There are too many ways for a website to quickly do more harm than good. You want your website to attract visitors with its compelling content, stylish and unique design, and seamless user experience.
You may be focused on acquiring new donors and donor retention, but if you focus on the entire donor journey with your organization, these things will follow. Your potential donor’s journey starts with discovering your organization and, with any luck, never ends. To start this process, you must have an effective and informative site for people to discover.
Your website has the potential to exponentially raise awareness of your organization and the cause it supports. You cannot underestimate the role that your site can play in increasing your visibility and, by extension, enhancing your ability to contribute to social good.
You may be thinking, I’m not a web designer, I run a nonprofit! Don’t worry! It is entirely possible to have zero experience with web design and still create an effective site. This article aims to equip a novice designer with some quick and easy tips for enhancing a website.
To optimize your nonprofit’s website for maximum impact, you should:
- Have a clear, organized format.
- Maintain an informative blog.
- Outline donation and volunteer opportunities.
- Promote your site.
Don’t get overwhelmed at the prospect of overhauling your website! If you follow these 4 quick tips, you will set yourself and your organization up for success in the digital world.
Let’s start our list with the most basic, and most important, element of your site: format.
1. Have a clear, organized format.
Anyone visiting your site will decide immediately upon entering whether or not they want to even give your organization a second thought. If your site looks cluttered or the visitor does not instantly know what cause your organization supports, you need to rethink your site’s format.
Your site should walk the careful line between being informative and over-loaded with content. As you move forward with the format of your site, consider your existing site’s homepage layout.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Is my organization’s logo displayed dominantly on the page?
- Are there multiple clearly labeled opportunities for visitors to donate?
- Is the page cohesively and simply stylized?
- Are your webpages mobile-friendly?
- Is it immediately clear what our cause is and why people should support us?
If you want to see an effective homepage in action, check out this Morweb’s list of awesome nonprofit sites for some inspiration and direction.
Your site should be easily navigable on any device to maximize the impact on your audience.
Important pages such as the “Our Cause,” “About Us,” and “Ways to Give” sections of your site should be clearly labeled for easy access. With one click of a button or touch of a finger, prospective donors should be able to comprehensively understand what your organization stands for and know how they can be involved.
Formatting your website for optimal use may seem like an unnecessary task, but a coherent style and easy-to-access information will make site visitors more likely to explore your site and become involved in your organization.
2. Maintain an informative blog.
A regularly updated blog on your site will allow you to keep prospective donors informed about the good work your organization is doing to further its cause.
An effective blog can:
- Humanize your cause.
- Provide updates on your organization.
- Offer information about upcoming events.
Demonstrating the good your organization does and infusing your site with a human element is the best way to turn visitors into donors. You can show pictures and videos of volunteers sharing their experience about being involved in your organization to provide a better, clearer view of the concrete actions your organization takes to further its cause.
Visitors to your site are more likely to be inspired to donate when they see pictures of smiling faces or hear videos of a volunteer or beneficiary recounting an emotional story than when they see a list of facts and figures.
A donor or potential donor should always know how you are using the money donated to your organization. People are more likely to become a recurring donor if they can see how their contribution can directly impact your cause.
The blog is also an excellent way to let your donors know about your organization’s upcoming events. This will encourage people to get involved and lead to increased involvement and donations.
3. Outline donation and volunteer opportunities.
Visitors to your site should always be reminded that they can and should get involved and support your organization. You should provide a wealth of information on the various ways they can get involved and encourage everyone to find a way that works best for them.
Don’t forget that your audience may not know all of the possible ways they can become involved in your organization, so it is your job to tell them. While some options are commonly recognized and your audience may already be familiar with them, like a simple one-time donation, other opportunities are lesser known and may require some explanation.
In this technology-driven world, be prepared to receive the majority of your donations online. In order to accommodate this, your site should be equipped with an online donation tool. If you are unsure which tool will be best for your site, check out Double the Donation’s list of the best online donation tools.
It may also be extremely beneficial for you to educate your site visitors on gift matching opportunities. This can greatly increase the impact of donations and visibility of your organization but it is often forgotten.
While gift matching programs are excellent ways for an individual to increase the impact of their donation, they are wildly underutilized. Many people simply do not know what gift matching is or how they can take advantage of it. So many potential donors do not realize that many corporations will match their donation with a 1:1, 2:1, or even 3:1 ratio!
To maximize the donations your organization receives, you should provide a matching gift search tool. To see how you can apply a gift matching search tool to your organization’s website, see this example.
There are so many ways you can strengthen your online fundraising campaigns and you should consider your approach while you are contemplating how to present your donation opportunities to your site’s visitors.
4. Promote your site.
You can have the most unique, interesting, and compelling website in the nonprofit world and still not see the results you want if your website lacks visibility. Your site should have clear links to your other media platforms to help encourage attention to your organization.
Promoting your site may take a variety of forms, but the first and foremost is through social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Linkedin. Don’t stress too much with the overwhelming volume of social media platforms. Find which one works for you and houses your target audience and proceed from there.
If you are unfamiliar with social media or just want to make your life easier, try out these tools for managing your media network.
You want to provide opportunities for people to come across your organization organically on a social media platform. This will extend the reach of your audience and bring traffic to your site.
Additionally, you may want to consider using a crowdfunding platform to increase awareness for your organization and bring attention to your site.
This is yet another outlet through which you can share your organization’s story and raise money. Your social media accounts will function very similarly to the blog on your website while serving an additional audience.
Improving your site may take some hard work but once you are done you can reap the rewards. An outstanding website is the key to your organization’s success.
If you follow these four quick tips you are already well on your way to increasing your organization’s visibility and reaching your goals. But, if you need some more inspiration, don’t shy away from taking pointers from some successful nonprofit websites.