From parts one, two, and three of our new series How to Build a Website for your Charitable Foundation, we have compiled a list of tips to help you craft a website that will leave a lasting impression on your supporters.
1. Make your Mission Apparent
You have a mission or goal you’re working toward, right? When a supporter lands on your website, make that mission crystal clear. Are you an organization that promotes the right to education? Include imagery and testimonials from students. Are you working to protect animals? Break out those cute puppy pics. The goal isn’t to beat people over the head with your mission, but just to make sure your organization’s brand and identity is clear for folks who may be coming to your site for the first time.
2. Use Content to Attract Supporters
You have only 10 seconds to engage supporters once they land on your website, so make it interesting.
Make content interactive. Advocates for Children and Youth does a great job of using maps to compliment their storytelling
And check out the Polaris Project’s use of video on their homepage. Makes you want to click, right?
3. Make your Site Donor-Friendly
Fundraising is at the core of any nonprofit, so make it easy for your donors to donate from your website. Take note from National Organization for Women and Breast Cancer Action. 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.
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4. Make Volunteer Recruitment Easy
If your organization uses lots of volunteers, then think about how volunteering opportunities are integrated into your website. Do you only have an option to volunteer from your homepage? How easy is it for volunteers to click to join from other pages on your site as well?
5. Incorporate Visual Storytelling
A picture really does say a thousand words. Use imagery to draw in supporters and tell the story of your mission. If used correctly, images will have a much stronger impact than words when encouraging people to donate and join your organization. Prison Fellowship and Bronx Defenders get an A+ in visual storytelling.
6. Make it Mobile-Friendly
Nowadays, everyone is always on-the-go - including your supporters. So don’t count on the first impression of your website being seen on a computer. Optimize your site for mobile accessibility and capture donor interest on any device.
To make your website mobile-friendly, you should avoid using large photos that require donors to scroll down to reach the actual information. Additionally, your text should be large enough so that it's legible on small devices.
Proper navigation is also a key component to mobile-friendly websites. When viewing websites on mobile phones, there's not a lot of space for dropdown menus or complex navigation with a ton of content. Simplify your mobile navigation so that only the essential information is available.
7. Tie your Site to Social Media
Expand your connection with your supporters across all social media channels. From your website, give them easy access to your Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, etc. Integrating your social media buttons into your website increases engagement and awareness. Check out how Environmental Working Group and Keep America Fishing keep social sharing prominently displayed on their homepages. If you haven’t already, here is a good round-up of our top five social media blog articles for nonprofits.
Creating a nonprofit website is crucial to your organization's success. Not only is it the place where donors will gravitate to when they want to learn more information about your cause, but it's also the place where supporters will contribute.
Make sure that your website is optimized and designed in a way that appeals to donors and, therefore, maximizes its fundraising potential.