As you’re approaching the end of year fundraising, you are also comparing your year-to-year performance and refining your strategy for all campaign channels. Data is everything when it comes to understanding our audiences, including when they engage with you online. Without good data, it’s difficult to understand how and why our constituents donate and how do you design a website for someone you don’t know? Your solution to a successful fundraising website is (insert drum roll here…) a user-centric design.

It’s tempting to communicate everything about your organization and want to share absolutely every wonderful story and impact you’ve made but the right way to go about design is to start with a discussion about you audiences. My job, outside of being creative, is to make sure that my clients maintain a razor sharp focus on the user while creating their content. Here is what you need to focus on when working on a fundraising website:

  1. Know your audiences: understand that each of the constituent groups may have different interests in your organization. Grouping your audiences and assigning a list of characteristics to each of the groups will help you see the behavior patterns.
    Audience Segmentation
  2. Know what hasn’t worked:  online or onsite website usability testing can provide you with a wealth of information on how your users interact with your current website and how easily they perform the tasks that you really want them to access.
  3. Plan for success:  as you are learning about your audiences, you’ll find common threads that connect the groups. Figure out your top three goals for the whole website and top three tasks that you want your users to perform on the home page that will bring you closer to your accomplishing goals.
  4. Say it right: how you communicate on your website needs to reflect your overall brand messaging, its tone and voice. Your design should reflect that and the copy must as well. When writing your web copy, keep in mind those brand guidelines you’ve put in place for your organization, as well as your knowledge of your audiences and how they communicate. Hopefully, your brand’s voice and tone has been designed to resonate with your audiences but if your organization or your audiences have changed, then it’s time to take a new approach.
  5. Show stewardship: your donors want to see where their money is going. Be transparent and show them the impact they are making. A great way to help people digest data is by designing simple infographics: a visual representation of data. For more ideas on online stewardship, read Kelley’s post “Think your website is not where donors looked to be thanked? Think again.”

Having a solid strategy before designing a website is key to your fundraising success. Take a good look at your brand and how you communicate it and align your website design with it. You want to plan for a relevant, flexible design that fits within your goals and motivates the user to take action. Happy fundraising!

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