Guides & Resources

3 Essential Tips for Amateur Nonprofit Website Designers

Stewardship & Marketing: Donor Relations/Stewardship, Online Fundraising/Social Media
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A strong nonprofit website can help you expand your reach, build stronger relationships with supporters, and boost online giving. However, if you don’t have previous web development or coding experience, creating a well-designed website can feel overwhelming.

Luckily, building a beautiful website isn’t out of reach! With the right tech foundation and design strategies, your team can easily create a website that will leave a lasting impression. Whether you’re trying to improve your fundraising strategy or attract new audiences, a well-designed site is an invaluable tool that can help you advance your mission.

Use these essential tips to develop a website that will engage new and existing supporters:

  • Invest in a nonprofit CMS.
  • Develop a well-designed donation page.
  • Create a blog page.

When someone lands on your page, you only have a few moments to grab their attention and keep them engaged. Let’s explore how a visually appealing and informative website can grow your supporter base.

Invest in a nonprofit CMS.

A nonprofit content management system (CMS) is an intuitive platform where you can post and manage content in a user-friendly database. Instead of having to build your website from scratch, which requires coding and technical expertise, a CMS streamlines the entire process so you can focus more on developing and arranging your content.

There are many CMS platforms available, but a nonprofit-specific CMS will empower you to create a site that meets your organization’s needs. According to Morweb’s guide to picking a nonprofit CMS, choose a platform with the following features:

  • Customization. Incorporating your nonprofit’s branding into your website builds your online visibility and helps your organization stand out from others. Choose a CMS with front-facing editing so you can easily add in your nonprofit’s unique font, color scheme, theme, and logo with no coding required.
  • Security. Your nonprofit’s website will act as a central hub for important information, like your donors’ private billing and contact information. To protect your data and boost donors’ trust in your organization, invest in a CMS that consistently rolls out security updates on your behalf.
  • Accessibility. Nonprofit web accessibility is a growing initiative to make online content more inclusive for all. A CMS with front-end editing makes it simple to add accessibility features like alt text for non-text elements and color contrast.
  • Reporting and analytics. Tracking metrics can provide your nonprofit with invaluable insight on how to improve its web design. Your CMS should provide you with data reports on how many people are organically finding your website, how long people stay on your page, and other relevant metrics.
  • Support. Once you invest in your CMS, you’ll need a walkthrough of its features and how to leverage them for success. Work with a CMS that offers customer support on a regular basis so you can confidently design your website.

Be cautious of free CMS platforms. While it may seem like you’re getting a great deal, many of these platforms have hidden fees for plug-ins and integrations. Plus, if you’re a true novice to web design, you’ll end up having to hire an external developer to set up the platform. Instead, work with a trusted CMS that has all of the solutions you need under one roof.

Develop a well-designed donation page.

Your website’s donation page is the foundation of your online giving strategy. Whether you’re running an annual fundraiser or a giving day campaign, it’s essential that you create a donation page that is user-friendly, visually appealing, and informative. This will help you rally support for your cause and drive more donations, pushing you closer to achieving your goals.

Your donation page should have the following features:

  • Impact story. Highlight how the donations will be used by describing the tangible impact. For example, if you’re an animal welfare organization, share a story about an animal your nonprofit directly benefitted and the type of support you provided. Make sure to emphasize the role donors play in your nonprofit’s important work.
  • Emotional images. Include images of your nonprofit at work, such as volunteers helping out in the community, or individuals your organization has helped. Continuing with the animal welfare example, you can include pictures of animals your organization saved to stir up passion for your cause. This donation page design best practice can help visually engage donors and allow them to better understand your nonprofit’s work.
  • Flexible giving amounts. To boost accessibility, offer multiple payment options beyond credit and debit cards. For example, your organization can accept payment via mobile applications like Venmo, Zelle, and PayPal. Your nonprofit should also offer monthly giving, which is an easy way for donors to play a more fulfilling role in your organization.
  • Mobile optimization. A mobile-friendly donation form can help your nonprofit expand its reach. In fact, according to 360MatchPro’s fundraising statistics, mobile-friendly donation pages yield 34% more donations. The right CMS will automatically optimize your entire website, including your donation form, for mobile devices so donors can conveniently access your donation page from anywhere—as long as they have their phone in hand.

As you design your donation page, keep your audience in mind. A simple, user-friendly donation experience will make donating easy and encourage donors to give again in the future. Remember to express appreciation after donors give to boost retention.

Create a blog page.

Once users land on your website, you need interesting content that will keep supporters engaged and eager to get involved. A blog page is a great way to offer supporters educational resources related to your mission, provide updates on your latest projects, and even invite volunteers or major donors to write their own thought pieces. This will help you build a strong community and foster connections with your donors and volunteers.

Establish a regular posting schedule for your blog page. Whether you choose to post once a week or once a month, sticking with the same schedule can help promote consistent engagement with your cause. Also, vary your blog content so supporters can learn more about your nonprofit, its impact, and the different ways they can get involved. Across your content, use the same tone of voice to boost brand visibility and create a unified feeling.

With the right CMS, you can easily add, edit, and manage blog posts to grab users’ attention. Plus, your website builder should come with advanced sharing capabilities so you can easily promote your blog content on social media. This will bring more traffic to your website, which can then turn into volunteer and donor support.

The Gist

A strong nonprofit web design can take your organization to new heights. Even if you don’t have any web development experience, a nonprofit-specific CMS can make the entire design process easy, fast, and accessible. As you build your website, use these tips to engage your audience and drive donations. Continue to add visually appealing and informative content so supporters will return to your website and feel more connected to your cause. Good luck!

a man - Murad Bushnaq

Murad Bushnaq is the Founder and CEO of Morweb. Since its inception in 2014, Murad has acted as Creative Director and Chief Technologist to help nonprofits spread their vision online through engaging design, intuitive software and strategic communication.

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