Your nonprofit’s website serves many purposes, like educating visitors about your cause, facilitating online donations, and much more.
Effective nonprofit website design can be a challenge, but the payoff is well worth the hard work. Just ask any of our clients at DNL OmniMedia, and they’re sure to tell you that a strong website can be the backbone of your online presence and contribute to long-term fundraising success.
What goes into an excellent nonprofit website? We’re glad you asked! Here, we’ll break down 6 crucial elements that can turn a good website into a great one:
Let’s start with one of the most important features you can’t miss on your site: a well-designed donation form.
Fundraising is a top priority for most (if not all) nonprofits, and having a way to accept online gifts is essential.
The first step to building a strong donation form is to find the right online giving software. Depending on the size of your organization and your technology setup, you might integrate a standalone giving tool with your site or use the form-building capabilities of your nonprofit CRM.
Either way, make sure you’re able to use your online donation software to do all of the following:
Don’t overwhelm your website visitors with too much on your online donation form.
For each question, ask yourself, “What will we do with this information?” If you aren’t sure, you probably don’t need to ask it. Remember: you can use Google Analytics and Tag Manager to track where your donors are coming from (in most cases). Leave that question off your form.
Donors enjoy feeling like they are part of your community, working towards a common fundraising goal. Be transparent in showing them how much you have raised to date for a particular campaign and how far you have by incorporating a real-time fundraising thermometer.
If you include a thermometer on your site, make sure to keep these tips in mind:
To learn more about the benefits of fundraising thermometers (and some tricks to use them effectively), check out Snowball’s guide here.
If attracting new supporters to your cause is a priority, your organization can utilize resources like Google AdWords Grants to drive more traffic to your site.
However, whether you’re investing in paid ads through Google Grants or not, optimizing your site for search is a key move for any nonprofit. One easy way to make sure your site is found through search engines is to create targeted landing pages around your core efforts and opportunities.
With the help of your web designer or consulting firm, create dedicated pages for each of your most important key terms — that is, those terms that you want users to associate with your site.
Having one core page per keyword (or search term) makes it easier for search engines to determine which page to rank, rather than attempting to show multiple pages for a single search query.
As you’re deciding which core pages to build, optimize, or run ads for, keep your nonprofit goals in mind. For example, you might create landing pages for:
If you do take advantage of Google Grants, you can also make these landing pages part of your AdWords strategy by using them as sitelink extensions. For more on that and other ad strategies, check out this post from DNL OmniMedia.
There’s no easier way to extend your fundraising potential than to promote matching gift opportunities to your supporters.
Through matching gift programs, businesses double gifts made by their employees to charitable organizations. These corporate giving initiatives can lead to major fundraising increases, but many nonprofit donors don’t even know these programs exist, much less how to participate in them.
To solve that problem, all you need to do is integrate a matching gift search tool onto your website. These user-friendly widgets allow donors to quickly search for their employer within a matching gift database and discover what corporate giving programs they’re eligible for.
Here’s how to do it:
Because matching gift tools are so easy to use for both nonprofits and donors, there’s really no downside to including this element in your web design. Learn more by checking out this guide to matching gifts from the experts at Double the Donation!
In many cases, your website is the only means of interaction that your donors will have with your organization. It’s important that your website is a positive reflection of your brand.
Not only does effective branding make your organization more easily recognizable to the public (which is vital for raising awareness for your cause), but a good brand also builds trust with your site visitors and supporters.
Your nonprofit’s brand should extend to every facet of your organization, from live events you host to fundraising letters that you send. As the face of your nonprofit’s online presence, your website can play a major role in establishing your branding, too.
Here are a few simple — but effective — ways to reinforce your brand throughout your site:
Developing a brand for your organization is a lasting decision, so think critically when evaluating how your brand fits into your site design. You want your site to reiterate who your organization is and how you impact the world around you — your brand is a big part of that!
When it comes to creating a strong website, your nonprofit has a lot to consider.
Your layout, content, branding, and software integrations can all contribute to an exceptional site, but you need to know what your organization’s goals are for your website before diving into a relaunch or redesign.
If you need a little help assessing your website’s areas for improvement, look for an experienced nonprofit technology consulting firm (like TeamDNL) to lead the way. The right consultant can help your nonprofit develop a more strategic website that’s powerful, beautiful, and helps you accomplish all of your organization’s goals.
Carl co-founded DNL OmniMedia in 2006 and has grown the team to accommodate clients with on-going web development projects. Together, DNL OmniMedia has worked with over 100 organizations to assist them with accomplishing their online goals. As Managing Director of DNL OmniMedia, Carl works with nonprofits and their technology to foster fundraising, create awareness, cure disease, and solve social issues. Carl lives in the Hudson Valley with his wife Sarah and their two children Charlie and Evelyn.
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