Contact Mazarine: (503) 673-FUND (3863)

7 July 2015

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3
 July 7, 2015
 3

Are you not getting enough donations or volunteers signing up through your website?

Are you worried your nonprofit website could be better?

How can you make a better website?

When you look at your nonprofit website, ask yourself, what’s the number one action you want people to take? Then, what’s the second action you want them to take?

For most of us, the number one action we want people to take is to give us a donation.

But wait a minute. What comes BEFORE a donation? Volunteering?

Well, how do they know that you’ll be fun to volunteer with?

Maybe they have to get to know you first. How do they get to know you?

Well, you start by communicating with them. That means you want them to give you their email address, so you can start being consistent and sharing your nonprofit triumphs and challenges.

So, one of the first things you should want to get from people who visit your nonprofit website is their email address.

Then donate or volunteer.

So with these goals in mind, how can you tell if your nonprofit website stinks?

1. Your donate button is on the right hand side of the homepage

I see this often and it’s so preventable. Why would you not have your donate button on the right hand side? Because according to the google heatmap, that is not where people are looking to take action.

googleheatmap1

They are used to ads being on the top right hand side of the screen, or the center right hand side, or the bottom, and so they don’t look for the button there. They may be clicking around your website, frustrated, trying to figure out a way to donate, and when you put the button in a hard to find place, you make it much harder to give you donations.

2.  You haven’t tested your website for accessibility- aka- how it sounds to a blind person-site maps, and more.

If your average donor is a woman over 50, and her eyesight is getting worse, then having a fully accessible website will absolutely help you get more donations.

What does a fully accessible website look like?

It has a sitemap. People should be able to find anywhere on your site by going to the sitemap.

It has been tested for how it sounds. What if someone is surfing your website using speech software, converting your text to speech? If they are, what words are they hearing first? Are they able to navigate it easily? This is something you can test.

3. Your enewsletter signup is hard to find, and has no compelling reason to sign up

I’ve searched and searched for nonprofits that are offering something compelling in exchange for signing up for their email list, and I’ve yet to find a nonprofit that offers something unique and interesting- even the big ones! Most nonprofits just say “sign up for alerts” if they say anything at all. Hey everybody, we can do better than this. Have your email signup on the top lefthand side of the home page because that is where people are looking.

4. You have lots of dropdown menus

Ok, why would you not want dropdown menus? Because dropdown menus can be confusing for many of your supporters. They also are difficult to see in a mobile view. Now that so many people are browsing through their phones, the slightest flick of a finger can send them off down a rabbit hole on your website. A frustrated visitor to your website is pretty likely to never come back.

5. You have no mobile version of your website (aka your website doesn’t shrink or expand depending on the device people are looking at it in)

This is so important. People are checking their email in their phones. They’re surfing the internet on their phones, iPads and other devices. Your nonprofit website should look good in every context, otherwise people are going to be frustrated and just simply navigate away from your website instead of giving you a donation, or signing up to volunteer. And you don’t want that.

6. You don’t have a donate button, you just tell people to contact you if they want to donate.

Sigh! Please, create a donate button. Whether it’s for Network for Good, GreaterGiving, Crowdrise or Paypal, creating a donate button can be the simplest easiest thing you can do to start helping your supporters actually become donors when they visit your website.

Also, on your donate page, please make it clear which link is for a monthly donation, and which link is for a one-time donation.

Any other tips for bad nonprofit websites?

Please leave a comment!

3 responses on “5 Warning Signs Your Nonprofit Website Stinks

  1. Great post Mazarine! I can’t tell you how many times I find nonprofits making these easily fixable mistakes. Folks, listen up! Heed everything Mazarine says here.

    My biggest pet peeve is donate buttons no one can find. They must be BIG and BOLD and in a CONTRASTING COLOR from everything else on your site. So many times nonprofits have said to me proudly “And our donate button ties in nicely with our branding and website design.” That’s not the point! It’s not supposed to blend in; it’s supposed to STAND OUT!

    And this holds true for your email sign up list too. Give folks a really good reason to sign up. Just “Get our e-news won’t cut it.” People get too much email. What else can you give them that may be something useful to them? Think hard about this one. You’ve definitely got something to offer!

    • Sharon Evans says:

      We need a standalone website and are we ready!
      Will be putting the hints to good use!
      I appreciate both of you!

    • 4w3s0mE says:

      So glad you liked my post Claire! Seriously, nonprofits can move their donate buttons to the center of the google heatmap, and it will help people figure out how to give, faster. I helped a nonprofit do an online campaign in April 2015 and we moved their donation thermometer and donate button to the center of the page, and despite having no previous online fundraising experience, we raised $66,000. 🙂 It really works!