3 Features a Non-Profit Website Can’t Live Without

August 15, 2011
3 features a non-profit site can’t live without

As Internet usage continues to increase, more potential donors are going to be searching online for donation opportunities. Not only do you want to attract new people to your cause — you also want those who have already donated to stay engaged with you, and continue to donate, volunteer, and spread the word.

While having a custom website may not be an option, here are three features that your non-profit organization’s website can’t afford not to have.

1. Donation form

This may seem like an obvious feature, but you’d be surprised at how many non-profit websites have no way for visitors to donate online. And it could be costing them money.

It’s an unfortunate side effect, but as people have become more comfortable using online payment platforms like PayPal, they have also become more impatient: they want to accomplish a given task, such as shopping or making a donation, quickly.

If visitors to your website must download a donation form, print it out, fill it in, write a check, address an envelope, and mail it, the chances of their actually doing so decreases. But if they can complete that form online, punch in their credit card information, hit the Send button and be done, they’re much more likely to do so.

Takeaway: Make it as easy as possible for your potential donors to become actual donors.

2. Blog

It’s great when an individual decides to donate or volunteer his or her time to join your cause; but it’s even better when that person keeps donating and volunteering, and shares information about you with their friends and family.

A blog is one of the simplest ways to encourage donors and volunteers to stay involved, because it creates a community in which everyone can participate:

  • A platform for your message - A blog is a fantastic way to spread information about your cause. You can post updates on your fundraising goals, news about new donors, photos of your most recent charity walk, and sending out messages of thanks to your followers.
  • Social sharing - If a blog post you write resonates with your followers, they may share it on places like their Facebook profile or their Twitter account. Their friends will see your content, possibly read it, and maybe share it with their friends. That one post can get you a lot of free publicity.
  • Increased traffic - Companies that blog get 55% more visitors than those that don’t. By creating content through a blog, you’re increasing the number of pages about your organization that the search engines can see. These pages will start appearing in search results, and because there are more of them, more people going to find you. And this starts the entire blogging cycle again.

If maintaining a blog is not feasible, consider creating a Facebook Page for your organization. You can invite your supporters to join you, and you can post updates, photos, and information about events, all in one location.

Takeaway: Create a community in which you and your audience can interact and continue to spread your message.

3. Emailing capabilities

If you’re a non-profit, it’s important that you continually keep your organization foremost in your supporters’ minds. A blog is one way to do this, but that requires that your supporters come to you — you should be able to go to them, too. One way to do this is with email.

You can use emails as blog digests (emails have links to your most recent blog posts), newsletters (emails contain updates on fundraising goals, upcoming events, volunteer opportunities, etc.), or calls to action (“Volunteer opportunity,” “Donate online today!”).

These messages can be sent directly to your supporters’ email inboxes; just keep in mind the rules of getting permission to email individuals — not following them is a federal offense.

Takeaway: Build a list of your supporters’ email addresses, and use them to communicate your message directly.

How to get started

Is your website performing at is peak, or are you letting donors slip away? What can you do to keep donors and volunteers engaged in and fighting for your cause? Sign up for Digett’s free website analysis and let us help you develop a strategy that includes donation forms, blog creation, email capabilities, and more.

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[Image: Mindful One]