Driving Donor Engagement: Five Essential Elements of the NPO Website

As a non-profit in today’s online- and social-media driven world, your website has a tale to tell. It has a message to relate to the world, a story about something needed, something neglected or something wrong that needs to be made right.


So the question is: what elements of your website are most crucial to engaging visitors, to making them understand your message and to become vested in your cause to the point where they’re willing to support you with their time, their talent or, most importantly, with their money?

Consider these five key elements that should be perfectly apparent as part of your NPOs website design strategy. Ensure that they’re fine-tuned and front-and center so your message resounds clearly with every visitor that lands on your page.

Is your mission clearly stated on your website?
This may seem like a simple, no-brainer question to ask, but NPO experts are quick to lament the lack of a clear, coherent message on some organization’s websites. Too often, site managers and developers will concentrate on the little details of the mission and miss the bigger picture. For instance, having experiential videos on your home page often detracts from the core idea of what the organization is trying to accomplish, so save such videos (or photographs) for a dedicated interior page. Keep your home page clean and streamlined, with a concise statement encompassing who you are and why you exist, and utilize powerful but limited graphics. No matter the cause, your goal is to encourage further exploration of your site, rather than bombard the viewer with information from the outset.

What is the experience a user has when interacting with your website?
Like having a clean homepage, easy and effective site navigation is crucial to engaging your audience. If the site has pull-down menus, the headers should be short and specific—think “videos,” “testimonials,” “staff” and “supporters,” for instance. If you’re encouraging potential donors to share your cause with others, social media links should be easy to find. Additionally, your site should be built with responsive design so it renders correctly across all devices (smartphones, tablets, laptops etc.) A clunky site that’s difficult to maneuver around is a big detractor for those looking to donate.

Is there an element to your website that allows a donor to register his or her views?
People truly interested in a specific cause want to hear their own voice as part of the conversation. So any good NPO site should have a way for them to make their views on the topic known. This may include a comment section on a blog—always a sound idea—or a community forum. Also, be sure staff and board contact information is easy to locate: bigger donors often want to engage with an organization’s principals directly.

Is it easy for them to donate?
Industry gurus hammer this home to NPOs over and over: your donate buttons or links should be obvious on every page of the site, and the donation process must be seamless. Analysts note that more than a third of potential donors will navigate away from a website if they don’t see apparent ways to give immediately.

Does the donor receive an “e-thank you” of some sort?
Once they given a monetary donation, signed up as a volunteer or just registered an opinion, it’s important that an immediate “thank you” response is delivered. If your group is giving away something tangible in exchange for a donation of time or money—a t-shirt or even a bumper sticker, for example—let them know when they will receive it or when they can expect a call for their help on a volunteer basis.


Creating Digital Destinations that Build Communities and Change Lives.

Our non-profit clients consistently tell us their biggest challenges are improving donor engagement and promoting their mission online. At Byte Technology, we understand that creating a successful online presence for non-profits isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” undertaking. By choosing the right tools for your organization, Byte Technology can help you create online strategies that foster engagement with your volunteers, patrons and donors specifically—allowing you the capability to build stronger relations with the people that matter to your organization most.

Learn more about Byte Technology’s web design services for nonprofits.

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