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Posted by admin7 on September 04, 2017

Non-profit websites share many of the same best elements or features as any other website. They need to be user-friendly, easily navigable and use appropriate fonts, colors, and other design elements. But often a non-profit website needs to offer more than your typical corporate/business site. On a non-profit organization’s website, it should be easy to find out more about the cause, to donate money, and to become more involved.

These days, there are tons of great non-profit organization websites that you can review online. An easy-to-use and beautiful website is a must. It should be easy for media contacts to find the information they need and the contact information of key personnel. The site must be inviting to the organization’s targeted donors and/or volunteers.

The website’s design can directly affect online fundraising efforts. The conclusion from many studies and tests web design can be a hindrance or a barrier to generating conversions. (The term “conversion” here refers to a person who visits your site and then performs the desired action - such as making a donation). With this in mind, the website should be very straightforward, uncluttered and easy to navigate. Below are some essential attributes or elements of  an excellent non-profit website


know your audience1.   Know Your Audience

Your target audience should always be at the top of your mind. High site traffic is great, but if you are mostly attracting people who are not likely to take interest in your organization, then this is not really doing you much good. If you do not know who your website is serving, you are at a serious disadvantage. No matter how hard you try, it will be nearly impossible to create an effective non-profit organization website – one that meets the needs of your constituents and helps you achieve your mission.

With this in mind, you need to focus on the needs of your target audience. Who are your key groups and what do they care about? What is important to them? How do they interact with your site?

It is also important that you use the right language. Keep in mind that writing is an art and a science. Every bit of content should showcase your mission. Avoid industry jargon and acronyms. Keep it simple, but include descriptors for clarity and improvement of search engine optimization.

Keep the mobile phone or tablet in mind – In three years, mobile will be the top method your audience uses to access your site. Are you ready for that? What are your current plans with regard to mobile users?


2.  Focus on Your Home Page

Effective non-profit websites are organized with visitors in mind. What makes sense to your non-profit’s team won’t always make sense to your visitors. The great websites take this into account in their structure. They ensure that users will be able to easily navigate the website. A site must be organized in a way that’s intuitive and easy to navigate. This must be done with the visitor in mind - and not what makes sense to you.

"The web is a world of first impressions … Users form an opinion of a website within the first few seconds of loading it." –Jason Gross, "The Role of Design in the Kingdom of Content".  With this in mind, it's essential that you focus on your home page.

  • Prioritize content – Create visual hierarchy. What content elements are most important and deserve the best location? Remember your goals, as well as your audience's goals during this exercise – not everything everyone (in your team)  wants fits or even belongs, on the home page.

  • Make sure people can scan through easily – The use of headers, content blocks, and visual design will allow users' eyes to follow the right path of content.

  • Provide choices – Not everyone accesses your site in the same way; make sure you provide different ways or paths to access information to accommodate this.

  • Test – Show your home page to audience members, and then ask them a series of questions about your organization and its mission. If they can't answer them, consider refocusing and prioritizing your home page.


3.  Include The Mission and Make it Apparent

When a supporter lands on your website, ensure that your mission is readily accessible and crystal clear. Are you an organization that promotes the right to education? Include imagery and testimonials from students. 60%  of all donors check out your non-profit's website before donating. Therefore you should tell them why they should give and what impact it will make. And, you should do it quickly, before they change their mind. Share your mission clearly and succinctly and make it actionable. Ensure your organization’s brand and identity is clear for folks who may be coming to your site for the first time.

For example: "Helping People. Saving Families." This is not just a tagline, and it is not just a mission statement.  By clicking on this tagline, the user immediately accesses rich links to compelling content that shares what the organization is about, how they help, and who they serve.


Use images with purpose4. Use Images With Purpose

Compelling imagery can come in many forms, but is an essential part of creating effective non-profit organization websites:

  • Engage with eye contact. Photography that uses eye contact will allow you to make a personal connection with your user. Personal connections, trust, and emotional engagement are keys to fulfilling your mission! Which would better share the amazing impact Habitat for Humanity has on the community – an image of five volunteers building a Habitat Home with their backs to the camera? Or the eyes of the man for whom the house was built?

  • Share real stories of impact. Sharing stories of how others are affected by your work, your outreach, and your mission will build credibility and encourage empathy. Incorporate visual storytelling for a stronger impact.


5.  Include Clear, Bold Calls to Action

"Assuming that you’ve written a brilliantly persuasive page, it’s still next to worthless without a strong call to action …" –Brad Shorr " Five Copywriting Errors That Can Ruin a Company’s Website"

Remove all obstacles to action. If someone clicks "donate now," they should not be taken to another landing page with all of the ways they can give. Effective non-profit websites take people directly to the donation form where they can give that gift!  Reduce friction and clicks whenever possible.

Provide both tangible and intangible options: For example; please give 10 meals to your community today; please give $10 today. Calls to action should be clear and compelling.


6. Facilitate Easy Donation

A good rule of thumb: Try to keep supporters just one click away from your donation form no matter where they are on your site. The donate button should be visible on every page of your site. Make it stand out by using a color that contrasts with the rest of your page.


Add fresh content7.  Give Regular Updates and Stay Current

Users have short attention spans. Great web design understands this. If you’re not updating your website regularly, people will assume you:

  • do not have anything new to say

  • are not putting time and energy into communication.

    It is essential that your web site content is fresh - not more than a couple months old.  Otherwise, possible donors will simply leave and never come back, which is the biggest risk of stale content.

Remember, content is critically important. Creating an effective non-profit organization website requires that you add regularly add new content. Invite your audience to help you keep content fresh for instance by writing blog posts.

These are an excellent way to gather user generated content. Writing about your organization regularly is essential for demonstrating impact, engaging supporters and sharing the work you’re doing with people new to your organization.

Great examples of some non-profit blogging ideas are:

• Letters from staff, volunteers or constituents in the field

• Photo essays from events or fieldwork

• Fact roundups on your specific cause or cause-sector

• News updates specific to your cause-sector or the region you’re working in alongside announcing partnerships or matching periods

• Impact stories

• Behind-the-scenes videos or write-ups about your work

• Celebrate milestones and supporters


8. Include a Subscription Box

Newsletter increase transparency, deepen engagement and keep people up-to-date with how their support is directly impacting your cause. Encourage supporters to subscribe to your newsletter by including a clear call to action on your homepage.


9. Make It Easy for Volunteers to Enroll

Make it easy for visitors to your site to find information on how they can get involved. There are plenty of people out there who might not have the money to make a donation but are still passionate about what your organization is doing. Volunteer service could be worth hundreds and thousands of dollars. When volunteers become passionately involved in your organization, they will be excellent spokespeople for the organization. They will be more likely to encourage donations from friends and businesses who are looking for ways to give back.

Showing people how they can engage is only part of it. Once you’ve shown them what to do, you need to make the action easy for them to complete. There’s nothing worse than clicking on a call to action only to find a confusing, overwhelming, extensive form on the other end of that click.

Effective websites make taking action easy. Most people don’t want to share every bit of their personal information with your non-profit, and probably won’t stick around to fill out a super long form. No matter if it’s a newsletter sign up or a donation form, go bare bones on the information you require. Don’t ask for information you aren’t going to use.

Integrate social media10. Integrate Social Media

"Integrating the social experience into your organization’s web site will help promote the channel, engage supporters, and provide a constant source of dynamic content …" – Melanie Mathos and Chad Norman, 101 Social Media Tactics for Nonprofits: A Field Guide.  The world of social media is changing. It’s not enough to have a Facebook page or a Twitter account. The real power of social media is in harnessing its viral capabilities as an integrated channel with reach beyond the limits of your database and lists. With this in mind, make sure your site is action-packed with social capabilities.

  • Incorporate social sharing on your site via AddThis or ShareThis. It will contribute to website traffic and brand exposure.
  • Tweet and post. Often. Make it a priority.
  • Use the Facebook and Twitter widgets/modules to pull social posts to your website for fresh content and relevant, engaging activity.




11. Show Your Donor Impact

  • Transparency is increasingly important to donors. They need to know how their funds are being used.  Share your annual report and show how much of the support goes to the cause.

  • Say "thank you." This seems simple, but it’s often forgotten. Your website is a great place to say it publicly. Let donors know in updates that this would not have been possible without their support.  Thank your donors often and generously.

12. Analyze!

Knowing what’s working and what isn’t is key. A data-focused approach to your website will help you keep track of important metrics like who you’re attracting, how they are interacting with the content, what pages they are reading and how long they’re sticking around. It will also show you what actions people are taking on your site. Are they signing up for your newsletter? Are they commenting on a blog post? Are they sharing something they read with their friends on social media? These are all questions you need answers to in determining how well your website is doing its job.

Data doesn't lie. Its insight is great for informing future website decisions and improving the overall effectiveness of your site. Your non-profit’s website is a huge investment of your time and resources. It needs to be effective. Focus on driving the right traffic, using explicit calls to action and making it easy to support your organization along with the other tips mentioned in the article.