10 Things Your Community Action Agency Website Needs
Every business needs an effective website, but what makes a Community Action Agency’s (CAA) website different? I have compiled the top 10 things your community action agency website needs.
We all know CAAs help people to help themselves to achieve self-sufficiency. A CAA website needs to help support that mission and make it easy for those in need of your services to connect with you.
Here’s the top 10 things a Community Action Agency website needs:
Clean, organized home page
When designing your home page, think of your users first and search engines second. This means, make sure your main areas of your site are in the main site navigation and may also have callouts on your home page.
Multi-Column Drop Down Navigation
CAAs offer a lot of services and programs and should consider a multi-column drop down menu to help organize their programs or services. With a multi-column menu, you can add headings to group the links, making it easier for clients to find what they are looking for. A multi-column menu has more options than a typical drop-down menu, you can add icons, a login form or pictures to help direct users to different parts of your site.
Get Help Online Form
In order to connect people to your programs and services, you need to ask what they need help with. A get help form should allow clients to select which type of assistance they need. It’s important to make sure this option allows for multiple selections as your clients may need assistance with multiple programs and services.
Based on their selection you can ask additional questions regarding that program with conditional fields. Conditional fields show once a selection is made. So if your user selects “housing” as their need for assistance, you can then ask specific housing questions such as “what is your current housing situation”, “do you need energy assistance”, “do you live in safe, affordable housing”, etc. These fields will only show if housing is selected and won’t need to be completed by the user if housing is not selected. This allows your agency to gather as much information up front to help assess a person’s needs. In addition, the user only has to fill out the questions that pertain to their needs. It’s a win-win for all!
It’s obvious that CAA’s need to have their programs/services listed on their site, but what should you include for these pages? An effective CAA program/service page should be able to answer a user’s questions all in one spot, such as:
- What is the program/service about?
- What is the eligibility of the program?
- Who should I contact if I have questions about that program (name, phone, email)?
- If the program has a location, where it is?
- Are there any upcoming news or events for the program/service?
In addition, your page may include:
Online Calendar and Event Registration
Connecting a user to your CAA programs needs to be as easy as possible. The best way to do this is to allow online registration for events and programs through an online calendar. The calendar can be used by all your programs and be color-coded by categories to help users find what they are looking for.
CAA’s can’t run without a great staff and volunteers. Your website should make it easy for volunteers to find opportunities and sign up online. If your CAA is large and has a lot of volunteer opportunities, you may want to consider a volunteer software such as Volunteer Hub. Volunteer Hub allows you to create events with individual volunteer jobs and the ability to limit the amount of volunteer for each job. In addition, they can sign up right through the website.
A CAA’s client testimonial can be a very powerful thing as it gives you value to your organization. The importance of social proof is growing online and users are looking for testimonials before they try anything online or in person. In fact, 78% of online users say they trust online reviews just as much as they do recommendations from acquaintances. It’s really nice to have these testimonials on your home page rotating for your users to easily find.
Map of Program Locations
A Google map of all your locations is a great way for users to find you. Some maps allow you to set categories based on program types as well. Each ping should open with more information about the location, such as the address, phone, contact person’s name and email address.
All CAA’s accept donations and an online form makes it easier for users to donate. The donation form should allow users to submit one-time or monthly donations and designate where they want they want the gift to go to.
If you have a donation form, you need to have a payment gateway and PayPal is a great option as they offer lower rates for nonprofits.
Responsive Design (BONUS!)
A term used by web designers that means your website will change its design to a stackable layout for a mobile and tablet layout. Mobile responsive is a must for all websites because it’s recommended by Google, you only have one website and there are many devices and it makes it easier for you to manage if your site is responsive.