The Power of a Website

Published on: October 12, 2015

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It is so much more than an information tool!

With the ever growing ways that individuals can become engaged in this digital revolution, the website is still the cornerstone of communication. In fact, in most cases, these other communication efforts such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Podcasts, YouTube pages and even email often include a trail that leads right back to your website.

It stands to reason that your website is one of the most valuable tools that your organization has to reach your current and potential congregants.

OneEach Technologies is proud to be a partner with Unity Worldwide Ministries. The unified branding effort allows the power of the brand to reach across generations and provide a consistent message and presence throughout the nation.

As the digital revolution evolves, it is imperative to recognize the dramatic increase in the usage of mobile devices. In July of 2015, Mary Meeker of KPCB Mobile Technology Trends reported that the usage of mobile devices (51%) is now higher than the amount of time using a desktop computer (42%).

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Google Update Drives Change

On April 15, 2015, Google released an update to their search engine algorithm for mobile devices. The new algorithm was established so that if someone is searching from a mobile device, then mobile-friendly websites would pull higher in the search.

This announcement has helped fuel the redesign of websites worldwide. Unity is no exception. New responsive websites for our Unity spiritual communities have been developed and released on September 17. Whether you are a OneEach customer or not, you will want to check out the new designs and consider adjusting your website to be a mobile-responsive tool.

As websites continue to evolve, the value of the product has far surpassed the information page of old. The look has shifted to powerful graphics which speak to the website visitor. These graphics tend to be large and rotate. The typed messages on a webpage need to be brief but powerful.

Websites have become the central point for all your important work. Websites can include a feed of your different social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. Websites include photo galleries, video galleries and, for many Unity ministries, a history of podcasts. It’s important to note that while you have social media accounts, all of your social media content can be fed to your website, allowing your website to be the central point of your work. Large YouTube videos embedded right on your home page can provide a strong visual and audio method of sharing your message. And with a new mobile-friendly website, these videos and social media tools can be viewed right from a smartphone or tablet.

The uses for your website continue to expand at a rapid rate. Websites have become the perfect platform for online fundraising, including memorial pages, capital campaigns, personalized fundraising pages (also known as crowdfunding pages) and reoccurring contributions. Our society is becoming increasingly comfortable with giving money online. The increase in “fund-me” type of pages and tools has spurred a generation who isn’t afraid to ask for money or give money to help out a meaningful cause.

The OneEach website platform includes the ability to allow individuals to have their own fundraising pages to support your compassionate social action, a disaster or any special campaign you have identified. This is such a powerful way of engaging your truly passionate supporters and allowing them to make a difference in an area that they find important. At the same time you are expanding the reach of your message an engaged individual will often share their passion and work via their own social media tools, thus reaching a much bigger audience.

The website is often the first place that a person will visit when they are trying to learn more about an upcoming event or activity. Having your important events and activities highly visible on your website is simply a smart website practice. Additionally it makes sense to handle online event registration and if necessary, event payment right through the website. The OneEach Technologies websites include this capability which includes the ability to open and close event registration at an exact date and time and to close registration when attendance is full. Also, automated reminders can be sent to all who register.

Data Management

Between online payments and online event registrations, the website is collecting a tremendous amount of data on your visitors. In 26-OneEachGraphic2fact, the OneEach Technologies website includes a data management component of the website called CiviCRM. This is where all of the data is stored. The data includes names, addresses, emails, phone numbers, events registered for, payments made and potentially a whole lot more. You might be familiar with a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool. Some ministries purchase products such as Blackbaud to track and manage their congregants. The OneEach website platform includes a tool that can assist with that membership tracking component. What is great about this is that as visitors to your website enter their information, they are actually completing your data entry for you.

A very important component on any Unity website is the online prayer request page. Prayer requests can be set up on your website to send automatic notification to your prayer team. With a mobile website, the ease of completing a prayer request on the spot, as the mood strikes someone, will be that much more convenient.

Today’s website is a remarkable and powerful engine that combines multiple tools into one. Before purchasing online tools, check to see if your website doesn’t already come equipped with the capability you are looking for. Recognize that your website is more than just information; it is the one-stop shop of resources that your visitors will find to be a valued resource as they support the work of Unity.

Editor’s note: Grants for Responsive Websites Are Now Available.

As part of Unity Worldwide Ministries’ recently awarded Templeton grants for disseminating Unity teachings, Unity Worldwide Ministries is providing matching grants to Unity ministries wanting to create or upgrade their websites to the newly released responsive website templates offered through OneEach Technologies. This grant is available to those in the Unity Identity Program. Apply for this grant. Submit your request by Oct 29 for consideration on the first round of matching grants. Next round to be offered in February 2016. This matching grant was made possible through the support of a grant from the John Templeton Foundation.

If you are interested in learning more about the Unity Identity Program or our OneEach website provider, visit www.unity.org/branding. We launch a new group five times a year. For more information, contact Debbie Allen.

 

Allyson James
VP of Customer Relations at OneEach Technologies
Allyson James has worked in the nonprofit website industry for nine years. A former United Way Director, she understands the value of technology in reaching a wider audience. Over 100 Unity ministries use OneEach Technologies as their website vendor.

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