A good website can help your charity to attract supporters, encourage contributions and increase your influence in an ever-changing digital world. To help you and your organisation to thrive online, we’ve put together this short guide on everything your charity website needs to appeal to your audience, from user-friendly design to captivating content and clever marketing.

What's in this article

    What are the legal requirements for charity websites in the UK?

    We’ve already covered this topic in greater detail here, but to summarise what a UK charity website needs to include:

    • Name of the company or charity
    • Registered address
    • The part of the UK in which the company or charity is registered
    • Registered number
    • VAT number, if registered for VAT

    Additionally, you must adhere to the GDPR regulations and the Data Protection Act of 1998. To guarantee compliance, you must study these regulations and take the necessary actions.  In addition, unless you are exempt, you must register with the ICO and pay the applicable data protection fee.

    Set your budget for the project

    A well-defined budget helps to set priorities for crucial website components like design, hosting, functionality and security, making sure that the organisation's limited resources are used to accomplish its objectives.

    Similar to this, deadlines encourage discipline in projects and prompt completion, avoiding delays that may hinder the launch or updates of the website. Effective time management is particularly important in the fast-paced digital environment, since timely execution can affect outreach and fundraising initiatives' effectiveness. 

    Consider your audiences and their user journey

    In order to ensure that your charity website effectively engages and resonates with the target demographic, it is crucial to take into account your audience and their user experiences. Potential donors and supporters have a variety of needs, preferences and behaviours, so it's important to understand these differences so that the content, functionality and design of the website may be adjusted to meet their unique demands. You can find important touchpoints and optimise the user experience by creating engaging and clear user path maps. This not only makes it more likely that users will find what they're looking for, but it also promotes meaningful interactions and conversions, like signing up to volunteer or making gifts.

    You might want to think about adopting the programme "InVision Freehand." With the use of this collaborative design tool, groups may visualise and refine ideas together in real time, bringing a variety of viewpoints together to collaborate on creating a website design that appeals to the target market by nature of its collaboration and prototyping features.

    Charity Volunteers

    Simple, intuitive navigation

    Take advantage of your clients' freedom of choice by giving them clear, informative headlines on your website so they may pick how they want to support your cause without feeling pressured to do so (especially when making cash donations). In the long run, this also means that your charity will have more genuine volunteers who are eager to help rather than those who feel pressured into doing so.

    It's important to remember that each step in written instructions should be concise and adequately spaced out. To help your donors, you may even want to attach screenshots of the online process that have clear arrows or highlights. For when your customers are trying to find exact pieces of information on your website, you should minimise the number of clicks on your site in order to improve user experience and ensure that users can find the information they need quickly. Having regular yet distinct headers is one way to do this, which will help your clients navigate your website without feeling lost or confused! Long paragraphs with walls of text can be intimidating and challenging to read.

    Feature your mission statement

    To successfully express your charity's core values to your intended audience, include a mission statement on your website. They will feel more at ease and be more inclined to join in its operations as a result. The elements that are frequently featured in mission statements for charities in the UK include the purpose, values, scope, goals and the impact that their contributions will have with any form of help from their donors. Making these things clear will remove barriers for your audience.

    Build trust and communicate your work

    Gaining your supporters’ trust is essential if you want them to donate to your cause. They want to be able to have confidence that their contributions or other voluntary actions will be put to good use. Acquiring this trust will depend on your ability to reassure them of this:

    • Linking to resources and blogs

    Your charity website will be more credible if you link to other trustworthy blogs and resources. This will show visitors who are looking for reliable information that your organisation is knowledgeable and connected in the industry.

    • Introduce your team 

    It is simple to establish a rapport with your clients by introducing them to the members of your team; this demonstrates your openness and fosters closer bonds among your employees, trustees and volunteers.

    • Content from your events and activities 

    Displaying content such as images from past events or video testimonials from people that you have supported helps to demonstrate the benefits of the contributions and volunteering that your charity receives. You may even want to show this side of your charity through social media (Instagram/Tiktok/Twitter). Social media presence allows your company to be more personable with your audience and as a result you should see more contributions from them.

    Use photography and video

    A fantastic charity website requires the thoughtful application of both imagery and video. Strong images have the ability to arouse feelings in viewers, convey moving stories, and establish a personal connection between them and the charity cause. Real people and communities impacted by the organisation's work can be shown in compelling movies and high-quality photos that illustrate the impact of their work. In addition to grabbing viewers' attention, this visual narrative encourages empathy and understanding, which inspires visitors to become engaged or make a donation to the organisation. Incorporating photography and video enhances the website's capacity to convey the charity's mission, values, and impact, whether it is through portraying the faces of those benefited by its initiatives or displaying the organisation's programmes in action.

    Hospital patient watching video

    Take monthly donations to build up your revenue

    If your supporters are looking to financially donate to your charity regularly, you need to ensure you offer the capabilities for them to do so. Maintaining current donors could bring greater financial benefits for your organisation than focusing on obtaining new ones. 

    Rather than only having one-time donation options on your website, one method for accomplishing this is to provide direct debit alternatives for recurring payments. Supporters who sign up for monthly recurring donations can be added to a specific email database group to guarantee that they receive regular updates on your outstanding accomplishments, provided that your CRM and website have been integrated. By doing this, you can increase retention rates and make sure they stick around for the long haul.

    Create awareness of your charity with social media

    Social media platforms serve as useful tools for connecting with a broad range of people, and they enable charities to instantly broadcast their goals, events, and effects. Through the utilisation of social media's broad reach and interaction capabilities, charitable organisations can establish a supportive community, spark discussions surrounding their mission, and increase website traffic. On social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Tiktok and Instagram, the charity can increase its online presence by creating excitement, gaining new followers, and encouraging sharing through frequent updates, eye-catching images and interactive content. In addition to increasing visibility, social media offers a dynamic means of establishing a personal connection with the audience, which is crucial for any online charitable organisation to succeed in building a feeling of community and shared purpose.

    Keep personal data secure

    Personal data is to be managed correctly and appropriately, especially for charitable groups. The first step is to register with the UK regulatory authority known as the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), which is tasked with protecting information rights, promoting data privacy and making sure that data protection laws—such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)—are followed. Before you as a charity can handle personal data at all, this needs to be completed.

    Put simply, GDPR prioritises putting data security first, respecting people's right to privacy, and working with authorities as needed. The full list of its regulations can be found at https://www.gov.uk/data-protection

    Also, an important thing to note is that after a set period of time, personal data must be erased in order to safeguard user privacy, avert security risks, maintain data accuracy, and comply with regulatory requirements.

    Create a highly accessible, excellent User Experience (UX), on any device

    Even for the website of your charity, first impressions matter. You should think about your user experience and how your users interact with your content, particularly how they see it at first, especially if they have accessibility needs. Users with a variety of visual impairments can access your website faster and grasp its material more easily if you take into account design factors like using semantic code, making sure the site has a clear contrast and using appropriate font sizes.

    If you are not knowledgeable about this, you may want to consider hiring a web developer to create your website. This will improve the presentation value of the content. An additional crucial consideration is the speed at which your information loads on the different sections of the website. This is because people frequently leave websites that load slowly because they find it annoying and unprofessional. Ensure that your website is fully responsive on all devices, including PCs, laptops, and smartphones. It ought to be able to change to fit the device being used, including the text and picture sizes, navigation menu and other features.

    A platform that allows you to grow

    Creating a website is rarely a one-time task; as your charity grows, you'll need a platform that allows for continuous upkeep, modification and improvement. Giving your employees instruction on software usage and how to create varied material for each section of the website is essential if you want to keep your content looking consistently professional. It could be useful to assign particular website-related tasks to people according to their ability levels. Platforms such as Concrete CMS offer easily navigable and adaptable functionalities, enabling website editors to self-manage content updates and modifications without needing to consult a web developer.

    The phrase, "It's not the best content that wins," should always be kept in mind when creating a platform that encourages growth. "The content with the greatest promotion wins." (Antony Crestodina). This serves as a reminder that effective advertising and interaction, in addition to high-quality material, are essential components of success. This idea may be included into your strategy to help you build a dynamic, ever-evolving platform that will produce great material and guarantee that it reaches and resonates with your target audience, resulting in long-term growth and impact for your cause.

    Consider a professional copywriter

    The success of your charity depends on hiring a copywriter who is experienced and can keep a consistent tone throughout all of your organisation's communication platforms. This expert uses their in-depth knowledge of the goals and background of your nonprofit to guarantee that material is created specifically for your intended audience. To increase your exposure on search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo, a skilled copywriter should give priority to Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) tactics. This covers activities like optimising on-page content, creating backlinks to your website and performing keyword research. Your professional copywriter significantly contributes to improving your charity's online visibility and engagement by emphasising a consistent voice and successful SEO tactics.

    Professional copywriter

    Clear CTA's (Calls to Action)

    A well-written call to action (CTA) acts as a clear cue, asking users to complete particular actions like donating money, subscribing to newsletters or volunteering. The user journey is made simpler by these obvious cues, which also make sure that visitors know how they may support the charity's purpose. Effective call-to-actions (CTAs) not only improve the user experience but also raise the possibility of conversions, turning inactive visitors into devoted supporters. Clear calls to action are essential for converting website visitors into real support, whether that support be in the form of donations, participation, or awareness. As such, they are a vital component of any charity's online presence.

    Clear, simple donation forms

    A reliable charity website must have donation forms that are easy to understand and fill out. A simple donation method guarantees a smooth visitor experience and lowers the possibility of abandonment because of its complexity. Simple and clear error messages allow quick problem-solving by users, while preserving a positive user experience. Providing many payment options accommodates a variety of donor preferences and improves accessibility. 

    If your charity supports numerous establishments through donations then it would be wise to create a clear section on your website, detailing each of these and how donations are used. A great example of this is by Imperial Health Charity who have created a page containing links to the donation form as well as links to pages that describe how their charitable gift makes a difference for each specific hospital. You can check this out here

    Gift Aid

    Also, adding Gift Aid capability to a charity website is essential since it gives fundraising efforts a dramatic boost. Gift Aid enhances the value of charitable contributions by enabling qualifying charities in the UK to receive a reimbursement of 25p for each £1 donated by taxpayers. Your charity guarantees that each donation has a greater impact by ensuring that Gift Aid is included into the website's donation procedure. In order to maximise the performance of fundraising campaigns and advance the overall success of the charity, Gift Aid integration is a critical component. This extra financial help can be vital in funding important projects, initiatives, and charity activities.

    Promote your content

    A successful charity website must have well-promoted material to increase the message's impact and audience. A crucial component of content marketing is generating inbound links. Sharing interesting articles that connect with your readers inspires them to link back to your website, increasing your visibility online. As Neil Patel wisely states "it's not about how much time you spend writing content, but how much time you spend promoting it." This emphasises how crucial it is to set aside time and energy to actively share and market your information on a variety of platforms, social media, and relevant communities. By making promotion a top priority, you can effectively communicate your vision and goals to supporters, raise the likelihood that your content will be noticed, encourage participation and ultimately drive your charity website's success.

    What's next?

    Ready to elevate your charity's online presence? Whether you're looking for a responsive design, compelling content or effective marketing strategies, we are here to help transform your vision into a powerful online reality. Let's work together to create a website that not only captivates your audience but also drives meaningful impact for your charitable cause.

    Who are we?

    We are a digital agency specialising in Web Design, Development, Concrete5 and digital marketing, based in London & West Sussex.

    We make digital simple. Our purpose is to simplify your frustrations in digital and solve the challenges you face to help make you more money and progressively grow your business or organisation.

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