One of the hardest-working but most underrated pages of any nonprofit website is the "Contact Us" page. It hangs in the background, behind more glamorous pages, ready to offer the most basic but essential of information about an organization
What makes an effective Contact Us page
It should answer two key questions: How people can contact your nonprofit and why they should want to contact your nonprofit. Here are some key tips on how to address those questions.
What information to include
Many organizations wonder how much contact information they should share. For example, is a land-line phone number enough or should you include a cellphone number? What about publishing the street address of your home office? Here are specifics.
- Always list a physical address or (snail) mailing address. Often suggest they’re reachable only online-that is, they have an email address and that’s all you need to know. Even if you don’t have an office where supporters or constituents can visit you directly, there are likely service providers, vendors, and others who should know your physical location. By listing a phone and physical address, you also appear more legitimate as a real organization.
Beyond that, many people prefer support local organizations and look online for causes in their region. The opportunity to secure local supporters who can attend events, volunteer and drop off donations makes it worthwhile.
- List all appropriate phone numbers. At the very least, list your main line and a fax number. Consider including any alternate numbers (such as for departments), and a cellphone number if you feel comfortable doing so. Also, mention where and how someone can leave a voicemail message for you after hours. Not listing a phone number at all suggests you’re understaffed or not customer friendly.
- List at least one email address that is checked regularly. Yes, you may get spam. But email communication is an expectation, and is a convenient way for supporters to reach your organization after hours. Your email address should be clickable so that users can instantly open the link in their own email programs to send you a message. Creating an email link is similar to creating a URL link; simply replace "http://www.anycause.org" with "mailto:[email protected]"
- Use an embedded email submission form if necessary. Website email forms can be ponderous, particularly if one simply needs to ask a question. But a form may be necessary if your organization needs information for taking assistance requests, or collects subscriber information for newsletters or white papers.
- Include a photo of your organization’s location and/or directions. These are much less important if you don’t have a physical office or a reason for constituents to visit. Even so, directions are worthwhile if service providers and vendors are likely to need them. If your organization depends on getting people to visit (such as for regular events, donation drop-off, etc.), you may want to consider a separate "Directions" page. A picture of your signage may help some people find you more easily.
- Link to your blog or social media profiles. "Contact Us" means being reachable through all channels. If you write a blog related to your cause, or have a LinkedIn or Facebook page that you’d like to expose to customers and prospects, include links to them.
- List events you attend or promote. If you are active in events in your community, and would like to meet supporters and constituents through them, list information and links about the upcoming events along with your role. This is a smart way to market your organization and mission. The downside: Your Contact Us page will require more frequent upkeep.
Guide people on why they should contact you, without a lot of verbiage
- Offer simple instructions on using your contact information. Example: "Please call us or email us to arrange a, or visit our warehouse to ." Another: "Call us for a free consultation."
- Provide related page links for more information. Where appropriate, include links to your programs and giving pages, customer service or technical support, your newsletter sign-up page, and/or your FAQ page. Example: "To learn more about industry news and trends, sign up for our monthly newsletter."
- Use images only if they add editorial value. A photo of your staff or your office may add warmth and personality, as well as help customers locate your business. But clip art of a telephone or a mailbox adds no value.
- Make it easy to find and skim. List your Contact Us page prominently in your site navigation, and include it in your email communication.
This adapted article is reprinted with permission from Microsoft Office Live Small Business and the E-WRITE Bulletin.