We recently partnered with NextAfter to create The State of Nonprofit Email Cultivation, a free research report analyzing how 199 nonprofits communicate with subscribers and donors in the first 45 days. There was one key finding from the study that shows what the best nonprofit websites all have in common. Here’s what they found.
Findings On Nonprofit Website Best Practices
In the study, the NextAfter team wasn’t always able to find an email subscription sign-up or donate button on many nonprofit websites. In fact, they couldn’t give to 20% of the organizations or sign up for email from 29% of the organizations in the study.
That’s worth repeating: When they tried to sign up for emails or make a donation through a nonprofit’s website, they weren’t always able to do so.
Image: The best nonprofit websites send an email after email signups and donations. Only 77% of the organizations studied successfully sent follow-up emails.
Of course, there may be extenuating circumstances. As the team explained in the study, the websites could have had broken forms or integrations might have failed. This is concerning, but the good news is that this is a relatively easy problem to fix. If you want to make sure you have the best nonprofit website you can, we’ll share how to make this easy upgrade to your site.
The Best Nonprofit Websites Have An Accessible Email Signup Form
As soon as possible, take the time to visit your nonprofit’s website and pretend you are a prospective donor or supporter. First, focus on your email signup forms. As you navigate the website ask these questions:
- Does your website have an email signup form? If so, was it easy for you to find? Could someone visiting your site for the first time find it without difficulty?
- Were you able to successfully complete the signup process? Did your contact information go through successfully? Did it submit quickly or was the submission speed noticeably slow?
- Finally, did it work when you tested it? Did you get a confirmation email from your organization? If not, is that because you don’t have this set-up yet, or because it’s not working?
This is also a good time to ensure that you have a welcome email series set-up to automatically send your new subscribers content to their inboxes.
The Best Nonprofit Websites Have An Easy-To-Find Donation Button
Once you test your email signup form, go to your homepage and pretend you’re a prospective donor. Now, ask yourself these questions:
- Is there a clear way to give to your organization? Do you have a donation button clearly visible?
- Are you able to make a donation online? If you haven’t tested out your online giving tools recently, try giving any amount to make sure it goes through to your online fundraising software or donor management system.
- Are your online fundraising tools up-to-date? Whether you’re using donation buttons, embedded donation forms, a donation page, or some combination of each one, are they all updated and relevant? As you go through the donation process, check to make sure your branding is consistent. Verify that you give all your donors the option to make a recurring gift. Pay attention to the details to make sure it’s a streamlined giving experience for your donors.
If you don’t have a way for people to donate online, we recommend changing that ASAP. Check with your current nonprofit software suite to see what online giving tools they offer and whether they integrate with your website platform.
For Kindful users, you can read more about how to integrate Donation Buttons and Donation Forms with the most popular nonprofit website platforms like Squarespace, Wix, WordPress, Weebly, and more.
Examples Of The Best Nonprofit Websites
Here are some examples of nonprofit websites with prominent email signup forms and donate buttons.
Donation Button In Header
This nonprofit website features a donate button on the right side of their header. It’s also outlined to help distinguish it from the other header options. We recommend that every nonprofit website at least has a donate button in their header. This makes it easy for your supporters to give wherever they are in your website.
Donation Options On Homepage
Another option for driving online donations is giving your website users several options for donating—both in the amount you can give and how often you can give. Many websites have a donation landing page with this feature, but we love how this one includes giving options right on the homepage, making it easy for donors to choose a giving option that works for them.
Donate Button With Custom Text
You might notice this is similar to the first donation button option, but the difference is that they customized the text. Most nonprofits choose buttons that say Donate, Give, or Support. This nonprofit customized the text to say Sponsor Now to fit their funding model. It’s a good practice to make sure the text of your donation buttons is consistent with your organization.
Email Signup Box
When it comes to email signup forms, this one is hard to miss. Like many subscription boxes, it’s near the footer of the site. We think this is a good place because it will catch your users after they’ve had the chance to generate interest in your cause.
Email Signup Pop-Up Window
If you want to make sure you get the attention of your website users, you can try a subscription pop-up box like this one. You can usually set the pop-up to appear after a certain amount of time, allowing your users to spend time on your website before asking them to subscribe. This is a more direct way to ask for email subscriptions, but it will make sure it’s not missed.
Email Subscription Link On Page
Though this website is missing a clear donation button, what we love is the simple option to subscribe as soon as you land on the page. When you click the text that says, “Subscribe to our newsletter,” the page automatically scrolls to the signup box at the bottom. This way, the users that don’t scroll to the bottom will still know it’s there.
Building Your Best Nonprofit Website
Now you know two of the simple elements that the best nonprofit websites have: an email signup form and a clear way to donate. If you want to increase your contacts and donors, we recommend implementing these simple changes to your website if you haven’t already. Then, make sure you read the rest of the study for more findings on optimizing your email marketing strategies.
To learn more, you can download The State of Nonprofit Email Cultivation for free.
Schedule a live demo with our partner Bloomerang, and we’ll show you how easy it is to create and automate reports, utilize online and offline fundraising tools, quickly integrate and access all your data, and ultimately create more time to engage your donors.