What should my nonprofit website look like?
A great website will get plenty of visitors and a good conversion rate – but how do you actually get visitors to convert to donors?
We’ve pulled together 16 features which are essential for your website to be accessible and reliable for your supporters. Your website should be your strongest resource for encouraging people to trust your organisation and donate to it, so it’s not an area which can be skimmed over.
At Twenti, as well as helping nonprofits have great websites, we also want to encourage more causes to access the Google Ad Grant, which offers $10,000 a month to nonprofits to advertise on the search engine. To access this, nonprofits must have a great website, so these 16 features are very important if you are considering this route.
16 Features Your Website Needs
16. Eye-catching images
Professional, high-quality imagery is one of the main things that makes a website appealing and authoritative. Your images should be relevant to your nonprofit, preferably your own imagery of the work that your nonprofit does.
15. Your own domain name
It’s important to actually own the domain that is landed on when people click on ads or search results, to ensure it can’t be changed, and to control what appears when your nonprofit name is searched for. This could also help avoid unexpected costs or complications in the future.
As well as being best practice when starting a website for any organisation, whether for profit or not, it’s a requirement for receiving Google’s Ad Grant.
14. Contact information
Your website should aim to provide as much information as possible about your organisation, but it is likely that there will still be some people that wish to contact your nonprofit directly. Clear and visible contact information, linked at the bottom of the page, rather than hidden behind multiple clicks, is vital. It will also make your organisation seem transparent and friendly, rather than secretive and not credible.
Your website should be your main resource to present your nonprofit and its work – so it’s important you get it right.
13. Plenty of content
To look reliable, it’s important that you have fleshed out your website. Including a blog is a great way to do this and you can use it to share the great work your nonprofit is doing, too. If your website has too few pages or too little information, you will not rank as well in search engines and will look less established and legitimate when people do actually visit your site.
12. Clear calls to action
Another thing that will make your website effective and user-friendly is making it clear what you want from your supporters with calls to action. This means clear buttons that say things like ‘Support us’, ‘Volunteer’, or ‘Donate now’ for visitors to click on in order to contribute to your cause.
Calls to action provide a clear and logical pathway for website visitors to progress from reading about your projects to volunteering or donating to your cause.
11. Quick loading time
An important factor to make sure your website is user-friendly, performs well in SEO and is eligible for Google’s Ad Grant is a quick loading website. If your website is too slow, many visitors might get frustrated before it loads and not actually see your content!
Keep image files small and styling simple to increase your speed and decrease your bounce rate. In effect, a faster website for your supporters means more donations for your causes.
Site speed also depends on where your website is hosted, which is why at Twenti we are committed to fast and reliable hosting.
10. Up-to-date event and project information
A website is easy to keep updated, unlike other forms of marketing, and you should take advantage of this. Any information about events or ongoing projects should be kept up to date to keep your website as informative as possible. Regular updates about what you are doing will also keep regular visitors interested and coming back to your site for updates on your work.
If your website is out of date, visitors may presume you are no longer active as a nonprofit, and might not donate to you. Staying up to date shows that your cause is still important and still being addressed.
9. Clear mission statement
As above, your main page should provide a short indication of what your nonprofit does, but visitors should also be able to click through to read your mission statement and learn more about your projects or the work you do.
Try to provide as much detail as you can and to be as transparent as possible about your cause, and include pictures of the work you do or have done. Again, this is all about transparency and convincing donors that you are focused and a worthy cause.
8. Links to your social media profiles
Your website should include links to your social media profiles to encourage visitors to follow you for regular updates or communicate with you on these informal platforms. Inbuilt social media sharing buttons are also really effective – this helps your content reach far and wide. On our website, you can find buttons to our profiles at the bottom of each page, and sharing links in the pop-out to the left (feel free to give them a try!).
Your website should be fully integrated with the other areas of your digital strategy; all areas should work together to lead you towards increased donations.
To learn more about social media for nonprofits, read our ultimate guide.
It’s important that your website works in tandem with the other parts of your digital strategy – like email marketing and social media profiles.
7. Email subscription forms
You should also use calls to action to encourage visitors to sign up to email updates about your nonprofit. Have a look at our guide to digital marketing for nonprofits to learn more about email marketing.
Email updates are a great way to drip feed donors information about your nonprofit and encourage them to donate, but if they aren’t signed up to your email list then this can’t be done.
You should either use a pop-up or a well-placed form for visitors to fill in their details. This process should also use a few short questions to allow subscribers to fill in their email preferences, such as which projects they would be interested in hearing about. This allows your emails to be more targeted and personalised, which has been proven to make subscribers more likely to donate.
To keep your mailing list cleaner, and fully comply with UK’s GDPR regulations, use a double opt-in for your email list. This is where you send a second confirmation email once they have signed up, where they confirm again that they want to receive emails from you. It makes the process a bit longer, but it means that the people on your mailing list will remain those actually interested in your cause.
6. Unique content
It’s important that your website content is unique to your organisation, and not simply reposted from other places. Original content means that visitors have to come to your website for certain information. It makes your organisation seem more reliable – there are dedicated members behind this, not robots. What’s more, if your nonprofit seems interesting and unique, supporters are likely to see it as worth donating to over other charities.
Original content will also improve your SEO rankings, meaning you get found more often by prospective supporters, and is also important to access the Google Ad Grant. Take a look at our guide to digital marketing to learn more about SEO.
5. Online donation systems
If, as above, you’ve implemented some great calls to action, these need to actually lead to an easy way to donate, otherwise your potential donors may fizzle out. Use an online donation system to make the process as simple and easy as possible to donate. Keep the information collected with each donation as minimal as possible in order to reduce how long it takes, which in turn increases conversions.
An integrated donation system is also important to stop visitors leaving your site to donate, which as well as being good for retaining them, makes the process seem more legitimate. Online donation systems that leverage gift aid, allow donors to opt to pay the cost of the transaction or are designed to encourage recurring donations can be much more effective, so a high-quality donation system is essential.
4. Search Engine Optimisation
You might have a great-looking website, but this means nothing if no-one can find it!
Your website needs to be designed to perform well in search engine results – through the use of search engine optimisation (SEO). Basically, SEO makes sure that your content is appealing to search engine bots, that it appears relevant to certain search terms, and therefore appears high up in search engine results.
There are three types of SEO:
- Technical SEO, which works in the background to make sure search engine bots can scan your page, keeps your site is fast and secure, and helps you avoid penalties for things like broken links
- On-Page SEO, which is the process of designing great content, using keywords correctly to encourage you to rank for these topics and making sure your page still looks great on mobile devices
- Off-Page SEO, which helps build links to your pages from other reliable sites to boost your reach, reliability and reputation.
There’s no point in a great website if no-one can find it – make sure your website is optimised for search engines.
3. Appealing and informative landing pages
Creating a good first impression is always essential. The main landing pages for your website, especially your home page, should be attention-grabbing and give a good feel for your organisation. Place special attention and focus on the pages that your ads link to and get the most traffic, including donation pages and information on important or ongoing campaigns.
Your landing pages should be visually appealing, informative and very easy to navigate. Make it clear what each landing page is specifically about and why it is important.
Your home page, for example, should include an indication of what your nonprofit is about, such as a tagline or a short description, alongside relevant images and buttons to easily donate to your cause.
Your landing pages will be the main hooks for keeping potential donors on your website, so they are very important – in addition professional and effective landing pages are necessary to access the Google Ad Grant.
2. Data analytics
It’s unlikely your website will be designed perfectly, even if you do follow all these tips. That’s where analytics comes in. This is the process of tracking users’ response to your website and how well it performs. For example, are people skipping over your call to action because it isn’t obvious enough? Are the people reading your blog actually clicking to support your cause?
Analytics lets you know if your website is actually effective, rather than just pretty. And once you know what works and what doesn’t for your nonprofit, you can tweak your website to make it even more effective. Data analytics will allow you to keep improving your website over time, keeping in-line with your growth.
1. Clean user experience
All these factors need be tied together to make a website that, at its core, works for your users. Complete information and quick loading speeds go a long way towards this, but make sure you don’t miss any small details that will overall make your website frustrating to use – and make you lose traffic.
To effectively and professionally communicate your nonprofit’s mission, your website cannot be bogged down with distracting ads, have broken links or hard-to-read text. To retain supporters on your website, it has to be easy and pleasant to use – especially on a mobile device.
A user-friendly website makes your nonprofit seem more reliable and nudges your visitors towards donating. Make ease of use a top priority in your website design stages to produce a website that actually leads your nonprofit towards its goals.
Increase your donations with Twenti
Without these features, you might be missing out on a huge number of possible donors, who either cannot find you or do not trust your website. Having a great website for your nonprofit is more important than ever.
Take a look at our Google Ad Grant management services for charities.
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