6 Essential Elements to Elevate Your Nonprofit Website

Your nonprofit’s website is more than just an online presence; it’s a vital tool for storytelling and engagement. But making it stand out requires knowing exactly what to include. Let’s dive into the essential elements that can turn your website from good to unforgettable.

A standout nonprofit website is more than just a hub for information; it’s a launchpad for engagement and a beacon for community building. With countless causes vying for attention, your site needs to do more than just exist—it needs to communicate, captivate, and compel. Moving forward, we’ll explore the essential elements that not only pull visitors in but also motivate them to take action, transforming passive interest into active support for your mission.

An overview of the 6 elements

Our exploration will navigate through six fundamental elements that are pivotal for any nonprofit website aiming for impact and engagement:

  1. Impress…Above-the-Fold: Instantly communicate your mission and catch your visitor’s attention.
  2. Create Space for Who You Serve: Ensure your website reflects and resonates with your community.
  3. Display Available Programs Clearly: Highlight your initiatives to showcase your active role and impact.
  4. Easy and Intuitive Donation Process: Remove barriers to giving, making it seamless for supporters to contribute.
  5. Showcasing Upcoming Events: Keep your community engaged and informed about how they can participate.
  6. Make It Clear How People Can Help: Offer clear paths for involvement beyond financial contributions.

Now, let’s dive deeper into each element, exploring how they work together to create a website that’s not just seen but felt, encouraging visitors to engage, contribute, and become part of your community’s story. Each component plays a crucial role in transforming your site into an engaging, action-inspiring platform. Follow along as we break down these elements further, providing you with the insights needed to elevate your online presence effectively.

The 6 Must-Have Features for Your Nonprofit’s Website

1. Impress…Above-the-Fold

Visiting a website without clear messaging is like opening a book to a random page—you’re intrigued but have no context. The content above-the-fold should serves as the book cover, offering a snapshot that invites readers into your story.

“Above-the-fold” is the part of the website visible without scrolling, crucial for making a strong first impression. It includes the hero section but also extends to your menu header, call-to-actions, logo, and all other elements that may appear at the top of you home page. This area should clearly articulate your nonprofit’s mission and how visitors can engage. It’s about using concise language and compelling visuals to instantly convey who you are, what you stand for, and how visitors can help. This not only captures attention but also encourages further exploration, setting the stage for a deeper connection with your cause.

What Happens If You Don’t Have Clarity Above-the-Fold

Navigating a website should never feel like deciphering a puzzle. Clear messaging right at the outset not only guides your visitors but also aligns them with your mission from the first click. The absence of this clarity can create a disconnect, affecting everything from engagement to donations. Let’s examine the specific drawbacks of overlooking this critical element, highlighting the importance of getting it right.

What happens if you do?

  • Ensures visitors immediately understand your mission
  • Encourages further exploration of your site
  • Increases the likelihood of engagement and support

What happens if you don’t?

  • Confusion overshadows visitor engagement
  • Initial interest quickly fades without clear direction
  • Potential supporters leave, reducing donation opportunities
  • The essence of your cause becomes muddled
  • High bounce rates reflect missed connections

How To Implement Clear Messaging

Turning the tide from confusion to clarity on your website is more straightforward than you might think. By focusing on a few key improvements, you can significantly enhance your site’s above-the-fold content. Here are practical steps to ensure your message hits home immediately.

  1. Craft a concise, impactful mission statement inside your hero section
  2. Highlight a clear call to action under your statement
  3. Select imagery or a video that complements your message
  4. Regularly review and adjust for clarity

2. Create a Space for Who You Serve

Create Space for Who You Serve: Understanding Your Audience

Just as every story needs an audience, your nonprofit website must resonate with the people you aim to serve. This connection begins with creating a space on your website that acknowledges their needs, challenges, and aspirations.

What happens if you do?

  • Fosters a sense of belonging by showing your audience they are recognized and valued
  • Boosts engagement when people see their experiences mirrored
  • Encourages donations by demonstrating the impact of contributions on real lives
  • Directs individuals to helpful resources, ensuring they can easily access the support and information they need
  • Strengthens community by reinforcing your commitment to serving and understanding your audience’s needs

What happens if you don’t?

  • Visitors may feel overlooked, reducing engagement
  • Engagement and interaction rates may drop
  • Supporters struggle to see the direct impact of their contributions
  • A generic approach may fail to communicate your organization’s unique mission
  • Community members might not find the resources or support they seek

Implementing Audience-Specific Spaces on Your Website

Crafting a website that speaks directly to your audience is both an art and a science. By integrating specific elements and strategies, you can ensure your digital space welcomes and engages those you’re committed to helping. Here’s how to get started:

  1. Create pages for each audience which include tailored resources and information
  2. Include short descriptions (info boxes) and links on your home page and menu that lead to these spaces
  3. Ensure your website content throughout highlights your audience where relevant and links to their respective pages

3. Display Available Programs Clearly

You have important programs to offer and too often, organizations may not include all or up-to-date programs on their website. You may know your programs internally but it is so important to share that with those who may visit your website. Your programs show your mission in-action. But if visitors can’t easily find or understand these initiatives on your website, you’re missing a critical opportunity to showcase the impact and breadth of your work.

What happens if you do?

  • Directly informs visitors about the scope of your work and its impact
  • Facilitates deeper engagement and understanding through clear program descriptions
  • Sparks interest in targeted support or participation by highlighting specific initiatives
  • Demonstrates your nonprofit’s active role in making a difference with well-presented programs
  • Builds trust with supporters and beneficiaries by being transparent about your activities

What happens if you don’t?

  • Visitors may miss understanding the full extent of your impact
  • Potential volunteers and donors deterred by lack of clarity on how to contribute
  • Missed opportunities for targeted engagement and support
  • Questioned credibility if information on activities isn’t easily accessible
  • Beneficiaries unaware of the resources available to them

How to Showcase Your Programs Effectively

Implementing a strategy to clearly display your programs can greatly enhance your website’s utility and appeal.

  1. Organize programs into easily navigable sections
  2. Use engaging descriptions and visuals for each program
  3. Include clear calls to action, guiding visitors on involvement
  4. Offer testimonials or success stories illustrating program impact
  5. Keep program pages updated with the latest information and outcomes

Ensuring your programs are displayed clearly and compellingly invites visitors to delve deeper into your mission, encouraging engagement, support, and participation. This approach not only serves your current audience but also attracts new supporters, amplifying your nonprofit’s reach and impact.

4. Easy and Intutive Donation Process

Too often overlooked, your donation interface and process is essential to your mission. Therefore, creating a simple and intuitive interface is not optional. The ease with which someone can support your cause is pivotal. A complicated or unclear donation process can quickly deter even the most enthusiastic potential donors. Here’s why streamlining this process is crucial for your nonprofit’s growth and how to ensure your website facilitates every step of the way.

What happens if you do?

  • Ensures quick and hassle-free support from visitors, maximizing donation opportunities
  • Simplifies the donor’s journey, encouraging more frequent and larger contributions
  • Reduces the risk of abandonment mid-donation due to frustration or confusion
  • Enhances the overall user experience, aligning with expectations for modern website interactions
  • Reflects the professionalism and efficiency of your organization, building trust with potential donors

What happens if you don’t?

  • Potential donors leave before completing their contributions, feeling discouraged by complexity
  • Lost donation opportunities directly impact the resources available for your programs and services
  • A negative donation experience can deter future engagement and support from the community
  • Failing to offer multiple donation options limits accessibility and convenience for diverse donors
  • Lack of clear guidance or reassurance during the donation process can raise concerns over security and use of funds

Steps to Optimize Your Donation Process

Creating an easy and intuitive donation process on your website not only supports your immediate fundraising goals but also fosters a lasting relationship with your donors. Here’s how you can optimize your process:

  1. Streamline the donation form to include only essential information
  2. Offer multiple payment methods to accommodate donor preferences
  3. Ensure the donation button is prominently displayed on every page
  4. Provide clear instructions and support for any questions or issues
  5. Utilize third-party donation software that will simpliy the process

By removing barriers to donate, you open the door to greater support and engagement, fueling your mission for the long term.

5. Showcasing Upcoming Events

People love events! They’re a great way to bring people out who otherwise may not know about your cause or bring the people together who do. Showcasing and encourgaging attendance to your nonprpfti’s events goes a long way by keeping existing members happy and engaged through direct partipication and often fun. However, if your website doesn’t effectively highlight these events, you could be missing out on significant engagement and support opportunities. Let’s explore the importance of showcasing events and how to do it right.

What happens if you do?

  • Increases awareness and participation by making event details easily accessible
  • Encourages community engagement, strengthening bonds with supporters
  • Boosts fundraising efforts by highlighting opportunities to contribute
  • Showcases the dynamic and active nature of your organization
  • Provides a platform to celebrate successes and share future goals with your audience

What happens if you don’t?

  • Lower event attendance due to lack of visibility
  • Missed chances for fundraising and community building around events
  • Reduced engagement from supporters who might not be aware of how active your organization is
  • A gap in communicating the full scope of your organization’s work and its impact on the community
  • Potential supporters remain unaware of ways to get involved or contribute

How to Effectively Feature Your Events

Effectively showcasing your events on your website not only promotes greater participation and support but also highlights the vibrancy and impact of your nonprofit. Let’s talk about how you can do this with your website:

  1. Create a dedicated events section on your website with easy navigation
  2. Use engaging visuals and compelling descriptions for each event (you can use images from the past events too!)
  3. Include all necessary details: date, time, location (or link for virtual events), and how to participate or register (with links!)
  4. Promote upcoming events prominently on your homepage and through regular updates
  5. Make use of social media to promote the event page on your website

By making event information accessible and engaging, you invite your community to join you in making a difference, one event at a time.

6. Make It Clear How People Can Help

Empowering Action Through Clarity

While donations are crucial, understanding the multifaceted ways individuals can support your cause is key to fostering a robust community around your nonprofit. As you increase traffic to your website, more visitors to your website, and have more attention to your nonprofit overall, people will want to know what they can do to help. This sixth step is to ensure your website makes it very clear what someone can do to help. We’ll dive into why you should do this further and how you can do it.

What happens if you do?

  • Clarifies the various ways to support, encouraging broader engagement
  • Empowers visitors by providing multiple avenues for involvement
  • Increases the likelihood of assistance that matches individual capabilities and interests

What happens if you don’t?

  • Potential supporters may feel unsure how to contribute, leading to inaction
  • Missed opportunities for volunteerism, partnerships, and non-monetary donations
  • A lack of diverse engagement can limit your nonprofit’s reach and impact
  • Supporters who prefer non-financial contributions might feel excluded

Guiding Supporters with Clear Information

From volunteering and in-kind donations to advocacy and community partnerships, highlighting these pathways allows your nonprofit to tap into the full spectrum of community support, driving your mission forward with the collective power of your engaged and diverse supporter base. Let’s dive into the “how”.

  1. Clearly list all the ways individuals can support your mission, from volunteering to advocacy
  2. Include a step-by-step for these different avenues of involvement
  3. Provide detailed descriptions and instructions for each type of support
  4. Feature stories or testimonials that highlight the impact of various forms of assistance and what the volunteer experience is like
  5. Ensure navigation to support options is intuitive and accessible from anywhere on your site

YOUR Next Steps (Taking Action)

There you have it! Those are the 6 elements we think would be important for your organization.

It’s pretty easy to read and enjoy an article like this, understanding the importance of the steps outline, but it’s much harder to do something effective with the information. So I like to take a moment to ask you to take a moment to decide what can be done. I understand. Running a nonprofit is in no way easy. We only have so much time in a day and everything cannot be done at once. But….we can organize and we can schedule. So take a minute or two to ask yourself these questions:

  1. Which of these elements could best help our organization?
  2. Who can implement the steps for that element on our existing website?
  3. When can they do this?
  4. What do I need to do to put this on their schedule?

By asking yourself these questions, you are more likely to think on these things in a tangible and more like to make them happen so you can eventually see the impact they can have on your business.

Now it’s your turn!


It’s clear that a strategic approach to web design goes a long way in amplifying your mission. From ensuring your message is unmistakably clear to making it effortless for supporters to contribute, every detail matters in creating a site that not only attracts but deeply engages!

So we hope this article has been helpful in shedding light on the critical components of a successful nonprofit website. If you have questions or need expert assistance in implementing these ideas, MarvelousWeb is absolutely here for you. MarvelousWeb specializes in crafting websites that resonate with the heart of nonprofit missions, ensuring your website is not only visually appealing but deeply functional and aligned with your goals. Whether you’re looking to start from scratch or refine your existing site, our team is ready to help you make a lasting impact.

Feel free to give us a call or use the form on our contact page to let us know how we can help you!

How To PLAN Out A High Converting WordPress Website (Don’t Skip!)

Do not just dive into building…….please.

If there was one thing you got out of this post, that’s what it would be.

WordPress is no small feat if you are just getting started. There is plenty of learning and WordPress setup to do for you to come out with a functional website. A lack of a planning can certainly hurt your results and leave you wondering why you even tried.

So in this post I am going to take you through a process that will help you plan out a website that will give back what you put in. You’re going to learn what you need to make a professional layout and navigation that will ensure users find what they need and stay on the website.

This is a bit of what we do here for website planning at MarvelousWeb Media to create powerful websites that double conversions on launch with our redesigns. I want to teach and share this with you to create a more navigable world and help you get better results from your efforts. So let’s get into the details.

We’ll start with why.

Keep and Convert Planning

Oh boy, there are so many quotes related to the importance planning. I’m gonna go with this one:

“An hour of planning can save you hours of doing.”

In my previous article, The Absolute Best Way to Setup a WordPress Site, we discussed how ranking on Google comes down to getting people to click with a great title and keeping them on your page. Those two elements together are all Google needs to know you should stay high up in the rankings.

So what we’ll be doing is focusing on the Keep part. Getting visitors to stay on your website after they click. I am going to outline a process that you should follow for every single page on your website. This is powerful stuff and I wish I could add more sensationalism to it but this is the reality of a website that performs excellently.

If you follow these steps below, you will create a powerful website that converts, ranks, and certainly impresses.

Are you ready to become a website planning expert?

The First and Most Important Steps

We are going to go through each step to plan out a high converting WordPress website that will get you noticeably better results than if you didn’t. You’ll want to follow these steps for each page, with a little more time and effort put onto the home page. My goal here is to lay this all out so well that you find you don’t even need to hire a developer. Because with the right website planning, the results are your to get.

With that said, let’s start with the first step, identifying your ideal customer/client.

1) Identifying Your Ideal Customer/Client

Don’t be scared! I am not going to ask you to create a customer avatar where you need to have a photo of an ideal client, know how many family members they have, what magazines they read and so on. None of that! We’re going to do this is the simplest way possible.

I am going to have you put together a single sentence which will define your customer enough to help you with the rest of the steps and planning. If you don’t know who you’re designing your website for, then you can’t help them.

If you don’t know who you’re designing your website for, then you can’t help them.

Here’s what your identifying sentence should include:

  • Demographic – gender(s) and age should suffice( go into more depth if you need like salary, location, etc)
  • Your Offer
  • Problem you solve for your customer
Demographic – The Who

You want to know these details as they will inform how your website will look, what it will say, and in a lot of cases, even the size of the font and other accessible type elements.

As an example, if you mostly service seniors, then having larger text, clear navigation (no hamburger menus), and an easy to find phone and form is important here. Or let’s say you serve high-end clientele that make over $1,000,000/yr. You might want to have a more sleek high-end design that better appeals to them and does utilize more modern elements that might not be suitable for seniors. So having this clear in your head is critical.

Your Offer – The What

For this section we want to create a nice hefty list of what makes you unique in offering your services and what you do for your clients. To keep it simple, I won’t divide this further and we’ll have things can go within the same list. We’ll use personal training for an example. Here’s what they might list off:

  • I offer plans that they can take home
  • With me, they get consistency and someone that’s going to keep them on the top of their game
  • They get to contact me 24/7 with any questions or concerns
  • We include an online community of all our members to collab and motivate each other
  • We do all this at a very affordable rate
Problem You Solve – The Why

Now, the next element is getting clear on what your ideal customer/client’s problem is. In other words, WHY do they hire you? There’s a couple ways to answer this, so let’s use the example of an personal trainer. People hire a personal trainer because of the following problems (I encourage you to try and think of more:

  • They aren’t happy with their appearance
  • They aren’t eating as healthy as they know they should
  • They don’t know how to to lose weight
  • They aren’t as strong as they’d like to be
  • They want to drop 10 pounds and reach their goal weight.

And the list goes on. Make sure you go through your typical customer’s problems and list them all out. As many as you can. We’ll go over what to do with that info in a sec.

Tip: If you want to take it a step further add to your list, things that they might feel about their problem in their every day like this, “they feel unhappy when they look in the mirror or can’t fit on their old jeans” or “they aren’t as confident as they’d like to be in public”. These sorts of insights and statements are POWERFUL and you’ll learn how to use them in just a bit.

Now let’s put it all together where you can fill in the blanks:

My ideal customer/client is (demographic), they hire me because [their problem].

And here’s an example: My ideal customer is a 30+ year old male looking for workout plans, personal attention, and our tight knit community. They hire me because they don’t feel confident and want to reach their ideal goal weight while gaining more muscle.

With the biggest part out of the way let’s move onto research and competition.

Action Steps:
  1. Define your demographic
  2. Make a list of what you offer and your uniques
  3. Create a list of problems you solve for your clients/customers

2) Researching the Competition

If it wasn’t #2 in my list, I’d say it’s the most important thing. Researching your competition is a part of business and it’s going to go a long way with website planning. If you don’t want to do it, just know that everyone else is. I think it is a very old rule of war, business, society, and so on. If you don’t know what other people are doing, how can you truly compete? It’s a very real question. So what I want you to do is find your top 3 competitors.

And yes, I understand that maybe you’ve just started your business, and don’t have true “across the street” competition yet. In that case just find 3 people that are where you want to be with your business.

What you want to note is what are they doing right with their website. What points are they hitting for similar clientele? What features? What pages?

For this step, I want you to take note of what you like about the website and what you admire in terms of content and point they are making. Write down the things that make sense to you.

Action Steps:
  1. Find 3 competitors
  2. Jot down what you like about their websites

The Page Building Steps

Now we get to the individual page steps of website planning. Here we want to iterate through these options as you work on each and every page. In other words, for every page, you should have the below listed out for it.

1) Key Elements – The Question

Now, with that done, we’re going to do something a little odd. We are going to write a list of things that are simply important.

Let me explain.

Whenever I build out a website, there are things that seriously matter to the website. I break these things down into what I call Key Elements. It means things that must go on the website in some form or another. We’ll organize these “things” in the next step.

Alright, so here’s the brain space for this:

Keeping in mind your demographic that you serve, what you offer, and what their problems are, create a list of key terms, copy, or ideas that MUST go on your website to service your ideal customer/client. i.e. What will people want to know when they browse your page? Why are they on that page? What are they looking for? What kinds of questions might they ask?

I think examples are useful so let’s go with a digital agency home page for this one. Here’s what I might write for a digital agency website. They may need to know…..

  • what our services are
  • why we are different
  • who is on our team
  • our advertising certifications
  • how many years we’ve been around

Now let’s do this for a digital agency PPC (pay-per-click) page. Here’s what people might wonder:

  • Are you a certified Google Partner?
  • Can you handle my budget?
  • How do you charge for PPC?
  • And so on…..

And keep in mind for this step, you can use what clients or customers in the past have already asked you about your business or individual services overall.

So what we want to do with this information, is ensure that as we write content, as we decide on what sections for each page, that we are able to check off all of these things. By checking off, I mean have a solution and answer on the page for everything. Leaving no one to wonder.

It’s not an easy step, but I simply want you to try your very best.

Here’s a few examples. They may need to know…..

  • what our services are – Have a section on your home page that lists all of your services
  • why we are different – Have a section that clearly says what makes you different and why they should choose you. In fact, here’s a great place to utilize the list of uniques you made above.
  • who is on our team – Show your team members and even talk a bit about who each person is what they do

Do you see how you can utilize this info to create a website that answers people’s concerns and clear away any questions or reasons to not go with you?

Action Steps:

(For each page)

  1. Create a list of key elements that provides the likely information your customer will want to know as it pertains to each page

2) Sections – The Answer

We’ve listed out key elements for our page, now we want to structure it.

Sections are how we divide important content on a page. If you have a typical home page, you might have a hero section, services/products section, reviews section, about us section, and contact section. All to help split content and what you want you customer to know into clear digestible areas. So in the key elements discussion above, I showed examples of how you can answer your ideal customer’s questions and concerns with sections. So that’s what we’ll do in this step.

Every key element you come up with needs to fit into a corresponding section that you create. So if you have a key element, you need to make sure it can properly fit into a section on your page. Look at other websites to help you with this step and make sure you are answering a good amount of what you customers might be asking (or have directly asked in the past).

Let’s walk through this together, using a digital agency PPC service page as an example.

We know people will wonder the following:

  • What is PPC?
  • How can it benefit me?
  • What results have you gotten in the past?
  • Are you a certified Google Partner?
  • Can you handle my budget?
  • How do you charge for PPC?
  • Do you serve my industry?

And again, try to recall what customers have asked you in the past about your own services. Really take the time to do this. 

Now looking at the elements/questions above, let’s think on how we can arrange the info. An overview section including the benefits of PPC probably wouldn’t hurt. We should probably show our results in a section. And it seems a section about our certifications and qualifications would help. Next let’s group the budget and industry together as it relates to Who. Let’s end with our pricing structure.

Here’s what it would look like organized:

Overview Section

  • What is PPC?
  • How can it benefit me?

Results Section

  • What results have you gotten in the past?

Certifications and Qualifications Section

  • Are you a certified Google Partner?

Industry & Who We Serve Section

  • Can you handle my budget?
  • Do you serve my industry?

Pricing Section

  • How do you charge for PPC?

Yay! We now have the sections for our page. Now, what you would do next is write your content for each section so that it answers each of the questions you’ve listed out. At this point, you’ve created a very useful page for your customer or client that answers their biggest concerns and questions.

By being the most helpful, you are not only providing the most value but you also are keeping people on your website longer and showing Google, you should stay in the ranks.

Consider Wireframes

You can consider using wireframes to build out your sections. It could prove rather useful but I wouldn’t say you must do it for these steps. It’s a more advanced step in website planning but not necessary for this tutorial.

Either way, here’s what that would look like.


You made it through! I assure you, if you follow these website planning steps as you build your own website, you will stand far out in front of the competition and move your own website along faster than anyone else doing it themselves. Not only that you end these steps, with a THOROUGH list of who your customer is, what they want for themselves, how they feel, and how you uniquely help them solve those problems.

You will be able to use all of the work you’ve done here for marketing, social media, hiring help, and then some!

You are the 1%

I want to end by saying, you are the 1% and they go far. 99%  of people who read this article will not follow it. Website planning is the hard stuff that yields the best results meaning most won’t do it. If you’ve made it down here and have done the steps, you are going to do excellent in your business. So keep at it, utilize this content to the max and I’ll see you next time!

If you have any questions, let me know below. I’d love to answer.