People naturally make snap judgments, especially online. Studies show that it takes around 50 milliseconds for website visitors to form a first impression. That means you only have a fraction of a second before someone decides whether they’ll continue exploring your site. For schools and other nonprofits, this can mean the difference between securing support and driving away vital prospects.
Taking the time to optimize your website for donors and other potential advocates within your community is key to driving support. Impactful web design is about more than creating a digital brochure, though. Your online content can tell your story, educate visitors on your work, serve as an outlet for sharing organizational updates, and ultimately drive your online fundraising strategy. The design you implement is what will make this content stand out.
In this article, we’ll explore three common strategies for attracting donors through your nonprofit website, including:
- Feature a straightforward online donation page.
- Infuse your mission into site content.
- Make use of white space.
For ideas on creating a cohesive experience for your community online, take a look at Morweb’s guide to the best school websites. You’ll see the tips we’re about to cover in action, which may spark inspiration for your own site and fundraising processes.
Ready to make a more impactful impression on prospects through your website? Let’s get started so that you can drive notable fundraising results.
1. Feature a straightforward online donation page.
If you’re looking to enhance your digital fundraising strategy, it makes sense to start by revitalizing your online donation page. Philanthropic prospects will head here when they want to contribute to your cause and fund your work, making it an essential resource for your web design strategy.
This resource explores the idea that since a donation page is a straightforward concept, filling it out should be simple and straightforward as well. Otherwise, users will exit the page. In other words, when selecting a donation form provider, you’ll want to select one that makes the process as easy as possible.
As you narrow down your options, keep an eye peeled for platforms that offer the following functionality:
- Easy setup. First and foremost, it should be easy to create your donation form. Go with a platform that makes it easy to get up and running within minutes. The quicker you make your form available, the sooner you can start collecting donations.
- Mobile-responsiveness. Double the Donation’s fundraising statistics page estimates that half of all nonprofit website traffic comes from mobile and tablet users. Choose a platform that offers automatic mobile-responsiveness, meaning that it adjusts the form’s elements based on each user’s screen size. This way, donors will be able to donate from wherever they are.
- Sharing features. The more prospects who come across your fundraising page, the more donations you’re likely to receive. It should be easy to spread the word to students’ families and friends through email and social media with convenient sharing buttons.
The ability to accept donations online is imperative for today’s schools and nonprofits, especially amongst social distancing guidelines. By creating a straightforward and user-friendly process, your community will be much more inclined to give. That way, you’ll receive the funds you need to develop the best learning environment possible.
2. Infuse your mission into site content.
Your mission is what connects you with your supporters. It’s what motivates them to contribute and continue supporting your work. Tap into this motivation by infusing your mission into your site content.
By doing this, you will not only form strong initial connections with readers, but you’ll also establish a memorable brand that stands out from similar organizations. Let’s explore two opportunities that your nonprofit can easily capitalize on:
- Create an ‘About’ page. For nonprofits, an ‘About’ page is imperative for sharing organizational details and displaying work. According to this resource, your ‘About Us’ page should feature your organization’s history, mission, vision, core values, and staff and board member profiles.
- Share stories of impact. Blogging puts nonprofits in a unique position to connect with their communities by sharing powerful narratives about those they serve. Feature a blog on your website where you post articles about your work and highlight outstanding volunteers, donors, and team members. Ensure your website builder comes equipped with easy-to-use blogging tools, so you can focus on distributing high-quality content rather than struggling with a difficult-to-use blog.
Infusing your mission into the content you produce helps drive continuous engagement from supporters. While an ‘About’ page and a blog are a solid starting point, there are other methods available for conveying your mission and boosting fundraising results, such as incorporating powerful images.
What works all depends on what content seems to resonate with your community. When done correctly, you can tap into visitors’ emotions and captivate them with the information you share.
3. Make use of white space.
While it may be tempting to fill every part of your website with content, doing so risks overstimulating the reader. Instead, go for a simpler and more impactful design by incorporating white space.
White space, also commonly referred to as negative space, is the empty space between design elements. When incorporated appropriately, it makes content more digestible for readers and avoids overloading the page with excessive elements. It helps you balance the page visually and organize content, so users can focus on specific elements without being distracted by other content.
As you head into your website overhaul, consider these three tips to incorporate white space correctly:
- Create visual cues for a natural experience. Smart use of white space can direct the eye to flow from one element to another, guiding the reader through the page. Group objects together by decreasing the white space between them or divide them by increasing white space. For example, in the context of a webform, labels should be close to their respective fields to indicate connectivity.
- Use it as a way to draw attention. White space can be used to build focal points and direct attention toward specific elements. The more white space surrounding an object, the more the readers’ eye is drawn to it. Build natural hotspots in your layout to draw attention to the most important information, such as your upcoming fundraisers and recent work in the community.
- Prioritize text comprehension. Text that’s tightly spaced looks cluttered, but text that’s too far apart makes the design seem disconnected. Pay attention to your paragraph margins and line spacing. Even separation will make the content easily scannable and legible and can increase comprehension by up to 20%.
While white space may seem like “wasted space” that could be used to house more information, it’s actually an important part of nonprofit web design. Without it, you’ll overcrowd your pages, distract visitors, and drive away prospective donors. It provides visual breathing space for their eyes, resulting in a more positive user experience.
Even though white space does have its benefits, you’ll need to strike the perfect balance between page elements and the space between them.
Amongst an uncertain economy and with limited staff, your team may be hesitant to take on a website redesign project. However, some of the most impactful changes are also some of the easiest to implement. Learning what goes into an effective nonprofit website plays a key role in the online giving experience and can be the defining factor in whether you successfully solicit donations.
Remember to start with a straightforward donation form before moving on to additional content and design elements. Choosing the right website builder and fundraising tools will drive your efforts and streamline the backend processes. That way, you can focus on developing impactful content that connects with your audience and makes a lasting impression.