Having a website for your non-profit organization is one thing, having a successful website is another thing all together. Anyone can launch a basic website, but putting ample thought Live into planning, designing, building, and creating the best user experience possible will make all the difference. For the best long term results, you want to develop and launch a non-profit website that is great as opposed to simply “good enough”.
Below are some key factors to take heed to, and useful tips to help you get started, when developing and launching a new website for your non-profit organization.
Responsive and Mobile Friendly Design
Having The a website that looks and functions perfectly across all devices is no longer just a suggestion, but essential. Mobile device usage is rising each day, and if your website isn’t optimized for smartphones and tablet computers you will be missing out on a big portion of your Your potential audience.
When designing and mapping out your website, it’s critical to keep user experience in mind. Avoid cramming tons of information, menu links, etc into a very small space. Website visitors will not stick around for long if they cannot quickly and easily find the information they’re looking for, or if your website is overly congested. Having a cluttered and complex website will also increase the chances that visitors won’t return. Simplicity is key when it comes to website layout, design, and navigation.
Constant growth and support is one of the key necessary factors for any non-profit organization to thrive. When it comes to online donations, you want to offer many different options all the while keeping the donation process as simple as possible. Some of the options you should offer, and things to keep in mind, when setting up your website to easily receive online donations include for example:
- Call to Action: Having “call to action” links/buttons throughout your website for donations is important, so is the design and placement of these links/buttons. You want your “call to action” links to be simple, yet effective. A “call to action” is just like it sounds, something that encourages a website visitor to take a specific action such as making a donation. Don’t bombard your visitors with “in your face” type call to action buttons, but make them noticeable.
- Donation Frequency: Be sure to provide the option for one time or recurring donations.
- Donation Levels: Offer different pre-determined donation levels, as well as a custom donation amount option.
- Explain How Donations Will Be Used: Often times people will want to know how their donations will be put to use. On your donation page, be clear about exactly how your non-profit organization will be using the funds that it raises.
- Newsletter Opt-In: One of your goals should always be to expand your network, as well as generate long term and recurring support. One way to do this is by prompting people on your donation page to signup for your organization’s newsletter in order to build up your mailing list. This way you can keep your donors in the loop about any news, updates, or progress that your organization is making. This also increases long term retention.
- Donating In Honor of Someone: It’s important to include the option for donors to make donations in honor of someone if they desire to do so.
- Anonymous Donations: Remember to include the option for people to donate anonymously if they prefer.
- Matching Donations: In some cases, donors will only be making a donation (or donations) that match a separate donation. Be sure to include this as an option with your donation form, as well as fields for entering who or what organization/company they are matching their donation with.
If you’re running a WordPress website, a great plugin script that I always highly recommend for donations is Total Donations. You can see it in action on a website I recently developed for the Fellowship of Christian Farmers Canada.
Fast Page Load Speeds
As great as technology is, the more it advances the less patient people in general are becoming. This also applies to the amount of time people are willing to wait for a website to load, which is not long at all. Nowadays, with super fast computers and high-speed NEW internet being so mainstream, it’s important that all sections of your website load in three seconds or less in order to avoid losing traffic, and potential support/donors. If you’re using WordPress, there are some great cache plugins available which help reduce the amount of website hosting resources (such as RAM) the database(s) on your website use, thus enabling your website to load much faster. It’s also wise to get into the habit of optimizing your website’s database(s) frequently.
Only Use Original and High Quality Photos
It’s important to use only high quality photos on your website. Otherwise, you run the risk of your website audience or potential donors not taking your non-profit organization seriously. Try to avoid using stock photos if you can. Nothing against stock photos, but you’ll get a lot more support if the photos used on your website are original, authentic, and showcase the real and genuine ways that your organization is involved and making a positive difference.
Integrate Social Media Follow and Sharing
Remember to include an easy way for people to follow and share your content via social media such as Twitter, TSU, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, etc. Your social media followers can become great advocates and supporters and tremendously help spread your message even further.
Soft Launch and BETA Testing
Before promoting your newly launched non-profit website (or any type of website for that matter) to the masses, it’s always helpful to do a soft launch first, ask for opinions/feedback, and thoroughly test all functionality of your website.