Nonprofit websites, like any other organization’s website, need to follow best practices of website design such as intuitive navigation and an aesthetically appealing presentation of material. That being said, nonprofit websites have an extra task compared to other websites – to convince donors to give to the organization. Here are some essential elements and strategies that can help you offer the most effective website possible for your nonprofit.
1. A Responsive Site Design
Offer a website that is device responsive and mobile-friendly. Visitors will expect a consistent experience in regards to viewing and navigating around your website, irrespective of what type of device they are using. Visitors will quickly leave your site if it doesn’t meet their performance expectations.
A responsive website responds to the specific mobile operating systems of the device being used. The navigation is often condensed, unnecessary images are hidden while other images are optimized for that specific device.
A mobile-friendly website displays a website in exactly the same way on all devices because it doesn’t rely on mobile operating systems. No images are hidden and, instead, are scaled based on the size of the device being used.
2. Financial Transparency
Donors like to know how their money will be spent so it is best to provide information that connects those monetary gifts to the differences they will make within the organization. Offer access to annual financial reports and other documentation. Clear insight into how your organization utilizes the funds entrusted to it will help build trust and support from both existing and potential donors.
3. A Streamlined Donation Page
Calls to action throughout your website should link to a strongly persuasive donation page. Clearly and concisely state the benefit a visitor’s donation will bring to your organization’s cause. Include engaging content like high-quality images, compelling videos, and testimonials from people associated with your nonprofit discussing how donations drive the work of the organization.
4. Social Media Links
Social media platforms are effective channels through which your nonprofit’s efforts and content can be distributed. Be sure that links to your social media accounts are featured in either the header or footer of your website. Include those links in your email signatures, newsletters, and blogs too. Social sharing buttons allow your supporters to forward your content to others within their own networks.
5. Staff Pages
It helps to humanize your efforts when your website shows visitors the people behind the organization. Establish a web page for each of your staff members that shares their work history both inside and outside of the organization. People readily connect with other people on an emotional level. Have staff members record a video that lets them tell first hand their passion for the organization’s cause and why they are involved.
1. The home page description of your nonprofit is key to retaining visitors to your website.
You have only a few seconds to convince site visitors to stay and look further into your organization and the causes it supports. Use descriptive and compelling language to communicate the mission of your nonprofit. Make sure the text is easy to read, well organized, and supported by engaging images and video. Your home page is not the place to get into the minutia of your organization. It is the place to give your elevator pitch and persuade site visitors that they need to take a closer look into who you are and what you do.
2. Look at your website from the visitor’s perspective.
Ensure that the design of your website is centered on your target audience. Keep your organizational goals in mind but create a content flow that speaks to visitors’ needs. Feature the most important content in prominent places and offer intuitive site navigation. Ask site visitors to complete a survey to help you gauge from your target audience’s point of view the usability level of the website. Make sure every action you want a visitor to take on your site is three clicks or fewer away as research has shown you can lose 40% of visitors with each click.
3. Your site content should be written to emotionally move your target audience.
Focus content on the mission of your nonprofit so site visitors understand what you do and why you do it. Provide a multitude of examples of the impact of your organization’s efforts. Use pictures and testimonials of or about those who have been helped by donations to keep site visitors focused on the idea of becoming donors themselves. While you don’t want to overwhelm site visitors, engaging content that focuses on the differences that donors make and the challenges that will continue to exist without further support will speak directly to the hearts of potential donors.
4. Include multiple opportunities for visitors to provide their contact information.
Offer email sign-up for your newsletter on every page of the website. You can also push out your blog posts to the people on this list. Ask for minimal personal information from visitors to encourage more people to convert. It is important to maintain regular and meaningful contact with the people on your email list so be sure to create and execute communication campaigns through this free marketing channel.
5. ‘Donate Now’ buttons should be prominently featured throughout your website.
It should be easy for visitors to your website to support your nonprofit organization. By putting donation buttons in multiple places on web pages you make it possible for someone to become a donor any time the thought builds in his mind.
6. Your contact information should be readily available.
The footer of your website is an excellent place to provide multiple means of contacting someone within your organization. You build a sense of trusts when you make accessibility a priority. Offer a phone number (that will be answered), an email address, physical mailing address, and information on any other channels through which a potential donor might contact you.
7. Be active and interactive on your social media accounts.
Not only should you include social media links on every page of your nonprofit website, but you should also encourage people to share the videos and photos on your site. Ask visitors to link to your social media profiles and optimize your content so bloggers and social networkers can easily embed your content on their sites and profiles. This sort of networking attracts new sources of traffic, helps to keep visitors on your site and interacting with your social profiles by building a sense of community around your cause.
8. Offer opportunities for site visitors to connect to your organization’s blog.
A blog is a valuable tool for sharing the latest news about your nonprofit’s organization and for engaging with your supporters. When visitors sign up to receive your quarterly or monthly email, they can also indicate their interest in receiving your blog posts. The trick is to commit completely to offering regular blog posts. Whether it is weekly or daily, create a posting calendar that covers content and timelines for your blog articles. Because hosting a regular blog adds pages to your website, it also helps with your rankings for search engines.
Your nonprofit’s website is your most powerful asset when it comes to attracting online donations. It is where potential supporters can learn more about your organization and the place that supporters become donors by contributing to your cause.
The experts at Strategy Driven Marketing has extensive experience in the development and creation of engaging websites for organizations of all sizes and across a number of industries. We understand the important role a website plays in a nonprofit organization and would love to learn more about your nonprofit so we can help you offer an effective and engaging website so you can maximize its fundraising potential. Contact us today – let’s get started!