Create Effective Nonprofit Website Using 3 Simple Suggestions | npENGAGE

Create Effective Nonprofit Websites Using 3 Simple Suggestions

By on Jun 1, 2012


GUIDE Creative by BlackbaudIt’s official; we launched our new full service creative agency for nonprofits this week – GUIDE Creative – Where we LOVE nonprofit web design!  Learn more about us at and make sure to sign up for The Great Guide Giveaway.

Now I’ll suppress my excitement about our launch for another passion – tips 5, 6 and 7 in our series of posts on effective nonprofit websites. I hope you have enjoyed the other posts. Check out Part One and Part Two if you missed them!

Let’s get right into the next three best practices for effective nonprofit websites.

Ensure Ease in Navigation

“User-centric web design has become a standard approach for successful and web design.  After all, if users can’t use a feature, it might as well not exist.” – Vitaly Friedman, “10 Principles of Effective Web Design”,

  • Provide multiple interaction paths – not everyone accesses information the same way, make sure key content is accessible multiple ways – navigation, search, calls to action, etc.
  • Test yourself:  Access your own site different ways, see how easy it is to find key content and adjust accordingly.
  • Does it take two-click or less for key tasks?  (hint: effective nonprofit websites follow the two-or-less rule) If not, revise your structure.  You can’t have 2 clicks to everything, but you can prioritize and make sure key tasks and content are the easiest to get to.

Include Clear, Bold Calls to Action

“Assuming that you’ve written a brilliantly persuasive page, it’s still next to worthless without a strong call to action…” – Brad Shorr “Five Copywriting Errors That Can Ruin a Company’s Website”

  • Remove all obstacles to action – if someone clicks “donate now”, they should not be taken to another landing page with all of the ways they can give. Effective nonprofit websites take people directly to the donation form where they can give that gift!
  • Provide a tangible to an intangible (eg. Please give $10 today Please give 10 meals to your community today)
  • Calls to action should be clear and compelling
  • Never say “click here”
  • Say “become a habitat volunteer today”

Showcase Your Stewardship

60% of donors visit a nonprofit’s website before making a gift. They want to know what impact they’ll actually make.  Great web design shows them!

  • Show the impact of the support visually through stats or infographics (see my last post for more on infographics, my new obsession)
  • Be transparent – share your annual report and show how much of the support goes to the cause.
  • Say “Thank you” – seems simple, but it’s often forgotten.  Your website is a great place to say it publically.

We’ll finish strong next week with the rest of our tips for effective nonprofit websites, so please check back.


Check out our new endeavor and sign up for The Great Guide Giveaway where you could win free web design services for your nonprofit!

Was this helpful?  Do you have more examples to share?  Please comment and share your successes!



Kelley Jarrett has built her professional career around a combined passion for creating compelling marketing strategies and helping nonprofits achieve optimal mission impact. Prior to her current role as head of marketing for Blackbaud Nonprofit Solutions, Kelley served in many service-oriented positions at Blackbaud as a solutions consultant, solutions engineer, and in customer success leadership, learning first-hand of the challenges and opportunities nonprofits face, and helping to create solutions for success. Kelley enjoys balancing her home life, living near the beach in Charleston, SC as a wife and mother to 2 independent girls, with her passion for social good, both at Blackbaud and as a Board Director of Palmetto Goodwill.

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