Is Your Website Costing You Donations?

Frustrated laptop user

Your nonprofit does so much good work for your community. Does your website tell your mission and share your success stories of all this good work? Are you facing website issues? Your website might be costing you donations. Don’t feel embarrassed…websites are often set up, then neglected because there isn’t time to update content. At that point, your website is hurting your organization. So, what can you do to remedy that?

Are You Telling Your Why?

It’s easy to fall into the trap of telling about all the things you do, products you sell, or services you offer on your website. But are you telling WHY you do all of that? The best way to tell your why is through stories. (See Simon Sinek’s Start With Why) Readers love stories told in every day terms they understand, and that tug on their heartstrings. It’s important to tell a compelling story of why you do the work you do that retains your website visitors’ attention, increases interest, and encourages them to give to your nonprofit’s why through donations and their time.

“Non-profits would collect much more from their websites if only they’d clearly state what they are about and how they use donations. Our new usability studies revealed considerable frustration as potential donors visited sites and tried to discern various organizations’ missions and goals – which are key factors in their decisions about whether to give money.”
–Neilsen Norman Group, Donation Usability: Increasing Online Giving to Non-Profits and Charities 

Is Your Website Responsive?

No, we aren’t referring to the definitions of responsive that you find in the dictionary, such as “reacting quickly and positively” or “responding readily and with interest or enthusiasm.” We’re referring to responsive website design, which refers to a website that displays well on any device, no matter what the size, whether it’s a desktop, laptop, tablet, or mobile phone. Why is that important? Responsive websites automatically change the layout of your content to help visitors easily read, navigate, and digest all of your content without a lot of pinching and zooming on the different sizes of screens. In fact, it’s been reported that with over 8 billion mobile devices in the world, over 60% of all web traffic comes from mobile devices! When you improve the navigation and user experience on your website, visitors can find the information they need and be more willing to give of their resources.

According to thousand+, making your website mobile-responsive is one of the most effective investments you can make with your website. The statistics speak for themselves:

  • In the past year, mobile giving donations have increased by 205%
  • By incorporating responsive designs in websites, nonprofits can increase their donations by an average of 126%
  • 51% of people who visit a nonprofit’s website do so on a mobile device
  • 25% of donors complete their donations on mobile devices
  • 76% of Millennials find navigating nonmobile-friendly websites their biggest pet peeve of nonprofits

Are You Too Wordy With Your Content?

We’ve all heard the saying, “content is king” right? Does that mean we need a lot of content that’s long and in-depth, covers many pages to get the point across, and uses a lot of jargon that’s important to your staff? No. Have you also heard the sayings, “never use 20 words when ten will do” or “never use five paragraphs when two will do?” Many times nonprofits will write too much about the topics they are passionate about, with too much detail and depth. Passion is great. Wordy paragraphs and too many pages are not great. Website visitors want concise, specific content that helps them quickly understand who you are, why you do what you do, and how they can help.

Are Your Pop-Ups Just Irritating Interruptions?

Yes, we know. You want to grab your visitors’ attention. And pop-up ads have a way of doing that. But there’s a balance to be had between irritating interruptions and interesting interludes. Think about when you go into a store to shop. Do you need a salesperson in your face right as you walk in the door? Or would you like the chance to walk around, see the layout of the store, and consider what they offer? That’s how it is with your website. Give your visitors time to look around, see how valuable your content is, and then you can offer a pop-up to make your ask. 

When Is A Picture Not Worth A Thousand Words?

“A picture is worth a thousand words” means that a complex idea can be shown more effectively with just a single picture, rather than a wordy description. We agree - images of your events, the causes you represent, and your volunteers that serve can be really powerful tools to tell your story. Unless they are grainy, blurry, and low-quality photos. Then scratch everything we just said. UGH. How can you compel any emotional responses that way? Make sure your visuals on your website enhance the story you’re trying to tell. High-quality images will go a long way when you’re trying to get visitors to convert on your calls to action.

Do They Really Need To Sign Over The Deed To Their House?

We understand - online forms sometimes need to gather detailed information. But when you just want to encourage website visitors to sign up for your newsletter or make a donation, you really don’t need them to fill out so much information that it makes them nervous. We know, you wouldn’t really ask for them to sign over the deed to their house, but if you require so many fields to be completed that the form requires scrolling in order to finish, you’re probably asking for way too much information. Visitors will just leave if you start asking for too much. So, if you want them to sign up for an e-newsletter, ask for their name and email address. If you want to ask for a donation, see if your payment processor just needs the card number and expiration date. A good experience will bring visitors back to your website. A bad experience could cause them to never return.

Maybe Your Website Is Just Ugly?

You don’t want your nonprofit to look bad, do you? If a majority of people find out about your nonprofit by first going to your website, what impression are they getting? Does it look like you’re not putting effort into it? Frankly, an ugly website design and layout makes your nonprofit look bad. Have you ever sat down and gone through your website like a visitor would? How many clicks does it take to get from one piece of information to the next? How easy is it to make a donation to your organization? If it’s a struggle, think about the people that are ready to donate but have given up and left your website because the process was too hard (i.e. ugly user experience). Here are some additional reasons why people just leave your ugly website:

  • You force them to create an account
  • It took too long for them to just checkout
  • They didn’t trust your site with their credit card information
  • Your website had errors, or maybe even crashed
  • Their credit card was declined
  • The brand looked different from one location’s site to another

“Fixing a process with even minor usability problems might increase donations by 10%. For a non-profit with a $10M budget and an average share of online donations, such minor tweaks could mean an extra $100,000 per year.”
–Neilsen Norman Group, Donation Usability: Increasing Online Giving to Non-Profits and Charities

Does Your Website = Expense or Investment?

As a website design and development organization, we consider your website to be an investment into your nonprofit. Put on your ROI glasses and look through those lenses – what are you losing when you ignore old website content, don’t design a mobile-friendly website, offer up a hard-to-navigate experience, or emphasize quantity over quality of images and helpful resources?

Pulling It All Together

It’s probably very important to you that your community, members, volunteers, and donors interact with your website in multiple ways. With 20+ years in the website design industry, we specialize in websites and digital solutions for nonprofits. And our products are custom-tailored to meet the unique needs of each organization. Check out our offerings, and then let’s chat about how we can help you!