If you run a 501c3 organization, you know the importance of nonprofit websites that showcases an org’s mission, values, and impact. A website is not only a tool for raising awareness and funds, but also a way to connect with your supporters, volunteers, and beneficiaries. But what are the essential elements of a nonprofit website that make it effective and engaging? Here are five things you should consider when creating or updating your website.
Content is king, as they say, and this is especially true for nonprofit websites. Your content should tell your story, explain your cause, and inspire action. It should also be clear, concise, and easy to understand. According to Wired Impact, a nonprofit website should have amazing content that provides “a wealth of resources” for different audiences and helps them at “all stages of the donation process”. Some examples of compelling content are:
- A homepage that highlights your mission statement, your impact, and your call to action.
- An about page that introduces your team, your history, and your values.
- A blog that showcases your latest news, events, and stories.
- A donate page that explains how donations are used and offers different ways to give.
- A contact page that invites feedback and inquiries.
Design is not just about aesthetics, but also about functionality and usability. Quality design should make nonprofit websites look professional, trustworthy, and appealing. It should also make it easy for visitors to navigate, find information, and take action. A quality design for a nonprofit website should be highly engaging and draw you in with bright imagery, graphics, and video. Some examples of quality design are:
- A responsive design that adapts to different devices and screen sizes.
- A consistent design that uses your brand colors, fonts, and logo throughout the website.
- A simple design that avoids clutter and distractions.
- A visual design that uses images, videos, icons, and infographics to convey your message.
- A user-friendly design that follows web standards and best practices.
Hosting is the service that provides space and resources for your website on the internet. Quality hosting is essential for nonprofit websites because it affects its performance, security, and reliability. A quality hosting service should offer:
- Fast loading speed: Your website should load quickly to avoid losing visitors’ attention and interest.
- High uptime: Your website should be available at all times to avoid missing opportunities and damaging your reputation.
- Secure servers: Your website should be protected from hackers, malware, and other threats that could compromise your data and credibility.
- Regular backups: Your website should be backed up regularly to prevent data loss in case of accidents or disasters.
- Customer support: Your website should have access to technical assistance in case of problems or questions.
A CMS (content management system) is a software that allows you to create and manage your website content without coding. A CMS is essential for your nonprofit website because it gives you more control, flexibility, and convenience over your content. You can easily update your website content without hiring a developer or learning how to code. You can also choose from various themes, plugins, and features to customize your website according to your needs and preferences. WordPress is one of the most popular CMS platforms in the world, powering over 40% of all websites on the internet. WordPress is a great choice for nonprofit websites because it offers:
- Ease of use: WordPress has a user-friendly interface that makes it easy to create and edit pages, posts, menus, widgets, etc.
- Versatility: WordPress can handle any type of website content, from text and images to audio and video.
- Scalability: WordPress can grow with your organization as you add more content, features, and functionality.
- Affordability: WordPress is free to use and has thousands of free or low-cost themes and plugins to choose from.
- Community: WordPress has a large and active community of users, developers, designers, and experts who can help you with any issue or question.
Site maintenance is the process of keeping your website up-to-date, secure, and functional. Site maintenance is essential for your nonprofit website because it ensures its optimal performance, usability, and security. Site maintenance involves:
- Updating your CMS platform: You should update your CMS platform regularly to get the latest features, security patches and bug fixes.
- Updating your themes and plugins: You should update your themes and plugins regularly to ensure their compatibility, functionality, and security.
- Checking your links: You should check your links regularly to make sure they are not broken or outdated.
- Optimizing your images: You should optimize your images regularly to reduce their file size and improve their loading speed.
- Cleaning your database: You should clean your database regularly to remove unnecessary or redundant data and improve its efficiency.
- Monitoring your analytics: You should monitor your analytics regularly to track your website traffic, performance, and user behavior.
These are the five essentials for your nonprofit website that you should not overlook. By having compelling content, quality design, quality hosting, a quality CMS, and site maintenance, you can create a website that reflects your organization’s mission, values, and impact. A website that attracts, engages, and converts your visitors into supporters, donors, and advocates. A website that makes a difference.