Your organization’s Website is your uber-means to power your mission with a valued identity and expanded social recognition. For that, your Website needs “ranking”, which is based on popularity and traffic. Organizations go to a great extent contriving their popularity on the Web by technical means. But this is precisely where most get it wrong! (non-profits as well as for-profit businesses).
They get it wrong because of how they relate to technology. So let us work with a different philosophy of relatedness to technology.
Technology extends our human capacities.
What does this mean? We use a telephone to extend our ability to converse over distances, and we use binoculars to see over far distances. We use weapons to increase military power beyond the reach of our arms and the strength of our muscles, and we use computers to coordinate and generate business transactions in the global marketplace in unprecedented volumes.
With that understanding, how can you truly use your Website to power your mission?
Stop looking at your website as a collection of technical parts, and start relating to it as the extension of your capacities and abilities to fulfill your mission.
Your Website extends your spread: your identity, the statement of your mission and your capacity to offer value. It also extends your clients’ ability to reach out to you, and facilitates donors to spread their love.
For Website ranking, it turns out that Google watches specifically according to that philosophy. Google wants to help you and your clients connect with relevance, meaning and purpose – and prevent the contrivers or rankings who offer no true value from getting popular on Google searches – and consequently pushing your important cyber presence to the obscurity of the second search page. It is a competitive cyberspace and you are in it whether you thrive on competition or not.
#1 – Think of technology as extended human capacity
Say your customary activity for sustained fundraising is to first nurture a trust relationship with potential donors, keep showing up, and establish meaning before you make requests for donations. Think about having your Website do exactly that; it expands your spread by orders of magnitude and lowers the cost of engaging for both parties.
#2 – Help Google and other search engines establish your credibility, trustworthiness and value
Introducing yourself, your spouse and your two lovely children to a wealthy philanthropist at a gala inevitably creates a social relatedness of care and trust. That would be a fruitful beginning of a well-nurtured donor relationship. On the other hand – to use an extremity example – if another person walked to that same philanthropist and introduced himself along with the posse of lovely escorts accompanying him, it would be the beginning of a different relationship, but not likely the nurture of ethics that leads to a caring donation.
The World Wide Web is full of pretenders with a large posse of fake escorts implemented as meaningless links between Websites. To increase your Website ranking, popularity and traffic, you must build your Website links precisely as you build true relationships with people who are influential, ethical and have high social recognition themselves. You want to be part of a large network of Websites related by relevance and meaning. And remember, a relationship is one-way, not two-way. Therefore, you need to establish one solid relationship in each direction – outgoing and incoming Website links.
Where to start? Of course, engage a Web whiz who understand the mechanics of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to take care of all the meta-tags and all that good techno mojo. This is necessary, but it is not where business and social value is.
Your value is in your “inventory of true relationships”. Build an inventory of all the organizations, foundations, associations, and businesses that serve a similar cause and community. Add to that inventory all Web directories, partners, helpers, providers, clients, donors, resources sites, relevant blog sites, and family and friends who expressly care about your mission. When you stage public events, make sure you list them on event websites – Eventbrite.com, meetup.com, Facebook has an events feature, and especially event sites relevant to your sector, if any.
To figure out its ranking, Google is looking for proof of your popularity by your true relationships. Reach out to every relationship in your inventory of true relationships, offer to link to them, and request they create a link to your Website in return. And remember that this is only half of the equation. The second half is generating traffic along those links. Traffic is the equivalent to having recurrent conversations with people you relate to. Figure out what that means to your organization for the Website links.
Switching to that technology philosophy will grow you popularity, which will help your mission flourish.
Author: Ernest Stambouly, Executive Coaches of Orange County, www.ECofOC.org