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Setting Up Your Nonprofit Website to Boost Donations: 7 Tips

It’s no secret that online charitable giving is booming. In fact, according to Double the Donation’s roundup of fundraising statistics, overall online fundraising revenue increased by an incredible 23% in 2021, up from 15% in 2020. With all the work nonprofits have done to adapt to COVID-19, coupled with the ubiquity of mobile devices and social media use, this trend will only continue to skyrocket. Your nonprofit needs to prepare to better leverage online giving and subsequent opportunities to connect with your supporters online.

Your nonprofit website is a great tool for achieving these goals. It acts as the central hub of your nonprofit’s online presence, and setting it up to make online giving as convenient as possible is an excellent way to strategically engage your supporters and increase gifts to your organization.

Whether you’re creating a website for your nonprofit for the first time or updating your current website to reflect your organization’s most recent work, you can build enthusiasm for online giving by setting up a website your supporters will love to use and by connecting it to your other online channels. 

For many nonprofit professionals, bringing their vision of an ideal website to life is challenging. That’s where this post comes in. In it, we’ll give you seven actionable tips for keeping you on track to create a standout nonprofit website, including: 

1. Design a nonprofit website that your supporters will enjoy using.
2. Make your website accessible to everyone.
3. Use your website to update your supporters about your work.
4. Connect your online and in-person fundraising efforts.
5. Optimize your online donation page. 
6. Provide supporters with opportunities for increasing their impact.
7. Stay connected to supporters through your website. 

Enabling a steady stream of online donations starts with a well-designed website that meets your supporters’ needs and inspires them to act. By following these seven tips, you can create a website that helps you move your mission forward. Let’s dive in!

1. Design a nonprofit website that your supporters enjoy using.

The new ROH

Your supporters will be more likely to give to your cause online when you design a website that they enjoy visiting, and that’s easy to use. A beautiful site with easy navigation is sure to draw in visitors and encourage them to support the good work that your organization does each day. 

Don’t have a web design expert on your nonprofit team? No problem. You can still set up a clean, modern nonprofit website that engages visitors and showcases your organization’s work. Plus, your nonprofit can simplify the web design process by creating your site with a nonprofit-specific website builder. 

A nonprofit website builder is a great tool that can support both your organization’s team and visitors who want to find information on your website quickly and easily. Created with organizations like yours in mind, nonprofit website builders are typically: 

  • Non-technical: Your supporters will respond best to a site that’s easy to use and regularly updated with new content. Backed by a non-technical website builder designed for nonprofits, you’ll find that creating, improving, and maintaining your website doesn’t have to be difficult. Look for a platform that offers drag-and-drop editing so you can design your pages on the front-end of your website without needing any coding expertise. 
  • Highly customizable: To encourage online giving, your organization will have to stand out from the crowd. Choose a website builder that allows you to customize the layout of each of your pages and include add-on modules such as event pages and an online store. 
  • Mobile responsive: Supporters who are inspired to give shouldn’t have to wait until they have access to a desktop computer. Your nonprofit website builder should allow you to create a site that functions well on all devices. 

With a site that’s simple for your team to set up and just as easy for your supporters to use, you can expect plenty of visitors. Motivate them to give by creating high-quality content that keeps them updated on your work and interested in upcoming opportunities and events. 

2. Make your website accessible to everyone. 

You would never intentionally bar a supporter from volunteering or attending a fundraising event. Similarly, you need to take the necessary steps to ensure that you’re not excluding anyone from using your website. This involves optimizing your website for accessibility so people of all abilities can easily use it. 

There are several ways you can make your website’s content more accessible to people who may be visually impaired, have difficulty hearing, or are using screen readers to navigate your website. These include: 

  • Adding an accessibility widget to your website. An accessibility widget allows website visitors to control their experience on your site. Visitors can increase the size of web page text, change fonts to sans serif, and switch page coloring to grayscale. 
  • Writing alternative text for all graphics and images. Screen readers can’t translate photos, which means a person using a screen reader could have gaps in their experience with your website. Combat this problem by adding alternative text, or “alt text,” to each image, which is one sentence that describes the image. 
  • Providing captioning and transcripts for multimedia elements. Videos and podcasts can be great additions to your website, but be sure to include alternative ways for website visitors to get information from these elements. Captions and transcripts allow people with hearing impairments to read through the content. 

Optimizing your website for accessibility will help you connect with more supporters who want to interact with your content and contribute to your cause. Plus, you’ll be showing your supporters that you have their needs in mind and that you want to support their involvement in your organization. 

3. Use your website to update your supporters about your work. C. Thomas Clagett, Jr. Memorial Clinic and Regatta Fundraising Page

Supporters are inspired to give when your nonprofit’s work resonates with them. Keeping them updated on your progress shows the importance of their contributions and motivates them to continue donating. Encourage online giving with a regularly-updated website that illustrates the positive effects of your supporters’ donations. 

Incorporate and regularly refresh the following website components: 

  • Multimedia elements. High-quality photos, images, audio clips, and videos can tell your nonprofit’s story and showcase your progress. Your homepage is a great place to display recent photos that illustrate the beneficial impact of your organization’s work, and introductory videos work well on “About Us” pages. 
  • Navigation menu. A nonprofit website builder makes it simple to add pages and modules to your site as you create more content to share with your visitors. Update your navigation menu to direct visitors to these new components, and make sure that your online giving page is never more than a click away from any location on your site with a conveniently-placed button. 
  • Calendars. Supporters are more motivated to give to organizations that value their involvement in all forms. Create and update a calendar that shows upcoming opportunities to attend your events, participate in fundraising campaigns, or volunteer for your organization. 

When supporters are engaged in your organization’s work and progress, they’ll be more excited to contribute. Your website is one of the most important channels you can use to show your supporters just how essential they are to your mission. To gain inspiration from nonprofits like yours who are using their websites to effectively engage supporters, take a look at Morweb’s list of the best nonprofit websites, which features several organizations that effectively convey their missions online. 

4. Connect your online and in-person fundraising efforts. YMCA Ways to Give Webpage

Whether your supporters initially encountered your organization online or in person, they’ll appreciate the option to get involved in your work in multiple ways, whether that means buying branded merchandise online or volunteering on your next Giving Day.

Want to use your website to boost participation in your nonprofit’s next fundraiser and other efforts? Be sure to make the most of the following nonprofit website builder features: 

  • Event modules. Spreading the word about your events and getting supporters to register is easier with the help of your website. Registering guests through an events module embedded on your organization’s website, instead of linking to an external website, allows them to spend more time on your site exploring your organization’s work and giving them another opportunity to give online. 
  • Online stores. Product fundraising is a great way to build your organization’s brand recognition and encourage a new way of giving. You may want to sell branded merchandise and other products at your events. You can offer these products on your website to make them available to even more supporters. 

Your website can empower you to reach more potential supporters, increase attendance at your events, and provide convenient giving opportunities for those who may not always be able to attend in-person engagements. Look for ways to integrate the face-to-face opportunities you offer with your online tools. 

5. Optimize your donation page. 

Your donation page design is of the utmost importance. After all, this page is where the actual process of giving takes place. If you neglect the user experience on your donation page, you could be losing out on precious donations. 

Your supporters want a donation experience that is simple, easy, and fast. Keeping that in mind, here are a few ways you can make your donation page the best it can be: 

  • Ensure the branding on your donation page is consistent with the rest of your website. If your donation page doesn’t appear to be connected with the rest of your site, it can look suspicious to your supporters. Avoid this problem by branding your donation page to match the rest of your website. Use the same colors, logos, and styling as your homepage, blog, and other important parts of your site. This will help your supporters connect the act of donating with your mission. 
  • Include a carefully-worded final donation appeal. Knowing when to use a fundraising appeal is an art form. By the time a supporter lands on your donation page, they’re already interested in donating, but a final appeal can help them take that last step to make their gift. You might, for example, issue an appeal that centers on what the supporter’s donation will help you do, such as this appeal on the Days for Girls donation page. It states, “Your donation will help us reach more girls with the resources they need to manage their periods, stay in school, and chase their dreams.” 
  • Keep your donation form short and to the point. Donors don’t want to spend hours filling out your donation form. Keep the questions and fields on your donation form to a minimum to increase the likelihood that they’ll complete their donation before leaving your website. 

Your donation page is one of your nonprofit’s greatest online assets. Don’t neglect it as you’re optimizing your website. A great donation form user experience can inspire donors to return to give again and again. 

6. Provide supporters with opportunities for increasing their impact. 

Supporters who feel particularly connected to your organization will value the opportunity to increase the amount they give. Encourage your online supporters to participate in their employers’ corporate matching gift programs to give more at no additional cost to themselves. 

Matching gift programs are a form of corporate giving in which companies agree to match eligible employees’ donations to charitable organizations. This means that the original donor can give twice as much (or more!) to the nonprofit they choose to support. 

While matching gift programs are an easy way for organizations to raise more money, they often go underutilized. Employees are often unaware that their companies offer matching gift programs, or they aren’t sure of their employer’s policies regarding gift matching. 

Your organization can help your online donors give more by reminding them to participate in their matching gift programs. Add a matching gift tool to your donation page that allows donors to search a database to determine whether their employer offers gift matching. Then, they can easily submit the appropriate form to their company to drive the match to completion, helping them multiply their donation’s impact. 

7. Stay connected to supporters through your website. 

An effective nonprofit website is one that supporters know they can visit whenever they want to learn more about your organization or donate. Provide supporters with multiple ways to stay connected online so that your nonprofit is never more than a few clicks away. 

While we generally spend a significant amount of time online these days, we all have different ways of using the internet. To help your organization connect with every supporter, the website you set up should provide plenty of options for online and in-person involvement. These might include: 

  • An email newsletter sign-up. Include a form on your website that allows visitors to sign up to receive news about your organization right in their email inbox. Reading about your latest board meeting or clicking a link to register for your walk-a-thon will motivate them to donate online. 
  • Social media links and live feeds. Stay connected to your site’s visitors with links and live feeds to your accounts on popular platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Stay active on these platforms to interact with your supporters on a more personal level. You might respond to their comments or send thank-you messages to individual donors.
  • A form builder. Online supporters and other visitors to your website may want to contribute to your organization in different ways, such as volunteering. Using your nonprofit website builder, you can create custom forms they can easily fill out. 

A well-designed nonprofit website does more than encourage supporters to donate. It motivates them to stay involved with your organization and find new ways to help you achieve your goals. Look for ways you can keep your supporters involved both in-person and online. 

The Gist 

Online giving is popular for its convenience, and it’s an essential part of a strong fundraising strategy. Setting up your nonprofit website as a tool for online giving and supporter engagement can help you reach your supporters on a regular basis and keep progressing with your mission.

By using technology designed for nonprofits—such as a nonprofit website builder or nonprofit fundraising, CRM, and accounting solutions—and incorporating these seven tips, you’ll be well on your way to boosting your online donations and strengthening your relationships with people who care about your work. 

This blog is an original work of the attributed author and is shared with permission via Foundant Technologies' website for informative purposes only as part of our educational content in the philanthropic sector. The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this text belong solely to the author and do not necessarily reflect Foundant's stance on this topic. If you have questions or comments, please reach out to our team.

About the Author

Murad Bushnaq is the Founder and CEO of Morweb. Since the company's inception in 2014, Murad has acted as Creative Director and Chief Technologist to help nonprofits spread their vision online through engaging design, intuitive software, and strategic communication.

Profile Photo of Murad Bushnaq