Put Your Website to Work for Your Nonprofit
If the past year has taught us anything, it's that the typical way of doing things no longer works. This is especially true in the nonprofit sector. Many of the processes and practices you've relied on for years, such as large gatherings, in-person meetings, paper-based processes, and offline donations simply aren't feasible or accessible. The need for digital transformation has become more pressing than ever before, and many are quickly adjusting.
According to an SSIR survey, 82% of nonprofits reported the need to digitalize some or all of their programs and services to stay relevant. That's a fairly significant number. If you're finding yourself in the majority, needing digital solutions or a website overhaul, we're here to offer our best advice:
Your website has the potential to be one of the smartest, hardest-working members of your team right now, and these are the qualifications needed to make that happen.
Job Requirements for Your Website
1. Must be able to load pages at lightning speed.
If you want new donors or key stakeholders to find and stay on your website, it needs to load quickly. We're talking seconds. Page speed is one of Google's biggest criteria for recommending a site in a search result and one of the most essential elements of a good user experience. Ideally, you want your website to load within three seconds. Research shows 40% of visitors will bounce after the three-second mark if the page doesn't load by then.
2. Needs to be a good communicator.
Let's say you've captured the attention of a visitor. Your site loaded quickly, and they're interested in what you have to say. The clock is still ticking. You have less than eight seconds to communicate, and one of the first places a visitor will look is your navigation.
Your menu should have no more than six items. And, it should use clear language, allowing a visitor to intuitively find what they need. From there, all of your pages should continue to communicate quickly and clearly. When you lose the jargon, it's easier to gain more authentic connections.
3. Must get along with all mobile devices.
It's estimated that more than 60% of visitors view websites on their mobile devices, and that number is only expected to grow. When your site is optimized for mobile, it will look fantastic no matter what device or browser your supporters use. It will also keep people on your website longer because they'll have an easier time accessing information, signing up for events, and donating to your cause. All good things.
4. Needs to be search-friendly and able to drive traffic.
You've probably heard of search engine optimization (SEO) but feel confused about how it works. You're not alone. (This is a great article that uncovers the truth about SEO that you might find refreshing.) Honestly speaking, you don't need an "SEO expert" to garner great search results. Simply having quality content will get you far.
What does quality content look like? It's written with a natural voice. It doesn't have keywords crammed into a sentence just for the sake of "better SEO." It's genuine and honest about your cause. It's factual and timely. It has your supporters' best interest at heart. It includes backlinks to real and credible sources. When you write content with all of this in mind, you gain the trust of your supporters - and Google. As Google continually looks for ways to eliminate fake news, they'll discover your genuine and helpful content, and the reward will be more traffic sent to your site.
Bonus tip: We highly recommend having a blog. A 2020 HubSpot study revealed 60% of people read a blog at least once a week. They're still relevant and one of the easiest ways to add fresh, searchable content to your site. Need ideas? Share stories of impact, highlight donors and volunteers, feature partner organizations, summarize research or share insights that position your staff as thought leaders in the industry.
5. Must be good with money.
Increasing online donations is probably one of the top goals for your website - and with good reason. Supporters are increasingly more comfortable donating money online. A recent giving report discovered online giving grew nearly 21 percent in 2020. So, if your website doesn't have a donation page or it's difficult to find, you could be missing out on a significant amount of funding.
Make sure your "donate" button is visible on every page, and that your donation form is simple. Only capture the information you need. The last thing you want is for donors to get annoyed filling out a long form when they just want to make a quick donation.
If that list made you break into a sweat because your current site doesn't check anything off the list, not to worry. We've helped many nonprofits get their sites up to speed in no time at all.
Our Modular Orange product is an ideal solution for nonprofits because it provides a professionally written, designed, and developed site at an extremely affordable price. It's only one-tenth of the cost of a traditional custom site, which means more of your grant money and donations can be directed toward other impactful initiatives.
All of our sites are fast, responsive, secure, compliant with Google's core vitals, and easy to update. (Essentially, checking everything off the list.) And, once it's set up, you can update your site with simple drag and drop features. This includes adding pages, changing photos, swapping out event dates, writing blog posts, and more. It's also highly teachable, so if you rely on volunteers or your "web person" leaves, anyone can be trained to use the platform in 15 minutes or less.
If Modular Orange sounds like a dream candidate for your nonprofit, let's talk! We'd be honored to help your organization grow in the right direction.