Nonprofit Web Design Tips

By Ruth Hawk, Friday, August 5, 2016
Donate call to action button

Nonprofit organizations like yours rely on websites to get the word out about their cause. Yet, with diverse audiences, small budgets, and a different focus from most other websites, it can be difficult for nonprofits to create a web design that works for them. In order to create a successful website, a nonprofit must incorporate many of the best practices used on other websites while taking into account their own unique needs and goals.

In order to do so successfully, you might want to consider the following web design tips. While every website will look different, these tips can help you to portray your organization more successfully online. Combined with the services of a web design company (like WEBii) that is sensitive to and experienced in meeting the needs of nonprofits, these tips should help to make your cause clearer and more compelling to everyone you are trying to reach.

Put your cause front and center.

As a nonprofit organization, your cause is the most important thing people need to know about you. Whether the people coming to your website are potential donors, volunteers, or people who need your help, your cause will tell them whether or not you are the organization for them. That is why your cause needs to be the very first thing that people see when they view your home page.

In general, people visiting your site will only give it a cursory glance before deciding whether to stay. In those few seconds, you need to make sure that they see and understand your organization’s mission. In order to communicate your message in such a brief period of time, you need two elements: Powerful text and powerful images. A sentence or phrase of fewer than 10 words, combined with compelling images, can tell visitors at a glance everything they need to know about your organization’s goals.

Use images to engage visitors.

Images are essential on any website. However, for nonprofit organizations, images are especially important. Often, your organization relies upon a compelling story to communicate its mission to prospective clients, donors, and volunteers. While text is necessary in order to tell some parts of this story, images are far and away the most powerful and evocative storytellers out there.

For example, you can describe the suffering of your city’s homeless community, but using images of this community will do more to drive home your point than an entire essay on the subject. Plus, because an image can be digested in a moment, it serves as a much more effective tool for telling your story to visitors who do not have the time to read a blog post or white paper.

As a result, your nonprofit website needs to include compelling images throughout, especially on the home page. Through the services of an experienced web design company, you should be able to select and utilize images that will deliver the clearest, most impactful version of your story to anyone who visits your site.

Include calls to action.

No matter who is visiting your website, you want them to take some kind of action. You want people who need your help to reach out. You want others to volunteer their services. You want still others to provide financial support. While calls to action are vital for any website, it is these encouragements to act that can make or break a nonprofit website.


As a result, your nonprofit website needs to include clear calls to action on every page. This means, for example, that your pages should include a “Donate” button, a “Volunteer” button, and a “Need Help” button on every page. For people who want to help and might not know how, having more specific calls to action can also be useful. For example, try encouraging people to sign up for a community rally, sign up to help prepare meals for your weekly meal giveaway, or agree to donate time or resources to your clothing bank.

With your compelling text and images, you can create a desire in visitors to take part in your organization’s cause. By providing clear calls to action for every one you hope to reach (the needy, volunteers, and donors) you help people turn these desires into concrete actions that benefit both your nonprofit and the people you wish to serve.

Place engagement one click away.

As mentioned above, calls to action are an important part of a nonprofit website, because they encourage your visitors to support and utilize your organization. However, you need to make sure that these opportunities to engage are within easy reach. Otherwise, your visitors are likely to get discouraged and click away from your site before donating, volunteering, or asking for help.

Ideally, this means that opportunities to donate, volunteer, or request help should be only one click away from any page your visitors land on. At most, they should be three clicks away. By placing engagement opportunities so close to your visitors, you make it easy for them to take action whenever they feel the urge.

For example, perhaps they do not want to donate when they land on your home page, but after they read a few of your blogs, they decide to give money. Or, perhaps they are not ready to accept your help while reading your services page but decided to reach out when they land on your staff page. With engagement opportunities close at hand, your website visitors can take action at any time.

As a nonprofit organization, you are working to make a real and valuable difference in the world. Website development for your nonprofit needs to reflect that goal by displaying a web design that communicates your cause clearly and powerfully. By putting your cause front and center, using images to engage visitors, including calls to action, and placing engagement one click away, you can more effectively tell people who you are. The result could be more resources to help others, more volunteers to support your goals, and more assistance given to the cause you care the most about.

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