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5 Design Tips to Engage Donors Through Event Microsites

As your nonprofit plans an upcoming fundraising event, donor engagement is likely your top priority. You may plan event activities, entertainment, or donation methods that most appeal to your audience. But another (and equally important) area of focus should be on the content you share to promote your event.

Event microsites are small websites created for specific events, they help nonprofits run successful fundraising events by providing a dedicated, engaging online platform. They provide all the event details in one place and make it easy for people to donate, sign up to help, and share on social media.

However, to truly engage donors through your event microsite, your nonprofit must pay special attention to the site’s design. In this guide, we’ll explore actionable design tips to craft an engaging event microsite.

1. Make your branding cohesive throughout

Whether you build your microsite from scratch or use a template, infusing each page with your nonprofit’s brand is crucial to establishing trust with visitors. Consistent branding helps donors recognize your organization and feel confident in their contributions, reinforcing their connection to your mission.

Some brand elements to focus on include:

  • Logo: Place your nonprofit’s logo prominently on every page. This reinforces your identity and ensures visitors immediately recognize your organization.
  • Color scheme: Use your organization’s official colors throughout the microsite. This creates a cohesive look and feel, making the site visually aligned with your other materials.
  • Messaging and tone: Maintain a consistent voice and tone in all content. Whether it’s the language used in calls to action or the stories shared, consistency helps build a familiar and trustworthy experience for your audience.

In addition to tying the event microsite to your nonprofit, incorporating your brand is essential to telling the broader story of your fundraising efforts. This way, visitors will view your event through the lens of your nonprofit’s overall mission and understand their attendance or donation as a direct influence on your work.

2. Use clear and persuasive CTAs

Event microsites are like a “hub” for all the most important information regarding your upcoming event, such as instructions for using silent auction inventory sheets or details about various ways to give. To inspire visitors to get involved, your event microsite must include very clear calls to action that compel people to attend your event.

Here are some ways you can make your calls-to-action engaging:

  • Strategic placement: Position key elements of your brand and calls to action (CTAs) in areas where they are most likely to capture attention and drive engagement. For example, place your DONATION button at the top of the page and make it sticky, so it remains visible as users scroll.
  • Action-oriented language: Use strong, clear verbs that encourage visitors to take immediate steps toward supporting your cause. This might mean adjusting your language from “We need your help,” to phrases like “Donate Now” or “Join Our Cause.” Use headings like “Make an Impact Today” or “Sign Up to Volunteer” to motivate visitors to take concrete actions.
  • Sense of urgency: Create a sense of urgency to prompt visitors to act quickly rather than postpone their decision to contribute or participate. Include countdown timers for event registration deadlines or fundraising goals. Use urgent phrases like “Only a Few Days Left to Make a Difference” or “Help Us Reach Our Goal by Midnight.” Highlight limited-time matching gift opportunities to encourage immediate donations.

Remember to expand your requests beyond event attendance. For example, do you need to recruit and train volunteers for the event? Are you looking for corporate sponsors? Call visitors to action in various ways to reassure them that they can contribute in whatever way makes the most sense for them.

3. Offer opportunities to donate before the event

Providing a donation form on your event microsite allows visitors to give before the event, which significantly increases engagement and support. Early donations can help build momentum, demonstrating that the event is already gaining traction and encouraging others to contribute. This proactive approach also accommodates those who may want to support your cause but cannot attend the event in person.

Opportunities you might offer include:

  • Online donation form: Include an easy-to-navigate donation form on your microsite, accessible from multiple pages. Ensure it offers various payment options and suggests different donation amounts to guide donors.
  • Matching gifts information: Highlight matching gift opportunities on the microsite. Provide details about how donors can double their impact through employer match programs, including a tool to check if their employer participates.
  • Pledge forms: Allow visitors to pledge a donation amount that will be collected closer to the event date. This option can appeal to those who are not ready to donate immediately but want to commit to supporting the event.

Research the best website builders for nonprofits to find a tool that will help your nonprofit create on-site giving options and facilitate ticket and event registration. This way, you can make sure your donation form and other giving opportunities blend seamlessly with the rest of the event microsite.

4. Incorporate compelling visuals

By incorporating high-quality images, videos, and infographics, nonprofits can create a visually appealing microsite that captures donor interest, evokes emotions, and strengthens the connection to their mission, ultimately driving higher engagement and support.

Consider including the following visual elements:

  • High-quality images: High-quality images can create an emotional connection, making donors feel a part of the story. This connection can motivate them to support your cause financially. Use high-resolution photos of beneficiaries, volunteers in action, and past events.
  • Videos and interviews: Videos and interviews provide a dynamic way to convey the crucial message, making it more engaging and personal. Seeing and hearing real stories can inspire viewers to contribute and become part of the change. Share videos that include testimonials from beneficiaries, interviews with volunteers, or a message from the nonprofit’s founder.
  • Infographics and data representations: Infographics can simplify complex information, making it accessible and engaging. They can quickly communicate the nonprofit’s achievements and the ongoing need for support, encouraging donors to contribute by showing the tangible impact of their donations. Create infographics that highlight key statistics, such as the number of people helped, funds raised, and impact areas. Use colorful charts and graphs to make the data visually appealing and easy to understand.

Compelling visuals like photos, videos, and infographics can help you draw a direct connection between donor support and the impact of their donations. With this foundation established, you can explain how the event will further support your cause and urge site visitors to attend.

To do this, use photos and videos of people who have benefited from your nonprofit’s work. For example, show a family that received clean water or a child who got an education thanks to donations. These stories make the mission real and relatable, helping donors see the impact of their support. You can also display fundraising data in infographics to demonstrate your nonprofit’s needs and progress.

5. Make it SEO-friendly

According to Morweb, the best nonprofit websites make their content easy to find via search engines by prioritizing search engine optimization (SEO). SEO is the process of improving a website or online content to increase its visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs). 

The goal of SEO is to attract more organic (non-paid) traffic from search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo by making the content more relevant and authoritative for specific search queries.

There are three categories of SEO that your nonprofit should hone in on for its event microsite:

  • Technical SEO: Ensure that the website’s backend structure is optimized for search engines. This includes creating an XML sitemap, improving site navigation, and fixing broken links.
  • Keyword strategy: Identify the words and phrases that people use to search for information related to your content. Then, incorporate those keywords strategically into your event microsite’s pages.
  • Content strategy: Produce high-quality, valuable content that addresses the needs and interests of your target audience. This content should be original, informative, and regularly updated.

Over time, your nonprofit can track donor engagement with your microsite using Google Analytics. This tool can help you track click-through rates, types of traffic, and SEO-related insights to help you make sure your microsite truly engages all visitors who land on it.

By combining a well-designed microsite with strategic promotion, nonprofits can maximize their fundraising success and impact. Leveraging effective (and affordable) promotion strategies is key to driving traffic and engagement.

One valuable opportunity to increase visibility is the Google Ad Grant, which provides nonprofits with up to $10,000 per month in free advertising on Google Search. According to Getting Attention, Google Ad Grants improve site engagement by helping nonprofits pinpoint the content their supporters are searching for. As a result, you’ll draw more potential donors and participants to support your cause.