Have you taken a good look at your nonprofit website recently? If you haven’t conducted an overhaul of your website in the last few years, it might start to look outdated and not reflect your nonprofit’s current brand.
Refreshing your website allows your nonprofit to generate excitement and online engagement for your cause. This is especially important if you’re preparing for a major campaign where you’ll need to recruit online support, like a Giving Tuesday initiative or crowdfunding campaign.
In this post, we’re going to look at steps for revitalizing your nonprofit’s website to ensure it remains a powerful marketing tool for your organization. Many of these tips come from Kanopi’s comprehensive guide to making a website that lasts. We’ll specifically look at these top strategies:
- Revisit your strategy.
- Conduct regular maintenance.
- Make giving simple and user-friendly.
- Test, test, and test again!
Online giving and mobile giving continue to be some of the most popular ways to donate thanks to their convenience. Is your nonprofit equipped to improve the online donating experience? Dive in to find out!
1. Revisit your strategy.
Every website refresh should start with a strategy review. Identify your current website strategy and assess whether it’s still meeting your organization’s marketing needs.
Specifically, review the aspects of your strategy that affect your audience and your nonprofit’s goals. This includes taking steps to:
- Refresh your user personas and journeys. Reassess your audience to determine whether your target market has changed. For example, you might have expanded your audience in recent years to reach new demographics. Take a closer look at your website to see if your user journeys or pathways still align with your core audience’s interests and needs. If not, it could be time to rewrite your user journeys to better appeal to your donors, volunteers, and other stakeholders.
- Reassess your SWOT analysis. What are your nonprofit’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats when it comes to your website strategy? Your strengths and weaknesses involve what you do well and where there is room for improvement in your web strategy. For example, you might excel at incorporating user-generated content into your website’s blog posts and videos but struggle with conversion rates for your volunteer registration pages. Opportunities and threats are the external factors that allow your nonprofit to grow or put your strategies at risk. These might include new grant opportunities or cybersecurity threats that arise.
- Analyze similar organizations’ strategies. In addition to reviewing your nonprofit’s current website, it can be helpful to look at similar organizations to see their website strategy. Browse roundups of the best nonprofit websites to get a sense of how these organizations tackle web design, user experience and engagement, and online fundraising. Note the features that you like about each website, and start brainstorming how you can incorporate them into your organization’s site.
Using what you learn from this assessment process, develop a new strategy for your website moving forward. Your new approach should take into account how you’re going to improve the user experience, offer streamlined user journeys, and better present your online fundraising campaigns and other engagement opportunities.
2. Conduct regular maintenance.
The next step in revitalizing your nonprofit website is establishing procedures for ongoing maintenance. Implementing frequent incremental updates will allow you to avoid lengthy, disruptive, or expensive overhauls in the future.
As you set these maintenance policies, include guidelines for the following types of updates:
- Content audit and refresh. How will you keep your nonprofit’s blog updated with recent news articles, interviews, data reports, and event recaps? Create a content schedule and empower your marketing team to keep your blog and social media feeds updated. Remove outdated content and make sure links are redirected as needed.
- Security refreshes. Keep donor and other visitor data secure with frequent security updates. Implement security patches as soon as they’re available through your content management system (CMS).
- Performance optimization. Use a performance testing tool like Google PageSpeed Insights or Lighthouse to test your website’s page loading speeds and identify areas that could be improved. For example, you may have opportunities to compress and optimize images or clean up your code.
- Audience data. Your audience research and website strategy are dependent on having clean and accurate audience data. Conduct regular data hygiene processes to keep your donor database clean. This involves regularly auditing your database, removing duplicate, inaccurate, or outdated data, and setting guidelines for better data storage procedures.
Assign staff members to take responsibility for each aspect of your ongoing maintenance procedures or determine whether you should work with a web design professional who can manage these activities. Schedule regular accountability check-ins to ensure everyone is on the same page about how they can support your website maintenance strategy.
3. Make giving simple and user-friendly.
One of your nonprofit website’s most essential functions is acting as your online fundraising hub to collect donations. Your online giving page should be as user-friendly and accessible as possible to make online donations a breeze.
Your donation page should be:
- Inclusive. Your giving form’s fields should be inclusive of a variety of names, honorifics, and contact information. This ensures that users won’t face roadblocks or slowdowns when filling out the form.
- Accessible. Your form should also be inclusive of donors with disabilities and impairments, whether permanent or temporary. Donately’s donation page optimization guide outlines accessibility guidelines such as using high-contrast foreground and background colors, labeling form fields with text outside of the answer box, and adding alternative text to images.
- Mobile-friendly. Your online donation page should be just as easy to fill out on a mobile phone as it is on a desktop or laptop. Make your giving page mobile-friendly by ensuring the form is responsive to mobile screens and that all text and buttons are large enough to be read or tapped on a mobile device.
Providing a simple online donation process makes supporters more likely to engage with your website’s giving opportunities.
4. Test, test, and test again!
Test if your upgrades are effectively engaging your audience or if you need to make adjustments to improve the user experience.
Incorporate the following types of testing into your ongoing maintenance processes:
- Automated and manual accessibility testing. Automated accessibility assessments can catch accessibility issues on your website. Tools like WAVE, Axe, and the tota11y plugin are highly rated options. Be sure to also assess your site’s accessibility manually to catch any issues that automated tools miss. Zoom in to 200% on your screen and browse the site that way, or try navigating your site with just a keyboard to recreate the experience of assistive technologies.
- User experience testing. UserTesting and HotJar are two examples of user-experience assessment tools that can help you understand how visitors interact with your site. UserTesting helps web developers collect first-hand user feedback, while HotJar allows you to analyze website heatmaps to assess the most engaging page elements.
- SEO assessments. Optimizing your website for search engines can help increase visibility for your nonprofit’s mission. You can assess your SEO performance by using a screening tool like Screaming Frog’s SEO Spider. This resource crawls your website like a search engine would to identify errors such as broken links, assess metadata, and review other on-page elements that impact your SEO results.
Continuous testing lets you critically evaluate your website from the user’s perspective to ensure that you can keep meeting your audience’s needs. You can respond to changes in audience behaviors quickly and implement new strategies with urgency to maintain a high-quality user experience.
Adopting a continuous improvement approach is the best way to ensure your nonprofit’s website stays useful and relevant over time. For a helping hand through the strategy, design, and testing processes, reach out to a nonprofit web consultant. These professionals can assess your current strategies from an unbiased perspective and make recommendations using their experience and expertise.
Whether you work with a web design professional or go it alone, keep these tips in mind to make your website a sustainable resource that serves your mission for years to come.