March 9, 2017

5 Essentials of Creating a Non-Profit Website

laptop user featuring John templeton Foundation website

For all the hard work your non-profit organization does, you may have one key member not pulling their weight. Your website. How hard is your non-profit website working for your cause?

The key to a creating a successful non-profit website starts with ensuring your site answers these five questions:

  • What is your cause?
  • Why is it important?
  • Where are the funds going to?
  • Who is leading the fight?
  • How can you get involved?

You may already have answered these questions in brochures, presentations, and other communications, but what is the best way to answer them on a website?

Website Design for Non-Profit in Philadelphia, non-profit website

The What
This, of course, is the first and most important question to answer — What is your cause? As the most important, the answer should reside on the most visible page on your site: the homepage. Your homepage must clearly and easily convey what cause your organization supports. This is not only essential to gaining prospective supporters but for also for attracting your target audience through SEO. If your page doesn’t clearly state which causes your organization supports, those searching to get involved in say an NPO for breast cancer will not be able to find your website.

The Why
According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS), there are more than 1.5 million registered nonprofit organizations in the U.S. While all of these causes are important, some may hold greater importance to an individual who feels personally connected to the cause. This is why it’s crucial to convey why your particular cause is important. Through the use of tactics such as infographics, you can stress the urgency of your cause and create empathy with potential supporters.

The Where
Giving your money to charity is honorable, but not required. Folks generous enough to donate their hard earned money want to make sure that their contributions are going to the right places. The ‘where’ should be treated almost as a mission statement — explaining what your organization does in order to fix the issue it surrounds. This includes geographic location, different third-party organizations, as well as the actual recipients of the donation.

The Who
Similar to the where people want to make sure they trust that the people they are giving their money to will use it towards the cause. How do you establish trust through a website? One way to establish credibility is to create a team page highlighting key leaders in your organization. Give each member a bio detailing what they do, where they’re from, and how they got involved. In addition, keeping a regular blog of events, thought leadership articles, and more also helps potential supporters see where their donation will go to and humanizes your team bio page by giving members a voice.

The How
This last question rivals the first as the most crucial question to answer as it is how your NPO grows. Once a potential supporter has researched the first four questions, they may choose to join in the efforts of your cause. In this case, it’s imperative that your website offers ways to get involved in the fight. Enter the Call-To-Action! Donate links, forms, contact links, and event calendars are all popular types of CTA and great ways to grow your community of supporters. These website features are also great resources for existing supporters to boost their own participation, and recruit their peers to join!

Ultimately, your non-profit website serves as the platform for your cause in the digital world. It is the megaphone you use at a rally, the clipboard you use to sign-up new recruits on sidewalks, and the posters you hang on telephone polls. It is the full embodiment of your team, your efforts, and the fight for your cause. Every day you and your team work hard to gain support for your cause. Make sure the team member in the background, your website, is working hard too!