In today’s crowded online landscape, a well-designed website is a huge factor in the overall success of a non-profit.
Laying the foundation for success starts with setting realistic and specific goals for your website. You need to decide upon and map out exactly what you are trying to achieve, such as:
● Increasing donations
● Getting more volunteers
● Creating awareness
Once you have decided on your primary areas of focus, make qualitative goals – i.e. X donations per month. This lets you know how much you need to focus on the different areas, and also makes it much easier to measure and compare your success down the line.
Here are some website design trends to keep in mind to help to help you meet your goals and serve your cause:
1. Site design that allows visitors to quickly learn about your organization
Have you ever visited a website and struggled to understand what it was really about? Often the core message of a website can get lost in the clutter of widgets, advertisements and navigation.
There are a couple of different ways you can make sure your mission statement is easily seen:
● Place it directly on the home page
● Have a prominent link to a clear and detailed ‘about us’ page
2. A simple (and mobile friendly) way to donate
With mobile search traffic on the internet now surpassing desktop traffic, you can’t really ignore it anymore. This is why responsive design (that automatically adapts to device, screen resolution, and more) is the leading standard.
When you get someone on your website that has an interest in donating, it is important to make that a very simple process by removing any extra clicks or steps that are not essential to the donation process. Use helpers such as HTML input types to make filling out fields such as numbers and emails even easier: http://www.w3schools.com/html/html_form_input_types.asp
3. Social Media that is obvious and easy to use
When it comes to social media, it helps to know your audience. This distills down to age, location, gender, and more. Pew Internet’s Social Media Demographics Study is a great place to start when choosing what networks are relevant for your organization.
According to the 2016 Nonprofit Communications Trends Report Facebook is still considered the number one social media platform for non-profits.
That being said, a non-profit website should integrate seamlessly with the social media platforms that are being used. Content from the site should be able to be easily shared across the main social media sites. The easiest way to handle this is to use a plug-in like AddThis.
4. Email address collection
Building an email list is especially important for non-profits. It is integral to have a simple, easy mailing list signup form with lots of promotion on your website (a sidebar or even the top bar is a good place).
Take time creating your email signup form and try to turn it into something that not only looks good, but converts visitors into lifelong supporters.
By having some kind of interactive component as part of your web design, engagement will increase.
An example of interactivity is the timeline on the CounterSpill website. By moving the slider around it is easy to see the effect of oil spills on the planet.
Try to think of something interesting you can do for your site that will encourage users to interact with it. This is a great opportunity to show your organization’s impact.
6. Video backgrounds
A recent trend, in the world of websites, is full screen video backgrounds. To see how effective these can be have a look at the Invisible Children website.
When done properly, this takes a passive element (your website’s background) and lets you display a short clip highlighting your organization, impact, or even providing a teaser in to a longer video on the page.
Putting it all together
By having clear goals and knowing where to concentrate your efforts, you will be well on your way to creating a well-designed website that converts traffic into contributing supporters.
If you have questions about how to better use your website to engage with your audience, or would like to inquire about a new website, please get in touch with us.