3 Ways to Improve Your Nonprofit Website’s Navigation
Your nonprofit website houses plenty of important information and resources, from the story of your organization’s founding to your donation page. However, when site visitors navigate to your website, is it easy for them to find exactly what they’re looking for?
If the answer is “no,” then it’s time for you to update your website’s functionality. After all, your website’s success as a digital marketing tool depends on how user-friendly it is to your visitors, whether they’re exploring your website on desktop or mobile.
An effective navigation system also follows web accessibility guidelines so people of all abilities can engage with your content. If this sounds like a lot for your organization, don’t worry! With the right tools and strategies, you can easily upgrade your website’s navigability so supporters will feel inclined to stay on your website and check out your content.
In this article, we’ll explore these top navigation tips:
By enhancing your web audience’s experience, you’ll be more likely to inspire visitors to take the next action—whether that’s signing up for your newsletter, applying to volunteer, or even donating to push your cause forward! This all starts with an intuitive and user-friendly interface. Let’s begin.
Design an intuitive navigation menu
If you look at any of the best nonprofit websites, they all have one thing in common: a well-formatted navigation menu. A navigation menu is the bar—often located at the top of your website—that acts as a directory to your nonprofit’s most important resources, including your:
- About Us Page
- Contact Us Page
- Donation Form
Your navigation menu should be visible on any page your visitors are on, not just your homepage. This way, visitors who might land on a blog article or your donation form can easily find their way to another relevant page or resource that they’re searching for. To ensure your navigation menu meets your audience’s needs, use these strategies:
- Categorize your links: If your nonprofit’s website has multiple important pages that you want to highlight in your menu, you can develop a dropdown navigation menu, also known as a mega menu. This allows you to group similar pages under one top-level category. For example, you might create a dropdown list under the primary navigation link “About Us” that shows pages dedicated to your mission statement, values, and current projects.
- Use short menu titles: Avoid cluttering your navigation menu by using one- or two-word titles to signal what the associated page will be about. For example, “Donate Now” instead of “Donate to our wonderful cause to eradicate cancer for good” is more effective to point to your donation page and keep your navigation bar looking clean.
- Make it mobile-friendly: According to 360MatchPro’s round-up of fundraising statistics, mobile users made up 33% of online gifts last year. With more people using their phones to interact with their favorite causes, it’s critical that your navigation menu and website as a whole are mobile-optimized. As you design your navigation bar, consider how it will look on smartphones and tablets, as mobile users should be able to see the entire bar and navigation options. The right nonprofit website builder will automatically optimize your entire website for mobile.
You’ll also want to ensure your navigation bar looks cohesive with the rest of your site design. Infuse your branding elements, including your fonts and color scheme, into your navigation menu. However, don’t go overboard with the design! A minimalistic look is best for a smooth navigation experience.
Create compelling CTAs
Calls to action (CTAs) are brief phrases that point site visitors to their next action. Often shown as visually distinct buttons with hyperlinks to the relevant resource or page, CTAs are a great way to move site visitors along their journey to becoming more involved supporters. Specifically, they can help drive target actions like donating to your organization, registering for upcoming events like an auction or gala fundraiser, or signing up to volunteer at your next community event.
Here are our top recommendations for generating effective CTAs:
- Make sure the language reflects the intended next step: There’s nothing more frustrating than being taken to a resource that doesn’t match up with the language of the CTA. For example, if supporters click on a CTA that says “Learn more about our mission” and are taken to your donation page, they’d feel confused and likely bothered. Your CTA language should accurately indicate where supporters will be taken if they click on the button.
- Create a sense of urgency: Time is of the essence when it comes to meeting your nonprofit’s goals. Use active verbs and time-bound language to convince your audience that they need to complete this next step as soon as possible to make a difference. For example, CTAs like “Donate by midnight to get your donation matched!” or “Don’t miss out on our walk-a-thon—register now!” help to evoke urgency and mobilize people to act.
- Think carefully about their placement: Place your CTAs in relevant locations across your website to move site visitors along their journey. For instance, you might include a “Register Now!” CTA in your latest blog content that covers your upcoming gala or on your event landing page. You can also include bold CTAs in your navigation menu to the most critical actions supporters should take, such as donating to your nonprofit.
To create your CTAs and ensure that they stand out on the page, leverage a website builder with simple front-end editing features. This way, you can easily design buttons with high-contrast colors and eye-catching visuals that align with your branding and other graphic design assets. Best of all, no coding is required when you’re working with a user-friendly website builder, so do your research to find the best solution for your organization’s needs.
When thinking about your nonprofit website design, it’s important to reflect on the needs of all possible site visitors. This includes individuals with visual, hearing, motor, cognitive, and neurological disabilities. Not only is this a best practice, but it’s also legally enforceable under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Your website therefore needs to adhere to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, which are a series of provisions to make the web accessible to people with disabilities. To get started with prioritizing accessibility in your web design, use these key strategies:
- Add an accessibility widget: An accessibility widget allows users to adjust your content to their exact needs on their devices. This includes increasing the font size, changing colors to grayscale, highlighting links, and changing the font type to sans-serif. You can easily add an accessibility widget to your website with the right website builder.
- Enable keyboard functionality: Users with motor disabilities may only be able to use a keyboard to interact with your website. Ensure that visitors have all the same functionalities of a mouse on their keyboard when navigating your site, such as using the “tab” key to jump to different sections on a page.
- Create text alternatives: Text alternatives allow people who can’t see or interact with your visual content to understand what is being presented and how it contextually aligns with the rest of your on-page content. Create alternative text for photos and offer transcripts and closed captions for videos.
Adhering to web accessibility guidelines is a big responsibility and can be time-consuming. This is where leveraging the right technology can help. Morweb’s guide to the top nonprofit website templates recommends investing in a website builder that offers templates already optimized for accessibility. This way, you can simply plug in your content and feel confident that you’re empowering all audience members to engage with your website.
Your nonprofit website design isn’t complete without a strong navigation system. Think through your audience’s needs, and make sure their digital journey is as seamless as possible. Remember to regularly refresh your website as needed to ensure your visitors can easily take actions that support your current goals.