May 2021

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3 min

5 steps to a great charity website

Last month, I was happy to host another AMA session with Tahera Mayat from The Charity Hour. Every Wednesday, people working in or with the charity sector join for a conversation on a chosen topic. This time, we focused on what makes a great charity website — with or without big money.

1. How do you even start?

This is the most important question. How do you start improving your website? There are a million different things you could do. From raising brand awareness to generating more donations, improving readability to re-platforming… The variety of projects is endless. But which one is the best for you?

The first things to determine are your objectives and your budget. If you’re not sure what your objectives should be, then you need an audit. With that, you’ll see all the issues people may encounter on your site, how to fix them, and what to start with.

First step: let’s have a free chat to see if you’re being strategical about your objectives.

Usability & readability slide in a UX audit report

2. Making accessibility your new priority

Like UX, accessibility isn’t a fancy add-on you can plug in at the last minute. Questioning if your website is accessible will set you up on the right track immediately.

And it’s not just about people using screen readers. Accessibility means people of all genders feel included because you carefully chose your words. It can also mean people with physical disabilities can easily navigate your site with their keyboard. It’s also about the choice of colours in your brand palette. All these decisions have an impact on accessibility.

First step: scan your website for accessibility issues and send me the report. We can chat about fixing those problems together.

Example of an accessibility issue due to low colour contrast ratio.

3. Balancing transparency and overload

When people worry about how people see them, they tend to overload them with information to prove their commitment.

So, one thing you can do to improve your site is to invest in a copywriter. Or at the very least, get someone external to proofread your copy. It’s the only way to ensure you’re giving people what they came for. Because every time you add something new, it’s diminishing the importance of the other pieces. So be selective.

First step: collect 3 people’s feedback about your copy and ask them what they would remove. You can also contact Coni Longden-Jefferson for copy therapy.

4. Implementing safe online donations

I’m not saying you shouldn’t accept cheques from people who genuinely want to help. I’m saying you should stop refusing other people’s money. Making your website safe for online payment is key. When you’re making it easy and safe for people to help you, they will. It’s as simple as that.

First step: Ensure you’re familiar with good security practices and data protection law. If you need help with that, Ross Wintle is a great person to ask.

5. Thinking ethically

The web can be obscene, mischievous, and, yes, sometimes marvelous. It can connect the best people together and create the most wonderful projects. But that doesn’t happen by chance. It happens when people carefully measure each design decision.

First step: go through the 59 questions for mindful UX with your team. If you need more help with that, don’t hesitate to contact Clo S from This Too Shall Grow.