How to Make Sure Your Nonprofit’s Website Is Making The Most Impact
2020 was one long lesson for many nonprofits in understanding the need to embrace their digital presence. While in-person connection will always be an important part of our work, being active and present in the digital space provides nonprofits with an additional source of strength, credibility and connection to further their missions.
At the same time, manpower and time are always in short supply in the nonprofit sector. With that in mind, how do we balance the need for a digital presence with the limited staff capacity?
We design a simple, impactful, strategic website – that’s how!
To help us with this, we’ve created a simple website checklist to help your organization make the most of the time it spends developing and refining your website presence.
Website Home Page
Did you know that the average website visitor only stays for 15 seconds before exiting?
What that means for you – your website home page needs to pack a punch. A punch of education, engagement, and impact. It should draw the visitor in so they want to learn more. The ultimate goal of your website home page is to communicate your mission and pique your audience’s interest enough to stay engaged.
So how do you make this happen? You focus on what your visitors should see before ever scrolling (commonly known as being “above the fold” in newspaper speak!).
Must-haves above the fold on your website home page include:
Additional Website Pages/Information
The ultimate goal of the rest of your website is obviously going to differ based on your mission, your services, and other factors. But there are some “buckets” every nonprofit should aim to fulfill on their website in whatever way makes most sense for their organization. These buckets include:
Make your website personable. Your website is an excellent space to show your organization’s personality and the faces behind the work you do. Of course, this can mean the names and contact info of your team. But pictures of your team, your major volunteers, and partners can go a long way in helping to show who your organization is. Help your visitors understand who you are behind the screen!
Communicate transparency and accountability. Your website should also house all the materials that can help signal to your community your commitment to good governance. Share a listing of your Board of Directors and any community advisory groups that help guide the work you do. You should also make it easy for potential supporters to access documents like your audit or 990 so they can understand the “back office” of your work as easily as they understand the community change you make happen.
Make it as easy as possible for the communities you serve to find the resources, information, etc that they need. This is one that will look very different for each organization. This may mean free downloadable resources, easy-to-access location information, online submissions for enrollment and support, or any other number of program-related resources. This can feel overwhelming, so I always suggest starting by focusing on the one thing you think will be most useful by making it digitally accessible. Once you get that up and available, you can always build more resources out later.
Communicate credibility and impact. Toot your own horn! Dedicate some space to highlight organizational accomplishments. Use high-quality images that show the change your team makes possible in your community.
Show gratitude. Finally, no website is complete without space dedicated to thanking your donors, volunteers, and partners for their past support. A thank you is always well worth your time and effort!
Although it may take some time, aligning your home page and incorporating the buckets of content listed above into your website will help position your organization well. After doing this work, your nonprofit can be confident in its digital presence – that it is showing off the professional, personable, and credible work you do to better your community, and communicating the messages you want to send in a meaningful way.
What parts of your website are you going to update after reading this post? Let us know in the comments!
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