You might not tell me to my face but I know who you like best and why. Larry Freed, the big cheese of ForeSee Results, told me in his April ’09 report Trends in Constituent Satisfaction with Nonprofit Websites. Freed does not keep a secret so if you want his report go to www.ForeSeeResults.com
On a 100 point scale Freed uses to measure satisfaction with websites, 80 points is considered the beginning for excellence. The bad news is that nonprofit websites rate a 73, while online banking scores 83, and automotive websites score 78. Nonprofits are even 1 point below e-government sites. He concludes that the problem is caused by lack of financial resources and professional staff to bring the nonprofit sites up to the satisfaction level of Amazon and Google.
As Clarion Friendsis a blog rather than an official website for Clarion County Community Foundation, not all of Freed’s findings apply directly, but they are certainly informative. “A highly satisfied visitor to a nonprofit website is: 49% more likely to donate, 38% more likely to volunteer, 57% more likely to have a favorable overall impression of the organization, 65% more likely to recommend the site to others, and 55% more likely to return to the site.” The visitor most often comes to the website for news and events and to stay informed about the causes the organization addresses. And almost 1 in 5 are there to make a donation.
Areas for improvement are sites’ functionality and image. Functionality includes usefulness, variety, and convenience of features. Image of the website should reflect the nonprofit’s image. Applying this revealing research to our blog is not easy. We have tried very hard to make the blog open and friendly. We try for postings that are informative and wise, delightful and tasty, reviews that are helpful and varied. Making a donation is as easy as three clicks. There remain however some unanswered questions.
Our combined blog experience is not varied enough for us to know how to increase the popularity of Clarion Friends. What should we be doing that we are not doing? How do we encourage visitors to post comments and email material to put on the blog? What will move visitors to make a donation? Somewhere in the blogosphere there are answers to these questions. If you have an answer, please share it. Charles Marlin