Spotlight on Houston Zoo’s Volunteer Outreach

Courtesy of Houston Zoo

non profit website that caught our eye recently is the Houston Zoo. Take a look and you’ll see why! The site is colorful, but not cluttered, organized perfectly and highly interactive.

Visitors to the site can easily find upcoming events for adults and kids, all the latest zoo news (including updates on soon-to-be-born baby elephants!), videos and activities. The site is updated daily, plus features a live Twitter stream. Following the zoo on Twitter, becoming a fan on Facebook, and connecting to the Zoo’s Flicker photostream and You Tube Channel are as easy as clicking your mouse on the home page buttons.

Interested in supporting or volunteering at the Houston Zoo? They make it any easy. Of the seven main navigation tabs, one is “Make a Donation.” You can see how important fundraising outreach is to the zoo. From that tab, one can choose from a variety of options:

  • Donor Clubs: the zoo offers several tiers of support level, from the Flock, aimed at young professionals, to the Asante Society for higher-level givers. All supporters receive special perks and invitations to private tours and parties.
  • The African Forest: This special project gets its own area of the site, fully explaining the vision and soliciting support to make it a reality.
  • Fundraisers: Large-scale events and smaller family-oriented parties are highlighted, with photos from past years and “mark your calendars” information about this year’s dates.
  • Corporate Support: Clear details on how corporations and businesses can sponsor events and volunteer at the zoo make getting involved a no-brainer. Plus, the content is obviously written with the reader’s motivation in mind, answering the question, “What’s in it for me?” Answer: visibility, brand enhancement, exposure, and wide appeal.
  • Corporate Volunteer Program: this area of the site is well-writeen and appealing, outlining the ways business gourps can become involved, the commitment required, and how to get started with becoming a volunteer.

Finally, the zoo’s Annual Fund Drive and Other Ways to Give tabs make it easy to do just that.

Other ways this site is a winner:

  • The site creates instant credibility by featuring the Zoo’s accreditations at the bottom of the home page, along with a Better Business Bureau seal;
  • Hours, prices, directions, zoo maps and newsletter sign-up are at the top of each page;
  • An interactive “Ask us a question” form and the event calendar appear on all 2nd- and 3rd-tier pages; and
  • A big “Donate Now” button shows up on most 2nd and 3rd tier pages.

Non profits can learn a few tricks from Houston Zoo’s website. Even if your non profit cannot manage the high-level programming and graphics that this site has, you can still borrow most of the outreach ideas. Clear content that answers visitors’ questions and keeps them coming back are easily achievable website goals!

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