I am involved in a non-profit promoting science and as such, I’ve been through the whole process of setting up, running and updating an NGO website. We tried working with a specialized agency and then found out that this money can be spent better elsewhere and we could just run the site ourselves, using only WordPress and some basic skills.
The main reason I’m biased to using WordPress for non-profit work is simple – the platform gives you all the flexibility you need for free and the investment in time to work on the site may even not be that significant, as using WordPress is so easy to learn on a basic level. Even the open philosophy of WordPress aligns nicely with the non-profit sector.
Just to give you a couple of examples, here are some of the most important aspects of using your website in order to promote your non-profit work – and how some themes help you with that.
Show off your main info concisely
You have little time to convince visitors they should care about your cause – and I’ve found the easiest way to do that is give them a couple of points to focus on. The Bhinneka theme has a great distinctive layout for such short points – be it your main causes or the ways in which people can help your organization.
Add news and promote your events
In order to build a community around your cause, you’ll have to share news often and give timely information about the events and activities your organization takes part in. The Benevolence theme gives you a clean and clear view of latest news and events – when a visitor can have all the information at one glance, you have more leverage to show just how interesting your work is.
Let the countdown begin
There’s nothing better than a timer or a progress bar (or both!) to convey the urgency of your cause. People react to such visual stimuli much better than to any amount of explanatory text. So, if there’s an event you’re organizing, slap a timer on the page. Or maybe you have a goal and you want to show off the progress you and your supporters are making? Then a progress bar will be a great option. You can see a great example of these in the Aid Reform theme.
Link to your other on-line channels
Surely, your on-line presence isn’t limited to the website alone. For example, our organization promotes its events primarily through Facebook and Twitter, so it’s important for us to let website visitors know where to find us. Using social media widgets then is a great idea – I don’t mean only beautiful links to your other channels, like the ones you can see in the Birch theme, but also using your social media content as part of the website. Flickr widgets are a great example how your photos can live on two places at once.
Include a clear call-to-action
If there’s one thing you need to tell your visitors, it should be spoken loud and clear. A notice box is the best thing you can do to highlight your call to action. Many themes, like Aid Charity, include a custom notice box with many options like frequency capping for regular visitors or controlling how long does a message stay closed for after being hidden by a particular visitor. Design isn’t the only thing, though – you should work hard on your call-to-action copy in order to attract attention and inspire action.
Make it visual
A picture is worth a thousand words, right? Then why are there so many NGO websites that have tons of text and only a couple of small visuals? I never know what those organizations are thinking, but I do suppose the main restriction for many would be the difficulty to redesign their sites according to the new visual trends. Well, here comes the beauty of WordPress – you can easily change your whole website design and make it sleeker and more visual. The Fundit theme is a great example how you can leverage visuals to explain your cause. The best thing would be to use images directly related to your projects – e.g. event photos, on-the-site pictures and so on.
The non-profit field is hard work and many organizations simply can’t make it in the long run. It is important to use your time and resources wisely – with WordPress you’ll save time and developer costs, while also being able to show off your cause and win supporters online.