What can charities do to improve their website reach?
In today’s digital age, having a strong online presence is crucial for the success of any organisation, and that includes charities and not for profits.
A well-designed and easily accessible website can significantly enhance a charity’s reach, helping them connect with a wider audience, increase donations, and further their mission. In this blog, we will explore some key strategies that smaller charities can implement to improve their website reach and amplify their impact.
Tell your story
It sounds obvious but telling your organisation’s story – i.e. who you are, why you started, and what you stand for – are sometimes missed off a website or skirted over. However, it’s important information for visitors, especially those who aren’t familiar with your brand. Let people know how donating will help your mission/cause and shout about personal achievement among your volunteers.
a. Events: If you run events, have a place on the website that both lists upcoming events but also reviews past events afterwards to say how successful they were, thanking supporters, showcasing images of the event and celebrating how much money was raised for your cause.
b. Build trust: Telling stories and building up the history of the charity/non-profit can build trust in the organisation – supporters/potential supporters can see that you’re a real charity and that your mission is worthwhile.
c. Prove responsible spending: Sharing your achievements and what you’ve done with the hard-earned funding to help your cause, can also help to build the trust and provides validation that you’re ‘doing a good job’. This is just as important for your story as why the organisation exists.
Optimise for Search Engines
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) plays a pivotal role in driving organic traffic to your website as it captures people already showing in an interest in the topic. And, by implementing SEO best practices on your website – including any new content published, then you can ensure your website ranks higher in search engine results for those searches. Here are a few tips:
a. Keyword research: Identify the keywords and longer phrases that your target audience is likely to use when searching for causes similar to yours. Incorporate these keywords strategically into your website content, meta tags, and headings.
b. Quality content: Publish informative, engaging, and shareable content regularly. This could include blog posts, success stories, white-papers and educational resources/ help guides related to your cause. High-quality content encourages visitors to stay on your site longer and increases the likelihood of them returning or sharing your content with others.
c. Page optimisation: Generally optimise the website’s loading speed, mobile responsiveness, and user experience. Ensure that your website is easy to navigate, visually appealing, and offers a seamless browsing experience across various devices. Don’t forget to consider accessibility when you’re looking at your user experience.
Use Social Media
Social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook and TikTok, provide an excellent opportunity to expand your charity’s reach and engage with a broader audience. Make sure you put links to each of the social media platforms on your website so people can find them easily and follow you. Here’s how you can leverage social media effectively:
a. Create compelling profiles: Establish a presence on popular social media platforms that align with your target audience – i.e. where they hang out. Then optimise your profiles with a clear description of your cause, relevant keywords, and links to your website and information on how they can donate or get involved.
b. Engage with followers and non-followers: Actively participate in conversations, respond to comments and messages promptly, and show appreciation for your supporters or get social with potential new supporters. Encourage them to share your content with their networks to increase your reach or consider a campaign that uses user-generated content on behalf of your organisation – Like this campaign story about Together Trust told by Charity Digital.
c. Visual storytelling: Use images, videos/ reels, and infographics to visually communicate your impact and convey your mission effectively. Visual content tends to be more engaging and shareable, helping to spread awareness about your charity.
Incorporate a Clear Call-to-Action (CTA)
A well-defined call-to-action prompts visitors to take specific actions, such as making a donation, signing up for a newsletter, or volunteering. Ensure that your website prominently displays these CTAs to motivate visitors to support your cause.
a. Clear donation buttons: Place prominent and visually appealing donation buttons strategically throughout your website. Offer multiple options for giving, such as one-time donations, monthly giving, or specific fundraising campaigns.
b. Newsletter sign-ups: Encourage visitors to subscribe to your newsletter by highlighting the benefits they’ll receive, such as exclusive updates, impact stories, and event invitations. A strong email subscriber base can be a valuable asset for long-term engagement.
c. Volunteering: Ensure volunteering information can be easily found and make the application process as easy as possible.
Implement Tracking and Analytics
To measure the success of your website outreach efforts and make data-driven decisions, it’s essential to track and then analyse relevant metrics.
Using tools like Google Analytics can gain insights into your website’s performance, including visitor demographics, traffic sources, popular pages, and conversion rates. And using Google’s Tracking links can help you track which marketing techniques are working for you. By understanding what’s working and what needs improvement, you can refine your website strategy and marketing, accordingly.
Make it Accessible and Diverse
Your website should be both accessible and diverse to ensure you’re not alienating any of your supporters. Ensure that it complies with accessibility rules so it can be easily used by people with disabilities and make sure your imagery/ media are diverse showing a range of people and situations – this sometimes means paying for photography/stock imagery as the free sites sometimes aren’t very diverse. If you can’t find any, consider commissioning your own photography that’s specific to your mission.
Backlinks are links to your website from other websites that are of high quality and relevant to your organisation. They tell Google and other search engines that your website is both genuine and appealing. Listings on directories, digital PR work or blogs on other people’s websites are all useful in getting that all-important link back.
Keep building these over time to ensure your Domain Authority Score (which indicates the quality and relevance of your website within your industry) increases with every new ‘good’ backlink. Be careful of low-quality websites, however, as these can have a negative impact.
Keeping going with your website improvements
Improving your website reach is a continuous process that requires dedication and ongoing work. By implementing these strategies, smaller charities can effectively expand their online presence, engage a broader audience, and ultimately make a more significant impact.
Embracing the power of SEO, leveraging social media platforms, incorporating clear CTAs, and by measuring your progress through analytics means that you can constantly tweak the process until you find the sweet spot for your organisation that really brings in the results. Remember, a strong website is a valuable asset that can help your charity thrive in a very noisy digital landscape.