There are lots of different kinds of sites. Ecommerce sites sell products online; they have shopping carts and checkout pages. Blogs and news sites have lots of posts and articles, and probably lots of display ads so they can earn some money from their readership. Business sites are going to have an “About Us” page with information about the company and contact forms so that potential clients can reach out online.
All the general types of websites tend to share the same tools and features. But what about sites that don’t fit neatly into one of these big main categories? If you’re running a non-profit organization and getting ready to build or redesign your non-profit site, you may be asking yourself, “What should a non-profit website include?”
Nonprofit Website Best Practices To Get The Most Out of Your Site
Lots of websites for businesses and organizations are nothing more than glorified brochures. They have a lot of information, but don’t do much to affect the bottom line. As a nonprofit, your website should support your organization, not the other way around. The best nonprofit sites are those that make it easy for supporters to contribute. If your non-profit site isn’t doing much to move your organization forward, take a look at our best practices below to get your website earning its keep.
Optimize Your Donation Form to Make Donating a Breeze
The donation form is the lifeblood of your website. Online donations are growing every year, and more online donations mean more money to pursue your work and improve your community.
Make sure your donation form is easy to use, and provides lots of options to let site visitors donate. Online credit card processors are ideal, but be sure to have your mailing address visible for those supporters that prefer checks. It’s great to collect as much information as you can about your donors so you can keep in touch, but avoid having too many required fields that make donating a chore. You want to remove as many barriers as possible that keep people from donating.
Improving your donate form is great, but it does no good if nobody can find it. Make sure you have a prominent link to your donate page in your navigation menu, and highlight it with an accent color so it stands out from the other menu items.
Show The World You’re Making a Difference
Your organization has a specific purpose. There is something wrong in the world that you are here to correct. The best days you’ll ever have as a nonprofit are those days where you get to make a real difference in the community, so be sure to memorialize them. Highlight your work and the difference you make on your website so that your users can see the effect their donations have on the world around them. A blog is a great way to do this; and it shows your new donors where their money is going, and your old donors how they’re contributions have made a difference.
Let Your Website Do The Event Organizing
As a nonprofit organization, you probably do a bit of organizing. Whether you’re looking for volunteers to staff your events or community members to attend them, adding an event calendar and registration tool to your website can take a lot of the work off your hands.
Once you’ve got your calendar set up and are ready to start accepting sign ups on your website, be sure to feature your upcoming events in prominent areas on the site so your visitors know they’re coming up!
Network With Your Biggest Sponsors
Individual donors are great, but some of the largest donations come from businesses and other organizations. These donations and sponsorships have a monetary value, but the association with these businesses has value by itself. Featuring the logos of well-known organizations that sponsor your non-profit helps increase your own authority in the eyes of your website visitors.
Don’t forget, this works both ways. Large companies love to show off their charitable contributions, so be sure to reach out to your sponsors and ask them for a link back to your website. Links from the websites of these large organizations will do wonders for your SEO.
Connect With The Community (Where They Are)
Your organization is only as strong as your supporters. Building and strengthening the connection between your nonprofit and individual members of the community is the key to growth and longevity. Still, even using all the best practices we’ve mentioned, chances are that all of your supporters won’t come back and visit your website every day. That’s OK! It just means that you need to connect with them where they are, and where they are is on social media.
If your website is the hub, your social media profiles are the spokes. Providing updates and engaging on social media will encourage your followers to keep returning to your website, where they can donate, sign up for events, and find other ways to get involved. Make sure your profiles look good and that you’re regularly posting links to your new blog posts and events pages.
If you do all this, you will have laid a fantastic groundwork for building a nonprofit site that provides real value for your organization. Your site will inform your visitors about your organization’s goals, show off the tangible results of your (and their) efforts, and encourage them to quickly and easily find ways to contribute to your cause.
However, if you’re reading all this and still feel a bit lost, you can always reach out to Watermelon! We have quite a few nonprofit clients and would be happy to show you how we can help make a difference for your specific organization.