5 tips to enhance a nonprofit’s website and increase online donations

A nonprofit’s website plays a major role in receiving online donations, gaining a presence and expressing its brand. The platform serves as an open door, encouraging visitors to peek inside. When prospective and current supporters choose to push the door open, they have access to the organization’s mission, services, programs and contact information. If NPOs don’t have anything interesting, informative or a call-to-action behind the door, visitors may just leave the website.

Philanthropy Journal stated an NPO’s website will serve as a major source of income in the upcoming years. In fact, Internet fundraising increased by approximately 13 percent just last year, according to The Chronicle of Philanthropy. A religious nonprofit, National Christian Foundation, gained steam in the Internet fundraising sphere, as it received one of the largest online donations in 2013 – $1 million.

After ministry nonprofits decide to improve their website, they can prioritize a positive user experience, which helps increase donations. Here are 5 ways organizations can improve their site:

  1. A positive experience goes a long way
    It’s all about the visitor experience. See the website from the user’s perspective. Is the site easy to navigate? Is the content relevant to the organization and easy to understand? Network for Good recommended NPOs conduct a survey to gauge the usability of the site, receiving feedback on how people feel about it. When NPOs know what is ineffective and should be improved upon, they can focus on these details.
  2. Presentation is everything
    Focus on the homepage and consider putting the most compelling content front and center. Visual mediums give life to the organization and engage users. A video, photo or infographic can capture the essence of the organization, limiting the amount of text. Use those communication channels to inform visitors of what a successful fundraising event looks like.When NPOs describe their mission and services, they should be thoughtful about their word choice. Fundraising123 suggested using words that are accurate and mirror keywords and phrases people are most likely to use searching for relevant information, services and social issues. Visitors should be able to know exactly what the organization’ purpose is, what the NPO does and why people should care, volunteer and donate. Consider adding a couple bullet points that sum up the organization’s priorities and accomplishments.
  3. Take off the invisibility cloak
    Be sure people can find crucial information, such as the ‘Donate’ button and the contact information. If visitors want to participate and engage with the nonprofit, make it easy for them. Promote volunteer, donation and corporate partnership opportunities on a visible tab.
  4. Use a nonprofit software program to gather information about visitors
    Individuals provide their contact information, interests and availability when they donate, sign up for volunteer opportunities, renew their membership or register for events. Database systems can store all of this information and then tailor content to these individuals.This content will resonate with users as it will speak to their preferences and passions. For example, if a supporter participated in an annual event, nonprofits should place the event information on the homepage to quickly attract the donor and encourage them to contribute.
  5. Engage supporters and increase traffic by utilizing social media channels
    More people are donating online and giving more each year, specifically through social media. Orbit Media included a graph from MDG Advertising, which showed the average donation through social channels increase each year. The donation amount rose from $38 in 2010 to $59 in 2012. It is a powerful fundraising tool. According to Obit Media, social pushes down geographic barriers as it can reach people all over the world. Nonprofit organizations can find people and organizations who believe in the same cause by utilizing outlets, such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.