5 Elements a Nonprofit Website Must Have

The Basics You Can't Afford to Get Wrong

Website Design for Nonprofit
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These days, a person’s first exposure to your organization will be through your website.  Not only should it look attractive but as society becomes increasingly web literate, making sure your website includes some standard items will show visitors that you take your site seriously. 

Here are five of those must-haves.

  1. About Page

    This might seem like a no-brainer, but having an about section of your site is crucial. About Pages have become standard practice when building a site. Visitors have become accustomed to looking for them and having one will make it easy for them to learn about your organization.

    Not only do you want to include the basics such as your mission statement and your location, but use this space to show your organization's personality. Perhaps add a few milestones your agency might have reached or share a few fun facts related to your mission.

    While contact information can be on included on a separate page, I am a big advocate of including an email address or phone number on every page, but especially on the About Page. Including it here eliminates the visitor having to search for it somewhere else on the site.

  1. Donate Now Button

    Nonprofits wouldn’t be much if it weren’t for donations. Why not give people an easy way to donate on your website? We are living in an age where people want to give small amounts of money to the causes they believe. Just look at Kickstarter and Kiva. Both sites have become popular because they allow people to contribute small amounts of money.

    Adding a Donate Now Button is one of the easiest ways to ask for a donation. You can design a custom button and link it to a money collection service of your choice.  

    No matter how you choose to do it, I cannot stress enough the importance of having a Donate Now Button on your site. Make sure it appears on every page. Also, a Donate Now button can be added to email signatures and email newsletters giving people even more ways to donate.

    Paypal is a great option as many people are already comfortable with using its services. Paypal has an easy-to-use Donate Now Button that can be linked to your account and set up on your site in a matter of minutes.

    Also, Network for Good is just one of many giving services that provide a donation form that you can customize with your organization's branding. 

  1. Social Media Links

    Again, this might seem like website building 101, but I’m always surprised how many sites do not have their Facebook or Twitter accounts linked to their websites.

    While having visitors come to your site is great, you want always to be on their mind so that they may one day donate or volunteer for your organization.

    The best way to do this is to be active on social media and give website visitors a way to add you to their news feed. Having your social media sites listed in either a sidebar, header or footer is the best way to make that happen.

    Also, you want to give people the option to share content on your site via various social media networks. This can be done using a service such as Share This, which adds social media buttons to each blog post or page created on your site.

    People have become accustomed to sharing or “liking” something and then telling their friends about it. Make it easy by adding these social media buttons.

  1. Google Analytics

    Although not visible to your site visitors,  Google Analytics can be very useful for shaping your site. Set up can be a bit tricky as it involves adding a small bit of code to your site, but once you get it up and running Google Analytics will become your best friend.

    You will be able to see how people get to your site. Is it through a link from another site or are you the number one Google result for a particular search term?

    What posts are the most popular? What days of the week attract the most visitors? Where do your site visitors come from?

    The answers to these questions can be very surprising and useful as you make changes to your site in the future.

  2. Copyright Statement

    Before writing anything on this subject, let me state that I am not a lawyer. With that out of the way, adding a copyright statement might be overlooked by many, but can be one of the most vital items to include on your site.

    Your organization owns everything on your website, but by not adding a copyright statement on your page you make it easy for people to repost at will without mentioning the source.

    If a person reposts your content with a citation, it is another valuable link back to your website, which helps people find out more about you.

    Additionally, adding a copyright statement might help in your SEO or search engine optimization, which is what search engines use to figure out if your site is relevant to a search.

    An up-to-date copyright also signals that your site is fresh and that you pay attention to it. An out-of-date copyright statement is a real turn off.

    Adding a copyright statement is as easy as adding “©2012 All rights reserved” to the footer of your site. I would recommend adding the name of your organization in there as well.

    Whether you are designing your nonprofit's first website or updating it, including these five things will only help bring more visitors to your site.