[GUEST POST] 5 Nonprofit Web Design Tips for Online Fundraising Success

Your nonprofit’s website is oftentimes the face of your organization.

Typically the first place a potential supporter will go to learn more about your mission, your site can educate your community, showcase the work you’re doing, and inspire visitors to contribute to your nonprofit to further your cause.

If you’re thinking of giving your nonprofit website a refresher, you’re in luck. In this article, we’ll outline 5 surefire ways to use your website to boost online fundraising success almost instantly:

  1. Work with an experienced nonprofit web design firm
  2. Integrate your website with your Customer Relationship Management
  3. Streamline your site’s design
  4. Optimize your online donation forms
  5. Include clear calls to action throughout your site

With these best practices in your back pocket, your organization will have no problem designing a site that pushes your fundraising forward.

1. Work with an experienced nonprofit web design firm.

While there are plenty of user-friendly website builders and content management systems, for best results designing a website from the ground up or making major improvements to your current site, your nonprofit will want to work with a web design firm.

A simple Google search will return countless capable web development teams and consultants, but keep in mind that you should enlist the help of a firm with plenty of experience designing nonprofit-specific sites.

A qualified nonprofit web design firm will work with you to help you drive traffic to your donation pages, secure volunteer registrations, and communicate your mission effectively.

Your website is a major part of your communications, fundraising, and supporter engagement strategies; take it seriously by seeking the guidance of professionals!

2. Integrate your website with your CRM.

For many (if not most) nonprofits, constituent relationship management software is the backbone of effective donor management.

By integrating your Customer Relationship Management with your nonprofit website, all data collected on your webforms will flow seamlessly into your database. That means no wasting time on manual data entry, no chance for human error, and no extra work on your end; everything connects automatically!

Why is this so important? Just think of all the valuable supporter information you bring in through sources such as:

  • Online donation forms
  • Event registration forms
  • Membership applications
  • Volunteer sign-ups

Make sure that your Customer Relationship Management and Content Management System or website host can work together so that you can simplify your data collection methods. Trust us: you’ll be glad you did!

3. Streamline your site’s design.

Your website should facilitate your cause, not get in the way of it. To make sure that’s the case, you should design a website that’s as user-friendly as possible.

Let’s talk through the keys to a simple (but impressive) site that promotes your mission in the most effective way:

  • Smart navigation. Place a navigation bar at the top of each page and use short and straightforward titles so that users know exactly where each link will lead them.
  • Mobile optimization. Work with a responsive layout, keep layouts vertical for easy scrolling, and always double check each page on a mobile phone or tablet (or a responsive web viewer).
  • Minimalistic design. Only include what’s truly necessary to get your point across, and when in doubt, compare your website to other nonprofit sites to make sure you haven’t gone overboard.

Remember: your nonprofit website should clearly promote your cause and lead visitors to your donation page.

If you’re including elements, text, or pages that don’t contribute to that goal, it may be time to address your site design (and see what improvements a web design consultant might suggest).

4. Optimize your online donation forms.

You can take every measure to direct visitors to your donation page and inspire them with stories of why your cause is important, but whether or not a visitor makes a gift really boils down to one thing: your online donation form.

No matter what online donation tool you use, make sure to implement the following tactics:

  • Limit the number of required fields. Making a gift shouldn’t take longer than a few minutes (max!). To keep the process efficient, only require necessary information, such as name, some form of contact information, and of course, payment details.
  • Include donation levels. Not only will having preset donation amounts on your form expedite the giving process by eliminating the guesswork; it may also inspire larger gifts from supporters!
  • Encourage recurring gifts. Many donors would love to have a long-lasting impact, but they may not know how. Adding a recurring gift option on your donation form can show them how easy it is to automate regular giving with one easy click.

A complicated online donation form will frustrate donors and, at worst, deter them from giving now or in the future. Avoid that possibility by creating forms that are simple and straightforward!

5. Include clear calls to action throughout your site.

Aside from simply communicating your organization’s purpose, your website has a number of tangible goals, from winning donations to capturing email subscriptions.

The only way to ensure that visitors understand and follow through on the appropriate next steps is to display clear calls to action (CTAs) throughout your website, such as:

  • Donate buttons
  • Email subscription boxes
  • Membership sign-up forms
  • Social media “follow” options
  • Links to your eStore
  • Volunteer calendar links

You should also create a Ways to Get Involved page that consolidates all of these resources in one organized place.

There’s no secret recipe for a successful nonprofit website, but with a few tried-and-true tactics in mind, anyone can design a stellar site that donors love to visit.

Be sure to check out these resources for more information on nonprofit web design and online fundraising:

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.


  • Thank you for providing these wonderful tips for online fund raising. Also I liked the tactics you have suggested to use for the online donation form. Can you suggest some ideas of how to encourage recurring gifts?

  • In my experience helping nonprofits, having the right tech tools is essential to increasing efficiency. Sometimes increasing fundraising margins is not about how many fundraising events you attend or administer but about having the best tools. And some tools convert better than others.

    For example, research shows that many nonprofits will raise more overall with an SMS donation program in their marketing mix than they will without one. Text-to-donate is one area that is experiencing an increase in clickthrough and conversion rates, as more and more people transition to mobile-first.

  • Well written, I would love to read your other articles.

  • Great article on web design tips! It covers a wide range of important topics, from user experience to search engine optimization, and provides actionable advice for improving the overall design of a website. Overall, a must-read for anyone looking to improve their website’s design.

  • Great article on web design tips! It covers a wide range of important topics, from user experience to search engine optimization, and provides actionable advice for improving the overall design of a website. Overall, a must-read for anyone looking to improve their website’s design.

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