Quick wins to improve charity websites

We list some tips and tricks to improve charity websites from a range of organisations in the sector including design and content

Joe Lepper | 25th Oct 19
profiles of rescue dogs showing how to improve charity websites

Charities are no different to any other sector when it comes to website design. Your website is your vital online shop to attract new supporters and keeps existing ones interested. Read on to learn about how to improve charity websites by looking at some great examples across the sector.

A strong website is especially important for your digital fundraising efforts and raising awareness about the importance of your good cause and mission.

But, too often, visitors can quickly lose interest if a charity’s website is not kept up to date or not focused enough.

Here, we look at some of the quick wins your charity can undertake to ensure that your website is keeping people engaged.

Be jargon-free

A charity website needs to have a strong statement of intent that is quick and easy to absorb. If a visitor cannot understand your mission in a few seconds they are unlikely to want to investigate your good work further or donate.

a woman with pink hair wearing a pink top showing how simplifying text can help improve charity websites

To do this quickly, jargon needs to be removed. A useful exercise is to scroll through each page and simplify and explain any jargon. Using simple language engages more readers.

A good example of a charity website ensuring it remains jargon free is Breast Cancer Now. It raises funding for research and care in a complex health and scientific arena. But it has also ensured its web frontpage is jargon free, engaging and clear on how donations help its cause.

> See also: ACEVO revamps website to be ‘more like Michelle Obama’

Be innovative with design

According to Noovo Creative, it is estimated that charity websites can increase donations 240% by investing in short educational films.

Among those ensuring campaigning is accompanied by video on their website is animal rescue charity Battersea, which has its Rescue Is Our Favourite Breed film prominently available via its home page.

Profiles of rescue dogs to show how to improve charity websites

This is part of a campaign urging people to rehome rescue dogs. The charity has used additional features on its website to further promote this campaign.

They have also revamped the website’s search function to remove a ‘search by breed’ filter. A trial of the move has already proved successful with the change leading to more animal profiles being viewed and more applications to rehome animals.

> See also: Young people’s mental health charity boosts web and app support

Be accessible

This is the responsibility of all websites not just those run by charities.

Looking at web features developed by charities involved in accessibility issues is a great way to develop some ideas on how to ensure your website appeals to everyone.

Among the wide range of websites worth considering is the sight less charity Sight Support Derbyshire. They overhauled their website earlier this year with National Lottery Community Fund money after applying ideas suggested by the charity’s visually impaired members.

This overhaul gives visitors a clear option to change text sizes and colours to ensure they access the site in the format that fits their distinct needs. Tailoring websites for service users helps reach more supporters.

Be honest

A website can be a labour of love, so accepting criticism about its design may be tough.

One charitable organisation that has taken an honest approach to its web design is the charity chief executive’s organisation ACEVO.

Last month it announced a raft of web revamps after gathering feedback. It found that its website was projecting an image of being too “confrontational” and “elitist”, like TV journalist Jeremy Paxman”. Instead it wanted its online presence to be more “personable” like former US first lady Michelle Obama.

As a result, the visuals on site are brighter, cleaner and consistent. Its brand statements are more prominent and its web focus is more focused on how it can help charities. The revamped website also has clear text and uses white space well to highlight its online features so the reader can navigate comfortably without being overwhelmed.

You could review your website and see if you can incorporate some of these quick wins to engage with more supporters and drive your charity forward.