There are quite a few best practices for nonprofits to follow when optimizing their websites for donations. We’ve summarized 10 of our top tips based on our experience working with 50+ nonprofits. Read below for inspiration, or watch the video with the full 20 tips here!

1. Grab people’s attention with a powerful mission statement 

Most people lose interest within the first 10 seconds of looking at a web page. Create a powerful mission statement that summarizes your organization’s Why. Your mission statement should be front in center, no more than a sentence of text, and viewable without needing the user to scroll.

2. Use high-quality compelling photography

Your nonprofit’s website should use recent, high resolution, and professional photographs. Stock photos are good, but original photos are more likely to make users connect with your work. Don’t be afraid to use an iPhone to take photos in the field. If you don’t have a moral obligation to protect the privacy of the people you’re helping, users like photos of people.

3. Create a mobile-optimized website

Most users will access your website from a smartphone. It’s important that your mobile website is aesthetically pleasing and loads quickly. On a mobile website, you have less space to show users what’s important about your organization. Make sure every bit of this space is being utilized with concise copy and design.

4. Place ‘Donate’ button at the top right corner

You should make it easy for users to donate. Place the donate button in the top right corner of your website, where it will receive the highest eye traffic. Choose one of your brightest brand colors to make the button stand out.  More here on the psychology and a/b test results for various button colors.

5. Donate button should “follow” the user as they navigate the site

Users should be able to hit the donate button anywhere on the website. Create sticky navigation that follows users throughout their entire journey. Something as simple as going back to the homepage to find your donate button can deter donors. 

6. Optimize for grants, the mission should match your application

Grantors, foundations, corporations, and corporate social responsibility groups will be viewing your website. It’s important that the messaging on your website matches any current or future grant applications. If the messaging differs they might find your application disingenuous and not push the grant forward. Avoid this by using the same language online and offline.

7. Stop the clutter – make your design clear and concise

A lot of nonprofits make the mistake of trying to describe every single thing that they do on their website. Too much information can cause confusion. And if your user becomes confused they’re more likely to leave your website and not become a donor. Keep your website clean to ensure your users have a positive experience.

8. Promote a newsletter to then promote more donations

Most of the people coming to your website for the first time aren’t going to donate on the first touch. Create an email newsletter to nurture relationships and encourage donations. If you don’t have the bandwidth to create a newsletter, you can still start creating an email database. That way when you do have the resources, you’ll already have an email list to start with.

9. Decrease the number of fields on your donation form

We all want more information about our donors, but asking noncritical information can cause users to leave before completing their donation. If you want additional information, prompt those questions after their donation has gone through. 

10. Nurture like an eCommerce brand

Nonprofits can learn a lot from other industries, particularly consumer brands. Consumer brands put a huge emphasis on fostering relationships with their customers and squeezing every possible dollar out of the conversion funnel. There are a few emails you should try that eCommerce companies use frequently:

  • Abandoned Cart – If a user started to donate but left before submitting, email them! Tell them why you need their money and what you’ll do with it.
  • Welcome – If you get a new email address from an event, newsletter sign up, or donation, welcome them to your organization via a triggered email. Tell them what you do, and how to engage when they are ready.
  • Back from the Dead Campaign – Do you have emails in your database who haven’t donated or engaged with your organization in a while? Send a campaign with a specific offer or opportunity that might engage them.  And personalize it by making it known that you see they haven’t engaged in a while. People will more likely than not feel some guilt and take that action you want them to do.

Watch our webinar for all twenty tips to supercharge nonprofit donations where we dive into optimizing donation forms, building advocacy programs, and more ways to increase your nonprofit donations.