Want a New Website? Project Management Guide for Nonprofits and Campaigns

June 11, 2014

Editor's note, our good friend and trainer, Laura Packard of PowerThru Consulting has a new blog post out about organizations thinking about building their website. Check out a preview of it here, and then check out the rest on their blog. 

Say it’s time for your organization to do a website redesign, or your campaign needs a new website for the campaign launch or post-primary. How do you get a beautiful new site that meets your needs, on time and on budget? Our progressive nonprofit, union and Democratic political campaign website project management guide is here for you!

One of the first things I recommend people do is read up on the latest web design trends. See Frogloop and Mashable articles for what’s hot in 2014.

Specifically, I’ll call out some bad-idea-yet-prevalent website design elements. First, the research shows that carousels or sliders don’t get much traffic at all past the first slide. Worse yet, they can confuse or annoy your audience and make it really hard to use on mobile devices. Should I use a carousel? NO. It may seem like an easy way to appease multiple stakeholders, but it just doesn’t work in practice.

That leads me into talking more about mobile. A third or more of all web traffic is coming from mobile devices these days, and that number is only going to increase. You’ll want to make sure viewers on cell phones and tablets still have a great experience using your site.

Finally, sites loaded with everything and the kitchen sink not only look terrible, but they are hard to use. Consider using dropdown menus and/or simplifying down the structure and navigation of your site so it is clear where everything belongs, and the site is easy for people to use. Do not let your site become a camel (horse designed by committee). Throwing a search button onto a poorly designed site is not a good solution. Neither is loading up the front page of your site with every single item of content on your site — when everything is the focus, then nothing is the focus.

Before you start on design for the new site, think about what the goals are for your website. For most campaigns and nonprofits alike, it’s usually primarily to collect email addresses and secondarily, donations. All else flows from that — once you have their email, you can stay in contact and spread your message, ask for donations, volunteer signups etc. But if you try to have the website front page be all things to all people, you’ll wind up losing on the goals you really care about at the end of the day.

Read the rest of the post here.