Website Design for Your Nonprofit
Today’s nonprofits (NPO) are realizing that the presence of increased competition in the sector is necessitating exceptional promotion of their organizations. Nonprofit administrators are continually developing new marketing and fundraising strategies to help them become better communicators of their missions, to foster growth, and to increase the impact of their causes; thus making the world a better place. With the emergence of the World Wide Web, charities and churches are awarded an outstanding new opportunity to market their services, build their reputations, and attract potential donors.
Thus, leaders in the nonprofit sector are faced with the task of developing a website that will not only advertise services, but also stand out as unique, comprehensive, and, most importantly, inviting to potential donors. Charities are asking how they can and should be harnessing the web’s power and seeking to understand how to integrate it into their overall marketing mix. Looking through the eyes of a potential donor, nonprofits must seek to understand and harness the power and the potential of the Internet so their organization will become more effective as a charitable organization and better equipped for the future.
For most organizations, website design is rapidly becoming a basic requirement of a marketing plan.
Compared to the more traditional advertising mediums, web promotion and marketing has potential circulation figures/coverage area that can’t be matched – and all at a fraction of the cost of a simple series of print advertisements. However, to realize this potential the pages of your website need to appear swiftly and say what you want them to; the site has to be continually promoted and assessed, and kept looking fresh and up-to-date to encourage visitors to return to it on a regular basis.
So what works for NPO website design?
Items that are most advantageous in attracting a potential donor, and that must be easily viewable on any nonprofit website include:
- Your NPO name, logo, and MISSION. Possibly add captioned images that clearly represent your mission.
- Photos of people-those who you have served or who represent your primary target.
- Some way to get questions answered quickly- search on site capability or a FAQ link.
- Encryption whenever you ask for anything beyond email address, especially donations.
- A call to action. Request charitable contributions, volunteers, etc.
- An invitation to future communication. Sign up for our e-alerts or e-newsletter, etc.
- A link to on and off-line contact information.
- Images or statements indicating how gifts are used.
- Appreciation for previous donors. Thanks, logos, recognition, etc.
- Last, not least, Search Engine Optimization.
Search engine optimization is the process of editing and organizing the content on a website to increase its potential relevance to specific keywords and ensuring that external links to the site are correctly titled and in abundance. This is done with the aim of achieving a higher search listing and thus increasing the volume of targeted traffic from search engines. Simply put, SEO ensures that when people search for the type of service your organization offers, your website appears at the top of the list of results. SEO is one of the keys to your Web Marketing activities.
SEO considers how search engines work and what people search for. Sometimes a site’s structure (the relationships between its content) must be altered too. Because of this it is, from a client’s perspective, always better to incorporate Search Engine Optimization when a website is being developed than to try and retroactively apply it.
SEO is not a one-and-done approach. There will always be other organizations that will attempt to and successfully out-rank your website. Website hosting, content, and authority all play a pivotal part in effective optimization.