Many non-profit organizations hesitate to spend money on a website. While a plain, basic website may have been sufficient in the past, users today demand responsive, visually appealing websites filled with valuable content that tell your story. The temptation is to keep it inexpensive, but there are special considerations for developing a successful non-profit website. Find out more before you begin.
Keep It Focused
Just as the opening of a book should grab readers, the landing page of your website should clearly communicate your mission to visitors. If you are raising awareness of the environment, choose a domain name and imagery that corresponds. Are you an animal shelter trying to increase adoptions? Welcome visitors with photos and videos of their would-be furry new companions. The goal is to solidify your brand identity. Make sure your website developer understands what you want to convey.
Tell a Story
Stories appeal to people on a personal and emotional level. They help prospective donors and volunteers believe in your cause. Whether it’s a photo or video, you want to tell a compelling story to keep visitors engaged and invested in your mission. Evoke emotion while summarizing what your organization does. Using powerful imagery alongside your organization’s name and logo also establishes trust and brand identity.
Include Web Forms and Applications
Now that you’ve made your mission clear and have told a compelling story, it’s time to give visitors the opportunity to take action. Include a donation form that allows users to contribute any amount instantly via credit, debit, or PayPal – make it easy for donors to give. Build a volunteer application into the sidebar or as its own separate web page. Or include a search bar to let visitors find more articles and resources.
Create Aesthetic Appeal
Choose professional, easy-to-read fonts that fit your non-profit’s brand identity. Choose a relevant color scheme and use an appropriate amount of white space to keep your website neat and relaxing to navigate. A professional web designer can show you various styles and font/color combinations to help you find the design that best conveys your brand.
Add Valuable Content
An effective website delivers value to its visitors. Include informative articles, videos, and links to other resources. Consider adding content that will help the media tell your story by offering a downloadable media kit and contact information for leadership. Use Google AdWords to research high-traffic keywords in your industry and incorporate them naturally in your articles and other text content. Some non-profit organizations maintain a single website exclusively with information about their cause. Others choose to have a main website for donations and volunteers that links to their blog, which is where they publish articles, stories, and tutorials. The more you flesh out your website, the more value you provide to visitors and the more visible you’ll be in search engines.
Link Your Pages Together
Make sure to link your website to your blog, social media, and other online pages. This helps drive traffic to each page and gives visitors extra venues to learn about and connect with your cause.
While smart budgeting is key to running a successful non-profit, investing in a high-quality website can pay for itself. By focusing on your goal and choosing the features that best serve your audience, you can create an effective website without breaking the bank.