Nonprofits serve the public good through their mission, while businesses pursue profit. However, both share a common need for an online presence to reach their target audience and raise awareness of their cause.
A nonprofit website is a great way to share your mission and impact with the world. Fortunately, building one can be easy, especially when you use a website builder to help you.
In this article, will shed light on the importance of online visibility for nonprofits that despite different missions, an effective online presence remains vital for achieving their goals, mobilizing support, and driving positive change in society.
Why a nonprofit organization needs a website
A nonprofit organization needs a website today more than ever. In a digital age where information is at our fingertips, having a strong online presence is essential for reaching a broader audience and achieving your mission. Your website is like a virtual headquarters where you can showcase your nonprofit's goals, accomplishments, and ongoing projects.
It's the place where potential supporters, donors, or volunteers will go to learn about your organization. Without a website, you risk missing out on valuable connections and resources.
With your own nonprofit website, you can provide a wealth of information to site visitors, share success stories, and make it easy for people to get involved or contribute to your cause.
10 pages every nonprofit website should have
Creating a successful nonprofit website is about more than just design—it's about functionality and serving your mission effectively. There are certain key pages that every nonprofit website should have to make a meaningful impact.
- Homepage. This is your digital welcome mat. It should offer a clear and engaging introduction to your organization's mission and work.
- About us. Visitors want to know who you are, what you do, and why you do it. A well-crafted About Us page can convey your passion and commitment to your website visitors.
- Contact us. Make it easy for supporters to get in touch. Provide multiple contact options, including a form, email, and phone number. Make sure these are working and updated from time to time.
- Testimonials. Share success stories and experiences from those your organization has helped. Authentic testimonials can build trust.
- Donate page. For many nonprofits, the donation page is the lifeblood of your organization. Clearly explain how donations are used and make the process as simple as possible.
- Blog/news. Regular updates keep your website fresh and showcase your ongoing work.
- Events or community programs. If your organization features events or community programs, list them here. Include details and registration options.
- Resources. Offer valuable content related to your cause. This could be reports, articles, or educational materials.
- FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions). Anticipate common questions and provide answers. This saves time for both your team and website visitors.
10 must-have features of a nonprofit website
The best nonprofit websites are more than just an online presence; they're a tool that serves your organization's mission and engages visitors effectively.
Here are some essential features that every nonprofit website should incorporate to ensure a positive user experience:
- Responsive design. In today's mobile world, your website must look and function well on all devices, from smartphones to desktop computers.
- Clear and intuitive navigation. Visitors should easily find what they're looking for. Clear menus, organized content, and straightforward pathways are essential to create frictionless browsing.
- Compelling visuals. Engage your audience with visually appealing elements. Use high-quality images, infographics, and videos to tell your story effectively.
- Donation functionality. Make it simple for supporters to donate. Your donation page should be easy to find, secure, and provide multiple payment options.
- Impactful content. Your website content should clearly communicate your mission, goals, and the impact of your work. Use compelling storytelling and engaging visuals to connect with visitors.
- Social media integration. Encourage sharing and engagement by integrating social media buttons and feeds.
- Contact information. Offer multiple ways for visitors to get in touch, such as a contact form, email, and phone number.
- Blog or news section. Keep your website fresh and informative with regular updates about your organization's work and achievements.
- Events calendar. If your nonprofit hosts events, a calendar with event details and registration options is crucial.
- Logo and branding. Maintain a consistent brand identity with your organization's logo, colors, and typography throughout the site.
How to create a nonprofit website
Creating a nonprofit website is an essential step in boosting your organization's online presence and mission impact. Here's a concise guide to help you get started:
1. Find a website host
Choose a reliable hosting provider to ensure your website runs smoothly. Look for features like security, speed, and scalability. When choosing a website host for your nonprofit, consider the following tips to make an informed decision:
- Assess your needs. Begin by understanding your nonprofit's specific hosting requirements. Factors like website size, expected traffic, and technical expertise will influence your choice.
- Reliability and uptime. Look for a host with a strong track record of uptime (ideally 99.9% or higher). Your website should be accessible to visitors at all times.
- Speed and performance. A fast-loading website is essential for user experience. Check if the host uses high-performance servers and offers content delivery networks (CDNs) for faster page loading.
- Scalability. Consider your nonprofit's future growth. Ensure that the hosting provider can accommodate increasing traffic and resource demands as your organization expands.
- Security features. Security is paramount. Look for hosts that provide SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificates, regular backups, malware scanning, and firewall protection to keep your website and visitor data secure.
- Support and customer service. Reliable customer support is crucial, especially if you encounter technical issues. Test the responsiveness of the hosting provider's support team via email, chat, or phone.
- User-friendly control panel. An intuitive control panel, like cPanel or Plesk, makes it easier to manage your website, domain, and hosting settings.
- Scalable pricing. Compare pricing plans and consider any hidden fees. Some hosting providers offer nonprofit discounts, so inquire about special pricing if applicable.
- Server location. Choose a server location that aligns with your target audience. If your nonprofit operates locally, go for a server located in your region for faster load times.
- Reviews and recommendations. Research online reviews and seek recommendations from other nonprofit organizations. Feedback from peers can help you make an informed choice.
- Data backup and recovery. Ensure the host offers regular backups and a clear data recovery process in case of unexpected data loss.
- Money-back guarantee. A host that offers a money-back guarantee provides added peace of mind if you're not satisfied with their service.
- Green hosting options. If environmental sustainability aligns with your nonprofit's mission, consider hosts that use eco-friendly practices or purchase renewable energy credits.
If you're seeking hosting solutions, Web.com offers a range of options to fit your needs. It has scalable hosting plans to accommodate your website's size as it grows. Enjoy 99.9% uptime, unmetered bandwidth, SSL security, and more once you subscribe to any of the plans.
2. Choose a domain name
Selecting the right domain name is crucial. It should reflect your nonprofit's mission and be easy to remember. Here are some tips to help you select a suitable domain name:
- Reflect your mission. Your domain name should align with your nonprofit's mission and activities. It should give visitors a sense of what your organization stands for or the cause you support.
- Keep it short and memorable. Shorter domain names are easier to remember and type. Aim for a concise name that's easy to spell and pronounce.
- Avoid special characters and hyphens. Stick to letters, numbers, and hyphens (if necessary). Special characters can be confusing and make your domain harder to remember.
- Use keywords wisely. Incorporate relevant keywords that describe your nonprofit or cause. This can help with search engine optimization (SEO) and make your domain more descriptive.
- Be unique. Ensure your domain name is distinct and not too similar to other organizations or popular websites. You want to avoid confusion.
- Consider domain extensions. While .org is the traditional choice for nonprofits, other domain extensions like .ngo and .charity are also available and may be more specific to your mission.
- Research trademarks. Check for trademarks to avoid legal issues. Use resources like the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) database to search for existing trademarks.
- Think long-term. Choose a domain name that will remain relevant as your nonprofit grows and evolves. Avoid trendy or dated terms.
- Check availability. Use domain registration services to see if your desired domain name is available. Be prepared with alternative names in case your first choice is taken.
- Avoid copyrighted material. Do not use copyrighted names, brands, or phrases in your domain name to prevent legal disputes.
- Consider branding. Your domain name is part of your brand identity. Ensure it's consistent with your logo, organization name, and overall branding.
- Ask for feedback. Get input from colleagues, volunteers, or supporters. They might offer valuable insights and suggestions.
- Plan for social media. Check if your domain name is available on major social media platforms. Consistency across online channels is important.
- Domain privacy. Consider domain privacy protection to shield your contact information from the public domain registration database.
- Renewal fees. Be aware of renewal costs. Domains are typically renewed annually, and prices can vary.
If you're still in a rut about coming up with a compelling domain name, you must try Web.com's AI Domain Name Generator. What you need to do is include a definition of your website and refine your results according to your desired domain name length, the words you want to include, and the domain name extension that you prefer. Once you've refined your results, then you can get an on-brand domain name for your business.
3. Pick a website design template
Choosing the right web design is crucial for making a positive first impression on your visitors. Web.com offers a range of professionally designed website templates that have been crafted with both aesthetics and functionality in mind. These templates are fully customizable, which means you can tailor the look and feel of your website to match your nonprofit organization's unique brand.
The advantage here is that you can save valuable time and effort by starting with a community website template that already incorporates best design practices. This ensures that your website will not only be visually appealing but also user-friendly, which makes it easier for your audience to navigate and engage with your content.
4. Create informative and engaging content
Content is the heart of your nonprofit website. It's where you get to share your organization's story, mission, and the impact you're making in the community. To create a compelling narrative, use a combination of visuals, storytelling techniques, and impactful language. Include high-quality images, videos, and infographics that also resonate with your audience.
Engage your visitors by providing clear and concise information about your programs, initiatives, and goals. A well-structured About Us page can introduce your team and their dedication to your nonprofit's mission. The goal is to connect emotionally with your audience, inspiring them to support your cause.
5. Launch your website
When you're confident that your website is ready for the world to see, it's time to launch. Before hitting that launch button, it's essential to conduct thorough testing. Check that all features and functionalities work correctly, such as contact forms, donation pages, and navigation menus. Test your website on various devices, such as smartphones and tablets, to ensure it's responsive and accessible to a wide range of users. A successful launch ensures that your website is a seamless and enjoyable experience for all visitors.
6. Promote your website
Building your website is just the beginning. To maximize its impact, you need to promote it effectively. Utilize social media platforms, email newsletters, and other marketing channels to spread the word about your new website. Engage with your supporters and encourage them to share your website with their networks. Further, leverage the power of online communities and partnerships with other organizations to increase visibility.
A well-executed promotion strategy will help drive traffic to your website and expand your reach within your target audience.
7. Keep your website up-to-date
A dynamic and up-to-date website is more likely to retain visitors and keep them engaged. Regularly update your site with fresh content, news, and stories about your organization's latest activities and achievements. Ensure that your News or Blog section is active and that your events calendar is current. This not only keeps your audience informed but also demonstrates your nonprofit's ongoing commitment to its mission.
An active website encourages return visits and fosters a sense of community among your supporters.
Streamline your website-making with templates today
Nonprofit websites help you achieve your goals for the community by reaching a wider audience. That's why you need community website templates to help you create your ideal nonprofit website with ease. This is entirely ideal, especially if your attention and efforts are geared toward your organization's mission and you have little to spare for creating a website.
Start your website creation today with Web.com's website templates!