8 Things Every Nonprofit Website Should Have
Every nonprofit needs a great website. As a key tool for converting casual visitors into first-time donors and lifelong supporters, your website should make a strong first impression and entice people to learn more. But what sets a good website apart from a truly powerful one—and what steps can you take to make yours even better?
If you’re due for a website refresh or just want to make a few small tweaks that will have a big impact, here are eight things every nonprofit website should feature.
1. A memorable mission statement
Your mission is powerful and inspirational—but are supporters grasping it as soon as they click on your website? Make sure that visitors are greeted by a clear, concise, and memorable mission statement that instantly tells them what your organization stands for and why it matters.
It’s also worth checking whether the meta descriptions (the few lines that show up in search engine results) for your home and about pages convey your mission well. Ask yourself, if someone stumbled across your organization on Google and knew nothing about you, would that summary of the page compel them to click through to learn more, or would they simply keep scrolling?
2. A clear way to donate
Whether it’s a clearly signposted section of the website or a banner at the top of every page that leads visitors to a donation form, make it as easy as possible for people to take that next step and make a donation. If visitors have to hunt down the details of how and where they can donate, some will likely give up—and you’ll miss out on their support.
On the donation page or form itself, keep your copy succinct, and don’t include distracting extra links that might cause people to click away and never come back. If you want them to look at something else, like a report or video, consider including it on the confirmation page after they donate or in your thank-you email.
3. Other ways to get involved
Donating isn’t the only way people can support your nonprofit, so make sure that your website highlights the various ways that visitors can make a difference.
This could include volunteering information, links to petitions they can add their name to, or details about how to become a board member. If you have a newsletter, be sure to include a prominent sign-up form for that, too.
4. Financial transparency
To earn people’s trust, it’s important to show them where their money is going. One way to do this is by creating an “impact” page where website visitors can see what their money will be used for, as well as the successes your organization has seen so far, all thanks to generous donors.
Some nonprofits take things a step further by showing what percentage of their funding goes toward each vital element of their operation. Others publish annual reports on their website to create even greater transparency.
5. Social media links
Your nonprofit’s social media presence serves as a vehicle for supporters to stay connected to your organization and keep up to date with the latest news, so you want as many website visitors as possible to find and follow your accounts. After all, even if they're not ready to take the next step in supporting you when they first visit your site, they may feel moved to do so after seeing more of your content over time.
Include links to your social media accounts on your website and make sure they’re highly visible. On many websites, these links live in a sidebar or footer on every page, so keep in mind that visitors will often look in these places to find them.
6. Details about your team
Including pictures of and details about your team can make your nonprofit’s website feel more personal and provide an inside view of your organization.
Team bios can also help you to flesh out your organization’s story. While you might not have space to detail the careers and interests of all your staff and volunteers, be sure to include some background on your leaders in particular, as this can elevate your organization’s credibility and grow visitors’ trust.
7. High-quality images
They say a picture is worth a thousand words—but low-quality images may ultimately turn visitors away. If the pictures you chose to include on your website are pixelated, obvious stock photos, or generally poor quality, they may detract from the professionalism and credibility of your organization, making people skeptical about supporting your cause.
Choose high-resolution images, and avoid trying to make them bigger than their original size, as this can decrease the quality. At the same time, make sure the file sizes aren’t too big, as this may make pages slow to load.
8. User-friendly, mobile-optimized design
No matter what device a visitor is using to view and explore your website, you want them to have a good experience. If the layout doesn’t work on their phone or the navigation is confusing, they probably won’t wait until they get home to try again on their laptop—they’ll just give up.
Many major website-building platforms offer easy tools for optimizing your site for mobile. It’s also a good idea to visit a few different pages on multiple devices (including a computer, smartphone, and tablet) to see how they look and identify any opportunities for improvement.