The Nonprofit Hero Factory: Episode 44

Nonprofit Website Trends for 2022, with Boris Kievsky

In this Episode:

What website trends should nonprofits be conscious of in 2022? The last two years have dramatically changed the way that the world connects and does business.

Everything possible went online in 2021, and with it, the noise level has made it harder and harder to capture attention, make a connection and inspire action.

If nonprofit websites don’t keep up with visitors’ expectations, they’re likely to lose more potential heroes than they gain.

In this episode, Boris looks at the 5 biggest trends from 2021 and 5 ways nonprofit websites must respond if they are to achieve their goals.

Listen to this Episode

[00:00:06.350] – Intro Video
Welcome to the Nonprofit Hero Factory, a weekly live video broadcast and podcast where we’ll be helping nonprofit leaders and innovators create more heroes for their cause and a better world for all of us. Da Ding!

[00:00:23.230] – Boris
Hi everybody. Welcome back to the Nonprofit Hero Factory. My name is Boris Kievsky. I am your host every week. Today, I am also your guest. Well, I guess my own guest. I wanted to do a special episode, if you will, one where I’m going to be talking about the latest trends in the—really the online space and how they affect nonprofit websites.

[00:00:44.310] – Boris
As some of you may know, I am going to be teaching a course at NYU. It’s part of their Digital Certificate in Fundraising program that they now have, which is a really cool program, I recommend everybody check out. And starting February 2nd of this year, 2022, and hopefully then again some other semesters, I will be teaching how to develop high impact websites for nonprofits, really rooted in storytelling, although also of course getting into some of the technology. But what is the strategy of building a website for a nonprofit that’s going to have high conversion rates so that you don’t lose that many visitors when they come to your website. And instead, get them to take the actions you want them to take, the actions we all need them to take to create a better world for all of us.

[00:01:28.090] – Boris
So I wanted to share a presentation that we recently did in promotion of the program. I did it with co-host Liz Ngonzi, who is actually the creator of the program at NYU and a good friend of mine. We did it as a LinkedIn Live. It got some great reception and some really interesting questions. So I thought it would be wonderful to share it with all of you guys, my listeners. I am doing an on-screen presentation. So if you’re watching this on my website or on YouTube, you can see the presentation. If not, you should head on over to NPHF Nonprofit Hero Factory… I should know my own website. as in episode 44. And you’ll get all of the show notes. You’ll even be able to download this entire presentation as well as some other resources that I’m going to recommend.

[00:02:17.340] – Boris
With that, let me go ahead and share my screen and get started on this presentation. All right, so Nonprofit Websites in 2022, What’s New, and Five Things To Do. Let’s get started. First of all, what’s new, what happened in 2021 and what to expect in 22? And I broke this down into five things as well.

[00:02:41.030] – Boris
The first is MORE NOISE. Everyone shifted everything online in 2021. You guys know that it all started with the pandemic in 2020, people were scrambling, not sure what to put where. Then in 2021 people thought, well, we’re going to go back to normal, whatever that might look like going forward. And it didn’t really work out that way. At best, things went hybrid, but everything shifted online. There was a lot more noise. 80% of business-to-business marketers say that their website is the most widely used channel for driving virtual events registrations. Well, virtual events, as you know, became the most popular thing to do in the last two years.

[00:03:22.990] – Boris
Besides that, though, social media has had a huge explosion. And I don’t just mean TikTok, but everyone went online to meet with their friends, right? Whether they were trying to do chats on Zoom or catch ups on Zoom, or they were doing it on social media to see who’s doing how, whether they were even posting their status updates about COVID and how they felt about it, or if they were actually sick with it.

[00:03:50.530] – Boris
Well, at the same time, over 160,000,000 businesses use Facebook every month to communicate with their audiences, and 93% of social media marketers use paid Facebook ads. What does that mean? That means even though you’re trying to communicate with your friends or you are trying to communicate with your nonprofits’ audience who have said that they like your work and want to hear from you, you’re competing for those eyeballs. Facebook is a complete pay-to-play platform, and as such, it’s incredibly difficult to get your message across.

[00:04:23.220] – Boris
The average Cost Per Action, CPA we call it, for Facebook ads across all industries went up to $18.68. Now, that’s not just to get them to click on something, but to actually get them to go through to your website, for example, to take some sort of action that you want them to take, but not even necessarily a donation. This is just to get them to do something. The average click through rate for Facebook ads less than 1%, 0.9%. So it’s an incredibly noisy and competitive landscape out there.

[00:04:56.340] – Boris
Podcasts. I love podcasting and hopefully you’re enjoying this podcast. Well, there are 850,000 active podcasts at the moment, with over 48 million total episodes. So thank you for those of you that are listening to this as a podcast, for devoting some of your time to listening to this show. I’m very glad that it is helpful to you guys and informative to you that you’re devoting some of your time and spending it with me, even if like me, you listen to it at 1.5x or 1.6x. Luckily, I do talk fast because I’m a New Yorker.

[00:05:26.970] – Boris
And then there are events. As I mentioned before, virtual events increased in popularity by 35% from 2020 to 2021, and they’re not slowing down anytime soon. Video has become increasingly popular. As the barrier to entry for video has lowered, so inversely has the number of hours of YouTube video uploaded every minute. It is now 500 hours. More than 500 hours of video just to YouTube is uploaded every minute. That’s not including TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, everywhere that you might be looking. Everywhere that anybody might be looking. Video is getting very saturated. So those are the noise concerns.

[00:06:11.700] – Boris
Well, there are also website concerns, of course. There are MORE WEBSITES and MORE CONTENT up on those sites. There are currently 200 million active websites. That’s not counting all of the websites that are just sitting there that have been semi-abandoned or domain names that are registered and no website is up there. This is actually websites that are currently up and active with 56.5 billion web pages indexed through Google. Now, of course, this includes social media pages that are indexed and other non-corporate or individual websites, but greater conglomerate sites if you will. But consider how much noise there is and how much competition there is for attention, even when somebody is Googling information about something that you guys are experts on and you’re hoping that they find you.

[00:07:02.730] – Boris
WordPress, which is the Content Management System or CMS that is the most popular in the world right now, controls 41% and I don’t mean controls. It really is the platform for 41% of all websites online and nearly 65% of all CMS based sites. Now, WordPress is my favorite platform to build on. I have worked with organizations that use other platforms, even ones that are self-builders like Squarespace. At the same time, WordPress is much more powerful. And because it is more powerful, it is more popular and it’s easy enough to use. It is also one of the biggest targets for attacks because people know a lot of things about WordPress and how it works. And it is a community-built open-source platform, so lots of different people are contributing to it and sometimes vulnerabilities do sneak in.

[00:07:58.770] – Boris
75% of consumers admit to making judgments on a company’s credibility based on that company’s website. This is actually not a new statistics for 2021 or 2022. This has been known science. It’s been studied in individuals, in user testing, and it is still incredibly relevant today. Think about it, your website, if someone is first trying to find out information about you, they might Google you, they might discover you on social media, but ultimately they come to your website to really learn more about you. And if they don’t find a website, it kind of diminishes your credibility. If they do find a website and it doesn’t look right, it doesn’t work well, then again they think, oh, this is not a very professional organization. This is not people who have it together so therefore I’m less likely to support them, to trust them with my time and my money.

[00:08:51.510] – Boris
I’ll add to that that there are studies that show you have less than half a second before the first impression is made. And we all know the importance of a first impression. So as your website loads, the first thing people see within half a second, they make a snap judgment. After that, you have about 8 seconds to actually connect with them in some way so that they don’t hit the back button. Some studies show it’s up to 15 seconds. It really depends on the website, maybe the person and how they did the study. But at most, let’s say you’ve got 15 seconds to make a connection on your website, or people will hit that back button and go to the next thing in the Google feed or their newsfeed or wherever it might be.

[00:09:30.690] – Boris
Next, we have MORE THREATS. This is number three. Well, as I mentioned, we all went online, including people working from home. There is now, therefore, more remote work, which means more online access, more ways to access your company’s resources online, whether that’s your website or other back-end databases or systems that you guys are using, people have to be able to access it more ways from home, which leads to more vulnerabilities.

[00:09:58.770] – Boris
The truth of the matter is that the weakest link in any technology chain is usually not always, but usually human. There is an incredible rise in phishing attacks, which is attacks that are trying to impersonate someone on your team. Maybe they’ve hacked your password. Maybe they have been logged into your email account and tried to impersonate you. I know a lot of organizations that have been attacked in this way with funds being diverted from their work to either restoring their data, if it is a cyber attack where they basically ransom your data, or there are many attacks now where they will simply impersonate someone in your organization and monitor your email thread. See how you’re communicating, see how you authorize payments, and then get in there and intercept something that looks like a regular communication, but actually diverts funds to someone else. And when a nonprofit loses the trust of their supporters because they lost their hard-earned money or their data, it’s really taxing on an organization.

[00:11:14.500] – Boris
2021 saw the highest average cost of a data breach in 17 years, with the cost rising from almost $3.8 almost $3.9 million to $4.24 million on an annual basis. That’s according to an IBM study. So this is a major threat. And if you think that it’s just big-data organizations or some large corporations that get packed and that get ransomed, it’s not the case. More and more cybercriminals really don’t care. All they care about is vulnerability. If they could make 100,000 from you versus a million from someone else, they’ll just target both. It really doesn’t matter to that. So there are definitely a lot more threats to be aware of.

[00:11:57.430] – Boris
We’ve also gone more mobile and more global, right? Mobile now accounts for 54% of web traffic worldwide. Your potential avatar, your potential heroes, are now everywhere around the world. They are global and they are accessible, which means that you need to be aware of where you’re communicating messages to, where people are seeing your messaging, how they’re responding to it. Of course, there’s some language issues, but there’s also issues of inclusivity, which is incredibly important, and I’ll mention that again. It also means that they’re bombarded with more content than ever before, because now everyone has gone online, everyone has tried to make things more mobile-friendly, more phone-friendly, and has tried to send notifications, text messages. WhatsApp messages, right? All of these emails, of course, to people’s phones. So we’re constantly now more than ever. And it’s almost redundant to say that because every year it seems to be more than ever, nobody sees any decline in the number of notifications and distractions that we’re all getting every year. So it’s just something to be aware of. And I’ll talk a little bit about how to mitigate that in a few minutes.

[00:13:13.410] – Boris
Number five, nothing specific to do with websites, although it does tie in, but there is MORE CRYPTO CRAZINESS, right? Crypto donations have skyrocketed. 45% of crypto owners donated $1,000 or more to charity in 2020, compared to one third of all investors. The numbers for 2021 aren’t fully in yet, but every indicator says that it has been an increase. For example, Crypto Giving Tuesday alone, which is done by the Giving Block, which I have a whole episode about. If you’re interested, you could check out on the website or on YouTube, wherever you consume this podcast, on your podcast players, of course, with Alex from the Giving Block, and they sponsor an event called Crypto Giving Tuesday. Obviously not Giving Tuesday itself, and they raised $2.4 million in that one day, which was a 583% increase from the year before. So clearly that is a growing field.

[00:14:13.230] – Boris
NFTs, Non-fungible Tokens are dominating headlines. If you haven’t heard about them, you’ve probably been trying to avoid them on purpose. A lot of people still don’t understand them, but essentially you could think of an NFT as a certificate of ownership or a ticket to something. So it is not an actual physical object, and it does not register a copyright or anything like that. But it identifies you as the rights holder to a particular object, and it could be a work of art, it could be a course, it could be anything that is digital or even physical. Sometimes NFTs really confer rights to something that’s physical out there. They are now a great way for artists to make money, for nonprofits to actually fundraise. And I’m happy to talk to you guys more about that, if anyone is interested. I’m getting heavier and heavier into this world of blockchain technology, because I think it’s going to really impact the social sector as well and it’s already really starting to.

[00:15:15.230] – Boris
All of that, cryptocurrency and NFTs are built on blockchains, and the blockchain is the foundation of what is being called Web 3. So, Web 1.0 was when anybody could put up a website, or most people could put up a website. Web 2.0 was when it wasn’t just a website, but it was bi-directional communication with social media apps and things like that. Now we’re moving to Web 3, which, if it works, will become a much more decentralized internet, a decentralized way of sharing information, of having access to certain things, including finance and including tickets and rights to things like NFTs confer.

[00:15:54.930] – Boris
But we’re really just at the beginning of what Web 3 can offer us based on blockchain technology, which hopefully will also add some security. But honestly, it’s probably going to open up new vulnerabilities as well. That’s just how technology works. But crypto is a new avatar, and I don’t mean Krypto like the dog that is in the Superman cartoons. Of course, I’m talking about cryptocurrency. It has spawned a new avatar. It’s millennials who are expressing elevated interest in both charitable giving, as we now know, and cryptocurrency investing. They are the largest group of cryptocurrency investors at the moment, and they feel a need to give back to social causes. So they are very much interested in organizations that will accept cryptocurrency in order to offset some of their gains in the realm of taxation by first donating to organizations that they care about. So something to very much be aware of.

[00:16:56.190] – Boris
So if those are the five things that you guys need to know about the state of things in 2022, let’s talk about five things that you should do in 2022 to respond to those and other elements of storytelling and technology currently evolving online.

[00:17:13.440] – Boris
The first is to STEP UP YOUR STORYTELLING. And by that, I mean with all the noise, you have to tell better stories and be sure that they’re targeted to the right avatars. Again, avatar is the term that I use for what other marketers will call target persona. But it’s really the hero that you want to activate for your cause. And your storytelling includes, of course, your organizational storytelling and program storytelling.

[00:17:39.530] – Boris
A lot of organizations have a tough time putting together their big-picture story, especially if they do many different things. And I can understand that it feels difficult, but it is absolutely critical again, on your homepage, for example, there has to be some representation of your overall organization in some sort of a storytelling form on your program pages. And whenever you’re communicating information about your programs, again, there needs to be a great story that will hook people in your target heroes. It’ll hook them in and drive them through your story, activate the hero inside of them, get them on that hero’s journey. You can also, in order to help with that, ramp up their individual stories. And that would be things like testimonials, videos, quotes, all of those things from your stakeholders and constituents, from your donors, from your board members.

[00:18:30.450] – Boris
All of these stories that will help people connect to you on a personal level, right? People don’t really connect to abstract organizations. Sure, you might have an affinity towards IBM or Nike or some big brand, but if you really want to connect with someone, that’s what you’re going to do. You’re much more likely to connect with a person than an idea of a company. So individual stories are huge right now and amp up your avatars.

[00:19:02.270] – Boris
So because we’re all being bombarded with messaging all the time, with the attempt to get our focus and our attention right, it’s a competition for eyeballs and time, if you will. You’ve got to be super, super specific about who your avatar is for each and every one of your programs at different stages. And maybe there’s a different avatar for your supporters that are donors versus supporters that are your volunteers. Right? Each of those could be different avatars, and they have entire worksheets on the different types of avatars that you can define. But you’ve got to be as specific as possible. You’ve got to really understand them as clearly as possible so that you could relate to them, and then they will relate to you. You’ve got to speak their language. You’ve got to talk to them about the things that they care about and not just your work. Right? You don’t want to come and talk to them and just preach about the great work that you’re doing. You want them to feel like they are heard and understood as well. And that’s the power of Web 2.0. It’s bi-directional communication. Web 3 is going to be even further, hopefully.

[00:20:14.490] – Boris
And of course, representation matters. I could have also put this as a big trend in 2021, but in 2022, more than ever again, I’m almost tired of using that phrase, but it’s so, so salient. Representation is critical. Diversity, equity, and inclusivity is really a must today. It not only helps people feel included, it also shows that you are someone, an organization that prioritizes inclusivity that wants everyone to feel welcome, not just the stock photo individuals that you might have had before on your website.

[00:20:55.000] – Boris
Oftentimes when I look for stock photography on websites, there’s a lot of great shots that some of them look very stock, if you will, and some of them look more natural. But more often than not, they’re frankly of white people, of blonde women, of white men. And that is really unfortunate because then others who don’t just fit into that one category will feel like you’re not really talking to them.

[00:21:23.820] – Boris
We always resonate best with people that we feel an affinity towards. Now, that doesn’t mean that all we ever see is race or ethnicity or gender. We do see other things, and we relate to people in many different ways. But the more you can vary up the types of imagery that you’re using, the types of stories that you’re sharing, the more you’re going to allow more people to feel included, to feel welcomed into the work that you’re doing. And then they will be much more likely to support you and help create a better world. And hopefully your better world includes a more diverse and accepting world where we’re all not just treated as equals, but feel like we are equals and have the capacity to do anything that we want to do based on our energy, our character. Of course, to use one of Dr. Martin Luther King’s most important words. So Diversity, equity, inclusivity. Take a look at your materials, take a look and see are you doing the best you can to make everyone feel welcome?

[00:22:33.510] – Boris
Number two, we talked earlier about the increase in cybercrime, STRENGTHEN YOUR SECURITY. More so than other types of businesses, nonprofits live and die on trust. As I’ve said, I’ve worked with organizations where that trust has been broken, sometimes through no fault of their own, often through no fault of their own, except that they let something slide and therefore something bad happened. And it takes a lot to regain the trust of supporters. Oftentimes you’re going to lose a lot of them. They’re going to either move on to another organization that’s doing similar work, or even worse, they might lose faith in the nonprofit system as a whole, feeling like they’re wasting their time and money. That’s the worst thing that we could do for the entire do-good community.

[00:23:23.250] – Boris
One of the things you could do, of course, is turn on multi-factor authentication. It’s not expensive. It is a pain in the butt. I agree. I have resisted in some cases from turning it on. I always have super secure passwords, but I have now converted everything to multi-factor authentication, certainly for my clients, but also for my own peace of mind with my own accounts. It’s absolutely vital today, any roadblocks that you can put in the way of a hacker is going to discourage them much more than just a random password or something that they might encounter less security on another account and therefore move on to them because they’re going to also try to take the path of these resistance.

[00:24:09.450] – Boris
Next, train your staff on protocols. As I said earlier, the weakest link in most technology security chains is actually human beings. We are not naturally predisposed to understanding cyber security. We’re not naturally predisposed to understanding security in general, but we can see it in the physical world, we know to lock our doors, at least most of us do in most communities, we know to hit the lock button on our cars as we’re walking away. But when it comes to cybersecurity, we don’t see it. It’s not as tangible and therefore real to us. But believe me, when you get hacked, if your Social Security gets hacked or if your organization’s website gets hacked, it becomes very real, very quick. So train your staff on protocols so that they know the best practices.

[00:25:00.390] – Boris
And as I mentioned earlier, passwords are still one of the weakest entry points. I cringe when I am working with clients and they send me credentials to log into something. And I see that it’s a very simple password, like their organization initials with the year that they’re working. Well, guess what? There are a lot of very smart AI bots that will go in and they will plug in thousands of combinations of keywords and dates and numbers in a second to try to get access. And if you happen to have a password that’s a combination of any of the most common terms that they know to try, you’re going to get hacked and you’re going to get hacked quickly and not even know it.

[00:25:52.730] – Boris
So most people don’t want to use very complex passwords. If you use a password manager and the one I use is KeePass, I’ll link to it in the show notes for this as well. It’s free, it’s open source, it’s very secure. All you have to do is remember one preferably very complicated password, and then it’ll generate for you all kinds of passwords. It’ll even let you keep them associated with specific websites. You can then click and it’ll open up the website for you. It’ll populate the username and password for you so you never have to even remember them. All you have to do is remember your one master password. I love KeePass. I’m not plugging it as this is the best tool out there. It’s the best tool for me. Anything though, is better than a spreadsheet or a piece of paper with your passwords on it. So use a password manager, whatever that might be.

[00:26:43.350] – Boris
Then, MOBILIFY YOUR MESSAGE. This is number three in five things to do. Okay? As I said before, your avatars are everywhere. Your stories reach them on their phones before anywhere else. So a few years ago it was all about mobile-friendly design, where you wanted your website to look good on a mobile device. But you were first using desktop to create the website and it looked best on website. Well, now, 54% I think of all internet traffic is on phones. Not only that, most discovery is on phones. So the first time that they’re going to find out about you or something that you want them to see is going to be scrolling through Facebook or LinkedIn or TikTok or whatever it might be on their phones. They’re going to click through hopefully, if you’re telling a great story and telling them something that they’re talking to them about something they’re interested in peaking their curiosity and they want to learn more. They’re going to click through. If they click through and reach a website that is not great looking on mobile, they’re going to say, oh, maybe I’ll come back when I’m on my computer later, or they’re just going to go back and forget about it. Either way, you’ve lost a potential hero. You’ve lost a potential action of support that you worked hard to get.

[00:28:00.790] – Boris
So today it really should be mobile first. Even if most of your donations still come on desktop and they do. Today, still, most donations come through desktop. That might be because it’s still too difficult to donate on mobile. So think about what you can do to make that mobile experience easier. Design for mobile first.

[00:28:19.870] – Boris
And in line with video and mobile, create vertical video. So I am a recovering actor and filmmaker. I’ve always been taught make landscape 16 by 9 is the standard high definition aspect ratio make landscape video and I still do. This episode right now is being filmed in landscape in 16 by 9 format. However, on social media, I’m then going to reformat some of this video into vertical , into square so that I could put it on Instagram and some other platforms, Facebook, even where people are going to be able to consume it in a more mobile-friendly format. You can, though, go straight to vertical video at this point, if your messaging is more personal and direct, you can just start on TikTok or start on Instagram video and get your message recorded there, and then adapt it for other platforms from there. So really think about vertical video as your—if not primary, then a secondary must for your work.

[00:29:27.690] – Boris
Number four, SIMPLIFY SUPPORT. So I still unfortunately see a lot of organizations limiting the experience, limiting the ways that I can support them. For example, you might not be accepting cryptocurrency still, you might require people to jump through several hoops to fill out a lot of information. Make it as simple as possible. The donor is always right, so let them support you however they want, when they want, from whatever device they want. Right? We’re on mobile first. Make it as easy as possible to click a button, and all the other elements are filled in for you as easily as possible for the donor, so that they could take action quickly, or team up with a platform that will let you do it in a very simple way. Even text-to-give that is still working today.

[00:30:17.750] – Boris
So be as accessible from a supporter perspective as possible. Remove all friction. Take out any additional steps that people have to make that are not absolutely necessary. It’s much better to follow up with somebody afterwards than to ask them too many questions and lose their information beforehand. Lose their donation beforehand.

[00:30:40.620] – Boris
There is a common now known aspect of psychology that comes from behavioral economics and behavioral science as a whole that the best way to get somebody to take action is not actually to reward them for it or to threaten them into doing it, but it’s actually to remove as much friction as possible so that they are defaulted into it. So assuming they don’t object to it, they will just do it. This has been incredibly helpful in all kinds of situations. Governments have adopted this strategy. Employers have adopted this strategy to get people to save more money so it can really be used for good. And I encourage you guys to do as much of that as possible. Look at what are the roadblocks or hurdles that people are facing before they can take the actions that we want them to take and remove as much as possible and reassure with social proof.

[00:31:32.810] – Boris
Again, there’s a lot of noise out there. There’s a lot of scams out there today, right? People are spamming us with all kinds of offers, and they’re attempting to not just get our attention, but also to trick us. So one way to help reassure people is with social proof, which is in the forms of testimonials, which is in the forms of accreditations that you might have awards that you may have won. Make sure that those are, if not front and center, at least just off to the side, so that if you’ve got my attention, I’m reading the story. I’m following along. I can then see, oh, there’s someone who has done this before me, meaning another supporter or another client perhaps, who has gone through this process and become a hero with the help of the work that this organization, your organization is doing. So reassure me with as much social proof as you can.

[00:32:21.610] – Boris
And as I said earlier, accommodate cryptocurrency. It’s not that difficult today. As I mentioned before, The Giving Block is a great company that’s making this as easy as possible. You don’t need to use them. There are plenty of other ways that you could do it, including just setting up your own wallets. It requires a little more technical knowledge, but honestly, it’s not that difficult. You can do it and then start accepting donations directly and addressing them like you would any other donation of stock or similar assets. It’s not considered a financial donation at this point, because cryptocurrency is considered an investment vehicle right now.

[00:33:01.590] – Boris
And then CREATE MORE CALLS TO ACTION. Give your audience more opportunities to become heroes for your cause. This is the fifth and final thing that I have to say you need to be doing on your website and really everywhere but on your website in 2022. The number one place where you’re going to convert your avatars into heroes is your website. Because there’s fewest distractions, there are fewer things tugging at them in different directions. You have the best chance of telling your best narrative and giving them value before they even think about donating, before you even ask them to donate or take some kind of action.

[00:33:37.830] – Boris
So you’ve done all the work to drive them to your website. Now give them as many opportunities as possible to become heroes for your cause. And by that, I don’t mean overwhelming them. Don’t give them a million different options. Give them one, two, three at most options, but do it frequently on all kinds of pages. Every piece of content you put out, every website page or blog post should have a call to action. That is the next logical step for a potential or even an existing supporter to take once they’ve consumed that content, resonated with that story in one way or another, felt indebted to you for giving them that opportunity and sharing that story with them. Now invite them to action and do it everywhere. As I said, on every single post that you have, on every single piece of content you put out, on social media, there should be some sort of a next step they should take. Now, that doesn’t mean that every photo you share should say now donate. But it should offer a way for people to learn more to dive deeper into the story if possible.

[00:34:39.790] – Boris
And then, of course, make it easy. Remove that friction. Remove all kinds of psychological friction where people have to think about, oh, do I want to do this or not? Is it too much work right now? Should I come back to it later? Make it easy psychologically, make it easy physically and chronologically timewise, as streamlined as possible. Those are the five things that you really need to do for your nonprofit website in 2022. I hope you enjoyed that part of it, the presentation.

[00:35:14.570] – Boris
There is one last thing that I do want to talk about, which is the NYU course that I’m starting in just a couple of weeks now, February 2nd through March 9th. We’re going to meet once a week. There will be some homework. It’s not going to be too crazy. But by the end, you’re going to learn how to create a complete website strategy, including formulating your goals, your calls to action, and your key performance indicators, your KPI, how you’re going to measure your success. That’s one of the aspects that we’re going to focus on.

[00:35:42.980] – Boris
Another is going to be creating your target hero avatars and user journeys. We’re going to really dig into how to identify your ideal heroes and in a way that’s going to resonate with them, that they’re going to want to take action, that they’re going to raise their hands, and then we’re going to guide them down their hero’s journey, which is a user journey in technology, we all call it that on apps and websites.

[00:36:08.150] – Boris
So how we’re going to guide them through that process, that journey to becoming a hero in their own world and of course, in the mission of your organization, we’re going to talk about the hero page framework for all kinds of landing pages. This is a framework that I developed adapting storytelling structure specifically to nonprofit website landing pages, how to get that attention quickly so that they’re not going to jump off within 15 seconds, how to then get them engaged and working down that page and taking the actions that you need them to take.

[00:36:42.770] – Boris
We’re going to talk about and formulate your organizational storytelling Hollywood story framework. And by that I mean, how do we figure out that big picture from your mission to your work, including all of the different things that you do if you do more than one thing or if you’re planning on expanding or if you’re just doing the one thing, what’s the big picture story and how do we tell it in a way that still resonates with our individual avatars? Right? You can’t talk company to person. You’ve got to speak somehow on a direct storytelling, personal level narrative.

[00:37:20.310] – Boris
We’re going to create home page storytelling wireframes and donate page storytelling wireframes. So you don’t have to be a designer. You don’t have to be a web developer to take this course and to learn a lot from it. In fact, this is really targeted for people who are in development, in communications, in marketing that don’t necessarily have those IT skills. If you do have them, great. It’s going to take you to a whole other level. But regardless of where you are right now in your journey as a communications or fundraising professional, we’re going to raise you to that next level of storyteller across digital media and websites specifically.

[00:37:59.140] – Boris
So we’re going to create wireframes. I’m going to teach you guys how to do that. And those wireframes will basically lay out what’s going to be on the page without worrying too much of a design. And then you’re going to be able to handle those wireframes to whomever is building your website or implement them on website builders like WordPress or Squarespace or whatever it is that you’re using.

[00:38:20.130] – Boris
And then we’re going to finally create a website sitemap. And this is not necessarily in order how we’re going to do it in the class, but we’re going to figure out what the entire site structure looks like, what the point of each page is going to be, and how that works with SEO, how we’re going to describe each of the pages. All of that is going to be in at least one of the projects that you’re going to be doing.

[00:38:43.690] – Boris
By the end of the course, by March 9th, you’re going to have a strategic plan for a nonprofit website. Whether you’re currently working with an organization and want to work on their site, or you are considering working with an organization, or you just want to go out on your own and start doing some of this kind of work, you’re going to have a finished presentation that you can take to an organizational leadership, which could be, again, yours or another organization, or you could even make up an organization that you want to be doing this for. And by the end, have a clear roadmap to how to tell your story on your website that you could hand off, like I said, to a professional website development shop or agency, or do it on your own with the skills and tools that you have. That’s it. That’s the entire pitch for the course.

[00:39:34.100] – Boris
If you’re interested, you can go to, New York University, and that will redirect you actually directly to NYU’s page, where you can learn more about the program and enroll, if you wish.

[00:39:49.650] – Boris
On the screen right now, for those of you watching, is the QR code to take you to that page. If you are not watching right now, and are listening on your podcast, thank you again for spending your time with me today. You can head over to NPHF standing Nonprofit Hero Factory to get all of these show notes and all of these links right on the screen and make it easy for you to, of course, take action on all the things that we’re talking about today. Let me stop sharing my screen and thank you again for joining me today for this special episode.

[00:40:28.630] – Boris
I hope you learned some things, some practical tips and advice on what you can do with your organization’s website this coming year to take advantage of the trends and what’s happening out there in the world so that you can better tell your stories, communicate with your ideal avatars and of course, get them to take the actions you need to become heroes for your cause and create a better world for all of us. We’ll be back next week with another guest that’s going to share their knowledge on how to do better.

[00:40:59.350] – Boris
I believe next week we’re going to be talking about email onboarding sequences actually, that’s what we’ve got planned. So be sure to tune in for that one. It’s a very important topic. Until then, thank you again for joining me. If you like this show, please, please, please this is my call to action for you. Leave us a review on iTunes or your favorite platform or wherever you’re consuming this content so that more nonprofit professionals can discover this show and learn from experts not just me, of course on how they can do more and have a greater impact on the world. Bye bye, everybody.

[00:41:36.690] – Outro Video
Thank you all for watching and listening to the Nonprofit Hero Factory. We hope this episode has given you some ideas and strategies for creating more heroes for your cause and a better world for all of us. Please be sure to subscribe to this show on YouTube, Facebook, iTunes Spotify or your favorite podcast platform and let us know what you think by leaving a review.

Concepts and Takeaways:

Top trends to consider from 2021

  • More noise when everyone shifted everything online (2:41)
    • Social Media
      • Over 160 million businesses use Facebook
      • 93% marketers use Facebook Ads
      • Cost per Action (CPA)’s average is $18.68
      • Average click-through rate is 0.9%
    • Podcasts – 850,00 active podcasters and over 48 million episodes
    • Events – Virtual events increased by 35%
    • Video – YouTube has over 500 hours of video uploads every minute
  • More Websites, more content (6:11)
    • 200 million active websites
    • 56.5 billion web pages indexed through Google
    • WordPress – market share continues to grow. Now 41% of all websites.
    • 75% consumers judges company credibility based on their website
  • More threats – as more things have gone online, security efforts haven’t kept up. And nonprofits are in a particularly vulnerable spot. (9:30)
    • More remote work > More online access > More vulnerabilities
    • The biggest weakness in most technology systems is people.
    • Phishing attacks are on the rise, as is the cost of a data breach
    • Highest cost of data breach in 17 years
  • More Mobile + More Global (11:57)
    • 54% of web traffic is from mobile devices
    • Your potential hero is global and easily accessible on their devices
    • More distractions and more competition for attention
  • More Crypto Craziness (13:13)
    • Crypto donations have skyrocketed
    • NFTs are dominating headlines
    • Web3 is coming
    • Crypto donors are a new avatar who wants to give back

5 Things To Do in 2022

  • Step up your storytelling. With all the noise out there, it’s increasingly critical to be able to communicate your message quickly and effectively. This includes your big-picture storytelling and your individual storytelling, and it all starts with really clearly defining or updating your avatars. (17:13)
    • People don’t connect to abstract organizations, they connect with other people.
  • Strengthen security. Nonprofits live and die on trust. Once lost, the trust of your supporters can be impossible to regain. And if you lose their money to a cyber criminal, it’s twice as challenging. (22:33)
    • Turn multi-factor authentication
    • Train your staff
    • Use password managers
  • Mobilify your message. Your avatar is everywhere and they’re on their phones. So think mobile first. Design for mobile and tell your stories in mobile-native formats, like vertical video. (26:41)
  • Simplify Support. Make it as easy as possible to support you in the donor’s preferred method—including cryptocurrency. And bring in social proof to reassure people that they’re making the right choice. (29:27)
  • Create more calls to action. Don’t make people guess what you want them to do. Give them every opportunity to become a hero, and make it clear how. (33:01)

Action Steps: What Now?

About this week’s guest

Boris Kievsky

Boris Kievsky

Chief Storyteller and Nerd for Good at dotOrgStrategy

Boris is an entrepreneur, recovering filmmaker, and relapsed geek. As the the Chief Storyteller and Nerd for Good at dotOrgStrategy, Boris helps nonprofits harness the power of great stories amplified through the right technology to reach the right audiences, create meaningful connections, and activate the inner hero in each of them.

Connect with Boris Kievsky