A friend of mine posted something from Hallelu on facebook. I was interested. This is an organization I could work with, but it needs some help, at least from where I am looking.
So, in the hope that I can help more than just the folks at Hallelu, here's what I shared:
I like your mission, but I don't think your website is well designed to support it.
For a bit of background, one of my areas of specialty is conversion rate optimization (which is designing websites that cause your visitor to engage with and takes the actions that would best support your mission).
Some things I'd try if I were you include:
- Making sure your pages display in English for people opening it in English speaking countries. It seems to do this to some extent (at least it did in my Google incognito window), but when I press the logo from the English side, I am taken back to the Hebrew side. Also, if I've chosen English in my browser (I'm in Israel) and then I press the homepage link, I end up with Hebrew again.
- Leading with benefits. I understand your mission, as does everyone with half a brain when they get to your site. But understanding your mission isn't all that needs to be present for me to open my wallet. You want to reach in and let people know what's in it for them. Instead of me suggesting language here, it would make sense to survey your donors and see what lit them up and caused them to donate. It could be they have family here. It could be that they have business interests. It could be that they're scared, and you can help to ease their pain.
- Create a sense of Urgency. Make it appealing to act now. Indicate the opportunities to make a difference. Let people sponsor certain efforts.
- Maybe I don't want to give just to give, but if you ask me to sponsor an internship or research fellow, I might want to. Knowing your audience helps you ask for the right things.
- Provide social proof. You aim to be a blanket organization. Who are your sisters and brothers? How does your existence help the overall picture? What you want here is some words from your partners indicating the difference you make.
- If getting partners is just an idea, then make it a reality. Two that come immediately to mind are Fuel For Truth and MEMRI. If you could help MEMRI to put its videos in front of more people, or provide a constant source of news and talking points for FFT, you add value, and they might consider working with you.
- Giving people an opportunity to help build your organization. People are more willing to engage with something they have helped to build. Give them an e-mail address (firstname.lastname@example.org) or facebook page where they can post to you items of interest. This also lets them form a community around your organization, again raising the chances they'll contribute and “Join Us.”
Now the thing you must do:
Build an e-mail list. You have no clear opt-in and your asks are way too big.
Your Join Us page doesn't give me an opportunity to do that. There's a contact us form. Why would I want to contact you? You want to contact me. You should have an opt-in here to your e-mail list, and should let people know what they will get (a monthly newsletter?, updates?, access to statistics?), and as you build this list and want to get even more advanced, you will let them choose the types of updates they want.
I'd even offer an opt-in bribe, maybe an Israel fact sheet they can download, or a set of talking points that they can use when facing the other sides propaganda. Maybe the next step from there is the Israel Hasbara Factbook(updated periodically), free with your $5 a month donation.
But most important, ask your target audience what they are interested in, and give them that. And maybe they want to do some of the work you want to do, and then you won't have to pay to get it done.
My point here is that if you build a relationship, and a history of donation it will be easier to get money, in kind donations, and volunteers moving forward.
I'm also a lawyer (New York and Connecticut) who has done some work with non-profits. Depending on what you do and how you do it, there's a decent chance that you could give people the opportunity to make tax deductible donations in the United States, though it's not crystal clear from your statements of mission (political activity is problematic, lobbying less so, education easy). This, of course would be a matter of further consultation, and the creation of the appropriate organization, with all that entails.
Anyway, we should really be in touch to see what we can do to leverage your efforts to make the most impact. To get in touch with me, just hit the button below.