Last week, Gobeyond held its first ever non-profit workshop with During our goal setting session we defined their goals, suggested buyer personas, and walked through a S.W.O.T. analysis (Strengths – Weaknesses – Opportunities – Threats) of their website.

As creative director at Gobeyond I’ll be responsible for updating their website by redistributing their current calls to action, creating new graphics based on their SWOT analysis, and branding their site from an out of the box theme to a look consistent with their logo.

Over the years I’ve helped quite a few non-profit organizations with their websites. After a while, a pattern emerges and the basics become clear. The list below covers those basic features that every non-profit website needs:


1. A Clear Mission Statement

You have your mission statement. You have your logo. Your shirts are ordered, your branding is strong, only… what is your website telling people? If users need to scroll below the fold, then chances are not much.

Your mission statement is the core of your cause. It should be readily apparent the moment a visitor comes to your website. (The Sandbox does an excellent job at this by displaying it in their header next to their logo.)

Consider the following areas to display your mission statement:

  • As part of your logo (avoid small text!) in the header area
  • In a slider or single image below your header within the fold
  • Immediately under or above your slider image as a call to action
  • Animated or fixed at the top or bottom of your pages


2. Call-to-Action Graphics (CTA)

Calling out important elements that drive your website’s cause is key to its success. Your mission statement should be your first call to action. You want to engage your visitors to act. Volunteering, Donations, Services, Social Sharing, and Contact forms are all types of CTAs that get your visitors moving. “A rolling stone gathers no moss and a content-heavy website with no follow-up gathers no click, though Jimi makes it sound more poetic.


3. Social Media Share and Follow Links

I won’t get into the necessity of social media for non-profits or others. We all know we need it on our website. It’s the easiest way to share your site’s content with the rest of the world.

Be sure to include your social media icons (links to your social media pages) to promote follows and connections. These icons should be positioned in obvious places but not distracting to your content. Adding these to your header or footer throughout your site will keep them in your visitors’ view at all times.

It’s just as important to include share buttons throughout your site. Share buttons are different in that they allow people who do not follow you to share your content, whether it’s a blog post or a page on their respective social media platforms. Your Volunteer, Donate, or Our Cause pages would all be excellent contenders.


4. Subscribe Forms

Even if your visitors are following you on their favorite social media platforms, it’s easy to get lost in the endless scroll sea. So how do you keep your visitors or, more importantly, your supporters involved?

Blog Subscription signup
A simple name and email signup form on the sidebar of your website or footer is an easy way to keep your supporters in the loop about the latest news and events with your organization. The key to this is to blog regularly! 2-8 blog posts a month (depending on your size) is a good number to fit between.

Newsletter Signup
Unlike blog post subscriptions, your newsletter may only be a monthly or quarterly send-out. Consider adding this feature to your contact page or footer throughout your site as a good way to gather content about your supporters. Many email marketing services like MailChimp and Constant Contact offer discounts to non-profit organizations. These same companies (and others) offer integrating plugins that work on CMS’s like WordPress that will collect and add your visitors’ info to your database.


5. Simple Donation Form

Simplifying the way a visitor can help can be a difference of only a few dollars. But those dollars add up! A page with a simple donation form is an easy solution for direct results. While the bare bones approach would be to add a Paypal button to your site, there are many one-time-pay donation forms that integrate with Paypal directly on your website. The benefits of these forms are that they can set up re-occurring payments, ask supporters specific questions, and collect basic info for future correspondences.



The above features will set a solid foundation for your non-profit website to thrive. Once you’ve covered the basics, you can begin to dive deeper into more specific needs for your cause. If you need a hand with that, we can help.