Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Creating an Engaging Nonprofit Website Design

A Nonprofit Organization (NPO) is a term that is synonymous with charitable or religious or social organizations. NPOs generate revenue only to use it for expansion, administration and to meet certain plans and goals. As with any other organization that operates today, NPOs also need to reach out to maximum people in order to attain their objectives. And what could be a better way to be visible across the globe than a website?

A website for an NPO can help it achieve better visibility and maximize its outreach. Google has become a dictionary word today and anyone who seeks information on any topic first takes help from a search engine. NPOs must ensure that their website features quickly on the search engines as most traffic to a website comes from the search engines. The next step is to engage the website visitors and this in turn needs development of a good nonprofit website design.

While designing a website, it is always crucial to understand the purpose of the website and to understand the mindsets of the visitors to the website. A nonprofit website serves as an information brochure for an organization. It is also a platform for advertising goals and activities of the NPO. Funds can be raised through websites. Donors as well as members and volunteers can be updated through newsletters. A good nonprofit website design must capture these various requirements and it must be able to cater to the needs of the visitors.

Visitors to a nonprofit website can be broadly classified as members, volunteers and donors. Members might refer to two entities - the existing members and people who are interested in becoming a member. A nonprofit website must clearly list the benefits that the NPO offers to its members and the expectations that an NPO has from its members. Ample information must be provided to the volunteers and forms can be used to register volunteers. A nonprofit website design must also include a separate module for donors. The donation section can contain detailed information about tax exemptions, list of previous donors and reports on the expenditure of the NPO. Most importantly, this section must enable a donor to make a donation instantly using credit card or netbanking or PayPal.

The main motive of surfing a website for most visitors is to seek detailed information. A website must prominently display its mission statement and clearly state its objectives on the front page. The content should be split and presented in various sections. The layout and color scheme of all the sections must be uniform. The color scheme of the website must not hurt the eyes of the readers but it should allow them to read comfortably for hours. Fonts should not be too small or too large. Wherever possible and required, images and videos should be embedded in the website for a better browsing experience. However, one must ensure that the webpages do not have too many large images and flash animations as this will slower the rendering of the website.

Nonprofit website design should reflect a professional touch. There are plenty of website templates available freely on the internet. A developer can pick up one of these templates and design a website around it. However, this is quite time consuming. It is a better idea to hire a team of professionals for nonprofit website design as they can deliver the product quickly and also assist in hosting the website and maintaining it.

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