Nonprofit Web Design: Growing Your Stakeholder Base

How is a nonprofit organization different from a business? At the basic level, a nonprofit must operate like a business by achieving cost-effectiveness in all program areas. A nonprofit should keep stay within its budget limits. Any extra monies get returned to donors or get reinvested into existing programs. A nonprofit’s leadership must ensure accurate financial reporting, especially to all donors. 

A Nonprofit Must Survive

Even without a profit motive, a nonprofit survives by securing funding from external donors each year. This kind of organization maintains a complex network of stakeholders, each with his or her personal interests in internal activities. Some stakeholders have a private agenda. Also, donors are usually different from the agency’s program participants. Donors want some influence over how their dollars are spent, and they may visit the agency to monitor the work of professional and volunteer personnel.

A Nonprofit Must Communicate

One way that a nonprofit can communicate effectively to all stakeholders, but especially with valued donors, is via a well-designed website. Here, we consider how nonprofit web design can help a nonprofit agency grow its stakeholder base.  

Use Your Website to Highlight the Activities of Your Organization

Typically, a nonprofit has a tight budget. Salaries tend to be less for each job type when compared to salaries in private companies. This can produce high employee turnover. People just won’t work for a lower salary over man years unless their dedication to a nonprofit agency’s mission supersedes their economic needs. A professional or a volunteer can offer to improve an agency’s website design. A website can easily inform all stakeholders about internal operations as long as there is ample consideration for the privacy of program participants and employees. A website can answer questions such as these, thereby reducing the number of phone calls, emails, and letters the staff must answer: 

+ How are the agency’s donated funds being spent?

+ How are program recipients benefiting from its services? 

+ What agency needs are still unmet? 

+ How can the agency fund more operations in the future?

Websites are a great place to post videos explaining the operational areas of a nonprofit agency. These can depict employees helping the agency to fulfill its mission. Pictures, blog posts, Facebook posts, and other testimonials can also show program recipients discussing how their lives have improved since they started using the nonprofit’s services. Donors and other stakeholders love to consume such content. They want to see that their organization is making a difference in a particular community. They want to imagine where an agency might pursue its mission in the future. 

How to Tell a Story

There are both good and bad approaches to web design that affect a nonprofit agency’s communication with stakeholders. These important people want to hear positive messages. They want to feel that they’re supporting a worthy organization. They should be able to easily click around the website for different stories and then understand what they watch or read without difficulty.

How to Ask for Help

Sometimes, a nonprofit uses its website content to ask for donations or other types of support. Some stakeholders will respond to calls to action to solve a nonprofit’s problems, but mostly they want to believe that it makes a difference. For example, a stakeholder can volunteer to produce a video of a special event and then proceed to post it on the agency’s website. If the video is of poor quality or contains content that offends some stakeholders, then it does not meet the agency’s needs. Just because a nonprofit can access content, even from donors, doesn’t meant that every type of content will advance its mission. Therefore, an agency’s administrators must select appropriate website design concepts and screen the content for the site.