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How to get your nonprofit website into shape

Getting anything (or anyone) into shape is never easy, so we’re going to just focus on one aspect of your business that matters a lot: your website. After all, it is the lens through which people receive their first impression of your organization. Though summer months can be slow for nonprofits, overhauling your website before the rush of fall and end-of-the-year giving kicks in can help set your nonprofit up for a successful year to come.

Read on for tips and tricks on how to get your website into shape.

Step one: Make sure your fundraising funnel is leak-free

The fundraising funnel is the direct and effective path for potential donors, from call to action to recurrent online donation. As the primary component that determines the success of an organization, this path generally goes as follows:

  1. Drive donors to your website
  2. Convince them that their gift is worthwhile and meaningful
  3. Persuade them to “click to donate”
  4. Provide them with an easy-to-use, secure donation page
  5. Encourage them to establish (and follow) and recurring donation schedule

If there are any leaks in this fundraising funnel (e.g., the lack of a donation button, an unsecured webpage, a vague mission statement, a complicated user interface, etc.) potential donors can quickly become discouraged from donating again or donating at all. Furthermore, it is clear that your website is the most important and pervasive facet in this all-important funnel. If people cannot easily access your website, can’t find it, or if your call to action didn’t even draw them there in the first place, changes must be made and made quickly.

For more information on the fundraising funnel, read our post: 4 reasons your online fundraising isn’t working.

Step two: Ask yourself the right questions

It is crucial to be critical and reflective of your website in every stage of its development and beyond. Some important questions to ask yourself are:

Question: Are you communicating impact?

Fix: You can communicate impact by providing personal stories and vivid imagery for your prospective donors that effectively shows them what their gift can do and what your organization can accomplish with their donation. This could be in a monthly blog post updating the status of a fundraising campaign, a section on the homepage showcasing photos of a recent event or interview post with someone who has been helped by your nonprofit.

Question: Are you showing the human side of your organization?

Fix: Donors want to support people and causes they believe are worth their advocacy. Paint a great picture of your organization by displaying behind-the-scenes looks and a warm, authentic “about us” section. Include personal testimonials from volunteers and lifetime donors.

Question: Are you truly making it easy for potential donors to give you their money?

Fix: Easily the most important step in this process is ensuring that there is a “donate now” button at the top of every page, in plain sight. People do not have the time or the patience to click through numerous pages. Keep the donation process as quick and painless as you are able, with minimal page changes and as little required scrolling as possible.

Question: Does your home page effectively showcase your purpose?

Fix: Another way to approach this question: would you give your money to this organization? Take a step back and be critical of your website or donation page. If you can’t identify the mission behind it almost instantly, potential supporters won’t either and won’t care to investigate further. Redesign your site with complete newcomers in mind. Use only images that are necessary in showcasing what your organization does and stands for. Don’t clog up the home page with fluff language and sideline news.

Step three: Sweat the small stuff

Once you’ve asked yourself the big questions and re-designed your website with potential donors in mind, make sure to enhance the user experience even further by focusing on what may seem like little details.

  • Trim bloated content. In a world where we are constantly inundated with messages, people don’t want to read a novel. They hardly even want to give you their hard-earned cash, so keep things clear, concise and cohesive. Your messages should be focused and consistent, simplifying the path to make online gifts.
  • Streamline images. Keep file sizes small and specific for web viewing.
  • Speed up your load times. People don’t want to wait, and if your page doesn’t load that’s exactly what you’re making them do. Some ways to do this including reducing your image sizes and varying or sacrificing image quality where possible. There are also new image formats like WebP and Jpeg XR which can aid in this process. You may consider taking a look at your JavaScript and CSS coding; removing unnecessary line breaks and broken links can also help speed things up.

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Ronald Pruitt

Ronald Pruitt

Ronald is the President and Founder of 4aGoodCause, the fundraising CRM that makes recurring, monthly giving a breeze for small nonprofits.

For over 25 years, Ronald has had the joy of doing what he loves, building online solutions that make a difference in the world. He’s helped raise millions of dollars online for small nonprofits across the country. Connect with Ronald on LinkedIn.

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