Effective (and Profitable) Nonprofit Website Design
Operating a nonprofit is extremely rewarding, but it takes a lot of hard work to do more with less, stretching your budget and limited staff to maximum capacity. While you are probably looking for opportunities to save money by cutting corners wherever you can, your nonprofit website is one area you should avoid.
An organization’s online presence is a significant asset. The good news is your website visitors probably understand your need to be frugal, so they will give you more leeway than they would give Amazon, but probably not much more. It is still crucial to have a polished, professional-looking, user-friendly nonprofit website. It will help your visitors get to know you, encourage donations and involvement, and build confidence that you will be good stewards of their time, talents, and generosity. But what makes a good website for a nonprofit? What should a nonprofit website include? We’re going to break it down for you.
What Should be Included in a Charity Website?
A nonprofit website isn’t all that different from a website operated by a for-profit company or other organization. But some elements are especially critical for a nonprofit’s website, including:
- A donation button: It should be easy to see and find throughout your site. Your button should lead donors to a place on your site, not to another site or window. Otherwise, potential donors may hesitate due to security concerns. And be sure to send them to a confirmation page once their donation is submitted, and they get an email receipt.
- Your story: Every nonprofit has a story. How did you get started? How did you get where you are now?
- Targeted messages: Different parts of your nonprofit website will appeal to different target audiences. Make sure all the messages on each page are tailored to who will be reading them.
- Impact: What change are you working toward? What wins have you had so far? Be sure to position your visitor as the hero for donating their time, talents, and resources to contribute to your mission.
- Calls to action: The two most common calls on nonprofit websites are “donate” and “get involved.” Whatever they are, make sure they are focal points of your site.
- Contact information and social media icons: Make it easy for them to find you physically and virtually.
Nonprofit Website Best Practices
To get the most out of your charity website design, be sure to incorporate these best practices:
- Optimize your speed. Time is money when it comes to website speed. Even a two-second site-loading delay can cost you site visitors, as many as 47%! (1)
- KISS. Keep it simple, stup…um… you get the idea. After just a few moments, visitors should be able to learn who you are, what you do, and how they can help you do it. Use pop ups sparingly and strategically. Simplify your navigation. Keep donation forms simple with minimal clicks.
- Make sure your design is mobile-friendly. Many people use websites on their mobile devices, so be sure to account for it in your nonprofit website design.
- Infuse your branding. Ensure brand consistency throughout your site – color scheme, logos, visual elements, images, and fonts.
- Ensure accessibility. Accessibility means all visitors can use your nonprofit website, even those with disabilities. It is not only the right and responsible thing to do, but it also keeps you out of legal jeopardy. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination based on disability, and being out of compliance could hurt your bottom line and reputation. Plus, how do you expect people to want to help you if you are essentially preventing a large group of people from using your site?
How Do I Create a Website for my Nonprofit Organization?
Here’s a high-level overview of the process for building or updating your nonprofit website.
- Assemble a team representing a cross section of your organization.
- Establish your objective based on what you want the site to do for your organization.
- Determine your target audience(s).
- Set your budget.
- Choose a host and domain name.
- Map out your nonprofit website structure.
- Select a design aesthetic.
- Create content. Remember, less is more!
- Build and launch site.
- Analyze traffic and make updates as needed.
Sounds too easy, right? You’re not wrong. But we are here to help. At Paradigm, we love working with nonprofits on their web design (and more)! We respect your need to be cost effective and optimize ROI because we know what you lack in budget, you make up for in heart. We have worked with nonprofit organizations like Morristown Partnership, Partners NJ, Morris Tourism, Mercadien Foundation, and Several Sources Shelters, just to name a few. Whether you are looking to have a new website built from scratch or a redesign, we will tailor our services to suit your needs, integrate your existing management systems, and develop your short- and long-term marketing plans for your nonprofit website and beyond. Contact us today.