Pointers for Building a Non-profit or Advocacy-based Website

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So you have a passion for a specific and worthwhile cause, have organized a team to join your mission, and have the necessary documents and permits. Unfortunately, nowadays, knowledge and passion are not enough; you need to have effective marketing tools to set your non-profit up for success.

If you’re dedicating your life to this advocacy or non-profit organization, you need to make sure that you’re marketing it the best way possible. Your research, ideas, and solutions—no matter how good they are—will be useless if no one hears about them. Here are some tips and pointers for building a successful non-profit website.

Your mission must be front and center.

Once a potential supporter lands on your website, the first thing they must see is what your mission is all about right from the jump. If your mission is all about education, make sure you have pictures of students on the first page. How about animal welfare? Use pictures of cute bunnies or puppies on the banner. Be crystal clear on the headlines and copy you use as well. Your visitors must know what your cause is all about from the moment they enter your website.

Incorporate rules of brand identity and visual storytelling.

Your non-profit may not be a business, but it will benefit from being marketed like one. People need to instantly recognize your logo the moment they see it, in the same way that non-profit logos like Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity are iconic now. Make sure that the photos you use are paired with compelling captions to tug at the heartstrings of potential donors and supporters. When backed by research, data, and statistics, there’s no reason why more people wouldn’t support the mission.

Be smart about your content.

Content is king, as everyone in marketing will tell you. You can use articles, video testimonials, and even maps to show where your beneficiaries are. The first step is getting supporters to check out your page; the next step is to make sure they stay. Let them know more about why your mission is worth supporting through the contents you put out.

Be politically and socially correct.

Be ethical in all of your actions, whether online and in real life. Before posting photos or names of beneficiaries, make sure you have their consent to do so. As much as possible, refrain from posting the photos and information of minors, especially if you’re working with abuse victims.

At the same time, photos of you helping marginalized communities can turn exploitative real quick. In your effort to get the word out, make sure you’re not committing poverty porn or enforcing the white savior complex.

Make sure the “give” and “volunteer” pages are easy to find.

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Your donors might be turned off of giving if your website is impossible to navigate. Fundraising is most likely at the core of your non-profit organization, so make sure that your website is donor-friendly and that they’re able to find the “give” button wherever they are on the website. Make the login process easy as well—this will help make things more convenient for them if they want to give more regularly.

Another factor you need to remember is making the website volunteer-friendly. Make sure that your potential volunteers also find the sign-up page pretty quickly and that there aren’t too many obstacles for them to put their name out there. Don’t forget to ensure that your website works for all kinds of devices, as well.

Make security a priority.

Here are some reasons why security is of utmost importance for advocacy and non-profit websites:

  • If you’re receiving a lot of funds from donors, you have a responsibility to care for their hard-earned money and ensure that it will go to the purpose for which the funds were sent.
  • If you have wealthy and well-known supporters, you want to protect their privacy and information as much as possible.
  • If your advocacy or mission involves taking a certain amount of money from the rich and powerful, you might have some targets on your backs. Ensure that your digital world is secure and protected by hiring a team of professionals who can ensure that your networks are hack-free; they can conduct tests like network penetration and systematic probing to ensure no external risks to your networks.

Link your social media accounts.

And lastly, don’t forget to link all of your social media accounts to your main websites so that the visitors and donors can stay connected with you through all of your channels.

Having an excellent and well-functioning website is crucial to the success of your non-profit. It may be extra work, but your beneficiaries deserve nothing less.

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