3 Strategies to create an effective nonprofit homepage
Your nonprofit’s digital presence makes a huge difference in how well you’re able to engage supporters. This is where an effective nonprofit homepage becomes especially important; it’s not only the first landing page supporters see. It also solidifies their first impression of your organization and influences whether they’re interested in further exploring and supporting your cause.
If you’re new to web design and development, creating a homepage that accurately reflects your nonprofit’s mission and values can feel difficult. However, with the right strategies, you can create an attractive homepage that inspires site visitors to continue interacting with your content and engaging with your organization.
Whether you’re revamping your homepage or building it from scratch, consider the following three strategies to help you make it a compelling, informative, and memorable introduction to your supporters.
1. Highlight your nonprofit’s identity
Your nonprofit has a unique identity that differentiates it from other organizations in the space. To make a positive first impression for visitors who land on your website, seek to introduce your nonprofit by highlighting its mission-driven work and tangible impacts in the community.
If you’re wondering where to get started, consider showcasing content on your homepage that highlights the following elements:
- Mission. Your homepage should seek to quickly answer the following questions for your visitors: What type of world are you trying to create and why does it matter? As such, consider showcasing your mission statement as a sub-headline on your nonprofit’s homepage, appearing just after your nonprofit’s tagline or name, to immediately grab your audience’s attention.
- Values. Be sure to incorporate your nonprofit’s guiding principles and why these values are important to your cause on your homepage. For instance, a nonprofit focused on equality in the workforce likely values diversity, equality, and inclusion of the communities it serves. Think about how you can communicate these ideals to your prospective and current supporters in a values list, statement, or in conjunction with your issue areas.
- Issue areas. Once you’ve helped visitors understand the why behind your work, it’s time to present how your nonprofit translates your mission and values into action by answering: What problems, causes, and needs are you working to actively address? Who does your nonprofit serve and how are you actively working to solve the challenges they face?
Be sure to concisely articulate your issue or program areas in a prominent section of your homepage, so existing and prospective supporters can further understand your nonprofit’s purpose and how you are working to advance it.
- Impact stories. Next, you will want to tackle illustrating how your organization positively impacts its beneficiaries. By illustrating data-driven outcomes and real-world, human stories of the individuals your nonprofit has helped, supporters can better see the tangible connection between your nonprofit’s work and its direct result in your community.
To help further establish your nonprofit as a trustworthy, credible organization worthy of donors’ support, consider including video testimonials, images of your nonprofit in action driving impacts, and a Candid Seal of Transparency to this section of your homepage.
- Ways to get involved. Don’t forget to prominently feature how your homepage’s visitors can become a part of the solution. Ask yourself: What roles can supporters play in advancing your nonprofit’s mission? From there, be sure to provide supporters with clear next steps they can take to get more involved with your organization, such as donating, volunteering, or registering for your next event, with bold call-to-action buttons, embedded website forms, or intuitive hyperlinks.
As you decide the type of content to feature on your homepage, determine the most common reasons people visit your website and aim to build your homepage to fit those needs. As a next step, you can also expand on any of these elements in a separate webpage on your site.
If your nonprofit has yet to create a homepage, don’t let that deter you from establishing yourself online. Remember, you can always leverage Candid’s nonprofit profile to tell the story of your organization.
2. Create a simple design
Research suggests that a website’s homepage has 50 milliseconds (0.05 seconds) to convince visitors to stay on your homepage. While it’s important to captivate your audience as soon as they land on your homepage, you also don’t want to inundate them with too much information or on-page elements.
To strike the right balance, think about how you can prioritize showcasing your most compelling content at the top of your homepage. Additionally, it’s also beneficial to employ a straightforward and simple design that reflects and reinforces your existing nonprofit brand. That way, your nonprofit can effectively and consistently tell its story, as well as pique supporters’ interest without inadvertently overwhelming or confusing them in the process.
According to Morweb’s web design best practices, branding your nonprofit’s homepage can help your organization stand out from the crowd online. For example, it’s always a good idea to maintain a consistent font, color scheme, and tone of voice across your homepage, any additional website pages, and marketing materials to paint a memorable and familiar picture of your nonprofit among supporters.
Another tip for success: People retain 80% of what they see, so thinking visually is an easy way to get ahead. As such, consider how you may be able to feature a compelling explainer video and/or high-impact visuals to communicate your mission-driven work and create a lasting impression in the minds of your homepage’s visitors.
3. Provide an intuitive experience
Now that you’ve grabbed your audience’s attention with your nonprofit’s homepage content and design, encourage your supporters to explore your website further by visiting additional pages. To optimize the visitor experience navigating your website, keep the following best practices in mind:
- Develop a navigation menu. Take advantage of the space in your header and footer of your homepage to help your visitors to easily navigate to other relevant pages and resources. Many nonprofit websites position a drop down menu at the top of their header, which features hyperlinks to other key sections of their websites, like “Our Programs” or “About Us” pages.
- Offer a call-to-action. Ensure your visitors can always take advantage of the opportunity to get involved with your organization by including call-to-actions, like a “Donate now” button, not only on your homepage but also across all other appropriate pages of your site. This makes it simple for supporters to take action to support your cause, regardless of the page they visit.
- Be mobile-friendly. Recent research suggests that nearly one-third of people make donations on their mobile devices. If maximizing your ability to drive donations online is top of mind, it may be worthwhile to invest in ensuring your website experience is intuitive for visitors on both desktop and mobile devices.
- Prioritize accessibility. Accessibility is the practice of putting inclusivity at the forefront of your digital strategy so everyone can engage with your content. To stay up to date with accessibility standards, seek to regularly review the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, which were developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to provide a framework for enhancing the user-experience across all digital pages and content. Following WCAG’s best practices can also help your organization’s website rank more competitively on search engines, allowing you to boost visibility all while creating an inclusive online experience.
With a strong homepage, your nonprofit will be in great shape to boost its online visibility, draw in donors and volunteers, and sustain their support for the long run. Take your time to create a homepage that not only accurately reflects your nonprofit but also grabs at your audience’s attention.
From there, you’ll also be in a perfect position to create even visitor-friendly content across your entire website to keep visitors engaged and eager to help advance your mission forward.