Despite the rise of social media, YouTube, custom apps, and other digital outlets, your website remains the most important online face of your organization and should be the hub of your outreach efforts. Let’s review some changes that can make it even more effective:
Use Mission-centered Images
Too many organizations feature a photo of their building, a staff group photo, or other image that’s not related to their mission. When you choose photos, make sure they clearly relate to what you do and the positive outcomes of your work. This helps donors visualize being a part of that change. Association websites should use images related to the career or activity they are centered around.
Focus on the Donor or Member and the Mission
Just as your photos focus on your mission, your copy should, too. Focus on outcomes the donor can have a role in or benefits the member will enjoy as part of your association. Don’t spend a lot of time talking about the organization itself, history, etc.
Reduce the Amount of Text, and Write for Skimming
If only everything we wrote was carefully perused by attentive readers! Unfortunately, readers tend to skim online. Take advantage of this with:
● Headlines that are relatively large and written for maximum clarity
● Short sections and paragraphs
● Sentences that are short and have relatively simple structure. That doesn’t mean dumbing it down but simplifying where possible.
The more wordy a site is, the more a donor or potential member has to work in order to work with you. Keep it simple and easy to scan.
Use Video and Make It Easy to Share
An explainer video, a clip from a recent association conference, or a case study of a life changed by a charity can have significant impact. Make sure there are prominent buttons near it that allow easy sharing and populate the social media post with a message that helps visitors spread the word.
Make Calls to Action Clear and Direct
Being clear, direct, and “asking for the sale” is crucial even if you aren’t selling a product. Avoid nebulous and passive CTA’s such as “Learn More.” After all, it’s a “call to action,” not a call to education. Even a more urgent, active CTA—such as “Change the World With Us’—can fail if it’s not clear what responding to it involves.
Urge immediate action in a brief phrase: Donate Now, Join Now, Sponsor A Child, or Get A Free Info Packet.
Use Contrasting Buttons, and Plenty of Them
Speaking of CTA’s, your CTA buttons should be in a color that contrasts with the main background color of your site for maximum visibility. Research shows that red buttons have a slight advantage over other colors, but even they can get lost in the clutter on a site that uses a lot of red. Nearly any dark or bold color will do on a white background, so choose one that fits your branding and stands out well.
Place a CTA button at the upper right of your home page. Users tend to scan the page in a Z pattern, and this will put a clear call to action right in their sightline right away.
Make sure that there’s a button in each section of your home page, so that as soon as a donor or member makes the decision to “buy,” the button to do so is right there at their fingertips.
Keep Your About Page About Values and Mission
Many websites' About pages are blocks of text about the history and structure of the organization. Consider using this valuable real estate for a list of your values, in short paragraphs, with a simple icon for each. If your organization does charitable work, a series of statistics (“Sponsored children are up to 40% more likely to finish secondary education”) can be placed in a similar format or shared as an infographic.
Wondering if your nonprofit or association website can be improved? At V2, we’ve provided full service and outsourced services for national nonprofits for many years, including websites and marketing. Get in touch with us today, and let’s see how we can improve your outreach together.