Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Web site layout becoming commonplace

As the whole idea of technology-related nonprofit operation becomes commonplace, more thought is given to making the best use of what is available.

Nonprofit executives attending a recent national nonprofit conference learned that many organizations are finding a degree of success by employing certain strategies for the layout and presentation of their Web sites. They are shared by many of the organizations whose sites were rated in the Top 10 by either Forbes or The NonProfit Times.

Among the common characteristics:

  • Nine out of 10 positioned their logo in the upper left-hand corner. It is the expected location. Further, logo placement should be consistent and link back to the homepage.
  • Seven out of 10 use mastheads at the top of their homepage. This separates the core components to a site (Who, What, Where, Why).
  • 80 percent positioned their search in the upper right-hand corner.
  • 60 percent of the sites used a three-column grid format.
  • 70 percent of the sites used a sidebar for simple navigation.
  • 33 percent of the sites utilized Macromedia Flash.
  • 30 percent of the sites incorporated streaming video.
  • 40 percent of the sites used dropdown menus.
  • 10 percent of the sites used pop-ups.
  • 50 percent of the sites had a graph image that made eye contact with the viewer.
  • Almost all built their text from html rather than a graphic.
  • The best performers used multiple areas on the page for “Donate” or “Sponsor.”

Complex Executive Searches Take Different Directions

The complexities of an executive search sometimes reveal an unexpected direction that a nonprofit must take to effectively fill its leadership needs.

In its December issue of “Leadership Matters” Bridgestar features a case study of the search process for a chief operating officer (COO) at Fellowship Health Resources (FHR), a Rhode Island-based mental health services agency.

Here are five elements of the process:

  • Look at the search process strategically. Evaluate your organization’s growth and senior management needs. Consider the type of structure and the types of leaders you need.
  • Consider all candidates. Even if an organization has strong internal candidates, it’s important to open the search to a broader group. Vet internal candidates as carefully as you would external ones.
  • Have an open mind and be ready to shift your thinking. Many organizations mistakenly believe that the job requirements they determine at the beginning of the search are set in stone. As hiring managers meet candidates, they gain additional insight into the needs of the organization, the right fit for their culture and the important requirements for the position.
  • Have realistic expectations. The initial COO job description included a daunting list of required skills, as well as the expectation that the candidate would split time between the mid-Atlantic region and New England.
  • Reflect on the qualities of hires that worked and those that didn’t. The driving requirement for the search became finding a candidate who would thrive in FHR’s hands-on organizational culture and who really understood the nature of FHR’s business.

This article is from NPT Weekly, a publication of The NonProfit Times.
Subscribe to The NPT Weekly eNewsletter or any of our other enewsletters and get the latest news and ideas related to fundraising delivered to your inbox.