In the world of non-profit organizations and institutions, credibility is everything. Consider this: when someone—a potential donor, volunteer or other kind of supporter—first learns of your group, what is the first-step they’ll most likely take in determining your legitimacy and reputation? They’ll probably zoom straight to your website to get an instant sense of who you are, what your stand for and the cause you support. And if your site leaves them disappointed by or uneducated about that cause, they could quickly set their sights on another non-profit with a more attractive profile.
Of course website trends and fads move quickly these days, so it’s vital that any and all non-profit organizations be proactive about page design in order to put their best face forward in successfully attaining their goals. So what can you do to be sure your group is on the leading edge of website design? Here are some tips to keep in mind and implement whenever possible.
- One tried-and-true design element that has stood the test of time on the Internet is pairing a striking_or even shocking, depending on your organization’s mission—visual image with a direct call to action. And keeping in mind that smartphone, tablet, laptop and desktop screens are getting more hi-tech all the time—and that Internet speed are getting faster and more efficient—don’t be afraid to begin utilizing high-definition imagery in your website design. And remember that, the more captivating the image, the more likely it will remain in the viewer’s memory for a longer period of time.
- As more and more people go to their smartphones or tablets to view websites, it’s of course important to be sure your site is optimized for viewing on these devices. Therefore, consider “long scrolling” designs rather than those that require readers to jump to multiple interior pages for more information. And when you have the bulk of your attention-getting content on your homepage you can control the story-telling aspect of the site, educating readers quickly about the issues at hand and what your organization is doing to remedy a particular situation.
- Putting online forms—for subscriptions or volunteer sign-ups, requests for more information or to make a donation—on a site is of course a must-do for any non-profit, but there’s a debate still raging about whether those forms are more successful when they’re put on pop-up screens or on their own dedicated page. Regardless of which design you currently employ, it may be a wise idea to switch to the other format and determine which gives you better return results.
- Because, as previously mentioned, loading and download speeds on the Internet are being constantly upgraded and improved, it’s certainly the right time to incorporate high-definition video into your website design. And if you don’t have any video component to your site at all, it may be time to start: video has been shown by industry experts to exponentially increase visitor engagement as long as it’s constructed correctly: this means using video to complement other pieces of content rather than having it constantly running in the background, which can be visually distracting.
- As with video, if you haven’t already put an infographic component into your website design, now’s the time: as more and more organizations utilize easy-to-read charts and graphs, visitors expect to see them across all non-profit sites. This is a fantastic way to convey important information in a way that doesn’t require a user to wade through text. To put it into perspective, remember this: more than 90 percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and the brain processes that visual information 60,000 times faster than it does plain text.