1. Understand the purpose of your site

Sure, you want to build awareness, share information, and educate the public about your organization and your cause.  I get it.  That’s what every organization wants. 

But let’s be honest.  The purpose of your site is to RAISE MONEY!  So many organizations miss the mark on this.  They miss the mark by hiding the mechanisms by which people can make a gift to their organizations. 

Make it easy for people to support you.  Make the giving opportunity prominent on your homepage.  In fact, provide multiple paths for donor conversion on your homepage.  Provide ample opportunity for people to engage and give as soon as they land on your site. 

2. Compelling content is key to the conversion process

What’s the last boring book you remember reading?  Yeah, I can’t recall one either.  And that’s probably because you got a chapter or two in and tossed it aside, never to pick it up again.

Don’t let your site fall victim to this process!  Your goal should be to keep visitors engaged as long as possible – and to keep them coming back on a regular basis.  The only way to accomplish these two goals is to provide compelling and fresh content on a regular basis.  This includes video, research, d0nor and client stories, etc.  Make it relevant, make it interesting, and make it readily available.

3. Your Homepage isn’t a community message board

You no doubt have many stakeholders interested in your website.  From Development to Marketing, Programs, your Board, etc.  However, you need to avoid the tendency to clutter your homepage with information and content from each stakeholder group.  Doing this will just confuse site visitors and reduce your online conversion opportunities.

And this leads me to my next point . . .

4. Remember, It’s NOT ABOUT YOU!

Yup, I’m sure this will come as a surprise to some . . . but it is SO not about you!  It is about what you do, and how your donors enable you to continue doing it.  If you focus on that reality and design your site to deliver on that expectation, you’ll enrich the online visitor experience and convert more visitors to donors.

5. Make it easy to take action in support of your cause

Bottom line is, don’t make me hunt for ways to support you.  Give me three or four options to help on each page of your site.  Don’t hide your donation button at the very bottom of your site.  Make it easy for me to find.  Give me at least two options above the fold on your homepage too. 

And remember, not everyone who arrives at your site is ready to make a cash contribution.  But they are probably ready to support you in other ways.  Give them options to sign up for your e-newsletter, sign an online petition, share your content on social media sites, etc.

The easier you make it for people to interact with your organization, share your message and support your work, the more they will do all three.

Take National Wildlife Federation, for example.  They’ve done a great job offering engagement opportunities on their homepage.  This is a smart approach, and I’d recommend your organization follow their lead.


6.    Your social media presence must be authentic

Remember, social media is not a mechanism for distributing press releases.  You don’t control the timing or the message.  Social media is a platform for conversation between you and those who care about your cause.

Your supporters have immense power in the social sphere, and if you want to be successful in social media, you’ve got to give up control.  But if you’re authentic in what you share, how you respond to the community, and how you engage people, you can be successful.

Here are 10 reasons to AVOID social media, courtesy of Ben Stroup.  I’m not suggesting you necessarily should avoid social media.  But Ben does make some compelling points on the subject.  It’s worth checking out.