Building a website for your nonprofit campaign is a great way to get your message out there and attract donors. However, designing a website for a nonprofit on a mission is different from building a typical website! It's a task that takes care and clarity if you want to fully realize the potential of your campaign's web presence. With that in mind, we've put together a list of some of the most important elements of a successful nonprofit website.
Keep things simple and elegant
A good campaign site needs to look attractive, professional, and be easy to navigate. So, don't gild the lily. A common mistake many organizations make is trying to blow their donors socks off with a flashy website with tons of bells and whistles. While it's natural to want to put your best foot forward, there is such a thing as overdoing it. If your website is complicated to use, slows down older computers and mobile devices, or is just plain obnoxious with how many features it shoves in a visitor's face, it's going to work against you in the long run.
The best campaign websites are easy to use and push the most important information straight to the front of the site where it can get the most attention. Clear UI elements, the goals and mission of the organization on the front page, and donation buttons where appropriate with a guided process for giving are essential for maximizing the potential of your website.
Create concise and compelling content
The content on your campaign website needs to do more than simply state your goals, it has to show why they matter. Go straight to the point and use real world examples to show why the work that your nonprofit does is essential and important.
Don't get bogged down in labored content. Visual storytelling and crisp clear sentences are worth far more than tedious paragraphs explaining every facet of your organization. You can still have all that wonderfully detailed copy for people who are interested in it, but your home page and project pages should be as clear and direct as possible. You want to immediately inform people and connect them with the best way to help, not beat around the bush.
Optimize for performance and mobile
While you’re thinking about your site's visual design and content, don't forget the technical side of things. Load time is the silent killer of campaigns. It might seem like a small thing, but each extra second a user has to wait for your site to load sharply increases the chances they'll close the tab and never look back. Don't think it can be that serious? Kissmetrics ran the numbers, nearly half of all internet users expect a site to load in under two seconds and will abandon it around the three second mark. That's a serious deadline! Be sure that your site is up to the challenge and consult a professional web development service that understands how to optimize a site for performance.
You also want to think about how your users will access your site. In Canada, over 70% of adults own smartphones. Many of them use their phone as their main access point to the internet. If your site is difficult to use on a small touch screen, you could be turning off a huge number of potential donors. With mobile usage only expected to increase in the coming years, it's more important than ever for nonprofits to take the mobile experience into consideration when designing their websites.
A CRM you can rely on
You just can't manage a successful nonprofit using spreadsheets and order forms anymore. When it comes to tracking sign-ups, donations, and event registrations, you want that data organized, accessible, and most of all, accurate. That's why you need a CRM you can depend on, one built with the requirements of your organization in mind. A good CRM is a productivity booster for any nonprofit. It relieves the strain placed on personnel, letting your people focus their efforts on more important efforts than maintaining spreadsheets and searching through forms.
Your website can play a HUGE role in the success of your campaign. It is both the most accessible public face of your organization and can be the easiest way to donate, provided you do you build it properly. Make sure your site is clean, professional, and communicates in a clear voice to let potential donors know what is most important. A good site is the technical back bone that will support your campaign!