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Non-profit Website Development Best Practices

Posted on 20th April 2010 by Timothy Spell
By Admin |April 20th, 2010

The best practice for developing a nonprofit website runs on similar lines as for building any other website. However, since the objectives and operations of a nonprofit vary considerably than a typical corporate, it is necessary to include special features and even highlight some to get the right attention that helps fulfill the ultimate goal of gathering support and donations.

Therefore, while common non profit website practices include user-friendliness and easily navigable, a best non profit website needs to highlight the mission of the nonprofit in a clear and easily understandable manner. It should also be taken care of that the website is not too flashy and does not bombard the reader with information. Therefore, the key to making the website attractive lies in its simplicity. Essential information presented in an inviting and non-cluttered manner can help attract targeted donors and volunteers. Stated herein are non profit website best practices that should be considered while developing a website for a nonprofit.


1. Ensure that the purpose of your nonprofit is presented outright – Do not assume that your visitors will already know about the organization. The entire objective of creating a website will be lost if the information is not easily accessible or comprehensible. A simple design that highlights the mission and objectives of your organization is the only way you can capture and retain the interest of the visitor. A quick tagline that sums up what your nonprofit is all about with a link to know more is an effective way to guide readers to the information that will help them make a decision. Simplicity is a critical rule of thumb for the best nonprofit website design.


2. Ensure the design accentuates the content – In their rush to make the site interesting and engaging, a few companies end up cluttering the site with too much content, videos and an elaborate design. While including videos and a catchy design do make the site appealing, they take away focus from the content which is a mistake. A best non profit website is one wherein the design highlights the text and not the other way around. Evaluate how much multi-media content will be used and whether placing it upfront or in a separate gallery would be better. Just like with #1 a simplicity drives the best nonprofit website design.


3. Ensure yours is a donor friendly site – A website is no doubt a great place to solicit donations, regular and new. With its capability to reach millions across the world a website immensely increases your chances of getting new donations as well as additional donations from recurring donors. There are two rules that should be followed. First, highlight your most important asset and second, keep the process simple.

The first can be taken care of by simply placing a “donate now” button prominently or creating a banner that quantifies the collection goal. The second can be ensured by making it a single step process where only one page is used for gathering information and another for confirmation. Creating complicated log in procedures and taking multiple confirmations will only discourage users.


4. Try including a blog or news section, or better include both – This shall help achieve a number of purposes. First, it keeps your site visible. Including a blog and news section that is regularly updated, improves your visibility on search engines, thereby making it easier for people to find you. Second, it creates enough interest for people to come back. People could subscribe to your blog and generally make them feel more involved. Third, the information on your blog or new section can be quoted by other sites or blogs, which means you get extra exposure and thereby more traffic.


5. Ensure consistency – Make sure the information on your site is consistent with other promotional material like pamphlets, newsletters and brochures. You do not want to confuse people by quoting different views or objectives. The more consistency an individual will see, the more they will come to trust your organization and believe in its transparency.

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