There are few people around who benefit more from a website then charity organizations. However, it’s important to realize the rules are different for non profit web design then they are for regular design. Certain elements need a more prominent position, and this can often cause some confusion for people running a charity that try to apply standard web design techniques to their website.
If you find yourself in this position, then use the following rules to help guide your design on a path to success.
1) Make Your Cause Visible
When a person is visiting your website, there should be no doubt in their mind what you stand for and who you’re trying to help. One of the biggest failures a lot of charity websites make is allowing their message to become ambiguous, and open to interpretation.
If a visitor is unable to determine what they are supporting, then it’s simply easier to find someplace else to go. A good way to test just how visible your cause is on your website is to have a random person visit it without telling them what you stand for. Doing this will help you address any potential issues you might have missed, and a person not affiliated with your charity didn’t.
2) Make Social Media Integration A Top Priority
The rise of social media has been a great gift for charities, and the potential power it can unleash for your cause is amazing. This is why social media integration is such a big priority in non profit web design, and something that should be added in the initial design stage.
Social media provides non-profits with free communication to all their supporters, and can be used to help inform them about important issues.
So be sure to include direct links to your social media pages, as well as integrate social media commenting on your blog and forum.
3) Have Videos And Pictures Of Those Helped
A lot of the time a non-profits cause might sound good in the abstract, but building a solid emotional connection with your site visitor is the key to turning them into an active supporter. With this in mind you should always have videos, and pictures of the ways your non-profit has helped others.
Giving money to a charity is nice, but a key competent of non profit web design is showing just how much good their money is doing. Providing people with proof their contributions mean something is a great way to reach them on an emotional level.
4) Provide Links about Your Cause to Educate
No matter how noble your cause is it’s important not to assume that everyone has heard about or even know it exists. A website designed using good non profit web design principles should be able to educate a random person what an issue is, and how it affects them. So when designing your website consider including an entire section designed to answer all the questions a random person might have about your cause.
A good way to do this better is to set up an e-mail account where people can ask their questions directly, and then you provide the answers. You can then use those questions, and answers to set up a FAQ section.
5) Donate and Volunteer Links Should Be Prominently Displayed
The true lifeblood of any non-profit is the dedication of its members, and this means making supporting your non-profit as hassle free as possible. You can do this by designing an easy system for them to donate their time and money.
A PayPal account is a great way to receive online donations, and setting up a community forum to help coordinate scheduling for events are two things you can do to encourage donations. The truth is that a website crafted with specific principles in mind can become the heart of a charity, and now you know why.