The best practices for building a successful nonprofit website are important to know when you’re setting out on the journey. I’ve compiled a list of essential features and pages that you need to create a successful nonprofit website. The design of your site is just as important as the content you put on it, and that’s why we’re going to explore what goes into the design process for a nonprofit site. We’ll also touch on how to get people interested in donating or volunteering with your organization through engaging content. This article may not be for everyone, but if you are looking for inspiration and ideas, then you are in the perfect place!
8 Essential Features That Your Nonprofit Website Needs
While it might seem like an easy task to create a website, there are many features that your nonprofit’s website should have. It is important to have the right balance of functionality and ease of use for your site visitors. Here are 8 essential features that you need on your nonprofit’s website.
1. Engaging Design
Put your best foot forward with an engaging design. From just 50 milliseconds of viewing time, visitors will form first impressions about your organization based on the quality and attractiveness of its website’s layout. A good web designer should create a visually appealing site that is easy for viewers to navigate. Visitors can have instant judgments when seeing a new website. This means you need to engage customers immediately with beautifully designed pages, photos that stand out from the rest, and CTAs prominently displayed within each page so users.
You also want to have a responsive design. A responsive design allows your website to adjust to fit any screen size. Nowadays, visitors can come across your site using many different devices: tablets, smartphones, or computers. You want your site to look great on all of these devices. So it’s important to use a responsive design and to verify that it looks great from both iPhone and androids devices, as well as a PC.
2. Mission Statement
Most people use the homepage to find out what is most important about an organization, and your mission statement will answer this question. In addition, your visitors will want to know if the mission of your organization aligns with their own core values. So make sure your mission statement is front and center on your homepage. This should be a very short summarized version of your mission statement. Depending on how long your mission statement is, the summary should link to a page that has the full version.
3. Call to Action
Your homepage should have an eye-catching call to action. A call to action is an element on your homepage that tells the user to do a specific action, usually to sign up for something or donate. In the case of a nonprofit, the call to action may appear in a Join Now, Donate Now, or Volunteer Today button. Your call to action should catch the eye and be immediately visible on the homepage without scrolling.
4. Tell a Story
Everyone loves a good story. So use your website to tell the story of your organization. Let visitors know what makes your organization special and unique, and what drives you to be passionate about your cause. You can do this in several ways, but take the time to tell the stories and share the testimonials of people that your organization has helped. Blog articles are the perfect way to share your stories over time, and you can add your most recent articles to your home page so that visitors can immediately see what you’ve been up to.
You can tell the story, or you can invite people to tell their own story. BUT Don’t forget to add lots of greats images. People tend to scan a story before they read it, and great images will make them more inclined to stay longer and read the full story.
5. Make a Bold Statement
Make a big, bold statement on your homepage. Literally a single statement. This can be an excerpt from your mission statement, a key statistic that supports your cause, a statement of your impact, or the values your organization stands for. The key is to show people that visit your website who you are.
Your bold statement should be front and center on the home page. Here is a good example
Changing the way the world tackles poverty.. Learn More
20 million more girls may never return to school once the COVID-19 crisis subsides…. Donate Now
It’s also good to quickly highlight the impact that your supporters’ engagement will have on your cause. This can go in as subtext if your design allows it.
6. Show the Team
People want to see the team behind all the good works. The about page or staff page is often one of the most visited pages on a website. People want to know who they are donating to, and generally don’t just donate to a faceless entity. Once again, they are looking to connect, this time with the people behind the cause.
You want to share a photo and short bio of your board or staff, and the key people running your organization. You want to showcase their values. You want to showcase their bios tell their history, experience, and connection to the organization. The staff page highlights that your nonprofit is comprised of individuals compassionate about your cause. You can also choose to share the individual staff members’ social media and personal pages. This also allows visitors to even further connect with the individuals behind the organization.
7. Share Your Impact
You need to show your results, outcomes, and impact on your website. You need a page or section where you can show how you have changed or transformed people’s lives or your community. People want to see your impact. It’s critical for building future trust, and it’s how you attract future donors and retain current donors. You want to show proof of work.
If you are new and don’t have a lot of results as of yet, you can talk about your goals and what you hope to accomplish within the next year with their support.
8. Engaging Images
Images are everything. You want to have big, high-quality images showing your mission in action. Remember that your website should tell the visitor a compelling story about your organization, and a picture says 1000 words. People respond well to images of other people, animals, etc. They want to be able to identify with the pictures and connect themselves to your cause.
Your Nonprofit Website Needs These 6 Pages
Your homepage should be easy to navigate. It should contain sections that highlight and link to the most important section on your website. Among the things that your home page should include are:
- Call to Action
- Summary of Mission Statement
- Section highlighting your team
- Recent Blog Articles
- Links to Social Media
2. Donation Page
Your donation page is where potential supporters can use your website to donate money to your cause. It should include details of your mission and of course, your donation form. Every donation page should include the following:
- Mission Statement
- Donation Form
- And a Call to Action encouraging the visitor to donate.
This is the page where you highlight the individuals that make up your organization. Tell their story. Visitors are looking to form a connection with the people, not a business entity. Be sure to include pictures of the staff and bios.
4. Contact Us
Your contact us page is often the primary way that visitors will communicate with you through your website. So you want to give a good impression of your organization and make sure you are upholding your brand. Be sure to explain to visitors why they should contact you, and that you are looking to hear from them. After they have left a message to you, let them know what the next step is.
5. About Us
Your About Us page is your chance to tell the world Who you are, What matters to you, What you do, and How you do it. Make sure you convey your passion for your cause because visitors are looking to connect with you. Remember, the about us page will help your visitors decide whether they will donate or partner with your organization.
6. News/Blog (Bonus)
Post blog articles to keep supporters up to date on what’s happening in your organization. Let them know the great things are you doing, the events you have coming up, and what you have planned for the future. Letting your visitors know this will keep your community of supporters engaged and attracts new supporters.
Your nonprofit website is the face of your organization. It needs to be attractive, modern, well-designed, and easy for visitors to use with a clear call to action that directs them towards donating, volunteering, or contributing in some other way. We’ve outlined 8 essential features we think every nonprofit should have on their site and 6 pages your site absolutely must have if it wants any chance at success. If you need help designing and building this masterpiece yourself, contact us! Our team of experts is ready and waiting to partner with you by providing design services tailored specifically for nonprofits, so they not only look great but perform beautifully too.