"The Web is a world of first impressions, and quick ones at that. Users form an opinion of a website within the first few seconds of loading it." Jason Gross, "The Role of Design in The Kingdom of Content, www.smashingmagazine.com
Makes sense, right? On to the next two nonprofit website best practices …
Best Practice #3: Share Your Mission
60% of all donors check out your nonprofits website before donating so you should tell them why they should give and what impact it will make…quickly before they change their mind. Share your mission clearly, succinctly and make it actionable!
EX: Helping People. Saving Gorillas. Not just a tagline. Not just a mission. Rich links to compelling content that shares with site visitors what the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund is about, how they help and who they serve.
Best Practice #4: Use Compelling Imagery
"Regardless of what your content actually says, the design around it controls what the users see first and how their eyes move across the sections of the page." Jason Gross, "The Role of Design in the Kingdom of Content, www.smashingmagazine.com.
Compelling imagery can comes in many forms, but is an essential part of creating effective nonprofit websites:
- Infographics are my personal favorite. They allow you to VISUALLY show all types of content - from stewardship to impact to mission fulfillment to campaign progress – clearly and succinctly. They are attractive and engaging, which are two key elements to successful imagery on any website. Charity Water does an excellent job using icons and infographics to tell their story. Not just on their homepage, but throughout their site, check them out.
- Engage with eye contact. Photography that uses eye contact will allow you to make a personal connection with your user. You're a nonprofit, you know that personal connections, trust and emotional engagement are keys to fulfilling your mission! For example, which would better share the amazing impact Habitat for Humanity has on the community – an image of 5 volunteers building a Habitat Home with their backs to the camera? Or the eyes of the man for whom the house was built?
- Share real stories of impact. Sharing stories of how others are affected by your work, your outreach and your mission will build credibility and encourage empathy.
In 2003, Kelley joined Blackbaud to specialize in the online needs, strategies and goals of nonprofit organizations. She has served as an Account Manager, Solutions Consultant and Internet Principal Consultant, providing strategy and expertise to nonprofits around marketing, design and website best practices. Most recently, Kelley returned to her agency roots to help build and launch Blackbaud's new creative design agency, Guide Creative, a full service design agency serving nonprofits exclusively in branding, strategy, web design and online marketing, analysis and success measurement.
This article was orginially published at http://www.netwitsthinktank.com/web-design-and-branding/effective-nonprofit-websites.htm and is reprinted with permission.