While the primary function of your organization’s website is promoting your mission, ensuring its fundraising elements are aligning with industry best practices is undeniably important.
Well, according to Blackbaud’s 2021 Charitable Giving Report, nonprofits have seen a 42% increase in online giving over the past three years with an average of 12% of total fundraising coming from online sources. And some organizations are approaching close to 50% of their revenue coming from online channels.
But revamping your website can be a daunting task. Even if you hire a web design firm, you risk missing valuable opportunities if you don’t take the following items into consideration.
Placement matters. When determining the layout of your website, carefully consider where certain elements are located. Being methodical about the design can ultimately reward you with more viewing time, more donations, and more repeat visits.
Items to consider include “call-to-action” donate buttons, a “ways to give” menu, social media links, a website search function, and even your logo. Location is the first factor to consider, but it’s also important to consider the consumer’s user experience when they select any of these items.
Where does the link/logo/button bring the visitor? What does the element look like? How does it engage them with your organization and mission? Here are a few helpful hints to consider:
- A call-to-action (CTA) donate button should stand out from the rest of your global navigation. Creating a unique style button or choosing a prominent color are key considerations.
- Linking the CTA directly to a donation form page, rather than to an informational landing page, helps ensure visitors aren’t sidetracked and complete the donation transaction.
- Social media links on your organization’s website have proven relationships and hierarchy alignments that can increase engagement. The location of these links and your social media strategies should align with your overall priorities.
You have the user on your webpage, but what’s next? How do you make the most of the experience for both the visitor and your organization? Converting a web visitor to a new or renewed donor, or better yet a monthly sustainer, is a key goal for the engagement. A visitor should not have to click around or navigate through multiple pages if their goal is to make a donation.
Lightboxes are one of the more effective tools to drive conversions and generate gifts. When configuring a lightbox on your site, consider the frequency, timing, and when and where (and where not) they are displayed. The design of your lightbox – including content, size, background, etc. – plays a part and can affect donation results. Test different looks and styles.
The website’s home page hero or slide image is another effective place to promote current fundraising campaigns. Assuring visitors are made aware of ongoing fundraising efforts immediately on the home page aids in conversion, while demonstrating and underscoring the overall need and mission of the organization.
Additionally, offering visitors a way to join the email list and to receive SMS/text messages (email and mobile number capture/opt-in) should be prominent and universally placed so it is always present, regardless of the page the visitor is on. Strategically factoring in the need for growing the email list and texting file is not only an important aspect of a visitor’s experience, but an important priority for organizations to increase their supporters.
ANALYTICS AND SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION
Are you capturing the needed information to boost your website performance? Analytical tools will allow your organization to measure and analyze detailed traffic and actions on your website. You can create your own website tags to help you collect data on the pages most often visited, geographic location of visitors, etc. This information can have a far-reaching influence in other channels – where to target geographical efforts, what resources need more attention, and even how to plan for staffing changes.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) requires an organization’s full attention. It’s fundamental to driving website success. First, the website needs to be mobile-friendly. Google rolled out mobile-first indexing in 2019, which means that the search engine looks primarily at the mobile version of a website when ranking content.
Next, the website needs to feature “quality content.” Using what is often referred to as the “EAT principle,” your content should aim for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. From ranking (showing up in search results) and authority (ownership of your content), SEO is an integral part of digital and content marketing, and should not be undervalued or simply put on autopilot.
After spending the time and hard work to redesign your website, make sure your organization is following all legal requirements, using appropriate language, and is compliant with privacy policies.
Google, Facebook, some charity watchdog organizations, and others may have specific requirements that need to be followed or possible recommendations to be considered. It’s not unusual for Google and social media companies to change the rules or revise the requirements. These need to be monitored regularly to ensure your organization is remaining compliant. Business rules and privacy policies can be overwhelming, but they are essential.
Redesigning a website is an exciting opportunity to reassess your organization’s visual branding, the mission priorities that are promoted, and the visitor experience. It can be a highly creative and strategic process. But don’t lose sight of the website’s functional priorities. Armed with the tools to drive revenue, maximize your conversions, build your email and SMS lists, and optimize your web traffic, your new website launch will be a success!
Want to learn more? Send your questions to FreshIdeas@NewportOne.com.
Newport ONE is a full-service direct response agency working in all channels to help nonprofit organizations reach their fundraising potential so they can fulfill their important missions.