When developing a website, there are so many different things to consider. From content to functionality to design, there is a lot that must be decided and a lot that can be overlooked. Membership-driven organizations have an additional level of complexity. How do you handle subscriptions? Who gets to see what? How do you engage members as well as potential members? What website design elements will work best for your membership?
So what are the top considerations you must make when developing a website for a membership-driven organization? I’ve broken it down into three categories:
Your website will not operate in a vacuum. You have members, which means you will want to email them at some point, enable them to sign up for events, collect donations and definitely keep your member profile information up to date. And you’re probably already paying to have systems outside of your organization handle a lot of these tasks. If you integrate third-party systems into your website, you will make it easier for your internal staff and your members to manage what they need to.
Look for ways to automate your business processes. This goes hand in hand with the integration of third-party systems. Will members be filling out forms on your website to donate or purchase subscriptions? Automatically get that information into your financial or constituent/member management systems. Will you be bringing print content online? Don’t spend hundreds of hours manually copying and pasting. Get your staff to do high-value tasks instead.
Member engagement can be supported on multiple levels, including:
Engagement is an ongoing task and key to it is keeping your content fresh and adding new information to your site frequently. While in development, make sure that an end goal is for your WYSIWYG to be easy enough for your staff to use and that you have the permissions you need to update your content. The last thing you want is to have to wait days for a new blog post to be made live because you can’t add content yourself.
These tips will help you to get your website working hard for you and your membership. If you have additional questions, we're always happy to talk to you about the needs of your organization - please contact us or leave a comment below.
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