Writing for Non-Profit Websites (3 tips)

I have been secretly hired to be a writer.

The web content I am managing is about 50 pages of text, with a few pictures and videos. For the last 2 weeks I have been re-writing the Who We’ve Helped section of the website–which means practicing my short-story form. I am basically writing 1 page stories around the facts of our clients’ lives. Here are the 3 things I try to do with every story:

  1. Tell a story. For example, when I write about a survivor of FGM, I do not give a detailed description of what FGM entails. I do write about why that woman fought it for herself or for her daughters, and who was trying to force her to have it. However, not everyone is familiar with the technical details of FGM so I make sure to–
  2. Link to outside sources.It might be the year I spent researching academic plagiarism policies, but I like citing my sources. Linking to authorities tells my audience I know what I’m talking about. I try to cite large NGOs (like the World Health Organization) and U.S. governmental reports (like the State Department’s Human Rights Country Reports).
  3. Link to inside sources.Internal linking allows for backward compatibility of ideas, it helps new users find pathways, and it can provide emphasis. Referring to other parts of a website helps keep the tone similar across sections. It helps new users get a feel for how a non-profit’s diverse projects fit together. Most simply, it provides emphasis through color and shape. Those emphasized words draw the reader’s attention, so make sure to link important, descriptive words (rather than Click Here! which means nothing and hurts your website accessibility).

Linking is an act of faith that the page on the other end will continue to be what it was when you first found it, but that faith makes a website better.

Tell a story, because stories are the only thing non-profits sell.

Inspirational Quote:

“Have something to say, and say it as clearly as you can. That is the only secret.”–Matthew Arnold

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