Why the Best Nonprofit Websites Choose to Hire a Designer

Since nonprofits usually have limited budgets and resources, they need to make sure every marketing dollar counts. These organizations rely on creative strategies to reach new audiences and increase funding. This is where a great website and web designer comes into play. A professionally designed, intuitive, user-friendly site will bring in the crowds and keep them.

That being said, nonprofit web design is an art in and of itself. The site has to meet and achieve specific business goals while maintaining the essence of the organization. This means that nonprofits shouldn’t cut corners—they need to hire a web designer that can propel them toward success.

Here are some ways that professional web designers can help and why the best nonprofit websites chose to hire a designer:

The notion of judging a book by its cover still stands true online. Professionally done websites give off the impression of reliability, trustworthiness, and expertise. It’s important for outsiders and potential investors to see a great-looking website because it shows legitimacy. A lot of grant-makers pass on less-noteworthy web presences in favor of those with more staying power and advanced layouts. Therefore, nonprofits shouldn’t underestimate the power of web designers.

These days, users can access the internet almost anywhere and on any device such as tablets, mobile phones, and desktops. Keeping this in mind, a nonprofit’s website has to give the same user-friendly experience on each. Unfortunately, it’s not a one-size-fits-all situation. That’s where professional designers come in. They make sure sites can keep up with users of multiple devices by building fast and functional web pages. This also shows that an organization can keep up with the times.

An increase in traffic
Providing a positive experience for users across devices means an organization will likely see a boost in online traffic. Potential donors don’t last longer than a few seconds on a site if it doesn’t load properly. However, if they find themselves having a pleasurable experience, they will keep coming back for more. Plus, these users will likely spread the word around to their friends.

Brand growth
Though nonprofits might have other ways to market themselves, none compares to having an amazing web presence. A professionally designed website is one of the best tools available when reaching new audiences throughout the world. Networking has never been easier, but its success depends on having a good web design.

Makes donating easier
Nonprofit websites should have built-in fundraising tools that make it quick and easy for people to donate. Having an accessible site that allows donors to find out more and enables them to donate by simply clicking a button can increase capital exponentially. This is especially true if an organization’s website is responsive on any device.

Social media
Good nonprofit websites should drive user engagement to their social media pages. These outlets are great for raising awareness, targeting donors, recruiting volunteers, and more. Designers can implement ways to track interactions so that organizations can see where their audiences thrive, making targeting easier.

Organizational tools
Web designers that specialize in nonprofits are invaluable when it comes to planning tools. Keeping audiences informed of upcoming events, donation tracking, and surveys through calendars, emails, and other handy tools are a great way to keep engagement. Professional designers might also know how to increase event participation to boost traffic and donations.

The power of a nonprofit’s strong, user-friendly website is limitless. That’s why investing and hiring a web designer is so crucial. A website might be the first touchpoint of a donor, which means it has to grab their attention and keep them interested. The best nonprofits know the value of a great website and hire designers to help them achieve their overall goals.

Hiring a professional web designer obviously has it benefits, especially for nonprofits. Having a website that not only stands out from the crowd but encourages your audience to participate with donations and or volunteering is of utmost importance. Your entire marketing strategy could be made better or worse depending on your nonprofit’s website.

Whether your marketing plan includes online advertising or offline approaches such as mail or TV advertising, people will want to find you online and likely end up on your website. A good website matters a great deal in any nonprofit marketing strategy—and in the same way, a bad website could hurt you. The quality of your website has a big impact on your marketing strategy’s success. In order to make sure every marketing dollar is spent wisely, it’s imperative to have a well-designed, up-to-date, and easily navigable website. Here are the three main reasons your website is crucial to your nonprofit marketing strategy:

1. Marketing won’t help your cause if website users can’t easily navigate your website.
In the age of the internet, people expect to be able to find information quickly and easily on any given website. It’s simple: People need to know what to do when they get to your website. If they can’t find their way around, the likelihood of any given user spending a lot of time to navigate a confusing site to volunteer or give money is relatively low compared with a quick and easy website experience.

A lot of factors can affect your website visitors’ actions—including some factors that you might not think about. It’s not all about the message; it’s also about the technical and design elements of the site. For example, if visitors can’t easily navigate the site, they might not be able to find a place to take the desired action. Make sure you make it easy and clear—whether that’s creating a landing page for a specific donation push or big “VOLUNTEER” or “DONATE” buttons on your homepage.

2. Digital ad performance often depends on your website and landing page.
If you’re using digital ads as a part of your marketing strategy, your website can make a big difference in how your ads perform. Search engines actually look through your landing page and website to determine digital ads’ performance based on a number of factors. Advertising platforms want to make sure that users have the best experience possible with their ads, so they’re not likely to send their own users to a poor website experience, and will, therefore, prioritize ads that link to sites they determine are good.

If your website is poorly built, not up to date, not mobile-friendly, slow to load, etc., your ads won’t do as well as they could—even if the ads themselves are perfect. Luckily, Google has a lot of tools that help you check up on your website and make sure you’re on track. If you’re not sure how your website is doing, check out their mobile-friendly test and PageSpeed Insights.

3. If your website is outdated or hard to navigate, your organization looks less trustworthy.
Because websites have become so commonplace, easy to make, and simple to update (not just for developers!), internet users always expect an up-to-date, modern website. Outdated websites or websites that are difficult to navigate will raise suspicion for most users.

If your website visitors can’t find updated information on what you do or who you are, they likely won’t fully trust your organization. For example, if your mission, what you do, and/or contact information aren’t readily available and easy to find online, website visitors will hesitate to get involved—especially if you’re asking them to donate. Even if your marketing plan is great, directing people to a bad or outdated website could lead to a big drop-off in membership, donations, volunteers, or whatever it is you’re driving people to do.

Now you should understand why having a good website for your nonprofit is so important. So, let’s discuss some tips for designing a great website and optimizing your messaging so you get users to your nonprofit website and keep them around to learn more about you.

If your organization is planning on building a website, chances are you will need professional assistance when it comes to developing a design that best fits your nonprofit. One thing many organizations don’t realize is that your website is an extension of your company and it intensely affects the way people will view your organization. How you present the information, the clarity of your focus and the design choices you make will heavily influence the way people understand and even interact with your content. Most importantly, your website design is the first impression a person has on your company and its mission. It will also influence whether visitors ultimately decide to become donors or make a one-time contribution. Here are our top tips for designing the best nonprofit website & 5 steps for optimizing your messaging:

Know your audience

To whom does your organization speak? Your audience is the most important part of cultivating donors and backers for your nonprofit. You should have a strong idea in mind about who your visitors are even before they arrive at your site. Ultimately, you want to show your audience the good that you can achieve with their help, but you also want to show what your organization can do for your audience.

Brand identity

Your brand identity is the core of your nonprofit. As soon as a visitor clicks on your website, they should be able to see images or videos, things that convey who and what your nonprofit is. Defining this identity can take a bit of finesse, but it’s an important aspect of delivering an authentic brand that will build trust and loyalty with donors.

If thoughtfully developed, your brand will be the outermost layer of what is deep within your organization. Visitors will then experience your brand and be able to effectively communicate your institution’s core values.

Mission statement/content

Whatever your nonprofit’s focus is, be sure it is known as soon as the audience clicks onto your website. The average user stays less than a minute on any given web page, so you want to be sure that you hold their attention for longer. You can include imagery and testimonials which showcase specifics of what your nonprofit does. The goal isn’t to beat people over the head with your mission, but just to make sure your organization’s brand and identity are clear for people who may be coming to your site for the first time.

Content is extremely important, especially for nonprofit organizations. You have minimal time to engage visitors in a way that makes them respond positively. So right away you want them to know who you are, what you do, and why your nonprofit is important. So even if they do leave your website prematurely, they now have information about your company.

Mobile responsive

With technology constantly changing and moving forward, it’s imperative that your nonprofit flows with the times. Having a website that translates well into a mobile realm allows visitors to view your content from wherever they are and not just in front of a computer screen. Digital wallets are a wonderful new tool that is supported on Apple and Android devices. It allows people to make instant purchases on their mobile devices.

Having the ability to let donors use a digital wallet while perusing your nonprofit website on their phone could lead to higher rates of donations. It’s simple and easy, meaning people might be more likely to do it because it’s one click and then the donation is complete.

Subscription and donation boxes

Subscription boxes are a great way to stay in contact with donors and people interested in your nonprofit. Including this feature on your website can boost email newsletter subscription rates and it also makes it more convenient for people who want to stay updated.

This should be a prominent feature on the website with a small description of what it means to subscribe. You can include hints at what kind of information will be provided and even what kind of events your nonprofit plans on hosting in the future. Newsletters are instrumental in maintaining continual means of communication with visitors and donors.

Nonprofits do the work that not everyone is capable of doing. Their focus isn’t on revenue, but on change and awareness for their cause. They can function thanks to generous donations and various funds that have been allotted to them, but often have to work harder than most due to their lack of constant revenue Bringing their important messages to the forefront and doing as much good as humanly possible. There are simple steps you can take to optimize your nonprofit message and grow your organization.

Optimizing your nonprofit messaging

Step 1: Define Your Mission
In order to optimize your nonprofit’s growth and presence within the world, you want to specifically define what your organization is about and the goals you hope to achieve. It’s imperative to make your message clear and concise, so a potential donor doesn’t have to search for your organization’s mission.

Allowing for long-term goals to be expressed is a great way to show people what your organization hopes to accomplish and how you plan to achieve those goals. You can break up your mission and goals into bullet points to make it easier for people to understand. It allows them to know a lot about your organization in a short amount of time, focusing on the most important information to deliver at the forefront.

Step 2: Appeal to Your Audience
To whom does your organization speak? If you are an organization that works to save animals, you want to find animal lovers. If you are an organization that is trying to open rooftop gardens in urban areas, you will want the support of your community to help back your project. Ultimately, you want to show your audience the good that you can achieve with their help, but you also want to show what your organization can do for your audience.

Step 3: Make Your Mission Easy to Remember
Each nonprofit has its own unique needs and challenges, so it will be easier for some to make their mission statement short and easy to remember. For others, their mission may encompass multiple things and therefore might be harder to condense.

Do you know the commercials with songs that get stuck in your head? You want your mission statement to be just as simple and understandable. Not that you want your mission statement to keep people awake at three in the morning with your jingle, but you want people to think about it even after they have stopped viewing your organization’s information.

Step 4: Identify Where Your Organization’s Services and Your Audience’s Needs Overlap
As mentioned previously, you want to show your audience what your organization is willing to do for them. If your organization focuses on saving animals and you have a reader who loves animals and wants to save as many as possible, then it would be ideal to have this reader back your organization as well. As long as your nonprofit continues to do everything they can to rescue and save animals, which is exactly what that reader wants, then the needs of both parties are met. If you are an organization who wants to bring rooftop gardens to urban areas, you can explain how that will benefit the community. Having the community understand your purpose and how it will benefit them will bring more power and meaning to your mission statement. It’s not only what donors can do for your organization; it’s what you can accomplish using their donations that will make a difference.

Step 5: Utilization of Brand Ambassadors
A brand ambassador is someone who can represent your brand in a positive light and increase brand awareness and donations. An example of this is celebrity endorsements, where a famous person is used as a spokesmodel in advertisements. Not many nonprofits have the luxury of a celebrity willing to lend their name to a cause. However, there are some very smart people out there who can organize and boost your organization for more recognition. A brand ambassador will be just as excited about your organization and vision as you are, which can work wonders. This isn’t a necessity when running a nonprofit, but it can be quite beneficial in building your organization to gain more traction.

Nonprofits are growing each year, with more missions sprouting up every day. You want your organization to stand out from the crowd and bring your mission to the forefront. Understanding the importance of having a website for your nonprofit and how to design a site and optimize it to keep people coming back for more are keys to success.

If you have any questions or would like to speak with one of our professionals about nonprofit web design, please contact us today.

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