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How Are Donors Reading Your Messages?

You might be reading this on a desktop, laptop, phone, or mobile device. Your potential supporters are likely similarly diverse in how they visit your organization’s website, making accessibility of increasing importance.

    During their session, “Your Website Can be More Accessible: Simple Ways to Evaluate and Improve Your Site’s Accessibility” at the 2017 Nonprofit Technology Conference in Washington, D.C., Rose Liebman and Dave Hansen-Lange, vice president of accounts and technical manager, web development, respectively, for Advomatic; Mike Gifford, founder of OpenConcept Consulting; and Marco Carbone, associate director of IT for internet technology at the American Civil Liberties Union discussed step-by-step improvements organization professionals can make whether they are a web novice or more advanced. Recommendations discussed at the session included:

  • For beginners, start off by looking for errors on your website every day for a week and then do so at least monthly from then on, starting with the site’s most popular pages. Try tabbing through the site without use of a mouse to see if there are pieces of the page that cannot be accessed or places where you get stuck;
  • On the intermediate side, consider setting up an accessibility page. An accessibility page, ideally, describes what has been done to make a website accessible, a policy stating accessibility goals, and a form encouraging individuals to report accessibility errors. Involve individuals with disabilities and look over your site with them. Individuals with disabilities often overcome additional obstacles in navigating through a website;
  • Personalization is the frontier for the advanced. Web Content Accessibility Guidelines are a good resource. The BBC’s My Web My Way is another guide-point for ways to help those with dyslexia or poor vision have a positive experience on a website; and,
  • Understand that accessibility is not an all-or-nothing exercise. Try to find easy wins where available as a little accessibility is better than no accessibility. Develop modest short-term plans along with longer-term plans and document achievements. Remember to not expect perfection, seek out feedback, and assess and prioritize goals.

As we celebrate our 36th year, NPT remains dedicated to supplying breaking news, in-depth reporting, and special issue coverage to help nonprofit executives run their organizations more effectively.


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