Three Little Words

A directory should be efficient, interesting, and informing.

  • Efficient: The method used to dispense information should be accessible, and the process of using the directory should be intuitive, as well as simple to use. Ideally the user should require little or no explanation to retrieve what he or she is looking for.
  • Interesting: The directory should be attractive, and using it should be engaging – consider adding something in the way of a personal touch – photos of those involved in this project, a story or Blog of how it all began, a letter explaining why you think a directory is important.
  • Informing: The user should see essential information about each organization without having to sift through extraneous material.


  • Events calendar.
  • Organization information other than what was culled from a website, things like a unique message to those using the directory, or a more personal way to connect such as a unique email, phone, or contact form.
  • Free or shared resources; a user login for listed organizations so they can post items they want to make available to other nonprofits, such as office equipment or space.
  • News blog for announcements.
  • Newsletter sign-up page, for cumulative organization updates sent to any user of the site.
  • Nonprofit Community Festival: a street fair event that informs and celebrates the nonprofits servicing the community.
  • Library displays of local nonprofits, periodically showcasing different organizations.
  • Library bulletin board displaying events and notices from nonprofits.
  • Availability of the directory inside the library, and training of staff in how to use it when assisting patrons.

Community snapshots

A community that has an online directory listing of nonprofit resources also has – for everyone to see and contemplate – a snapshot of itself. Communities have other snapshots – demographic statistics, local businesses and coupon packets – but as for grasping the more personal aspects of a community, the directory snapshot offers a more genuine sense of what a place is like: a feeling for the whole.

You can learn a lot from this picture, and just like a photo snapshot, there are several ways you can display this community family album: for example, on a website or in a book. Creating different forms of the snapshot view can offer more opportunities for everyone to understand and appreciate where they live and what their resource options are.

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