An overdue mobile-responsive website upgrade for my writing colleague, Rita Cipalla.
For this website redesign, we chose to skin an existing template WordPress Theme, Argent, by Automattic. The Argent Theme is based on _Underscores, so theme skinning is fast and straightforward – and the final product is guaranteed to be compatible with WordPress software and Plugins.
Overall Page Size is a lean 584 Kb, ~25% the industry median page size, with only 32 web server requests. As a result, page load speed is well optimized for mobile devices.
The site features Rita’s custom travel photographs for an authentic look. A classic combination of custom serif and sans-serif fonts are typeset in very readable line widths, with bold red and yellow call-outs for emphasis. And, unlike her previous static HTML site, Rita can now easily add and edit portfolio and blog content.
Understand what donors care about – and make them the hero. Donors are deeply interested in how their gift did or will make a difference. Let them know specifically what you did with their money. They also want to know what would happen if they gave you more. That’s your vision. Be sure to make it big and bold. And, they want to be thanked, personally and frequently. In addition, don’t focus on how wonderful your organization is. Tell donors how wonderful they are. Instead of “Our organization fed 100 hungry kids thanks to private donations,” tell donors, “You helped feed 100 hungry kids.”
Don’t talk just about your needs. The time-honored adage in fundraising remains true. Donors don’t fund organizations that have needs. They fund organizations that meet needs. Talk about the need in the context of what the donor can do to fix the problem.
Use ‘you’ and ‘your’ more than ‘we’ and ‘our’. YOU is the most powerful word in donor communications. Research shows that donors give more when they feel personally responsible, over and above “we’re in this together.”
Communicate without asking for money. Your stewardship communications should out-frequent your solicitation communications by at least two to one, preferably even more. Organizations that communicate solely with their hand out risk losing valued donors. Thank-you letters, e-newsletters and emails, print newsletters, personal thank-you phone calls, holiday cards, love notes from clients – all can make a real difference in keeping donors in the fold.
Tell stories that illustrate donors’ impact. Storytelling inspires bigger gifts! Let the people you serve illustrate how much the donor achieved.