Most charities find it difficult to innovate in the digital age and with attitudes to donating changing, it is essential that the charity website keeps up to ensure survival.
Most charities find it difficult to innovate in the digital age.
For those charities that are younger and smaller, this may feel like an impossible task.
Whilst the original formula of in-person fundraising hasn’t disappeared, the last 18 months have seen a monumental shift in focus.
From having a physical presence on the high street to driving online donations through digital fundraising.
Committing to any project and devoting the necessary financial investment is always a carefully considered activity for any charity.
However, with attitudes to donating changing significantly in the last few years, charities must keep up to ensure they’re still around in the years to come.
This all starts with making sure that your website is set up to add value, by providing a true representation of your charity and the work you do, whilst providing a platform that enables online donation at ease.
We will now look into some areas that you can focus on to improve your charity website.
Many charities take advantage of open source website technologies, like WordPress.
This is typically down to the fact that they’re free to download and easy to use, with no coding experience required.
Most platforms come with the ability to use a predefined template that will enable your charity to make slight customizations to bring your design in keeping with your brand.
However, many templates are over-engineered and often provide too much functionality, which may impede website performance.
A bespoke website design that is tailored to your charity, will help to better represent your personality, brand, and unique messages that will provide a distinctive and memorable website experience.
It’s important to highlight that there is a fine balance between a visually impressive design and one that is so complicated that it confuses the visitor.
You want it to look beautiful and unique, but simple enough for visitors to flow and move through the experience with ease.
Adhering to your brand guidelines ensures a seamless website experience for the visitor as they transition through the various marketing channels, whether online or offline.
Many website visitors will be looking to find out more about your charity’s aims, values, and objectives, as well as learning about where their donation will be going.
By providing an honest representation of what your charity is all about, you will significantly enhance your credibility, encouraging visitors to donate.
Whilst repeat donors have such an important role to play in recurring charity income, the majority of online donations are made by first-time donors who will not have donated before.
It is therefore so important that your website is able to communicate your story.
All websites should be easy to navigate, but it is doubly important when talking about charity websites.
The user journey needs to be informative and engaging, yet simple and easy so that the visitor can donate with ease.
Unfortunately, this is where most charity websites fail.
Too much emphasis is placed on the creative concept, or the user journey is confused as to what the next step or call to action is.
If the last step in your journey is to encourage a donation then that step needs to be the simplest one there is.
If you’re directing the visitor off to a third-party website or payment integration, then you must ensure the experience is reliable and quick, otherwise, that donation may be given to another charity.
The content that is shared on your website needs to be emotive and informative, with knowledge shared to your audience to encourage visitors to take action.
Most of your website visitors will enter your website through your homepage, so this page should be dedicated to showcasing what your charity stands for with visual content that reinforces your mission.
Clear signposting should be visible on the homepage through to pages that educate visitors on your current fundraising campaigns, as well as past initiatives and what the charity has helped achieve.
Visual content is essential on a charity website, whether it’s large emotive photography of those involved in the charity or video content from the latest fundraising campaign.
Visual content is faster and easier for the brain to process, which helps to capture the visitor’s attention quicker than copy.
Charity newsletters and blog subscriptions are fantastic at keeping your audience engaged and updated with what is happening with your charity.
If the last year or so has taught us anything, it is that those who are able to adapt will succeed.
Whilst some of the larger charities have robust marketing teams who are able to implement modern website experiences, most of the sector doesn’t have access to this knowledge or resource base.
The key to the success of your charity website lies in its ability to capture the visitor’s attention by telling your story and providing a simple and easy-to-navigate experience that encourages donation at ease.
Utilizing open-source website technologies like WordPress will allow you to make changes to your website without the need for any coding experience and whilst maintaining your website does take time and effort, and sometimes external specialists, by positioning your website to drive online donations, your efforts will certainly be rewarded.