Your Nonprofit Website: How to Optimize Its Performance

Despite the continued influence of social media as a marketing tool, it remains a less dominant communication channel than more established alternatives. According to the Nonprofit Marketing Guide 2012, 68 percent of nonprofits cited their website as being very important to the marketing efforts in 2012, while a further 67 percent placed the same level of value on email campaigns and newsletters. In contrast, just 31 percent of charitable organizations identified the use of social media as being critical to their promotional and marketing efforts for the coming year.

There are several reasons behind this trend, with the emergence of mobile technology among the most prominent. Given the rising popularity of tablets and the improved functionality of smartphones and other mobile devices, nonprofits must pay more attention to the design of their website and its accessibility to those who wish to browse or donate. In addition to this, the busy schedules of modern consumers and donors dictate that a nonprofit website must be quick to navigate and easily accessible to a range of visitors.

Optimizing Your Website: Embrace Mobile Technology

In terms of the former, contemporary nonprofits face a difficult decision when it comes to commissioning the design of their website. With the widespread use of mobile devices creating a pressing need for landing pages that have minimal text, engaging imagery and clearly defined icons, charities must decide whether to build a separate mobile website or implement a consistent design across all online pages. The latter is an especially appealing option for nonprofits with minimal resources, as it helps them to build a stronger online brand while saving valuable revenue.

WildAid is one nonprofit to embrace the benefits of consistent design, and its efforts have helped to create a visually impressive website that is compatible with iPad and smartphone interfaces. To achieve this, they have focused on the key requirements of a mobile website and incorporated these into its main landing page, with a clear emphasis on the strategic placement of emotive imagery and prominent icons that encourage visitors to make donations or take actions as a volunteer. The Natural Resources Defense Council has also followed a similar template, and built its entire site upon a simplistic design that supports a few distinct and actionable icons.

Clearly Define Your Websites Purpose and Content

This idea of a simplistic design is especially important when developing a nonprofit website, as it provides a framework that can showcase your organizations mission clearly and concisely. With imagery and audio visual content also often being preferred to the application of text, it is crucial that your site is structured to accommodate a range of different media types. As the leading conservation nonprofit The Nature Conservancy have displayed with their website, this ethos creates diverse website pages that offer clear insight into the type of work that is undertaken.

Another nonprofit to understand the importance of this design ethos is the American based human organization ASPCA, which again uses imagery and only concise areas of text to makes its core purpose immediately apparent. In addition to this, the website has also been crafted to be as media friendly as possible, with prominent links to the sites press room, news and blogs featured on the main navigational tool bar. So for journalists or potential donors who wish to find out more about the nonprofits mission, the site has provided accessibility to high quality and relevant information.

The Bottom Line

The importance of a website in promoting a nonprofit cause cannot be underestimated in 2012, especially given the increasing usage of smartphones and tablets to access online resources. With this and budgetary constraints in mind, it is clear to see why nonprofits strive to adopt mobile website design principles into their main landing page, and subsequently create a single consistent online brand and theme. By also creating a simplistic design and diverse content that is easily accessible, nonprofits can develop a website that reflects the fantastic work that they undertake.

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