Key tips for nonprofit website design

Building a website for a nonprofit that tactfully includes organization information and an online donation request requires insight on donor trends and other industry practices. Every organization is different and it's a good idea to have a uniquely engaging website for donors and interested parties, but there are a few things about traditional website design to keep in mind.

Grabbing visitors' attention and providing smooth navigation throughout the site allows people to interact seamlessly and not be deterred by confusing or frustrating slowdowns. A properly designed site helps develop awareness and get more people on board with the cause, ultimately leading them to donation forms. Creating a well-structured website and offering information in a way that makes sense to people and keeps them engaged helps spread cause awareness and build a higher level of support.

Above the fold
When developing a web page, it is often best to put all important information at the top, or above the fold, for convenience. The term "above the fold" originated from newspapers, as all breaking news was printed above the fold in printed papers. When used in reference to web design, "above the fold" means the space on the page users see before having to scroll down. Putting the information or donation forms at the top brings readers' attentions to it immediately. However, NP Engage challenged the idea of including information below the fold for various reasons, namely:

  • It's in people's nature to scroll down nowadays on all devices, and it may be beneficial to take advantage of all the space the page offers.
  • Scrolling adds another layer of interaction, and modern designs embrace the idea of exploring past the initial information visible. In fact, it's becoming more common for people to scan over an entire page to get the gist of it before they start reading.
  • It may be worth it to try putting the call to action slightly farther down on the page so people can get a better idea of the cause and become more emotionally involved in it. 

Offer a better user experience
Having a website is first and foremost about bridging the gap between an organization and its community of supporters, embracing their passion and encouraging them to invest in the cause. Creating a genuine and meaningful experience for them is therefore key. However, some websites focus too much on driving donations and leading people right to the call to action. KissMetrics blog said landing pages that are too focused on self-importance, rush to calls to action and scheme to garner conversions are sorely missing the mark.

Think beyond sly marketing methods to get people involved and donating and more about a more interactive web page and a laid back approach to engaging readers. If charities are genuine and sincerely want to spread cause awareness, online donations will come more naturally.

Back to News