Non-Profit Websites: How to use the web for a good cause

Friday April 28, 2017

“We need more volunteers.”

“We need more donations.”

“We need to retain support from existing volunteers and donors.”


These issues resonate deeply to all non-profit organisations. After all, fighting for a cause requires a strong force of support not only from interested individuals but from the communities as well. Not for profit web development is a mindset that has key considerations to be taken into account.

Aside from the traditional campaigns and events, several charity organisations today are building on their strong digital presence through non-profit websites in order to reach out to more potential volunteers and donors.

But how do a charity organisation effectively utilise its non-profit website to achieve its goals? Here are 4 ways:

Good User Experience

A successful charity organisation in the web does not only lead the right target audience to its website, it also manages to keep those audiences to stay longer within the site. Keeping online visitors longer enables the organisation to present more details about its cause, and earns better chances of converting them from a simple online visitor to a signed volunteer or donor. As such, many charity organisations focus their efforts in providing good experience in the navigation and responsiveness of their websites.

Good user experience spells out ease of movement around or back and forth the website as information are categorised well. It also require clear call-to-action button and responsiveness that enables the site to fit well to any screen of any gadget used (desktop, or mobile) by the user.

Livestrong, a support group for cancer-afflicted individuals, shows here how their website’s easy navigation both in desktop and mobile format inspires you to discover more about them:

Livestrong Desktop Version

desktop version designs

Livestrong Mobile Version

mobile version designs

Efficient Website Management System

Inarguably, there are too many things to be done and yet little time available for a non-profit organisation. As such, having a user-friendly website management system would tremendously benefit not only the organisation but its target audience as well.

Imagine the time and resources spent if a website requires tedious coding or formatting just to publish a news article or a video clip. Inevitably, this can result to delayed updates and dis-engaged members. In contrast a an efficient and user-friendly web platform that is designed and developed in such a way that advanced technical IT skill is not required in the maintenance of contents, or in the accounting of donations, or even in the sending of newsletters can save time and resources allowing the organisation to refocus those resources to other worthwhile activities. As an example, instead of manually inputting data, a website’s integrated email newsletter enables automated scheduling and sending of newsletters to existing volunteers and donors.

Easy Donation Process

A streamlined donation process is one of the keys to a successful and recurring donation. An online visitor who is ready to donate would want the donation process to be simple and fast. Therefore, donation buttons must be easy to locate regardless of where the user is on the site. Donation fields should also be streamlined to encourage the donor to finish the whole process. To avoid confusion, clear and straightforward messaging should be applied. As an example, use the word Donate instead of Contribute.

It is also important to make this easy donation process available not only to desktop users but for mobile users as well. Mobile-responsiveness of the website and the donation process is crucial as we see a steep increase in the number of mobile users who wish to donate. In fact, in one study an increase of 45% in donations made through mobile devices was seen (

Right Message

Conveying the right message to a target audience is paramount in a non-profit website. Visitors to a charity website must be able to understand what the organisation’s mission is, how they can help, and how their support can affect the intended beneficiaries of the cause. All of these in just a few seconds’ look at the website. As such, building and maintaining a non-profit website require efforts not only on the technical aspect of web design and development but also on the creation of a powerful communication plan that would effectively tell the organisation’s story. Remember, non-profit organisations do not sell any product that could attract the public. It is the story behind the organisation that compels people to join and move.

One of our favourite non-profit organisation that uses right messaging effectively is Charity:Water. Look at their official website:

Look at their official website:

Canberra Charity Websites - Examples

screenshot homepage

One of the key tools a non-profit organisation has in addressing issues on volunteerism, donations, and public awareness is its own website. Its website has the potential to make a huge difference if utilised well.


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