What should a charity website do?

Nathan Edwards on 25th Jul 2017

Three weeks ago now, I wrote about What is a charity website for? and this is the follow up post where I'll explore how a website can accomplish those aims.

As previously mentioned, there's two main areas for the aims of a charity website - firstly, people helping the charity (volunteers, donations, etc.) and secondly, the work of the charity (helping people, providing information, etc.)

Getting Support

What most people hope their charity website will do is get support for their cause, mainly in two areas, volunteers and money. Unfortunately, to do this successfully, it's a bit more complicated than simply adding a paypal donate button and an email form for volunteers to sign up. First, people need to come in contact with your website, then they need to actually want to get involved or to donate. So what your website needs to do is twofold - get visitors and persuade those visitors that yours is a cause worth supporting.

Building website traffic - website traffic builds in two ways (generally), via search engines and social media. A good charity website will follow search engine best practices, like rich content, site performance and keyword density. But that's not all, unless we have some more content, you're only likely to pick up users already searching for your charity, or maybe charities where you are, or exactly what your charity does. Let's take a fake example charity, we'll use "The Bears Charity" again. In this case we'd really like it if someone looking up bears came across our website, because that's the sort of person who might be interested in our aim of "Save the Bears". What would be a good idea for the bears charity to do would be to add pages with factsheets on different types of bears and maybe a blog that followed a couple of known bears (let's imagine we've tagged a couple in the wild). That provides us with rich content that search engines, like Google or Bing, can rank for different bear related keywords that people search by.

Secondly, social media. This runs hand in hand with a good website, and this is where all that rich content really comes into it's own. If you're able to share updates at least weekly on your social media profiles then you have something that you and your volunteers can share to your circles that can then be shared further, bringing many more people into contact with your charity than you would otherwise have had.

Persuading visitors to help - this is where the quality of your content comes in. You really need a page or pages that explain what you do, how you do it and why it needs doing. This is where a copy writing service like the one we can provide really comes into its own.

Doing the work

There are two main ways a charity website does the work of the charity; by being a contact point for those that need the charity or by providing information - think a cancer charity providing information on prostate cancer.

Being found by those that need you - it's not always easy for those who need a charity to find what they need. I've already covered how visitors might find you, the only difference here is that you need some content tailored towards those that need your help. It should be easy to find an email address and phone number to get in touch with someone at your charity on your website.

Providing information - all website provide information, but to do it well you have to present it cleanly in a design that is pleasing to the eye. Not only that but the words themselves need to be well thought out and clear, passing on the knowledge in the most effective way possible.

If you want help making your charity website, drop us a line at hello@thecharitywebsite.com

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