[GUEST POST] 3 Ways Nonprofit Web Design Can Drive Donor Engagement

We know just how important your website is for driving online donations.

However, online fundraising is only one objective of a great nonprofit site. When you make thoughtful web design choices, you can inspire your supporters (and potential supporters) to stay on your site longer and ultimately engage with your nonprofit both online and offline in a number of ways.

At DNL OmniMedia, we’re all about strategic web design when working with our clients. In this guest post, we’ll talk through how you can use strategic nonprofit website design to do all of the following:

  1. Keep supporters updated on your efforts in real-time.
  2. Promote out-of-the-box engagement opportunities.
  3. Encourage ongoing engagement through supporter-centric content.

Let’s dive in to learn how your site’s design can play a role in your donor engagement strategy.

1. Keep supporters updated on your efforts in real-time.

Your website isn’t just a static brochure for potential supporters to learn about your nonprofit and make a donation. It’s a place where active donors come to see their dollars at work and learn about other ways to support your nonprofit.

Go the extra mile to ensure supporters are in the know with your campaigns and projects and have a plan if you need to execute an emergency fundraising initiative on your site (think: post-hurricane and post-election messaging).

Choose two to three of the most important updates or actions for your homepage and update it frequently. Site visitors won’t visit as often if they have to search for new information. Make it easy for them.

In addition, try implementing some of the following design features to make it easier for visitors to find out what your nonprofit is up to:

  • A newsletter or email campaign sign-up box on the homepage of your site.
  • Social media widgets for real-time content.
  • A frequently updated blog with relevant campaign updates and news from your community.
  • A live fundraising thermometer on your homepage or dedicated campaign page.

Your site’s capabilities will depend on your site builder, or content management system (CMS), as well as the expertise of your web design firm. When in doubt, seek out a web designer with plenty of experience working with nonprofits like yours.

Nonprofit web designers will have a better understanding of the tools you need to keep visitors engaged on your site and long after they log off.

2. Promote out-of-the-box engagement opportunities.

While the top goal of your nonprofit website will usually be to encourage visitors to make a gift using your online donation form, it’s important to offer plenty of other engagement opportunities on your site as well.

Consider using your site to promote any (or all!) of the following options:

  • A peer-to-peer fundraising page to let supporters raise money on behalf of your nonprofit.
  • A volunteer sign-up form or calendar.
  • Information on your digital advocacy efforts or a link to sign a petition or become a social ambassador.
  • A link to apply for your nonprofit’s membership program.
  • Information on upcoming programs, fundraisers, or other events.

Remember: the more ways you let supporters get involved with your organization, the more likely they are to find a way that works for them.

3. Encourage ongoing engagement through supporter-centric content.

Your donors want to feel like they are doing more than just filling the pocketbook of your organization; they want to feel like they are a vital part of the success of your organization’s mission.

Luckily, your website design can reinforce how highly you value your supporters as individuals, not piggy banks. Here are two easy ways you can do it:

  • Use “you” language rather than “we” to emphasize that your success is due to the hard work of your donors, volunteers, and members.
  • Display testimonials from beneficiaries, peer-to-peer fundraisers, major donors, or online advocates who played a role in a recent campaign. Bonus points if you include high-quality images or a video!

Don’t forget to keep your primary audience and secondary audience in mind when designing your site and creating online content.

Donors (or prospective donors) are likely your first thought, but what about other types of supporters? Make sure your site appeals to volunteers, event attendees, advocates, board members, and any other type of visitor you might have.

With a little strategy, your nonprofit website can help you accomplish a lot. We can’t wait to see how these web design tips help you engage and inspire your donors.


by Carl Diesing, Managing Director, DNL OmniMedia
Carl co-founded DNL OmniMedia in 2006 and has grown the team to accommodate clients with on-going web development projects. Together DNL OmniMedia has worked with over 100 organizations to assist them with accomplishing their online goals. As Managing Director of DNL OmniMedia, Carl works with nonprofits and their technology to foster fundraising, create awareness, cure disease, and solve social issues. Carl lives in the Hudson Valley with his wife Sarah and their two children Charlie and Evelyn.

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