“Ignore our website. We know it’s bad.”
How many of you have said that about your nonprofit’s website? Or, at the very least, how many of you have cringed at the thought of donors visiting your site because you know it could be much better?
With few exceptions, nonprofit websites aren’t regularly held up as examples of superior web design. Because budgets are tight and employees are already working at their full capacity, there’s not always an easy in-house or affordable solution to updating and maintaining your website.
If you’re in that camp of wishing you could provide a better online experience for your donors, you’re not alone. Last year, we asked 2,502 nonprofit professionals where they were hoping to invest their resources in 2020, and a majority of them said they were focusing on their websites.
When you consider that Gen X (38%), millennials (44%), and Gen Z (42%) were largely aligned and indicated they would have less trust in an organization if they couldn’t donate easily online or through mobile devices, it’s especially critical that nonprofits provide a seamless online giving experience.
So how can you improve or refresh your nonprofit’s website?
We’ll cover these 7 steps:
- Ask your supporters what’s missing or confusing.
- Make sure it’s easy for users to navigate your nonprofit’s website.
- Optimize your nonprofit website for mobile.
- Incorporate high-quality images and videos.
- Include your financial documents.
- Update any new information.
- Integrate it with your CRM.
Start with a nonprofit website audit.
Before you make any changes, you need to do an audit. First, make sure that everything is working properly. Here are some questions to consider:
- Are the links on your website working? Are they taking the user where you want them to go?
- Are the form fields capturing the information your supporters are providing and adding them to the correct email list?
- Do all social media icons and donate buttons work?
Now that you know that everything works, it’s time to think about what you can do to improve the user experience.
Here are some suggestions to take your nonprofit website to the next level.
1. Ask your supporters what’s missing or confusing.
If you have a dedicated group of volunteers or supporters, consider asking them about their online experience. What do they like about your site? What do they think needs to be changed or updated? Once you have that feedback, use it to inform the updates you’ll make.
2. Make sure it’s easy for users to navigate your nonprofit’s website.
Take a look at the homepage of your website. Is it easy to navigate? Is your menu bar at the top of the site? Are there clear links to take you to the About page, your donation page, and any other page your supporters will want to access quickly? We’ve found that the best nonprofit websites have a clear way to subscribe and donate. Keep your navigation as clean as possible. The more intuitive you make it, the better.
3. Optimize your nonprofit website for mobile.
Although this largely depends on your audience, most users prefer to view websites via their mobile devices instead of their desktop or laptop computers. That means you need to design your site with them in mind.
This is also another reason you’ll want to keep your menu bar clean and easy to navigate. Think about how small the screen is that people may be viewing your website on!
4. Incorporate high-quality images and videos.
Have you updated your photos or videos lately? What about the stories you’ve included on your site that show how you’re successfully carrying out your mission? Now is the perfect time to make sure that you do both of those things. The fresher you keep this content, the better. You’ll want to show that you’re always making progress on your goals, and sharing new wins via visual storytelling is a great way to do that.
5. Include your financial documents.
Some donors will want to see your financial documents on your website. This is one important step you can take to make sure there’s transparency when it comes to your finances. Take a look at how charity: water presents their financial documents. You may not need to go that deep, but there are definitely cues you can take from what they’ve done. The most important thing is that you remove any doubt from your donor’s mind when they’re making the decision to donate. By showing you have nothing to hide and welcoming them to look at how you spend the money you receive, you’re building trust.
6 Update any new information.
A good website is one that has up-to-date information on it. Is there anything that’s out of date or that needs to be updated on your site? Did new staff members start? If so, add them to your staff page. Are there new questions to add to your FAQ page? If so, add those in.
7. Integrate it with your CRM.
If you’re not already doing so, you should consider finding a donor management solution that lets you manage all of your donor data in one place. This may not make a huge difference on the user’s experience, but it will help make things easier on you and your team. Ultimately, it’ll save you more time, which will free up your team to engage with donors on a more consistent basis.
By taking these steps to improve your nonprofit website, you’ll be building trust with your prospective donors and ultimately making your team’s job easier. Get started today and make sure you have a better website in place for big giving times like Giving Tuesday or the end-of-year giving season.
The right resources can make all the difference between running a successful, mission-driven organization and one that ends up shutting its doors. Read one of our recent blog posts on four types of innovative nonprofit technology your organization needs.