Don’t make these 4 nonprofit Web design mistakes

Nonprofits have to design responsive websites for tablet users.
Date Published
11/17/2015

A nonprofit website is more than just a fundraising tool. It should be the center of an organization’s online presence. While most nonprofits ensure they keep up with modern donors and volunteers by offering some form of digital educational materials and donation options, many take Web design for granted.

Organizations can’t just throw together a page and hope for the best. Your nonprofit needs to look out for these four common mistakes when designing your main website:

1. Non-responsive Web design
Your website won’t contribute to fundraising or volunteer drives if users aren’t able to activate the feature or find materials. A web design should have an easy-to-navigate intuitive flow. If audiences find it hard to submit a donation or read a blog post, they’ll probably lose interest.

Modern nonprofits have to keep up with technology. Your website visitors aren’t always looking at your design on a large desktop screen. Web design has to be responsive for mobile devices. Nonprofit Tech for Good created an infographic summary of 2015 nonprofit fundraising results using research from numerous charitable organizations and experts. The report stated 59 percents of nonprofit websites had response issues. This is problematic because responsive web performance led to a 34 percent increase in donor conversions.

2. It doesn’t look good
Your website has to perform many tasks. It has to introduce new audiences to your organization and mission. The website must supply educational resources so users can learn more. It should also provide opportunities to donate and get involved. A web design must meet all of these needs and still look good.

Trying to do too much on one page causes websites to look crowded. You should try to find ways to show information, rather than explain things in huge blocks of text. Images can convey your cause by showing the people you help. Simple call-to-action buttons may lead to donation pages. A consistent use of graphics and colors can communicate your nonprofit’s brand and personality better than lengthy biographies. You can also use colors to draw people’s eyes to certain parts of your Web design to influence navigation.

3. You hide your cause
While delivering information through text and images, you shouldn’t forget to put the people, places and movements that need attention at the forefront of your Web design. Your website could serve as an audience’s first introduction to your organization. Your landing page should focus on what problems or issues inspired the formation of your nonprofit.

The Nielsen Norman Group, an evidence-based research organization, said nonprofits should highlight their impact on a cause in their Web design. Too many negative images and scary statistics can make audiences feel hopeless. Instead, organizations should create a balance of problems and successes. Visitors who click on your website should instantly know what the cause is and how your mission and vision can help.

4. Visitors don’t know how to contribute
If your Web design is effective, potential donors and volunteers should easily gain insight into your cause and how your organization benefits needy people or programs. Your website should be more than informative though, it should provide opportunities for users to get involved. Every page should have a clear call-to-action feature that makes it simple for people to contribute their time and/or money.

A donation button should be a consistent feature in your web design. You should also include other ways for visitors to get involved. Providing easy-to-find contact information and links to social media pages encourages audiences to offer feedback and questions. A nonprofit software solution can help you collect donations and messages coming in from phone calls, social media and a properly designed nonprofit website.

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