publication date: May 23, 2011
author/source: Ryann Miller, Fraser Green
I hope you and the new baby are doing wonderfully!
I've just spent some time on the site of the Richmond
. It seems like a pretty cool place that specializes in
contemporary art. I'm going to be in the Vancouver area in early June and I
hope I'll get a couple of hours to drop by and check it out.
Now to their web site...
As you know, I like to look at sites as a potential donor
who's heard about the organization and is kicking the tires to decide if I
should make a gift.
While I like the cause - and I think I like the organization
- after kicking these tires, my cheque's going to stay in my pocket. This site
doesn't motivate me to give for several reasons:
don't tell me why they need my money.
I go to the thank-you page, all I see are organizational gifts. Don't they want
money from regular people like me?
piece of art has a story. Every piece is an expression of the human soul. Every
piece comes from the unique person who created it. Great art - to me at least -
is an intimate sharing between people. This site lacks people. It lacks
stories. It lacks emotion and passion.
Having been so harsh, I do want to mention that some of the
programs listed on the site sound very imaginative and cool! I could get behind
some of these if I was asked to. Maybe some realignment and meshing of program
descriptions and statements of needs would pull me in.
There are some pretty easy ways I think this site could
become more compelling and interesting from a potential donor's perspective.
the font bigger! (Remember, serious charitable giving starts at age 50 - just
as people start wearing bifocals.)
the pictures bigger and more colourful. This gallery deals in a visual medium.
This site in particular has to look great!
some of the existing material into a new format. Re-focus on people and
I'm not a technical expert, but I can't help thinking that
some video clips could really bring this gallery and its programs to life.
Speaking only as a potential donor, I'm going to be very
generous and give this site a C- rating. What do you think?
: Hi Fraser.
The new baby and I are great! One of the things I'm focused on right now is
learning to communicate with Julian and understand his cues. It's got me
thinking about communication in general and how websites so often miss an opportunity
to communicate properly with their audiences. Granted, it's a passive and
one-sided medium, but the most effective websites do their best to be engaging,
dynamic, and direct about what they're trying to accomplish. Here's my
Fundraising - make
This is the page that needs the most work. Rewrite the case
for support so that it's more emotionally appealing, more concise, and connects
visitors to much-needed funding. Also, add some images!
Include the name, phone and email address of the person who
can accept a gift over the phone. Make the page personal and warm, and explain
where the money goes and the difference donors make. And importantly, make donating
a priority on every page. Move it higher on the navigation bar, and call it
donating, not fundraising, since donating is what you want donors to do.
Engagement - add
I'd call engagement on this site all right but not great.
There are almost no social media links. The gallery runs some great programs,
but doesn't do anything online besides list them. I'd love to see some
interactive features, games, puzzles to engage kids, as well as a calendar to
highlight all the activities the gallery has. It's great that there's an e-newsletter,
but infuse some fundraising into it (interview a donor, write about ways to
Messaging - inject
The gallery should be much more inspiring with its messaging
and speak directly to its audience. If art is a window to the soul, the Richmond
Art Gallery could use a large dose of soulfulness. I just don't see much real
communication between the gallery and site visitors. A new look at messaging
should improve the communication channel.
Voice - needs
Either there is either no voice to this site, or it's just
too institutional. An art gallery website could use more personality. Whether
it's funky or quirky or poetic, give the site some character. But do it knowing
your audience, so that the voice speaks to the visitors and engages them.
Solid design wins
Here the gallery actually wins some points from me. The site
is pretty good. It's clean, it's modern, it's not offensive. If my budget were
limited, I'd focus on adding more images, infusing the site with character and
revamping the donation page/area, but I wouldn't focus on a site re-design.
My core concern is that the gallery seems to take the
communication between itself and its constituency for granted on the site. It
does a good job of documenting its programs and activities, but it doesn't
foster a relationship between the gallery and its visitors, members and donors.
And it doesn't clearly communicate an important part of that
relationship - the need for support. Plus as a gallery, it misses a huge
opportunity to make use of a visual medium: add more images, include polls and
other interactive elements.
I'm not as tough as you are Fraser. But at the end of the
day, it's not a bad website. I think the Richmond Art Gallery deserves a C+. On
that note, I hear Julian starting to wake up from a nap so I have to go...
To submit your site
for review, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
is director of nonprofit services at Care2,
where she helps charities and nonprofits recruit online supporters. She is the
former managing director of DonorTrends
and was a senior fundraising consultant at HJC
is chief strategist at Good Works, a
consulting firm that teaches charities how to tell their stories with more
passion, emotion and soul. He specializes in donor listening and coaching
charities on how to meet their donors' expectations, wants and needs.
Ryann's web site is www.Care2.com
and Fraser's is www.goodworksco.ca
- in case you want to pronounce your web jury judgement on them!