How to Successfully Launch a Nonprofit Website
Nonprofit organizations either fail or succeed in their ability to build an audience and spread their messages. Launching a nonprofit website plays a significant role in enabling your nonprofit organization to achieve both objectives.
Building a site is a terrific way to spread the message about your nonprofit organization. It can be used to share updates and information, make a convincing pitch, and encourage people to take action. As long as you take the right approach, launching a website would be a stepping stone.
A healthy nonprofit website at least should have:
- A clear mission statement, telling people what the site is all about.
- Lots of information about what you do and why it’s important.
- A news or blog section, to keep visitors informed of the latest updates and achievements.
- Contact information, so people can reach you.
- Photographs and biographies of key members of your organization, staff or partners
- Eye-catching images featured throughout your website.
- Means to receive donations, if you request from the audience.
- A Call to Action (CTA) that invites people to subscribe to an email list, donate, volunteer, or do whatever your organization is most interested in
This may sound like a big deal, but launching a website that incorporates all of these features is not complicated. What you would need is the right toolkit, combined with a little patience and time.
And if you are new to the concept of running your website, don’t fret. In this post, we will share all you need to know to launch your nonprofit website. So let’s dive into it!
1. Choose a platform for your charity organization’s website
First of all, you have to choose a platform for building your website. There are many options, but they are largely divided into three categories. You can build a website by using a Content Management System (CMS) like WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, etc., sign up for a website builder, or develop a website from scratch.
Unless you already have a few talented web developers around, building a website from scratch is often expensive and time-consuming.
2. Buy a Domain Name and Hosting Plan
Setting up your non-profit website incurs some little expenses. You will have to sign up for a domain name and choose a hosting plan.
The domain name is the primary URL of your website (i.e. yournonprofitwebsite.org). When choosing a domain name, it’s best to give the site the name of your organization or use a brief, easy-to-read phrase that sums up your mission, for example, saveourgirls.org.
Also, you will have to select a top-level domain (TLD), as in .net or .com. We strongly recommend that you use .org, as online users are more likely to confide in nonprofit organizations that use this top-level domain (TLD).
3. Get a professional logo
Do it right, at first, and it will aid in branding and it will last for ages. You should also get vector and high-resolution versions that you can use for mailing and printing. It’s worth spending money on what visitors will most frequently identify with your nonprofit, apart from your name, while developing your visual identity.
Read also: How Not to Screw Up Your Logo Design
4. Build the basic pages of your website
Once the chosen theme is installed or your website is coded by your developers, you will want to spend some time customizing it. This includes putting in your images and branding, as well as adjusting the layout and style to suit your organization.
5. Consider a donation plug-in
There are plugins for all sorts of things, but one of the most useful for a non-profit website is a donation plugin. These plugins will aid you in accepting donations and running fundraising campaigns. Also, they will assist you in managing donors, including an easily accessible database, and the ability to create the tax forms that donors will need. There are many options to choose from, from DonorBox to PayPal, or a full Customer Relationship Management (CRM), like NationBuilder, BSD, Salsa, or NGP VAN.
6. Set up mass email software
You need a means of emailing the many hundreds (hopefully thousands or tens of thousands) of individuals in your network with information about your nonprofit. It’s also important to have a professional CRM built specifically for non-profit activist organizations. Something that has been built for private enterprise will not perform as well for your particular needs. Just make sure that anything you employ tracks the metrics, such as email openings, clicks, and giving/donations, for you to monitor how your emails behave over time.
7. Optimize your website for search engines
You will have to think about how people will come across your nonprofit website. This is about using SEO to help you rank your website in the search engines. What is noteworthy is that for a nonprofit site (especially for a locally-based, smaller operation), “local SEO” will probably play a major role. This entails optimizing your website so that it appears in searches of individuals who are physically close by.
8. Online Advertising
If you have the money, you could also leave some for online advertising to help propagate your new organization. Google AdWords would be a great way to help people find your nonprofit (it may also take some time for AdWords to appear at the top of organic search results, and thus AdWords can be very influential at launch), while social media advertising can rapidly build your social media audience.
Photos courtesy of gettyimages.com