10 Steps to a More Effective Nonprofit Website: Part 3

Here are tips 5, 6 and 7 in our series of posts on effective nonprofit websites. I hope you have enjoyed the other posts. Check out Part One and Part Two if you missed them!

Let’s get right into the next three best practices for effective nonprofit websites.

5) Ensure Ease in Navigation

“User-centric web design has become a standard approach for successful and web design. After all, if users can’t use a feature, it might as well not exist.” – Vitaly Friedman, “10 Principles of Effective Web Design”, www.smashingmagazine.com

  • Provide multiple interaction paths – not everyone accesses information the same way, make sure key content is accessible multiple ways – navigation, search, calls to action, etc.
  • Test yourself: Access your own site different ways, see how easy it is to find key content and adjust accordingly.
  • Does it take two-click or less for key tasks? (hint: effective nonprofit websites follow the two-or-less rule) If not, revise your structure. You can’t have 2 clicks to everything, but you can prioritize and make sure key tasks and content are the easiest to get to.

6) Include Clear, Bold Calls to Action

“Assuming that you’ve written a brilliantly persuasive page, it’s still next to worthless without a strong call to action…” – Brad Shorr “Five Copywriting Errors That Can Ruin a Company’s Website”


  • Remove all obstacles to action – if someone clicks “donate now”, they should not be taken to another landing page with all of the ways they can give. Effective nonprofit websites take people directly to the donation form where they can give that gift!
  • Provide a tangible to an intangible (eg. Please give $10 today Please give 10 meals to your community today)
  • Calls to action should be clear and compelling
  • Never say “click here”
  • Say “become a habitat volunteer today”

7) Showcase Your Stewardship

img2.jpg60% of donors visit a nonprofit’s website before making a gift. They want to know what impact they’ll actually make. Great web design shows them!

  • Show the impact of the support visually through stats or infographics (see my last post for more on infographics, my new obsession)
  • Be transparent – share your annual report and show how much of the support goes to the cause.
  • Say “Thank you” – seems simple, but it’s often forgotten. Your website is a great place to say it publically.

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This article was originally published at http://www.netwitsthinktank.com/web-design-and-branding/effective-nonprofit-website.htm and is reprinted with permission.

Kelley Jarrett
Market Manager
Guide Creative
After graduating from Clemson University, Kelley began her career as an advertising and branding strategic account manager at various advertising agencies in Atlanta, GA, where she helped both for-profit and nonprofit organizations realize their branding goals through web strategy, marketing and advertising. 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. Kelley speaks annually at Blackbaud's Conference for Non Profits, and has presented at various nonprofit trade conferences on the topics of web strategy and design. She also travels the country during the year providing Internet thought leadership and best practice seminars on Blackbaud's and Guide Creative's behalf.