Keys to an Effective Nonprofit Website
From Minimum Requirements to Best Practices
Q: How important is it to have an effective website for your nonprofit?
A: It’s mission critical!
While every element of your online presence is an important part of your storytelling strategy, most of the bigger actions (donations, registrations, etc.) are taken on your website. In marketing lingo, this is commonly referred to as a “conversion” because it converts a visitor into a supporter.
It’s where you control your story best, and where you drive traffic to most often. It’s where you should consistently be delivering much (if not most) of your value to your audience, and therefore also making your most powerful calls to action.
That’s why we believe that a website is the most valuable digital platform you have. It’s often the only one you truly own, and it is definitely the most pivotal to your mission success. How your website looks, feels and performs will affect how your audience perceives your organization.
Functional Requirements for a Nonprofit Website
While all businesses are concerned with money and infrastructure, nonprofits have some particular constraints and goals when it comes to their websites. Very few nonprofits have an in-house technology team that can implement the latest functionality quickly and at low additional cost. Similarly, working frequently with a designer to create new layouts and visuals every time, can consume more resources than you can spare.
That’s why, for a nonprofit to be able to get the most out of their website, it needs to be:
To make sure that your audiences can discover and use the website from whatever device they’re on, your site must also:
As of June, 2017. Source: w3counter.com
Which browser do your potential donors use?
Many nonprofits are using Apple computers running Safari, or older Windows computers with Internet Explorer in their office. But that’s not how your audience is seeing your site. Be sure to install Chrome and other browsers to test the user experience.
Key Elements for Nonprofit Website Success
Beyond the core functionality and ease of use, nonprofit sites need to focus their energies on different areas than for-profit sites that are selling a product. Nonprofit sites must be able to provide value to their donors through stories.
In order to keep a site relevant and providing value to your benefactors and beneficiaries, a nonprofit website must meet the following criteria:
How many of these keys is your organization’s site employing? Missing any one of them could mean you’re missing out on connecting with audiences, turning them into fans, raising more money, and increasing you impact.
This series continues next week, when we’ll compare the different platforms you can use to build the most effective website—wix, squarespace, wordpress, drupal, etc.—based on your needs and resources. Be sure to get that and much more when you:
(You’ll also get a guide with eight free online tools, including free web hosting for your nonprofit!)