Making It Know

Launching an Effective Nonprofit Website

Creating a strong online presence is an important step in setting up a nonprofit organization for success. While nonprofits and for-profit business ventures share the goal of converting website visitors into donors or customers, the paths to achieving these goals are ultimately different. For nonprofit websites, education about the cause at hand and website functionalities that enable visitors to show support are key to bringing a mission to life online.

Before building your site, consider which functionalities are absolutely critical to conveying and achieving your organization’s mission, and align with other stakeholders to ensure no details are being overlooked. Once you have a consolidated list of required site features, you can start building out your online presence.

From prioritizing education to expanding your reach and centering your mission, here are four key considerations as you take the next steps to create a nonprofit website.

Explain your mission

In its simplest form, your website should clearly explain your goals. What your nonprofit is focused on, who it supports, and how it measures success are all critical points of information for your homepage. Make sure your mission statement is prominently displayed when new visitors land on your site, and that the path to learn more is laid out for users through a call-to-action (CTA) button or an “About” section in your site navigation. This way, no matter where a visitor enters your site, they’ll be able to deepen their understanding of your work.

The more clearly you convey your mission, the more motivated a new visitor may be to donate time or money to your organization. Make support and participation simple by creating a Donation Block, which allows donors to make donations directly on your website. You can also integrate Squarespace Scheduling to enable easy sign-ups for volunteer opportunities.

Design with emotional impact in mind

In addition to education about your mission, your nonprofit website design should elicit an emotional investment in your cause. Use compelling imagery — from photographs to detailed infographics — to build a connection between your audience and your mission, and leverage copy to bring your message home. You can outsource design and site development by connecting with an independent Squarespace Expert through the Squarespace Marketplace. Experts are vetted for their quality of work, skills, years of experience with the Squarespace platform, and client-first approach.

By creating an emotional impact through your nonprofit’s website design, you’ll make your work memorable for new and returning visitors, and encourage them to donate, volunteer, and share your cause online.

Leverage search engine optimization (SEO)

Expand your nonprofit’s reach beyond your local community by improving your ranking on search engine result pages (SERPs). Employing an SEO strategy is particularly beneficial for nonprofits, because you can grow your audience without impacting your budget. Squarespace sites are automatically optimized for SEO, and you can consult the Squarespace SEO checklist to make sure you’re utilizing every tool and opportunity to boost your site’s reach ahead of launch, including adding image and site descriptions.

Once your site is live, consider publishing rich, educational blog content to elevate your rankings and encourage regular visitors. You can track your performance over time with Analytics and make data-driven decisions and adjustments to your site strategy.

Segment your audiences

In building out your site, consider creating separate pages for donors, new visitors, board members, and press. With Squarespace Member Areas, you can create free or paid gated sections on your site for each audience. Tailoring pages for the needs of each group will ensure a positive user experience and improve the utility of your website. 

When you segment your audiences with Member Areas, you can also leverage tools like Email Campaigns to deepen your relationships. For example, after you launch your site, you can build your memberships and conduct targeted outreach that drives to each audience page. You might email recurring donors with a quick update on fundraising needs and drive them to your donations page, whereas outreach to prospects might drive to a page that includes the option for donation alongside more information about your work. No matter your audience, make sure you frontload important information in your emails, so that your message is immediately clear for recipients.

No matter your mission, bring it to life online with an award-winning Squarespace template.

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