Show ME, Dont tell ME: How to make your website resonate with millennials

When the 2012 Millennial Impact Report was published, we werent too surprised. The report vetted much of our own design research that we do here at LimeRed.

We were particularly drawn to one specific takeaway from the report though. When millennials were asked about how they prefer to learn about nonprofits across various channels, websites were the leading choice at 65%.

To put this in perspective, the second preferred choice came in at 55%… That choice was Social Media.

While many out there are investing in trying to figure out their Social Media Strategy, we think that nonprofits aren’t thinking about investing enough attention and dollars in their websites. This report supports our thinking.

The more recent 2013 report indicates that when millennials visit a nonprofit website, their primary interest is to understand what it is the organization does.They want to know your mission and they will visit your About pages first to find that if it’s not blaring on the home page. Even if it is, they will dig deeper by following links and going to the main About section.

So how do you get them to move from your About pages to getting them to engage with your organization?

Here are 7 tips taken from the 2013 Impact Report as well as from our own repository of knowledge.

1. Your Mission Statement should be able to fit on a magnet

Revisit your mission statement. Where does it live on your site? How long is it? Can you boil it down to fit on a magnet on their refrigerator? Better yet, can it fit on your homepage banner? Make sure at least a version of it can fit there or somewhere near the main action on your homepage. Although it sounds close to impossible for you, your 5-point plan to save the world needs to be brief, concise and impactful. It should be clear to millennials and others who visit your site (especially for the first time) who you are and what it is you are doing to change the world. Don’t worry, the big, long, board-approved version of the mission statement can and should live somewhere else.

2. Make it clear how to get involved

The 2013 Impact Report makes it clear that millennials are seeking nonprofits to get involved with or more importantly, to be a part of something they see as valuable or passionate about. Make it clear and easy for them to identify opportunities to participate in and calls to actions directly from the home page.

3. Make it easy and empowering to donate

Dont just place your donate button on the home page, move them through an experience on your site where they feel both empowered and connected to a cause. Educate them about how their contributions make an impact but also make sure that is easy to do.

4. Delete, edit then delete and edit

Millennials in the report have indicated that nonprofits have too much text. As we mentioned in a previous post, writing for the web should be done with brevity. So go back, delete, then refine and edit. When you are done, go back and delete, refine and edit again. Ensure that you have contact information available so they can call or email you if they feel they need more information.

5. Show that you are relevant

Use more images to build impression and help millennnial users identify they are in the right place. Also, make sure your site is up-to-date. Although you might think a dated blog post you wrote three months ago is still worth reading, millennials will interpret this as old and irrelevant content. Be current and timely. If necessary, think about repurposing or re-contextualizing your content assets to what is happening currently.

6. Make it easy to find, collect and share

When users see that your organization is valuable, theyll be seeking out information to make decisions about engagement, whether its online or on the ground. Perform usability testing or design your information architecture so that it makes sense for users. Also consider adding social share buttons an options to email or print content from your site.

7. Demonstrate innovation through design

Millennials and others prioritize your website to seek information about your nonprofit. Following these previous tips are important, but its not enough to capture peoples imagination and the spirit of their passion when it comes to a cause. Your mission and your organization is unique and you will need to invest in designing your website that will help better represent and position yourself online and capture the attention audiences.
It just so happens that designing unique websites for nonprofits is something we are very passionate about.

“We, are a community-building design firm for groups that inspire positive change.”

Are you that group? Lets talk about what we can do together!

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