Storytelling and How Mission-Driven Nonprofit Websites Can Engage Users

how to design for a nonprofit website

How A Great Website Can Help Mission-Driven Nonprofits Engage With Key Stakeholders

Today more than ever, mission-driven nonprofits need to compete for hearts, minds and dollars of the general public. This means presenting a public image via their website that elicits emotions, draws in potential supporters and engages your key stakeholders.

Tell a compelling story

For any mission-driven organization, storytelling is the key to effective marketing. A compelling story will help you maintain and gain more supporters, volunteers, grants, donations, and media attention. By making your story relatable and about real people, you can capture people’s hearts and strengthen your organization’s mission. 

The most important benefit of a great nonprofit website is that it allows you to clearly and effectively communicate important information about your organization. Your website should attract people who will help you meet your goals. It should highlight your mission statement, organizational vision, community impact and more. Potential donors should easily be able to see what projects your organization is currently working on, read stories about how your organization’s impact on others and be updated on recent news and events. The website should be rich with updated inspirational and aspirational content that highlights what sets you apart from your competitors. Potential donors may have a bad impression of your organization if your website is out of date and difficult to navigate. It needs to inform your supporters about how to get involved and engage with the community. Having all of this information in one central location will provide a boost to your organizational growth!

storytelling for non profit websites

Lead with feelings

Featuring content that is easy, obvious and touches on people’s emotions will attract your grassroots donors. Your foundational partners such as high-level donors and corporate sponsors will respond better to more tactical content. Relevant content aligning with your organization’s mission and priorities will be key to attracting donations from legislators and key decision makers.

Broaden your reach

A fast, polished, and user-friendly website will increase the search visibility of your organization. Outdated websites are less likely to catch the attention of search engines. If it’s been more than five years since you’ve updated your website design, you are missing out on many potential visitors. Many prospective supporters, especially those who represent Gen Z, have high expectations of website usability and design. A nice-looking website that is easy to use and features valuable information can drive new search engine traffic.

Make it easy to get involved

A call to action that outlines different ways that people can get involved, i.e., how to start their own fundraising campaign, is a great way to simplify things for new users of your website. A well-designed contact page with a simple form, will make it easier for
supporters to connect with your organization, become engaged, and obtain information. It should provide options for general users and corporate sponsors to make one-time donations or donations on a recurring schedule. You should include an email subscription form on your website to guide information seekers of all ages to articles and blog posts that will give them the information that they came to you for. It should be easy for visitors to learn what your organization does, how they can help and find up to date information to get their questions answered as quickly as possible.

Convert new donors

If designed well, your nonprofit’s website is a tool that can be used to engage information seekers and turn them into donors. Your website isn’t just a place for people to gather information about your cause. It should highlight your accomplishments and feature your organization in a strategic way to encourage more to get involved. Design your donation page in a way that would sway potential donors who are on the fence or who are unfamiliar with your organization to become more interested and engaged with you. It makes the supporter’s decision to donate much easier if the process to donate is simple and streamlined.

designing for donations

Visibility on the go

Don’t forget about your mobile users! You may have only one chance to convince someone to donate while they are binge watching Netflix or riding the bus to work. Making your website mobile-friendly is critical, as many people are using their mobile phones, tablets and other devices more frequently. The older your website is, the less likely it is to look professional on smaller screens. If your web design hasn’t been updated in years, it probably isn’t benefiting your organization as much as it could. To increase the number of people who can find your organization online, you should keep your mobile users in mind when optimizing your site.

Make your efforts more effective

Many potential donors will make the decision to attend an event or charitable function based on their experience on your website. Your website should be easy to edit and should be updated frequently to showcase what you are doing to further your cause. Effectively using your website to promote special events and functions can have an impact on your offline initiatives. Keeping the content on your website current and looking fresh can improve the quality of your events and make it easier for your nonprofit to continue to move in the right direction.

You may be wondering how to determine whether your website is easy to use. Try looking at your website through the eyes of someone who has never seen it before and contact WDG for UX testing.

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