Websites for Nonprofits: Why Your Website Matters
As a nonprofit, one of the most integral parts of your success comes down to how you share your story—you must tell who you are, the challenges you seek to address, and how you plan to unleash your menagerie of resources to accomplish your mission.
In today’s digital age, a website is a nonprofit’s most effective tool.
Think of your website as a dating profile. It’s the first impression you make on potential volunteers, donors, and clients. To truly stand out, you’ll need more than a quip statement or a crafty head-shot—you must make an impact with distinct value propositions, mission-driven services, and an exceptional website design.
In this guide, we’ll explore why websites for nonprofits matter and provide some tips and tricks to help you polish your online presence.
Benefits of a Skillful Website Design
Your website is your calling card.
It’s likely the first place people will go to find out more about your organization, its mission, and how to support it. Designing a professional and engaging website for your nonprofit will enable you to:
● Make a good first impression – Your website conveys a sense of professionalism and authenticity. If it looks outdated or doesn’t function properly, it may deter visitors from exploring your services in depth or de-legitimize your organization as a whole. As such, your website should welcome visitors with open arms—greeting them with aesthetically pleasing graphics, easy-to-navigate pages, and a deluge of value-packed information and resources.
● Share your mission – What do you hope to accomplish with your nonprofit? Your website is the portal outsiders can take to discover more about what you stand for. This is your chance to tell your story, whether you opt for an About Us page filled with colorful employee profiles or a background story about a specific event that inspired your philanthropy.
● Drive conversions – Most nonprofits require two essential elements: donations and volunteers. A well-designed website—one that’s tailored for search engine optimization (SEO)—can help you increase traffic to the website. And, from there, it can be used to highlight your accomplishments, stoke interest, and encourage visitors to join the cause.
● Foster on-the-go discovery – The vast majority of Google searches are now conducted on a mobile phone. As such, an optimized website should be mobile-responsive and listed on Google My Business to reach local searchers and those on a tablet or cell phone.
● Practice transparency and compliance – There are state rules and regulations that stipulate how a nonprofit solicits online donations. And as the National Council of Nonprofits notes, “Many states require nonprofits that enter into an agreement to share revenue from sales activity with another organization to file with the state to disclose that fundraising activity.” Therefore, it’s critical that you verify that your website is aligned with state fundraising regulations. Even if it’s not required, many nonprofits still voluntarily publish their annual financial report on their website to demonstrate transparency and compliance.
The Nuts and Bolts: Nonprofit Website Must-Haves
The best nonprofit websites effectively share their mission and drive local, national, or international interest. To gear your website toward success, there are three actions you can take to amplify your cause across the inter-webs.
#1 Optimize the Website
Search engine optimization involves a series of tweaks you can make to your website that helps it better communicate with search algorithms. The more optimized your site, the more likely it will rank highly on search engine pages.
To that end, there are several ways you can drive SEO, including:
● Performing keyword research
● Regularly producing a variety of high-quality content
● Optimizing on-page elements
● Focusing on user experience
● Integrating with local search
● Promoting your efforts and linking your site on social media
#2 Encourage Visitors to Come Aboard
Whenever someone visits your site they need to be told “so what” and “now what.” Ideally, your website will outline your cause, share how you’re addressing the problem, and then give donors, volunteers, or clients an opportunity to act—whether that’s donating to your cause, joining your team, or using your services.
Far too many nonprofit websites get the first two parts and then fail to clearly provide a call to action. So, after you have successfully established the whys and wherefores, you must also explicitly encourage them to volunteer, contribute, or join the cause by using CTAs on each page that beckon “Volunteer Today,” “Donate Now,” or “Try Our Services.”
#3 Incorporate Storytelling Elements
Your website should paint a picture that pulls on visitors’ heartstrings and compels them to act. To accomplish that, you should deploy a range of storytelling mediums, including photos, videos, and written content. Each one of these on-page elements contributes to your overall effort, enabling you to approach your cause from various different angles.
For example, you might want to include a testimonial page or a “Where Are They Now” section that’s bolstered by photos or videos that follow a recipient’s success story.
Puzzle Pieces Marketing: Nonprofit Web Design Made Differently
A fully functional, well-designed website is essential for nonprofit organizations looking to garner widespread attention and support. It allows you to make a strong first impression, tell your story, and encourage visitors to contribute to the cause.
But what if you don’t yet have a website for your nonprofit? Or what if your existing site needs a facelift? Puzzle Pieces Marketing can assist.
Whether you need a website that’s built from scratch or a site-wide redesign, our team works closely with each client to understand the organization and its goals to build a website that aligns with its stated mission. And we can do the same for your nonprofit.
If you’re ready to get started, reach out today.