Window shopping.

We do it all the time, especially in areas with expensive shops. You can’t afford it but you look in the window anyway. A chance to dream for a sec about wearing that $3,000 outfit.

But what would happen if the storefront window didn’t have mannequins showing off the latest fashions or row after row of beautiful jewelry and expensive watches? What if all you saw was pictures of the CEO and VP’s of the store?

What if you entered the store and what you were seeking was all the way at the back? Would you go through section after section of fabrics and IT workers and store managers and delivery trucks and mannequins and shipping bills just to finally see the dress?

You wouldn’t. You don’t have time.

There’s a reason you stare (and take a pic for the Gram) at the storefront window. What you’re seeking is right in front of you.

Like everything else these days, we don’t have time to waste. We need to see what we want NOW. Otherwise we’ll move to the next store.

Your website is your window to the world. If a user can’t find what they need right away, they’ll move to the next organization’s website.

The stff page on the Coal Creek Meals on heels website lists the fundraiser right at the top

https://www.coalcreekmow.org/team Coal Creek Meals on Wheels puts Development right at the top of their staff page. That’s how it should be done.


Why hide them?

Over the last few weeks I have browsed more than 200 nonprofit websites. Small, midsize and large organizations.

This is not based on data that I recorded but is observational:

Your staff page is not doing its job.

Lemme explain.

Fundraising and marketing is about building relationships. In general, at many organizations, that job falls mainly on the Director of Development and their team (if there is one).

Yes, the CEO, VP’s and Board members are all involved in connecting with supporters. And sure, EVERYONE at a nonprofit should play a role in building relationships. But at the end of the day, the bulk of the work falls on the shoulders of the fundraiser.

When I come to a staff page, I’d agree that the CEO has to be at the top. But the next face I should see is the head of fundraising. Your organization should want that person to stand out, be right there in the storefront window so that I can see who it is.

Instead, more often than not I found that the fundraiser and development team were buried beneath other sections. Program staff, accounting department, IT workers and more were listed ahead of fundraisers.

In fact, on many of the staff pages I viewed, fundraisers were listed almost at the end. I scrolled because I was looking for them. But would the average user?

No.

The Take a Hike Foundation uses its staff page to build relationships

https://www.takeahikefoundation.org/peoples-page Take A Hike Foundation not only lists Development at the top of their staff page but they also provide the staff members email address making it easy for users to contact them


Building Relationships

I know it takes a village. Your program staff are critical to success. Same with your Head of Volunteers and the marketing and communications people.

And of course let’s not forget all 17 members of your Board of Directors.

Absolutely zero disrespect to them. But I’d like you to consider who may be visiting your staff page: People who potentially are looking to connect with your fundraiser.

That doesn’t just mean the individual donor. That could be:

  • A lawyer or accountant seeking a contact to discuss legacy giving possibilities
  • A potential corporate partner looking for the right person to connect with
  • A foundation funder who needs a point person for an upcoming application

I am hypothesizing but I wonder if fundraisers are placed at the bottom of the staff page because they’re viewed as the “money” people and organizations don’t want to lead with them.

But what if fundraisers were viewed as what they should be- connectors? Builders of long-term relationships? The people who help supporters have impact in their community and do a world of good?

Viewed in that light, they’re no longer the money people. They’re the relationship people.

Consider that when creating the storefront window for your staff page. Who do you want people to see when they come to the page? Who do you want them to learn more about and connect with?

Burying fundraisers at the bottom beneath rows and rows of staff could lose you an opportunity to build a connection with a new supporter.

Move them to the top of the page. Make sure you include a headshot, brief bio and contact info. Don’t make people have to contact a generic email address (info@, contact@, office@). They won’t be sure anyone will answer and they may go elsewhere.

Make it easy for people to find and engage your fundraising staff.

Your website isn’t the only way to build relationships. Wanna learn how to use email to connect with subscribers, engage them and retain them over time as donors? Sign up for Email 366 and learn how!