Every day your website isn’t showcasing the very best your organization has to offer, you could be losing online donations, volunteers and new members.
From 2016 to 2017, online giving to non-profit organizations in the U.S. grew 12.1 percent — making an organization’s website an increasingly crucial part of it’s overall marketing and fundraising strategy.
A successful website invites your audience to get involved. What does an organization’s website need in order to engage visitors? Here are our top ten tips.
- Your branding impacts donations. According to a study by Network for Good, consistent branding across your website and marketing/communications can increase online donations by as much as 700 percent! ‘Consistent branding’ means that you use the same logo, with the exact same colors, layout and fonts, everywhere. The wording and abbreviation you use for your organization’s name and tagline should also be the same, every single time. Don’t ‘Google-ize’ your logo to fit different marketing campaigns; it muddies your message.
Your logo (or organization name) should be in the top left corner of your website. Studies have shown that left-aligned logos on a website lead to greater brand and name recall than logos placed in the center or on the right. Left-aligned logos and website names are also better for navigation.
- Why do you exist? Your mission – the problem you solve – should be up front and easy for your first-time website visitors to see. Keep this first introduction short; you want to engage on your home page, not overwhelm.
- Mobile-friendly = donor-friendly. Your website should be responsive, meaning that it displays properly across different screens. You can safely assume that many of your website visitors’ first impression of your website will not be on a computer: last year, just over 21 percent of online transactions were made using mobile devices – up from 9 percent in 2014. Is your site mobile-friendly? You can check here.
- A picture is worth … a lot of money. Use high-quality images and video to tell stories that establish an emotional connection and show the impact your donors can have. Using pictures with human faces can increase engagement by over 30 percent.
- Give your donors peace of mind. Secure your site, even if your donations are processed on a different website. Sites that are secure have the little green padlock in the address bar, which you may have noticed. The Chrome browser, along with Firefox, Safari and Internet Explorer, show warnings on websites that aren’t using a secure ‘https’ connection. Website security is provided by a secure socket layer (SSL), which gives someone’s browser a bridge as a secure connection to your server, ensuring that any information is securely transferred.Search engines rank ‘secure’ websites higher than non-secure. A free SSL certificate from a company such as Cloudflare gives you the little green lock – and your website visitors peace of mind.
- Fast is good. Really, really good. Website visitors expect a site to load in two seconds. If your website hasn’t loaded after three seconds, half your visitors will leave your site. Plus, search engines, particularly Google, use page loading speed as part of their ranking algorithm. There are lots of ways to speed up your page loading times, including ‘minimizing’ the code used in your site, making images as small as possible (in bite-size, not display size), and using a content delivery network that delivers your website files from the closest possible location.
- Make it easy to give. Your donation form should be one click away from every page on your website, and that ‘click’ should be in an easy to spot DONATE call-to-action styled button.
- Let them volunteer on the spot. Use a short volunteer signup form to encourage online signups; if you need more information you can use a follow-up form via email.
- Update your content regularly. Delete or hide old events, and keep fundraising campaign information up-to-date. Nothing turns away website visitors faster than old information, and adding content regularly increases search engine optimization.
- Be social. Place icons with links to your social media pages at the top, along the side or in the footer on every page in your website to encourage website visitors to engage. Highlight your board of directors and staff with photos to let your potential donors, members and volunteers get to know you better, and keep your contact information easy to find, with both email addresses and a phone number.
Need help deciding what should be in your website? Give me 45 minutes, no strings attached, and I’ll save you hours of time. We’ll talk about what you need for your site, and I’ll help you put together a plan, even if you don’t sign up for our design services. Contact me at [email protected] or click on the links on this page to reach me through LinkedIn or Facebook.