One of our favorite web strategy mantras is “every non-profit is now a publisher.” (The corollary to that is “most publishers are now non-profits,” but we’ll save that for another case study). Site visitors won’t keep coming back to a website that’s static – what some call “brochureware,” the derogatory term for a website that’s not interactive. Brochures can be very beautiful, but when was the last time a brochure made a deep and lasting impression on you? And when have you gone back to read a brochure a second time? It can happen, but not very often.
People develop relationships with content creators who produce on a regular basis. If a website is to be more than an interesting but irrelevant cost center, a non-profit has to publish fresh, compelling content every day, or close to it. This will attract repeat visitors who will sign up for newsletters to stay informed of news, events and commentary about the organization’s mission. Ideally, the site will also let visitors add comments and discuss content, and network with others.
A website that’s interactive in this way is no longer a cost center, but a database-driven, revenue-generating, mission-enhancing engine for attracting future donors and volunteers.
Developing a web publishing mindset can be difficult, but it’s what smart organizations like the Province of St. Joseph have done. After taking over management of their website in early 2009, Transmodern Media was able to help the Province — which is part of the worldwide Order of Preachers — adapt their Dominican charism to the web. We built a technology platform that made it easy to publish blogs, video, and on-demand radio programming, which could then be picked up via RSS feeds by parishes and other communities in their territory, helping to adapt the Dominican call to preach the Gospel to the needs of digital audiences.