Your non-profit organization’s website is more than just a pretty picture. It is your public voice, and serves as a tool to engage and inspire action. It is more critical than ever to create an online presence for your supporters that is rooted in a clear strategy, engaging to supporters, and focused on your nonprofit’s unique goals.
Let’s take a look at some tips that will help you create a stronger non-profit web design that gets results.
Make sure your mission statement is clear
Once you have decided who your key audience will be, ensure that the organization’s mission statement is completely clear. Compare the mission statement of similar organizations, and analyze whether their statement works in a web context. Maybe it is too long for a website? Perhaps it does not get to the point quickly enough? People tend to have a much shorter attention span online.
Also ensure that the purpose of the website is clear: is it to attract new donors, or is it to inform current donors? If the website has several aims, make sure you take them into account in the initial design process, to save time and money later. The content will also need to be consistent. Don’t forget to proofread all your website copy for grammatical errors, so it looks as professional as possible.
Turn visitors into supporters
One of the primary objectives of any non-profit web design is to turn site visitors into supporters for your cause. One of the best ways to do this is through use of social media integration, which will increase word of mouth influence. While it is important to make sure that navigation and answers to basic questions about your organization are clear, using social media along with call-to-actions on your site is a great opportunity to attract even more organic support and followers.
Make sure social buttons on your site are visible and not hidden in the header or footer of the page so that audiences are motivated by your website to actually use them. Providing content that people can post to Facebook, Tweet, Pin or otherwise share with others is important because it allows your followers the opportunity to advocate on your behalf, promote ideas and share your content using their social media channels. Social media is a fantastic way to spread the word about your non-profit among audiences who might be unreachable through more established forms of PR like press releases.
Keep content fresh and dynamic
One of the best ways to keep people coming back to a website is to ensure a regular flow of interesting, targeted content. Explore different types of content that your organization could use, including news, features, blogs, case studies, press releases and videos. Regularly-updated content will also keep improving your search engine visibility. Also ensure that you use all the latest social media sites, including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, to keep your supporters up-to-date with all your latest news and events. If used wisely, social media will draw supporters back to the website. Also one of the best ways of drumming up interaction with the public is to use social media buttons on your site. Make sure these are visible on your site, not just in the head and footer. Create content that will be easy for people to Tweet, or post to their Facebook page.
You might consider creating a donors-only area with exclusive content, and you could even get donors involved themselves by encouraging them to create blog entries and other types of content that will forge a sense of community around your organization. Blogs and news stories can also be quoted by other blogs, which could boost traffic to your site. Try and build up relationships with blogs and news providers that may be interested in quoting or linking to your content. Content creation is one of the easiest and most effective ways of giving your website an identity.
Provide clear call-to-actions
Making it easy for your audience to navigate through your website, learn more about your cause, get informed about the issues you are trying to solve and get passionate about wanting to donate their money is one of (if not the) the most important parts of a non-profit web design. A user pathway to your conversion goal should be clearly defined and monitored so that if your donation rates fall you can easily identify what part of the conversion process is making people give up trying to donate. Your donation button needs to be clearly marked and attention grabbing as well as constantly available no matter where people might navigate on your website.
Understanding that the audiences visiting a non-profit website have very different intentions than people visiting an ecommerce site is important to recognize when developing a non-profit web design. Your call to action should spell out to audiences what a donation does for the organization and give a roadmap for where a donor’s money will end up going towards furthering your cause.
Make donations easy
Once someone has got to the stage of wanting to donate, you have to ensure the donation process is simple and straightforward, otherwise you may lose their support. It may sound obvious, but first of all ensure that the donations section is easily visible on the site, from the homepage. You will probably also want to include several links to the donation section of the site, to enable visitors to access it from different pages.
Once your visitors are through to the donations area, keep it as stress-free as possible. Don’t ask visitors to set up an account before they donate. Keep it simple with a basic form and credit card section. Only ask for the minimal information required, i.e. basic personal information and credit card details. Try to keep the donations form as just one single page, plus a confirmation page. As well as keeping the giving process simple, this also avoids any problems presented by browsers timing out and other similar internet connectivity issues.
Include a responsive design
Another layout opportunity that should never be overlooked with a non-profit web design is the chance to create a responsive website layout. Doing so will make your website look great to audiences no matter what device they may connect to your website from. This is particularly pertinent to non-profits because it allows you to target active people who spend most of their time on their mobile phones or tablets. These are the people that are often involved in the world around them and who might already be investing their time in the non-profit sector – the perfect people to spread the word about your cause.
Are you considering a new website this year?
If so I’d be happy to chat with you, but remember, If we’re going to knock one out of the ballpark, I’m going to ask a lot of questions about your organization, your project goals, and your requirements.
If you’d like to chat, head on over to my contact page and tell me about your project.