The Goldie Company

Do non-profit organizations really know what donors are looking for on their website?

Friday July 16, 2010

Over the last few years, time and time again, I find myself asking my clients to reconsider the information that is displayed on their websites. I have realized that all it takes is one click on your website for a potential donor to decide if they actually want to give to your organization. Times are changing and with the accessibility of the Internet, so is the fundrasing industry. Prospective donors no longer have to directly get in contact with the non-profit organizations to decide if they want to make a donation or not. All they have to do is visit their website.

Recently, I came across an article in the Advancing Philanthropy publication, written by Gail Perry, which both highlights and supports my belief regarding the importance of my client’s websites. The Internet allows potential donors to have all the information they need at their fingertips; therefore, it is very important for all non-profit organizations to ask themselves the following questions.

  1. Does your website represent you well? Does it tell a compelling, moving story (i.e., photos of people helped by your organization)?
  2. When visitors come to your site, can they easily find out what they want? The navigation needs to be intuitive and easy for anyone.
  3. What’s the call to action on your site? What do you want your visitors to do? Too many sites beat around the bush and do not come right out and ask for involvement and funds. Be sure your site has a clear call to action that captures your readers’ attention.
  4. Does your site convey legitimacy and credibility? Do you post information on your website that proves your non-profit status? Do you post the names of your board members – the members of your community who stand behind your organization? Does it say who is accountable for this organization?
  5. Is the donation process easy to walk through? Some studies show that most donors who visit the donation page of a site never complete the process because it is to0 cumbersome. Be sure you make it really easy to give.
  6. Is there also a way to download a form that donors can mail in or fax to you if they do not want to contribute online?
  7. Are you offering people the ability to have a dialog with you? Is there some sort of interaction, such as a survey or a place to post comments? Donors want the ability to comment, to discuss and to participate with you.
  8. Do you have a physical address and phone number prominently displayed for easy access?
  9. Does your website share how past donations have been used? This is where you can share your good news, terrific stories of what you have done with your funding and information about your organization’s impact in the world.
  10. Are you telling visitors how they can volunteer? You certainly do not want to give the impression that you do not want volunteers! However, this topic is sometimes completely missing from a website. (Perry, 2010, 33)