Websites are the most effective piece of advertising that your nonprofit has complete ownership of. They’re how you present the organization’s brand, personality, and mission while highlighting what sets you apart from the competition.
In terms of brand advancement and technological improvements, nonprofit organizations are typically behind the for-profit sector. Much of what for-profits do can be modified and applied to non-profit use. Websites are no different. However, there are certain elements that are not necessary for a for-profit, but are imperative for a nonprofit’s website.
Your mission and purpose should clearly be stated for all new site visitors. If they cannot easily understand why your organization does what it does, they will be much less likely to donate.
Your donation page should be directly on your site. A donate button should also be clearly visible on every page of the website to engage site visitors at each stage in their “browsing” process. Most nonprofits have their donate button in their sticky header, or on a sticky sidebar.
Newsletter and/or Calendar of Events
Keep your supporters updated with fundraising events, campaigns, and volunteering opportunities. A consistently-updated calendar on your website can provide necessary dates for new visitors interested in getting involved. For returning visitors and supporters, a newsletter can keep them engaged and up-to-date with your organization’s programs and impact.
Responsive for Mobile Giving On The Rise
Mobile phone usage continues to increase, from 10% of donations coming from mobile phone users in 2014, to 21% of donations in 2017. Your site should be responsive to all devices in order to reach a broader audience.
SEO With The Grant
If you utilize the Google Ad Grant, Google My Business, and other free Google For Nonprofit services, you’re already on top of this step! However, your likelihood of getting discovered is increased exponentially with good content.
Refer Followers to Social Media For Engagement
Social media is an essential tool for nonprofits. According to a global study, 71% of nonprofits believe that social media is an effective fundraising strategy. Encourage website visitors to follow or like your organization on social media by providing links to all your social accounts on your website.
Every page on your site should have a strong and clear call-to-action. Prompt supporters to donate, get involved, sign up for the newsletter, contact the organization, etc.
A Page About Getting Involved
In addition to your donation page, nonprofits should provide a page for supporters to learn the different ways they can get involved with the organization. Supporters should never leave your site without knowing what you do and how they can help.
A financial disclosure should be easily found within your website. An easy way to do this is put your Employee Identification Number (EIN) in the footer. This information is available to the public and proves your charity status to donors. If you have the Google Ad Grant, it is a policy violation to omit material information such as your EIN, which gives Google the right to disapprove your ads.
In terms of design and layout, a nonprofit website is not so different from a for-profit site. The main differences arise when considering the audience of the website. A for-profit’s brand messaging targets the buyer of a product or service. Nonprofit sites must speak to multiple audiences: the donor or supporter, and the person receiving services from the organization.
For more information on designing nonprofit websites for the modern world, read this past article from our Cause Inspired Blog.