Competitive Analysis: Social Media For Nonprofits
Competitive Analysis: Social Media for Nonprofit Websites
For my final project I have decided to develop a website that serves as a proposal or marketing plan of sorts for nonprofit organizations specifically looking to increase HIV/AIDS awareness through various methods of social production. This website will essentially have all the functions of a blog, but I wanted to make sure that I was designing the most effective format for this type of information so I decided to analyze three other sites that would be considered my “competitors.”
Name: About.com: Nonprofit Charitable Orgs
Intended audience: Nonprofit Organizations
I chose to analyze this website because I thought it was a perfect example of what a blog style site would look like without any imagery or visual aids to illustrate the information being displayed.
Pros: This site is full of great information, and the author does a good job separating the various bullet points using bold titles and a numbered list so that it is easy for the reader to navigate through the information. This About.com website is also successful because it has a great search engine ranking along with links to similar sites where the read can “learn more.” In addition, it offers a small video section for extra media content.
Cons: I really felt it this site would have been a much more effective if it had at least one image to break up the text, in my opinion it is definitely lacking in aesthetic stimulation. The colors are neutral grays and creams and the design really doesn’t pop anywhere on the screen. While it does have video links, they are not related whatsoever to the social media/nonprofit realm, and the only images we do see on the page (besides the top logo) are advertising links and banners. What astonished me about this website is that although its content focuses on social media marketing, there is no way to connect with the author; nor are there any links to social media pages to supplement the information.
Overall: This site has great info, but the design needs some aesthetic work.
Name: Beth’s Blog: How Nonprofit Organizations Can Use Social Media to Power Social Networks for Change.
Intended audience: Nonprofit Organizations, Social Networkers
I am analyzing Beth’s Blog because it is a great example of how a blog site can be utilized for more than just commentary, but also as an informative instructional resource. Since I will be building my site with WordPress I felt like it was only appropriate to analyze a typical blog format.
Pros: Pictures. While Beth’s design is simple and clean the first thing the eye sees when opening her page is the image, in the case of the link provided here the image is of a small girls writing her ABCs on a chalkboard. Beth draws upon methodologies utilizing pathos and ethos in her design rhetoric to draw the viewer in, making him/her want to learn more about the cause. In addition, the content is easy to navigate as there is only one small menu bar on the left side of the page with links to learn more about Beth and connect with her via Facebook. I also like the fact that it has a field to sign up for an RSS feed for the blog, an excellent marketing tool for Beth as well as a benefit to the consumer who would like to have such updated content streaming to his/her own site. She also has a link to Twitter and illustrates examples of how social media can and has aided nonprofit organizations. Numbers are convincing and Beth isn’t afraid to display them proudly. In addition, there is a list of donors on the page via their Facebook profiles giving them notoriety and allowing the various members with a place to link up with one another since they apparently share a passion for the cause. Another excellent design choice was the donate button embedded into the blog itself which is about as easy as it gets when it comes to donating online.
Cons: While I really liked this site I felt that a menu bar at the top of the page could have helped navigation a great deal. Because this site is structured like a typical blog it does not provide anywhere to see Beth’s other posts without scrolling through the information. If she had each topic separated at the top of the screen accordingly with links I think it would make the information structure much more effective.
Overall: Beth’s Blog has great information, great use of social media and imagery, but could use some navigation work.
Name: The Case Foundation: Gear up for Giving.
Intended audience: Nonprofit Organizations, Social Networkers
I decided to analyze the Gear up for Giving website because unlike the other two it is structured more like a typical website that facilitates blog posts. I thought it would be a great contrast to the other standard blog style sites.
Pros: Gear up for Giving uses a clean design with pale colors to accent the various sections of information displayed. The top of the page features a user-friendly menu bar to guide the viewer. In addition, the Case Foundation utilizes various forms of media to keep the viewer interested. As we are well aware, people don’t want to read when they go to a webpage. The application of video (especially the muppet-style video featured here) engages the viewer and makes him/her want to learn more about the organization and the information available. The content itself on the website is excellent. It features Q & A sections as well as a blog that seems to be updated periodically to keep the site fresh. In addition, this website features a section specifically reserved for connecting via various social media websites and also provides the user with the ability to sign up for an RSS feed for his/her own web content. As you scroll down the page the information is separated by links which are also separated by categories. There is no getting lost here what you see is what you get and I really like that about the structure of this website. While some may think that all of these links are what we at my job call “Barney Style” I don’t think you can ever make navigation TOO SIMPLE.
Cons: I really liked the site but think that the designer should have kept the opening screen in mind when placing certain elements. For example, I love the social media link section with the corresponding icons, but I think it would have been more effective if these icons were visible in the opening screen. You have to scroll down the page to get to them, and that is assuming that the viewer is going to actually READ the content before moving on to the next site. In addition, I think drop down menus would have been more effective in the menu bar because there is so much information and so many links at the bottom of the page they could go unnoticed without a menu bar pointing to the fact that they exist out of the initial line of site.
Overall: I loved this page; it was my favorite of the three because it combined standard website elements with the benefits of blog elements.