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6 ways your NPO’s website is failing to serve your community

12 January, 2023
8 min
Charity websites failing their communities

Back in 2021, alongside our other client work, Blue Llama took on a project to transform 11 local authority websites in just 8 months. To some, this may have felt ambitious but the Llama team absolutely loved it, and embraced the challenge with open arms. Do you know why? Because we love making intuitive websites that serve communities. We love taking traditionally text-heavy and, often inaccessible, sites and turning them into engaging, interactive spaces that work hard for everyone. 

In our experience, there are a number of key areas where NPO websites tend to fall down, and these are the places where Blue Llama can help.  

Old or outdated content 

From providing useful contact information to details of local events, your website is an important resource. It should be a single source of truth for the whole community. But local authority, charity and NPO websites are some of the worst offenders when it comes to keeping things up to date! We’ve seen websites housing old logos, incorrect phone numbers, out of date events… and much more besides!

Keeping your website fresh and accurate is absolutely vital in both presenting yourself professionally as an organisation, and keeping your community connected and up to date. 

Information overload

We don’t like to point fingers, but NPO’s (and NGO’S) do have a tendency to create text-heavy websites. And we get it! As the hub for pretty much everything for your community, there’s a lot you need to fit in. But at Blue Llama we believe there’s a better way. How you structure your web pages and your navigation, how you utilise imagery and additional functionality – it all makes a huge difference in the way all of that important information is presented and ultimately consumed by your users.  

Not adhering to data protection laws

The digital space is a dynamic and fast-moving place. And nowhere is that more true than in the realms of privacy and data protection. The rules feel like they’re constantly changing and, to add insult to injury, they’re not consistent either. 

But this isn’t a place you can afford to be lax. If you’re not up to date and implementing the correct procedures, not only are you letting your community down, but you could find yourself in hot water legally. 

Forgotten SEO 

Gone are the days of ‘build it, and they will come!’ Search engines are demanding and the sheer number of websites out there now have made it an increasingly competitive environment. 

And if you can’t be found online you’re making it almost impossible for your community to cut through the noise and find the content that matters to them. 

SEO is vital in helping you to find your audience, and allowing them to find you. 

Lack of interaction 

Whether it’s an interactive calendar or a live chat option, people increasingly expect more from the websites they visit. Whilst establishing new and useful web tools can be a challenge, they can help to make your life easier as well. You can drastically reduce the amount of phone calls, emails or on-site visits you receive by offering quick and effective alternatives on your website for things like guides, bookings, payments and customer service. 

Online noticeboards are also a great way to bring that community feel, and convenience, online. Just like a community hall, a digital noticeboard can be a great place for users to post their offers, events and news. 

The final piece of functionality that we see NPO websites overlooking, despite being a really easy win, is a searchable resource centre. Users are often looking for the same things, whether it’s a form to download, information on taxes or contact information for a particular governmental department – but they are often hard to find without some serious detective skills! Pulling all of these handy resources into one central hub for your community is invaluable. 

No proactive marketing 

Don’t force your users to play hide and seek – use your website to drive awareness of current campaigns or activities, and leverage the platform to interact with your community, extending into social media and beyond.

As well as being a reactive resource for your community, your website should equally be a proactive one for you.

Sound familiar? 

If some (or all!) of these points resonate with you, give us a call. And if you’d like to get an idea of where you can start in the meantime, just take our quick quiz – it’s designed with all of these key factors in mind. The quiz only takes a few minutes and will guide you through a series of targeted questions, using your answers to score your site and create a personalised action plan for improvement. It’s totally free and is the perfect first step in helping you to transform your NPO website to better serve your community.

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Phil de Gruchy

Phil is the owner of Blue Llama, a digital agency in Jersey, Channel Islands. He has worked in digital for most of his career and has a wide knowledge of UX, web and app design and digital marketing.