10 tips for an effective website

Where do you start? What do you consider? How to make the website work for you and your visitors? We have created a guide and suggestions for you to consider when creating or reviewing your website. Many charities have different purposes but all striving for similar results: Awareness, Increase Donations, Grow Supporters, Get More Volunteers and Communicate Your Impact.

 

1) Purpose

Consider the purpose of your website.  How and what you would like it to achieve for your charity and your charity's objectives. Consider your audience's; clients, members, supporters, trustees, advocates, volunteers and how they might want to interact with you and your charity and how to effectively fulfil their specific needs.

Knowing what you want to achieve will help you build a better website providing and creating a better user journey for your visitors.

example image for a charity asking for £5 for a malaria net with small baby.2) Clear Message

Explain what your charity organisation does, this is the most important piece of information people need to know before they make a donation.  Have images to project your missions - or quantify the donations with a visual value. I.e. £5 provides sleeping bag for the homeless, £5 will save a life. Encourage your web visitors to donate.

 

3) Clear Navigation

Make it easy for your website visitors to get around your website.  Have 5 clear menu tabs at the top of your website navigation - and include some click through areas on the home page and inside pages for Donate Button, Newsletter Sign-Up, Volunteer - have these prominent and available at any time for people to act on - don’t make people search for how to donate - make it easy as possible for all 3 key actions.  Confusing user journeys of your website will put donators off.

4) Trust and Credibility

Consider adding trust and social proof elements to your website.  Give feedback of projects, highlight case studies of how donations have benefited your charity and its missions.  Depending upon your type of charity you might want to report on quantity of projects achieve, amount of people helped/saved, amount of animals rescued and rehomed etc.. Have a running tally that’s updated and reported on.

Highlight any accreditations or working partnerships you have and include their logos.  This could also include sponsorship companies/associations.

5) Less is more

Have clear space on your pages - don’t feel you have to cram the whole page with content.  Having short but to the point content in 3 or 4 paragraphs on the page with help your readers to digest the information quickly.  Use bullet points to for quick reference to important pieces of information and to separate the text on the page.  Use images, an image is worth a 1,000 words and I we know this is an old cliche but it’s true.

6) Quality Images

image of a boy taking photos of a wooden horseHave quality images on your website - don’t allow low quality images to be used as this reflects or your charity. If budget is tight and you would like to refrain from denting your marketing spend with the hiring of a professional photographer for professional images then there are other free resource website out there.  There are websites which photographers supply images to and are free resources which allow you to use the images on CC0 license which means you can use, edit, modify and distribute them for free personally or for commercial use.

7) Donating

Make your donate button as clear as day on your website homepage and internal pages.  Make it easy for people to donate.  You might want to have separate donate values available for them to choose from (another less keystroke or button to push) but this can sometimes make the difference.  Use images to project what they are donating to and quantify what the different values mean i.e. £5 = 1 malaria net save a life, £50 = 10 nets, save 10 lives.

8) Volunteering

If you have various missions/projects active then let people know how they can get involved in each one.  It could be something as simple as giving out leaflets, or 15 hours a week to help with administration, and even to volunteering to work in a shop.

If you are organising fundraising events you might want volunteers to help on the day i.e. a fun run day - they could help with registration confirmation or man a water station.  Think of each project separately and list what resources you need.  Sometimes if you don’t ask you don’t get!

9) Forms

Ensure to have submission forms available in your website.  These can be used for various opportunities for the charity:

  • Registration for fundraising event
  • Registration for newsletter
  • Application to volunteer
  • General contact us form
  • Careers Application

With Charity Edit you can create as many forms as you wish.  The details from each form will also be stored in the system as data for you to use.

10) Design

And finally but by no means least design is one of the most important aspects of your website.  It is the first impression people will get of your charity, the services/support it provides and how professional you may seem. From that first impression people will evaluate whether or not to donate, to volunteer or get involved or whether they trust your charity and the website.  A professionally designed website will make a difference, supporting your reputation and keeping your branding consistent throughout. Make sure to connect with social medias.  Use the social medias as your tanoy to drive people to your website.

If you have found this article helpful and think somebody may be able to benefit from it then please do share it with social medias or give it a Facebook Like above.

If you would like to know more about Charity Edit or would like to discuss your website then please contact us on 0121651 1140.