Engagement is a buzzword I hear bandied about regularly in the nonprofit world. But before we talk about getting people to interact with your nonprofit through social media, your website content, your blog or any other method, let’s address your contact page and how hard or easy it is to actually contact you.
I only bring this up because I’ve been cruising through various nonprofit websites and noticed that a lot of nonprofits don’t really want to be contacted. Which is really strange to me. And here is how I know they did not want to be contacted:
1. They had no information about staff on their website. As a potential donor doing research, I would assume that they had no staff (and that would factor in to my decision-making process) or that they were just not forthcoming with their organizational information (something to hide?)
2. They have staff information on the website, including bios, but no way to contact anyone. Certainly providing contact info for your entire staff may not make sense. But staff members that regularly connect with constituents should have contact information.
3. They have no email addresses listed anywhere. I’m assuming this reflects a general paranoia about spam robots grabbing addresses and sending all kinds of junk to you. Junk email is just something we have to deal with and there are lots of ways to deal with it rather than eliminate an extremely popular way that people like to communicate. See: How to Stop Spam Harvesting With Email Obfuscation.
4. They have no mailing address listed anywhere. Seriously, no on should ever buy from or donate to any entity that has no address listed. The most minimal information a nonprofit should have on their website to show that they are a real entity, is their mailing address. Even if you’re a mom and pop shop working out of your home, get a PO Box to list!
5. They use an email form instead of an email address. That’s like having a person call you but before they can talk to anyone they have to give their name, address, phone number and email address. You want your constituent’s email address but they can’t have yours?? I don’t think so. A person should be able to ask a question without having to jump through extra hoops FIRST. Our job is to make it easy for our constituents, not necessarily for ourselves. Forms can be a big deterrent for people who want to contact you – and the reality is, you have no idea how many contacts you missed out on.