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How to Create the Perfect Nonprofit Website Design

Behind every great website design is a crucial planning phase to create the user experience of your website. First, map out your business-driven goals, then, figure out why visitors will be coming to your site, and match up their needs with call-to-action buttons and menu navigation. Know your audiences and craft content designed to keep them engaged.
Next, map out the steps your audience might want to take as they browse your site. Use these user journeys to create your site navigation and sitemap. A sitemap depicts the architecture and hierarchy of your site’s internal pages, from the menu to the subpages. To start the visual design of your webpages, create wireframes. Wireframes are a rough sketch of the page with indications for visual design and necessary content sections, similar to an architect’s blueprint. Imagery, location of call-to-action buttons, and color choice will dictate how your visitors will engage with your site.
As you send off your wireframes to the designer, it’s time to focus on the most important aspect of your site - the content. Your website’s content will drive your visitor’s actions and boost your site’s SEO (search engine optimization). Engaging content is often short and to the point, or able to be divided with proper headings and subheadings for easy skimming. Search engines will read your content, find related keyword phrases and decide if searchers will find it useful. Ensure you are found by the right people by performing keyword research. What are your visitors searching for, and how can you answer their questions? Update your content regularly to show search engines that you’re active.
In the design phase, your wireframes will be turned into full-color mock-ups designed with a mobile-first approach. Composed of your nonprofit’s brand elements of colors, logos, and fonts, your designs should use a mixture of graphics and photos to create engaging content that is eye-catching to the intended audience and will lead visitors to their intended information with satisfaction and ease.
During development, the visual design is translated into the code that will bring your website to life. Use an open-source content management system like WordPress, which has plugins and tools to create the functionalities your site needs. Once the site is built, you will load in and format all of your written content.
Before launch, your site must be tested to find the bugs that were missed during development. Perform full run-throughs on all different browsers and devices to check performance, loading speeds, and links. Pay special attention to the donations page, and make sure form submissions and email notifications are working properly. If you work with differently-abled audiences or need GDPR or HIPAA-compliance, testing for quality control is the last step in this process.
Once the site passed your thorough QA, it’s ready to launch! Take a sigh of relief, but don’t be surprised if there’s a few more bugs found as it’s released to the public.
Your site will constantly evolve as you receive user feedback and decide to add new functionality down the line. Ongoing maintenance is necessary to keep your nonprofit site safe and running smoothly. Regularly add new content, revise outdated language, and keep your site backed up and your plug-ins updated. Also, perform regular check-ups on key pages like your donations page or event registration page. A well-maintained site might just become your nonprofit’s top fundraiser.

From our blog

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5 Reasons to Invest in Your Nonprofit Website

Think of your website as a store. When you walk inside, you should feel safe and comfortable in a reputable establishment, one that’s well-maintained, provides a delightful, frictionless experience, and is responsive to the customer’s needs. Without these things, you won’t be spending your time or money inside. Donors and constituents of your organization share the same perspective. When arriving at your website, they will (however subconsciously) critically evaluate its contents prior to partaking in your services, utilizing your resources, or giving a donation.

Your nonprofit’s website is no longer an expense, but a long-term investment into the future and longevity of your organization. Here are 5 reasons why your nonprofit should invest in your website today.


Oct 08, 2019 by Sarah Henry

Google Ad Grant Webinar Featured Image

The Nonprofit Guide to UTM Parameters and Campaign Tracking

How did this month’s newsletter do compared to last month’s in terms of generating traffic – including potential donors – to your website? Do you know what percentage of your donations originated from that email campaign you sent last week?

What if you could easily answer those questions not just for your nonprofit’s email and newsletter campaigns, but for ALL of your marketing campaigns, no matter the source?

Whether you’re posting a press release to Facebook, tweeting about an upcoming event, or guest-blogging for a sister organization, it’s possible to know which sources are getting you real results, and which are falling flat. The answer is UTM parameters! Let’s dive into what these are and how you can combine them with your analytics goals to transform your donor conversion rates.


Oct 01, 2019 by Erin Mastrantonio

How to Increase your Online Donations Guide

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Creating a website is not a quick and easy task. It can be challenging for a nonprofit with small team and limited resources but my experience with Elevation made it much simpler! I appreciated the team's organization and direction. I always felt like I knew what was happening next and what I needed to get done. The team was responsive and able to translate what we were looking for. I love our new site, it truly represents the professionalism and uniqueness of our social enterprise Pedal Revolution. Many thanks to Elevation!

Nancy Gallegos

Business Development Manager

Pedal Revolution

Nancy Gallegos - Pedal Revolution


YMCA Canandaigua is an organization that works to strengthen the community in Canandaigua, New York by offering a variety of Y programs to all regardless of age, income or background.  We partnered with them to design a nonprofit website to serve as a resource for those who live in Canandaigua. For an organization that relies heavily on their nonprofit website, we built them an easy-to-maintain and customized website that comes with, customized graphic design, high-quality security systems, and a SEO-compatible site.

Alzheimer’s Foundation of America

We partnered with the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America to design a nonprofit website to educate and provide resources to those living with dementia and their families. The website is search engine optimized and incorporates nonprofit web development features such as an interactive graphic design that supports and engages their community.