Streamlining Your Website
As vitally important as a social media presence is to the success of a non-profit (see part one of this series), your organization’s website shouldn’t take a back seat to it. Indeed, having a user-friendly site— rather than a clunky, hard-to navigate one—can mean the difference between attracting and maintaining a strong donor base and losing people before they have time to click past your homepage.
So what are the most positive attributes and best practices for your non-profit’s site? Here are some tried-and-true tips.
- Just because you make it possible for people to donate to you via your website doesn’t mean they will. Having a cluttered page, unclear copy and an overall confusing process for giving can stymie prospective donors. This means too many banners, misleading or non-attention grabbing headlines and blasé color schemes that detract from your mission. So keep the site clean with easy-to-read fonts (remember, many donors are older), give a clear direction on where to click to make a donation and be sure those directions appear on every internal page of the site, not just the homepage. And drive your content so that it’s abundantly clear what your organization’s mission is, and repeat that mission statement often.
- Run test sites often, ideally by utilizing volunteers who have no connection to your organization. When running the test, don’t overburden them with guidance—let them explore the pages naturally. Then ask the pertinent questions: Did you provide enough evidence on why your organization is seeking funds? Were they encouraged to give because of certain aspects on your site? Crunch the data and adjust your design accordingly.
- Maintain a media-friendly site. This isn’t to say a “social media” site, but rather one where it’s easy for journalists and bloggers to gather information about your organization. This should include profiles of founders, the board of directors, staff etc. as well as very clear contact information. It’s also a good idea to have a downloadable media kit with permission-free images and ready-to-print quotes so an eager journalist can instantly get everything they need for a story.
- Volunteers are the lifeblood of many non-profits, so your site should make it clear how someone can get involved in your cause. Remember that many people don’t have the means to make a cash donation, but may be more than willing to donate their time. Let visitors know what you need volunteers for, specifically, and the exact process to go through to get on board.
- Have a page on your site devoted to news or a blog. It gives visitors a reason to come back to your site—especially if they’ve already donated once and want to see how their money is being used—and is useful in that blogs and news sites are often quoted or linked by other similar sites, increasing exposure. And be sure to keep your news or blog updated regularly—doing do increases your search engine visibility.