Running a Non-Profit Website, Donations

A lot of my blogs focus on websites for small businesses… or businesses doing their best to no longer be small. For those sites, customers and sales top the priority charts, but what about those websites who aren’t out to make a buck?

I’m looking at you, non-profits. Running a non-profit website is similar in a lot of ways to running a for-profit website—the SEO needs are the same, the HTML security issues are the same, and the whole concept lives or dies by how much traffic you bring in. But there are some differences between the two, and in case you’re one of the ones using your web powers for good, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Donate Now

Should be prominent on every page of your website. For a sales website, we usually try to keep the payment button off-screen until items are in carts and credit card info is entered—it’s the last thing we want customers thinking about, because they should be thinking about how this product is going to make their lives better. But with non-profits, donations are everything, and your visitors already know this.

Make it easier on everybody (and give your visitors constant reminders of how important their donations are) by putting that Donate Now button in a prominent place on every page.

Follow the 3 Click Rule

By keeping everything front and center. With non-profit pages, simple is better. Your mission and purpose should be right there on page one, and any menu options should be easy to navigate and plainly obvious with their destinations. Remember, you lose an average of 40% of visitors per click required, so put the vital stuff where 100% of your visitors will see it—the front page.

Transparency is also very important. There are so many scams and false charities out there begging for a dollar that we assume almost all charities or non-profits are up to something. Share your mailing address, phone number, and other information that reminds visitors that you are real.

Testimonials are important for sales, but even more so for non-profits. People don’t want to help an organization, they want to help other people, so use your blog, social media, or a dedicated page of your site to show the faces and stories of those being helped. (Those stories will also often include keywords that will help with SEO).

Email Newsletters are key for non-profits. They help you continue to build relationships with visitors and help you turn donors into repeat donors. A good email campaign lets people know that their money is working, and if they see results, they’ll be more likely to donate again. If you do have an email newsletter, make sure the subscribe option is easy to find and featured on every page of your site.

Image is Everything, and this can be taken two ways, both equally important. First, if you have lots of misspellings, technical bugs, and grammatical errors all over your site, that screams “scam” to visitors. Your donations will dry up real fast. Second, literal images are everything. Show faces, even if it’s stock photography. Give visitors the idea of someone to latch onto, to empathize with, and they’ll be much more likely to get involved.

Questions? Ready to Get Started?

If you have questions or would like to get started, please give us a call at 312-834-7787 or visit our website to request a free quote and consultation.