Recently we have been tasked with creating a series of courses as a non-profit website for an organization catering to advocates of domestic violence survivors. The subject itself is sensitive and with that in mind we wanted to design the site in a way that would be compelling, engaging, easy to navigate and easy to find. Here’s what we learned along the way:
Highlight your Mission Statement on Each Page of Your Non-Profit Website
An average user forms an opinion about your website and company in about 0.5 seconds from opening the webpage. Within the next 10 seconds they will decide whether they want to continue or leave and that’s how much (or little) time you have to make a positive impression and entice visitors to further exploration.
Since not all users will visit your site via the homepage it is important to state your key purpose on each page. Your values, your goal, your mission statement should be visible without having to jump from page to page.
Make your Non-Profit Website Personal
It will be far easier for the visitors to connect with your non-profit and see it in a positive light if your company tells a story.
Who is running your non-profit, how did they come around to doing it? Who are the people you’ve helped and what are their stories? Presenting a story of a person who managed to break through an abusive relationship and who now gives back by supporting others in a similar situation can be more powerful than statistics and even most impressive numbers.
Navigation for your Non-Profit Website is a Key
You should spend some time looking at your site from the end user’s perspective. If you were a first-time visitor, what would be your experience? How easy is it to find referenced information? Is your site fully functional (properly working links etc)?
Shift your Focus from the Non-Profit Website Homepage to Interior Pages
You probably think of the homepage as a virtual business card or a book cover and that’s where you focus your attention. After all it represents your company and for many visitors it’s the first contact they have with your organization. It is also, by the definition the most unfocused page, since it has to appeal to various motivations and needs of your target audience.
However, you should also think about those who find your site by typing in a search engine words or phrases that relate to your mission. They will, most likely land on an interior page and not your homepage.
A useful tool that may help you better design your site is the web analytics. What is number one page users are visiting? Surprisingly, it may not be your homepage. How much time do they spend there? Do they click the link/interior page you’re hoping to direct them to?
Be Transparent on Your Non-Profit Website
We cannot stress enough how important it is to be transparent. To many Americans it is essential to know where the donated money goes. If a charity spends large amounts of money on administrative costs and salaries or, even worse, has a vague description of spending practices it will be off-putting to your audience.
Set your non-profit apart by having clear and easy to access financial reports. Make sure the visitors know their donations make a difference and are indeed well spent.
If you are interested in help making your website an effective resource for your organization, contact us for a free consultation!