Coordinate your first slide to your website colors and have the slideshow land on that slide (and stop) when the slideshow is done. Matching your main slide to your website design really makes sense when you think about it. You’ve spent all this time designing your website just to slap up a giant photo that doesn’t match? I don’t think so. And like Stacey & Clinton would say, it doesn’t have to MATCH, it just has to GO. (See: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Color For Your Nonprofit Website) Plus having a non-stop slideshow can just drive someone crazy once they are done looking at it and they are ready to focus on other things.
Create continuity between the slides so that people know what to expect i.e. use the same font or button style or photo / graphic style throughout all the slides. Tying them together in some way looks like you did something on purpose rather than by accident. In this example, they use a similar layout with text over photos and even though the text is in a different place on each slide (which is great because you want SOME differences) the style and fonts are similar.
Make sure people have enough time to read your slides – maybe it’s just me but in this example below, even when I focus, I can’t quite get the whole slide in before it slips to the next one. What’s the point of putting up text on the slide if people can’t see it? And if YOU put the text up, have someone else read it to test it, you already know what it says and that’s just not fair. All slideshows can have the timing sped up or slowed down so you can find that perfect spot where people have time to absorb it and not so long that they move on before seeing the rest.
Make sure people can easily get from slide to slide either with photos, dots, graphics etc. This way if they do find an interesting slide and they didn’t have time to click on it (especially if it scrolls by too fast) they can easily go right back to that one slide. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to WAIT a whole cycle to get back to a slide I wanted to see, but trust me, normal people won’t wait. In this example there is more than one way to navigate the slides.
Don’t make your slides only about money. Just like your Facebook posts, and your newsletter articles, you want to balance your asks vs. your newsworthy news. I know funding is pretty much a top priority with everyone, but since your slideshow is likely in a very predominant spot on your website main page, it really is the main vehicle to showcase what you do, who you are and what you are all about. Plus it’s the perfect place to show off all that fabulous content you are creating for your constituents!
Create a nice mix of slides – a little bit of everything is always more interesting than all one topic (like money!) and this way you are likely to catch someone’s eye – or if you have a great content plan you would have slides purposely designed to catch the eyes of your target audiences. In this example, they have a statistic about the number of hungry people in Chicago – with a Donate Now button, another very different way to donate (eat out and proceeds go to the nonprofit), ,resources and support for people who need help (don’t forget to target your program participants), and then a slide focusing on accomplishments (their annual report).
Keep the links on your own site – you can link the slides to pages you already have or landing pages you’ve created just for that topic but never to an outside page (that doesn’t belong to you). The purpose of the main page is to draw people in to read or see more and the slideshow is your biggest opportunity to do just that. It may be TEMPTING to just slap something up there and link it out to someone else’s site but if it’s important enough to be in the slideshow, it’s important enough to have it’s own page.
Make the photos GREAT photos – no dark photos, no blurry photos, no yellow-y tint because you forgot to have the flash on, no trash cans in the background, no dirt on the tables or carpets (unless it’s part of the story) – seriously – it has to be your BEST photos. (See: Photos Rule in Content Marketing for Your Nonprofit AND 15 Tips for Taking Great Nonprofit Event Photos.) And keep in colorful or at least BRIGHT (depending on your website color scheme). You may not have opportunities to photograph people clad in brightly colored clothing but you can find bright spots in everything – and don’t forget to notice that in the example below, the red in the outfits matches the red in their site design – it was no accident!!