As a nonprofit professional, your days are likely spent brainstorming new ways to increase donations and support your beneficiaries and community. While this may entail innovative fundraising ideas and program development, there are also internal ways to sustain your nonprofit’s operations.
Your website is one of the most powerful tools you have at your disposal for rallying support for your cause. When you make your website easy to navigate and accessible to everyone, you’re guaranteeing that as many people as possible can learn more about your organization and contribute, ultimately helping you carry out your mission.
Creating an accessible website design provides visitors with a positive user experience and shows that you care about including all supporters in your community. In this guide, we’ll cover five tips to help you make your website more accessible and navigable. Let’s get started!
1. Stick to a predictable structure for your content.
Your website should follow an organized, predictable structure to make it easy to follow and navigate. Developing a distinct website structure will also create consistency across your website, making it look more professional and unique to your brand.
An easy way to provide structure to your website is by using a template. Nonprofit website templates are pre-made to feature nonprofit-relevant graphic design choices and include spaces for you to fill in images and information about your organization. As a result, they make your website more cohesive and take the guesswork out of web design. All you have to do is choose one that meets your needs and start uploading your content! You can also customize a template to align with your branding by changing the colors and fonts.
When choosing a website template and adding your unique content, try to keep it simple. Nonprofits Source recommends opting for a minimalist web design to avoid clutter and make your website easy to navigate. Plus, having fewer elements on your website will make it load quicker, offering a better user experience.
2. Develop multiple methods of navigation.
Imagine you’re a visitor on a nonprofit website. You’re really interested in the organization’s cause, and you’re thinking about making a donation. However, you can’t find the donation page anywhere on the nonprofit’s website. As a result, you navigate away from the website, never making that intended donation.
If you don’t use multiple, clear methods of website navigation, you’re likely missing out on chances to steer current and potential supporters along the donor journey. Simply adding important pages to a navigation menu on your website can make it much easier for visitors to find the resources they’re looking for.
Check out the different navigation options you could implement on your website:
- Primary navigation bar. At the top of your website, be sure to include a main menu with links to the most important pages on your site. If you have multiple resources that you want to highlight, consider creating a mega menu. A mega menu allows you to create large dropdown lists that sort your links into sections.
- Footer navigation. At the bottom of the page, you can feature footer navigation, which typically includes links to important pages, as well as contact information and website policies.
- Breadcrumb trails. With breadcrumb trails, users can see their current location on the page and how it relates to the website’s overall structure, letting them navigate back to a previous page.
- Search bar. For visitors who know which topics they’d like to learn more about, offer a search bar so they can quickly find relevant content.
Test out a combination of these navigation methods to see which works best for your users and your website.
3. Implement text and audio alternatives.
Your visual content may not inherently be accessible to people who are visually or hearing impaired, but it’s easy to change that. You likely feature lots of images on your website to break up blocks of text. To allow visually impaired people to understand what these images look like, add alternative text that explains each image. Look for a website builder that allows you to add alternative text on the front end in just moments—no coding necessary.
If your website features a fundraising video or any other audio-based content, make sure to add transcripts and closed captions. That way, people who are hearing impaired can have a satisfactory viewing experience and understand the information from the audio.
4. Create clear calls to action.
Make it clear which pages you’d like to direct users to and what you’d like them to do using calls to action. Calls to action link to a relevant page on your website intended to increase conversions and encourage users to click through. To make them stand out from the page, format your calls to action as buttons and choose a color that contrasts with the page background.
For instance, you might make a call to action to register for your upcoming fundraising event. To promote the event, you could create an event landing page on your website with all of the details, such as the venue, date, time, and purpose of the event. Then, include a button on this page that says “Register for [Event Name] today!” to direct people to your event registration page. You could also create a call to action to register in relevant sections of your content, such as at the top of blog posts that discuss your fundraising needs and the details of your event.
You’ll additionally need calls to action that point to your donation page. On the About Page of your website, you can add a call to action below the description of the work your nonprofit does. This button could say something like “Donate now to help support our mission!” and link to your donation page. That way, you provide an easy way for people interested in your cause to navigate to your donation form and give back. Be sure to also include a “Donate Now!” button in your navigation bar so supporters who arrive on your website with the intention to give can easily complete this action.
5. Use a CMS with accessibility capabilities.
Morweb explains that the best nonprofit websites are designed using a content management system (CMS) with built-in accessibility tools. A comprehensive CMS will make it easy for your nonprofit to develop an accessible website with all supporters in mind.
If you’re wondering which type of accessibility capabilities you should be looking for, here are a few examples:
- Mobile responsiveness. Many current and potential supporters access your website on their phones and tablets. Your website must be optimized for mobile use in order for these visitors to have a positive user experience. When you choose a CMS with instant mobile responsiveness, you can rest assured that visitors will automatically see your content in the correct format, no matter which device they’re using.
- Accessibility widget. An accessibility widget is the ultimate accessibility tool. It allows users to change settings such as font size, type, and color and highlight links for easier readability. That way, each visitor can customize their website viewing experience to their needs.
- Front-end editing. You shouldn’t have to dig into the backend of your website and figure out how to code in order to make your website more accessible. Choose a CMS with front-end editing so you can add header tags and alternative text in moments to enhance user experience.
When you choose a CMS with dedicated accessibility tools, you’ll have the foundation and features you need to create a positive user experience that will encourage all supporters to stay on your website.
When you think of nonprofit web design, you might think of how to brand your website to your organization or how to include all the necessary information on your site. While these are important web design considerations, perhaps even more important is making sure your website is accessible so anyone can quickly gauge what your nonprofit does and how they can help. As a result, you’ll reach a wider audience of potential supporters, enabling you to raise more money and awareness for your cause.