Websites for nonprofits have some requirements that are similar to all other websites and some requirements that are unique. Some of the similar requirements are:
- A highly memorable look and feel. Lots of nonprofits that we work with spend a lot of time fleshing out an appropriate mission statement. This is important work, and I commend and re-commend it! Now brace yourself – few people who visit your website will every actually read that mission statement. It’s a fact of life in the world of electronic communication. People read less. So it’s up to the design of your site to reach out, make a connection, and provide the next step. We have been working at this art for more than a decade. There are few things more satisfying (as a web development agency) than to see the wonderful success that many of our nonprofits enjoy via their websites.
- Make donations easy. Donations should never be a task for the donor. If possible, they should be fun and give the donor a sense of purpose – the purpose of contributing to the bottom line and advancing the important goals of your nonprofit. Live metrics such as a donation thermometer, shoe or other graphic are a good beginning. Multiple ways to pay (Paypal, Credit Card, check, etc.) and electronic confirmation of payment are a basic courtesy.
- More than ever, donors are afraid of being “taken” by an unscrupulous nonprofit. You can bolster your organization’s reputation in a number of ways:
- Use Guidestar and ask your existing core members to review your organization on Guidestar.
- Get a Better Business Bureau Charity Seal and display it in the footer of your site.
- Sign up with Charity Navigator.
- Make sure that your nonprofit appears on the IRS list of organizations that are qualified to receive tax-deductible donations. Link to your listing from your website.
- If you have volunteer roles, make sure that they are easy to sign up for, and that your volunteers get the praise that they deserve. We have tried and true methods for allowing volunteers to enroll, from the general availability to the detailed schedule.
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems have improved a lot over the past five years. The most popular Open Source solution is CiviCRM. CiviCRM is extensible and works across a number of popular platforms such as Drupal, WordPress and Joomla. A good CRM helps you to keep track of volunteer roles and hours, accept ans track donations and donors, and a whole lot more. We have many clients using CiviCRM, and we are happy to give you a tour. Just ask!
- Engage your donor base with social media. Tell your story. We recommend a focus on engagement before donations when it comes to nonprofit social media. It is a real opportunity to engage the minds that support your cause. Use social media to educate and interact, and the donations will come.
These are just some of the basics to improve your nonprofit website. We are passionate about nonprofit web design and we have lots of tools to help make your budget stretch all the way to accomplishing your organization’s goals.