Your website’s design is instrumental in promoting your online fundraising efforts. It’s been shown time and time again that, even though we shouldn’t, we do actually judge a book by its cover. Difficult or ugly web design can undermine your credibility and be a barrier to getting donors, volunteers, and support.
Since we have been helping nonprofits and social enterprises tell their stories online for over 5 years now, we wanted to put together our suggestions on how you can create a more impactful website:
1. Understand your goals
What is the goal of your site? Do you want to get more donors? Tell better stories? Get more volunteers? Before even opening your home page, take a look at your organization’s challenges and focus on one main goal, and one secondary goal. Your site can (and should!) be tailored to work towards making that objective a reality.
2. Funnel your users
Once you know your main goal, when you build every page, ask yourself: What’s next? When a user finishes your page, is there a next logical step for them to take? After reading about your mission, you might ask them to volunteer. After learning about your impact, you might ask them to donate. Keep your user moving forward until you’ve led your users to the desired action.
3. Tell your story: problem, solution, impact
Keep your message focused. What is the problem who is it affecting and where? What is your solution? And finally, what is the proof that you are accomplishing what you set out to do?
Humans only focus on a couple of concepts at a time, so try to keep this story simple. The user should be able to walk away from your content and remember what you do and why you do it. They should be able to repeat it to a friend in one or two sentences. The simpler the message, the greater the reach you will have.
4. Highlight the donate button
It should go without saying that your donate button should stand out. Make it jump from the navigation with an outline or background. Ask for donations throughout your pages’ story. When people are scanning your site, they are looking for an action to take. Help them by giving them a visual cue on what to do next.
5. Practice Ethical Storytelling
We humans have many ways to convey emotion. Using images of people can help convey a feeling to your user, but be aware of how you use the image. Keep Ethical Storytelling guidelines in mind as you ask for consent on how to use someone’s photo. Ask yourself, how would I want my image to be shared? If I was a child, do I want the words “Fight Child Prostitution” next to my face? There is a real human behind every image used and being more aware of how you respect their stories will help you become a better organization in the long run.
6. Use high-quality graphics
A picture really does say a thousand words. Blurry or low-resolution images can limit your potential reach. High-resolution photos and crisp graphics draw the attention of the viewer and build trust.
Likewise, infographics and icons should be sharp, simple, and focus on communicating your message. Infographics can increase web traffic by up to 12%, so it's important to take the extra time to make sure they effectively connect with your audience.
7. Link your social accounts
People engage at different levels. Some donate money. Some fly to Thailand to meet you. But for many, they may just want to support you and join your community. Make sure your social media links are noticeable (and that you have an active social media page).
8. Utilize simplicity
A short mission statement is memorable. Bold graphics are impactful. Two fonts (or maybe three fonts, at most) in the design are pleasing. Short headlines are easy to understand. Simple navigation is faster to get through. Just because you make an amazing impact in this world doesn’t mean your users need to know (or are interested in) every tiny detail. Keep your message and your website simple and to the point.
Hopefully, these tips will help bring new light to your nonprofit website as you continue to make the world a brighter place. If you ever need someone to audit your site, you can always contact us at Brave Factor.