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Charity website design: 7 tips for creating real impact for your cause

INSIGHTS | 27th September 2023

Article by Digital Wonderlab

As a charity, your website often serves as the first point of contact with potential supporters. As such, a well-crafted website can significantly amplify support for your cause – whether your objective is increasing donations, attracting volunteers, building an online community, generating vital awareness, reaching more of your target audience, increasing engagement or – as is often the case – all of the above! 

But where do you start – what are the fundamental things to consider? As an agency with considerable experience in creating impactful websites for charities of all sizes, in this blog post we shed light on how charities can supercharge their digital presence through strategic website design.


1. Prioritise clarity

It is essential that your site communicates your charity’s mission and impact clearly and concisely. You need visitors to know who you are, what you do, and why your cause is important as soon as they land on your site. It’s a given that you know how important your charity is, but how would you explain it quickly to somebody who doesn’t, and in a way that truly resonates as it should? 

Powerful headlines, eye-catching images and illuminating statistics are great tools to help achieve this. To cater for users who are already on board, and so that your audience get the opportunity to get on board from the start you should also ensure key call to actions (CTAs) such as ‘Donate now’ or ‘Join us’ are easy to spot, accessible to all users and are designed to invite interaction. It is important to consider hierarchy as part of the UX and design process – ensuring important actions are easy for the user to see and do, without overloading them with choices. 


2. The art of storytelling

A compelling charity website should tell a story, taking visitors on a journey that highlights the challenges faced, what solutions you are providing, the impact generated so far and how those reading can help. 

An effective way to make your story more engaging and relatable is by using a tapestry of authentic video, testimonials, statistics, images and case studies throughout your website, carefully designed and paced to best get across your message clearly and without adding distracting visual clutter. This is a great chance to forge an emotional bond with your audience, increasing the likelihood of them endorsing your cause.    


3. Design with the user in mind

It is important that the visual aesthetic of your site feels like your charity and impactfully conveys what you want the audience to know and do.  

It should also offer easy navigation, irrespective of whether users access it from a desktop, tablet, or mobile device. A user-friendly site ensures that visitors can promptly find the information they need – this is particularly essential for potential donors or volunteers who may abandon the site if they struggle to locate relevant details. 

As well as keeping navigation intuitive, accessibility and speedy page loading times always in mind, consider whether there are extra levels of functionality that could be valuable for your audience. For example, for the websites we created for the British Institute of Human Rights and Hersana we added quick exit buttons, and the latter site also has a live chat facility.  


4. Cultivate trust

Trust is paramount for charities and transparency is key to cultivating it. Consistent design style that aligns well with your charity, showcasing your great work by illustrating its impact in an eye-catching and easy to digest way and providing transparent financial information are all ways to cultivate this trust.  

You could consider adding an impact section to your website, with details on how donations are spent, the impact these donations have and stories from those who have benefited from your charities work. Bite-size chunks pointing to this content can also be threaded throughout other pages, ensuring key messages get multiple chances to be viewed and also allowing the user to click through to read more on what interests them. Creating content such as blogs or news posts regularly can also help to share the impact of your work and can easily be pushed out via your social channels to increase reach as well as provide further entry points to your site. 


If you want to see a real life example of how website design can create impact, take a moment to read our case study, "Flying to new fundraising heights".

By simplifying donations and delivering information in the way each of Wiltshire Air Ambulance's target supporter groups wanted, we ensured an enhanced user experience which resulted in a leap in donations through the website.


5. Simplify the donation process

Creating a donation process that is easy to use can help increase your likelihood of visitors contributing to your cause. A well-designed donation flow should make it frictionless for the user to be able to donate – whether they want to make a one-off or monthly donation, or if they’re paying in fundraising money, and offer a variety of payment options.

Within the donation process, take the opportunity to bring to life for those donating the impact that their kindness will make to the beneficiaries of your charity (for instance, “£10 a month could…”).


6. Stimulate engagement

Offering users interactive elements that help them further understand your mission can increase engagement. This could include quizzes or surveys, or more in-depth elements such as our client Wiltshire Air Ambulance’s interactive ‘mission map’. As well as being memorable, these encourage users to stay on your site for longer and/or encourage repeat visits, which in turn can help with your chances of receiving a donation from the user.

Additionally, features such as newsletter sign-ups, social media sharing options, and comment sections can inspire ongoing interaction with your audience, helping to nurture a community around your cause.


7. Optimise for search

SEO is a vital tool to consider when developing your website. Optimising your site for search engines help you get more organic traffic, increase your online visibility and help to connect with a broader audience.

To help your SEO, use relevant keywords, generate quality content, and ensure your site is technically robust.  


So, creating an impactful charity website goes beyond producing an aesthetically pleasing design. It's about telling a story, fostering trust, and facilitating easy engagement with and support for your cause.

At Digital Wonderlab, we assist charities in crafting websites that not only look striking but also foster substantial impact. If you're a charity aiming to make a tangible difference through your website, we invite you to get in touch with us today. Let's collaborate to create something truly meaningful.

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Digital Wonderlab

Digital Wonderlab

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