Are you missing a critical step in your donor engagement strategy? Your website is a key way that your donors – current and prospective – interact with your organization, and yet it can be one of the last places we focus our effort. To maximize your website for donor engagement, consider these ten aspects of your website’s structure and content:
- Is it mobile friendly? Make sure that your website looks, and performs, just as well on a PC as on a mobile device. Double check that your menu options connect to the right pages in mobile format. Ensure you are utilizing a responsive design that will adapt seamlessly to different sized screens – no pinch and zoom!
- Is it easy to contact you? Information in your header or “contact us” page should be hyperlinked for ease of use. Make sure to link to the corresponding application – phone numbers should be formatted as click to call, addresses should link to a map application, etc. Make sure all contact information is current.
- Is it inclusive? Make sure your website is easy to navigate and engage with for all individuals, particularly the populations you interact with most. Visit ADA.gov for a toolkit to see how you can make your website more accessible.
- Does it over-utilize pop-ups? We can all agree pop-ups are a little annoying, but the reality is they get people’s attention! So make sure to use them sparingly when it really counts – avoid using them as a prompt to sign up for an e-newsletter since it will be seen on every visit.
- Does it grab your attention? Most visitors won’t stay on your page for longer than 45 seconds. Use your home page and “above the fold” content to grab their attention. Ensure compelling, mission and impact focused messages delivered through engaging videos, photos, or infographics are some of the first things they see.
- Does it include donor stories? Websites often have audiences other than donors, so it can be tricky to find the right balance in incorporating giving-specific language throughout. Donor stories are a great way to do that! Highlighting your donors – why they love the organization and support it – is not only a great way to indirectly talk about giving, it’s also good donor stewardship.
- Does it utilize varied content? Avoid big blocks of text and try to make liberal use of visually appealing content. Use videos, photos, stats, and bulleted lists to keep people clicking through your website. Make sure transitions between pages aren’t too jarring though – keep font and colors consistent and have some elements, like your header, that carry throughout.
- Is the content current? Having outdated content, like event registration info for an event that already happened, won’t give the impression that the website is the place to go for updated information about the organization. Make sure that you’re updating content with an obvious timeframe and that you’re incorporating fresh content regularly. One easy way to accomplish this is through a blog or by hosting your newsletter on the website. Set aside time once a month to make updates so they don’t get put off for other day to day tasks.
- Does it show how donor support impacts the organization? Give potential donors specifics on how their gift will impact the organization. Use your giving levels to show that impact at various dollar amounts. Include this alongside your donation form, if possible, or include a “support” button. Position impactful content so donors see it right before they enter the donation form to try to avoid drop-off – 4 out of 5 donors who start a donation form won’t complete it and make a gift!
- Are all giving options highlighted? Make sure to highlight other ways people can make their gift, like recurring/monthly options. Don’t leave this buried in your donation form – highlight it with a donor story or by sharing your monthly giving club or program. Also include ways people can get involved without a financial contribution, like by volunteering or contributing in-kind goods, to bring them closer to the organization.
Just as you plan your events, communications, and one-on-one interactions with donors to maximize their engagement, you should also actively work to make your website an extension of that effort. In addition to these tips, look for inspiration by browsing the nonprofit websites that you support personally or that are within your sector or community and incorporate elements that stand out into your own site.