At a first glance, web design for charities is similar to regular website design. Every time you design a website you research three components:
- your customer
- your competitors
- your brand offering/USP
Things aren’t different for charity websites. But while business might have a clear idea of each one of the three components, charities, being a mediator between those who are trying to help and those in need for help, have a larger number of customer groups to focus on. Charities also compete not on a local product vs another similar product level, but often on the level of one global issue that demands attention and another issue that is no less important – for example, climate change vs women empowerment.
However, it doesn’t mean that there is no way to create a stunning website for a charity. When you have an inspirational message, creating a great web design is only a matter of finding the right designer and knowing the quirks of web design for charities.
In this article, we’re going to give you the exact tips on how to create a WordPress website that will drive real action in the charity field.
1. Prioritise your content
Content prioritisation is a common problem for charities. This is due to the fact that charities have a lot of customers to cater to. First, there are those who want to donate. And then, there are those who volunteer and fundraise. Finally, many charities use their websites as outlets to reach people who they’re trying to help, so they also have to feature where and how help can be accessed.
Before you start web designing for a charity, make a list of your audiences and prioritize them according to their contribution to a charity. Note that contribution can take different forms and doesn’t necessarily have to be financial. Audience prioritisation is an important first step in a design, as it also allows you to distribute your marketing budget accordingly. We can’t give a more concrete advice on prioritisation, since every charity is different, but you have to understand very clearly who your audience is and what value they bring to the charity.
2. Have multiple entrance points to the website
These days the trend is to make almost every page of the website look like a homepage. It ensures consistency and keeps the visitors engaged longer. But it’s especially important for charities to remain consistent visually across all the pages. As we’ve established earlier the number of charity audiences can be overwhelming. Each audience will want to look for content directed at them specifically. So you want to keep the inspirational brand message intact on all the pages, which can only be achieved if you make the rest of the pages as visually stunning and purposeful as the homepage.
Also, make sure you give the visitors plenty of options for exploration of the content. As they browse your site, they need to see that you can cater content to their interests so every page has to have references to other pages. If the visitor doesn’t happen to be the target audience of one of your pages, they can simply navigate to another page where they can find the information relevant to them.
3. Use emotional images and language
Charities are fraught with emotions: negative and positive. And a website is where these emotions serve a single purpose – to make people care. No wonder, most charities use emotionally charged visuals and language – these are most prominent parts of design that visitors see first.
Before you embark on the image searching and copywriting journey, think about the main message you’re trying to convey. It’s true that charities are appealing at the core, but the way you communicate the message and the exact result you’re trying to achieve still play an important role. You must have a clear brand strategy and positioning in your head before you start creating a copy for your website.
4. Highlight donation options
An influx of donations is what makes a charity successful. But a lot of people, while they think they want to donate, never get to the point of making a donation. Your website should address their last doubts when it comes to donations, and also show that making a donation is extremely easy. One way to do it is to highlight donation options and make the page of a website dedicated to donations accesssible from any part of the website.
Understand that donations can’t be forced so your task is simply to direct people to the right place. No amount of sales copywriting can get people to donate unless they really care about the cause, so focus on raising awareness for the cause instead of convincing people to make a donation.
5. Limit the number of donation options
People are really bad at making choices and when presented with too many options, the easiest option is often to not choose anything. So for people to donate, you need to give them a limited number of options. For example, don’t expect visitors to determine how much they want to donate – this will likely induce panic attacks and zero donations. What you can do, is give them 3-5 donation options indicating the exact possible amounts for donations. Start from the smallest amount and go up. Having small amounts on the website will have a positive effect, as many people don’t realize that tiny donations have an impact too.
6. Showcase the impact
Another trick that many charities use is listing the impact that the donation can make. For instance, you can add a short line next to the donation amount with the information on what exactly can be achieved with the amount of money donated. Many people would only donate if they know where their money is going. Essentially, showcasing impact dispels final doubts about the donation and instills trust.
7. Be relatable
Lastly, even though many charities are mediators, they still need to show their brand personality to the site visitors. Think about it, you would not trust your money to a faceless robot who doesn’t speak any human language. People want charities to not only work towards a good cause, but also to be a great and trustworthy representative of the cause. Charities are just like any other business – we need to see real people behind the organization to believe that it exists and is active.
As enviromental and social issues become more pronounced in our society, charities are increasingly regarded as the go-to places for information and a source of hope that something can be changed for the better. Charity websites face an interesting dilemma – customers are already sold on the cause, so instead of reestablishing the importance of the cause, charity websites need to focus on driving action and creating trust. Charity websites are the last step in the customer journey that starts from acquiring awareness about the cause and ends with making a donation that leads to real impact. As the last frontier on the way to changing the world for the better, charity website design deserves special care and attention.