“I looked at the nonprofit’s web page and couldn’t figure out why the nonprofit existed. It took four clicks to find the nonprofit’s donation page that did not work.”
A nonprofit’s website can sometimes make or break the organization. It is the starting point for many to understand the nonprofit’s true nature and ways to communicate.
The landing page is the most important. It should describe the mission of the nonprofit, either through quoting it or describing it through keywords, symbols or pictures. It should be clear what the nonprofit is all about and why the nonprofit has a cause that is worthy of consideration by donors and volunteers.
Donor-friendly features of the site should include clickable and readable financial information to confirm trust in the nonprofit. Download-ready annual reports can feature such information through graphs and charts. IRS Form 990s and 501(c)(3) documents may be boring, but they should hover near the annual reports. A place to make online donations should be one click from the landing page.
Participant- and volunteer-friendly features should include summaries of events such as run/walks, dinners and shows. Participants should have ways to pay for the events, and volunteers should be able to sign up to help. Including volunteer testimonials for each event can increase personal connections.
Those connections also can be enhanced by having the nonprofit’s employees describe their roles, update their activities and connect with people. For example, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, texts, blogs and email alerts have helped nonprofits connect with donors, customers, staff and volunteers to receive anytime/anywhere access to information from nonprofits at much lower costs than the 1980s.
Optimize searches by using key terms in title tags, URLs and throughout the website.
Educate yourself. The Council of Nonprofits, a national organization, and the Idaho Nonprofit Center can link you to educational programs that show how to create such pages. Courses on webpage development are available in local colleges and universities.
Obtain direct help to create pages. Interns from institutions of higher education can be found by contacting the schools’ information-technology departments or internship coordinator(s). Pro-bono volunteers can be found through local organizations, any of the social media, or requests through the website.
Gundars Kaupins is a professor of management in the College of Business and Economics at Boise State University. firstname.lastname@example.org