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6 Website Design Do's and Don'ts for Your Nonprofit's Donation Page

Jasmine LeBlanc 3/13/18 7:56 AM

If you aren’t receiving the engagement you expected with your online donation page, then you may need to make a few changes to your website design to help convert your visitors. Nowadays, a generic PayPal link isn’t going to cut it. You have to make your information easy to find and establish credibility for your potential donor. We’ll share web design tips that all nonprofit websites need to have to improve user experience.

How Website Design Affects Online Donations

When designing your website, your goal should be to make it as easy as possible for your website visitors to find information. Since most users tend to skim web pages, your content should be concise yet impactful so that your readers are inspired to take action.

Think about it: 

Imagine being on a nonprofit’s website and not being able to quickly find out their mission. The website is unattractive, has a confusing navigation bar, and is crammed full of content. This discourages you from reading any of the content because it’s overwhelming.

Now envision yourself clicking on this nonprofit’s donate button and being directly led to a third-party website that has very little information, but is asking for your credit card information. While it may be secure, it’s not reassuring you in any way that it is. Plus, you’re still not entirely sure what the organization does and why it needs your donation. 

So what’s your next move? You leave the website without engaging with the nonprofit.

That scenario above is not what you want your website visitor’s experience to be like. With a properly designed website, you will be able to captivate your audience’s attention and encourage them to make a donation.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Nonprofit Web Design

Since you now know why website design is an important factor in online donations, here are some tips on things to include and things to avoid on your nonprofit’s website.

The Do’s

First, we’ll cover the things that are necessary to include in your nonprofit’s web design to encourage your website visitors to engage with your organization.

  • Do align your website design with your donor persona’s interests

Keep your donor persona in mind when designing your website. If your persona is part of an older generation, stay away from flashy, over-the-top web designs or fonts that are too small and hard to read. If you are targeting a younger generation, go for a modern look to establish credibility with them. Either way, your information should be easy to find on your website.

  • Do create a responsive website

As of February 2017, mobile devices accounted for 49.7% of web page views worldwide. At this growing rate, it’s not just worth jumping on the bandwagon, it’s necessary. Your website’s mobile user experience needs to be just as seamless as your desktop experience, or else you won’t receive as much interaction with your site as you were expecting.

  • Do use a reputable online donation tool

The online donation tool you choose for your website needs to look and be trustworthy, not one or the other. You can write the most compelling story on your donation landing page, but if your website visitor clicks to donate and is met with a suspicious-looking page, they will most likely end up not donating.

The Don’ts

Now, we’ll discuss what not to do on your website. These things will drive your visitors away from your website without engaging with your organization.

  • Don’t make your content hard to find

If your website visitor can’t find what they are looking for, they are not going to be on your website for long or want to come back. Making your content visible and organized starts with your sitemap and your menu. The options you include in your menu should convey the overall goal of having a website.

Be sure to put a donate call-to-action button on the upper right-hand corner on your navigation bar. It's becoming a standard in the nonprofit industry to place it there. To ensure that users will be able to easily find it, make the button always visible throughout the site.

Also, don’t be afraid to put other call-to-actions (CTAs) in your navigation bar! Whether they are CTAs to read your blog, register for an event, or subscribe to your newsletter, make them pop against your regular menu options to draw your user’s attention to it. Be sure that your CTAs lead to relevant landing pages.

  • Don’t leave your donation landing page blank

A picture is worth a thousand words, right? Use imagery or infographics to capture your reader’s attention and encourage them to stay on your page to learn more and eventually donate.

In addition to using images on your donation landing page, you need to include a story on the page. This story can be your nonprofit’s story or a recent success story that happened due to the help of donations.

Want help piecing together your nonprofit’s story? Read our post on nonprofit storytelling. It’s important to note that you should never link to a story on a different page, because then your user may not come back to your donation page.

Lastly, be sure to translate specific donations into something tangible to help your donor understand just how much of an impact their contribution will make. If $1 equals one meal for a child in need, let your reader know. Informing them that even the smallest donation makes a difference will encourage them to give.

  • Don’t forget to make a thank you page

That’s right, don’t forget your manners! While they may be receiving a thank you email or letter in the mail, think about the user experience on your website. Picture them being redirected to your homepage or not being redirected anywhere after making a donation. Kind of cold, right?

While a thank you page seems like a small touch, it can make a big impact. It’s the first step in continuing the relationship with your donor because you are showing your appreciation for their contribution.

On your thank you page, you can inform the reader of next steps to take to further engage with your organization. You can ask them to share your cause on their social media or to simply follow you on social media


By incorporating these web design tips on your nonprofit’s website, you will be capturing the attention of your donor audience. For an in-depth, example-heavy guide on how to design and optimize your nonprofit's donation landing page, download our free eBook below!