has to offer. Some sensible navigation and well-chosen stories can excite and entice a corporate partner. Make sure your window is fully dressed and not like a dumpster fire of random items.