How to Harness the Power of Your Nonprofit Website Builder
Your nonprofit needs a powerful digital presence to stand out from the crowd. With a user-friendly and engaging website, your organization will be in a better position to deepen connections with supporters, expand your reach, and drive online fundraising. However, if you don’t already have web development or coding experience, designing a website can feel overwhelming.
This is where having the right technology comes in handy. With a nonprofit-specific content management system (CMS), or website builder, your organization won’t have to build a website from the ground up. Instead, the right website builder will streamline the entire web design process so you can build the website of your dreams—no coding required.
While investing in a CMS is an important first step, it’s equally important to understand how to leverage your website builder for web design success. In this article, we’ll walk you through the different ways your nonprofit can harness the power of your CMS. Specifically, you can leverage your CMS to:
You’ve worked tirelessly to create your nonprofit. Now, you need a beautiful website to build online visibility and take your organization to the next level. A CMS with advanced functionalities can make this a reality. Let’s begin.
Using your nonprofit-specific CMS, you can easily add in your organization’s unique branded elements. Branding is a web design best practice because it can help your organization:
- Increase brand awareness. New supporters will become more familiar with your mission, helping to build trust in your nonprofit.
- Build relationships with supporters. Your supporters will feel emotionally connected to your nonprofit and passionate about being a part of the solution.
- Create a more professional site appearance. A branded website looks more credible and authoritative, helping donors feel confident about giving to your organization.
The ideal CMS will have drag and drop (or click and edit) functionality so you can add your fonts, color scheme, and logo seamlessly into your web design. You’ll also want to add high-quality photos, videos, and graphic designs to your website to make your digital presence more visually appealing and demonstrate the tangible impact of your nonprofit’s work.
For example, on your home page, you can create an image carousel showing photos of your volunteers at work, recent projects you’ve completed in the community, or constituents your organization has directly benefited. Or, consider creating a video that features your nonprofit’s staff and volunteers discussing your nonprofit’s mission and how you’re working to achieve your goals.
Non-text elements like images and videos can also be used to break up long blocks of text and grab the user’s attention so they stay on your website longer. Ensure that your images are properly sized so your supporters can engage with your content without any issues.
Web accessibility is a growing initiative to make website content more accessible for people of all abilities. By putting inclusivity at the forefront of your digital strategy, your nonprofit will be able to reach new, diverse audiences. This will help you boost donor acquisition and improve your online fundraising efforts.
According to Morweb’s guide to nonprofit web accessibility, you should leverage your CMS to add the following user-friendly features:
- Alt text. Add brief descriptions that summarize your images so people with visual impairments can still appreciate your content. A screen reader will then read this text to the user aloud, allowing them to understand how your images fits in with the rest of your page’s content.
- Captions for audio-based content. If your nonprofit has videos or other multimedia content with audio, include captions synced with the audio. You should also provide full transcripts to increase accessibility.
- Color contrast. The foreground and background of your page should have significant color contrast. Otherwise, it will be difficult for users to read your content, which might lead them to abandon your website altogether. Ensure that your text stands out boldly to facilitate a positive reading experience.
- Accessibility widget. An accessibility widget will allow users to adjust your content to their specific needs. Integrate this tool into your website so visitors can easily change the font size and type as well as change colors to greyscale.
Another way to boost accessibility is by enabling mobile users to engage with your content. A CMS that offers instant mobile optimization will open your site up to a mobile audience, helping to build your donor base. In fact, 360MatchPro reports that mobile users made up 33% of online donation transactions last year.
Search engines also favor mobile-friendly websites, making it more likely that your nonprofit’s website will rank in the search results. This will further expand your nonprofit’s digital visibility so you can elevate your mission.
Your website will act as a hub for important donor data, including contact and billing information. To protect your site from data leaks, work with a nonprofit CMS with robust security features. This will help donors feel confident giving to your organization and preserve your reputation as a trustworthy nonprofit.
Avoid working with an open-source CMS, which means that the source code is available to the public and your private information can easily be hacked. Plus, open-source platforms rely on the user to roll out security updates, which can be time-consuming and confusing if you don’t have previous web development experience. If you forget to roll on these updates, then your nonprofit will be much more vulnerable.
Instead, work with a proprietary CMS platform. This means that the source code will be hosted by a single company, so you won’t have to worry about your data being released to the public. A proprietary CMS will also automatically update your nonprofit’s website to have the latest security enhancements.
Developing a high-quality website doesn’t have to be difficult. With the right CMS, you can tap into your organization’s vast potential to build a strong digital presence. Plus, your CMS should walk you through all of its features, while offering regular customer support, so you can leverage your website builder to meet your nonprofit’s specific needs. Good luck!