Top 5 Tips to Advocate for a New Nonprofit Website

Pitch a professional website that will drive revenue and bring clients and patients to your front door.

For many business owners, creating and maintaining a website may be a low priority when you are already wearing so many hats. However, a website that not only looks good, but is also user-friendly, fresh and highly searchable can help you attract more clients, patients and members, as well as drive revenue and donations to your organization.

When you’re ready to revamp your website or build one for the first time, here are five tips to help you advocate for a redesign with your leadership team or board of directors.

1. Explain how poor site navigation makes your organization inaccessible.

A confusing website design is one of the fastest ways to lose a client or patient. If your website visitors can’t easily find information they came for or get frustrated by faulty functions and 404 errors, it’s safe to say they won’t want to come back. When pitching a website redesign to your leadership team, walk them through the sore spots in your website’s navigation and explain how quickly they can distract users from reaching their end goal (like a donation) on your website.

Following UX (user experience) design principles like intelligent navigation and good functionality can boost your website’s accessibility and help users find your donate button or service pages faster. Some hard and fast tips for intelligent navigation include: using appropriate titles for each tab on your navigation bar; making your calls to action direct; and placing your most relevant content, including resources and services, in a highly visible location. You should also make sure that none of your links are broken or lead to the wrong pages. You can find our complete guide on UX best practices here.

2. Show them exactly how out of date your website is.

Blog posts circa 2010 and headshots that look like they came from your high school yearbook will stick out like a sore thumb on your website. If your web pages are collecting virtual cobwebs, your audience won’t take your business seriously. During your next team meeting, identify any outdated language, resources or images on your website. Let them know that a modern website with regularly updated content is imperative to both maintaining credibility and keeping your revenue rolling in.

In some cases, a content refresh may not be enough to modernize your website. Best practice is to redesign your website every three years; if you’re approaching the five-year, 10-year or (yikes) 15-year mark, it’s time for a complete makeover. This is especially true if your organization has recently gone through any major changes. Telltale signs of an outdated website include information that no longer reflects the services you offer and logos or design elements that are as old as the internet. 

3. Help them understand that clunky pay processes are revenue eaters.

If your organization relies on donations and fundraising events to properly serve your clients, members or patients, you can’t afford to have untrustworthy forms or pay processes on your website. It’s important to note to your team that a prospective donor or event-goer can quickly have a change of heart if your form submission processes aren’t seamless. 

To avoid losing money over frustrated donors, every payment form on your website should be easy to follow and free from errors (this includes copy errors – nothing says “untrustworthy” like a string of brow-raising spelling and grammar mistakes). As you review your forms and pay processes, make sure they provide clear instructions for submitting contact and payment information. You should also have text that explains where the money is going and that it is a secure process so that donors feel safe about entering their card details. Lastly, double and triple-check any buttons, links or other form elements to ensure they work properly.

4. Point out how substandard design turns users away.

An attractive website is much more likely to retain visitors than one that is cluttered, outdated or just plain ugly. Level with your leadership team: They wouldn’t want to tour top donors through a dusty office with multiple trip hazards, right? Your website should be viewed the same way. Don’t let your members, patients, donors or other stakeholders walk into your virtual front door and see a mess of abandoned web pages and poor design choices, because (spoiler alert!) they won’t want to stick around. To keep visitors from clicking off your website, make sure to address any design blunders that could impede different kinds of users, such as:

  • Colors that are too loud or tough to see for users with color blindness
  • Copy that is difficult to read or isn’t following ADA best practices
  • Design that doesn’t take into account aging users who may struggle with eyesight or navigation

Not only should your design be pleasing to the eye and accessible, but it should also be adherent to your brand image. Does your website incorporate your brand colors and fonts? Does it use graphic elements and photography that make sense to your organization? All these things are important to consider when pitching a website redesign to your team.

5. Stress the importance of search engine optimization (SEO).

Everything we’ve mentioned about building a good website loses its significance if no one can find your website in the first place. Optimizing your website for search engines is one of the best things you can do to increase your business’ visibility and expand your audience. To help you put it simply to your team: A website that doesn’t leverage SEO practices will lose traffic faster than you can say “search engine optimization.”

A good place to start is SEO keywords. These are search terms people use to find the content they are looking for when surfing the web. If your website content uses keywords users are commonly typing into their search bar, it is more likely to pop up on the first page of their search results. Getting into the mindset of your audience is one way to determine what words they might use to find your services or resources. You can also use keyword research platforms to see which words and phrases are getting the most search hits. Once you find relevant keywords, try incorporating them into your URLs, meta descriptions or new content to increase your website traffic.

Examples of Good Website Design 

At Yakkety Yak, we’re no stranger to a good website redesign. Check out some of the website work we’re proud to have done for our clients.

The American Migraine Foundation

Due to a shift in focus, our longtime client, The American Migraine Foundation, started to outgrow their old website. Our website redesign helped them bring migraine advocacy and patient education to the forefront of their brand and made it easier for visitors to find the resources they need. Some key changes we made include:

  • Revamping the navigation bar to include more relevant tabs and content menus
  • Adding tags and filters for more searchable resource and patient guide libraries
  • Organizing articles under major topic pages for faster access to popular categories

An open tab showing AMF’s new Migraine 101 menu and revamped navigation bar.

The Cradle

As one of Chicago’s oldest adoption agencies, The Cradle wanted to make sure their website wasn’t frozen in time with outdated design. We helped them achieve a more modern look by creating custom animated line drawings and using clean, minimalistic design elements throughout their website.

The Cradle’s new, modernized homepage.

We also improved The Cradle’s website navigation and user experience by building mega menus for their services, resources and donation information. This ensures that prospective donors can easily find ways to support The Cradle helps expectant parents or adoptive families to find the information they need right away.

Is your website in need of a refresh, but you’re not sure where to start? Yakkety Yak’s web experts can help you achieve the website makeover of your dreams. Contact us today!

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