online fundraising: who are you anyway?

Your “about us” tab or page could be the single most important section of your website. Maybe, just maybe, more important than your “donate” button. Think about it. People come to your website not often landing on your front page. Google and Bing bring them through various windows and secret passages into your site. Facebook friends send them to you. People type your URL into the search bar and choose an interesting looking page from the search results.

It’s like a stranger crawling through a window and finding themselves in your kitchen. They’re going to wonder who lives here.

At some point, people who don’t know you or don’t know you well or who wonder if they really know you will click your “about us” link. What will they learn about you? Remember, just like in every other introduction, you only get one chance to make a first impression. Take a second, open a new window and look at yours. I’ll wait.

So, what did you find?

First. Please tell me there were no typos. I can’t believe how many typos are on websites. It happens. Make sure you’re clean and typo-free.

Second. Was it exciting? Or boring and safe? Was there “passion” language? Is the reader instantly swept up in either the tragedy of the Problem or your dramatic Solution? Or was there some snooze-inducing mission statement language. (OK, here’s my beef with mission statement language: most of the time it isn’t inspiring–if it’s a “mission” statement, incite me to leap out of the trenches and change the world with banners flying and trumpets blaring!!!!!)

Third. Did that page (or section) make me want to know more and give me options to explore more?

Fourth. Can I easily validate your work? Can I discover a story of a changed life? Can I see some sort of numeric validation of your work?

Fifth. Do I learn who’s leading the organization? Are you interesting? Are you inspiring? Will I like and trust you?

It’s not too late to do a quick edit of your “About us” page. You can do it now as part of your “4th Quarter: Still Time” tune up. Don’t let this time of year go to waste (to say nothing of all the dollars you may be spending to acquire new donors).

If you’re not sure about your “about us” page, find your Aunt Ruby. Aunt Rubies are geniuses at helping in these situations.

So tell me about your online experience.
Is your “about us” page interesting and inspiring? Oneicity’s “about us” page, which is really “who’s oneicity” is a work in progress, but besides the blog it’s the page with the most hits. How about your website? Are people landing on your “about us” page? I’d love to know what you think about this “about us” thing. And I’d love to know what you think about us. You make this place better, thanks for commenting and hanging out.

Steve Thomas
Partner, Oneicity

(photo credit: Qfamily)

Steve Thomas

Steve Thomas

4 thoughts on “online fundraising: who are you anyway?”

  1. Your comments about “About Us” are convicting, especially since mine includes the mission statement language. It’s back to the drawing board to display more passion and not simply spell out the vision, mission statement, and values that I spent so much time on. It is probably because I spent so much time on these points during a recent strategic planning session that I want other to see them. Do they really care? Maybe they would if I presented them in a way that matters to them. What I need is to invest in writing these in such a way to demonstate passion, inviting constituents and clients into a passionate relationship.

    Jeffrey D. Reimer, CPA

  2. To me, the whole notion of “About You” is really about congruency and authenticity. Are you who you say you are everywhere I look — not just on your website, but on your social media sites, too. And how about your avatar? Does it look like you? We’ve had more people know us by our personal and corporate avatars because they look like us. A freshening of an avatar every so now and again is not a bad idea.

    My friend and mentor Mari Smith is one great example; she keeps her about me and avatars fresh. And more than that, her avatars look like who she really is.

  3. @Jeffrey–Thanks for your candid answer and reflection. We all struggle with how to represent ourselves. Which is why we (and many others) get someone on the outside to give perspective, opinion and suggestions. That can be an “Aunt Ruby” or professionals, but the outside perspective is hugely important.

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