In 2020, nonprofit organizations of all shapes and sizes have learned beyond a doubt that online engagements and efforts are invaluable to fundraising and outreach efforts. With a global pandemic and social distancing guidelines in place, focusing on your online fundraising strategy is more important than ever.

Your nonprofit website is a crucial component of your online fundraising, acting as the main base for how you receive online gifts. It’s where new supporters go to learn about your mission and where current donors go to continue giving and update themselves on current campaigns.

With 2020 coming to a close and many organizations looking to refresh their online strategy to boost year-end giving, it’s worth it for marketing leaders like you to review your own nonprofit website and make sure it’s doing all it can to drive donations.

This article will walk you through the following best practices and how you can apply them to your nonprofit’s website:

    1. Provide a seamless online donation process
    2. Incorporate call-to-actions throughout your site
    3. Ensure your website is accessible and compliant
    4. Use your website to tell your nonprofit’s story

A great nonprofit website is able to meet its user’s needs in a streamlined and straightforward way. After all, a confusing website is enough to drive even your most passionate supporters away. Let’s begin!

1. Provide a seamless online donation process

If you want to optimize your website in order to increase fundraising, the first place you should look to is your online donation page. After all, this is where your supporters fill in necessary details and make a gift to your organization. 

However, just because someone wants to make an online donation, doesn’t mean they will follow through. In fact, people often end up abandoning a donation page because the form is too long or is overly complicated. In order to provide a seamless donation experience, consider these tips:

    • Embed the donation form within your website for a streamlined process
    • Customize your donation forms to ensure you collect the necessary donor data
    • Offer suggested giving amounts along 
    • Minimize the number of required fields
    • Make sure it’s optimized for mobile use
    • Provide a secure and integrated payment process

Above all, your donation page should encourage supporters to complete their gift instead of hindering and interrupting their experience. The right tools and page design can make the giving process convenient for both you and the donor.

2. Incorporate calls-to-action throughout your site

Once you’ve optimized your online donation page, you now have to lead website users to it. The best way to do this is by incorporating key calls-to-action (CTA) throughout your site.

CTAs are basically an image, line of text, button, or another piece of media that prompts users to take action in some way. For example, if you’ve ever received an email from a business prompting you with a new discount code, they probably also include a CTA in order to encourage you to buy something. Without that CTA, you receive the information on the sale, but don’t receive a clear way to actually do anything. 

Of course, you could just look up the website yourself, but that extra step is often what leads people to forget and move on to something else. The same goes for your website! You need to provide CTAs leading supporters to your online donation page. This way you capitalize on moments when supporters are inspired to give and provide them with an easy way to take action.

To use CTAs to your advantage, make sure you incorporate them throughout common pages where supporters might feel inclined to give:

    • Mission statement page
    • Past fundraising accomplishments
    • Homepage
    • Current campaign page

Along with incorporating CTAs to your online donation page throughout your website, it’s a good idea to also include them in other marketing outreach efforts. Putting them in email communications or social media posts regarding recent fundraising opportunities will drive supporters back to your site. 

3. Ensure your website is accessible and compliant

Web accessibility and compliance are some of the most important factors of a successful nonprofit website. 

Kanopi defines an accessible website as “all the information and functionality on your website is accessible to any person, regardless of their individual needs and challenges.” Ensuring web accessibility is crucial if you want to have as wide of an audience as possible, no matter their location, device, language, or ability.

To ensure base-line accessibility, your website needs to be designed with all needs and abilities in mind, as well as maintain regulatory compliance. This means your website needs to comply with certain laws and regulations, like the American’s With Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).

Besides protecting you from potential future compliance charges, a fully accessible and compliant nonprofit website will ensure that you’re:

    • Fostering an inclusive culture, not only for your website but also for your organization.
    • Promoting an overall more user-friendly and pleasant experience.
    • Minimizing loss of website visitors due to inaccessibility or user disability.
    • Allowing all types of devices to access your site.
    • Improving search engines’ ability to read and understand your website.

An accessible and compliant website isn’t just good practice, but necessary if you want to expand your audience and ensure your mission is reaching as many people as possible. If you’re wondering if your own nonprofit website is accessible, consider these quick tips:

    • Make sure that non-text content (image, video, audio) has a text alternative.
    • Stay away from using sensory characteristics like sound and appearance as the only way to convey important information. 
    • Don’t use flashy elements or bright lights to protect those who are seizure-prone.

While the above general tips are great to follow, your website might benefit from more in-depth help. Consider partnering with a dedicated website support service for more concrete and actionable next steps!

4. Use your website to tell your nonprofit’s story

People give to your organization because they’re passionate about your cause. Something about your nonprofit’s story resonates with them enough to their own time and money to support your organization. Telling your nonprofit’s story is a key part of donor engagement, so why shouldn’t your website play a role?

Your nonprofit website is where supporters will go to learn more about your organization, whether it’s through exploring past campaigns or connecting to additional platforms (like social media or email!) This is how they become familiar with your nonprofit’s story.

That’s why it’s imperative that you’re including content that meets those needs. By incorporating your nonprofit’s story and journey into website content, supporters are further reminded of why they care about your mission and might be inspired to give. 

In order to tell your nonprofit’s story, consider implementing the following design tips:

    • Have clear CTAs to your Mission Statement and About Us page, along with links in your main menu.
    • Use your homepage to highlight past accomplishments. 
    • Within your online donation form, connect direct impact with each of your suggested giving levels. 

Your website shouldn’t just be the vehicle that enables you to collect online gifts. It should also be the place where supporters become well-versed in your cause and build a relationship with your mission. Telling your nonprofit’s story is the best way to do that.

As an experienced fundraiser, your website is valuable in order to engage donors and increase your nonprofit revenue. With 2020 putting a pause on your more traditional fundraising methods, your nonprofit website plays an even larger and more critical role in your efforts. Follow the above tips to ensure you’re doing all you can to drive donations! Good luck!


This guest post was contributed by Anne Stefanyk at Kanopi Studios.

As Founder and CEO of Kanopi Studios, Anne helps create clarity around project needs and turns client conversations into actionable outcomes. She enjoys helping clients identify their problems, and then empowering the Kanopi team to execute great solutions.

Anne is an advocate for open source and co-organizes the Bay Area Drupal Camp. When she’s not contributing to the community or running her thoughtful web agency, she enjoys yoga, meditation, treehouses, dharma, cycling, paddleboarding, kayaking, and hanging with her nephew.

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