You were just days, or weeks, away from launching your organization’s new website — the one you spent months reorganizing, redesigning, rewriting — when crisis hit. Now it’s tough to tell: do you launch the website even though it feels like your celebration will be swept away in more pressing news? Or do you wait until the crisis dissipates and all feels “right” again?
The answer: launch your new website.
Here’s why: You built a new site (or you updated your old site) for a reason, and typically that reason is to help visitors better understand your mission, find the information they’re seeking, and engage with your organization.
Your new website signals to your allies, advocates and supporters that your organization is moving in the right direction. Instead of postponing, consider instead, how you can launch your site in a way that is sensitive to the crisis at hand, but also informs your audiences that you have something newsworthy to share.
Start with the people who know you best
Your staff and board will surely notice if you launch a new website, so send them a note beforehand to help them understand why it’s so important to move forward, despite the crisis.
National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice not only launched a new website, they also flipped the switch on a new name and brand identity. While the original intent was to publicize the nonprofit’s new look and feel, once COVID-19 struck, the celebration suddenly felt insensitive. So instead of a mass promotion, the organization sent an email to staff and board informing them of the new brand and website.
It was critical to keep the momentum internally for this change and to book a win that demonstrated our organization’s stability, power and strength to adapt as obstacles present themselves.
Then reach out to partners
Consider sending targeted communications to your partners, key constituents, and major donors. What does your new website mean for them? How does your new site help them engage with your organization more effectively?
Include links to sections of the site that are most relevant for them personally and warrant their attention. If there are sections of the site that speak to the impact of your work, let your major donors know that. If the people you serve need to find out about specific programs, events, or information, point them in those particular directions so they can easily navigate — and get excited about — the new website.
And finally, promote your new site to broader audiences
When the timing feels right, promote the launch of your new site with the fanfare you deserve. Consider sending your active supporters a toolkit of sample social media posts they can use to help amplify your new look and feel. Encourage your staff and board to share blog posts, pages, or relevant sections of the site to their contacts whenever it feels right to do so, time and time again. By keeping the content on your site fresh, you ensure that people will continue to visit your site, long after the crisis has subsided.
We know things can feel overwhelming. Take a look at these additional resources to help you navigate any crisis: