5 Tips for Designing an Accessible Nonprofit Website

Murad Bushnaq

October 12, 2022

About the Author

Murad Bushnaq

Murad Bushnaq is the Founder and CEO of Morweb. Since its inception in 2014, Murad has acted as Creative Director and Chief Technologist to help nonprofits spread their vision online through engaging design, intuitive software and strategic communication.

Nonprofit websites are often the link between donors and donations. Your website serves as the ultimate guide to your fundraising initiatives, and can help potential donors learn more about your organization and its work. Ensuring your website actively guides visitors through its various pages and resources makes sure they ultimately land on your donation form.

Your supporter base likely includes a wide variety of individuals that may have different needs when it comes to viewing a website. For example, someone might have hearing issues or visual impairments. Making your nonprofit’s website more accessible can help all your supporters interact with your organization more easily and increase giving. 

Accessible website design can be a large undertaking, but this article will explore five actionable tips to help you optimize your website for accessibility

  1. Create simple navigation.
  2. Make it easy to read. 
  3. Make your donation page highly visible.
  4. Optimize your website for mobile.

Many of these tips can be implemented without in-depth web expertise, but feel free to contact a web developer or designer to streamline the process. For more guidance on website accessibility, Morweb’s ADA compliance guide can provide valuable information about how to implement these tips and adhere to legal requirements. Let’s dive into how you can get started on making your nonprofit website more accessible. 

1. Create simple navigation.

One of the keys to guiding visitors and donors through your website is clear website navigation. Ensure that your website has a navigation bar with easily-identifiable page titles that clearly describe what each page is about, such as: 

  • About Us
  • Donate
  • Get Involved
  • Sponsors

Include only the most important pages in your navigation bar so you can direct visitors to these pages using compelling  calls-to-action, like “Donate now!” or “Sign up for our membership program.”  Additionally, order the pages by level of importance from left to right to follow the natural reading path of the visitor. You can also increase the text size of the most important page links in the navigation bar to emphasize the pages viewers should visit first. 

If your website requires a dropdown menu, be sure that the secondary pages are categorized under the intuitive parent page. Menu orders can take some trial and error before creating an easily navigable one, so be sure to have several team members test the menu prior to launching it on your site. 

2. Make it easy to read.  

Your website is an extension of your nonprofit’s brand identity, so it is important to use logos and brand colors across your website for easy recognition. Cohesive branding across your website and other marketing materials are important for enhancing brand awareness. 

It is also important to keep readability in mind when designing your website. According to Top Nonprofits, these graphic design tips will help with designing a readable nonprofit website: 

  • High contrast. Choose colors with high contrast for text and backgrounds. Darker text over light backgrounds is easier to read, like black text on a white background.
  • Large font. Don’t clutter your pages with text. Simplify your messages and use larger text that can be read without zooming in. An accessibility widget can empower users to change the font size (in addition to things like website coloring) to suit their needs.
  • Limited font types. Choose one to three fonts to use throughout your entire website. Including too many fonts can become distracting. 
  • Simple imagery. Use large images that easily convey your message, and avoid putting text over images. Be sure to write alternative text for images so people navigating the site with assistive technologies can still understand what the images are.
  • Page blocking. Use headers, subheaders, and bullet point lists for longer pages to break up the text. 

Supporters won’t be able to navigate your website if they can’t read your valuable content. An aesthetically-pleasing look is nice, but an easy-to-read website is really what will help drive traffic through your website. 

3. Make your donation page highly visible. 

Place your donation page in a prominent place in the navigation bar. As one of the most important web pages on the site, you could also bold or use larger font size to make the page link stand out.

Here are some additional places to include links to your donation page: 

  • Home page. While a donation link shouldn’t be the first thing your visitors see, it can be helpful to include a donation button on the homepage after your mission statement.
  • About/mission page. Supporters may feel inspired after reading about your mission and organization’s work. Include a donation button or link to guide them through the process. 
  • Volunteer page. Longtime supporters may feel inclined to donate after volunteering with you, or new volunteers may feel that they can contribute more through donations.

Your website should offer calls-to-action beyond donations. However, to increase your giving, you’ll want to make it easy for supporters to find the donation page. 

4. Optimize your website for mobile.

Our on-the-go society is all about ease of access and mobile searches, and without a mobile optimized website, you’re missing out on potential donor relationships. It’s helpful to partner with an experienced website builder or web developer when you’re creating a new website to ensure both the computer and mobile versions are optimized. 

If you haven’t made your website mobile-friendly from the get-go, you can still get started now. Mobile phones make it easy to assess information online, but don’t always allow for easy viewing for everyone. Here are a few ways to simplify your web pages for the mobile version:

  • Be intentional with imagery
  • Create forms with multiple choice answers
  • Remove pop-ups 
  • Reduce loading times 

Once your main website is mobile optimized, you can even look into adding mobile fundraising features to your promotional strategies. It could also be helpful to include a sign-up page on the website for text alerts. 

The Gist 

All-in-all when your nonprofit’s website is streamlined to convey clear, concise information with an easy-to-navigate layout, you’ll be doing yourself and your supporters a favor. Now that you know what types of features to implement for accessibility, you’re also able to look into website builders for nonprofits. It takes time and trial and error to overhaul your website, so lean into the right tools to make the process easier and to provide a better experience for all of your supporters faster.

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