Donor Engagement

How to nail nonprofit website design

Tips for creating content that inspires donor support and amplifies your reach online

From accessing fundraiser calendars to finding the latest volunteer opportunities, modern donors rely on your website to learn how to get involved.

Think of your website as the heart of your online fundraising and marketing strategy. The website should tie into a brand and should have a consistent look and feel. Your social media presence should reflect this too.. A strong social media presence and a compelling marketing strategy can boost reach and revenue significantly. In fact, 360MatchPro reports that 18% of donors who give online feel most inspired to give after viewing social media content.

Making website content shareable is key. Supporters will feel more inclined to share content to their personal social accounts if your website is well designed, easily shareable and features meaningful storylines. Use these design tips to capture your audience’s attention and encourage them to share your website across social media!

Make compelling visuals

Think about popular platforms like Instagram — users’ feeds are comprised of large image displays and small captions. Most social media channels are visual-centric, meaning these platforms are built around the use of visual elements.

The best nonprofit sites strategically include visuals throughout their content to emotionally connect with supporters. Make the following visual elements on your site more engaging to encourage sharing:

  • Videos: Videos can tell your nonprofit’s story and are easy to repurpose on social media platforms. Create clips of your volunteers at work to show what you do. You might also compile interviews with beneficiaries, board members, and community members to share the community’s view of your work.
  • Images: Photos can powerfully illustrate an issue. For example, a photo of a stray animal can pull on your visitors’ heartstrings better than a paragraph of text describing animal homelessness. Sharing this photo on social media would quickly capture the attention of larger audiences and drive engagement.
  • Infographics: Statistics are a huge part of summarizing your nonprofit’s impact. Organize numbers in a visually appealing infographic that can be repurposed on any platform.
  • Fundraising thermometer: Illustrate progress toward a campaign or event goal with a visual that represents the amount of money raised.

Leveling up the visual elements on your website will encourage your supporters to repost and share with their personal networks. Include social media sharing buttons throughout the website for a seamless experience.

Templates are also an important factor in building a consistent brand on your website. Website templates guide the structure and design of your web pages, allowing you to focus on the actual content of the page. Look at the top nonprofit website templates to get an idea of what would work best for your organization.

Feature your social media feed

Embed social media posts and feeds into your website so supporters can easily click to follow your organization and repost your content. Website visitors will be able to see your activity, such as:

  • Posts about upcoming events: Give important details about future fundraisers and volunteer opportunities with a unique hashtag. Then, encourage supporters to complete a challenge and post their own content with the hashtag in the caption.
  • Community partnerships: Many local businesses may employ corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategies, making them more likely to partner with your nonprofit and support your cause. When you promote these partnerships, site visitors may be excited to see the businesses that support your cause. For example, a donor may share your Facebook post about their employer’s contribution to a fundraising campaign.
  • Frequent updates: Nonprofits should consistently post on social media to keep their followers in the know. Embed your social media feed on your About page so that visitors can see what’s going on with your organization as they explore your website. Even if your website users don’t follow your social media channels, they’ll have easy access to a shareable post about your organization and its current work or needs.
  • Volunteer spotlights: Giving volunteers a social media shoutout (with their permission, of course) is a classic appreciation strategy. When these snippets of gratitude show up on your website, volunteers will feel an even greater sense of appreciation. Friends and family members will excitedly share the post to brag about their loved ones!

Featuring your social media feed on your website will also encourage visitors to explore more of your content. For example, a post about matching gifts might prompt supporters to learn more about this offering on your website, such as by reading up on your latest blog post on matching gifts or exploring matching gifts on your designated landing page.

Encourage participation

From seeking volunteer roles to donation opportunities, your supporters will land on your website for a variety of reasons! Consider adding the following interactive tools to make sure your site visitors stick around and engage with your content:

  • Discussion forums: Pose a question for users to answer and discuss with each other. This tool uniquely connects supporters to each other, cultivating a stronger sense of community within your nonprofit. Generate social media content about the discussion and encourage additional conversations in the comments.
  • Polls or surveys: Find out what website visitors think about an issue in your community. These questions can be shared on social media to gather more answers.
  • Quizzes: Test your supporters’ knowledge with a fun quiz! By understanding what they know about a topic, you can adjust your efforts to educate them about the issue your nonprofit addresses. They can share their scores on social media and encourage others to test their knowledge, as well.

Morweb’s guide to the top website builders also recommends using blogging tools with the help of your CMS to grow your audience. Blogs can provide educational content that gives further insight into your nonprofit’s work. As an added bonus, this content can be shared across many social media platforms.

From page structure to visual appeal, website building allows for a lot of creativity. To see real results from your nonprofit’s website, encourage engagement by making your content shareable. Combining the benefits of social media and your website’s outreach will ultimately increase your supporter base and amplify your cause.

Murad Bushnaq is the Founder and CEO of Morweb. Since its 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.