Your Charity Website is Sabotaging Your Mission: 5 Ways to Improve Your Online Engagement

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Your nonprofit website is like Muppet Treasure Island.

muppet treasure island

You’ve got a quirky but star-studded cast of characters, are part of a loveable legacy, and have set sail an adventure that is a little dangerous but hugely rewarding.

Oh yeah, and there’s mutiny.

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Your website isn’t home to murderous pirates (I hope) but that doesn’t mean it isn’t sabotaging your mission.

All hope isn’t lost, and you don’t have to throw everything overboard, either. We’ve got the treasure map to building the best charity website, so steer the ship with these five ways to boost engagement with your site:

1. Be mobile-friendly

This one is first for a reason. Not only is mobile one of the biggest trends in nonprofit technology this year, but it’s now a requirement if you want to rank high in Google search results.

With so many people accessing the internet through their phones and other small-screen devices, your organization’s website needs to work no matter the dimensions. If you don’t, you’re going to have frustrated visitors, and frustrated visitors close windows without making donations.

Read our Essential Guide to Going Mobile for Nonprofits and take the plunge without walking the plank.

2. Have one call to action

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No one likes to be asked to do five things at once.

Limit yourself to a single demand on any of your site pages. Whether it’s “subscribe to our newsletter,” “sign up to volunteer,” or “make a donation,” keep the message specific and direct.

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Focus your ask and you’ll be more likely for the answer to be “yes,” instead of “wait, what do you want me to do?”

3. Make it easy to donate

Imagine it: Someone who recently heard about your charity from a friend opens your website. She is moved by your mission and all the great stories you’re sharing, so much so that she wants to contribute to the cause. Except that she can’t seem to find the page for donations, and when she does, the form is so long and finicky that she decides her donation isn’t worth the trouble.

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There’s a reason they make the treasure with a big X on the map, right? Apply that concept to your website so you can collect as much gold support as possible.

It could be a large, colorful “Donate here!” button at the top of your page (assuming there aren’t other action-items vying for attention). Or have a tab for supporters to learn how they can get involved. When it comes to someone making an online payment, have a short form with clear fields – try it out yourself to see if there are kinks in the system.

4. Post regular updates

You don’t just get a perfect website launched and sit back for margaritas at the midnight buffet.

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A good site requires frequent maintenance, both to keep it up-to-snuff in terms of changing technology – think Google’s changing algorithms for mobile – and so viewers don’t see a site that looks outdated and wonder if your vision is too.

Don’t roll out a new design every quarter, but reevaluate the site annually to see where changes should be made, whether it’s swapping out images, tweaking your “About Us” to reflect your most recent projects, or updating your team page to show off new employees.

A great way to keep your site fresh is to add a section for recent news, or keep a blog. Commit to a content calendar to be sure you post regularly, because the only thing worse than not having a news section is having a news section whose last post is from 2009.

5. Link to social media

I get annoyed when I find a really great piece of content on a site that I want to share on one of my social media channels, and then can’t find the site’s accounts to give them credit.

Don’t bury your social media information on your contact page. It’s no sweat to add icons that link to your organization’s social media channels across the website, and it’s a great way for you to get easy shout-outs and follows from those inspired by what they see.

More?

We hope this advice will help you accomplish your voyage, free from pirates or anything else in your way.

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Got any more nonprofit website tips to add? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!

Image by Abby Kahler

Looking for Nonprofit software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Nonprofit software solutions.

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About the Author

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Hannah S. Ostroff

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Hannah S. Ostroff is a writer for Capterra, a free resource that matches buyers and sellers of business software. A graduate of the College of William & Mary, she spends her free time cooking, singing, reading, and watching videos of baby animals.

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