7 Tips for Creating an Awesome Nonprofit Website

Jennifer Gmerek
June 27, 2014

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.

In this article, we'll cover seven tips to help your create stunning nonprofit website: 

  1. Make your mission apparent.
  2. Use content to attract supporters.
  3. Make your site donor-friendly.
  4. Make volunteer recuritment easy. 
  5. Incorporate visual storytelling. 
  6. Make your website mobile-responsive. 
  7. Tie your site to social media. 

Let's dive right into the first step: make your mission apparent. 

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. 

Take a look at these examples of nonprofit organization’s websites from Energy Action Coalition and Engender Health. Is their mission clear?:

Energy Action Coalition


2. Use Content to Attract Supporters

You have only 10 seconds to engage supporters once they land on your website, so make it interesting. Enourage them to help you make a change.

Make content interactive. Advocates for Children and Youth does a great job of using maps to compliment their storytelling

Advocates for Children and Youth

And check out the Polaris Project’s use of video on their homepage. Makes you want to click, right?

Polaris Project

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 ActionA good rule of thumb: Try to keep supporters just one click away from your donation form no matter where they are on your site. 

National Organization for Women

Breast Cancer Action

Another donor-friendly element to consider is the login process. Many organizations are giving donors the option to create accounts on their websites so that supporters can save payment information, easily set-up recurring gifts, and so much more. 

The challenge is that donors don't need another password to remember. Plus, passwords aren't the best way to protect your donors' accounts or the sensitive information on your website.

By using a password alternative, though, you can give your donors the ease and convenience of an account without the hassle of creating or remembering their account credentials.  

Get the most out of your website with the help of Salsa's online fundraising software. Get a free demo today and discover how you can easily create beautifully-branded, mobile-friendly campaigns that will aid you in exceeding your fundraising goals. 


Marketing Automation Guide


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?

Look at how Live Your Dream promotes volunteering in prominent ways on their website.


Recruiting supporters to take action for your cause don't have to be limited to in-person opportunities, though.

In fact, by offering your constituents virtual volunteer opportunities, you can really open up the number of individuals who regularly engage with your cause. After all, isn't that your nonprofit's ultimate goal?

Your team can create targeted actions using your online advocacy software to offer supporters these engaging digital volunteer opportunities.

Draft petitions or send out social media calls to action in order to enliven your base. Leverage information in your CRM to help tailor these opportunities to their interests.

For example, you could target supporters who live in a particular legislative district with a petition that directly addresses their government representative. This way, your community can engage with your cause however they feel, even if that means staying at home.

 Guide to Growing Online Support

5. Incorporate Visual Storytelling

A picture really does say a thousand words. As such, you should use imagery to draw in supporters and tell the story of your mission.

In addition to using images to tell your organization's story, you should build a website that's visually appealing to keep your donors engaged. 

A well-branded, cohesive website not only helps you convey your organization's mission but also establishes trust. Whenever donors see your logo and style, they'll instantly know it's your nonprofit they're interacting with. 

With that said, images (when used correctly) 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 because they capture the emotion behind their images.

Beyond Bars Animal Rescue


6. Make Your Website Mobile-Responsive

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.

Environmental Working Group

Keep America Fishing

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.

If you want to unlock more online marketing and supporter engagement, check out these additional resources:

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Topics: Nonprofit Marketing
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