These days you need a website, no matter what you're selling. A website works for you 24/7, so you want to make sure it leaves a lasting impression.
Keep the following tips in mind to create a website that will not only look beautiful but act as the most useful marketing tool for your organization.
There is nothing more frustrating than going to a website and not being able to find what you need. You probably have a lot of information that you want to have readily available, but be smart about how you present it.
Only list the essential items of your website in your top navigation. These should include:
• History and mission
• Contact us
• Upcoming events, news, and initiatives
• Success stories and testimonials
• Press coverage
• How to donate money or volunteer
Everything else, such as your board members and marketing materials, can be listed in your footer or site map, but shouldn't clutter your top-level navigation.
Pro Tip: When naming your pages,
• Keep the titles between 1-3 words
• Avoid the use of jargon
• If you need to utilize a drop-down menu, keep it to one level only
Your donation button should be easy to find and stand out right away. Make it stand out by using a bright contrasting color and make sure it appears on every page of your website.
Also, keep the donate page itself simple and easy to use. If possible, offer a matching gift tool that allows partner organizations to match donations made by their employees or affiliates.
For potential donors who are unfamiliar with your organization, your home page should give them a snapshot of who you are and what you do before they even have to access your menu bar.
The front page should include the following:
• The explicit problem you're solving
• The unique solution you provide
• The immediate impact of your organization
• Quick preview of blog posts they can read later
• Way to subscribe to your newsletter
Your website tells who you are—so make sure you're sharing your story. Include photos, video, testimonials, impact stories, fundraising achievements—show visitors that their contributions to your cause matter.
When crafting copy for your website, you MUST keep SEO in mind. A great looking website is useless if no one can find it.
Understanding how your website is performing—with Google analytics, site crawl diagnostics, security, and accessibility—will ensure people find it quickly and effectively. By factoring in everything from site structure and hosting to redirects and content management, you can ensure your site is optimized to receive the search ranking it deserves.
A majority of your traffic will be from mobile, so make sure your design accounts for that. You want to ensure your website has a responsive design to ensure a consistent look regardless of what device your donor views it on.
Pro Tip: Utilize your brand standards within the following guidelines.
• Keep the layout vertical
• Use large fonts and only use 1 or 2 at most
• Choose colors that complement each other, but keep it down to 2-3
• Decide the shape and color you want to utilize for your CTA buttons and make them large enough to read and use on mobile
• Reduce page load time by optimizing your images for web
• Use HTML and CSS and avoid Flash Player
• Leave plenty of white space
• Avoid large blocks of text
• Only include essential information on each page
• Keep imagery simple, yet impactful
As we mentioned above, your website should be skimmable. Before you even start the design process, create a list of must-have items for each page of your website, and eliminate elements that are irrelevant or dilute the message.
As a nonprofit, having your donor database integrated with your website offers a host of benefits. Reducing human error by eliminating the need to enter information manually is just one of them.
With that in mind, you also want to make sure your donor information is secure, so building that into your CRM system is crucial. A few things you should consider:
• Use of strong passwords
• Keep your software and website up-to-date
• Tokenize your donors' account credentials
• Use separate login credentials for your staff
Pro Tip: Try to use a CRM that will allow you to sync data with your donation platform. Streamlining donation data collection in this way will allow for better reporting down the road.
Whether it's a sign-up for your email newsletter or a section that showcases your social media efforts, make sure to market how people can engage with you.
An easy way to encourage engagement is to integrate your digital marketing with your social media channels. Auto-publish your blog posts, cross-promote fundraising events, share success stories and boost your top performing social posts. Keep your website up-to-date, so donors feel connected with your mission.
Pro Tip: Include CTAs on your website and in your digital marketing efforts asking for volunteers. Make it easy for them to share volunteer opportunities via social, and use sign-up forms that are intuitive and mobile-friendly.
To stay up-to-date on digital marketing tactics for your organization, we encourage you to follow The Buzz: a LinkedIn page that focuses exclusively on nonprofit education, best practices, and tips.