Did you know that most donors check out your website before they make a gift??
And if your website doesn’t make a good first impression, you’ll lose the donor and the gift faster than you can say ‘goodbye online donation.’
Your website doesn’t have to be fancy. In fact, the simpler, the better. It just needs to look professional, clean, and inviting. If it looks out-of-date, hard to read, or uninteresting, people will click away, which is the worst thing that can happen.
I’ve looked at a lot of nonprofit websites. Many look as though they were thrown together at the last minute or were done in response to someone saying “We need a website”. Some are design nightmares – hard to read with too many fonts and too much text on each page. Others haven’t been updated in years. Others contain way too much text. Remember that people are very impatient online – don’t make them work hard to find the information they want on your site.
Be sure that your website has all the information that someone might need to make the decision to give. Here are some questions you should ask about your site to see if it is helping your fundraising efforts.
1. Does your web site represent you well? Does it tell a compelling, moving story (i.e., photos of people helped by your organization)?
2. When someone visits your site, can they find what they want easily?
3. What’s the call to action on your site? What do you want visitors to do?
4. Does it convey legitimacy and credibility? Does your visitor get the sense that you’re a real organization and that you’ve taken the time to create a good site?
5. Is there evidence of your nonprofit status? Do you post the names of your board members, i.e., members of the community who stand behind your organization?
6. Do you offer people the ability to give online safely (through encryption technology)?
7. Are you offering people the ability to have a dialog with you? Is there some sort of interaction, such as a survey or a place to post comments? Is there an email address they can use to contact you? Donors want the ability to communicate with you online.
8. Do you have a physical address and phone number prominently displayed?
9. Does your web site share how past donations have been used? (This is where you can share your good news, terrific stories of what you’ve done with your funding.
10. Are you telling visitors how they can volunteer? (You certainly don’t want to give the impression that you don’t want volunteers! But this topic is sometimes completely missing from a web site.)
It can take a little time and effort to create a strong website that represents your nonprofit well, but the investment is well worth it!
Once prospects see your clean, clear, welcoming site, they may just decide to stick around and make a donation.