Think website – a new website for international development charity Sound Seekers
I recently produced a new website for international development charity Sound Seekers www.sound-seekers.org.uk with Lara Davis a marketing communications specialist for the charity sector. Lara tells us why its so important that charities make the most of this communications channel to reach their audiences.
Sound Seekers is an international development charity that’s been around since 1959. It delivers practical solutions to help deaf people earn and learn in some of the poorest communities in the developing world. The charity currently delivers partnership projects in five African countries.
Sound Seekers needs to reach and engage a wide range of audiences including UK audiologists and ENT professionals for volunteer placements in its projects in Africa, individual fundraisers to join its challenge events, potential corporate and charitable trust funders amongst others but it’s existing website wasn’t working hard enough.
Sound Seekers wanted a new website which reflected its reworked vision, mission and values, and that would tell its story in an engaging and persuasive way to potential volunteers and supporters.
Limitations of existing website
An audit of the existing website (below) was first carried out to identify strengths and weaknesses. It was outdated in design and not making enough use of human interest stories. Content was rarely updated because publishing wasn’t managed in-house, and the charity’s external communications, including social media which it was using well, seldom directed followers to its website content – missed opportunities to educate people more about the charity and how they could help.
A new WordPress website
Drawing on the website audit and making use of the charity’s new vision, mission and values statements, we developed a WordPress site that made it clearer what the charity does, where it works, how it works in partnership and most importantly, the significant impacts it makes on its beneficiaries – something that was lacking from the existing site. All decisions about design and content were made with raising funds and recruiting volunteers as the main objectives.
Sound Seekers has a great photo and video bank and these were mined for images that closely supported the new way in which the charity was describing itself. The charity’s blue and yellow brand were adopted throughout the site. The look and feel developed was very much clean design with white space, short paragraphs of accessible content accompanied by engaging imagery and stories.
Web publishing with confidence
With no dedicated communications staff, there were concerns about the amount of time needed to update the site and keep it fresh. We provided on site Word Press training and supplied a custom-made video as a reminder. Sound Seekers receives lots of great news from its projects, volunteers and beneficiaries that they can share and these can to really bring the charity’s work to life, so we identified where quick changes could be made to help maximize search engine optimization.
In terms of growing content and maximizing your website as a key communications channel, my overriding message is THINK WEBSITE! Don’t forget all about your site once it goes live. Adding a short blog post, updating a home page photo or making sure social media posts have backlinks to your site content don’t take long. They can however make all the difference when it comes to your charity coming up higher on a search ….and helping to secure much needed funds or volunteers for your charity above another.