By: Murad Bushnaq, Founder and CEO of Morweb
The COVID-19 pandemic and its resulting social distancing guidelines have made it difficult for organizations of all shapes and sizes to sustain operations. However, it has also encouraged nonprofit professionals to think outside the box in terms of donor engagement, effective fundraising, and constituent management.
When developing a plan to retain support and save your organization from the financial downturn, having a strategically crafted nonprofit website is non-negotiable. A well-designed website will improve communication with supporters and boost brand awareness so long as it stands out among thousands of other nonprofits.
At Morweb, we specialize in nonprofit web development and understand that your website is a huge aspect of running any organization. That’s why we’ve put together this quick guide to help your team create and maintain a top-notch nonprofit website. Here are four powerful tips to make your nonprofit website stand out:
- Keep an updated blog
- Optimize your donation page
- Use an intuitive website builder
- Ensure your site is accessible
An optimized website can help your team foster digital resilience in a difficult time and set your organization up for continued success going forward. Are you ready to learn about four strategic ways you can make your nonprofit website stand out online? Let’s dive in!
1. Keep an updated blog
Blogging is a popular trend in the for-profit and nonprofit spaces alike, as it's a fantastic way to provide an in-depth look at the current events and important information happening in and around your organization.
For nonprofits in particular, having an up-to-date blog is a great way to consistently share your brand narrative and keep donors and other supporters in the loop about your work within the community.
Be sure to promote your blog posts on the social media platforms where your supporters are most active. That way, you can spread the word further and encourage interaction with your community.
2. Optimize your donation page
A big part of running a successful nonprofit is effective fundraising, which has been significantly altered by the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, the vast majority of fundraising efforts take place in the virtual realm. That means having a fully-optimized donation page is a must.
According to our donation page best practices, be sure to keep the following characteristics in mind:
- Mobile-friendly design: With more than 50% of nonprofit web traffic coming from mobile devices, a mobile-friendly donation page is of utmost importance. Otherwise, completing a form designed for a desktop computer can be nearly impossible!
- Consistent branding: Make sure your donation page is branded consistently with the rest of your website. This includes using the same color scheme, font selection, and imagery (like your logo). That way, donors know that they’re giving to your organization rather than sharing their private payment information with an untrustworthy third-party site.
- Streamlined process: Your donation page design should be sleek and minimalist in order to provide a positive giving experience. Too many required fields can be overwhelming, leading to donation form abandonment, and thus, lost revenue.
With a well-designed donation page, you’ll guide prospects through the giving process and encourage them to complete their donations. Be sure to include a prominent CTA button on your navigation bar that links directly to this page, so donors know exactly how to access your giving form the moment they land on your nonprofit’s website.
3. Use an intuitive website builder
Thanks to powerful website builders, it’s possible (and even easy!) to build a quality, user-friendly website without any coding experience. By making use of a content management system (CMS), such as WordPress, Morweb, or Wix, you can build a beautiful and functional website for your nonprofit.
Plus, you can leverage the following elements of strategic web design:
- Automatic mobile-friendly design
- Drag-and-drop tools
- Pre-built website themes
- Front-end editing
No one wants to spend time on a poorly designed website that doesn’t prioritize the user experience. That’s why employing an intuitive, nonprofit-specific website CMS is such a good idea for any organization. Plus, nonprofit-specific platforms come equipped with fundraising tools that generic alternatives do not.
4. Ensure your site is accessible
As you develop and continually update your website, it’s a good idea to design with digital accessibility and inclusion in mind. This way, you can ensure that anyone who has the desire to interact with your website and its content is able to do so without trouble. including visitors who might have audio, visual, and/or learning disabilities.
Nonprofit compliance guidelines suggest that you incorporate the following tips when designing your nonprofit’s website:
- Ensure descriptive alt-text for images. Alt-text is important for users who employ screen readers so that they have the ability to understand the meaning of the image even without seeing it. As a bonus, alt-text will show in place of an image if the page has trouble loading, and it can even help boost your site’s search engine optimization (SEO).
- Include captions or subtitles for videos. Although often used interchangeably, captions and subtitles have two different purposes. Subtitles are typically used to supplement the audio track and tend to include only spoken dialogue. Captions, on the other hand, are written to replace all sorts of audio elements for those unable to hear it, and may include descriptions of background music and other noises as well.
- Use bullet points and short paragraphs for text. When including written content on your website (such as a text-heavy page like a blog post), it’s a good idea to avoid using large walls of text. This can be hard to read for anyone, especially for those who have learning disorders like dyslexia. Instead, be sure to opt for quick bullet points and short paragraphs.
Creating an inaccessible nonprofit website can mean that you’re unintentionally excluding a segment of your supporters from interacting with and developing a stronger relationship with your organization. That might be a donor who is unable to locate and utilize your online giving page or a prospect looking to learn more about your work—but either way, you’re missing out on some key engagement potential.
Breaking through the digital clutter can be difficult, but as a nonprofit, it’s crucial. If you’re unsure of how to proceed, be sure to check out Morweb’s list of best nonprofit websites to see these best practices in action. In no time, you’ll be seeing increased web traffic and optimal conversions for your mission. Good luck!
About the Author
Murad Bushnaq is the Founder and CEO of Morweb. Since its inception in 2014, Murad has acted as Creative Director and Chief Technologist to help nonprofits spread their vision online through engaging design, intuitive software and strategic communication.