Does Your Website Pay Respect To Your Mission?

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In college, I worked for a manufacturer of high quality audio cables. During the process of designing packaging for new products, the company's CEO always had the same question for the marketing team. "Does the packaging pay respect to the product?"

He was really saying "our engineering team spent months or years developing this amazing product. Make sure the package - the source of a customer's first impression - reflects that same level of quality."

It's no accident that at Tiffany & Co. those expensive rings are gently resting in little blue boxes, just as elegant as the diamonds they are protecting. How would you feel about the quality of their jewelry if it were displayed in plastic bags, hung sloppily on a pegboard wall?

As a nonprofit, the work you do is the product, and your website is the packaging.

Your organization does amazing work, and passionate people have spent years developing its services into the best they can be. That should speak for itself, but often doesn't.

Your website (and everything else that displays your organization's logo, all the way down to letterhead and business cards) must pay respect to your mission. This topic is worth another 10,000 words, but in a nutshell: Start with a beautiful, engaging website and consistent branding guidelines, and each time you add a page, photo, or sentence, ask yourself if your new work stands up to what has already been created. When it doesn't -- but you've done the best you can -- find a volunteer or professional to do the job the right way. You must be just as proud of your website as the work you do.

So, I'll ask you again. Does your website pay respect to your mission?

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