The internet offers many opportunities for non-profit organisations… and many pitfalls. These are some of the common problems I have seen over the years.
- Burst of enthusiasm followed by an out-of-date or empty website.
Initial discussions are often exciting – “We could do this… or that… and have these bells and whistles.” Then the hard work comes – structuring the content, writing the words and keeping them up-to-date. Nothing should go online unless you know that you can keep it up-to-date. A single page “this is us, this is what we do, and how to contact us” is much better than a meandering ghost town of a website.
- Nobody knows how to update the site.
The committee has changed or the events are all out of date, and the web developer has gone AWOL or wants to charge some silly amount to make the changes. Using a contact management system (CMS) – WordPress is ideal and free – with appropriate log-ins for at least two officebearers to do common updates is a good option. You may still need someone to help with the initial set-up.
- Forgetting Who, What, When, Where?
Seems simple really, but too often forgotten. Don’t expect internet users to know which city or even country you are from – tell them with full addresses and phone numbers. Put dates, including the year, on all events.
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org but Fred has long gone.
Email addresses should reflect the office, eg president@ secretary@ events @ and can even be used to broadcast eg committee@. That way when a new person takes over the role, they take over the mailbox. Change the password for security. It looks more professional and saves a lot of work when someone leaves.
- Losing control of your domain name.
Ensure that your organisation has control of your domain name. That way, if there is ever a dispute with your developer or hosting service, you can move it.