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How to Build a Nonprofit Website: Best Nonprofit Websites & Features to Include

Building a website for your nonprofit organization might seem simple, but there are many features to include. Learn how to design the best nonprofit website for your org.

Nonprofit websites are a great way for organizations to raise awareness and create a community of people who all care about the same cause. The best nonprofit websites get lots of traffic, which can lead to more donations and support from your audience. So, what should a nonprofit website include if you want to create the best website?

There are several elements that some of the best nonprofit websites have in common. Learning how to build a nonprofit website is different than building a regular website. Instead of addressing a single group, you have to address two groups with your nonprofit website — the people who are buying your product or donating to your company, and the people who those donations or purchases are helping.

While there are a lot of differences between for-profit and nonprofit websites, there are some shared best practices. Just like a for-profit website, it’s important to take the time to plan out all the details of your nonprofit website, including your branding and marketing plans. Many nonprofit website best practices are also effective when you’re building a standard website.

If you want to succeed at nonprofit marketing, you need to understand how to build a nonprofit website that meets 501c3 website requirements. In this guide, we’ll talk about how to build a nonprofit website and what all the best nonprofit websites have in common.

Why is it important for nonprofits to have a website?

Nonprofit organizations aren’t necessarily designed to make sales and turn a profit, so what’s the benefit of having a website for your nonprofit?

Regardless of the cause you’re supporting, raising awareness is always important. Making people aware of a problem is the first step to solving it, especially if solving that problem requires a lot of resources. A nonprofit website gives you an opportunity to talk about your cause and let people know how they can support it, which are both keys to raising money for nonprofits.

Building a nonprofit website also changes the way potential donors view your organization. If you’re willing to invest time and money in building a website, that shows people that you’re committed to your cause and that you’re willing to spend your own money to help. The best nonprofit websites also give you the opportunity to tell people a little more about your organization and cause, which can help donors make a decision between various nonprofit organizations they may be considering.

With all the tools that allow you to create a free website and build an online presence, every nonprofit organization should have a website.

What should a nonprofit website include?

One thing to keep in mind is that the best nonprofit websites are a little different from standard for-profit business websites. While some of the best practices are the same, there are certain things you should always include when you’re building a nonprofit website. In this section, we’ll talk about the elements that all the best nonprofit websites need to have.

Accessibility features

Accessibility features are designed to make sure everyone has access to your website, so they’re essential for nonprofit websites. Implementing accessibility features can be difficult because accessibility means so many different things to so many different people. Some people may have trouble seeing the colors on your website, while others may need a screen reader to read the text on the screen to them.

When you’re building a nonprofit website, you should always design with accessibility in mind. Poor website design can be a barrier to entry for people who are interested in donating to your website, so including accessibility features can eliminate that barrier. For users who may have vision problems, you can use a screen reader to make sure your website content is being picked up and read aloud properly. You can also include high-contrast colors to make sure people can easily spot the difference in color between varying elements on your page.

There are also accessibility tools you can use to perform a scan of your website, that way you can automatically figure out if you’ve got accessibility issues. Making your website accessible is the foundation of building a great nonprofit website.

Easy-to-use design

If you’ve spent a lot of time browsing the web, you know how much websites can differ. Some websites are very simple and intuitive to use, while others have lots of complex elements that can make it difficult to find what you’re looking for. When it comes to building the best nonprofit websites, choosing an easy-to-use design is essential.

As we mentioned previously, poor website design can discourage people from donating to your nonprofit. If your website is hard enough to navigate, people might not even be able to find your donate button or the page that explains the cause they’re donating to. If you include a page on your website, you should make it easy for users with any level of expertise to navigate to that page.

Try to keep things simple when it comes to your nonprofit website design. You might want to show people how dedicated you are to the cause, but that doesn’t mean you need to build an overly flashy website. Let your words do the talking and keep your website simple. Make sure people have access to the information they need to know, including easy access to your donation page. The easier you make it to navigate your website, the more likely people are to donate to your nonprofit.

Mobile-friendly features

There was a time when the internet was strictly reserved for computers, but that’s far from the case today.

The first thing you need to consider is the overall size and layout of your website. Mobile phones are a lot smaller, which means your website needs to be able to change based on the device that’s being used to access it. You can either create different versions of your website for different resolutions, or you can use responsive web design to make sure your website adapts to the device of the user.

Screen size is important, but you also have to remember that people don’t have a standard keyboard and mouse when using a mobile phone. Mobile phone users tap to interact with things, so you need to make sure all your links and buttons are large enough that they’re easy to tap. You should also avoid including too much clutter on the mobile (or desktop) version of your website, as mobile phones can have a hard time loading slower web pages — especially with a weak internet connection.

Donation button

Now that you’ve got the basics out of the way, it’s time to focus on one of the single most important aspects of your nonprofit website: the donation button. This is the button people click when they’re ready to make a donation to your organization.

The biggest thing to remember with your donation button is that you want it to be large and clearly visible. People who want to donate as soon as they visit your website should be able to easily do that. You can make it easy to donate by placing your donation button near the top of your website on the home page. Choosing the right colors is also important, particularly when you’re dealing with people who may have some sort of vision impairment.

You should also make sure to include your donation button on each page of your website. It doesn’t have to be especially prominent on every page, but you should at least make sure it’s there. That way, people can simply click the donate button as soon as they decide to donate, whether they’re learning more about your organization or checking out the photos or videos of the great work you’ve done.

Links to social media

Social media is an essential part of the internet today, and that’s even true for nonprofit organizations. When you’re building your nonprofit website, make sure you include links to all the social media accounts you’ve created for your organization.

You can include social media links at the top or bottom of your website, and they don’t have to be particularly intrusive. Simply using the icon of a particular social media site next to your name on that social media site is good enough. Alternatively, you can just include the icons for each site with a link to your profile for that site. As long as you make it easy to access your social media accounts, you’re good.

One of the biggest benefits of using social media to boost your nonprofit is the fact that it helps content spread. You can make a video, an infographic, or a quick text post about your organization or cause, and people can simply click a button and share it with their followers. You can also interact with people on Twitter and Instagram to let them know about your organization, your cause, and how people can help. As your social media accounts grow, your online presence will too.

Call-to-action

As silly as it might sound, sometimes people need a little nudge to inspire them to take action. In the world of web design and marketing, this nudge is known as a call-to-action. According to email marketing statistics, including a call-to-action can make a big difference in the success of your email marketing campaign. A call-to-action is a brief message that encourages somebody to take action, whether that’s learning more about your cause, donating, or following you on social media.

When you’re building your nonprofit website, make sure you’re using a call-to-action on each page. This call-to-action helps inspire people to find out more about your nonprofit and do what they can to help, and that’s a cornerstone of building a successful nonprofit. You can also use a call-to-action for the button on your website or include one in the images you use on your website.

Organizational impact statement

Impact statements are essentially written statements that tell your donors about your nonprofit, its goals, and how you achieve those goals. This is a crucial part of showing people your value as an organization and how you’re working to improve a particular problem.

The best nonprofit websites include all the information potential donors might want to know, that way people can decide which nonprofit organization they want to donate to. Your impact statement should be short and to the point — around 70 characters is a good starting point. Simply let people know what their donations allow you to do and you’re good to go.

While you don’t have a lot of room to go into detail with your organizational impact statement, it’s good to strike a balance between being somewhat vague and talking about specific initiatives you support through your nonprofit. The goal is to provide easily digestible information in a short paragraph, that way people can learn a little bit more about your nonprofit and whether they might be interested in donating.

Best nonprofit website examples

Looking at some of the best nonprofit websites is a good way to build a great website for your nonprofit. Here are some of the best nonprofit websites you can learn from when you’re building a website for your organization.

The Special Olympics

The Special Olympics are all about inclusion, and that’s the feeling you get the moment you open the Special Olympics website. A brightly colored message reads “The Revolution Is Inclusion,” and you’re immediately greeted with pictures of triumphant athletes who have participated in the Special Olympics.

Another great part about this website is the inclusion of accessibility features. Simply clicking the “Accessibility” button on the right side of the website will bring up numerous accessibility features for you to choose from, so everyone is included here.

Island Health

The Island Health website is a perfect example of building a website that’s accessible for everybody and easy to use. In terms of colors, font sizes, and other design choices, Island Health did an excellent job of making sure anyone can navigate their website. Their vision is clearly stated at the top of the website, along with a slideshow that includes links to various pages. There are also links to learn more about monkeypox, get your COVID-19 vaccine, and learn more about COVID-19 outbreaks and data.

North Shore Animal League

As a leader in the no-kill movement and one of the largest animal rescue organizations, North Shore Animal League uses its website to make things as easy as possible for each visitor. There are three large buttons at the top: “Get Involved,” “Adopt,” and “Donate.” If you scroll down a tiny bit, you’ll see the organization’s impact statement, as well as a tool to help you find a pet. This straightforward design makes it easy to find what you’re looking for, plus there’s no visual clutter on the website.

How to build a nonprofit website

Learning how to build a nonprofit website can be a bit of an experience, but you’ve got an advantage if you already know how to build a regular website. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Register a domain name
  2. Choose a web hosting provider
  3. Choose a website builder (or hire a web designer)
  4. Build and revise your website with filler content
  5. Add your impact statement, website content, donation button, and social media links
  6. Test for accessibility and add accessibility features
  7. Publish your website
  8. Use analytics to track website performance

What domain is best for a nonprofit website?

While there’s no rule that says nonprofit websites have to use a certain domain extension, the best nonprofit websites typically use a .org domain.

These domains are great for nonprofits because they’re one of the original domain extensions from more than 30 years ago, and most people recognize them as being used for nonprofits and similar organizations. While there are newer alternatives to the .org domain extension, we recommend sticking with a basic .org domain. Depending on your domain registrar and web hosting provider, you may even be eligible for a nonprofit organization discount.

How can Mailchimp help?

Building a website for your nonprofit organization might seem simple, but there are a lot of features you have to include. You want to make it as easy as possible for people to donate, and that means choosing an easy-to-use design, adding accessibility features, and making your donation button clearly visible.

If you need help building your nonprofit website and finding donors, Mailchimp can help. You can use our website builder to make your own website for free, and you can even get a .org domain through Mailchimp. And if you’re planning an email marketing campaign, Mailchimp’s automation and analytics tools can help you get the most out of your budget. Try Mailchimp today and see how we can help you build an online presence for your nonprofit organization.

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