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21 Features Your NonProfit Website must have in 2020 and how to use them

A Nonprofit website shares a lot of similarities with a conventional business website. The website needs to be easy to navigate, have awesome fonts, be attractive to visitors with a clear call to action that stimulates the user to take necessary action on the website.

In this article, I have written a list of the most important features to include on your non-profit website for optimum performance and conversions. Let’s get started:

1. Responsive and mobile-friendly layout

A responsive charity site changes the layout of your website based on the device being used by the website visitor.

21 Features Your NonProfit Website must have in 2020 and how to use them
Image of our website in desktop, tablet and mobile phone.

A perfect mobile responsive website includes design elements like:

  • Very readable text without requiring zoom in our out.
  • Adequate space for easy click and navigation
  • No horizontal scrolling.

According to Statista, the current number of smartphone users in the world today is 3.5 billion, meaning 45.04% of the world’s population owns a smartphone.

  • 3.50billion smartphone users in the world today
  • 45.04% of people have smartphones today
  • 4.78Billion mobile phones users in the world today
  • 61.51% of people own mobile phones today

Websites not optimized for all these smaller screens can experience a decline in their search engine rankings. For a charity organization like yours, not getting found online means no support from well-meaning people and volunteers.

Benefits:

  • Increase reach to donors, volunteers and website visitors on smaller devices (tablets & smartphones)
  • consistent experience on all devices that can increase lead generation, sales and conversions.
  • Analytics, tracking and reporting can all be in one place.
  • Cost of site management is greatly decreased since you have to manage your site from a single platform.
  • All these make you stay ahead of the competition.

2. Biography of board and staff to highlight the idealism and experiences of the people working behind the charity organization.

You started your nonprofit website because you had an idea different from most other persons and you most likely want to change the world uniquely. Telling your website visitors about yourself and all other persons behind your organization builds trust, credibility and confidence.

Image showing team work for nonprofit
image showing teamwork

Your biography and staff details don’t have to be a lot elaborate. A short straight to the point piece of content will do.

3. A blog/News section:

This section will help website visitors stay updated on the latest occurring and happenings in your organization. It is a good idea to have a “Blog” or “News” section highlighted on top of your website that will enable the reader to navigate easily.

swicdigital nonprofit blog style
Simple blog syle for nonprofit

If done correctly, a blog can enhance your donors and volunteer’s perception, increase SEO performance, and provide the much needed social media content that brings backlinks to your fundraising website.

mobile web traffic source in 2015
Traffics sources in 2015

Figures courtesy if yotpo’s global user database of over 120,000 online businesses, 2015.

Traffic from direct source and search results accounts for 40% and 34% respectively while social media represents a small 6% making it very negligible. Learning how to get traffic for your website is very important.

Here are some top four reasons to add a blog/news page to your site:

  • Your blog gives you industry credibility
  • It increases your search engine optimization performance
  • A blog allows your visitors to get to know you on a deeper and more human level.
  • It’s a very easy way to get tons of content to share on your social media handles. As an organization, your blog should be one of the main building blocks of your brand because it serves as a very good avenue to educate your visitors, share stories, get personal with your visitors and promote upcoming events.

Blog content formats can be video, audio, infographics, Gifs and textual.

4. A description of volunteer opportunities:

This feature is of the utmost value for any nonprofit website. This is the most important page focused on new and old users who are supporting you. This will allow them to be more involved in your work.

According to the United Nations, Global estimates place the number of volunteers worldwide at 970 million. Approximately one in four volunteers contribute their time and skills through organizations and the rest do so directly, helping their neighbours as well as their communities.

In terms of economic impact, estimates place the value of volunteer work at US$ 1.348 trillion or 2.4 per cent of the entire global economy.
To attract these volunteers and donors to your nonprofit website, you need to put the information’s out there for them, describing the benefits, social or economic impact and every other detail your visitors should know.

5. Give or Donate buttons:

Including these buttons on your charity organization website makes the process of accepting online donations a painless, easy process, secure and safe.

nonprofit revenue model
nonprofit revenue model

According to grantspace up to 63% of nonprofit organizations revenue comes from private contributions.

Your website might be so amazing and great, but when people come to your website and are not able to find your give or donate buttons very quickly and easily, they become very frustrated.

That’s is why it’s important to make these buttons visible on your website preferably the in navigation, sidebar and hero sections.

Our Recommended Payment channel

There are tons of payment gateways and processors to choose from. We suggest stripe and PayPal if your non-governmental organization is focusing on America, Europe and Asia. Paystack, Mpesa, and flutter will work very well if your focus is in Africa.

6. A description of programs:

Your nonprofit website should have a description of the programs your organization is offering. They may be summarized and recapped in the news or blog section.

NGO’s are driven by such orientations as charities, service, participation and empowerment. Nonprofit are often task-oriented and driven by people with a common interest.

Telling your visitors about your programs and how to support you, put you in their mind and often make them clear about who you are, what you do, the extent of your reach and how to support you.

7. Testimonials:

Testimonials and stories from precise people and organization can act as motivation tools for future donors.

According to a 2013 study by search engine land, 79% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
Your testimonials don’t have to be so over polished, studio ready and all positive. A simple well written and personalized testimonial works great.

nonprofit website testimonial sample

When questioned about how many online testimonials they needed to read before they could trust a business, 67% of visitors said 6 or fewer.
It’s important to select the testimonials that best match the conversion you are trying to achieve. Best testimonials answer potential questions your donors, volunteers and visitors will have about your nonprofit.

Testimonials aren’t only for websites, you can incorporate them into emails, ebooks, blog post, videos, ads, print materials and more.

8. Email opt-in form:

Email opt-in forms on your website will enable you to grow your charity sites mailing list.

A mail list is a special list of names and email addresses of people who permitted you to send them updates and promotions from your business.

According to the Direct Marketing Association, companies that engage in email marketing see an average of 4300% return on investment. Can you imagine what such a return will mean to your business?

Here are some reasons to build your email list

  • Email is purposeful
  • You can make specific targets
  • You own your email list
  • Email is personal
  • More people use emails. There are over 3.8 billion email accounts.
  • Email is very private. It builds trust and connection.

Tools like constant contact, optinmonster, convertkit, mailchimp and sendinBlue are very good options.

Having an email list will not only help you request for personal online donations, but it will also enable you to create, update and respond to loyal donors and volunteers

9. Downloadable Resources:

If your nonprofit organization publishes special publications, it’s great to have them on your website. You could even create a special page for it on your website.

Publications like yearly roundup, shows, special program series, skill training and the likes will go a long way in pushing your charity organization website forward.

Most website visitors love to take something along with them when they visit a website. Well written articles, blog post and reviews about your organization is a great way to make your visitors interested in your value offering.
Downloadable PDFs are also good for collecting and growing your email list. You do that by asking your website visitors to opt-in to your mailing list to receive a resource in return.

10. Contact us:

This is a simple page with a form that enables visitors to contact your organization. Almost every type of website has a contact form. While some are very complex, a lot of others are very simple.

With a contact form on your nonprofit website, your visitors can reach you 24hours of the day. They can send you inquiries, ask questions, make contributions, and ask for collaboration too. Other reasons include:

  • Keeping track of your message
  • It’s a show of professionalism
  • It’s simple for your customers
  • It’s an easy way to boost your email list.

11. Easy to read layout

Doing your research and thinking about the home page structure of your nonprofit organization before your even start sketching ideas is of paramount importance. In everything, make sure you are focusing on your potentials users’ expectation.

It doesn’t matter how gorgeous a website is if users can’t find their way around it. perfect website navigation has three main characteristics.

  • Simplicity
  • Clarity
  • Consistency

Your website goal should be to guide users to the information they’re seeking in the fewest clicks as possible.

12. Welcoming colour schemes and attractive fonts

A well-thought colour palette can elevate a design from bad to great while a bad colour palette can distort a user’s overall experience.
Each colour has its meaning. The colour you pick for your organization goes a long way in determining how people perceive your organization. Here’s a basic breakdown of what a few different colours mean:

Red — Red is the colour of danger and passion, as well as excitement

Orange — Orange is a very creative colour that’s also associated with adventure and youth.

Yellow — Yellow is happy, optimistic, and cheerful. It’s popular in designs for children and adults alike.

Green — Green has varied associations. On one hand, it provokes feelings of wealth and tradition while on the other it’s strongly associated with environmentalism and nature.

Blue — blue is most often associated with loyalty and trust.

The meaning of a colour could change based on the combination. Think about the mission, vision and target audience of your organization and select a colour that suits it. Web fonts will help you define the hierarchy of the content in two ways; Size and colour.

The bigger the font, the most attractive it will be. Your users read your text based on the hierarchy on your website.
It’s necessary to make your call to action very attractive.

13. High-quality Imagery and infographics

Compelling imagery and graphics are a very essential part of creating an effective nonprofit website. Your images have to reflect your charity websites values, principles and niche.

Imagery can come in many forms including:

Real pictorial images of impact from your various outreach, workshops and programs. Images like this build credibility and encourage empathy.

Infographics allow you to share detailed information about your organization. Users can understand these pieces of information at a glance. Infographics are easily sharable and can become viral faster. A simple infographic will sometimes convey the same meaning of a thousand brochure.

charity website infographics sample

Gif: gifs are a very fun way of relating to your charity website visitors. Moving images tend to grab users attention more than static images.

happy gif in nonprofit website

We love gifs at swicdigital because it’s shareable, fun and can be generated very easily.

14. A Super Logo

These days your charity sites logo goes a long way in determining how people perceive your organization. A beautiful yet simple and easy to remember logo works a lot better than a more complex one.

A bad logo can be a turn off while a well-crafted logo can go a long way increasing your NGO brand influence.

Tools like Canva and Crello will help you create a good logo for free. You should check them out.

15. A search box that’s easy to find

21 Features Your NonProfit Website must have in 2020 and how to use them

You do not need a search box if you just starting or your website is a simple site of say five pages. As you grow, the content on your website will multiply. Using a search box on your nonprofit website will help users search for information quickly and take actions faster.

If you plan on using WordPress, a simple search widget on the sidebar works perfectly.

16. A bold and clear call to action

Without a clear call to action, your charity website visitors or potentials volunteers will find it very difficult to take action. Say what you want your user to do on your website without beating about the bush.

Avoid too many distractions around your call to action buttons. So your donors among others can perform a predetermined action without moving to other pages.

17. Analytics

Without a way to measure your success or failure on your fundraising website, all your hard work might be in vain. Analytics is very simple codes installed on your website that keeps track of your websites visitor’s activities.
Using a free tool like google analytics, you can track demographics, location, source of your website traffic, high traffic pages, keywords, number of backlinks and much more.

With all this information at your fingertips, you can continue doing what’s working and improve what is not.

18. Facebook Pixel code

The Facebook pixel is a code that you place on your website. It collects data that helps you track conversions from Facebook ads, optimize ads, build a custom audience for future ads and remarket to people who have taken some kind of action on your nonprofit website.
Very similar to google analytics, the Facebook pixel will help you create retargeted Ads that target previous visitors to your website.

19. A website copy that motivates and drive action.

When writing web copy every single word has to be well thought out.

Before you write a single word, think:

  • What do I want my reader to know
  • What do I want my reader to FEEL
  • What do I want my reader to DO


This process will help you get clear about your intentions and stop you from getting side-tracked.
Just like you wouldn’t start planning your holiday without choosing a destination first, you must set a goal before you begin if you want a web copy that converts.


Your copy is much more likely to get your reader to take action when it is beneficial, purposeful and precise. Here’s a simple table to get you started:

nonprofit website copy guide

20. Videos


Just like other brands need videos in there marketing strategy, so does every nonprofit organization. According to hubspot report, video on a landing page is capable of increasing conversion rate by over 80% and the word “video” in your email subject line increases open rate by 19%.

A video from canva showing nature

Here are 10 types of videos you can use for your charity website:

  • Demo videos
  • Brand videos
  • Event videos
  • Expert interviews
  • Educational or how-to video
  • Explainer videos
  • Animated videos
  • Case study and testimonial video
  • Live videos
  • Personalized messages


Just like every other copy on your website, planning your videos ensures you have a great outcome.

21. Social media icons:


The real power of social media isn’t just the ability to have profiles but is virility. Social media can go beyond your own list and the limits of your database.

Make sure you incorporate social into your site. It will contribute greatly to your search engine optimization strategy. Sharing every of your blog post on social media increases your reach beyond your website visitors.

Conclusion

A combination of all these website features will go a long way in improving your fundraising / nonprofit website greatly.
Do let us know which of the above features you have implemented on your charity website and how it’s working for you.

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