The branding and voice of your nonprofit organization is something you have undoubtedly been working on and revising since the beginning. How you want to communicate with your supporters and how you want your organization to be perceived is critical to your success. Here’s the good news–thanks to microsites, you don’t have to pick just one.
According to Wikipedia, a Microsite is “an individual web page or cluster of pages which are meant to function as an auxiliary supplement to a primary website… The main distinction of a microsite versus its parent site is its purpose and specific cohesiveness as compared to the microsite’s broader overall parent website.” Read that last sentence again and ask yourself about the purpose and cohesiveness of your homepage. By definition, the purpose of your homepage is almost infinite: explain the mission of your charity, inspire readers to get involved, make it easy to donate, etc. Microsites are special because you can define them any way you like and you can (and should) make a unique site for each facet of your audience. Microsites essentially allow you to return to the old days of marketing and let just one call to action dominate the page.
There’s a great article on this topic in The NonProfitTimes, including some helpful suggestions by Todd Whitley, vice president of eMarketing for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. In his own words, “[Creating microsites] allows you to break out of a current messaging mode that might be a little bit stayed. We are using language that just doesn’t fit in with our other sites. You can revitalize your brand with a microsite in a complimentary way.”
I have only one warning: Be sure that each microsite has its own purpose and message and isn’t just a mirror image of your homepage on a different URL. No one wants to be accused of violating Google’s duplicate content policy.