Did you know one of the most visited pages on your website is your About page? (Go ahead and check your web analytics. Then come back here after seeing that your About page gets lots of views!)
An About page is so important because it’s the place your visitors go to learn about your organization more deeply. There, visitors might make the critical decision of whether or not your organization is worthy of their attention.
This blog post will focus on developing the perfect About page. You’ll learn critical About page elements to make your organization shine. Additionally, I will give examples of nonprofits doing each element brilliantly.
Lately, I’ve been reviewing my own organization’s website and wondering how I can take our About page to the next level. I want to make a lasting impression on visitors of the website. And I know that the About page is a tool for us to show what makes our nonprofit unique and valuable. (My About page on this blog could use a little sprucing up, too!)
So, I’ve been scouring nonprofits’ sites to find elements that make a perfect about page. I’ll share them with you here.
Before creating the perfect about page…
Keep in mind, the About page isn’t just one single page for an organization– it’s likely a collection of subpages that fall under the About top-level page. How many About subpages your organization should have is dependent upon the nonprofit itself. There’s no cookie cutter answer for this. Simply see which About elements are suitable for your organization, and then you will be able to begin to develop the perfect About page for your nonprofit.
THE PERFECT ABOUT PAGE FOR YOUR NONPROFIT
Mission, Vision, and Values
This section gives your website visitors a quick overview of what your organization is all about. Be sure to keep it easy to read, and provide links that lead to more detailed information (e.g., history and stories). Water Wells for Africa explains who they are, their mission and their values succinctly in only 4 sentences. The Museum of Science and Industry‘s vision is so large on the page that you can’t miss it (nor would you want to!). Indiana University includes their mission, vision and core values in bite-size chunks, making the page easy to digest.
History and Story
This is your opportunity to shine the light on your organization and explain why your organization matters. Save the Children features a compelling video about how every child has the right to a happy and healthy life. Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) tells a story about how the organization began at the founder’s kitchen table. Toys for Tots has a very detailed and interesting chronological history of the program the U.S. Marines began in 1947.
Let visitors to your website know that real people are behind the organization. Make sure you show pictures of the leadership team, too. Red Rover has a friendly picture and blurb about each staff member. Marquette University uses a few subpages to capture all of their leadership teams. The Boulder Library Foundation has a friendly picture of the board members around a table.
Positions and Policy Statements
If advocacy is a part of your organization’s mission, you may wish to have a dedicated place on your website for policies, reports, open letters, and position statements. Nonprofits that do this well include One, Best Friends Animal Society, ASPCA, and Black Lives Matter.
Philanthropic partners, event sponsors, corporate supporters, and nonprofit partners may also deserve space in your About page section. If these champions are crucial to your success, include them. Great examples of how to organize this section include Oak Park Food Pantry, Read Out & Read Georgia,
Should a journalist or reporter ever need to access information about your organization, it is beneficial to your organization to have it located in one place. This way, you maintain some control of your messaging. 92nd Street Y has an impressive collection of press resources such as facts & figures, organization overview, testimonials, historical highlights, and fast facts. GLAAD also has a comprehensive press resource section.
A financial component to your About page helps visitors understand how your organization receives and spends money. Are you a good steward of donor dollars? Along with links to financial statements should be an explanation. Don’t assume that everyone knows how to read a 990 properly. Help them so that they don’t have to rely on your 990 for all the info. PetSmart Charities includes charts and text to explain their finances (along with links to annual reports and 990s). The Boys and Girls Clubs of America explain their impact and stats as easy-to-read copy and a downloadable “fact sheet.” Lastly, World Bicycle Relief has a simple chart illustrating where the money comes from and where the money goes.
Your impact stories and statistics may fall under your About page section or be in its own separate top-level page. Wherever you decide to locate it, an impact section is a crucial component of your website. Donors and potential donors want to know that they gifts they give will make a difference. The Michael J. Fox Foundation has a first-class impact section.
Job and Volunteer Openings
Help connect change-makers to your organization by including volunteer and job opportunities section within the About page category. I love how Kokua Hawaii Foundation not only lists opportunities but includes volunteer pictures, testimonials, and statistics. Charity: Water‘s job page includes a compelling video, great graphics, and copy that might make you want to quit your job and apply there.
One more little thing…
Some organizations still use the About Us heading instead of About. There’s nothing wrong with an organization using About Us; however, I ask this question: What does About Us convey that a simple About doesn’t? (Answer: Nothing.) Plus, About Us was made popular back in the 1990s and early 2000s when websites were new and people needed that extra bit of clarity. “Us” did the trick. Today, everyone knows what About in a website’s menu means, so we can just leave it there. Good luck developing the perfect about page! 🙂